Last week we spoke about being able to live in the your home for as long as possible as you age. Added to this, of course, is availability of the assistance and services required to maintain safety and quality of life. This is known as Aging in Place.
Maybe, you thought about it terms of loved ones and even yourself in a few years, but also think about it in terms of your business.
Should you install new and potentially profitable revenue centers in your company?
A large and significant part of the economy both need and want the products and services that will allow living longer in the homes of their choice. It’s known as the Longevity Economy.
The Longevity Economy represents the sum of all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50 including the products and services they purchase directly, and the further economic activity this spending generates.
How many people does it include? 106 million. What is its annual economic impact? $7.6 trillion (revised upward from date of original report).
Collectively, the over 50 contingent controls almost 80% of the US aggregate net worth.
The Longevity Economy is indicative of people not only living longer but being more productive as they do so. One study shows people in their 50s and 60s start nearly twice as many companies as those in their 20s. The Longevity Economy is responsible for nearly 100 million jobs and generates over $4.5 trillion in wages and salaries.
And I don’t think this group of older business owners are running these businesses out of nursing homes.
What does this mean to you Mrs. Business Owner? A business opportunity for a large group of people that have money to spend for products and services they both need and want.
From a recent Next Avenue article written by Angelo Gentile:
There are more than 100 million homes in U.S. cities, suburbs and rural areas, yet only about 1 percent of them are conducive to aging in place, says Rodney Harrell, director of livability thought leadership for AARP, who serves as the organization’s housing expert. Meanwhile, 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, and more than 80 percent of those 65 and older say they want to stay in their homes.
The NAHB Remodelers of the National Association of Home Builders approach it from the home structure to the individual systems like Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC. Many routes for reaching this audience are available. For a plumbing contractor many products are available to upgrade the quality of life for these older people. The following is a list from NAHB listing improvements for the bathroom alone:
- Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets
- Contrasting color edge border at countertops
- At least one wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level with 60-inch turning radius or acceptable T-turn space and 36-inch by 36-inch or 30-inch by 48-inch clear space
- Bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat, and toilet for installation of grab bars to support 250-300 pounds
- If stand-up shower is used in main bath, it should be curbless and a minimum of 36-inches wide
- Bathtub - lower for easier access
- Fold down seat in the shower
- Adjustable/handheld showerheads, 6-foot hose
- Tub/shower controls offset from center
- Shower stall with built-in antibacterial protection
- Light in shower stall
- Toilet two and half inches higher than standard toilet (17-19 inches) or height-adjustable
- Design of the toilet paper holder allows rolls to be changed with one hand
- Wall-hung sink with knee space and panel to protect user from pipes
- Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower
Take a minute to check out NAHB’s entire Remodeling Checklist. If you’re a contractor and of sound business mind, I can’t imagine how you walk away from this list without ideas. If you are or have parents over the age of 60, I can’t imagine how you walk away from this list and not be inspired to get more information on this concept.
At first glance it does appear the list needs the infusion of HVAC expertise. I’d recommend HVAC specialists partner with design, human factor, ergonomics and occupational therapists to develop a more comprehensive list.
The Longevity Economy and Aging in Place phenomenon reach out, touch and integrate with so many more sectors than remodelers and our professions. Even if you’re not fully engaged with these opportunities (yet), the fact that your company is knowledgeable about these issues and advocating for them will certainly enhance your reputation as a company that cares about a very important segment of our society.