Generation Engaged: New Study Spotlights The Modern Retiree

         Generation Engaged: New Study Spotlights The Modern Retiree

PR Newswire

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 13, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Laptops and iPads are
commonplace. Medical marijuana is no longer a taboo subject. What could be
considered extreme sports are among the activities of choice. Gluten-free and
locally sourced foods are expected. Is this a college?

(Logo: )

Try a continuing care retirement community, or CCRC, according to a new senior
marketing study.

Generation Engaged: What Forward-Thinking Marketers Need to Know About Today's
Mature Market (Findings From Project Looking Glass II) provides insights into
the mindset of the modern retirement community resident. It reveals an
industry in flux, facing multigenerational challenges, but also plenty of

Based on total immersion, focus group findings and supervised shopping, the
senior market research was conducted by Varsity, a leading marketing
communications and research agency specializing in the mature market.

In 2007, Varsity sent two researchers to become full-time residents at a CCRC
in Pennsylvania for 31 days to learn how marketers and specialists could
better reach the senior population, a nationally recognized effort that became
known as Project Looking Glass. Dynamic shifts in the economy, healthcare and
technology prompted the agency to revisit the concept again in July 2012,
sending a researcher to Boulder, Colorado's Frasier Meadows for one month.
While there, she kept written and video records of day-to-day activities,
conversations and other community interactions.

Phase One included a series of observations and in-depth interviews with
retirement community residents, administration and staff. An additional
open-source element allowed members of the industry and public to participate
through social media channels that included Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and
LinkedIn. During Phase Two, additional researchers conducted focus groups with
current and potential residents, and accompanied them on "shop-alongs" at Best
Buy, Target, Safeway, restaurant chains and other outlets.

"The findings are extremely revealing," said Varsity's director of client
services John Bassounas, "not just in comparison to our 2007 project, but in
terms of the changes in the people themselves. What we're seeing is an
intelligent, informed, highly engaged group that is much more physically and
intellectually active than its counterpart just five years ago, and much more
in control."

Top-level findings include:

  oThe current mature market population is "transitional"-- a mixture of the
    Depresson-era Silent Generation and early Boomers who share some values,
    but are very distinctive in wants, needs and behaviors
  oToday's seniors conduct more online research prior to a move or purchase
  oThe popularity of homecare is increasing, something that could pose a
    threat to current independent and assisted living models.
  oDevelopers need to be cognizant of aging in place features
  oDietary trends include low-sodium, gluten-free, ocean-friendly and locally
    sourced items
  oConcern about future generations' ability to afford a retirement community
  oActivities must be wellness- and intellectually-oriented
  oThere are mixed views on healthcare reform, and more acceptance of
    person-centered, alternative and holistic treatments
  oThey are open to new technologies, including smartphones, tablets and

"This new study gives us a greater understanding of today's mature market, as
well as insights regarding the opportunities we have for reaching them," adds
Bassounas. "This audience has tremendous spending power, and providers of
products and services will have to evolve and stay ahead of trends in order to
remain competitive and appealing. We hope this provides some thought starters
that will help Boomer and senior marketers make decisions based on facts, not

Based inHarrisburg, Pa., Varsity provides marketing services for clients in
the retirement living, consumer goods and services, technology and healthcare
practice areas. The agency's client roster includesSodexo Senior
Living,American Standard Brands,Delta Health Technologiesand a number of
continuing care retirement communities across the U.S.

A copy of the full report may be requested at

Members of the Varsity team are available to provide in-depth presentations of
the report, either via webinar or in person. To schedule a presentation or for
additional information, contactMatt Bekeljaat 717-652-1277

About Varsity
Varsity is the nation's leading full-service marketing communications agency
focused on winning the mature market. We connect the mature market with brands
through one of four main categories: retirement living, consumer goods &
services, technology and healthcare. Research drives our work and our team of
passionate strategists in the disciplines of creative, public relations,
interactive and media. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Shane M. Swisher
         (717) 329-9694

SOURCE Varsity

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