David Wolfe, my mentor for the past 20 years, has developed the following character sketches of older people to help us understand the that older adults are not remarkably different from those in years past as far as basic human needs, desires and concerns.
The following “Four Faces of the New Senior“ provides a contextual framework from which your sales and creative staffs can present older adults with more appealing and authentic images.
- Creativity and intellectual involvement. In today’s ultra-information environment, older adults seek vital involvement not just leisure. Older adults are creative about shaping their lives and are intellectually involved with life. Programs such as “Road Scholars” help seniors use travel to expand their intellectual horizons. Another example is demonstrated by the great number of retirees signing up for colleges and universities or participating in life-long learning programs.
- Experience and wisdom and the desire to share it. We often talk about the wisdom of older people but often generally ignore their deep desire to share it. Your community needs to reach out to seniors and encourage their need to express their wisdom and knowledge. The website, www.retiredbrains.com, is devoted to showing retirees how their years of knowledge and expertise can result in new opportunities and employment.
- Vitality and productivity. Most seniors, whatever their age, want to produce something of value. They are creative about shaping their lives. The overemphasis on leisure in the marketing of senior living communities is contrary to the image of productivity. In contrast, an older person depicted in an intense application of energies in producing something of value is powerful imagery.
- Compassion for others and concern for the world about them. Seniors are our best citizens. They vote more and are more involved in good works than the rest of society. An explanation that is offered is that they have more time but it may well be that they really care. The greatest amount of donations to charities, hospitals, schools and other nonprofit organizations are from those people age 65 and over. Older people are strongly outer-directed in their attitude and life activities. They are considerably less-absorbed than most younger people. Giving back and a rising sense of altruism are major characteristic of older generations.
Take a look at your retirement community and what it is saying about itself in its visual communications.