As a Chief Executive of a small housing association in the North East of England I never thought I would write a blog that references Donald Trump – but bear with me as there’s a method to my madness!
You see, whether you like him or loathe him, President Trump has demonstrated one thing and that he has been able to connect with a demographic that mainstream advertising, politicians and business cannot.
His use of social media before the election meant he was able to bypass the ‘traditional’ media and reach those who helped him defy all the odds to become President.
There’s lessons to be learned this side of the Pond.
The relative wealth of older people is talked of in the media, yet from the advertising you see you would think the only thing older people are interested in buying is life insurance and incontinence wear!
Advertising loves advertising to millennials (people born in the 1980s), but these guys have limited economic clout, and that is diminishing. That may be undesirable for the country, but it is a fact nevertheless. Ignoring the needs, aspirations, desires of older people is clearly economic suicide for a business, but nevertheless it seems to happen.
Similarly, we get the same happening in housing policy. If older people figure in the reporting of policy at all it is because they are undesirable “bed blockers” with poor quality of life.
There’s nothing much coming out about the benefits of properly catering for older people in regards to housing that PREVENTS problems and ENABLES older people to continue to have a positive economic impact on society, rather than become ill or injured and start costing society more etc.
This is where we (housing associations) come in, particulary with regard to ensuring our residents don’t get written off by society, and are instead helped to fulfil their potential, whatever their age or ability.
The big challenge of course is making sure this point is understood by society at large. Certainly our residents and their families understand it. I hope that the positive experiences they have will eventually make a greater impression on society than our youth-obsessed media!
After all, we all will get old one day, so it makes sense to ensure society is in a fit state to cope with us when we get there!