CENIE · 12 May 2020

The challenges of the Silver Economy

The future of our society lies in putting the focus on people with a past. Why don't we see the maturity of the population as an opportunity and not as a problem? We are living healthy longer, our life expectancy is growing six days per year (today it is 85 days for them and 81 for them, in Spain) and in our last years we have time and a greater economic disposition to enjoy a fuller and happier daily life, which we used to despise. The whole world is aging and it is time to address the opportunities of such a happy news, because it is a social achievement to live more and better, despite the pandemics. 

This is how the Silver Economy emerged, the specific economic activity aimed at meeting the needs and motivations of older people, as well as the needs of their families as a result of caring for them. It is also the activity that deals with the transformation of the offer of companies to, with a segmented and concrete offer, adapt to the demographic change. It is then when I speak of silvering, adaptation of products and services to the senior public. 

Therefore, new business opportunities are opening up everywhere for companies. New opportunities to improve people's lives and make money. 

Is there anything more ethical and uplifting than earning a living by generating well-being? Is there anything more beautiful than fighting ageism while recognizing the merits and gratitude of those who brought us here?

Businesses towards seniors

Active aging and increased quality of life are two fundamental objectives. Fighting loneliness, delaying the onset of illness, caring, pampering, improving dignity, prolonging the independence and/or autonomy of the elderly are the challenges of a country and a business structure that must urgently address the opportunity that is (without forgetting that it is also an emergency in itself). Necessity must be made a virtue.

All sectors of the economy will benefit from the development of products and services adapted to/for older people (except for those companies that are purely aimed at very specific targets): the health sector, the financial sector, the leisure and tourism sector, the cosmetics and beauty sector, the food sector, the mobility sector, the technology sector, the housing sector... Although in the top ten of the opportunities will be the technology applied to health (telehealth, telemedicine, We must get more used to hearing these concepts), financial products and services aimed at complementing public pensions with private plans and the refocusing of "residential" activity, with all kinds of revised and new "housing" solutions for the life of the elderly. 

Connected health will undoubtedly develop in the coming years, something that we are already seeing is extremely important and necessary: urgent. Telecare solutions are fundamental and their evolution will come from the confluence of Big Data, Biometrics and Internet of Things applications. 

In addition, there are several factors that need to be addressed in the short term:

  • The loneliness of our seniors: efforts must be made to ensure that our seniors are properly integrated into an intergenerational social life. 
  • Health deficiencies. Healthcare for/with our seniors must be improved. Long-term plans must be planned, modelled and implemented to ensure optimum quality of life and appropriate chronic treatment. 
  • The promotion of technology, the so-called Age Tech, for the benefit of our elderly. At this point, apart from the connected health care I mentioned earlier, the development of home automation and biometrics will also be important, allowing for connected and secure homes, with people who feel safe.
  • The provision of decent and safe housing. Whether it is one's own home, a nursing home or other type of housing, such as cohousing, it must meet the necessary conditions for the elder's life to be full and free from danger. 
  • The professionalization of the care, since it is urgent to have people prepared to pamper our elders, but with "medicalized" criteria.

To live more and better. This is what it is all about. And this can only be achieved by working from the Silver Economy approach.  


Under the framework of: Programa Operativo Cooperación Transfronteriza España-Portugal
Sponsors: Fundación General de la Universidad de Salamanca Fundación del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Direção Geral da Saúde - Portugal Universidad del Algarve - Portugal