Best Business Ideas for Working With Seniors

1
Seniors Are a Huge Market

Seniors
Image (c) Reggie Casagrande / Getty Images

Why are businesses that provide services or goods to seniors such potential money makers?

Because of the demographics. The baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011. In Canada, seniors are expected to comprise a quarter of the population by 2041.

In the U.S., the number of seniors will more than double between now and the year 2050, to 80 million – and most of that growth will occur between 2010 and 2030, when the baby boom generation enters their senior years. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the number of seniors will grow by an average of 2.8% a year during that time.

So this is a market that’s only going to get bigger, providing ever more business opportunities for those able and willing to meet their needs. (And remember; that’s the best way to choose a business idea; see The Two Paths to Starting a Business.)

So let’s examine the needs of the senior target market and see what products and services they might be most interested in.

2
Seniors' Needs

Senior and Daughter
Image (c) Terry Vine / Getty Images

Most people age 65 or over live at home, either with a spouse or alone. According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) nearly 90% of seniors wish to continue to live independently by staying in their own homes and communities.

Unfortunately, many seniors have a disability or activity restriction that requires them to seek assistance with various activities. Chronic health conditions are widespread among seniors, with four out of five seniors residing at home having a chronic health condition of some kind.  The most common of these conditions are arthritis or rheumatism, hypertension, (non-arthritic) back pain, heart disease and cataracts.

Disabilities, medical conditions and just plain disinterest creates all kinds of business opportunities for taking care of things inside and outside the home.

In addition, younger, healthier seniors often enjoy traveling and while away from home may have similar needs such as house and yard maintenance services, house/pet sitting, etc.

3
House and Pet Sitting

Cat
Image (c) Dave Mcleod

House and/or pet sitting are popular needs for seniors and others who travel frequently, and given that new dog and cat ownership continues to expand at nearly 4% per year, house/pet sitting businesses are popular businesses to start.

House owners that travel must have someone house sit (or at least visit the house on a daily basis) to maintain insurance coverage.

Many seniors with mobility issues have dogs and due to age or illness cannot exercise them properly, so dog walking services are also in demand. Note that often busy working people also have a need for dog walkers due to time constraints.

If you are thinking of starting a house/pet sitting business, make sure your business is bonded and insured.

(Looking for a different animal-related business to start? Read 18 Pet Business Ideas.)

4
In Home Care

In Home Care
Image (c) Ronnie Kaufman / Larry Hirshowitz / Getty Images

One-quarter of older seniors require help with housework, while one in ten need help with personal care activities, such as washing, dressing or eating” (Canadian Seniors: A Demographic Profile) – which is why the home health care industry is exploding.

Obviously, you could start a business from scratch providing in-home care services to seniors. But you could also buy into a franchise that provides such services; there are many available now as the in-home health care industry is so hot.

Here are just three examples of senior home-care franchises that you may want to check out:

(Wondering if franchising would be a good choice for you? See The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Franchise.)

5
Gardening and Lawn Care Services

Flowers
Image (c) Dave Mcleod / Getty Images

Gardening is something that many people enjoy but can be physically demanding for seniors. Arthritis can make gardening chores such as weeding, putting in a vegetable garden, or mowing the lawn very difficult, creating the need to have someone else do all these things and more. Even younger, busy folks don't necessarily have time to do basic yard maintenance.

Many locales are banning pesticide use and pushing homeowners to reduce water usage, so offering services such as green weed control and drought-tolerant landscape design can be attractive to customers.

Lawn care services can be turned into an all-season business idea by adding snow removal in winter where applicable.

6
Housecleaning Services

Housecleaning
Image (c) Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Housecleaning services are also popular with seniors and younger folks with mobility problems (or just a dislike of housework, like myself). Like pet/house sitting businesses, if you plan to start a housecleaning business it will need to be bonded and insured. Maid businesses are easy to expand as the customer demand grows.

7
Window and Gutter Cleaning

Window Cleaning
Image (c) -Oxford- / Getty Images

Falling is the leading cause of unintentional injury for seniors, so any activity that might involve climbing on ladders is not a good idea for the elderly. In fact, most people don't want to do these chores. Why would seniors?

One of the most successful businesses in my locale does window, siding, and gutter cleaning, and they are booked up months in advance.

If you want to start a window/gutter cleaning business make sure you think safety first, and have the appropriate insurance in place for yourself and any employees.

8
Odd Job/Handyman Services

Garage Sale
Image (c) Gene Chutka / Getty Images

From cleaning out a garage through putting up blinds or moving furniture, there are all kinds of chores around the home that older folk may not want or be able to do for themselves.

Have the skills to do household renovations? Renovations that make it easier for seniors to get around their homes, such as front-walk ramps, bathroom renovations, installing grab bars, etc., could provide endless work.

9
Transportation Services

Lift Vehicle
Image (c) kali9 / Getty Images

Many seniors aren’t able to drive themselves and require transportation to and from medical appointments, social events, to do chores, etc. Lift-equipped vehicles are especially in demand. Franchises such as Driving Miss Daisy are available.

10
Products That Make Home Care/Maintenance Easier

Senior Remote Control
Image (c) PhotoAlto / Eric Audras / Getty Images

Think devices that close and open things at the touch of a button: blinds and canopies, hot tub covers, pocket doors, garage doors, windows etc. can all be controlled this way. There are also video security door phones, keypad door locks/deadbolts and other devices to make seniors' lives easier and more secure.

And the “button” doesn’t have to be manual; it could be a click or a swipe on a computerized device too. Smarthome technology will appeal to some; a love of gadgets and a strong belief in science’s ability to solve problems are hallmarks of the boomer generation.

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Products and Devices to Make Life Easier

Electric Scooter
Image (c) PNC / Getty Images

You could start a business meeting this need by producing hand-crafted canes or operating a retail store that sells and/or rents medical equipment such as wheelchairs, oxygen delivery systems, mobility assist devices etc. Electric scooters sales and service is another possibility.

Products such as walk-in baths, and furniture with lift-assist built in are also in ever-increasing demand.

12
Specialty Medical Services

Senior Massage
Image (c) Image Source / Getty Images

As people age they have a greater need for healthcare services such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, orthotics, etc. These required specialized skills and training but are excellent business opportunities given the demographic trends of today.

There are growing opportunities in alternative medical services such as acupuncture, Chinese medicine, aromatherapy, and naturopathic medicine.

13
Technical Support for Computers, Smartphones, iPads, Televisions

Vintage secretary on the phone
High tech in the 1950s. Image (c) lechatnoir/ Getty Images

Consider that any senior today was born before 1950 and then consider all the technological gadgets that either didn’t exist or have changed greatly in the last 65 years. (Ever see or use a phone or a typewriter like the ones in the photo above, for instance?) Sometimes seniors need help with figuring things out and sometimes they just want help.

Great business opportunities exist for the technological wizards who can go to people’s homes and show them how to do things from getting WiFi working on their tablets through getting their Smart TV configured.

14
It Doesn't Stop Here

Seniors
Image (c) Colin Hawkins / Getty Images

The ideas I’ve presented above are truly only a few ideas for businesses that you could start based on providing products and/or services to those age 65 and over.

Seniors are a great target market because as a group, so many of them have the same needs, and many of them have the money to fulfill them. Pick the right business idea, and some of that money could be flowing into your pockets.

See also:

12 Wacky Business Ideas (That All Make Money)

15 Inexpensive Business Ideas

Top 10 Home Business Opportunities

Top 10 Tips for Starting a Business That Will Succeed