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How The Oldest Generation Is Embracing New Technology

05/17/2017 04:58 EDT | Updated 05/17/2017 04:59 EDT
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Senoir woman buying stuff online

There have only been a few times in my career when I've put the phone down and thought: "Did I just hear that?" The most recent, involved a call from our team in Calgary that had just acquired a new customer. That, in itself, would not prompt a call to the President of Heart to Home Meals but what they had to tell me was amazing.

The senior in question, lives on her own in a small town just south of Calgary and does all the orders online...and she has just celebrated her 103rd birthday!

Canada is Aging

Despite the ongoing assumption that older people are reluctant to embrace new technology we have seen a tremendous growth in our customers placing orders online because of the convenience it offers. Nonetheless, I was surprised to hear about such a mature woman being so comfortable doing her business this way. To put this in to context, she was born one year before the first ever North American coast to coast long distance telephone call was made.

Now in 2017, the pace of technological change has reached unprecedented levels and it affects so many aspects of our lives. It is only when we come across something unexpected do we recognize how technological innovation affects our day-to-day lives in so many ways.

The news about our newest, and oldest customer, occurred only a couple of days before Statistics Canada announced, for the first time since 1871, we now have more seniors than children living in Canada. The 2016 census highlighted a trend that has been underway for years and is forecast to continue for decades as we see more and more people reach retirement age.

Making Life Better

We also know many seniors are not only living longer but have more disposable income than ever before. This enables them to make quality-of-life decisions; including placing greater importance on diet and other lifestyle choices.

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More and more seniors regard retirement as a time to chart a new course as they bring their working careers to a close. Few would agree with Ernest Hemingway who said "Retirement is the ugliest word in the language."

And while many baby boomers are living longer than previous generations, they are also likely to be members of a dwindling club -- those that worked for the same company all their working lives.

New Career Opportunities

Today's young adults in North America are expected to have, on average, at least eight different employers and as many as three careers during their working lives. And economic developments mean the majority of the jobs will be in the service industry.

Not everyone is happy to jump from one job to another, some are seeking a career move that allows them to make an impact on people's lives. What we are discovering at Heart to Home Meals are people looking to join our team who have decades of work experience but are seeking something that offers more than a paycheque every two weeks.

From our side, we are looking for franchisees who want to be part of their community and understand this unique service necessitates looking beyond the prism of a franchise opportunity.

On June 1st Canada will mark Intergenerational Day a chance to recognize the detrimental effects of being isolated and how we can make a difference by connecting with people in our neighbourhoods. We know regular interaction, exercise and a proper diet are the foundations to maintaining a healthy life. Having specifically-created meals sitting in a senior's freezer, which can be prepared in a few minutes, has tremendous benefits.

All those seeking to be franchisees must understand the rewards connected with this type of service go beyond financial security and at its heart, must be a desire to help seniors maintain their independence and be part of a compassionate community.

While technology has changed many parts of our lives our base requirements are about eating and the ability to interact with others. At times, commentators have raised concerns about the onslaught of innovation creating unnecessary barriers for human interaction. But at times, as I recently learned, the opposite can also be true: it can provide us with an outlet to meet people from a generation who understood, and cherish, the importance of face-to-face relationships even if they now have to start them online.

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