Baby Boomer RV Dreams Keep Industry Optimistic

There are now about 8.2 million RV owners across the nation, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Unlike the stereotype of older couples hitting the road after retirement, the average RV owner is middle-aged and married, traveling a total of 4,500 miles and 26 days annually.

The industry is betting on an expected increase in new buyers entering the market, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

“Baby boomers have had a really large impact on the industry already. They represent the largest group of owners in the industry,” Mark Polk, owner of RV Education 101, an education program that publishes how-to books and videos for newcomers to the RV lifestyle, told CNBC.

RV companies have been anticipating the influx in potential customers for awhile.

“All along, for the last four or five years, we’ve known the baby boomer population is coming. Every month there will be 350,000 potential customers in the baby boomers through 2030,” said Winnebago CEO Bob Olson.  “There is a potential opportunity for our customer base to grow. A portion of them will want to join the RV lifestyle. This bodes well for us in the future.”

posted by Laura Rossman


Aging at Home Gets Push from GE and Intel

Any doubt that technology that helps you age at home should be brushed aside with the annoucnement  that Intel and GE are joining forces on home health care. Clearly the aging of the baby boom population is getting the attention of big companies and big dollars.

GE and Intel are joining forces to develop devices that help your doctor monitor the health of elderly and chronically ill patients at home.  The companies are putting more than $250 million behind research and marketing.

This is a clear signal that more of us will be receiving long-term care at home in the future rather than in a facility.  That’s good news since that’s where most of us say we want to stay! If you attended the Boomer Summit you probably heard Laurie Orlov  from Age  in Place Technology Watch talk about the potential growth in this market.

GE has a system called Quiet Care that lets physicians monitor patients for potential emergencies or waning signs, including falls.  Intel has a product called Health Guide, a lap-top sized device that collects vital signs and issues patient reminders.

We are at an inflection point on health care,” Paul Otellini, Intel’s chief executive, said Thursday during a press conference announcing the alliance. “It’s a topic that affects everyone on Earth.”

SilverRide Wins ASA Business of the Year Award

SilverRide, LLC, a San Francisco-based company providing transportation, companionship and social events for seniors, won the American Society on Aging (ASA) 2009 Business of the Year award.

Each year, ASA recognizes one small business for its originality, innovation, and effectiveness in meeting the needs of seniors. SilverRide was selected as the national winner in the small company category for its exemplary program and services that meet the needs of older adults and their families.

Robert Stein, President & CEO of ASA, said “SilverRide exemplifies what a company can do if they set their minds to solving tough problems in creative ways. Not only have they addressed a major need with a great transportation solution, but they’ve also created services that improve the quality of life of older adults by enabling them to get out, socialize and enjoy the things they love to do”.

In addition to providing transportation to older adults, SilverRide enables its clients to have a more connected, fulfilling, dignified and independent lifestyle after their “driving retirement,” while providing peace of mind to those who care for them. It can even positively impact long-term health and quality of life.

Susan Steiner Saal and Jeff Maltz, Co-Founders of SilverRide, said, “It’s an honor to receive this award from ASA. We both watched our parents struggle to manage the needs of our grandparents. When we hear from our clients that SilverRide has solved a real problem for them, it is a reward in and of itself!”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, when older adults stop driving there can be a number of serious negative consequences. They make 15% fewer trips to the doctor and 65% fewer trips for social, family and religious activities.

In fact, The Journals of Gerontology reports that elderly non-drivers are four to six times more likely than their driving counterparts to pass away during the subsequent 3-year period. This devastating outcome is due to the fact that for older adults, their ability to drive provides independence that leads to underlying health and well-being.

SilverRide provides its clients with access to crucial health-related and social services that would not otherwise be as easily available.

SilverRide Provides its Members With a Social Connection That
Other Transportation Services Do Not

The relationship between the client and the driver distinguishes SilverRide from other transportation services. SilverRide conducts an extensive interview with its clients ahead of time to better understand their particular needs. It also trains its drivers in senior sensitivity and safety on an ongoing basis. This process forges a rich relationship between the client and their driver companions, who bring their own unique personalities to the table. The SilverRide drivers include an inventor, a pastor, a film producer and several graduate students in psychology and gerontology.

Also exceptional to SilverRide is its ongoing communication with its clients’ families, whose work and familial responsibilities or distance from their aging parents may prevent them from caring for them full-time. SilverRide’s on-going communication and breadth of services help reduce this anxiety.

SilverRide joins an esteemed roster of previous winners including Jitterbug, Posit Science, Johnson & Johnson and CVS/pharmacy.

For more information, visit or contact


Will new Depend ads appeal to boomers?

At a time when we keep hearing about marketing cutbacks, the announcement of a big  new ad campaign from Kimberly-Clark for their Depend brand is remarkable.   The campaign launches today and runs through December across a variety of media – TV, Internet, direct response, print and point-of-purchase.


The new ads are basic and focus on differences between men and women.  They feature a man and a woman standing in front of a white backdrop and talking about something that has nothing to do with incontinence. One features a discussion of whether men or women are better drivers.  The campaign is the launch of gender-specific Depend.


“One of the key elements of the new campaign is a certain level of authenticity — showcasing real people, since this is such a real issue for so many people. It’s not an aspirational category; nobody wants to have to use [Depend], but the fact is that 27 million people will be dealing with this, so part of the role of Depend is to provide normalization of the category, and part of the goal of the campaign is to humanize it — not only demonstrate that Depend understands the difference between men and women,” Blake Boulden, Depend brand manager told MediaPost.


Kimberly-Clark introduced the gender specific underwear in December noting that caregivers are an important target market. “Our consumer research has found that users and caregivers can be uncomfortable shopping for adult incontinence products,” said Mark Cammarota, Depend Brand Director. “Quickly finding the right product remains a vital step in living with incontinence, and with a variety of options on store shelves, our new packaging designs will offer a simpler selection experience at stores.”


The website provides consumers with information, coupons and ask the expert information.


It’s a sharp contrast to much of the advertising in this category that is more product specific.  Will it make boomers and caregivers feel more comfortable and confident with their purchase?

Baby Boomer’s Love for Facebook Growing

Baby Boomer's Love for Facebook Grows

Baby Boomer's Love for Facebook Grows

We noted just a couple months ago that boomers were discovering Facebook.

Well, the latest numbers show they LOVE it — esepcially women.  Move over kids. Mom’s sharing your space.  The number of women 55+ on Facebook now total more than 1.5 million.

No surprise to those of you at the Summit who heard from panelists about the growth of women interacting online at,,, LiveWorld, EONS , and WomanSage.

With the rapid growth amongst older users, the majority of US Facebook users are now over 25. There are now 6 million users 13-17, 19.5 million 18-25, 13.4 million 26-34, 9.7 million 35-44, 4.6 million 45-54, and 2.8 million over 55. In other words, there are more Facebook users 26-44 than 18-25 today.

Facebook Demographics

What’s driving these women to Facebook?


Baby Boomer Women Growing Networks Online and Offline

For women 50 plus, social networks are continuing to expand – not contract .Defying the stereotypes of increasing marginalization as they age, not only are their networks growing, they are growing online. That’s the conclusion of a new white paper released by  


The study found:

  • The personal networks of women 50+ are large and growing.
  • They are in personal contact with at least 46 people each month.
  • 65% share information online with others in their network.
  • They are comfortable relying on referrals from strangers online if the source is knowledgeable/experienced.  They rely on references on websites like (70%), Ebay (54%) and Tripadvisor (27%).


It also found that Vibrant Women are open to trying new brands and experiences and motivated by a variety of psycho-social factors including:

  • Financial status –even with the recession, Vibrant Women continue to have discretionary income.
  • Life stage transitions 9such as last chilled leaving home, starting a business, losing a parent or spouse)
  • Physical changes (menopause, aging, surviving breast cancer)
  • New family roles (grandparent, caregiver)
  • Social Awareness (travel, volunteer work) 

The study is base on a survey of 1,000 boomer women with household incomes greater than $75,000.


Baby Boomer Word for 2009 – Recalibration

Recalibration— that’s the theme for consumers in 2009 as consumers reset the scales after a decade of dualities, highs and lows, according to Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Consumers are designing the “Middle Way” defined as a lifestyle approach grounded in comfort, safety, sustainability and moderation.  and boomers are leading the charge!

For marketers, it is important to understand how boomer paradigms are shifting, said French at the opening session of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.  Here’s how attitudes are shifting:

From consumption to sustainability

From possessions to purpose

From retirement to employment

From trading up to trading off

From perceived value to real value

The findings were based upon research conducted in January and are par of NMI’s Healthy Aging Boomer Database.(

“Boomers are being forced to look in the mirror and they want to change the reflection that is looking back,” French said. “they are trading off or even down:  successful “down market” products will make benefits tangible and relevant.”