Baby Boomers: Forget “Plastics”, Become a Senior Concierge

Category: Work and Volunteering

May 23, 2017 — There is a great new industry getting off the ground now, one that is likely to get even bigger as more and more of us baby boomers age. The popular term is “senior concierge”, and you can join the movement in multiple ways: as a volunteer, employee, or entrepreneur. Who knows, maybe even Benjamin, Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate“, would be getting advice to go into this field, were that he was a real person and entering retirement!

The idea is simple. More and more people need help as they age or experience some type of impairment. In fact the U.S. will have 72 million folks over age 65 by 2030. Enter senior concierges, who can provide assistance for all kinds of everyday needs. For example many people can’t drive anymore, but want to live at home. You can do their shopping for them, take them to appointments, or do anything they have trouble with themselves, such as light housework or preparing meals. Some concierges work as companions for seniors who need to be monitored.

According to the New York Times article, “Earning an Income While Lending a Hand“, many senior concierges are women, who are abviously already quite experienced as helpers. These people report great satisfaction in helping others. The Times interviewed Katherine Giovanni, the director of the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Network, who reported that concierges typically charge “anywhere from $30-$70 per hour”. Sometimes clients purchase blocks of time. The Times reported on Jill Kaplan, who makes $25-$40 an hour working for Elder Concierge Services. (look to the end of the article for companies like that). Concierges enjoy the extra money they earn while helping people, and that cash can make the difference in a more comfortable retirement.

Some senior concierges get into the service as an extra way to make money, as well as to stay busy. It is definitely a new outgrowth of the on-demand, sharing economy, just like Uber and Airbnb. But many others join up as volunteers, since there are many people who need help but don’t have the resources to pay for it. One such organization is Elderhelpers.org. It is similar to the services people get when the join the Village to Village Movement, which is devoted to promoting aging in place. You pay to join the Village and in return for volunteering to help others you can count on reciprocal assistance from other community members.

Still others see the concierge movement as an entrepreneurial opportunity. You can set up your company and provide senior concierge services. If the demand is there and you want to expand, you might be able to hire more associates to work for you or as independent contractors. Obviously if you start a business you will want to do it carefully, setting it up properly and getting liability insurance.

Ways to do it
As you can see there are many ways to get into the senior concierge movement. You almost definitely have the skills to do it, and will probably find it rewarding. Here are some resources to check out:

Elderhelpers.org (Volunteers)
Age Well – Provides senior concierge services
International Concierge & Lifestyle Management Association (if you are thinking of starting a business)
Envoy – Concierge service in San Francisco
If you search the Internet for “Senior Concierge Companies” you will find many additional resources, including guides on how to get started.

Comments? Does the idea of being a senior concierge seem attractive to you? Or are you already doing it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.




Posted by Admin on May 22nd, 2017

15 Comments »

  1. My company is a type of concierge business–I assist in the transport of and travel with people with cannot or do not want to go on their own. I make sure they get to their destination safely and this ensures that their children do not have to take off work to escort their aging parent(s) to events or destinations like a summer or winter home. I also go with people to doctors appointments since I am a former nurse I know what to ask. I do not drive my clients but we can fly or take the train or if local use Uber. The idea is to get them safely from point A to B with a minimum of stress. The journey they choose whether local or long distance determines what I charge. Since I was a former surgical coordinator nurse–I have gone to outpatient surgery with people who could not go alone and their children may live across the country and not be there. I am a professional travel assistant.

    by Jennifer — May 23, 2017

  2. Definitely services with growing demand so lots of room for creativity. Jennifer, you’ve really found a great niche.

    by Laney Humphrey — May 23, 2017

  3. Jennifer, do you know if there is a service that will drive a senior in her car to relocate to another state? (A moving van would follow with her stuff).

    by Alice — May 24, 2017

  4. Jennifer,
    You are doing exactly what I would enjoy doing! I would like to talk with you. I don’t know where you are at but I’m in Texas. Also if you get any clients you need help traveling with, I am available so keep Iin touch with me!
    Thanks
    Fran
    Aluckiladitx@gmail.com

    by Fran — May 24, 2017

  5. Our Seniors in Need of Transportation Foundation works with seniors in Nevada who need transportation. We are expanding our programs to address the many needs of the elderly. The lady asking about driving her to another state in order to move is a service we provide. The concierge concept is a wonderful progression for our Foundation to further assist seniors.
    Thank you for the article.

    by Carol Hall — May 24, 2017

  6. I love this idea. I had been looking at this from the standpoint of helping out anyone. But helping the elderly is more fulfilling. Ok, here is my question though…I am not long from retirement myself. Is this something retirees can do or is this for younger people. I would love to find something to supplement my income in retirement since I have been one of the unlucky ones and have very little saved for retirement. I would love any feedback.

    by Karen M — May 24, 2017

  7. Karen, People of any age can do this as long as they can get around and function well. Great way to supplement income. Trick is how to get started. You need to work referrals, print up business cards, visit places where you might find customers, network! Good luck

    by Ken — May 28, 2017

  8. All wonderful information ladies…I am a recent retiree’ and looking to keep busy, housework we can do in our sleep right ladies…well yard work too if you have a yard and pets! This concept I’ve thought about for years but was always working full time! I’m in healthcare and have met many wonderful aging peoples that just don’t have family, no children or if they do have family they are not in the state; I’m in Westminster Colorado, suburb of Denver; I’m not much of a networking individual but am tuned into those who have a need! So I’m thinking maybe make up some flyers and hang them on doors around the neighborhood I live in; any comments from anyone would be appreated…hope everyone has a blessed day.
    by Anita – September 22, 2017

    by Anita — September 22, 2017

  9. Anita, I think that’s a wonderful idea! There are SO many seniors out there who know they need help but don’t know how to ask or are too proud to ask or are too depressed or scared to ask. They don’t want to be forced to give up their independence so help that will keep them happily in their homes is what they need. Good luck! Laney

    by Laney Humphrey — September 23, 2017

  10. Hi Anita:

    My background is also healthcare–I am now a former nurse. I could also see the need and it was not necessarily just the elderly who had no support system. I knew a woman who was in her thirties with breast cancer who was married to an executive who could not deal with it. They had two small children and she did not want her mother-in-law to help her. Some times people just need someone to be with them–it always helps to be able to do tasks for them. Yesterday I wrote a letter to the Board of our Co-op for an 87 year old resident who knew what she wanted to say, but could not put it in a letter effectively. I worked with her for two hours, printed the letter correctly addressed and dated to all parties concerned and gave her three additional copies—she was very grateful. I was glad to be of service.

    You can do it! I myself prefer to NOT drive people around as if they are ill in spite of my medical background, one can incur a great liability. I did take out an umbrella policy with $1,000,000 in coverage–just in case. I will go with them in a cab or Uber or I will meet them at their destination. I also provide information for them to live independently and help where I can in any way.

    Jennifer

    by Jennifer — September 24, 2017

  11. is there a part of the country where this service is in need the greatist?

    by karl — September 29, 2017

  12. Well, it helps if the service is priced properly for your area with a two hour minimum. You want to help people, but you also need to have a fair price–if it is too expensive, it would be unaffordable for many people. You also have to balance it out with the fact that it is a service you are providing, and you need to make it worth your while if it is a business. It can be done in any area of the country where there are people without a support system.

    by Jennifer — September 30, 2017

  13. Great feed back, thank you all so much…God willing I will pursue moving forward in my retirement.

    by Anita — October 18, 2017

  14. If there is a Senior Center in your area, that would also be a good place to put a flyer. Sometimes people are somewhat ambulatory but still need help with things, such as writing the letter. Just a thought.

    by Sharon Alexander — October 19, 2017

  15. I am affiliated with Senior Centers, apartment buildings, even hotels. People travel to destinations and still may need some help.

    Jennifer

    by Jennifer — October 20, 2017

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