If sixty is the new forty, what’s eighty?
When working with the elderly, this is an important question.
What do seniors want and value?
The single best way to serve seniors and their families over time is to understand who today’s new seniors are and what they want. In fact, the greatest value-added you can offer is to understand what’s important by being tuned in to the senior’s values, preferences, desired outcomes and hopes rather than simply making assumptions.
Assumptions can really miss the mark: aging is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of senior citizen discounts, nursing homes with field trips, meal programs, and Bingo. Today’s seniors are members of the baby boomer generation. Boomers are accustomed to autonomy, engagement and a good deal of control over their lives. They would rather work out in the state-of-the-art gym, or log in at the cutting edge computer labs, offered by local senior centers. They’ll play games remotely with their grandkids or read the news on their iPads.
I recently visited a relatively new senior center in Los Angeles, and the music playing included the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors. As I looked around, I saw that folks were tapping their feet to the beat. It struck me — this group of seniors is redefining the aging process. Working with the elderly is now much different.
How? It all comes down to these three words:
“Connected, current and in control.”
In my 30-plus years working with the aging population, I’ve noticed that today more than ever, seniors know what they want, which is why they:
For you and your business, this means several things:
Talking with elderly clients through the lens of their wants, needs, and values will enable you to build a stronger, more productive and gratifying relationship with the seniors you work with.
Keep reading: How to Understand and Retain Your Aging Clients »