The latest Statistics Canada population survey predicts that by 2031, the entire baby-boom generation will turn 65 and the population of seniors will more than double by the year 2036 to between 9.9 million and 10.9 million.
Here are my predictions for the future of our senior-populated cities and towns:
- Increased demand for accessibility – buildings, devices, products, traveling, recreation activities and attitudes. Resources and programs come to you rather than you go out to them.
- Higher interest in creativity and creative pursuits and an increased demand for age-appropriate creativity products, creative opportunities, and programs.
- Increased caregiver stress and workplace absenteeism by caregivers.
- Increased benefits, i.e. days off granted as caregiver health days.
- Increased elder abuse programs, policies and legislation.
- Discussion on healthy and realistic expectations in family relationships.
- More education on ageism and ageist attitudes.
- Increased housing options and opportunities.
- More dialogue, cultural and artistic focus and new rituals around death and dying.
- Increased inter-generational programs and activities…entrance fees will implement an inter-generational fee for 3 or more generations.
- Increased demand for CAMs (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and medical coverage for such.
- New reminiscence programs and products that focus on life review and stimulating memory will feature Natalie Wood, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Dean Martin…Vietnam, Coca Cola, and “Where were you when Martin Luther King/JFK/John Lennon was shot?”
- Music appreciation programs will now include Elvis who is not dead- again, The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones debate, Simon & Garfunkel, Motown, Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin. Folk, classic rock, pop and disco will make the music listening retro hit lists.
- Orthopedic shoes will be re-invented in gorgeous colours and textures – no beige, black or white as the only choices.
- Changes to the ministry of transportation process for driving cessation – the responsibility and onus will no longer rest with physicians. Instead the ministry of transportation that grants driving licenses will have the responsibility to take them away if driver does not pass driving test and/or is deemed unsafe. Serves to maintain and protect physician-patient relationship.
- So many life long learning programs will be offered that your head will spin from having to select from all the choices and opportunities.
- To encourage healthy and active living while acknowledging financial realities, gyms and health centres will offer different membership rates for 65+ and for 80+ while centenarians will receive free memberships.
- Universities and colleges consider revising their “tuition is free for 65+” to deal with the surge in the “over 65” students.
- An increase in innovative products i.e. senior-friendly technology will offer large-sized keyboards, large-sized fonts, voice-activated features and eyeglass holders that are attractive, well-designed, light-weight and portable.
- Psychosocial trends will focus on being in the moment, patience with self and others, legacy and mentoring work, and the values of dignity, humility, inclusion, respect and courtesy.
- There will be a tidal wave of humour – dark, slapstick, and existential.
Just a start…please add to this list! Your ideas and comments are very welcome!