With 10,000 adults in the United States turning 65 every day, businesses are recognizing the purchasing power of such a large demographic. As a result, seniors can find more companies seeking their business with special attention and deals. Companies find that seniors make loyal clients if they are satisfied with services. In the restaurant business, estimates are that 15% of casual diners are seniors. As a result, restaurants are offering amenities such as loyalty cards, complimentary dessert, large print menus, grab bars in restrooms, and even complimentary shawls if the air conditioning is too brisk!
As an incentive to get more seniors to book air travel, the TSA recently relaxed its screening standards for elderly travelers on a trial basis in four major cities. Senior travelers will be given a priority screening lane to avoid long waits. They will be allowed to keep their shoes and light jackets on. In response to outrage over the recent strip search of an elderly passenger, seniors who activate a metal detector or body scanner will be allowed to pass through again, rather than be patted down automatically. These changes reflect the perception that seniors are not high risk passengers, and the reality that heavy-handed screening procedures will alienate would-be travelers. (Seniors with special needs, such as pacemakers, colostomies, and joint replacements can contact TSA before traveling at (855) 787-2227)
The purchasing power of seniors is also leveraged by large senior organizations such as the AARP or the American Seniors Association. While 40 million Americans have an AARP card in their wallets, very few realize the extensive list of travel vendors, retailers, health and fitness providers, insurance companies, and legal and financial service providers that offer discounts. I swipe my AARP card every time I make a purchase at Walgreens to receive special member-only discounts and offers. It’s amazing how much a person can realize in savings from an annual $16 membership!
A number of websites offer comprehensive listings of senior discounts. This tip sheet for frugal seniors is a good example. http://frugalliving.about.com/od/frugalseniors/a/Senior_Discount.htm
Grocery chains also try to cultivate senior loyalty with special buying power. Whether it’s the Safeway “Just for You Coupon Program”, which eliminates the need to clip paper coupons, or Fred Meyer’s first Tuesday of the month discounts, every senior shopper should know how to make their food dollars stretch as far as possible with these benefit programs.
Finally, don’t forget Early Bird specials! Let the younger whipper- snappers stay out all night! You can enjoy an early dinner at reduced prices and be home before dark!