You need Blue Ocean ideas and a way to connect to the Young Baby Boomer 50-65+ who has the highest disposable income of any age group in America today!
Perhaps the MOST BURNING NEED in Healthcare today is: BRAIN Fitness!
The enhancement of cognitive health through fitness and wellness may be one of our nation’s most important priorities in the next decade. Age is the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment and as the Baby Boomer generation passes age 65, the number of people living with cognitive impairment is expected to jump dramatically. In fact, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 each day. After 65, the risk of being struck by the disease doubles every five years, so almost half of people suffer from this disease by 85. What this single disease may do in the next few decades boggles the mind resulting in nearly 10 million Baby Boomers who will die with or from AD. “The National Institute of Health’s research budget declining and the funding for AD research already low in comparison to other major diseases, some have called this one of the biggest predictable humanitarian catastrophes in the history of America.” (1)
Since research has demonstrated that prescribed exercise has the single greatest opportunity to make a difference, I believe that this is an obvious calling for our profession. Both education & exercise are key components of building an effective cognitive fitness program. As physical therapists, we know that these skills are cornerstones of our skill set. Physical therapists are highly engaged with the primary target for this service: the Silver Generation! Individuals ages 50-65+ whose top concerns include their future cognition as it pertains to the aging process! Strong evidence exists that the current boomer generation is concerned about cognitive health and fears Alzheimer’s disease.
“Nigel Smith, Director of Strategy at AARP, framed the conversation by sharing that 80% of the 38,000 adults over 50 surveyed in the 2010 AARP Member Opinion Survey indicated “Staying Mentally Sharp” as their top ranked interest and concern—above other important concerns such as Social Security and Medicare.”(2)
In addition, these Baby Boomers also happen to have the highest disposable income for cash based programs. They are known as “….the wealthiest generation in history…”(3)
I strongly believe that this prevention & wellness strategy belongs in the Physical Therapy market space. Where people can come for confidential assessment, exercise planning and education based on the latest research available; a clinic-based program that enables PT clinics to implement a cost-effective, wholistic approach.
I initiated development on a Program named BrainyEX to honor both of my parents & my family who have been on the difficult journey of Alzheimer’s disease & vascular dementia for over a decade; a journey that had little hopeful guidance and is both heart wrenching and frightening to travel.
The first BrainyEx pilot was highly successful in empowering participants to not only feel capable of impacting their cognitive health but showing significant changes in their lifestyle including exercise, dietary changes, sleep & stress management. The initial results were measured by Lumosity & in-clinic cognitive testing. ALL improved! Since the first pilot we have added a evidenced- based high tech Cognitive Test that adds both sophistication & validity to the program!
PT Plus in Elm Grove Wisconsin was our small pilot sight. From Amy Snyder, MPT, DPT, Owner PT Plus, Milwaukee.: “Our practice has hosted a focus group and the pilot cognitive fitness program. Our client’s interest and enthusiasm to learn more about cognitive fitness has astounded me. I believe that brain health and wellness has been under served by the healthcare system. No one asks the questions or provides interventions until a problem occurs. As Physical Therapists we have a wonderful opportunity to reach out to or communities and empower them to make health choices that will keep both their body and mind well for years to come.” We hope your clinic will explore Brain Fitness too! It is definitely a key part of answer #5 to the 6 Million dollar question!
(1) Source: http://www.alz.org/documents_custom/public-health/advocacy_policymakers_ci_report.pdf Cognitive Impairment Baby Boomers/Elderly
(2) http://sharpbrains.com/tags/nigel-smith/ SharpBrains 2011 Summit
Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT is President/Consultant of Steffes & Associates, a rehabilitation consulting group. She provides consulting services to rehab providers nation-wide working with between 50-100 practices per year. Expertise in:
• Marketing and program development
• Brain Fitness Programs
• Customer Service initiatives and patient alumni programs
• Optimal reimbursement and documentation strategies
Dr. Steffes is a 1981 graduate of Northwestern University and completed her Transitional DPT in December of 2010.
In addition to her work as a consultant, Ms. Steffes is a frequent speaker at both National & State Meetings. She works as adjunct faculty member/guest faculty in the physical therapy programs of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Marquette University and her alma mater Northwestern University.
Dr. Steffes is active in her profession currently on the APTA-PPS Nominating Committee, Marketing & PR Committee and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Private Practice Section of APTA.