3 years ago, Curt M. Maier retired before he turned 50 from his job as a general manager with Air Products and Chemicals, and began looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.
‘I wanted to find a business I could follow the processes and procedures and be pretty much assured of realizing a profit,’ said Mr. Maier of Allentown, Pa. ‘I wanted to find something that would generate the kind of compensation that would support my lifestyle.’
After reviewing franchise opportunities from janitorial services to upscale child care centers, he ultimately decided on opening a SarahCare adult day center, which serves the elderly and those with a disability. The model was created by Dr. Merle D. Griff, a gerontologist, who opened the first SarahCare center in Canton, Ohio, in 1985. He began franchising in 2004.
With the leading edge of the baby boomers creeping toward 65, adult day care businesses – as well as many others geared toward serving the aging population – are increasingly cited as a good place for entrepreneurs to look for opportunities.
‘The market opportunities are bigger than Barbie,’ said Mary Furlong, a entrepreneurship professor at Santa Clara University and author of ‘Turning Silver Into Gold: How to Profit in the Boomer Marketplace’ (Financial Times Press, 2007).
And although most adult day care centers are still operated as part of a larger organization like a skilled nursing home or medical center, they are gaining in popularity with entrepreneurs, as well as companies that are developing chains.
A look at the numbers helps to explain why. Although there are more than 3,500 adult day centers providing care for 150,000 people, the National Adult Day Services Association estimates that more than 5,400 are needed.
With the portion of the population 65 and over expected to grow to 20% by 2030 from 12.4%, demand is projected to skyrocket.
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