Friday, May 22, 2020

Step Up to Discover Senior Motivators

Woody Allen expressed it well: “I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” Actually, for even before they die, about three of every four adults age 50+ say they prefer to remain in their current residence as they age.
     Researchers at Virginia Tech point out that for many seniors, this means making structural modifications to the home. In a multistory house, it can mean installing a stair assistive device. Such devices range from half-height blocks applied on existing stairs to the Stairlift foldable chair which attaches to the side of the staircase.
     Discovering what affects seniors’ intentions to buy stair assistive devices reveals general insights about the consumer psychology of the elderly. The researchers explored this with a blend of questionnaire and focus group data collected from community dwelling adults age 50+. The project was supported by the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation.
     Of top importance to seniors, as we’d expect, are usability and affordability. Simplicity and fiscal responsibility count for more as we progress through advancing age. This helps explain what could be seen as a puzzling finding: The older the study participant, the less interest in contemplating use of a stair assistive device. This is likely because the oldest old figure they’ve less time to recoup the benefits of the structural modification before needing to leave their multistory house.
     Positive attitude toward a device did not always mean intention to buy, or even use, that device. The senior must see a need. Sometimes the need strikes suddenly, as when the senior takes a fall on the stairs. Sometimes it builds over time as when the senior acknowledges getting up the stairs is becoming tougher. For this latter case, marketers can recommend to older adults and to the families of older adults that they compare difficulties between today and, say, one year ago.
     Devices which are unobtrusive receive better ratings. One reason is that seniors like to live in aesthetically pleasing environments. Another reason is that seniors prefer others not see them as disabled. Consistent with this, living with others in a household dampened study participants’ interest in stair assistive devices.
     There was also degree of customizability. Seniors want to be in control of any technology in their lives. They attend to protecting against errors and losses more than on taking chances and gaining more.

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