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:
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.