Boomers: We Just Keep Truckin’ Along

Posted on in Service Solutions

By Carolyn Cole, VGM Marketing Some fought in the jungles of Vietnam. Some marched against that war, for civil rights and women’s equality. A sound argument can be made that boomers changed American culture by questioning everything: our parents, the government, every institution under the sun and authority in general. “We” are the baby boomers, the largest cohort this country has ever seen. After shouting “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” the youngest of us is 51 years old this year; the oldest, 69. “We” have become “them.” The common denominator is that all 76 million of us are participating in the inevitable march of time. We might prefer to use the word “evolving” instead of “aging,” but we’re leaking, limping and aching just as generations before us did. We’re just going to do it differently. Instead of resigning ourselves to a life of pain and loss of mobility when joints give out, we’re having hips and knees replaced. We need equipment to rehab, preferably stuff that doesn’t look like our grandmas’ did. We’ve got issues We were also at the leading edge of the fitness movement, so old/current sports injuries are an issue. Knee replacements increased 218 percent from 1999-2008 among those 45-64. In spite of living in an era where there’s a 24-hour gym on every corner, we’ve got health issues.

  • Sixty percent of those 50-64 suffer from at least one chronic health condition.
  • Half of Americans 55-64 have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Two in five are obese, a risk factor for so many illnesses.
  • About 40 percent have some form of cardiovascular disease.
  • Fifty percent of us who are 65 and older have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
Tech-savvy Boomers were born before smartphones and tablets, but they are technologically savvy, which is something to remember when marketing to them. Ninety percent of Internet users 65 and older use email, and social media use among those 50-64 rose from 25 percent to 47 percent between April 2009-May 2010. For the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older use Facebook. Another important statistic: Eighty-two percent of boomers use the Internet to research health and wellness information. They spend money there, too, $7 billion online annually, and use the Internet as their primary source of intelligence when comparison shopping for major purchases. Those stats alone prove that an attractive, easy-to-navigate, mobile-optimized website is not a luxury. If the 18-49 demographic is coveted by advertisers, Individuals 50 and over are largely ignored by marketers, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so businesses and institutions who market directly and correctly to them can reap the rewards. It’s important to remember that they’re not all like. A 50-year-old man could be a first-time parent or a grandparent. Consider your audience when creating your message. Other valuable snippets from the CDC:
  • Only 11 percent plan to stop working entirely when they reach retirement age
  • Boomers are living longer and many are looking for ways to keep up their appearance
  • Boomers will redefine health care through greater numbers of individuals using the health care system, and will demand that care be more tailored to their individual health needs.
  • We are reconnecting and spending more time with family.
So, what does all of this mean to you, the HME provider? Boomers want diverse products that don’t look institutional. We like sophisticated shopping environments that provide an experience. We use the Internet and mobile devices to communicate, shop and run our lives. When you market to us, remember we’re evolving (not aging). Evolve with us, and the best lies ahead.