August 1, 2011

USA: Businesses that cater to senior citizens arriving in area

WAUSAU, Wisconsin / Wausau Daily Herald / July 31, 2011

Central Wisconsin Business

Sue McCabe breaks down a box Wednesday as she helps a client move into 
an apartment complex in Weston. / Dan Young/Wausau Daily Herald

By Jake Miller, Wausau Daily Herald

A number of businesses are beginning to crop up to cater to senior citizens' needs, as the population continues to age at an unprecedented level.

In the Wausau area, a handful of small, locally owned businesses have opened in recent years, offering services that include helping seniors downsize, complete estate sales and move into assisted living centers.

James Flaherty, a Wisconsin spokesman for AARP, said as boomers age, there will be an increased need for such services, meaning fruitful business opportunities will continue to develop.

By 2030, 72 million Americans will be 65 years of age or older, more than twice the number in 2000, according to the federal Administration on Aging. And the National Association of Senior Move Managers has seen its membership increase from 60 businesses five years ago to 600 this year.

"There is going to be a business opportunity for the marketplace to fill that need, getting folks from point A to point B," Flaherty said. "The whole idea is if the private sector can take care of that as the need grows, that's wonderful, and if not, it's up to the community to fill that void."

Sue McCabe, a registered nurse with 25 years of experience, launched her business, Room By Room, in 2009. For her, the expected job security wasn't the driving factor, but it is reassuring, she said.

McCabe helps people move from their homes to smaller living quarters, often an assisted living center. She will go to a home, help a person decide what to take and what to sell or give away, pack their stuff and unpack it when it's delivered. She also coordinates the move.

Her service takes the stress off family members who otherwise would have to handle what can be a difficult time. Also, family members sometimes live in other states and can't return to the area to help with the move.

"It's a very rapidly increasing service," she said.

Annette Krautkramer of Marathon launched a similar business in June, when she opened a franchise, Caring Transitions, that helps with moving and estate sales.
"I can see a lot of growth in this area as far as working with the seniors, as the assisted living (becomes) more and more accepted," she said.

Copyright © 2011
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