Posts By: Marla

Advice For Business Owners to Prepare for Aging Population

Posted on September 26, 2017 by - Elder Care Marketing

How can Businesses best position themselves to market to an aging population?

Adapt to marketplace

Adapt to marketplace

Over the summer, I participated on a panel at the Celebrating Seniors Coalition. As part of the panel, we were asked several questions relating to the impact of the increasing senior population on business. As a follow-up to that panel, I have been taking deeper looks at the questions we were asked on the panel. As discussed in my last three articles, my goal is to provide a dialogue related to the impact of aging on business through a series of blog posts.


For this blog, I am addressing the following question: As leaders in the fields of business and aging, what advice do you have for business owners about how to best prepare for and capitalize on the promise of longevity?


There are endless answers to this question, but the simple answer, which I believe is key to any successful business, is to adjust to your customer. You must always be fluid, change with the times and stay current. Having a clear-cut business strategy can keep your business flexible and able to adapt to changing marketplaces. The most successful companies have business models that they use as their guiding principles.


There are many real-life examples of strong business models leading companies to succeed in a changing marketplace. The movie The Founder tells the story of the early days of McDonalds; when enterprising salesman Ray Kroc changed the small hamburger stand owned by the McDonald brothers into an empire by meeting the needs of their customers. In the best-selling motivational business book, Who Moved My Cheese?, a fable that teaches us the importance of change, innovation and adapting.


Businesses similarly must adjust to the changes in the marketplace when marketing to seniors or to Baby Boomers, who are on the cusp of or already have joined the “senior” category.


Many businesses that service seniors are co-opting current trends businesses that may have originally targeted non-senior audiences and adapting them to the senior market, including:


  1. Food businesses (stores, restaurants, on-line services) are creating ways to bring prepared food directly into the home of seniors. Prepared meal delivery relieves the burden placed on seniors by transportation issues, the need to get dressed up, having to tip and more.
  2. Drug stores are offering delivery services, drive-thrus and the pick-up of prescriptions stress-free.
  3. Technology is being made more accessible for seniors through touch or voice-activated technology. Many refer to this as the ‘Alexa’ age, in reference to the popular Amazon product that operates on voice command. The TV show ‘Saturday Night Live’ had an Echo Silver skit partnering Amazon with AARP (view here).
  4. Customer loyalty plans are being developed. Discounts are being offered for both new and returning customers.
  5. Different price points are being offered for different groups of consumers. The hotel chain, Marriott, is a perfect example because they offer different hotel brands to meet the needs of a wide range of customers.
  6. Speaking of hotels, some hotels chains are offering robotic butlers to help customers with mobility restrictions manage their rooms.
  7. Companies are offering flexibility for employees based on their needs for a home-work balance.


The list could go on and on, but one thing we know for sure, with change there is opportunity. Certain things will disappear and new products and services will take their place.


The key is to prepare for these changes so you and your business can capitalize on the promise of longevity.


For more information on preparing your company for changes in the aging and senior industry, feel free to contact Focus on Aging.



Business Challenges of an Aging Economy

Posted on August 10, 2017 by - Marketing to Seniors

Generational Marketing

Generational Marketing

As time goes on, each generation transitions from being the young to the middle-aged, and finally, to the aging population. When each generation transitions to a different life stage, they bring their unique generational values and mindsets with them. The immense differences between all the generations that co-exist today have implications on how businesses and communities evolve as one generation enters the workforce and another exits. As discussed in my last two blog posts, I am hoping to engage you in a discussion around the impact of aging on business through a series of blog posts. This is the next post of the series, guided by the following question:


What are the biggest impacts that an aging population will have on business and community? What are the biggest challenges and opportunities of an aging economy?


First, how do we define aging? The categories that have typically defined aging are changing – the young-old and old-old. Is 70 the new 60? The new 50?


In my opinion, the cause of these changing categories is the rise in life expectancy. The effects of this rise, coupled with declining birth rates, will impact businesses from both the employee and service perspective.


Employee Impacts


As birth rates decline, there will eventually be a shortage in the work force. Additionally, many older adults are staying in the workforce longer than they have historically. It is important for businesses to keep in mind each generation’s values in order to cater to the range of people that will likely be working together.

·         Workplace Preferences:  Younger generations prefer flexibility to work remotely. For businesses that have typically run on strict shifts, can and will they adjust their business practices?

·         Communication Styles:  Baby boomers are more likely to pick up the phone to ask a question, while the next generations are more comfortable sending an email or text as their initial form of communication. How will businesses run effectively with employees that have different communication habits?

·         Accommodating Aging Workers:  As people continue to work until an older age, how does a business help elders stay in the workforce?

·         Finding Value in All Generations:  Is a business capitalizing on older workers’ gained knowledge? Is a business effectively utilizing young talent to bring in new ideas and a fresh set of eyes?


Service Impacts


Although all businesses are impacted by aging, this is especially true for industries geared toward older consumers as this market continues to grow. It is important to account for the rise in the aging population in business’ marketing and business plans. In order to most effectively achieve this, the following considerations should be kept in mind.

·         Appealing to Seniors:  When marketing to seniors, does a business consider the preferences of seniors? How can a business make older consumers embrace and want new products, especially technology, that they are not accustomed to?

·         Accessibility:  It is important to make a business’ services or products as easily accessible as possible, especially for an older population. For example, if customers are going to a business’ physical location, is there convenient parking? Is it on the ground floor? Are there wide aisles for walkers? For businesses that only provide products, can they be delivered?

·         Marketing Techniques:  How is a business marketing to seniors? Although much of marketing now takes place online and through social media, businesses should understand seniors’ relationship with technology when developing digital elder care marketing campaigns.

·         Senior Market Segmentation:  There are different groups within the aging population that will respond differently to certain marketing tactics. Businesses should consider which sect of the senior market they are targeting. What is the spending power of their senior customers? Are they on a very fixed income, have large pensions or big bank accounts?

·         Keeping up with Demand:  As the aging population grows – 21 percent of Americans will be over 65 by 2050 – how is an elder-focused business preparing to serve the increased demand?


If handled correctly, aging will provide many businesses with strong growth opportunities. Businesses can prepare for this increase in older consumers by adequately adjusting marketing plans and making sure the business is senior friendly. The key to taking advantage of shifting generational demographics is moving with the times and being prepared.


For more information about how to plan to market to seniors, contact Focus on Aging.


Business Owners Must Think Differently When Marketing to Seniors

Posted on July 7, 2017 by - Elder Care Marketing

Rethink Marketing to Seniors

Rethink Marketing to Seniors

As discussed in my last two articles, my goal is to provide a discussion surrounding the impact of aging on business through a series of blog posts.


This series provides my views to the following questions that were posed to our panel at the Celebrating Seniors Coalition:


In your opinion, what are local companies and communities doing to help serve the aging market? Which ones are excelling and providing models of how to best prepare for the longevity revolution?


In my opinion, the typically senior-oriented industries are excelling in understanding how to market to seniors and adapting their marketing techniques as changes occur within the aging population.  Just a few of these industries are senior housing, home care, home health, travel, diabetes care and medical supplies. Of course, even in the businesses geared to elders, there is always room for refinement, improvement and growth.


I have been impressed with some local Chicagoland organizations that are finding creative channels to entice seniors to use their services.  Below is a list of a few:


  • Opera: For opera lovers who find it difficult to make the trip to Chicago’s Lyric Opera House, the New York Metropolitan Opera launched The Met: Live in HD. This program, run at the Regal theaters in Chicagoland, shows their current productions live at local movie theaters.


  • Virtual Activities: Virtual Reality (VR) is being used for patient education, activities and other uses. Local filmmaker and developer, Jake Kahana, created which brings travel and other experiences to home bound seniors.


  • Hearing Aid Programs: Costco offers free hearing screenings and some hearing aids are being sold over the counter.


  • Bus Systems: Locally, the Village of Niles has a courtesy bus system operation within the Village that is free to riders.


  • Delivery Services: Many businesses are enabling easy access to their products and services by including at-home delivery. One of the many companies frequently used by seniors is Peapod Home Delivery (grocery delivery service).


  • Venues for Card Games: Many local restaurants are opening their doors to card players during off-hours such as Pinstripes.

To address the second question, my fellow panelists and I all admitted that it required some extensive research to answer which companies are excelling in their preparation for the longevity revolution. Below are my three favorite finds.


  • Reverse Mentoring: Major companies like Target and UnitedHealth are reportedly introducing ‘reverse mentoring‘ to their workforce.  These programs encourage younger employees to mentor older ones.
  • Research Efforts: IBM has opened a new ‘Aging in Place’ environment in its Research Lab in Austin to study ways to use technologies to help seniors live fuller lives at home.
  • Keeping Retirees Involved: Michelin rehires retirees to help oversee projects.


As seen in the sample of answers to these two questions, it is evident that there is an abundance of opportunities for anyone interested in pursuing seniors as their target market. To discuss how your company can market to seniors and capture the elder market, contact me at  Focus on Aging.




Marketing to Seniors in 2017

Posted on June 15, 2017 by - Aging Industry

Marketing to Seniors Panel

Marketing to Seniors Panel

This blog post is one of five articles that will address aging’s impact on business and community.  Each blog will respond to a question asked of me as a participant on a panel of experts in the aging industry. The questions ranged from healthcare and education to marketing and workforce trends.


Below are the thought-provoking questions, put together by gerontologist Dr. Lydia Manning that guided the discussion and these articles.


  1. What are the biggest impacts that an aging population will have on business and community? What are the biggest challenges and opportunities of an aging economy?
  2. In your opinion, what are local companies and communities doing to help serve the aging market? Which ones are excelling and providing models of how to best prepare for the longevity revolution?
  3. What sectors of business will be most impacted by aging?
  4. As leaders in the fields of business and aging, what advice do you have for business owners about how to best prepare for and capitalize on the promise of longevity?
  5. How do you experience your own aging in the context of business and community?


I was honored to be invited to participate in this lively discussion. The event was hosted by the Celebrating Seniors Coalition that partnered with local chambers of commerce to address how aging affects businesses. The event’s keynote speaker, Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos cookies joined us on the panel.


My fellow panelists were Dr. Claudia Santin, Dean of the College of Business at Concordia University Chicago and Rosanna Marquez, JD, AARP State President.  The moderator was Dr. Daniel Condon, Professor of Economics at Dominican University. What a fabulous team!


In addition to capitalizing on my 30 plus years working as a businesswoman and founder of Focus on Aging, which provides marketing guidance to businesses that serve the senior marketplace, I consulted other sources to prepare for the panel. I read the latest literature on eldercare marketing and trends and spoke with several colleagues in the field to hear their input on the topics. While preparing, I realized that I had acquired significant useful and interesting information that could be turned into articles, prompting the creation of this series of articles.


Stay tuned for the responses to the questions, and please feel free to share your opinions.


For more information about the program or questions related to eldercare marketing, feel free to reach out to Focus on Aging.



Selling to Seniors: An under-utilized market

Posted on May 2, 2017 by - Elder Care Marketing

Marketing to SeniorsAs an expert in elder care marketing, I was recently asked to participate in a panel discussion that will focus on marketing to seniors. The keynote speaker is Wally Amos of Famous Amos Cookies. When I founded Focus on Aging, a premier multi-industry marketing and consulting company in Chicago, I was one of the first marketing specialists to concentrate on the elder care market. At that time, there were very few marketers who knew how to work with the aging population. Over the past 20 years, awareness of elder issues has increased. I have also seen the marketplace for “seniors” change significantly: people are retiring later, living longer and using social media to interact with the world in a new way.


Businesses looking to market themselves to older adults need to be constantly educating themselves about evolution in the marketplace. Is your audience on Facebook? Are they dealing with caring for their own aging relatives while becoming seniors themselves? Do they have different health issues than their parents did? For example, this “newest” generation of seniors is far more likely to need hip or knee replacements earlier in their lives because of their active lifestyles, so accessible community events are a must.


While many advertisers focus their attention towards younger generations, the Baby Boomer market, which ranges from people roughly aged 50-70, remains under-served. I wrote about this issue last year. Despite a growing trend for businesses to devote a majority of their marketing dollars towards millennials, I still believe strongly that businesses that put time, energy and resources into elder marketing will see significant return on their investments.


Wally Amos

Wally Amos

I will be joined on the panel – entitled “The Silver Gold Rush: Aging’s Impact on Business and Community – by Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos Cookies and The Cookie Kahuna, Rosanna Marquez, AARP Illinois State President, and Claudia Santin, Dean of Concordia University’s College of Business. The panel is part of the Oak Park – River Forest Chamber of Commerce Economic Luncheon, which takes place on May 23 at Dominican University.


Celebrating SeniorsThe Oak Park – River Forest Chamber of Commerce Economic Luncheon is co-Hosted by Celebrating Seniors Coalition, Oak Park – River Forest Chamber of Commerce and Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development. The luncheon is part of “Celebrating Seniors Week”, which takes place May 18-25. In addition to attending the luncheon and participating in other “Celebrating Seniors Week” events, you can support these organizations by purchasing bags of “The Cookie Kahuna” products at more than 30 businesses throughout the Oak Park-River Forest area for a $6 donation. All of the proceeds from the donations go to the Celebrating Seniors Coalition.


I am excited to participate in this wonderful week of celebrating seniors and look forward to sharing my expertise with the panel. I hope you can join us. Please visit this link to register.



Three Tips for Bloggers Who Market to Seniors

Posted on April 3, 2017 by - Elder Care Marketing

This blog post is a contribution from freelance writer Jess Walter. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and contributing blogs to Focus on Aging. Thank you Jess!


There are many reasons to start a blog. You have a lifetime of experience, so you have a lot to say. Maybe you want to share your wisdom with others. Or you may have a product you want to

Bloggers Who Market to Seniors

Bloggers Who Market to Seniors

market to seniors. Regardless of the reason for starting your blog, you want to keep it going. The best way to do that is to increase the number of subscribers you have. Here are three easy ways to do that.


Give Something Away for Free


To get people to sign up for your blog, you should collect their email addresses so you can notify them when a new post is up. Many people, especially senior citizens, don’t like to give out their email address because they fear they will be inundated with messages.


So, to make it worth their while, you need to provide them something in exchange. If your blog makes money, it could be a small gift, but more often it’s a lead magnet such as an eBook, article or an infographic they can download.


Whatever it is, it should tie into the subject matter of your blog. If your blog is about gardening, you could write an eBook about which kinds of plants do best in each area of the country. A blog about senior life might offer an eBook on investment ideas in your retirement. Whatever you choose to offer, it should have enough value to get your visitors to part with their email address to get it.


Make it Easy to Find Your Blog Posts


Each new blog post should get the prime real estate on your website. Since most people will get to your blog from a link in an email or on a social media site, you want the post to be the first thing they see when they get to your site.


You can post the entire blog on the home page or the first few paragraphs, but the blog headline and intro should be visible on the home page without scrolling. This is called being ‘above the fold,’ a term that harkens back to when newspapers could charge more for an advertisement that was placed in the top half of the page.


Make it Easy to Subscribe


Visitors to your website should be able to subscribe to your blog from wherever they are. There should be a sign-up form on the home page, on the product page if you have one, and on the ‘contact us’ page.  On the Focus on Aging site, we include it in both spots.


You started your blog because you have a lot to say, so make it easy for people to read what you write. Try these three tips, and you’ll likely see an increase in subscribers in the next 30 days.



Home Modifications are Key for Aging in Place

Posted on March 13, 2017 by - Aging Industry

This blog post is a contribution from freelance writer Jess Walter. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.


Home Modifications are Key for Aging in Place   


Packing to Move

Packing to Move

Chicago’s older population is growing at a steady pace and according to the U.S. Census, the number of people aged over 65 is expected to outnumber those aged under 18, by 2056. Most seniors are choosing to stay in their current homes and ‘age in place’, instead of moving in with relatives or into retirement communities. Almost 90% of seniors over 65 want to carry on living in their own homes for as long as they can.


Seniors prefer to stay at home


It’s not surprising that staying at home is the preferred option for older seniors. Staying in their neighborhoods means they can continue to live around their friends and enjoy their independence. But for family members, aging in place can be worrying if the current homes are not suitable for older people. In fact, across the U.S., in less than 20 years, a third of households will have a senior over 65, but over 95% of homes do not have any features to make them safe and accessible for the elderly.

But fortunately, an increasing number of designers, home builders and realtors have recognized the increased requirements of aging in place and are working together to create accessible homes that are suitable for seniors to enable boomers to stay at home for as long as possible.


Modifying an existing home


Making a home more accessible for a senior can be anything from installing grab bars in the bathroom and improving lighting around the property, to remodeling the entire house. The more complex structural changes can be ideal to enable improved wheelchair access, lower the countertops in the kitchen and create a fully accessible bathroom. For seniors and their families looking to make such changes, many use elder care specialists who have received the certification as an aging-in-place specialist.  If fact, if you are in this profession, adding this certification to your resume can help you when marketing to seniors and elder care marketing.


For information on how to market your home modification for seniors or move management business, contact us.


Are you communicating with clients the wrong way?

Posted on January 27, 2017 by - Customer service

Seniors like to text

Seniors like to text


I learned something new at a recent meeting of elder care marketers and healthcare professionals. Mary Tellis-Nayak shared fascinating research on how patients and clients communicate with healthcare providers.


Mary has a long list of credentials. VP of Quality Initiatives for NCR Health, Master Of Science in Nursing,  Master in Public Health. Plus, she’s an RN. Mary is certainly a wealth of information.


But for the most part, her statistics speak for themselves. Her study shows just how tech savvy seniors and their adult children have gotten. They use the internet to make health care decisions.


This phenomenon is something I’ve written about at length. It’s great to find solid research that backs up what I’ve been saying all along.


Mary’s studies found:


  • 87% of Americans use the internet regularly
  • 39% of those users have visited
  • 22% have visited a local provider website
  • 35% of consumers are likely or very likely to prefer a healthcare provider after visiting their website


When asked which form of social media they use to obtain health information, respondents’ answers were surprising: a whopping 81% use Facebook 41% use YouTube and 24% use Twitter. Plus, 55% trust or highly trust info received from providers via social media sites.


Seniors are just as glued to their cell phones as everyone else. But we don’t need research to tell us that. I recently had lunch with a retired 80-year old colleague. She checked her texts throughout our lunch. If that’s not proof enough, check out the picture at the top of this page.


Seniors’ trust in web-based info will only keep growing. People make real decisions about their healthcare every day, based on what they read online. We’re no longer on the verge of a digital age. We’re in one.


That said, long-term care providers still lag behind in forming digital relationships with consumers. For starters, customer complaints are often not handled properly. Complaints are an opportunity in disguise. When a customer complains, it means they care. They’re giving you a chance to fix the problem.


According to Tellis-Nayak’s study, a customer who complains and has their situation remedied comes away from that experience with more loyalty than someone who didn’t have a problem in the first place.


That’s because a friendly 90-second interaction to resolve a complaint is an opportunity for the provider to be friendly, solve problems, and create an emotional bond.


Of course, what often winds up happening is that unhappy customers won’t bother complaining. Instead, they’ll quietly take their business elsewhere. Or worse, they vent their frustrations on the internet. Those comments are hard to erase.


But here’s good news: the same technology that makes those nasty comments possible can be used to prevent them from happening.


Here’s how: use technology to make 2017 the year of listening. Conduct satisfaction surveys. Get actionable reports. Use the results to improve your level of service. Make it easy for clients and their families to express concerns. Launch a digital marketing plan that boosts communication, connection, and loyalty.


Not sure where to begin? Contact us. We’ll be happy to get you up and running.



How The Aging Industry Changed In 30 Years. And How It Hasn’t.

Posted on December 21, 2016 by - Aging Industry

Aging Industry Changes

Aging Industry Changes

A few days ago, I came up against one of the toughest interview questions I’ve heard regarding the aging industry. Carol Marak, the editor of  asked me: “After thirty years in the aging industry, what one area has made the most progress? And what area has made the least progress?”


Great question. (It’s actually two questions, making it twice as hard to answer.) I had trouble coming up with a single response. I’ve seen so many changes over the years. It’s hard to pick just one.


For starters, there was a substantial shift in all aspects of the Long Term Care or Nursing Home industry, even in nursing home marketing. When I started out, nursing homes were institutional – a place to live out your final days. Today, the model has progressed to rehabilitation centers  – places where patients get treatment and return home.


Is that the one area that’s made the most progress? Hard to say. What about the new handicapped accessibility codes? Before these codes came to Illinois in 1997, there were few required handicapped spots, accessible bathrooms, and curb ramps. The new regulations made life easier for many seniors.


There are many more examples of progress. But in the end, the answer I chose as the single most important one, is the rise of digital technology. You can view my responses and interview on YouTube.


Granted, the majority of seniors are typically not all that tech savvy. Many don’t own a Smartphone. But technology is making life better for seniors in countless ways. Let’s take a look.


1. The Internet has made it possible to access health information across the globe.


2. Health Tracking lets doctors watch vital signs from far away. Patients can wear a heart monitor and live at home.


3. GPS Systems take home safety to a new level. Some systems will detect if a person has fallen, and will prompt someone to call 911.


4. Skype and Facetime help seniors keep in touch with friends, family, and grandchildren. No more once a week calls. Often there are check-ins several times a day.


5. Uber and Lyft provide seniors and their caregivers with a convenient new transportation option.


6. Brain Fitness and other Internet-based programs and apps help with brain health.


7. Audio books give visually-impaired people access to almost any book at the tap of a button.


Technology has brought the most dramatic changes to our industry, hands down.


But there’s still the issue of the second half of Carol’s question: which area has made the least progress in our industry?


Well, there’s the housing issue. And there’s the issue of sheer numbers: exploding populations of baby boomers turning into senior citizens. And let’s not forget the serious health issues, where cures don’t seem to come fast enough.


Take Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Not nearly enough progress has been made in these areas. The number of Americans with dementia is increasing at a rapid pace.


Walk to End Alzheimer's disease

Walk to End Alzheimer’s disease

So that’s my answer: In my opinion, more progress in the aging industry is needed in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Consider what the Alzheimer’s Association reports in 2016:


1. One in three seniors will die of a form of dementia.


2. More than 5 million people are living with dementia.


3. Dementia kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.


4. One in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease.


If this is depressing you, hang on, it’s not all doom and gloom. New drugs slow down the disease. Researchers have a better understanding every day. Some evidence shows that genetic testing predicts dementia. This can lead to earlier, proactive treatments.


There is cause for hope. But that said, we’ve had nowhere NEAR the progress we needed on this issue over the past thirty years. Hopefully, new treatment breakthroughs are just around the corner.


Let’s end on a positive note. What one area do YOU think has made the most progress in the aging industry?




From One Generation to the Next: All in the Family

Posted on November 15, 2016 by - Events

Next generation helps family business

Next generation helps elder care marketing



Recently, my oldest daughter has stepped into the role of CEU/Education Coordinator for Focus on Aging. I can’t even express the joy of having my daughter take over one of our very popular programs.  She has a Business Degree and has grown up working part-time for Focus on Aging for many years.  It has been so much fun to mentor her, and also learn from her. With her youth, creativity and strong organizational skills, she is bringing fresh ideas and systems to our already successful division.  We have had thousands of clients and participants take advantage of our services over the years.


Focus on Aging has been providing continuing education events since the inception of our company.  Providing free CEUs started as a value-added bonus for our elder care marketing clients.   Businesses and individuals who would like to provide CEUs, but are not in need of our elder care marketing services, can pay a small fee for the CEUs. Focus on Aging is an approved Continuing Ed sponsor for many professions.




  1. Focus on Aging can certify your educational marketing programs with CEUs and CEs.
  2. We take the burden off of you. The paperwork and coordination involved is very detailed and very time-consuming. Why not use your valuable time elsewhere?
  3. We do not use your sign-in sheet names and contact information for any purposes. They belong only to you.  They are not added to the Focus on Aging mailing list or any other list.
  4. We do not give a commercial for Focus on Aging at your event. It is your event, not ours.
  5. We personalize the Certificates of Attendance for you.
  6. We can help you form a strategic partnership with other organizations for your event.
  7. Our turn-around time is very fast.
  8. We charge the same fee no matter the audience size or length of the program.
  9. We offer a “repeat rate” half-price fee, if you host the same program on another date.
  10. Right now we are offering a special rate to welcome our new coordinator as well as a referral discount, so it is actually possible to receive these CEUs for free.




Focus on Aging is a strong believer in the value of CEUs as a marketing tool. Oftentimes providing educational programs is the only way to get in front of your referral sources that are in need of continuing education credits.  Not only is presenting to your target market an important marketing technique, but also, many of these groups, such as nurses, case managers, LCPCs and licensed social workers are required to attend approved continuing educational programs to maintain their licenses.  Offering continuing ed programs are a win-win for everyone.  You can provide your referral sources with the CEUs they need to maintain their professional licenses and, at the same time, you are able to speak about your expertise and services.




Focus on Aging is licensed as a continuing education sponsor for nurses, licensed social workers, LCPC and can provide case management CEUs in Illinois. In Illinois, certified nurses need 20 CEUs every two years and licensed social workers need 30 CEUs to maintain their licenses. Social workers and nurses are two important referral sources in the aging and elder care marketing industry.




Focus on Aging helps to provide strategic partnering for continuing education events. For example, a speaker, rehab community and an elder law attorney may form a partnership to co-host an event. This allows them to pool their contact lists, share costs, co-market the event’s publicity and build business relationships. Since Focus on Aging has many important professional relationships, we are happy to connect our clients to others who might be a key partner. In addition, Focus on Aging is able to promote the programs to the community or a smaller targeted group. Regardless of the type of seminar, we can take care of the process from beginning to end or anywhere in-between, including finding a speaker for you.


If you are interested in learning more about continuing education programs or how Focus on Aging can help you or your company, please contact us.



Posted on October 14, 2016 by - Divorce and Seniors

Gray Divorce on Rise

Gray Divorce on Rise

As a business owner that caters to those who service and market to seniors and boomers, I’ve been interested in recent articles highlighting studies about the increasing divorce rate among higher age groups.




These later life divorces, commonly referred to as gray divorces, are most prevalent for those 50 and older.  As of 2014, couples in this age group were two times more likely to divorce than they were in 1990.




Statistics indicate that one in four current divorces is in the over 50 age group. In addition, these statistics report that second or third marriages have higher divorce rates than first-time marriages. Yet, more than half of gray divorces result from first marriages, as well as marriages of more than 20 years.




This new trend has spiked the interest of many researchers searching for the cause of the rise in gray divorces. While this change cannot be attributed to one specific reason, there are many different speculated causes. Although divorce rates have risen over time, this does not necessarily mean that people’s discontentment with their marriages have directly risen at the same rate. However, it does indicate that today’s conditions make it more possible for couples who have been married for many years to get divorced.




Compared with the past, there is much less stigma surrounding getting and being divorced. While divorces were once looked down upon or seen as an embarrassment, these judgements have significantly lessened. Now, divorce is mostly a widely accepted life choice.




Further, the evolving status of women in society has most likely contributed to this change. As more and more women participate in and take on larger roles in the work force, they are less financially dependent on their spouses. Therefore, they are more able to exert their independence in other ways too.  This probably is partly why women are typically the initiators of their gray divorce.




In speaking to experienced divorce attorneys, they report anecdotally that another reason for this phenomenon is our increased life expectancy combined with increased health later in life. Fifty years ago, an unhappily married person in their fifties or sixties may have simply accepted their predicament due to their age. Today, people in this age group are hopeful of a much longer, healthier and active life for years to come.  As a result, they do not wish to spend their remaining time in an unhappy or unfulfilled relationship.




Although gray divorces could be due to a multitude of reasons, as every divorce results from its own unique set of circumstances, there is no doubt that the gray divorce rate has steadily grown and will.  This phenomenon has many implications, including opportunities to market to seniors, older adults and boomers who are divorcing.



Posted on September 1, 2016 by - Aging Pets



Elderly Dog - Lady

Elderly Dog – Lady

As the owner of our 16 year old dog, Lady, I have recently come across many unanticipated and frustrating challenges relating to an aging dog. Though Lady is still the sweet dog she always was, and still perky for her age, she now is hard of hearing which makes it harder to communicate with her. She also barks through the night and cannot stay home alone for more than a few hours without having to be let outside, leading us to need someone to watch her while at work and difficulty finding someone to watch her while on vacation.


I am also going through the process of denial and acceptance.  The vet insists Lady has a type of mild dementia, and I continue to question his diagnosis. She does wander aimlessly throughout the house, and I often find her in our shower stall.  We have tried many behavioral and medical interventions, but none have solved the problem.


Lady Wandering

Lady Wandering



While we once had an abundance of friends who would jump at the opportunity to take Lady in for a few overnights, they have all politely declined as it has become too much work to take care of her. Although I do it all with love, and am so happy she has lived healthily well beyond her expected years, I did not foresee the later responsibilities that would come with having a dog.


After spending countless hours looking into the best veterinarians, dog walkers and kennels, coupled with my research on the fate of most aging dogs, I have realized that there is a huge business and marketing opportunity within the private-pay aging dog industry. Many dog (and other animal) owners consider their pets to be family members and would do anything to help them.  For those of us in the elder care profession, we know that many older people, who love their animals,  avoid moving due to not wanting to leave their beloved pet behind, which has led to many senior communities becoming pet friendly. I wrote about this in a previous blog post.




As a professional in the elder care world, I could not help but relate my aging dog experience to many issues I’ve seen with aging in general. Many elderly are in need of respite care, a private duty caregiver, assisted living or a long term care community. This is similar to us now having to rely on professional dog services rather than the help of family or friends as a result of our dog’s aging condition.


Upon doing some informal research to help guide me on how to best care for our dog, I realized that aging dog issues are hugely prevalent, yet they aren’t widely discussed in the general public. So many older dogs develop serious health issues or simply require more attention and care later in life. I was surprised to learn how common it is for people to try to find a new home/shelter for their dog when they can no longer bear the extra responsibilities or find the appropriate resources to help them.


In many cases, sadly, people put down their aging dogs. While we are far from considering this action, I understand the implications an aging dog can have including keeping a job, getting a night’s sleep and many other lifestyle changes. Possibly if people were more aware of the available resources to aide those with their aging dogs, their actions would be different.




The marketing of current resources, however limited, could be greatly improved. All of the resources I have found have been a result of my own research and word of mouth, rather than by social media or advertisements. Considering that there is a significant market, there is huge potential to make aging dog services well-marketed. Luckily we recently found a doggie day care that has a “zen” room for older dogs and we are so grateful for it!


Furthermore, since there is such a large market, there is plenty of room for new businesses within the industry. There is opportunity for someone to open a small doggie day care, provide geriatric care services or a dog walking service catered specifically to the needs of older dogs. I hope that these opportunities are soon taken advantage of to better the lives of both aging pets and their owners.


Never Too Old For a Mentor

Posted on July 31, 2016 by - Mentoring

My Mentor Rev. Daniel Alvarez And Me

My Mentor Rev. Daniel Alvarez And Me



Whenever starting a new job, or entering a new professional career, being mentored is key to learning and eventually success. As I have written about in previous blogs, I highly value mentor-mentee relationships. Those who know me professionally have surely heard me speak about my wonderful mentor, Reverend Daniel Alvarez. He has been an integral part of my career and development since I began working in the elder care field. Although Rev. Alvarez was especially helpful to me in the early stages of my career, I still continue to seek out his advice and develop our relationship to this day. He is proud to let everyone know that he is my mentor and mentions it whenever we are together.




Mentors can help you advance your career, make connections and find resources. It is important not to let your mentor slip away as you become more established in your career. While many professionals commonly make the transition from having a mentor to taking on a mentee, it should be recognized that maintaining a relationship, or even pursuing a new one, with a mentor is valuable during any stage in your career.




Mentors come at all stages and ages and the mentorship should not have an expiration date.  My nephew, who is a born leader, recently graduated from college. He is extremely talented and will be heading to Disney World in a few weeks to be a character actor.  One of my mentees, whose relationship we have maintained for 20 plus years, heard about it, and asked me if my nephew could meet with her high-school aged son.  She told me that the Disney program is his dream. My nephew graciously offered to meet with the high school student and, because of my maintained relationship with my mentee, a new mentor-mentee relationship was born at ages 21 and 17.




Throughout my career, I have come to realize that you are never too old to learn. The only way to continue to grow professionally is to take on new risks and challenges. It is very easy to fall into the trap of never changing your ways once you are comfortable with your career. However, this severely limits your growth opportunities. For me, as a professional in marketing, and especially elder care marketing, it is particularly important to generate new ideas and strategies as marketing is a very fluid and creative field. This is important now more than ever with the rapid rise of technology and marketing. Regardless of how long you have been working or how established you are in your career, continuous learning and stepping outside your comfort zone inevitably means you will face new questions or uncertainties. Having a mentor to lean on for advice and support in these situations is so valuable.




As stated above, while still keeping up my relationship with my mentor, I also put in the effort to maintain relationships with my mentees. For all those lucky enough to have a mentor-mentee relationship, remember to show your appreciation for your mentors and mentees, as both can provide invaluable and meaningful impact on your professional and personal development.

For more information on elder care marketing and relationship building, contact us at Focus on Aging.


New Target Market: Baby Boomer Aged Grandparents

Posted on June 30, 2016 by - Marketing to Grandparents

Grandmother and Grandaughter

Grandmother and Grandaughter

I recently came across an attention-grabbing Newsweek article. The article claimed that advertisers spend 500% more on advertising targeted to millennials than all other age groups combined. As a professional who markets to seniors, I found this especially intriguing. It made me wonder if advertisers are correct in their target audience, and if not, to which age group should marketers shift their focus? Should we at Focus on Aging still be concentrating on marketing to the elderly? After conducting some investigating, I found a largely untapped market with increasingly high potential: baby boomer aged grandparents.

Why market to grandparents?

Grandparents make up more than one third of the population, with over 60% of grandparents belonging to the baby boomer age group. According to US News and World Report’s 2015 Baby Boomer Report, baby boomers make 70% of US disposable income and 35% of baby boomers have a household income of more than $100,000. Additionally, 49% of baby boomers are planning to spend money on a vacation within a year. Considering all the facts, it is clear that a majority of baby boomers have money to spend and are willing to spend it.

Specifically, baby boomer aged grandparents are likely willing to spend this money on their grandchildren. According to, 72% of grandparents say that being a grandparent is the most important and satisfying thing in their life. Moreover, grandparents reportedly account for 42% of all consumer spending on gifts. If grandparents’ feelings and spending habits, including that they spend $52 billion annually on their grandchildren, are accurately captured in these statistics, then why aren’t they the target audience for more marketing campaigns?

How to market to grandparents

As I’ve mentioned in many past blog posts, the most important aspect of successful marketing always is to know your target audience. Understanding baby boomers’, and specifically grandparents’, thought processes and value systems is critical to marketing to them.

Also, many people tend to associate older adults with lack of technological use. However, using technology and the Internet is possibly the most effective marketing strategy to reach baby boomers. According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of baby boomers use the Internet and 50% are on social media. This means that there is huge potential to use online and email advertisements to target baby boomer aged grandparents. Although most products or services typically marketed to baby boomers are meant for adults, there is great marketing potential in shifting the target audience to grandparents for children’s products. By incorporating the highly valued grandchild-grandparent relationship into child related advertisements, an entirely new audience can be captured.


For more information on marketing to seniors, elder care marketing or marketing to grandparents, contact us.


Balancing Work and Play – My Personal Challenge

Posted on May 24, 2016 by - Healthy Aging

Balance Work and Play

Lifestyle Balance

Last week, I attended a Kundalini yoga workshop. The class ended with each participant randomly selecting a card which contained a message to reflect upon. As I processed the words on my card, which read to balance work and play, I knew that message was meant for me.


Life-work balance has always been an intriguing topic to me as it hits close to home, especially as a working mom. I have always tried to do it all. Through my very busy lifestyle, I am continuously learning about time constraints and time management. Yet as someone who has owned my elder care marketing consulting firm for more than twenty five years, achieving that balance has been a constant effort.


I enjoy my work and am a dedicated professional. However, above my work, I value being connected with my family and friends, having fun and a good laugh, helping others and staying active and healthy. And of course, there is the work that goes along with managing a household.


Although I devote a lot of time to my personal life, I feel that in a sense, I am never fully disconnected from my work.It has been very hard for me to turn off my phone, avoid my emails and turn down new business when I am trying to devote more time to aspects of my life outside of work. Although those very qualities have added to the success of Focus on Aging, and I am very passionate about my work, I always wish I had the ability and discipline to unplug more. In fact, the very first thing I do upon waking is check my emails.


I was discussing this with one of the other workshop participants who is the owner of a graphic design firm.  She confided that she grapples with the same issues as I do.  She then added that she always worries where her next client will come from; she doesn’t have a steady ebb and flow of business.


Her comment gave me pause to reflect on my business career. After talking to her, I realized how fortunate I have been. Since the inception of Focus on Aging, as one my main contracts or projects come to an end, almost like magic, another assignment arrives at my door.  Though I work hard for it, meeting my business goals and attracting new clients has never been a problem. There is an easy synchronicity to the flow of my business.


After receiving and reflecting upon Sunday’s message and appreciating that there is a synchronicity to my business, I decided that at last, I am going to focus on achieving more work and play balance. I need to set more boundaries for myself related to my working hours and carve out the specific times for work. I have written down what I have been pledging to myself for years.  Please feel free to add any other ideas or pearls of wisdom:


  1. Unless there is an evening event or work emergency, my workday will end at 5:00 pm.
  2. I will not check my work emails on the weekend.
  3. I will also not send work emails after hours or on the weekends.
  4. Social media posts related to work will occur during the work day, including blog posts.

Wish me luck on the above, and if you receive an after-hours email from me, feel free to remind me of my pledge!