Elder concierge, as the industry is known, is a way for the semi- and fully retired to continue to work, and, from a business standpoint, the opportunities look as if they will keep growing. Around 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States, and by 2030, there will be 72 million people over 65 nationwide.
Some 43 million people already provide care to family members — either their own parents or children — according to AARP, and half of them are “sandwich generation” women, ages 40 to 60. All told, they contribute an estimated $470 billion a year in unpaid assistance.
Seven years ago, Ms. Kaplan, 63, made the leap, signing up with Denver-based Elder Concierge Services. She makes $25 to $40 an hour for a few days a week of work. She could be driving older clients to doctor’s appointments, playing cards or just acting as an extra set of eyes and ears for family members who aren’t able to be around but worry about their older relatives being isolated and alone. Many baby boomers themselves are attracted to the work because they feel an affinity for the client base.
Medical care is left to medical professionals. Instead, concierges help out around the house, get their client to appointments, join them for recreation, and run small errands.
One start-up, AgeWell, employs able-bodied older people to assist less able people of the same age, figuring the two will find a social connection that benefits overall health.
The goal is to provide consistent monitoring to reduce or eliminate full-blown crises. AgeWell began in South Africa but recently got a grant to start a peer-to-peer companionship and wellness program in New York.
Elsewhere, in San Francisco, Justin Lin operates Envoy, a network of stay-at-home parents and part-time workers who accept jobs like grocery delivery, light housework and other tasks that don’t require medical training. Each Envoy employee is matched to a customer, who pays $18 to $20 an hour for the service, on top of a $19 monthly fee.
The typical Envoy employee works a few hours a week, so it won’t replace the earnings from a full-time job. But it nevertheless involves more interpersonal contact than simply standing behind a store counter.
Moyer, L. (2017, May 19). Baby boomers look to senior concierge services to raise income. The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/business/retirement/boomers-retiring-concierge.html.
This was an interesting approach to read about, hiring older adults to help other older adults complete difficult everyday tasks. This is definitely a different approach from the article that works with insurance and hospitals to cover the transportation, because this concierge service is out-of-pocket costs for the people who utilize the service. It seems helpful in the way of giving help, assistance, and possibly socialization to those that need it, but the financial aspect seems a bit inequitable. People have to be able to pay this amount for the service, and at the same time the people working are looking for extra incomes. It could be effective, but just wondering from a financial perspective. The article does mention how many people do this same type of work for free for family and friends. I think the basis of connecting older adults can be cool but definitely seems like a bit of an inaccessible platform for a lot of people. I would be curious to know if specifically having older adults work for the service rather than targeting younger generations is more successful or fulfilling socially to the people who use it.