Illustration by Lara Harwood

 

Fritzi Gros-Daillon, Director of Education and Advocacy at Age Safe® America and graduate of the Columbia Business School discusses aging safely in place in a recent Columbia Business magazine article entitled: The New Old, written by Sara Cravatts. Here is an excerpt.

 

By 2030, one in every five residents in the US will be over the age of 65. It’s the first time in the nation’s history that older people are projected to outnumber children. With the average life expectancy now at 78.7 years, there’s a growing need for increased resources. While some experts worry that housing, transportation, and healthcare infrastructures aren’t prepared, many businesses are looking at the country’s shifting demographics as an opportunity and see what’s known as the longevity economy— valued at $7.6 trillion—as a place for growth.

 

Among the chief concerns for aging Americans is ensuring that they or their loved ones have somewhere safe to live. Most people prefer to age in their own homes and communities, but many are not prepared, says Fritzi Gros-Daillon, MS ’81, director of education and advocacy at Age Safe America. “An AARP survey showed that about 85 percent of people want to age in place and 90 percent have done nothing to get ready,” she says.

 

Key to aging in place is preventing falls, the most common cause of injury among the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by 2020, the costs related to injuries sustained from falls will rise to $60 billion annually. Gros-Daillon ticks off the list of home modifications people should make—building ramps, installing voice-activated lights, and putting in grab bars, especially in bathrooms. “Grab bars are the new seat belts,” says Gros-Daillon. “You may not want it, but everybody needs one.”

 

Age Safe America, is a training, advocacy, and consulting organization that serves as a hub for people or small businesses looking to enter the home-safety industry. Companies like Age Safe America are springing up in response to the booming longevity economy; 83 percent of US household wealth is held by people over the age of 50, and members of the older population are willing to spend their money on ensuring that they can age comfortably. “With the longevity economy, the purchasing power of baby boomers is going to shift,” Gros-Daillon says. “It’s not just about ski trips anymore.”

 

Read the full article here: https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/columbia-business/new-old