“It’s Not Easy Being Gray.” That was the headline in an article in the New York Times last week. You will definitely want to read it! In my last blog post I talked about the #1 SpaFinder Spa Trend for 2011, Aging…Raging. Well, this article will make sure you never forget this trend.
Check out the photo (here on the left) of the person in an “Age Gain” suit that was developed by researchers at M.I.T. (It is kind of like a“Fat” suit you might have seen on TV years ago where someone can experience being fat for a day – only this is about experiencing old age for a day.) The”Age Gain” suit is designed to make the wearer experience life as a person in the mid 70’s.
Here is what the suit includes:
- A helmet that cramps your neck and spine
- Yellow paned goggles that muddy your vision
- Plastic bands that clip your wingspan
- Compression knee bands that make it hard to bend
- Plastic shoes with uneven foam pads for soles that throw off your balance
- Layers of surgical gloves that make you fumble with things in your hands
Welcome to old age. Ugh – seems to be the reaction from those who have tried on the suit. The experience was designed for companies to better understand their target audience and to think about how their products, policies and services affect older consumers. It allows businesses to get a taste of what their clients will look and feel like in the future. The idea of course is that you adjust how you meet your customer’s needs based on these new realities.
Wouldn’t it be great if all of us in the spa industry got to try out the “Age Gain” suit? It would really force us to think through how we might want to change our spa facilities, programs, marketing, etc.
Here are some of the things mentioned in the article I thought were particularly interesting:
- Older adults don’t like products like big button phones because they scream “I’m old.” Rather you are better off building something that every age group will like and use but it also just so happens to be great for older adults. (Example: Toothpastes that promise whitening – they appeal to everybody but skew toward older adults who are the ones with the yellow teeth.)
- There is a great need to connect seniors and technologies in newer and easier ways.
- Investing in studying technology and aging could lower health care costs.
- Ken Dychtwald (author Age Wave) suggests using the term “middlescence” and “rehirement” playing off the terms adolescence and retirement.
- Some new products in the works:
o A wireless smart pillboxes that reminds you to take vitamins/medication, etc.
o Financial services from banks like “Second Acts”
o A wireless “movable” skype robot
o Video libraries of people’s lives for descendants to enjoy
o Educational programs for people ages 60 – 80
Perhaps we should all consider going “Gray for a Day.”
My twitter address: @susieellis
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