May 2013

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Service for Advanced Seniors

"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes."— Frank Lloyd Wright

So much of what is offered in our industry is focused on the different generational demographics.

The fastest growing demographic in our country are those people who are living longer and enjoying their senior years.

Some are octogenarians (80+) who lived through World War II, the cold war and transitioned through the societal reforms that marked the 60s. Their children are the baby boomers.

Who ever thought Mick Jagger would reach the age to collect Social Security rather than go out on a world tour to celebrate 50 years of the Rolling Stones?

Paying attention to those who are of advanced age is an important, yet sadly overlooked portion of our industry's landscape when it comes to their service needs.

When I sit in the waiting area at the assisted living home where my 94-year old mom lives I observe some interesting things. This generation thrives on being well groomed. The men regularly are barbered and clean shaven. The ladies all either have their hair done on a regular basis or wear short, easy-to-manage cuts or wash and wear perms. Providing these services to this generation is an important part of the overall beauty market.

Many assisted living homes or senior living properties offer on-site beauty services and barbering either in-house or they may provide space for visiting stylists to attend to their beauty and grooming needs. Some states allow mobile salons to make scheduled stops at these facilities. This is crucial particularly as many seniors of advanced age no longer drive. It's bad enough to have the loss of independence they once enjoyed; to know they can have their needs fulfilled by a mobile salon allows them to maintain their appearance and dignity.

For both men and woman, hair loss is part of the aging process and is a challenge. This can be due to hair loss as part of aging or also a side effect brought on by medications they are required to take to maintain their health. Much has been learned in recent years as to ways to enhance hair growth and retain the hair they have. Most HMOs and other health care providers provide funding for hair replacement in the form of wigs and hairpieces for those who suffer hair loss due to healthcare treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. The service providers can wash and condition their hair on a regular basis to maintain a healthy hair and scalp as part of the bathing process.

These are just a few of the challenges and solutions for meeting the beauty and grooming needs of our senior population. It is our hope that our industry will continue to care and foster services for these unique and very special people who at their advanced age still desire to look good and therefore feel good.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. With over 35 years in the salon industry as an industry leader, educator and artist. He is currently "Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair and former Board president of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.