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Working Elders, A Niche Opportunity?

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By Steve Moran

Several weeks ago I read this article titled “Golden Years Redefined as Older Americans Buck Trend And Work” and it was interesting enough that I was going to curate it in one of my occasional “From Around The Web” articles where I link to half a dozen or so articles published at other websites.  

In putting together the next curated article, I realized that there was a more substantial article here.

Working Seniors

This article makes the big point that contrary to the expectations of government economists, there are many seniors who are working longer than expected. It has lots of interesting implications for the economy, which the article explores, but I am not going to digest here.

It also talks about why seniors are doing this and it comes down to at least 4 reasons:

  1. They either need the money or are worried that they will need the money. With elders living so much longer, retirement savings might very well need to stretch over many more years. Working longer means saving more and spending it for fewer years.

  2. For many individuals work is their life. It gives them meaning and purpose. In many cases, it means they can continue to give back to the world.  

  3. They are healthier. It used to be that 65- or 70 -year-olds were mostly worn out. Today that often is simply not true.

  4. The amount of Social Security benefits you are paid goes up each year until you hit age 70.

The Opportunity

I know there are a pretty fair number of senior living communities with independent living that have at least some residents who are still working, but it is always a very small percentage. What if someone developed a niche community for, say, the 60-plus crowd that was still working? It might look something like this:

  • There would be concierge services like car washes and car maintenance, dry cleaning, mending, and the easy ability to order food from outside the community. Perhaps even personal assistant services.

  • Social events that are geared toward the younger senior. To work right it would include making it open to folks who live outside the community and events at locations outside the community.

  • A knowledge that when the time came these residents would be able to age in place and receive the care services they might need.

  • For some the opportunity to actually work in the community. There are many positions, skilled and unskilled, that residents could fill.

  • If an operator got really creative this community might even include a “WeWorks” style coworking space. It would infuse amazing energy into the community and provide outstanding mentors to the young entrepreneurs.  

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to expand our market penetration rates and how to gain traction with younger seniors, this might be a great place to start.

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