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Demographic developments and packaging

As grandparents play a larger role in raising children, child-resistant/senior-friendly packaging will gain importance.

An Associated Press story reported that census data released Aug. 25 showed that there are now 5.8 million children living with their grandparents in the U.S., up from 4.5 million in 2000. “In all,” the story pointed out, “there are 62.8 million grandparents in the U.S., the most ever. They are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020.”

This demographic trend could have significant packaging implications, especially as home health care becomes more prevalent as an economic option to nursing homes and hospitals.

In fact, a report on notes the following: “Recruitment for many occupations in home healthcare will ramp up in 2011, continuing the long-term trend. Home health agencies increased their number from 5,730 in 1990 to 9,024 in 2007, according to the NCHS [National Center for Health Statistics] report. ‘As healthcare shifts from hospital to home, and as reimbursement moves from episodic fee-for-service to capitated reimbursement, we’ll see increasing need for at-home professionals,’ says Eric Rackow, M.D., CEO of SeniorBridge, a national home-care provider based in New York. ‘We’re contracting with health plans and physician provider groups to keep patients at home.’ In 2010 home healthcare employment grew by 40,000 to 1.09 million. Employment at nursing care facilities grew by a more modest 19,000 to 1.66 million.”

Combine increasing home healthcare, more grandparents, and more grandchildren living together, and there are more youngsters with more chances to get into prescription med bottles, wound care treatment, critical medical devices, pesticides, household chemicals, etc. So the ongoing challenge of developing packages that are child-resistant and senior-friendly becomes more stressed. The good news is that package developments in this area continue.

A Wikipedia quote provides this summary: “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated in a press release that, ‘There is no such thing as child-proof packaging. So you shouldn't think of packaging as your primary line of defense. Rather, you should think of packaging, even child-resistant packaging, as your last line of defense.’"

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