May 22, 2019 — An interesting new book by Joseph Coughlin, founder of the AgeLab, pinpoints the many contradictions marketers face when targeting the senior market. In The Longevity Economy”, Coughlin finds that while builders build out housing inventory intended for baby boomers, the market is constrained. That is because eighty-seven per cent of retirement-age people want to stay where they live now – the homes where they experienced the three ‘M’s: marriage, mortgage, and memories.
Coughlin says the problem with that preferenced is that they can’t continue to live there. “Not when the model is a two-story house with a bedroom and the bathroom upstairs. If we can solve the stairs problem, we won’t need new housing.”
Part of the issue is that we are living longer than ever, and our coping skills don’t always keep up. Coughlin says that having simple answers to two questions can determine whether you’re going to age well in place:
“Who’s going to change the light bulb, and how are you going to get an ice-cream cone?”
It might seem a little silly, but it does get at the problem. If you can find solutions to problems like those, you will be all set for a comfortable old age. If you can’t, problems await you!
A New Yorker article that reviews Coughlin’s book, “Can We Live Longer But Stay Younger”, points out many other contradictions that AgeLab has found while trying to help aging baby boomers. Marketers often find a solution to a problem, but can’t sell it. AgeLab studies find many products that could make life easy for us, but it they have a tinge of “senior” to them, they will languish on the shelf.
For further reading:
- Strong 55+Housing Market Continues
- Are You Ready to Join the Tiny House Movement
- Aging in Place: Home is Where the Heart Lives
Comments: How are you going to solve the problems of who is going to change the lightbulb and how are you going to get an ice cream? Some day we will all face these problems. What kind of housing are you going to choose to prepare for what lies ahead?