A recent article in The Economist highlights the global opportunities, and the shift in demand for aging services. Far from being a monolithic block, consumers who are over 65, 75, and over 85 are not only growing in size, their demand for aging services is new; what they are looking for, interested in and utilizing, where and how is changing dramatically. This is certainly true in Western economies, and may be translating globally.
Japan, one of the oldest societies on the planet, and certainly the oldest among developed economies, has long been a bellwether of change related to aging services. It is no accident, therefore, that Japan leads the surge in technological innovation to improve the efficiency of age-targeted services. Close behind in demographics, and rivaling Japan in technological innovation, the United States is beginning to experiment with and deploy technology and gadgets to improve the safety, reduce labor and lower the costs of aging.
The Economist article highlights the shift from institutionalized long-term care to at-home care. Not only is institutional care significantly more expensive than care at home (however one defines “home”), an overwhelming majority of the oldest baby boomers in Western Europe and the US find the prospect of relocating to a care home for assisted living residence abhorrent.
These shifts anticipate enormous changes in the way those involved in the aging services markets conceive of, communicate about and deploy our solutions.