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Study: Boomers shifting priorities, redefining aging

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Research released today at ICAA 2011 reveals the “me” generation has irrevocably changed

VANCOUVER--Fundamental shifts in the nation’s largest demographic group are leading to perceptual changes that will influence the market for Boomer-targeted products and services. That’s the word from Steve French, managing partner at the Natural Marketing Institute, who addressed active-aging professionals at the 10th annual International Council on Active Aging conference here. “As Boomers adjust to the new challenges of aging, they’re realizing they have to realign some of their long-held attitudes and behaviors,” said French. “As a result, they are re-inventing themselves, becoming more self-aware and self-responsible, and taking a pragmatic approach that will drive various industries forward.”

Based on data derived from NMI’s Healthy Aging/Boomer Database®, an annual survey of more than 3,000 US older adults, French identified four trends that are shaping the Boomer market.

Building a legacy: “50+ consumers desire connection and belonging; they are continuing to audit their lives and search for balance, trying to build a legacy, connect with others, do the right thing,” says French. NMI research shows 83% of consumers over 50 indicate they are becoming more aware of the importance of personal relationships rather than personal possessions. Two-thirds say they are trying to do more things that benefit others rather than themselves.

Aging healthfully: Fewer than 1 out of 5 consumers 50+ are looking for the next fountain of youth. They are not looking to turn back the clock--they don’t want to look or act like they’re 30. It’s not about “non-aging”; it’s about healthy aging and accepting who they are now, while aiming for a healthier version.

Redefining aging: While they may be accepting of themselves, Boomers are not accepting stereotypes of “old age.” Says French, “Fifty-plus consumers aren’t looking to buy big-button phones or ‘I’ve fallen down and can’t get up’ monitoring devices. Close to half are searching for new self-care methods to prolong health and vitality, and two-thirds optimistically proclaim that the best years of their life are still ahead of them.”

Finding meaning: “For Boomers, it’s no longer about having it all; it’s about having the right things. It’s about peeling back the layers and finding the core components of a meaningful life,” says French. NMI research indicates that more than half of older consumers feel they would live a better life by having fewer material possessions, and two-thirds feel finding a purpose in life is more important than making money. “One of the main goals driving them to live a healthier lifestyle is the ability to ‘relax and enjoy life,’ as stated by almost seven in ten.”

Commenting on the findings, ICAA CEO Colin Milner said, “Steve French and NMI have provided additional data to support our contention that businesses need to tune into the needs and desires of this burgeoning market, which truly is providing the impetus for ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age® Campaign. Understanding the forces that drive Boomers will fuel the development of new products and services that support positive, healthy and active aging.”

About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
ICAA, the professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging-an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness-and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada's Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport. On October 1, 2011-the International Day of Older Persons-ICAA celebrated its 10th Anniversary and a decade of Changing the Way We Age®.


For interviews please contact:

Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595

Contact: Marilynn Larkin
Communications Director, ICAA

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