Aging Population Is Good For Business

You’re an entrepreneur at heart, the timing has finally arrived for your leap into the world of business startups, but now the action-stopping tumult of analysis paralysis has started creeping in and you’re having trouble committing to a specific plan. You’ve considered the options, weighed the pros and cons, and have made a definitive decision…to rethink your decision.

Consider this. As society changes and evolves around us – and it always does – new needs arise, unique opportunities emerge and business owners materialize. This very real scenario is presenting itself now and for the foreseeable future, in Canada and beyond.

“Like climate change, the graying of the U.S. population, and that of the whole world is a phenomenon that has been a long time coming, but that we remain largely unprepared to confront,” says Paul Irving, the Chair of the Center for the Future of Aging at the Milken Institute. “The fact that science has basically doubled lifespans in the past century-and-a-half, is maybe the most extraordinary accomplishment of mankind.”

In Canada, seniors are expected to comprise a quarter of the population by 2041, and the trend has just begun. With that kind of demographic growth comes economic potential and business creation. Successfully identifying target products and serviceable needs will create a self-fulfilling entrepreneurial pathway, available to all who are willing and able to satisfy market demands.

The needs of seniors can be broadly classified as basic or peripheral. Since the vast majority of people over 65 continue to live in their home, many of their needs are, or become, basic i.e., shopping – including medication pickup, medication administration, and healthcare, mobility assistance, meal preparation…the basics of everyday living.

Peripheral needs of older citizens reflect their ability to overcome basic challenges, providing more time and energy for leisure activities. These opportunities, in turn, present a wide array of product and service needs i.e., house & pet sitting, house cleaning, and maintenance, landscape maintenance, transportation services…responsibilities easily relegated to professionals.

Still having trouble making a decision, you may want to analyze current assessments about the future.

In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting with city leaders in Vancouver, CA, to discuss the parallel trends of global aging and urbanization. Among other findings, by 2030, around three-out-of-every-five people will live in cities, and many of those will be elderly.

The WHO released a guide to “Global Age-Friendly Cities,” outlining a comprehensive framework for cities to adopt in order to allow their older populations to remain in their homes, rather than moved to senior centers or retirement communities. The WHO’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program currently includes over 1,000 community members in 20 nations.

“Purposeful Aging” has never been as ubiquitous as it is today. With its vast implications for all sectors of society, providing products and services for this rapidly growing segment of the population offers unprecedented opportunities for businesses and the elderly, now and in the future.

The baby-boomer market extends far beyond Canadian borders, with current and future trends speaking to the entirety of North America. Successful business models in Canada will most assuredly translate to cross-border applications and opportunities.

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