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Independence Days

Entrepreneurs offering a compassionate option to nursing homes are fueling the $12 billion assisted living industry.

This story appears in the July 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Growing up in the nursing home business taught Philadelphia entrepreneur Irving Seldin one thing: Nursing homes left a lot to be desired. The problem wasn't that Seldin's family ran inferior homes. The problem was the concept itself. "I had an aversion to the whole institutional setting,' Seldin says. People were being treated like patients, not individuals, even when they weren't in need of real medical care.

Like most people, Seldin saw the need for alternatives. But unlike most people, he made it his business to create them. When his father decided to retire in the early 1980s, Seldin worked with him to convert one of the family's homes into a new kind of residenqce: Seniors would have access to help with daily living--transportation, meal preparation, bathing and laundry, for example--without being subjected to the loss of privacy and individual identity common to many traditional nursing homes.

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