A growing number of young entrepreneurs are creating start-ups geared toward baby boomers and seniors. Whether these Millennials and Gen-Xers are driven by profit potential or idealism (or both), the market is a huge one: as of 2014 there were 46.2 million people age 65 or older in the US, and by 2015 that number is expected to nearly double.
There’s a recurring theme among these young entrepreneurs: each was inspired to create a product or a service after a family crisis brought home the perils of caregiving on the fly.
Here are a few of the ventures that are worth checking out:
- Making Care Easier – a free website and app that helps people coordinate care, share information and find caregiving products. Founded by two sisters, one who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and needed care from her mother and sister.
- CareLinx – sometimes referred to as the match.com of caregiving, this website matches families and paid caregivers while eliminating agency fees, thus costing less for the family and putting more in the caregiver’s pocket. Fully vets their caregivers, and is bonded and insured. Founded by 37-year-old Sherwin Sheik after his family’s wrenching experience of securing care for his sister, who had multiple sclerosis, and an uncle who had ALS.
- TrueLink – a Visa card specially designed to protect seniors from scams and aggressive marketers, it flags transactions like magazine subscriptions and sweepstakes offers, and blocks them. Founded by a 28-year-old after he became aware that his otherwise independent grandmother was being bilked by “needy” strangers and other predatory pitchmen.
- Smartstones – “the world’s first gesture to speech app… convert[s] simple swipes, taps, and shakes into phrases that are spoken out loud and presented with a text readout. … allows users to interact with others and express themselves quickly and naturally.” Founded by then 38-year-old Andreas Forsland after his mother was hospitalized and couldn’t write or speak due to being on a breathing tube and ventilator.
To learn more about the boom in start-ups catering to older Americans, check out this PBS news piece: