It’s a bit tougher to think about demand here.
Or maybe not.
We are losing touch with those that came two or three generations before us. New Social Media Apps are born and rise to the top in ever decreasing intervals. Our world becomes faster and faster paced.
And today, 4 year-olds already handle the iPhone better than their 20 – 30-year-old parents. Sorry guys… I consider myself pretty computer savvy – at the age of 40 though, I actually belong to the grandparent generation of Social Media 😉
Yet, our society also grows older and older. Thus, there is a huge market that caters to people of 60+ years.
So it makes sense to design business ideas around serving the older generation.
I find that they can come from two different categories.
(a) In person services.
(b) Items that make specific things easier.
Without further ado, here are my ideas.
#1 – A foot or leg rest.
The photo (and the corresponding videos) show one of my favorite items. A footrest that automatically adjusts to a comfortable leg position.
Not many things are more relaxing than resting your feet up while you sit on your couch or love seat to read.
My foot rest is an inheritance from one of my great aunts. And a foot rest like that also helps old people – when the legs are more easily exhausted and the knees hurt, your legs will automatically find the most natural position.
#2 – Community help.
You could do an “Uber” like app where old people call on help with services and people from the neighborhood show up.
#3 – A mobile car entry help.
Older people have trouble getting into a car.
You can’t automatically attach a ramp – like they have on busses – to a normal family car.
You don’t always have a vehicle that is outfitted with help for disabled or old people either.
You want to have an easy prop that you can carry with you.
So what about a mobile magnetic step that you clip underneath any car to help people get in? Or a magnetic grip that attaches to the side of the door frame.
It needs to be portable and stable, so that would be a challenge, but probably solvable, if you use lightweight carbon fibers.
#4 – A personal tracking device that fits some rings or jewelry.
Old people sometimes get lost in the neighborhood. Or they stumble and fall down, which is quite dangerous if you are not strong enough to get up by yourself.
Accidents at home happen as well.
The problem is that most accidents happen when people are alone. Valuable time is lost when relatives come by for the next routine check four hours later.
What if you could have a little tracking chip that you attach to some jewelry, so that people always have it with them?
If older people fall down or get lost, they could tap that chip and their kids have an alarm going off – so they can immediately come by and help.
Or the chip could be linked to an ambulance, so that emergency medical assistance is on site.
#5 – Automatic polsters.
One of the biggest problems for old people is to fall, then they break their hips and it never really properly heals, because the bones are old and fragile.
So how about having an extra layer of soft material that protects all the neuralgic points – hips, knees, joints etc.?
I am sure there are some gel-like materials that are good in buffering a sudden fall, yet relatively easy to wear and not bulky.
#6 – Home security business.
We can also prevent accidents by taking care of those dangerous parts of the household where the majority of accidents happen.
Slippery bathroom floors, sharp edges on furniture, stairs…
So one business could be to offer home security consultations. You go into old people’s home and diffuse danger zones around the household.
You could also write a book about it and sell that.
#7 – Old friends search.
One big problem when people get older is that the number of friends becomes smaller, because they start dying.
In addition, we often lose track of old friends – yet those friends may still be there.
How to reconnect? Via Facebook. However, 70+ year olds don’t regularly use Social Media.
What about a service that specifically looks for old friends?
There could be an app that goes through documents that city archives have scanned in.
Thus, if you type the names of old friends into the app, it can search those documents or at least provide some leads that may already point to the whereabouts of old friends. Sometimes you don’t find friends born 70 years ago, but their children are on Social Media indeed – so you can contact them.
It may not be easy to program such a search app, because the data is archived in ways that is not easily searchable.
However, if you feed the app, for example, 1,000 different family trees, it may learn to establish an efficient search algorithm. Maybe in most cases it is indeed enough to contact the children of those older people, and most of those children may already have a good Social Media presence.
#8 – Estate and end of life planning.
As people grow old, planning the estate, dealing with the distribution of the inheritance and sifting through a ton of legal documents can become a burden.
That’s a shame, because you’d rather spend the last years with your parents not worrying about these issues.
So if you had a software that automatically handled all those documents that are important at the end of your life, then you can get back to focussing on being with your old folks.
If you are know all the basic organisational and financial stuff has been taken care of, you can enjoy the last years of your life indeed.
#9 – A cell phone “simplifier” app
If you are old, your vision gets worse.
Yet modern cell phones, have a multitude of functions and apps, but everything is so small and funky that it is easy to lose overview.
How about an app that automatically enhances those features that you use most often?
The corresponding buttons and symbols – for example, texting, phone call, maybe instagram for watching photos – could be enlarged and displayed more prominently.
#10 – Noise cancelling headphones
As you age, your hearing gets worse as well.
As a consequence, people tend to use head phones to listen to the TV. And then they don’t hear the doorbell.
True story: a relative of mine had lost his keys and could not get back into the apartment. His mother was at home, but she was intently listening to soccer. No joke.
He had to wait for the end of the match until she heard him ring the bell.
So what if you had headphones that still become activated when there is a specific sound from the outside? e.g. the doorbell? You can probably program those sounds in.
Then, every time the headset registers the bell, it mutes the music or TV and thus lets you hear the sound you are supposed to hear.
#11 – Hearing aid
If your hearing is bad, another problem is to distinguish sounds from background noise – especially in crowded environments – and focus on one conversation amidst a larger group of people.
If there was a hearing aid that specifically enhances the audio quality for those with whom you are talking – while suppressing voices from other people in the environment – it would enable the elder to take part in the conversation again.
For example, there could be a visual tracking device connected to the ear piece that takes lip movements into account. Then, a computer enhances the distinctiveness of the sound you hear from the person right in front of you.
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