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Innovative Businesses Appeal To Over 50s
From:
Phyllis May_ Ph.D. -- Retirement Speaker and Coach Phyllis May_ Ph.D. -- Retirement Speaker and Coach
Key West , FL
Friday, January 15, 2010

 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 4 million people retired, effective Dec. 31. For many, retirement and age are life-altering events that require changes in the way things are done and the attitude to be willing to change and adapt.

Pre-boomers are now a vibrant part of the retirement community and those in the boomer community and those in the early boomer generation, after 1946, are retiring at the rate of 10, 000 per day for the next 20 years. A changed lifestyle and eventually some different needs has created new businesses, catering to a demographic with a technological past and an generation characterized by determination, entrepreneurship and comfort. It is not surprising that new businesses are now owned by these retirees or are simply others who now see a niche.

For example, while this generation did not grow up with the technology of renting video movies, once the technology became mainstream, it wasn't long before a video rental store seemed to be located as frequently as fast food restaurants. And while books preceded everyone, now the concept of video rentals is being applied to book rentals, specially targeting a population who might need the convenience of home delivery at some point. www.Bookswim.com is a service that aspires to be the Netflix for books and while they promote the fact that they are inexpensive, a feature appreciated by many retirees with a reduced income, it also saves time and hassle of traffic and it helps the environment. One convenience not thought of is gift cards for retirees. Especially for those confined to an assisted living facility or who aren't able to get out as much, a gift card could be great help to children and friends with gift problems.

In many communities, there are businesses that have special focus classes on teaching technology to people who are still learning. Many people in the work force learned technology at work and also had IT people to help with training and problems. Now at home and perhaps purchasing their own products, they need help.

Ferdinand Poon, a very young entrepreneur, saw a need and established www.earlspeak.com The staff at earlspeak believes that unfortunately, many older adults and seniors remain unfamiliar with computers and how to access the Internet. For that reason, earlSpeak's mission is to introduce the wonders of the Internet to this demographic. Where there is interest, earlSpeak can help its clients buy a computer, set it up, choose an Internet service provider, provide personalized one-on-one Internet tutoring at their residence and subsequent telephone support. They also work with assistant living facilities to set up networks and labs for their residents.

Their belief is that the Internet is potentially, a very powerful resource for older adults and seniors. Introducing them to the Internet is like showing them a whole new world that they can explore from the safety and privacy of their own residence. After being introduced to the Internet, older adults and seniors embrace it as a way to keep in touch with children, grandchildren, other relatives and friends via e-mail. Many grandparents use their camera and Skype to read stories to their grandchildren or just have frequent communication so that they see a face and hear a voice, albeit from a distance. They also frequently use the Internet to learn and do research and to carry out transactions that simplify their lives and reduce their dependence on others. In addition to e-mail, other favorite uses for the Internet include reading about news and current affairs, gathering travel information, exploring medical resources, shopping and gift-buying, banking and investing, playing games, checking the weather, participating in online discussions and chat rooms and pursuing other educational opportunities.

A recent research report by Mizuko Ito et al. entitled, "Broadening Access: Research for Diverse Network Communities", captures earlSpeak's purpose and opportunity:  Seniors above the age of 65, in particular, have much lower rates of computer and online access (Starch 1998). Many seniors are at risk of social isolation after retirement and with the onset of physical disabilities, could uniquely benefit from access to network communities. Further, most seniors have not used computers as children or younger adults, and thus require support to achieve basic computer access.

Once connected to the Internet, researchers have found that the majority of older adults and seniors spend less than 2 weeks learning how to use the Internet. All they need is some help at the start!

However, according to International Data Corp., an information technology research company based in Framingham, Massachusetts, older adults and seniors will represent the fastest growing group of Internet users in the U.S. over the next several years. The Internet momentum is clearly growing amongst our elders. www.earlSpeak.com is a place to start.

"Aging well" is the philosophy of Elderluxe. Founder Patrick Conboy's mission is to find fashionable and functional products that improve the aging experience. They search for those innovations best suited to a more sophisticated and educated customer. Check out www.elderluxe.com Started over 20 years ago, Conboy's philosophy has always been to find the best collection of fashionable and functional products that improve the aging experience…no matter the price with absolutely no snake oil, fountains of youth, and no empty promises. They travel the world looking for those innovations best suited to a more sophisticated and educated customer. Online and with their catalogues, it is a wonderful resource not only for those personally in need but again, for those looking for gifts.

Whether it's books, technology or simply products developed for a demographic beginning to age, innovation and entrepreneurship will be a winning combination for many.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Phyllis May, Ph.D.
Dateline: Key West, FL United States
Direct Phone: 305-295-7501
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