According to the focus-group participants of “Hacking Longevity,” a new landmark study on aging, many seniors and Boomers are concerned about needing a caregiver, placing the “caregiving burden” on others, or the need to downsize and move out of their home.
Those who might receive care in the future did not want to be a burden on their children but yet did not have a plan to cover such a need. And while most seniors acknowledge that their housing situation is a challenge in terms of when, how and where to downsize, one common theme among all generations agreed that they did not want to cohabitate but instead value their own space.
We’ve seen in research from a previous Collaborata study, “Generation Nation,” that most Americans struggle to properly plan for their long-term future. Only 24% of Generation X, most of whom are in their 40s and 50s, are currently saving for retirement. It’s not because they are flippant about their future, but more so because they are still saddled by their past financial obligations. Nearly half of Gen X (47%) are currently worried about the total amount of debt they owe. Mom and dad and still paying off their student loans (while saving for their own kids’ college fund) makes it that much more difficult to put money away for retirement.
Additionally, most people don’t want to have “that conversation” – what happens when we enter a more challenging and less independent life stage. According to the qualitative results from “Hacking Longevity,” this transitional moment (whether it is sparked by the need to downsize, move to an assisted care facility, hire a caregiver, or survive health scare) is what marks the entrance to the life stage of the “elderly.” As a result, most of us have blinders on until that time comes.
As more results from Hacking Longevity get released – we’re excited both to see the quantitative data and in-home ethnographies – we’ll get a richer picture regarding the challenges of this transitional phase. In particular, we’ll learn how each generation approaches this moment differently, which will provide brands within the aging economy an important tool to help meet the needs of each generation as they live out their latter years.