01 Aug What are the Major “Moonshot Challenges” for Older Adults?
Its old news that the very large “Boomer” generation (16 million in the UK, 76 million people in the US or 440 Billion in China, for example) is retiring at a rate of 10,000 people a day in the United States (and will continue to do so for the next 15 years or so). However, what is much less talked about is not so much the general issues this raises in terms of support infrastructure (where and how will they live and the implications for social security etc.) but where will other smaller, but nonetheless critical, challenges arise for this population of people? In other words, what do Boomers want and need as they move past 60, 70 or 80 years of age and where do we need to innovate substantially to meet these needs? Unfortunately, the assumption is that many of these needs revolve mainly around healthcare, especially as healthcare spending in the older adult community can be significant. However, not only is healthcare too broad, it is far from the only category of need and in the chart below I have therefore laid out 10 categories (and the major “pain” points under each) in which we need to generate many new ideas and innovate much more significantly.
The point of this chart is simple. We need much more attention focused on each of these 10 categories, both individually and collectively, and to attract more ideation and entrepreneurship to these areas (not to mention to get them to scale beyond a few local communities in experimental mode). In addition we need deeper and more careful thinking about these issues and the specific needs (or pain/gain points) of this customer group as they age (they are not one single amorphous mass!). In many cases, the challenges can be so great we can reasonably call them “silver moonshots” and like any “moonshots” we’ll need a lot of resources to be devoted to the task (both from older adults themselves as co-creators) and from younger generations who may have hitherto paid little or no attention to this whole area.