About a month ago, my 89 year-old mother said that she had some big news for me. She had been giving a lot of thought to her future and was finally ready to move from her condo of 25 years into a senior living community.
Fortunately, my mother is still in relatively good shape mentally and physically. She is socially active, challenges herself mentally by playing canasta with friends and online games on her computer, and she is in her pool doing “laps” five times a week. When I asked her why she had made this decision, she said that she was worried about falling due to a sudden loss of balance.
But the main reason was that she is lonely. Although she has many friends in her condo, unfortunately some are facing serious health concerns and others are dying. So she needs to meet new people and make some new friends — critical elements to healthier aging.
For several reasons I have become the primary caregiver for my mother, at least in helping her transition from her condo to a community. While this responsibility is going to take up a lot of time and energy, I feel fortunate to be in a position to help see her through this major life change.
My new role as caregiver got me thinking about “caregivers” from a marketing and business point of view, as they represent a significant size of the population:
- There are more than 8 million caregivers in Canada
- More than 3.5 million Canadians between the ages of 45-64 are part of the sandwich generation in that they care for both a parent and a child;
- More than 3 million Canadians look after the needs of their parent(s)
- In the US, approximately 43.5 million caregivers provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months
- More than 34 millions Americans look after the needs of their parent(s)
When you consider the potential influence caregivers have on a variety of purchase decisions, marketing to this large and growing number of people is becoming increasingly important, yet largely difficult to do because it is tough to identify them. There is no database of caregivers and their potential wide variety of triggers and needs makes it difficult to track and subsequently market to them.
With the huge number of caregivers (of at least one parent) in North America and their potential billions of dollars in spending, you would think that marketers in many relevant categories would make them a greater priority. Industries like community living, health care, hearing aids, mobility aids, smart speakers and wearable tech, to name a few, could all greatly benefit from targeting caregivers.
But caregivers aren’t just important due to their influence on current spending for and by their parents, they are also potential future users of products and services that will help them age better.
So products and services they seek out for their parents could very well meet their needs too. In fact, smart product design for older consumers should not render them irrelevant for younger consumers too.
If you are marketing in an industry that is actively targeting an end user who is also being assisted by a caregiver, it would be worth considering how you can appeal to this target group who is either controlling or greatly influencing the buying decision.
Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss how this approach could look for you.