The U.S. Census Bureau forecasts that by 2030, older people will outnumber children for the first time in history. There is an immense opportunity for marketers to target this booming demographic.
For the past 20 years there has been a trend, called aging in place, accelerated in 2020, for older people to aim to age gracefully in their “lifelong home.” This also refers to seniors’ increasing desire to live life independently and on their own terms.
Further, with 40% of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes, many people are changing their retirement plans.
Remaining cognitively and physically capable is even more vital when aging in place, so new support systems must be established for seniors to accomplish their ideal living goals. Technology, specifically apps and platforms, presents a massive opportunity for designers to provide this demographic with practical solutions to make aging in place more effortless.
And yet, products and services offering real solutions to this senior audience often appear to be created without knowledge of user experience or great product design appeal.
For now, there are a plethora of ways that technology can help seniors age in place, stay socially connected, and make their lives a bit easier while still remaining independent:
Grocery deliveries: Apps like Fresh Direct, Instacart or Shopt can rescue seniors when carrying groceries becomes too much of a hassle.
Telehealth: Connecting with a doctor virtually becomes more important when the risk of visiting a doctor is higher than the ailment you are trying to heal.
Social media: Facebook and Instagram helps seniors combat social isolation by staying connected to friends and family and providing a place to find communities, like with Facebook Groups.
Transportation: Apps like Uber and Lyft are a great remedy for seniors who are unable to drive anymore.
Home maintenance: Service apps like Taskrabbit and Handy give seniors access to on-demand helpers to avoid the risk of performing these activities themselves.
Voice assistants: Voice-activated technologies like Google Home help remove the barrier of complex interfaces or difficult-to-see screens.
Overall UX: The sleek design of user interfaces may not be accessible for every end user. For example, not everyone knows there is usually a menu hidden under a hamburger symbol, or can easily navigate a mobile app or device like millennials or Gen Z-ers. The hope is that marketers start to recognize these UX nuances and put more effort into advancing their current offerings to better serve the senior segment.
As this older generation grows and more are choosing to age in place, brand marketers must seize the opportunity to not only provide great solutions for the senior set, but to dazzle them with outstanding design as well.