weekly blog--one for the ages
From the Washington Post…On the third Thursday of February 1795, President George Washington proclaimed a day of national thanksgiving to thank God “for the Constitutions of Government which unite and by their union establish liberty.” It was Washington’s second such proclamation, and it called for a religious rather than a feasting holiday.
Back then, Thursday nights were reserved for Congress dinners hosted by Washington, and it would have been presided over by the president's cook, Hercules Posey, one of the slaves he brought with him to Philadelphia from Mount Vernon.
Working in the kitchen of a fine household, especially the president's, would not have been easy. Producing these meals meant a 12-to-16-hour workday with a variety of cooks and assistants. Meals were elaborate, multicourse affairs with an astounding variety of local and imported foods.
On that third February Thursday in 1795, it is not known what was on the menu, however, the average Thursday Congress dinner featured “an elegant variety of roast beef, veal, turkeys, ducks, fowls, hams, & puddings, jellies, oranges, apples, nuts, and almonds, figs, raisins, and a variety of wines and punch.”
George Washington’s chef, Hercules Posey, cooked a Thanksgiving feast to celebrate liberty even though he had none - The Washington Post
Your body is like a car with parts that gradually wear out over time, but as most car owners know, some parts wear out faster than others. Doctors describe this phenomenon in terms of “biological” versus “chronological” aging. For example, a chronologically aged 45-year-old person might have a biologically-aged 55-year-old liver and skin that is 35 years old.
A research team recently identified four distinct ageotypes: metabolic agers, or people whose immune systems age fastest; immune agers; kidney (or “nephrotic”) agers; and liver (or “hepatic”) agers. A classic “immune ager,” might be chronologically 40 with the immune system of a 42-year-old and a metabolism that is biologically 32. This person would likely remain thinner in old age but would also be increasingly prone to immunocompromise and related conditions over the course of their life. A metabolic ager might retain a healthy immune system while increasingly struggling with diabetic risk factors and weight as they grow older.
Typically, people will have a combination of ageotypes. For example, a primarily nephrotic ager, may also have a partial haptic ageotype, meaning their kidney functions are likely to age fastest, but their liver may develop a bit faster than the median, too. Other individuals may have a mix of ageotypes without a single dominant pattern. It is a highly individual, highly specific profile, according to researchers.
Like most issues surrounding health, ageotypes are based on a combination of genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices. “The holy grail is being able to use this information actionably,” says one researcher, adding that "right now the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth is exercise.” Also on the horizon, regenerative medicines that will allow us to replace all of our old cells, tissues and organs with pristine new ones.
Since the pandemic was declared back in March, there is a good chance that you are watching more shows on television. Which means you are also viewing most of the advertising that accompanies them. Over the years, major brand marketers often segment their advertising into age ranges such as 18 to 34, 35 to 50, and over-55. Still, most advertisers see the next generation as always, the most exciting.
There is some logic behind the strategy of targeting younger consumers. According to Forrester research, 55% and 54% of those less than 31 and 31-39, respectively, say they “enjoy trying new brands or products.” That number drops to 39% for those aged 54-63 and 31% for the 64-74 set. But those stats can be misleading. One brand marketing executive says talking directly to older people is a huge, missed opportunity because of their disposable income and loyalty with brands, of which 68% say they like sharing it with other people.
A recent study also found significant growth in the online presence of over-55 consumers, with 68% of them buying something online every month. Aside from healthcare, luxury is the product segment where more brands actively engage with older consumers. And for good reason, since Euromonitor reported that 70% of all available U.S. income is owned by those over 55, and, globally, people over 60 will account for $15 trillion in spending power by 2020.
A 2018 McCann study “Truth About Age” found that aging is actually something everyone thinks about. Its data showed that people in their 20s fear death the most, those in their 30s think about aging the most, while people in their 70s worry about aging the least. The report suggested marketers should shift from age to attitudinal segmentation. So instead of age ranges, it outlined five different attitudes: Ageless Adventurers, Communal Caretakers, Actualizing Adults, Youth Chasers, and Future Fearers.
The most surprising finding the study discovered was when they asked people to envision an aging utopia–and an aging dystopia. In every single country surveyed, the utopia had generations living together in harmony, learning from each other, and helping one another other. The dystopia, conversely, strictly segregated young and old.
It’s hard to believe that nearly half of voters in the US want four more years of chaos. Given the divide, maybe it’s time to take a page from Medicare and offer states different plan options. In doing so, it would allow states with similar interests to work together toward mutual goals.
Plan A would provide basic coverage that every state would be required to have, and it would be paid for through the lowest tax rate. Plan B would offer additional benefits at a higher tax rate. And Plan C would be like Medicare Advantage and offer a comprehensive benefits package at still a higher rate of taxation.
Coverage under each plan would have to be defined, and the financing and related tax structures worked out by the accountants. And within that, the tax system should be simplified where annual payments are based on a graduated scale based on income without any allowable deductions.