Business of Aging: Are you 70+ and ready to influence how companies do business?

Did you know that for the remainder of the 21st century, the fastest growing consumer group in the world will be 70 years and over and they will continue to control a sizable chunk of the world’s wealth? In addition, they are well-educated, frequent travellers and generally living life to the fullest.

​However, here’s the reality of the world today. Research (Leger Marketing The Revera Report) reveals that 63% of seniors feel they have been treated unfairly or differently because of their age, and 79% of Canadians agree that seniors 75 and older are seen as less important and more often ignored than younger generations in society. Further, research conducted by organizations today typically ignore Canadians 70+, demonstrating their lack of interest in and understanding of issues pertaining to this influential group. We care about what you think and we want to hear from you.

AGEWORKS™, in collaboration with Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research, is establishing a 70+ Consumer Insight Panel to provide you with the opportunity to “have your say” on matters that are important to you and what you view will be important for all Canadians 70+.

The information compiled from these questionnaires will be anonymous and used to communicate the views and opinions of Canadians who participate in the Insight Panel to private businesses, all levels of government and not-for-profit organizations.

“Have Your Say”
We are extending this invitation to participate on the panel of adults 70+ interested in providing thought-leadership to help change how society and businesses view the “aging” population.

This first questionnaire asks some general questions about your opinions and perspectives on some broad subjects such as areas of interest, activities you enjoy and living and shopping preferences.

If you are interested in completing this initial survey, please click on the link below and it will take you to the survey.

The survey will be available for completion for the month of October. Please feel free to forward the link to this survey to your friends and colleagues so that we can create a strong panel and consumer movement reflecting the needs and interests of a group that deserves our respect.

If you have any questions or concerns about the research, please feel free to contact:

Pat Spadafora M.S.W.
Director, Sheridan Centre for Elder Research

Thank you for your interest in this initiative.

The New Language of Aging

By now, we have all heard the term ‘boomer’ used to describe the generation of individuals born from 1946 to 1964. It appears that the aging population is giving birth to a new vocabulary, used to characterize everything from their spending habits to their personality traits. Below are some examples that have recently appeared in the media.

The Elastic Generation
The London, England branch of J. Walter Thompson Advertising, released the results of their “Intelligence report on 50- to 69-year-old Britons which identifies a compelling new consumer group: “The Elastic Generation”. Full of potential energy and wielding unprecedented financial power, these trailblazers are unapologetically shattering stereotypes of what it means to be 50+ today.”

Right Sizing
A recent article in The Financial Post commented on a survey that revealed older Canadians are increasing their debt load. “They just don’t have enough money,” said Yvonne Ziomecki, senior vice-president of marketing and sales of HomEquity Bank, of the new lifestyle seniors are aspiring to. “We have a new term we have been using, right sizing. They are not downsizing. They don’t really need bigger homes, but they move into a house that has all the upgrades”.

As we discussed in a past blog the moniker Seniorpreneur has been coined to describe older adult entrepreneurs.

Silver Surfers
Silver Surfers has become a term used to describe the growing number of older adults who spend considerable time on the Internet.

As the population ages, the language used to represent their uniqueness will continue to build. What jargon have you heard recently related to the older adults demographic?


Business of Aging: Information Exchange Network (BA:IEN)
Quarterly Meeting Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We are excited to present our first BA:IEN afterhours event at the Marquee Pub. Join us for a unique opportunity to mix and mingle over appetizers with business and industry leaders whose focus is on the flourishing older adult market.

To further showcase your business at this event we are offering attendees the option to reserve a display table. In exchange, we ask that a gift draw (minimum value $50) be supplied for the event. The number of display tables are limited and reserved on a first come first served basis. Reserve a table now by contacting

See flyer for details.

BAIEN mtg July 29_15 v1

Guest Blog: The Prospect of Work in Later Life. No Crisp End.

by Mark Venning

What is the prospect of work in later life? How long do you intend to keep working?

Over the last decade or more, questions like these are being more widely asked of, and by people in their later life career stages. Largely because of our changing outlook on aging and longevity, most social structures are in the process of redefinition – from pension reform and health care to housing and community design. So too is our relationship to work.

From my extensive work in the career management field, in conversations with people typically of age 55 and over, the decision to work longer comes from a combination of need and desire – to stay engaged, and/or to supplement later life income streams. This is now for many, about paving the way for an extended lifetime beyond traditional expectations of a retirement. One of the more pragmatic questions in this new frame of reference thus becomes “how are you going to finance your longevity?”

Notably for me the narrative began to change at the turn of the millennium, ironically when Y2K and the dot com world started to churn up everything on the go. Add to that a couple of economic downturns that followed, and the attitudes around the parameters of the career and life course model shifted.

Improvising in a compassionate economy

As a result, there is no crisp end to work in later life. Not that everybody believes that working beyond a self-prescribed age is a great thing. However, this depends on how you choose to describe what work, a workplace or a workforce is. Caregiving for example is work and often not valued monetarily. Theodore Roszak in his 2001 book, Longevity Revolution, submits that we are on a move to a compassionate economy:

“…we will soon find ourselves improvising a post industrial economy in which increasing numbers of old and young will work voluntarily as the spirit moves them, at occupations…nothing like employment as we have known it….In the twenty-first century, geriatric care may take the place of high tech as the unfolding frontier of opportunity.”

In 2007, I co-created a survey for workers 40 to 60 plus. One question was “what does working longer look like for you?” The most frequent responses were short-term contracting or consulting, and working a part time job. Interestingly those choices were highest with those over 60.

Beyond working in the corporate world, people are entertaining other options, from starting a home based business to creating a portfolio life of paid work and other unpaid activities including caregiving. Portfolio life, a term first coined by Charles Handy in his 1989 book The Age of Unreason, is not an age specific experience but it does fit for those who want to continue to work, fulfilling a desire for diversity and creativity, parallel to other goals later in life.

A case for social interaction

Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” Your intention to work longer, perhaps differently than before, such as the portfolio life approach, may reflect a general trend, but you cannot consider any of this without articulating your motivations to find you working. What would drive you to stay inspired? An answer is likely explored best in a story.

Some years ago, I had a client who suddenly faced a decision to retire or not. He was 89 when we first met and he had been working since his early teens. His fascinating seven-decade journey of working, took him to his last job as a message deliveryman for nine years in Toronto’s financial district. When I asked him what he would miss most if he were to stop working, his reply was – social interaction.

Of course, social interaction contributes highly to a successful longevity and is attainable in ways other than through work, as was indeed the case for this man approaching 90. Yet, as long as there is an economic need to supplement a later life income stream, complimented by the inspiration to stay mentally challenged, then working longer is part of the trail mix for feeding your longevity. For as long as you are able, however you design the formula – it is up to you.


Mark Venning works with not-for-profit and business leaders, providing presentations, research and advisory services on the Business & Social Aspects of Aging Demographics – and 1:1 with business professionals “leaving the corporate crow’s nest” to explore Entrepreneurship in Later Life.

Technology and Aging: Utilizing Technology to Facilitate Advance Care Planning

PC and KayAlthough most individuals do not like to think or talk about it, planning ahead in the event of an illness or end of life situation can help to ensure that an individual’s wishes are understood and carried out. Technology has the capacity to empower individuals to research and create many of the important documents necessary to communicate their needs and preferences.

In Canada, there are several documents that can help an individual make their wishes known in the event of illness or death. One of those documents is called a Power of Attorney.

According to the Government of Canada, Power of Attorney is “a legal document that you sign to give one person, or more than one person, the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In most of Canada, the person you appoint is called an attorney. That person does not need to be a lawyer”. Your attorney can be a relative, friend or someone else of your choosing.

It is important not to be pressured to sign a Power of Attorney before carefully considering all of your options. A Government of Canada website clearly outlines all of the important considerations when creating a Power of Attorney. You should also be aware that in Canada the word ‘attorney’ does not mean lawyer, unlike in the United States.

The names, requirements and laws for Power of Attorney will vary according to the province or territory in which you live. The Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario offers a Powers of Attorney Kit that contains instructions and forms for a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.

As the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario stresses “no one can make you sign a power of attorney if you don’t want to. But, if you don’t choose one, the government may have to appoint someone to make certain decisions for you. It’s better if you choose someone you feel you can really trust, who knows your wishes”. Making a Power of Attorney is voluntary.

Technology provides different ways to create, compile, store, and share important documents. Companies such as Principled Heart, Everplans, and AfterSteps utilize technology by creating and organizing digital archives for clients.