The International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), at its National Conference in New Orleans earlier this month, unvieled a new model for Active Aging. According to an email from Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA, "This new industry-shifting model-the 'Nine Principles of Active Aging'-is designed to guide governments, product and service providers, employers, and the health care industry in implementing their active-aging strategies.
These principles, and a few of the many questions that need to be answered, appear below.
Nine Principles of Active Aging
1. Populations: The older population is extremely diverse, from ability and age, to income and culture, to sexual orientation. How will we meet the needs of these different individuals?
2. Perceptions: Ageism and negative stereotypes of aging are stalling the opportunity to empower older adults. To move forward, we need to leave the old way of thinking behind.
3. People: Who will serve the older population's needs? With fewer people entering the labor market, where will the workers come from? Will technology fill the gaps?
4. Potential: A society in which older consumers dominate purchasing decisions creates untold business opportunities. What are these opportunities, and how can businesses tap them?
5. Products: Whether due to a lack of interest or understanding among product or service providers, too few offerings today are geared to the older population. From technology to housing, the result is immense opportunity for those who respond strategically.
6. Promotions: Effective promotions are needed to inspire change. Yet marketers often earn a failing grade from older adults when they focus on the older population, perhaps because they have an inaccurate or incomplete picture of these consumers. To be effective, promotions must be rooted in the realities of today's older adults.
7. Places: Environments can encourage or discourage older adults in leading active, engaged lives. From indoors to outdoors, what environments support active aging?
8. Policies: How do policy decisions affect active aging? Consider how important policies are in areas such as age discrimination, and affordable care and housing.
9. Programs: As promoted by ICAA, the seven dimensions of wellness-physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, vocational and environmental wellness-are the backbone of active aging. They are also key to meeting the challenge of providing diverse programs and environments that fulfill the needs of the diverse older population.
Established in 2001, ICAA has led, connected and defined the active-aging industry for the past 11 years. More information about ICAA is available online at www.icaa.cc .