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Inspiring Innovations for Those Over 50

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An FEI Session: Inspiring Innovations for Those Over 50

Kathy
Sheean, EVP/Global Managing Director, Consumer Life, Gfk
Andreina
Rangel, Sr. Strategic Advisor, AARP
Marla
Hetzel, Director of Innovation, AARP
This
segment focuses on innovation inspirations for the over 50+ consumer. Only three
people in the audience were familiar with AARP, according to a show of hands.
The
origin of AARP was an innovation to meet needs for retired professionals. Dr.
Andrews, the founder, encountered a retired teacher living in a chicken coup,
and decided to help. So she found an insurance company willing to insure this
uninsured population. The organization was born out of consumer need.
The
goal now is to disrupt aging. Today 85% of consumers saying having good health
is still important. Financial security is now equal to health. Things like
marriage are on the decline in its ranking, mirroring changes in culture.
When
we asked consumers over 50 about innovation, we heard such things as
1.    A less expensive way of
doing something
2.    Something that improves your
well-being or health
3.    Something that makes you
feel safer or more secure
These
areas are both pain points and opportunities.
Anticipatory Health was the first category:
Over 50+ are open to embracing more holistic and preventative model of
healthcare. Gaps still exist'and there exist the opportunities. Sleep is
an emerging gap in this space, as is hydration. Minimizing stress
and avoiding processed foods are also key areas.
Wearable
and sensors can help track fitness. Right now, less than 10% in this segment
are using wearables'and it is an area poised for growth. Having monitors that
provide actionable feedback will be key to consumer adoption.
One
of the most common health conditions in the U.S. is pre-diabetes. 50+ consumers
are increasingly focused on treatment and prevention. One of the AARP
innovation teams developed a program called Play More, designed for over 50
African-American women. Each woman made a personal promise to her friends. This
promise was back up by mobile tips and nudges to keep their promise top of
mind. SWAG, recipes, support groups all play a role in the program.
Another
area is stress management. 34.2
million Americans over 50 are now caregivers. The stress of caregiving and
living their own lives is taking its toll. Those who report high rates of
stress during caregiving typically die within four years of when the person for
whom they cared passed away.
Stress
levels in the United Stress is at all-time high. Insights are helping to
generate products to help meet the rising needs. AARP is locating relation
drinks and both a morning and evening toothpaste with desired attributes that
help you wake up or promote restfulness to support this growing trend.
Income inequality is the last area touched
upon. This income polarization is acute in the 50+ set. Their particular position
colors attitudes, health choices, and stress levels. Only ' of late boomers and
Gen X are on track to replace even 50% of their income upon retirement. Growing
old, now, is seen as a luxury of affluence.
How
does innovation play a role in income inequality? By taking strategies for
lower-incoming and emerging countries and transferring them to the over 50+ set
in developed countries, needs are beginning to be met, but there is more to be
explored.
Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit
www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

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