New businesses sprout up to meet needs of aging population

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

As baby boomers age, they will not only retire, creating a national labor shortage, but eventually they will create a massive surge in populations at nursing homes and retirement communities.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double from 36 million in 2003 to 72 million in 2030. That means there will be a need for more nursing homes, assisted living centers and senior housing.

There will also be a need for more elderly at-home care services. Some local entrepreneurs have capitalized on this idea and recently launched businesses that cater to the non-medical needs of seniors.

Many new companies that provide services and products for the growing elderly population are sprouting up throughout southeastern Wisconsin. The demand for such products and services is rising, and so to is the supply to meet that demand.

Entrepreneur.com recently cited six top senior care businesses based on this pending need in the market, including senior day care centers, relocation services, home care and home health services, concierge services and transportation services.

 “This is not a big money-maker,” said Jenny Rayl, owner of Wauwatosa-based Home Instead Senior Care. “You need to hugely commit your emotional self and your physical self. You can’t go into it half-heartedly.”

Home Instead Senior Care is an independently owned and operated franchise of Home Instead Inc., based in Omaha, Neb. Home Instead provides non-medical care, assistance and companionship to senior citizens still living in their homes or independent living facilities.

Rayl, an occupational therapist, purchased the franchise covering Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Washington counties seven years ago with her husband, Steve. The Rayls have a second office in Cedarburg with 15 administrative employees and 300 caregivers, Jenny said.

Jenny and Steve decided to start the business after she was working at a senior service hospital and saw the limitations of senior care on the evenings and weekends. Steve had a 19-year career as a commercial lender and business banker. Today, he is the chief executive officer of Home Instead Senior Care.

“When we started the business, we looked at it as just a companionship, but now we have evolved to assisting people with their daily living, including shopping and personal care,” Jenny said.

Niedra North and Renata Stier had the idea for Personal Moving Solutions LLC, the Shorewood business they started in 2006, after they both had cared for aging parents. Personal Moving Solutions helps senior citizens and people with disabilities with the transition from a house into an independent or assisted living facility.

The company’s services range from planning and de-cluttering homes to auctioning items and making the move.

“In-home care is huge right now, but I think it will be gigantic in the future,” North said. “People will probably live at home until they absolutely have to move.”

To provide more value to their customers, Stier and North have formed partnerships with other businesses that serve senior citizens.

North and Stier say their transitional services help their customers realize that they are not leaving a life behind when they downsize, but that they are starting a new chapter of development and fulfillment in a retirement community, condominium or independent living facility.

“It helps them walk across to the other reality,” Stier said. “It is scary, but necessary.”

Kathleen Dich started her company, Timeless Assistance LLC, out of her home in Brookfield last year. Dich is a professional organizer and previously worked for a professional organizer and move management company before heading out on her own to focus on senior citizens.

Prior to that, she had a 20-year career serving as a facilities manager and administrative assistant for an insurance firm. When it folded, she was offered an early retirement package.

Dich has cared for her mother and her mother-in-law. Working with seniors gives her personal satisfaction because a lot of her clients don’t have the family availability that she gave her mother and mother-in-law, she said.

Dich serves as an advocate and a watchdog for her clients. Most of the time, she is hired by long-distance caregivers to make sure their family member is getting the care they need, she said.

 “I don’t do it all, but I help spread around the responsibility, act as a resource, help put them in the right direction and sort through the maze of bureaucracy out there,” Dich said. “A lot of the time it is just talking to someone and letting them know they are not alone, is how I can help.”

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