On January 1, 2011, the first of the enormous “baby boomer” population turned 65. The last of the 70+ million boomers will turn 65 in 2029. For the immediate future, approximately 16-20% of the US population will be over the age of 65.
As this large segment ages, the challenges for industry will include meeting the needs of this population with products designed to fit their sophisticated demands. As people live longer and healthier lives, the need for products associated with aging will increase.
How will nonwovens play a role in the future of an aging population?
Adult incontinence products
There is an increasing demand for flexible, lightweight products with high absorbency rates and effective odor reduction. Unlike the baby diaper market, this market caters to a group who can vocally express satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the fit and feel of disposable incontinence products. Industry professionals will be challenged for continual improvements in these products.
As the population ages, statistically there will be higher rates of surgery and hospitalization. The need for single-use, disposable healthcare products will continue to increase, including surgical gloves, gowns, drapes and masks.
As the population ages and a percentage of those people become bedridden, the need for durable, antimicrobial, flame resistant bedding material increases. Advances in bedding technology will continue to be important in the nonwoven textiles industry.
One of the things we do have to consider is that with aging comes the inevitable. One of the main considerations for using nonwovens in casket liners is that they can keep the casket very dry and allow for natural decomposition.
Nonwoven fabrics are present in our lives from birth to death. As manufacturers, we have the responsibility to ensure that the nonwoven products we produce are continually improved to serve the intended functions as effectively and efficiently as possible.
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