Much of the equipment on the market for elder people, such as grab rails, ramps and bathing aids, is “unattractive and clinical-looking” and is putting people off making “vital changes” to their homes.
That’s according to Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage, who used a speech in London yesterday to call on businesses to seize the opportunities of a growing older consumer market and to develop more products and services that meet the diverse needs and aspirations of older people.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Centre for Ageing Better, the Minister said more inclusive, innovative and attractive products should play an important role in helping people to remain independent for longer, while also offering growth opportunities for businesses.
A vibrant and inclusive market for products and jobs is part of the government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge, part of the Industrial Strategy, which aims to harness innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society.
Ms Dinenage said that ageing is a subject which needs to be discussed “in every boardroom across the country”.
“We need products that are more inclusive and also recognise the diverse needs of our older population.
“Ultimately, older people deserve better – better services, better products and better experiences in the workplace.
“Our ageing population represents a growing market and if UK businesses successfully grasp this opportunity they could not only reap huge dividends but also help people to age healthily, stay in their homes and communities for longer, and be more active and independent as they grow older.”
Spending driven by the over-50s, often termed the ‘silver pound’, is one of the most important trends to hit retailers in the past decade.
Previous analysis by Retail Week of the government’s Family Spending report showed that in 2016, over 50s households accounted for around 52% of consumer spending, equivalent to £473bn per year.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures suggest that by 2025 there will be over 8m households headed by someone aged 65+, an increase of 23% on 2015.
Anna Dixon, chief executive, Centre for Ageing Better, said: “By responding to the demand for products that are appealing and support people to be healthy and keep doing the things they value as they get older, regardless of where they live or what their background, we can enable more people to enjoy extra years living happy, healthy and independent lives.
“Businesses, government, charities and others can and must do more to create products and services that older people want to buy and which enable them to do the things they want to do for longer.”