Telomeres, Mitochondria, and Healthy Longevity

Posted by CC Andrews

Dec 4, 2017 12:00:00 AM

Will you live to be 100? I am on the fence about wanting to live that long, unless I can be pretty sure I’ll be relatively healthy for the duration. Health span and longevity are the golden tickets in aging research, telomere.jpgaccording to a panel convened recently at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Moderated by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, the panel—made up of luminaries in geroscience research—gave the audience updates on recent promising studies. Among the most interesting—and slightly scary—research that is giving them reason to think that extending not only lifespan but also health span is within reach—and within a reasonable timeframe. It may not happen in the near future, but is definitely on the horizon.

From telomeres and mitochondria to senescent cells, mouse and primate studies have shown that umbilical cord blood extended the lives of mice, while Metformin, a diabetes drug that’s been around for a decades, has been shown to prevent the onset of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among other things.

According to Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Laureate and president of the Salk Institute, targeting and minimizing the “big killers of humanity” (the diseases that often come with aging) is the key to extending health span. “The conditions we die of, we really care about those, because these affect our health span,” she said.

The National Academy of Medicine is so committed to finding the key to extending the health span it has created an initiative around it. According to the group’s website, the Longevity Grand Challenge is aimed at inspiring and incubating “transformative ideas through challenge prizes and awards, expert guidance, a roadmap for policymakers and public engagement.”

So how does all this relate to aging services? There are obvious correlations, such as how much longer such breakthroughs will extend human lifespan and its impact on health care systems and housing, of course. It is worth noting, however, according to one scientist, when the time comes, humans will likely get about two additional years out of it. That century-long lifespan may still be reserved for those with the right genetics but the science and research seems to be inching closer to it.

While there are some very interesting discoveries that point to “hacking the aging code,” the panelists also made note of the fact that good old-fashioned exercise, diet, and genetics still play a large role in human longevity.

If you want a focused approach to figuring how health longevity affects your business— facilitated by experts in the senior living field—contact Quantum Age today.

 

 

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Topics: Aging, older adults, longevity, research

The Disease of Aging, Airbnb, and Products for Longevity

Posted by CC Andrews

Nov 17, 2017 12:00:00 AM

When the opening line of a panel discussion on aging and the longevity economy is something like this: “Every single person in this room over 25 suffers from a disease, and that disease is the disease of aging,” https___press.atairbnb.com_app_uploads_2017_01_airbnb_vertical_lockup_web copy.pngthose of us steeped in this field take notice. To begin, suggesting that the human condition of living is considered a disease is a bit provocative, if not ignorant. In addition, the moderator of said panel followed the introduction with, “eventually the disease of aging is going to kill us,” which I assume at this point was meant to be merely bombastic, especially since the panelists were thoughtful, engaging humans, all of whom were clearly living with this aging “disease.”

Convened by the Milken Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit think tank, the purpose of the panel was to discuss aging and longevity and the impact these two issues will have on the global economy. The discussion included a diverse array of people who have either studied aging and longevity or have dabbled in it due to their work.

Among the most interesting of perspectives came from Chip Conley, strategic advisor for hospitality and leadership at Airbnb, where adults 50 years and older make up only about 6 percent of its employees, compared to 25 percent in the entire U.S. workforce.

Despite the depressingly small number of elders in the company, Conley, who joined Airbnb at the age of 52, believes that older workers and younger workers have much to gain from each other. “I have had the experience of being both a mentor and an intern at the same time,” he said, also noting that while the average age of company leaders is declining, “meaning power is moving younger, and these people who are getting a lot of power don’t have a lot of training, nor do they have a lot of people with gray hair around to give them advice.”

In an effort to address Airbnb’s workforce problem, Conley pointed to the “wise elder” who can help with “emotional intelligence and good thinking around strategy, and will not be a competitor to his younger colleague, who uses him as a sounding board.” One of the company’s solutions is to create an affinity group of employees 50 and older who can address the issues and have their voices heard. “Elders have proven to be helpful in creating better teams, better at helping them operate, and better at creating collegial and collaborative environments where teams works better,” he said.

Presented with a question about what products and services are being developed to cater to the genuine needs of elders, Joseph Coughlin, PhD, director of the MIT AgeLab, asserted that it’s not just about the needs of older adults, “because, as the saying goes in the auto industry, everyone knows that a young man will never buy an old man’s car and an older man or an older woman will run away from it as well.”

The idea, he says, is to create products that excite and delight. “The reason why older adults aren’t buying products that are made for older adults is not because [the consumers] are old and declining, it’s because we have yet to invent a longevity product that is worth buying,” he said. Others may disagree with this last statement, but I agree with his premise that there needs to be more products focused on exciting and delighting older consumers.

Circling back to Airbnb, Conley noted that there is a growing number of “digital nomads” who recognize that they can mix their work and their pleasure because they are armed with a mobile device, a laptop, and wifi connections. They live in Airbnbs and they travel the world while working, he says. What’s more, the fastest-growing group of Aribnb hosts is adults 50 years and older. The reason behind this is because many people who are over 50 own their own home, are empty nesters, have extra rooms in their homes, and want to add to their retirement income. Airbnb hosts also have the highest guest ratings.

These slices of information make me wonder if the folks over at Silvernest and others with similar home-share-for-Boomers business models have heard about this. Airbnb’s experience certainly seems to suggest that these housing alternatives are likely onto something.

The perspectives here were diverse and not the usual advice (others on the panel included a representative from AARP and the economist-author of “The 100-Year Life”). Watch the full discussion to get some newer perspectives on the longevity economy. It may stimulate some fresh thinking of your own.

If you want a focused approach to strategic decisions around navigating the longevity economy, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and candid feedback, contact Quantum Age today.

 

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Topics: Aging, Senior care, senior living, longevity

A Global Perspective on Aging & the Longevity Dividend

Posted by CC Andrews

Oct 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

When The Economist covers your issue you know it must be a big one. It seems as though the rest of the world continues to catch onto the fact that there is a growing cohort of older adults around the globe,global aging.jpg mainstream media is beginning to ponder the collateral issues and recognize that there are legit news stories to be told.

So it is that The Economist recently published a special report, the title of which is descriptive enough: The New Old. It examines many of the same issue that those of us in the longevity field have already deconstructed and analyzed several times over. However, it also sheds light on some of them from new angles, including a much more global perspective, which is refreshing.

The paper covers the future of work, finance, technology, and dating for older adults. It also posits that the “longer, healthier lives that people in the rich world now enjoy (and which in the medium term are in prospect in the developing world as well) can be a boon, not just for the individuals concerned but for the economies and societies they are part of.”

The key to unlocking this longevity dividend, the authors assert, is to “turn the over-65s into more active economic participants.” Herewith is a sampling of topics covered in the report:

Work: It’s no surprise that older workers are delaying retirement and staying in the workforce longer. The report examines the work ethic of baby boomers, their use of the gig economy, and their entrepreneurial spirit. As the authors note, people between 55 and 65 are now 65 percent more likely to start up companies than those between 20 and 34. In Britain, 40 percent of new founders are over 50, while almost 60 percent of those 70 years and older who are still working are self-employed. 

Finance: The longevity of our society means that retirement accounts, pension funds, and savings are at much higher risk of being depleted before its beneficiaries die. And in Europe, public pensions are still the main source of income for those over 65. What’s more, in both America and Britain public provision replaces around 40 percent of previous earnings, but in some European countries it can be 80 percent or more, the report says. “Where it makes up a big share of total pension income, as in Italy, Portugal, and Greece, a shrinking workforce will increasingly struggle to finance a bulging group of pensioners.” Defined benefit plans are much more popular today as a way to offset the bleeding private pension schemes. Given this new societal conundrum, the authors assert that the financial industry needs an overhaul. First, they suggest that it should “update the rigid three-stage life-cycle model on which most of its products are based.” Second, there needs to be a solution to the chronic under saving during working life and over saving during retirement. Third, the report suggests that a more creative approach is needed to the range of assets that pensioners can draw on. Making matters more complicated is the fact that the longer people live, the more varied their life cycle will become. “Workers will take breaks to look after children or go back to school; pensioners will take up a new job or start a business.” Financial providers need to recognize these changing needs and address them, the report advises. “That includes helping to fund technology that could vastly improve the final stage of life.” 

Technology: Tablets, remote sensor technology, smart homes, and more all hold promise for elders as the numbers grow. But funding mechanisms will be needed, especially for those less able to pay for the technology outright. The authors suggest that both the government and insurance companies may consider taking this on, especially since they have much to gain from prevention.

In conclusion, the report conjures up concerns about human longevity and suggests that if technologies, research, and new treatments keep up and are not soon addressed, “it could prove highly disruptive.” According to the authors, economies could suffer, social tensions could erupt and progress on gender equality might be reversed as many more women were obliged to become caregivers for elders. 

To avoid this dilemma, the authors say, societies and economies must start in earnest to prepare for those longer lives right now. No kidding.

If you want a focused approach to your strategic decisions, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and candid feedback, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Aging, longevity economy, global aging

It’s Time for Long Term Care Providers to Take the Lead on Reframing Aging

Posted by CC Andrews

Aug 11, 2017 12:00:00 AM

By now you’ve likely heard there is evidence that harboring negative attitudes about aging and older adults is bad for your health. In fact, a 2016 World Values Survey found that 60 percent of its respondents felt that Frameworks Blog .pngolder people are not respected. More than 83,000 people in 57 countries took part in the survey, which assessed attitudes to older people across all age groups. Interestingly (and sadly), the lowest levels of respect were reported in high-income countries.

 

This is just one of many sources that cite the presence of ageism and prejudice about older adults in our culture. And given that the demographic make-up of most of the world is becoming older and older, the impact of this kind of discrimination is destined to get worse, unless someone takes the lead in an effort to change it.

 

Which is where we, as aging services professionals, come in. Why should we take the lead? Well, there’s the obvious reason: ageism impacts the health and wellbeing of older adults—which it’s our business to protect.

 

To that end, a group of aging advocacy organizations, in collaboration with the Frameworks Institute, has created an excellent set of resources aimed at helping “advocates drive a more productive narrative about how to capture the benefits of an increase in the average lifespan.”

 

The Frameworks Institute set out to answer this question: How can the field of aging help build a better understanding of aging, ageism, and what will it take to create a more age-integrated society? To get the answer, the institute collaborated with a number of national aging organizations to conduct an “empirical investigation into the communications aspect of aging issues.”

 

Among other things, they conducted a Strategic Frame Analysis®—an investigation that combines theory and methods from different social science disciplines to arrive at reliable, research-based recommendations for reframing a social issue. They sought “expert consensus” from aging researchers, reviewed academic and advocacy literature, and interviewed members of the public and analyzed the transcripts to identify the
“implicit, shared understandings, and assumptions that structured public opinion.”

 

The toolkit offers the original research, evidence-based insights from it, and a “variety of materials to help you apply it.” The authors of the toolkit advise that while you won’t find ready-to-print “turnkey” handouts, it does include examples and guidelines that “help you work more intentionally and strategically to advance the conversation about older people in the United States.”

 

The Frameworks Institute research report includes the following four parts:

  • Anticipating Public Thinking outlines how Americans mentally model aging and related issues, and it pinpoints where these patterns of thinking are likely to challenge efforts to advance an informed public conversation.
  • Communication Traps cautions advocates against reframing strategies that seem plausible but are likely to have unintended consequences.
  • Redirections outlines a series of thoroughly tested communications tools and techniques for reframing aging and ageism.
  • Moving Forward offers concluding thoughts and a call to action.

 

The authors come to the conclusion that sharing and telling a common story is part of what it takes for a movement to drive major and meaningful social change.

 

If you would like a focused approach to taking the lead on reframing aging, facilitated by experts in the field, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Aging, long term care, thought leadership

A Deep Dive Into the Policy Response to Global Aging

Posted by CC Andrews

Jul 25, 2017 12:00:00 AM

The fine folks at AARP have once again produced an excellent and useful report for those of us in aging services who are always on the lookout for data, resources, and expert analysis. Released last month, the “Aging Readiness & Competiveness Report” accomplishes this on several levels: it helps us get a handle on Global Aging photo.jpghow the rest of the world is responding to their aging populations, it gives us a perspective on how other countries treat their elders, and it helps us better understand how to maneuver in the longevity economy.

 

Developed in conjunction with FP Analytics, the report is lengthy but certainly worth a review. Following are some highlights that I hope will help you navigate it better:

 

  1. It’s divided into sections by the 12 countries it covers: Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China, Mexico, Turkey, and South Africa. 
  1. The countries were chosen because they are the largest economies by region, with the exception of Africa, where the largest upper middle-income economy was chosen. Together, they represent “61 percent of the global economy and nearly half of people aged 65 or older, and include a diversity of economic, social, and cultural contexts.” 
  1. The countries are analyzed according to the pressures and opportunities each faces, as well as by their policy responses as they related to the following four pillars: Community Social Infrastructure, Productive Opportunity, Technological Engagement, and Healthcare and Wellness.

Regarding the latter item, this is where it gets interesting. The report offers a deeper dive into how each country is preparing for longer lifespans and declining birthrates. That said, here are some highlights:

 

  • Community Social Infrastructure: As the authors point out, some of the most innovative projects around fostering social engagement, healthier lives and even economics returns can be found not in national policy but among local stakeholders such as municipalities, schools, and community organizations. In Japan, for example, the post office network in each community is being leveraged to conduct routine check-ins for older adults at a rather low cost. 
  • Productive Opportunity: Among other things, a number of countries have created flexible retirement policies that enable older adults to reduce their work hours in exchange for working later into their lives. The report also cites the recognition of ageism among employers as prevalent among both high-income and upper middle-income countries. While this is not a new phenomenon here in the U.S., it is heartening to see that it’s being addressed around the world. In the U.K., for instance, the Age Positive Initiative (API) is cited as exemplary because it offers employers a toolkit to address “retaining, retraining, and recruiting older workers, as well as guidance for employers and staff regarding a range of issues related to ageism in the workplace.” Also in the U.K., the Now Teach program aims to “start a movement of senior professionals [by] redeploying their skills in the classroom and teaching the children who need it most.”
  • Technological Engagement: According to the report, digital literacy programs tailored specifically for older students have yielded better results than those that are designed to serve a broader audience. This may be obvious, but the report cites “particular success” in training technology-savvy older adults who then help their peers learn digital skills. Senior Planet is noted as a “pioneering community center network that has placed digital skills at the center of all its activities.” Based in New York City, the organization shares information and resources “that support aging with attitude, and helps people who were born long before the digital revolution to stay engaged and active by bringing a digital-technology focus to a range of topics.” 
  • Healthcare and Wellness: With only three countries of the 12 countries studied for the report requiring their citizens to have long-term care insurance, shortages in institutional capacity, and ever-present fiscal constraints, countries are looking to foster more home- and community-based care options. As in the U.S., many countries are turning to robotics and e-health as possible solutions to improve healthcare and remote access. In Korea, where Internet speeds are the fastest in the world, the nationwide broadband network is being leveraged to offer “more efficient and higher-quality care to its rural population” with services that include remote checkups.

Take the time to read as much of the report as you can, as it contains vastly more detailed information about policies, programs, and innovations in each of the countries examined. I promise you will find something of interest.

 

If you would like to raise the profile of your innovative services and products with a focused approach that is facilitated by experts in the longevity economy, contact Quantum Age today.

 

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Topics: Aging, innovations, innovative

Aging Services Marketers: Meet the “Perennials”

Posted by CC Andrews

Jul 10, 2017 8:02:00 PM

Why are most consumer marketers still segmenting by generation and focusing nearly all of their resources at the 18 to 34 year-old demographic? I am not aware of a solid answer for this phenomenon, except that these marketers are simply not as savvy as they ought to be on the potential of the older consumer.

The fact is that despite Millennials now being the largest generation (yes, larger than Baby Boomers), it’s theGen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980) who spend the most money, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Yes, Xers spend more on housing, clothing, dining out, entertainment, and food at home—to the tune of nearly $67,000 per year. The next cohort of big spenders is—you guessed it—Baby Boomers (at $59,646). This BLS video explains in more detail how Millennials spend compared with other generations.

Perennial 2.png

A recent article in The Telegraph examines how middle-aged women today are still saddled by stereotypes that have them wearing frumpy dresses, elasticized jeans, and “old-lady” comfort shoes, despite evidence to the contrary. According to a survey of women conducted by the British newspaper, 84 percent of respondents used “products and services they felt were aimed at younger women.” What’s more, 90 percent consider themselves to have a much younger attitude than their own mother’s generation at the same age.

And yet, marketers continue to zero in on Millennials “despite the greater financial firepower of 40-plussers,” the article notes. “We know that 85 percent of purchasing decisions are made by women and yet 91 percent of women don’t believe advertisers understand them. This isn’t good enough,” Rebecca Rhodes, cofounder of marketing agency SuperHuman, told the The Telegraph.

Gina Pell, a self-described “early internet entrepreneur who built a cult brand” (according to her LinkedIn page), recently coined the term “perennial” to explain why marketers should stop targeting and stereotyping people based on their age: “we are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages,” she said in her blog postmona_lisa.jpeg

There are several takeaways here for anyone selling, providing, or promoting services or products in this space. If you aren’t considering Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, you may want to rethink your strategy. If you’re already targeting these consumers, get to know them better! To begin with, none of the generations are made up of homogenous people. This may make it trickier to know what they want, but one thing is for sure, “middle-aged” women don’t want to be pigeonholed into ageist stereotypes (this previous post contains more details and insights about the generations and the longevity economy).

Whatever the product, solution, or service you offer, Quantum Age Collaborative is here to help you create innovative and unique solutions that tap into the longevity economy to meet consumer demands in new and relevant ways.

If you want candid feedback from experts in the senior living field, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Aging, content marketing, baby boomers, generations, women, Generation X

A New Report—Packed with Useful Data—Ranks States Based on Delivery of Long-Term Services and Supports

Posted by CC Andrews

Jun 12, 2017 12:00:00 AM

So many reports, so little time. That’s the feeling one sometimes gets when hit with a flurry of surveys, research, white papers, and more at what seems like a continuous pace. A report released just last month, however, is worth taking the time to review. Packed with useful information about how states deliver long-term services and supports, it deserves a closer look.scorecard-11924432.jpg

Titled “Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard,” the report uses a series of measures to rank states by how well they deliver LTSS. A joint effort among AARP Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and The SCAN Foundation, it is described by its authors as a compilation of data and analyses that highlight measures of state performance for “creating a high-quality system of care in order to drive progress toward improvement in services for older adults and people with physical disabilities and their family caregivers.”

Among its many interesting findings is this: Since 2014, nursing homes in many states have registered progress on three significant measures of performance related to the delivery of LTSS, as follows:

  • Inappropriate Antipsychotic Use. Almost all states (48) significantly reduced the use of antipsychotic medications that are given “off label” for nursing home residents who do not have the appropriate conditions for their use.
  • Long-Term Nursing Home Stays. Most people who leave nursing homes do so in the first few weeks of admission. Once an individual stays in a nursing home for 100 days or longer, they are likely to become permanently institutionalized. About two-thirds of states (35) improved significantly in reducing the percentage of long-term nursing home stays of Medicare beneficiaries that last 100 days or more. There is significant variation between states, ranging from 11 percent of people entering nursing homes in the top 5 states to 27 percent in the bottom 5 states.
  • Nursing Home Residents with a Burdensome Transition at the End of Life. One out of four nursing home residents was hospitalized at least once at the end of his or her life in 2013. While more work needs to be done, more than half of the states (29) made significant improvements in reducing potentially burdensome transitions for people who die in nursing homes. The top-performing states are Alaska, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, and Hawaii. Louisiana improved the most, with a 14-percentage-point reduction.

States also improved on two other measures:

  • Person- and Family-Centered Care. Most states (42) improved significantly on this composite measure. This indicator looks at whether:
    • Family caregivers are assessed for their own needs;
    • States have adopted spousal impoverishment provisions in Medicaid home- and community-based services; and
    • States have enacted the Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable (CARE) Act to notify the family caregiver before the person is discharged from the hospital and to instruct the caregiver on how to perform follow-up medical/nursing tasks.
  • New Medicaid Beneficiaries First Receiving Home- and Community-Based Services. Because many people who enter nursing homes never return home, it is important for state Medicaid programs to provide LTSS to beneficiaries first in their homes and communities if possible, rather than waiting until they go into nursing homes. More than half of the states (29) showed significant improvement in the percentage of new LTSS users who first received services in the community. The eight states with the greatest improvement were Montana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Iowa, Delaware, Louisiana, Vermont, and Nebraska. However, 30 percent of new Medicaid beneficiaries first receive services in their homes and communities in the bottom 5 states compared with 80 percent in the top 5 states.

States showed the most significant declines in employment rates for people with disabilities and rates of transitioning long-stay nursing home residents back into the community.

One of the most useful components of the report is its individual state profiles, which include each state’s rank compared with other states, as well as rankings for the following measures: affordability and access, choice of setting and provider, quality of life and quality of care, support for family caregivers, and effective transitions.

Each state profile also encompasses a series of data points that project the impact it would have if the state improved its performance to the level of the average of the top-five-performing states. Here’s a look at Maryland’s projections, which was ranked No. 12 overall:

  • 108,770 more place-based subsidized units and vouchers would be available to help low-income people with LTSS needs afford housing;
  • 72,280 more people of all ages would receive Medicaid LTSS to help them with daily activities;
  • 22,386 more home health and personal care aides would be available to provide care in the community; and
  • 13,375 more low-/moderate-income adults with disabilities would have Medicaid coverage.

According to the press release accompanying the report, the goal of the report is to “stimulate a dialogue among key stakeholders, encouraging them to collaborate on strategies for improving a given state’s LTSS system.”

If you would like to explore how this report can help your business via a focused approach that is facilitated by experts in the longevity economy, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Aging, long-term and post-acute care, long-term services and support, data

A Fresh Take on Senior Care Technology and Innovation

Posted by CC Andrews

Feb 7, 2017 12:00:00 AM

File this one under “never knew this group existed but what a cool idea”: The Consumer Technology Association Foundation, a public foundation with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives. Yep, they exist and they published a report that found, among other things, that “meeting the needs of a growing aging population will require new technologies, partnerships, ideas, and business models.”QA Blog senior technology photo.jpg

Ok, so that’s not much of a revelation to those of us entrenched in this field. But read on, it gets better.

The report, titled “Outthink Aging,” also examines how technology will empower seniors to live longer, healthier, and more independent lives by preventing fraud and abuse, providing greater social connectivity, and improving access to vital information and services. Reaching all of these goals remains to be seen but they are worthy.

Among the more salient points made in the report is that technology is just part of the answer to addressing the complex challenges of an aging population. More innovation is needed in our field and technology is just one piece of this puzzle. Amen, and as the report aptly notes, “the aging population is not a user group.”

Human needs are complex and not easily met through technological fixes alone, it further states. The trick is to engage this cohort by “leveraging technical innovation and human empathy to enhance the human experience.”

I’m not sure what engaging “human empathy” looks like, but I understand where they are going, and I would add that the best way to create new innovations that meet the needs of an aging population is to develop the technology with elders and individuals with disabilities—not just for them.

In addition to some great ideas about innovation and technology, the report also notes that activities of daily living are “activities that happen on the surface of day-to-day life.” The groups offer a new list of “core desires of an aging population,” as follows:

  • Health: Access to high-quality healthcare encouraging both physical and cognitive wellbeing.
  • Connection: Capability to stay in touch with loved ones and maintain an active role in their communities.
  • Security: Ability to live safely in one’s home and have protections against theft and financial fraud.
  • Dignity and Independence: Respect and control over direction of their lives.

Also notable is the fact that the CTA Foundation collaborated with IBM to create the report. IBM seems pretty happy about it: “[It] is an excellent example of the new types of relationships that will be necessary to meet the needs of the growing aging population,” Dr. Ruoyi Zhou, director of IBM Accessibility Research, says in a statement. He’s right—new types of relationships will be a crucial factor in addressing the needs of elders in useful and innovative ways.

Stephen Ewell, executive director of the CTA Foundation, is also on board. In the same statement, he asserts that “new partnerships between industry, nonprofits, academia, government, and the general public will form to accomplish these goals.” He’s right, and I’m happy to see that more and more folks are getting it.

In addition to innovative ideas and collaborations, the two groups conducted an informal poll at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (N = 300 to 400) to gauge attendees’ concerns about the challenges of aging:

  • 47 percent of respondents worry most about losing their memory and suffering from dementia as they age.
  • 38 percent believe smart homes and the Internet of Things will best help manage the aging process.
  • 35 percent believe discussing assisted/long-term care is the most difficult conversation to have with their parents.

The report also cites other research from the foundation showing that the U.S. market for active aging technology now encompasses 85 million Americans, representing a $24.4 billion market opportunity in 2015 that is expected to grow to $42.7 billion by 2020 (more from AARP’s report on the longevity economy HERE).

In conclusion, I believe this report is a great resource if you’re interested in dipping your toe into the field of aging services or if you are already in it and need a refresher or energizer on innovation and resources.

If you want a focused approach, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and candid feedback, contact Quantum Age today. 

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Topics: Aging, technology, tech, innovations

An Unprepared Housing Market and the Longevity Economy

Posted by CC Andrews

Dec 13, 2016 1:00:00 AM

We all know by nowHarvard Housing Blog post.jpg that the next two decades will bring on a surge of older adults—to the tune of nearly 79 million people over the age of 65 in the United States alone. But did you know that only 1 percent of the current U.S. housing stock offers the five design elements that would allow older adults to live comfortably? Yes, that’s 1 percent of homes that have zero-step entrances, single-floor designs, wide halls and doorways, electrical controls reachable from a wheelchair, and lever-style handles on faucets and doors, according to recently released study by Harvard University.

In other words, current available housing will not be sufficient to accommodate the aging Baby Boomer population over the next 20 years. With one in three households headed by someone over 65, more people will need to invest in accessible homes with modifications and improvements, but only a small percentage of homes offer those conveniences.

If ever there were an opportunity for enterprising and innovative aging services mavens to jump into the longevity economy, I would say this is it.

According to Chris Herbert, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “the housing implications are many, and innovative approaches to respond to growing needs for housing that is affordable, accessible and linked to supportive services will grow exponentially over the next two decades.”

The study, titled “Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Adults 2015-2035,” also notes that “public investment and private sector efforts to expand access to affordable in-home supportive services will be critical going forward.”

Promising pilot and small-scale programs exist, such as changes to government health insurance programs to cover the cost of in-home care, home modifications, or supportive services to remain in the community, the study notes. But the report warns that the challenge going forward will be to bring successful demonstrations to scale.

Here’s something else you may not know: By 2035, 27 million older adults will earn less than 80 percent of the median income in their area—up from 15 million in 2015. The number of households that own or rent and are severely cost-burdened—defined as paying more than half of income on housing costs—will more than double, according to the report.

Indeed, there are things that the government and the private market can do to prepare for and contribute to resolving these problems. In addition to creating more affordable and accessible housing options, the study recommends offering more assistance to older Americans who are burdened by the cost of housing, increasing subsidies to older renters, and more frequently integrating housing and health care.

It may not seem as glamorous as an HGTV reno show, but now is a perfect time for innovation, design, and aging enablement to come together to resolve the impending housing crisis. Creating and retrofitting homes that are age-friendly is now critical, so I would recommend that my aging services colleagues—as well as intrigued outsiders—take the opportunity now to learn more about it. 

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Topics: Aging, design, housing

The Longevity Economy: Observations & Opportunities

Posted by CC Andrews

Nov 23, 2016 4:18:00 PM

A new report from AARP is taking the long view on the longevity economy with its astute observation about Gen Xers and Millennials. By 2050 these cohorts will join the 50-plus age group. Photo AARP LE-091494-edited.jpgThis of course is not rocket science—you can do the math. The point is that the opportunities driven by these groups, including the products and services they purchase and the additional economic activity this spending generates will extend into the latter part of this century.

In other words, the longevity economy and the opportunities it presents will be around for a very long time.

Today, the 50-plus cohort is comprised of approximately 35 percent of the U.S. population, and it crosses four generations:

  • The GI Generation, born between 1901 and 1926 

  • The Silent Generation, born between 1927 and 1945 

  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, and 

  • Generation X (Gen X), born between 1965 and 1980—the eldest of whom turned 50 years old in 2015 


Titled “The Longevity Economy: How People Over 50 Are Driving Economic and Social Value in the U.S.,” the report notes that the number of adults age 50 and older is projected to grow by 45 percent between 2015 and 2050, while the under-50 population will increase by just 13 percent. As a result, the 50 and older crowd’s share of the total population will reach 40 percent.

“As the size and productivity of this cohort increases over time, so will the economic returns,” the report states. That’s a big deal—a very big deal. Here are some more stats about the 50-plus age group that underscore the enormity of this group’s impact:

  • They hold a whopping 83 percent of U.S. household wealth;
  • They spend more overall than their under-50 counterparts;
  • They account for a majority of the spending
 in several categories of goods and services, including healthcare, nondurable goods, durable goods, utilities, motor vehicles and parts, financial services and household goods;
  • Their direct spending on consumer goods and services, including healthcare, amounted to $5.6 trillion in 2015, while the under-50 population spent $4.9 trillion during the same period.

Notable in the report is that, while white people now make up the majority of those in the longevity cohort, immigration and birth rates by race and ethnicity will change this picture in the coming years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other non-white groups will make up 45 percent of the 50-plus cohort, compared with 26 percent in 2015.

Also interesting is AARP’s analysis of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is defined as “the network of connected, electronic devices able to transmit data in real time—and its transformative potential, offering a new market opportunity, social benefits and cost savings.”

AARP asserts that even within the context of IoT, there is a major market opportunity in the challenge of providing high-quality healthcare at a lower cost. According to the report, venture capitalists invested some $18 billion in start-up healthcare businesses in 2015—a 350 percent increase from 2010. These investments range from coordinating care services and improving clinical workflows to mobile health care, smart homes, “ambient assisted living” and the use of big data analytics.

Whatever the product, solution, or service you offer within the longevity economy, Quantum Age Collaborative is dedicated to helping create innovative and unique solutions that tap into this opportunity to meet consumer demands in new and relevant ways.

If you want a focused approach, facilitated by experts in the senior living field and honest feedback, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: Aging, longevity economy

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