By Steve Moran
A few days ago we published an article titled “Should You Be Using Tinder for Market Research?” based on an interview I did with David Stewart the founder of the website Ageist. His research of the youngest of the “old” uncovered two hugely important truths that should scare you to death if you are committed to continuing to doing senior living the way we are doing it today, and should really excite you if you are looking for a path to the next generation of senior living.
The research shows two things:
- People our age are terrified of losing relevance
- People want to live a life that allows them to be the “best me” possible
It turns out that losing relevance is a lot scarier to people than even dying, and I get it. No one wants to be relegated to being one of those “cute” old people or even worse, one of those old people you have to endure because they are old.
Two Truths and Senior Living . . . It Depressed Me
During David’s keynote, after he talked about these two truths, I got my smartphone out and googled a couple of different versions of “senior living and best me”. Here is what I came up with:
ZERO, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH
None of that even in the marketing materials. We may use the words cruise ship living or luxury hotel living less but ultimately we are still operating a custodial and care kind of business. We are not really focused on helping residents live a “best me” life.
I am convinced that no matter how frail, physically and mentally, creating “best me” days is possible. We need to be doing it and talking about it.
What Would Senior Living Need to Look Like For You?
This is my favorite question to ask people who are not in our little industry niche, and yet asking it is kind of like hitting your thumb with a hammer. The answers are always some version of “I have no interest at all in living in a senior living community as it exists today.” David was no different.
He, like most of us, wants to live a life that is not segregated by age. A life that is not primarily focused on being old and loss of capacity. He wants to live in a place that has young and old; he wants to live in a place that allows him to make new friends, to create, to learn to grow.
He wants to live someplace that will inspire him and create opportunities for him to continue to contribute to the world.
He wants to live in the same kind of place you want to live in.
Here is the video of our entire interview: