Heat of the Moment

Listen To Your Elders

"Huge" is how Wilkerson sums up the market for franchises geared toward seniors. The mere fact that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65 by 2030, according to the Administration on Aging in Washington, DC, illustrates the wealth of emerging opportunities.

"You're going to see a lot of opportunities to service the well-aged senior," agrees Michael Seid, managing director of franchise advisory firm Michael H. Seid & Associates LLC in West Hartford, Connecticut. "They're not going to be as old at 80 as the generation before was at 60." Still, given less-nimble limbs and fading sight, services like nonmedical senior care--where clients are aided with grocery shopping, house cleaning and food preparation while still living in their own homes--are booming. Franchisor Home Instead Senior Care found that one-quarter of all U.S. households care for either elderly relatives or friends; of that total, 52 percent work full time. Rather than opt for traditional retirement homes, the trend will be to turn to franchises providing non-medical senior care. And while in-home medical care for seniors has not faded away, Wilkerson notes the industry faces a lack of state-licensed laborers.

And the opportunities don't stop there. With retirement lasting longer than ever, look for franchises focusing on golf and travel (cruises, especially) to be reinvigorated in the coming years.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Heat of the Moment.

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