Seniors. There are lots of them…with more coming. What are we going to do with all the old people?
And what does this have to do with franchising?
A lot, as you’ll soon see.
A Growth Market In Franchising
The future for seniors…for the older generation-is scary. As their boomer generation ages, there’s an age ‘bump’ that is going to create huge problems for care. And with fewer people to support them, due to the decline in birth rate, who’s going to care for them, and how are they going to pay for it?
Several franchisors have jumped into the senior care market in the last few years. That’s because franchisors are looking for opportunities to make money, and everyone knows the money is in growth markets. Senior care represents one of the fastest growth markets in the US.
The question is: How to take advantage of that growth?
To do that, we need to look at what is going to happen to the boomers as they approach 80, the age at which many start to need help.
What Are We Going To Do With All The Old People?
The trend over recent years has been for them to stay home. This has often meant that a son or daughter becomes a part-time (or full-time) caregiver. But more and more studies and interviews have shown that these sons and daughters become highly stressed, often very quickly, trying to simultaneously manage their own lives while caring for a parent. My husband and I went through it ourselves.
That’s why home care became so popular, and leagues of home care franchises opened up around the country. Here in New Jersey, we have over 500 of them. But they are becoming beset by problems dealing with caregivers who want to be paid fairly for the work they do, plus increasing government regulation that has given those caregivers more and more benefits. Not to mention the coming increases in the minimum wage. Most caregivers earn about $10 per hour. It’s not easy to recruit caregivers for that wage, but above that families often can’t afford it.
Senior Care Franchisors And Franchisees Are Worried
I know because I’ve talked to plenty of them.
The assisted living industry has its own take on the problem – simply build more assisted living facilities. But I don’t think they’ve quite got the long-term answer either, because they are building expensive facilities that require rather substantial income and assets to afford. The cost of assisted living has increased rapidly, and it probably will continue to do so.
So what’s the answer? I think its growth in the ‘comprehensive personal care home’ industry, one which in some states is barely regulated. These typically house up to twenty five residents, feed them, provide basic care and activities, and are much more home-like (many actually are homes) than assisted living facilities. They are also much less expensive than assisted living.
We are seriously looking at this market as the logical next step for our franchisees, and while assisted living will be our mainstay for a number of years, we don’t think they alone are the answer for ‘What are we going to do with all the old people.’
We’ve seen an influx recently of new franchisors in the assisted living industry. Most have basically no qualifications or experience, and some will probably fail after making their owners wealthy. That’s typical in any growth industry. As a franchisor, I would rather grow slowly and have staying power.
(Carol Shockley-the person who wrote this, and her husband Bill, founded Ask-Carol. If you’re looking for a way to participate in a huge growth market, use the form below to contact Carol or Bill to learn more about the Ask-Carol franchise opportunity. You’ll be able to see for yourself how different it is compared to other franchises in the senior care sector.)