A Senior Moment

Did you know that every eight seconds, someone in America will turn 50 years old? In 2012, the nation’s population of people aged 50 and over is estimated to reach 100 million. And, according to the Administration on Aging of The Department of Health and Human Services, the population of Americans 65+ will increase to 55 million by 2020.

These statistics represent tremendous opportunity for the lighting industry. As Eunice Noell-Waggoner, president of the Center of Design for an Aging Society in Portland, explained during the Lighting for Senior Living seminar at the recent ALA Conference, “As we age, we need a different quality of light as less light reaches the retina. There is also an increased sensitivity to glare.”

The phase-out of the 100-watt incandescent lamp this year has caused concern among older Americans, who rely on high output to do routine tasks. “Many who are coming into our store are afraid of losing the 100-watt light bulb and don’t understand how less wattage [with the replacement bulbs] will give the same light output,” said seminar audience member Rick Lappin of Lappin Lighting in Minneapolis. “They don’t want to hear a scientific description either,” he added.

One of the panelists on the seminar – Terry McGowan, the ALA’s director of engineering & technology – suggested that lighting showrooms create a display that would demonstrate the comparison. McGowan mentioned that at the Cleveland Sight Center’s store, there is a vignette with a desk with a simulated checkbook on it along with a task light. The setting and activity are ones that are familiar to seniors. Here, different lamp sources could be tried out in person. “The customers could choose whichever lamp works best for them,” McGowan stated.

In this issue, we cover not only how to approach this segment of the population but detail the upcoming lighting legislation that will be impacting consumers in 2013. These two articles will be especially important to your business going forward. Promote your lighting store as the place to go for answers to the many questions consumers of all ages have about lighting and the new energy legislation.
I wish everyone a very happy holiday and look forward to bringing you news, features, and relevant articles in the New Year.

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