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A Helping Hand for half a million Senior Kiwis

Published: Mon 21 Dec 2009 12:45 PM
A Helping Hand for half a million Senior Kiwis
By age 60, half of us will suffer from some form of arthritis. And by the time we reach 80 nearly all of us will have dexterity issues associated with the disease. Add in the 8,000 of us who suffer a stroke each year and age-related eyesight issues such as macular degeneration or cataracts and things are, quite literally, looking dim for the half a million New Zealanders aged 65 and over.
“When we started to look around for everyday items that could help, we just about gave up in despair,” says Linda Hendry Taylor, one of 3 directors of new online retailer www.helping-hand.co.nz. “All 3 of us have parents who suffer from arthritis, and they are active, vibrant, energetic people who are quality and design conscious. But the only products we could find were from disability centres, squeezed in between the incontinence sheets and sipper cups. It occurred to us there was a huge market for a quality online presence for those who may suffer from some dexterity challenges, but are a long way from considering themselves ‘disabled’.”
Senior New Zealanders are currently the fastest adopters of the internet and are quickly becoming comfortable with online shopping, with 77% of Americans aged 65+ saying they shop online; the highest of any generational group[1]. In New Zealand Richard Poole, Managing Director of leading 50+ community www.grownups.co.nz, agrees with the trend, saying 31% of older New Zealanders, and 81% of GrownUps members, shop online.
Online shopping, and sites such as www.helping-hand.co.nz, are ideal when you’re not exactly sure what products you need. “When you suffer from dexterity or vision issues, you’re hunting for solutions,” says Ms Hendry Taylor. “You’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for – just something that will help. The online environment is ideal for this type of search behaviour.”
The www.helping-hand.co.nz website offers products ranging from audio books to kitchen gadgets and toys for pets, as well as the more well-known daily living aids. “We received a lot of feedback during our research, regarding the products we should offer.” comments Ms Hendry Taylor. And their research is ongoing. “We want visitors to the site to tell us what they need, and what their challenges are. Then we’ll go out and source great, well-designed products to help.”
[1] Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), www.marketingcharts.com/interactive/online-seniors-rival-younger-generations-in-web-use-10998
ENDS

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