Here’s the presentation I made at the Michigan Association of Senior Centers conference in Mt. Pleasant on November 6, 2015. The presentation discusses social, political, and economic trends and how they represent opportunities for senior centers to reinvent themselves by responding to these trends and offering relevant programming to address them.
People who want to start a successful business are increasingly recognizing the impact of the “silver tsunami”. Entrepreneurial folks are looking for a market niche, and finding lots of them. Older adults have needs that current products and services are not meeting. For example, those of us who don’t currently live in a dwelling amenable to aging in place will need to make some changes. So, real estate agents are specializing in matching sellers with buyers who want to age in place. Home remodelers are specializing in making homes suitable for older adults to negotiate safely. Technology companies are marketing Web sites that allow families to monitor their older relative’s movements through the use of heat and motion sensors placed in the home. Businesses are spreading that help older adults find alternative housing and move into age-friendlier environments.
Some of these businesses are franchised around the country. An example is Assisted Transition, a service which provides advisors that offer “personalized senior living placement and care consultation services”. The franchising organization has constructed a network of firms that cater to the needs of older adults, such as senior independent housing, assisted living communities, home care, adult day care, and continuing care retirement communities, which Assisted Transition charges for providing referrals. The clients of Assisted Transition are served at no charge. Franchisees also pay the parent company for their network, branding, and other business services.
I think we’re going to see lots more businesses form to meet the needs of the growing older adult population. The opportunities are only limited by the scope of one’s imagination and amount of start up capital! Sue Sweeney, Chair, Gerontology Department, Madonna University
Now that people tend to be living longer than ever before, what are we to do with the extra time? A lot of people are continuing to work, but at projects that capture their interest, improve the world, and feed their souls. The website, www.encore.org, describes these “encore” careers and offers resources, including an Encore Career Handbook, touted as a “guide to finding passion, purpose and a paycheck in the second half of life”. The Encore organization also offers annual $100,000 prizes to persons over 60 years of age who are using their talents and experience to make positive changes in the world. Read the bios of the inspiring 2012 winners of the Purpose Prize. Sue Sweeney, Chair, Gerontology Department, Madonna University