Many well-known companies are tapping into the aging in place market to accommodate the influx of seniors that prefer to remain in their homes and communities as opposed to other options, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
One of the most recent ones to take a sharp step toward aging in place is Gillette, which recently launched Gillette TREO, an assisted-shaving razor designed with family caregivers in mind.
In the U.S. alone, roughly 44 million people act as informal caregivers. These are spouses, partners, friends or family members who assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) and possibly even medical tasks, according to San Francisco-based nonprofit Family Caregiver Alliance.
The grooming and personal care product company embarked on the idea to produce Gillette TREO after receiving feedback from customers who expressed their safety concerns about helping their older loved ones shave.
“[Family] caregivers were talking about and taking advice on how to shave someone else,” Sushant Trivedi, senior brand manager for Gillette North America, told Home Health Care News. “They were talking about the challenges they face, and how daunting of a task it was. There is a lot we know about shaving, but there is a lot we don’t know about this space of caregiving.”
In order to learn more about the challenges that family caregivers experience, Gillette began the pilot testing phase of Gillette TREO in Fall 2017. As a part of the pilot, Gillette sent a select group of consumers products and asked them to provide the company feedback on what worked and what didn’t work.
“The response from caregivers and consumer all over America was very positive,” Trivedi said. “In less than three weeks, we had over 100,000 requests, all through word of mouth. There was no overt media push from our side. The No. 1 thing that caregivers were telling us was, ‘Thank you for thinking of our needs and problems.’”
With the favorable response from potential customers, the company forged ahead with Gillette TREO. The price for the product ranges from $7.89 for a pack of four units to $25.49 for a pack of 15. The Gillette TREO razor features a blade with safety comb and an ergonomic handle with a non-foaming shave gel built into the handle.
Each feature serves a function: The blade’s safety comb protects from nicks and cuts while the ergonomic handle changes the angle of shaving to accommodate the caregiver. The built-in shave gel, meanwhile, prevents the caregiver from having to juggle between carrying multiple items while shaving their loved one, according to Trivedi.
“There are over 4,000 razors designed to shave, but there have been zero razors designed to shave someone else,” he said.
In many ways, Gillette TREO is not an anomaly and falls in line with a larger trend of big-name companies getting into the aging services game through producing products that will help older adults in their efforts to age in place.
For example, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) added a fall detection feature to its Apple Watch Series 4 last year. Retail giant Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), through its acquisition of GreatCall, began selling in-home, passive monitoring devices.
The rise of companies that fall outside of the traditional aging services arena creating products and services that cater to older adults should come as no surprise, considering that roughly 76% of adults over 50 favor remaining in their current home as they grow older, according to AARP statistics.
A big chunk of this population has money to spend as they age in place as well.
In the U.S. alone, the spending of Americans ages 50 and up in 2015 accounted for nearly $8 trillion worth of economic activity, according to a 2018 report from Barron’s. By 2030, the older-than-55 population will have accounted for half of all domestic consumer spending growth since the Great Recession, the Boston Consulting Group projects.
Looking ahead, there may be room for in-home providers to partner with companies like Gillette to serve this growing number of older adults who have stated a preference towards remaining their home, Trivedi said.
“My ask would be for them to reach out to us; we would love to explore any potential partnerships,” he said. “We can enable them to give their patients a quality, and dignified shave.”