Monday, January 24, 2011

Build a Better Mousetrap...

As the title of this blog indicates (27 years is the average age between the four male generations in my family), I think studying generational differences is very informative for ChurchWorld. We're living, working, and ministering in a world where 5 generations are active. But as I am a Baby Boomer, I've always been a little partial to that particular cohort.

When 1/1/11 came, the first of 78 million Baby Boomers turned 65 - and will continue to do so, every 7 seconds.

Welcome to senior adulthood - NOT.

According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 adults are turning 65 every day, and that by 2030, almost 20% of our population will be over the age of 65.

Amy Hanson, a consultant and author specializing in this age group, calls this group "the new old," describing them as "adults primarily between the age of 50 to 70 who view the later years of life in a completely different way than their parent's generation".

The new old are active, involved, and anything but "old."

Corporate America has noticed: as this group begins to reach "retirement" age, their $2 trillion worth of annual spending power is driving companies to rethink aging.

Marc Hottenroth, an industrial designer, leads GE's team as they learn to design better appliances for older Americans. They hold empathy sessions to help their design team understand what an aging adult goes through every day:
  • taped knuckles to represent arthritic hands
  • kernels of popcorn in shoes to create imbalance
  • weighing down pans to simulate putting food in ovens
According to Hottenroth, "They won't give up style or performance, and they won't buy something made specifically for the aging because that's not how they see themselves." But if it's easier to use and it speaks to their needs, they'll love it."

What about ChurchWorld?

Are you ready to rethink aging?

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