An article in The Economist, “Shades of grey” (it doesn’t say how many) examines the lot of today’s pensioners with their predecessors and, possibly, their successors.
A few highlights:
- In 2000-2014 spending on restaurants by the over 75s rose twice as fast as the under 30s.
- For cinema & theatre tickets it rose five times as fast.
- Within 2 decades over 65s will be responsible for 25% of consumer spending.
- Over 65s own 60% of mortgage paid-off property.
- Poverty amongst pensioners is below that of working-age people without children.
Nor are “pensioners” idle.
- Someone over the state pension age but under 70 who has a degree is now more likely to be in the labour force than a 16-25 year old with no qualifications.
- 27% of 65-69 year olds with degrees are employed.
- Bank of England surveys say this will increase.
What has this to do with dentistry?
This group is the so called heavy metal generation. Many, if not most of them, have kept their teeth and want to keep their teeth. Because of the ravages of caries in their younger years and also perhaps because many dentists were reactive rather than proactive (ask me what I mean by that if you can’t work it out) they need and want high quality dental care.
Yet it’s market sector that doesn’t seem to be popular with many dentists. I can’t work out why. Perhaps it’s a generational thing with many young dentists being told that they should be selling whitening, short term ortho and quick fixes they don’t consider that this group are worth considering.
It’s not easy dentistry much of the time, and probably does not suit UDA accumulation. Knowledge, experience, a certain amount of gravitas and good communication skills are at a premium. Often the patients have medical and physical considerations but the rewards can be great, the patients grateful and most have established networks for referrals.
Why not shift your focus to be truly inclusive? This could be a golden age for treating the silver-haired.