While people hurried through this New Zealand shopping center, this old lady had other plans. When the song, “Feelin’ Good Ooh La La,” by the DNC came on, she started dancing by herself in the middle of the square. Seconds later, a group of 80 more people joined her side, all between the ages of 65 and 96, making “the world’s oldest flash mob.”
Not just a display of good fun, this flash mob was sponsored by Lifemark, an independent organization that rates homes for design and accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities, in order to raise awareness of the need for specific housing for the growing elderly population of New Zealand. According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development, the population over 65 is expected to outnumber the population of children in the country by 2020. New Zealand isn’t alone. The United Kingdom, Canada and United States are all projected to increase their senior populations to more than 20% of the whole by 2030, according to U.S. News.
By putting on this fun and light-hearted flash mob, Lifemark highlights another important point in addressing the needs of growing senior populations. Joseph Coughlin, the Director of MIT’s AgeLab, says, “we consistently ask how we can design products for older adults, but we should be thinking about what is cool, desirable, sexy and fashionable,” in a feature by Business Innovation Factory. While industries are pigeon holding seniors to outdated preferences, today’s seniors are diverse and have robust tastes and styles. Product design for seniors should not only address accessibility, but have an eye for style. One look at the members of this “Feelin’ Good” flash mob makes it clear that while every dancer is lumped into one simple demographic, the truth is that each one is has his or her own personal style and flair.
Uploaded in Aug 2012, “The World’s Oldest Flash Mob” continues to get positive feedback from viewers on YouTube. As recently as Tuesday, one viewer commented, “I thought it was awesome and brilliant!! Everyone seemed to have the time of their lives, and didn’t care what anyone thought about it! I only wish that I could’ve been there!! Loved, loved, LOVED IT!!!” Proof that “senior” is not a bad word.