How much do we know about the “Silver Tsunami” that awaits us in our nation’s near future?
Just to give some relevant statistics:
When President Kennedy established Older Americans Month in 1963, 17 million Americans were age 65 or older. According to a recent Census Bureau report, there are now more than 40 million people age 65 and older. Between 2010 and 2030, the number of older Americans will double. For the first time in America’s history, people over 65 will outnumber children under 5.
Wow—the imagery of a “Silver Tsunami” begins to make a little more sense now, right? Knowing about this substantial number of aging individuals means job security for us in the senior living industry (Great!), but how are we reaching them or planning to reach them in order to make them aware of the fabulous retirement communities with which we’re involved?
As PR professionals we have to start to ask ourselves: what channels of communication or news sources and technology services should be used? We have to think about those kinds of factors in order to reach our target audience effectively when we do things such as pitch stories to media, manage social media accounts or actually create new websites for clients.
For several months now there has been a growing trend in Silicon Valley, which is starting to be seen elsewhere as well, of companies developing new apps with a specific focus on senior care in order to plan ahead. Many businesses in the Silicon Valley area and high-level executives themselves, particularly from the sandwich generation, are feeling the urgent need to help launch new apps or partner with large healthcare technology firms in order to simplify processes and meet the needs of older adults.
One of the retirement communities with which I work recently had a group of residents test out a new software system on their personal smartphones, iPads and other devices of their choice. The software involves small applications that can be added and adapted to the user-friendly dashboard to encompass individual needs and customize preferences for everything from putting in a maintenance request with the community to making a meal reservation with dining services and even keeping track of their medication plans and reminders.
Additionally, just a few weeks ago, Google began its mobile-friendly update policy, which means the rankings of pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices will be boosted in mobile search results. Conversely, if your website is designed for only large monitor screens, you may start to notice a considerable decrease in rankings during mobile search results.
The point is: the older adults of today and tomorrow’s “Silver Tsunami” are on mobile devices, using Apps and developing new expectations and demands as they enter retirement that we have to track. What is your community or company doing to keep up? Because “the times they are a-changin’…”
You can see more about Cubigo’s senior-friendly apps at: www.cubigo.us