Joe Coughlin, the director of the MIT Age Lab, recently wrote a book, The Longevity Economy, to help companies unlock the world’s fastest-growing, most misunderstood market — aging Boomers. The book talks about the impact of stereotypes about aging, with older adults perceived as passive takers. Meanwhile, the Boomers see themselves as active participants; they want to live longer and better. This opens an $8 trillion market for companies serving this population.

One of the most interesting points the author made in an interview is that “women, particularly those of middle age and above, are likely to be the leaders in identifying new wants and needs on the aging frontier. And, given a fair chance, they will be the ones to innovate answers to those demands in the form of products…Unfortunately, older women are often invisible to the investment and technology communities.” This means there is a danger of them being left behind to the detriment of both men and women.

Because women tend to live longer, make less money and are more likely to be caregivers, long-term planning is even more important for them. Older women need to be advocates for the development of products and services that meet their needs and wants. However, they also must take control within their own lives to the extent they can. That means aging with an informed attitude, understanding the opportunities and challenges of getting older and creating an aging support network. It also means having difficult conversations with loved ones and advisors and trying to address potential problems while they are still in control. Legal protections should also be addressed including a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and a Living Will and possibly a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust.

No one likes to think about a time when they can’t care for themselves. However, planning in advance is the key to making sure your wishes are honored and your family is spared the emotional and financial burden, not to mention the possible legal conflicts.

We can’t prevent aging, but we can take control of our lives and be PRO CHOICE SENIORS!