Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Missing out on the grey pound

At this time of year you can’t avoid hearing Christmas songs on the radio and television and one that struck a chord with me was Shakin Stevens old hit “Merry Christmas Everyone” and particularly the line “love and understanding”.

This connected with a couple of things where there is a lack of understanding in the wider community about some of the needs of older people and how they can be addressed.

The first issue was about older people and technology.  The BBC recently published a story about technology design and older peoples’ interaction with it: Particularly I was interested in the thesis that so much technology is necessary these days, yet its design seems to completely by-pass the needs of older people, who are becoming an increasingly dominant consumer sector with the developing demographic time bomb.  Clearly technology companies need to wake up and smell the coffee in regards to design if they don’t want to miss out on the ‘grey pound’.

Secondly there was an excellent piece in the Guardian recently about how retirement housing is unpopular. However again I think it totally misses the point.  Most ‘older people’, at least in our experience, just need a home that is more comfortable and convenient than their existing former family home. Our waiting list of 2,500 demonstrates this; what we are offering is comfortable, safe, well-designed bungalows of which there is a chronic shortage in the region.  Sheltered schemes and other high-cost/low popularity options are great and have their place, but are totally unnecessary for most older people.  It makes sense therefore to put money into something like simple, low-cost, 2-bedroom modern bungalows or apartments, which the private sector cannot seem to supply in anything like adequate quantities if the government is truly seeking to entice older people to move out of larger properties. This is something that the Guardian report (and the government’s recent HAPPI report) seems to miss.

Ending on a happier note, it being Christmas after all…, I found another (currently my favourite) blog that is this time about younger peoples’ misunderstandings, of a sort… Fantastic stuff!!  but I particularly liked:

Q. What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the car?
A. Get in the car

I would like to wish all our customers, staff and everyone else connected with DAMHA a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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