Baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) are facing unprecedented challenges today. Rising healthcare costs, permeating technological advancements across society, and increasingly complex senior care needs constitute some of the hurdles boomers are struggling to navigate as they pursue happiness and comfort in their twilight years.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 72 million baby boomers as of 2019, which is approximately 25% of the total U.S. population. This significant group consists of seniors that rely on quality healthcare and some form of assisted living in order to function effectively on a daily basis. The Census Bureau also estimated that by 2030, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65, and that by 2035 older people will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
However, several states are currently facing a crisis in the form of senior care worker shortages. In a recent article, Axios described Maine’s existing care worker shortages despite 20% of Maine residents being 65+ and in need of some form of care. These seniors are not receiving adequate care due to nursing home closures and declining immigrant care workers.
The situation will become even more exacerbated as the general U.S. population ages and becomes more reliant upon some form of senior care, while immigrant and younger populations who are willing to provide this type of care continue to dwindle.
This demand versus supply challenge presents opportunities for willing entrepreneurs to pursue startups to address the baby boomer generation’s inadequately met needs. Small business owners can focus on four target areas:
- Home based non-medical care.
- Senior transportation services.
- Home re-modeling.
- Senior social day care facility.
Home based non-medical care. As the description indicates, home based non-medical caregivers will assist seniors with daily living activities, meal preparations, general housekeeping, and transportation. This opportunity does not include providing any form of medical services to seniors, unless caregivers are qualified and licensed to do so within their state.
Many franchised senior home care companies currently enjoy significant market share across the United States. However, opportunities will continue to present itself to new entrants as the senior population continues to grow at such a rapid rate.
It must be noted that this service’s business model relies on TRUST. If senior citizens, their spouses, or their children do not trust your services, your venture will be short lived. Once you commit to providing this service, you should deploy your business with the goal of providing quality care and not simply making a profit.
Of course, one key business challenge involves finding suitable workers who will provide the desired level of care and compassion to senior clients. Finding the right clients with the willingness and ability to pay for care services presents yet another challenge.
Nevertheless, like all challenges, where there is a will there is certainly a way. Hard work and a steadfast focus on efficient management and delivery will provide the desired results.
Senior transportation services. Aging baby boomers may struggle to secure reliable transportation to get to their social and medical appointments. While taxis and Uber or Lyft are viable options, these services may not be willing to wait on their clients while they conduct their activities or take them to multiple locations on the same day.
This creates opportunities for reliable senior transportation services that can safely pick up and return seniors to their destinations. Entrepreneurs willing to go into this business may benefit from investing in a wheel chair accessible vehicle to serve both disabled and non-disabled clients.
Home re-modeling. Most seniors prefer to enjoy their retirement years in the comfort of their homes for as long as possible, rather than in a nursing home. Unfortunately basic home structures may create difficult or even dangerous situations for elderly people, as they struggle to walk up and down long staircases or try to navigate through narrow doorways with their wheelchairs or walking canes.
Entrepreneurs with home renovation skills can focus on updating homes to accommodate senior citizens. Indeed, a home renovation can be an expensive under taking. However, the one time expense may be a more suitable option to paying ongoing nursing home fees and associated costs.
Home re-modeling services require specific construction, electrical and technical skills, years of experience, and state specific licenses. However, demand for this service will only increase as the senior population grows and nursing home care worker shortages continue without any relief.
Senior social day care facility. Many seniors are fortunate to live with their children or relatives who are willing and able to provide needed care at home. However, some seniors may no longer be self-sufficient enough to stay at home alone during the day while children or relatives are at work.
Senior social day care facilities provide a safe environment for senior citizens to spend their time socializing with other seniors, participating in stimulating activities, and receiving needed care and attention. Most facilities offer meal programs, provide basic health services, and have acceptable caregiver-to-senior ratios.
Licenses and regulations for this type of service vary from state to state, and business owners may be required to provide additional benefits such as transportation to and from the facility.
Of course, social day care facilities face similar challenges to nursing homes such as finding qualified staff and maintaining high performance levels that will earn the trust of senior citizens and their families. However, there will be an even greater need for these types of facilities well into the future.
Some additional small business ideas focused on serving baby boomers include:
- Mobile hair salons
- Basic technology courses
- Cleaning services
- Lawn care services
- General errand services.
Do you have any other business ideas to meet the needs of baby boomers? Please leave a comment below!