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Loyal to a Fault: Can Habit Become an Excuse to Resist Change?

Emily Reynolds October 28, 2019
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Many of us in the longevity market offer innovation to our older customers. Can our solutions break through the power of consumer habits?

We humans are creatures of habit and pattern. They help us structure our days and make our lives more efficient. They comfort us and give us a sense of control, however illusory it may be. Our love for the familiar and predictable shows up in our daily routines and in our choices—including how we save and spend our hard-earned dollars.

Think about it: do you have a favorite clothing or shoe label, type of paper towels or TV network? Do you shop at one grocery store over another? Most of us have brand loyalties that, like habits, provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. But when these loyalties and habits become a little too comfortable, they can actually start to impede our quality of life.

As the population of older people continues to grow in the U.S. (there will be 132 million Americans over age 50 by 2030), those of us working in the longevity market can see the potential impact of habits and loyalties in our work everyday. As we seek to serve this growing and critical segment of consumers, how can we challenge habits and patterns to help create fuller lives?

Bringing New Ideas to the Marketplace

As the marketing leader at a company whose product is new to many people, I see the power of habit frequently. Silvernest is an online homesharing platform that pairs homeowners and renters based on compatibility so they can create shared living arrangements that provide income (or savings in the case of renters), companionship and more. Even though this offering is an elegant solution to the problems of social isolation, financial strain, housing security and many others that determine quality of life, we sometimes encounter resistance.

The concept is unfamiliar, and it requires breaking from habit, pattern and familiar cultural scripts. Society tells us that independence is of utmost importance, and that living alone is somehow synonymous with it. We’ve been led to believe our options for later life are limited and bordered by golf cart paths.

But for those of us willing to go against the grain a little bit, solutions are out there—and they’re proliferating. The longevity economy is a new world of tools and technologies built to serve historically ignored older populations.

  • Silvernest helps compatible people find each other and create homesharing arrangements.
  • Papa pairs older adults with college students for companionship and support.
  • Silverbills provides bill-paying services for seniors.
  • Organizations like Encore.org and Next For Me are on a mission to help us create more fulfilling lives.
  • Websites like HelloRevel and In the Groove are bringing women together for fun and community.

Like the businesses above, many entrepreneurs, creatives, engineers and others are rethinking the way we live an entire season of our lives and redefining our options.

Finding New Possibilities Through Change

At Silvernest, we have the privilege of seeing our customers embrace a new lifestyle and experience benefits beyond their expectations. Not everyone is ready to take the leap, though. The idea of sharing your home with another person is timeless—but it has become uncommon in the last century, as we have embraced a misguided notion of strength in solitude.

The good news is that AARP reports that today’s older consumers are more willing to try new brands throughout their lives than were previous generations. How much richer might our lives be if we break some habits and open ourselves up to the possibilities of doing things differently? There are more options than ever for creating the life you want—if you have your eyes open to see them.

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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing at Silvernest, an online homesharing platform tailored for the 50+ audience. A lifelong writer and editor, Emily applies her passion for storytelling to build awareness of the life-changing benefits that arise when two (or more) people homeshare.

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