Baby products are a billion-dollar business. From bathtubs and convertible cribs to baby loungers and strollers to play gyms and swings, parents can find everything they need for baby in vibrant colors, patterns and sizes. And it doesn’t stop there. Hundreds of items can be personalized for your little bundle of joy with relative ease. In fact, creating an environment of joy for each new addition to the family is so common that not having a nursery motif seems out of place.
Parents are well supplied with an entourage of baby products to feed, bathe, soothe, diaper and clothe their little one. Nursing pillows, highchairs, special bathtubs, diaper genies, rockers and gliders, baby monitors, bouncy seats and swings, the list is endless. As babies morph into crawlers, walkers and runners, the amount of baby products dwindles. However, surrounding our kids with stuff to match their personalities does not.
In fact, we never stop individualizing everything. We have our local barista tailor make our daily coffee. We choose the perfect song as a ringtone for our best friend’s call. We wear our favorite colors. We feast on our favorite ethnic food. We adorn our social media with words, images and videos of our own choosing and we sing along with our favorite music artists. We make all these choices because they make us happy.
So why is it that when we enter our twilight years, our choices drastically shrink?
My Father uses a white shower stool with silver legs, a gray bedside commode and a red rollator. Blah, blah, bland. What if we created products that enabled the elderly to celebrate their individuality, rather than serve as an omen for institutionalized care?
Instead of a gray-handled walking cane with silver legs, what if it was painted with flames along the side? Look out ~ here comes Hot Rod Grannie! Rather than a basic white shower stool, what if it could be personalized with flowers for the gardener, guitars for the music enthusiast or our favorite college mascot? What if rollators came in cheerful colors with their own spoilers? Final touches that said more about the person using the rollator than the rollator itself? What if bed alarms could be programmed with a person’s favorite song instead of a blaring call that startled our loved one?
Let’s face it. We know how to celebrate babies. Why can’t we celebrate our aging family members and friends? Too often we look at a person’s twilight years with sadness, dreading the eventual goodbye. But we’re missing the point. Wouldn’t the time be better spent recalling memories and being grateful for a life well lived?
Personally, when I hit my golden years, I prefer to have Calvin & Hobbes staring back at me from my shower stool. Maybe by then, I’ll have that option.