With the first of them turning 70, Baby Boomers are about to do something undesirable yet inevitable — they're going to start getting old. And with the expectation that Boomers will live longer than any previous generation of Americans, old age may last for a very long time. The question is, will these years be filled with vitality and good health, or will Baby Boomers just live longer with frailty, pain and chronic disease? As with everything else, Boomers will most likely age in a new and different way.
As we age, our bodies become more vulnerable to wear and tear. While aging is certain, how we age is something that we can have some control over. Boomers would be well-served by learning from those who live in what longevity researchers have identified as Blue Zones, pockets around the world where people live measurably longer and better, reaching 100 years of age at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.
Studies found that the lifestyles of residents in these Blue Zones — Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, Calif.; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica — shared specific characteristics, which they call the Power 9 Principles:
By incorporating these practices into daily life, Boomers may live not only longer, but better than previous generations and might very well redefine “old age.”
While we’re not saying we’re about to see an influx of 100 year old people roaming the earth, we are seeing something that could eventually become a trend that we should all keep a pulse on — a growing interest in how to live a longer, healthier life.
Wellmark, an Iowa-based branch of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has already found a way to take advantage of this from a marketing standpoint. In 2011, it started its Healthiest State Initiative and also plays a major sponsorship role in the Blue Zones Project. This project works with communities to make positive changes to become healthier places for residents.
We can learn a thing or two from this sponsorship and see how other industries can also benefit from the growing trend. From the fitness industry, to the wine category, to produce companies, there’s a way to market your product to play into the Power 9 Principles.
Challenge your team to think about ways to incorporate this into marketing your products or services. Make the connection for them by highlighting how each of these can aid your Boomer consumers in achieving longer, happier lives.