According to a marketing study by the consumer marketing research firm, Packaged Facts, baby boomers are joining the Health Conscious and purchasing more nutritional supplements to enhance their health and minimize the need for pricey medicines and medical care. The press release announcing the findings of the report on the sustainability and growth of the nutritional supplement market stated that the growth of the market is being fueled boomers losing confidence in their ability to afford health care and the more science based approach of the nutritional supplement companies. Between 2005 and 2009, the market grew by 25%. I know I take nutritional supplements to try and enhance my health and not take so much OTC medicine. How about all of you boomers/
The data from a study initiated by the Mature Market Institute (MMI), the research division of Metlife, found that the Middle Boomers are a demographic group very distinct from the rest of the boomers. According to the study, Middle Boomers were born from 1952-1958. This group sees themselves as in good to excellent health. Middle Boomers are definitely children of the 60’s. According to the study, they identify with the women’s movement, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy Assassination. I know that I truly am glad to see the students of today protesting about the decline of their educational opportunities. It has been a long time since people truly stood up for what they believed was right and not just to demand what they believe that they are entitled to. For those of us that have our own businesses or work in the marketing department, it would be very beneficial to access the study or the press release on Market Watch on March 2, 2010.
According to a report in the Natural News.com, the baby boomers reaching 60 are the first generation that is less healthy than the generation before them. A study conducted at the University of California, found that one in five people in their 60’s needs assistance in everyday living activities. This is 50% higher than a decade ago. The Mail online of the UK, provides a much more comprehensive description about the study. The conclusion is that bad diet and lack of exercise which is compounded by the fact that there is so much technology that keeps us from being as active as previous generations. The full article will be published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2010. If we think about how active we were early in life and how easy we have it now, one could see how we are having more knee, hip, weight, and diabetes problems because of two things. First, we were extremely active early in life and then with all of the technology and luxuries that people who have money have access to we have stopped keeping our muscles in shape. Second, our eating habits, the increase in portions in restaurants, and our active life leading to less healthy eating increases our risk for obesity and all the diseases that come with being overweight. I just bought my husband a Wii because he has not been exercising because he must care for his mother. He can use the TV to get back into shape. I know that I have become less active and my New Year’s resolution will be to get back into shape.
There is a lot of press making people believe that brain fitness games will keep you from getting forgetful. However a recent article on Tampa Bay online makes the case that it is just one piece of the health puzzle for aging adults and children. The article points out that older adults are a large consumer group for these products due to the fear of dementia. I have a Nintendo DS Lite for the brain games. I enjoy working on them and it gives me different things to do from the day to day thinking that I have to do. I know lots of friends who have bought game consoles such as the Wii to help them stay active both mentally and physically. According to the 2009 Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy Survey, Fourth Edition, 44 percent of boomers own a game console up from 31 percent in 2006. I wonder if some of this is due to the economic recession and a game console provides a more economic, diverse entertainment opportunity for the entire family. For those of you that own game consoles, let me know why you got one.
Metlife has results on baby boomer’s intentions of working longer from a study conducted by Mature Market Institute of Metlife. The study shows that 72%Baby Boomers ages 55-59 plan on working longer due to “the need for income to live on.” Of those over 60-65 years of age, 60% indicated that they needed to continue work for income to live on. The study seems to indicate that the younger boomers may have been in this position irregardless of the recession due to a lack of preparation for retirement. I have recently had discussions with people around 60 years of age and all of them know that getting hired after being laid off may be difficult. This difficulty stems from older workers being more experienced and more expensive for a company. It also stems from society’s obsession with youth and vigor in the people they do business with. Yet, with our education system in such disarray, one might think that companies would realize that the cost of training the less prepared college graduate would be more time and financially consuming than hiring an experienced, mature boomer. More importantly, many of the boomers may be willing to take a bit of a pay cut for the privilege of a job. Carol Verret makes a good point in her blog at examiner.com that even though the study points out the disconnect between the availability of aging baby boomers in the market and the traditional lack of opportunities for those over 57 that if someone is adaptable, the recession may provide greater opportunities than ever for the baby boomers. Carol identified something that I never knew existed; companies to specifically help boomers adapt to the market. Here are a few of these organizations that help boomers navigate the changing job market; Passionate for Life; job-hunt.org; RCM Associates. I do not know how effective these organizations are but every Boomer considering finding another job is going to have to learn the new ways of connecting with prospective employers. We all need to do our research and network. Good luck to all of you.
A study conducted by the Cable and Telecommunications Media Association (CTAM) examining the lifestage and lifestyle media choices of 4 different generational cohorts (Millenials, Gen-Xers, Boomers, and Matures), found that 77% of the Matures (65+) and 71% of the Boomers shopped online. Interestingly, the Matures shopped more online than any other group. Additionally, almost half of the Matures played games online. The Boomers were heavy internet users also in the areas of email and paying bills online. Many people associate the internet with the younger generations. More and more Boomers and Matures are keeping in touch with family and utilizing the internet to gather information and for personal and business interests. This information shows the marketing opportunities that exist for businesses that keep up with lifestyle and lifestage changes. I have been contacted by more and more people in my generation (Boomer) and older friends (Matures) that are beginning to utilize Facebook and other forms of social media. I know that as I design my marketing plan for my canine massage business that I know that the internet is the way to reach those empty nesters of all generations that care for their K9 companions.
According to Wbur.org (NPR), we have neglected to include Long Term Health Care (LTHC)in the health care reform debate. I know this is critical because I have examined my parents long term policies and they don’t cover as much as they thought they would when they first purchased it 30 years ago. My brother and I are not wealthy enough to support my mother if she uses up her funds if she must go into a home. Like health care insurance, there probably should be some sort of mandate that everyone purchase LTHC. However, like regular health insurance it is extremely pricey. The Alliance for Retired Americans’ fact sheet on a bill proposed the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act by Senator Edward Kennedy and Frank Pallone in march 2009 outlines how people could get into a voluntary long term health insurance pool through payroll deductions to help provide services for people and their families who become functionally impaired. The pool would lower the costs to individuals for Long Term Health Care Insurance. Those of us that are baby boomers are at risk of spending our savings and retirement on our parents, leaving us at the mercy of the state when it gets to be our turn to need help to be as functionally independent and cared for as possible. I know that I have not purchased Long Term Health Insurance because it is so expensive.
There are approximately 77 million baby boomers. According to an article in the Examiner.com, there are over 11 million boomers without health insurance. As we slog through the recession recovery, more and more boomers will lose their jobs. It will be more difficult for this group to find jobs due to employers wanting to hire those with less experience to cut costs. Boomers need to stand up and be counted during this time of contentious debate about the pros and cons of universal health care. Many of us just assume that things will work out. However, the fear mongerers are winning the battle. We all know that people change jobs much more frequently than when we first entered the workplace. We must call for health insurance options that are affordable and not tied to one’s job or the number of aging boomers without health insurance will increase rapidly just when we need more care.
Massachusetts has a property tax “write off” bill for seniors over 60. According to Boston.com, some cities set the program at people over 60, some over 65. The seniors can work in areas in the city or town and receive vouchers up to $750 toward their property taxes. Seniors must fill out an applications and get on a list. They are selected based on pairing the requirements of the job that needs to be done and the skills of the seniors in the program. Massachusetts is not the only state that has implemented such programs. The governor of Maine also signed a bill into law in April 2008 that allows a tax “work off” program for seniors over 60. There is some debate in Maine about the bill because the seniors the state pays the taxes on the money earned by the seniors. Hence, some believe that it is the other taxpayers covering the costs of the program. However, the IRS considers the money earned from the program as income. South Carolina and areas of Colorado have similar bills. In all cases, the seniors are paid between approximately minimum wage for their labor. The amount of the voucher they can earn and the age the programs start vary dependent on state, city, and town. It seems like a pretty good idea. After all, the states will typically get mature, skilled workers for jobs that may go to unskilled labor. Check your state and send this information to your state representatives to try and get something like this implemented in your area.
According to an article on Examiner.com there is a need for Paralegals and boomers looking for another line of work are the perfect candidates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the job outlook between 2006 to 2016 the job growth is expected to be greater than average. The Examiner article by Chere Estrin makes the case that people over 40 are welcomed in the field because of their maturity and past work experience in areas that lawyers need help.