Thankfully, scientific understanding and technological advancements are converging at an important point in time: as a rapidly aging population needs to address varied health issues. The very idea of aging is undergoing a major transformation due in part to demographic shifts. For many consumers approaching their senior years, healthy aging has less to do with longevity and more to do with quality of life.
In his column, Erik Goldman presented a great overview of the forces that are driving change in the healthcare landscape, including an aging community intent on maintaining their independence. “Every day, roughly 10,000 Americans reach age 65—that’s over 3.7 million per year. There are already 5 million over age 85 in the U.S., and octogenarians represent the fastest growing demographic segment.”
Caring for aging or ill family members can be a tremendous burden, Mr. Goldman continued. “An estimated 43.5 million working-age Americans are trying to care for aged or ill family members, and 75% of them are trying to do it all on annual incomes of under $50,000. All that disposable income that many people are currently spending on supplements, organic food, and other healthy living products? A lot of that could suddenly get diverted once a parent, spouse or other loved one reaches a certain age and starts forgetting to turn off the stove.”
With rising interest in self-care, younger, emerging generations are also propelling growth of products that target healthy aging. A defining characteristic for the millennial generation is a commitment to health and wellness, according to Carolina Ordonez, senior consumer health analyst at Euromonitor International. Millennials invest more in self-care and exercise compared to older generations, she noted. “They see healthy aging as a lifetime process that starts early in life, not when they will become seniors. They have access to health education 24/7 and demand transparency in the products and services they buy.”
The imperative to stay and get healthy has never been stronger among consumers of all ages. This means ample opportunities for nutraceutical companies.