THE BLOG
11/11/2014 05:38 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2015

Welcome to a New World, Mom

I've been blogging on aging for four years now, and for the first time I'm going to break my own rule and get personal.

Recently, my mother turned 85. After a few dozen texts and emails with my brothers and sisters, we decided to get her an iPad for her birthday. A week or so later I received her first email, reminding me of a niece's birthday.

This was huge for me, my brothers and sisters and my mother. And, it reveals a profound transformation that I'm certain is taking place across society, everywhere:
  1. Technology is a social tool binding multiple generations together. That email from mom involved three generations living in three different states.
  2. Healthy aging is active aging and technology is one of the essential ingredients.
  3. The so-called silver economy is a source of economic growth and wealth creation.
  4. Every business should have a focus on population aging in its strategy. Soon there will 1 billion people over 60 across the globe. Any company that ignores this market is missing a huge commercial opportunity.
  5. Governments should start thinking about public policy that will create jobs for the over-60 demographic. They've still got a lot in the tank.

Across the world, these "aging opportunities" are being realized and captured by leading public and private organizations. At a recent event on the silver economy, co-hosted by the OECD and the Global Coalition on Aging at Oxford University, the Japanese technology company Fujistu talked about their Raku-Raku mobile phone, designed for and marketed to the over 60 demographic. Alongside Fujitsu, OECD governments were shown how the growing demand for homecare for seniors has spawned a new cottage industry - an industry that will be a source of jobs as it meets the consumer demand for better care at home as we age.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. My mom's email made a lot of people happy, including the niece who got an extra present this past birthday, but it is also a sign of how innovation can keep our aging populations active and engaged in the 21st century.