Living with Age will treat old age as a chronic condition to be fought at every turn. The demographic segment of elderly is growing rapidly. However, Living with Age will uniquely target the fastest growing segment of elderly, those with limited financial resources and/or significant health problems. The publication will be subsidized, but like most of the Photolumination publications, will probably lose money. The competition includes AARP which has millions of visitors, and a new online venture called SecondAct intended to "target older Americans who are looking to begin a new phase in life."
Elders, especially those over 70 years of age, tend to be losing a variety of faculties and functions--physical, mental, and emotional. The new Living with Age, publication will realistically be based on actual capabilities, demographics, and income of the most challenged segment of the elderly. Because of the financial collapse of the last couple of years, and the evaporation of wealth due to the exposure of Ponzi schemes (Bernie Madoff), many highly educated and successful elders now find themselves financially challenged. Job loss has put greater stress on families that might, in better times, help support their aging parents. Elders that had planned to work instead of retiring now find that work is impossible to find. These difficult circumstances create a natural demographic niche for the new publication.
This contrasts with most publications and organizations serving elders, such as that of the AARP and the planned online venture, SecondAct.com, which are aimed at the affluent and middle class elder. Their target audience is typified by healthy, smiling couples with all their natural (or good synthetic) teeth intact. They have disposable income, enabling them to take expensive tours around the world with guest lecturers to entertain them, and any failing organ is replaced surgically. The focus of these upscale publications is to sell people ideas, goods, and services which encourage and enhance the idea that they can be young and live forever. By the time that a person in this group does run through their savings, gets a serious disease, or dies, its too late for them to realize that they can't take youth with them.
Living with Age will be different, and confront the real problems confronted by so many elders. This niche non-market is characterized by divorced, widowed singletons who don't get along very well with others and live lives of quiet desperation. Their incomes are not sufficient to meet their basic needs, and many have no spiritual beliefs or transcendent goals that might mitigate their situations, and they are too 'down' to think about improving their situation. The publication won't accept advertising, mainly because the target audience can't afford to buy anything, but more importantly because they are too depressed to care any more.
Articles by elders will make up most of the editorial content, and are sure to appeal to the niche audience which shares so many of the disabilities and interests of the writers. The articles will be practical, down-to-earth, and aimed at helping people cope, insofar as possible. Whereas the upscale magazine may focus on selecting an expensive, prestige brand of car to take long trips, Living with Age will offer advice on real problems of real elders, like safety precautions when walking in the gutter through slush (sidewalks are no longer cleared after snowfall). Another special feature will be to create local organizations to boycott stores that don't shovel their walks and to vote for representatives who care for helping old fools. The first task will be a grass-roots effort to get elders to use the Internet so they will read our material.
Another goal will be to expand franchise memberships in Old Friends International (OFI). OFI expands the classic social network of the local group of old friends who meet for coffee on a daily basis. When they do travel to a new location, however, the locals treat them with suspicion, disdain, or derision and reject them as 'tourists.' This is unfair, but what is missing is an organizational framework that enables the traveling OFI member to gain instant acceptance in a new neighborhood, city, or country. Membership dues will be used to support the new publication, Living with Age.
The staff is hard at working developing format and content and is open to contributions and suggestions. Some ideas include:
The foodstamp gourmet: Use foodstamps to buy fresh local food. and create gourmet meals. Recipes and shopping tips.
The ethnic shopper: Shop for quality and savings in neighborhood ethnic food stores. Avoid the ripoffs in supermarkets. Traditional, ethnic foods are healthier than most manufactured foods--that have way too much salt, sugar, chemicals. But be careful to read labels on packaged "ethnic" foods.
Old Time food preservation: canning produce and smoking meat in the modern apartment.
Elder food coop: Form your own food cooperative. Join up with a few friends and buy in bulk to save and get better quality.
Trash-R-Us. Form a furniture recycling cooperative. When an elder dies or moves away, often their furniture is put out in the trash. Intercept these solid antique pieces, and store them for future sale. As a sideline, cooperative members can scout trash when it is put out and select the best pieces for recovery before the trash pickup. Furnish apartments with style and elegance for very little expense.
Sports networking: For the elders who enjoy a physical challenge, stories about new sports activities. TUWEE: Traversing Urban Ways with Extreme Elders
Activism: Support and networking for elders seeking to improve their world.
Documentary reports: Photography, stories that inform about the lives of elders. (Stories and photos)
Your ideas: Please write to share your ideas and suggestions for topics and stories, or to offer your own experiences and stories. Just enter in the "Comment" field below; your note will really help us and may be published.
Living with Age and Photoluminations are trademarks of Jerry Halberstadt and/or New Technology Publishing, Inc.