The elderly population of the United States is growing, and it doesn’t seem like it will slow down anytime soon. By the year 2030, there will be 72 million people who are older than 65 nationwide. And those 72 million people often need help—whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or just a little company. Enter the elder concierge industry, which could be a new source of income for you and a lot of help to somebody else.
So, what does a senior concierge do, exactly? They help older adults go to the bank, play cards with them, run to the post officer, etc. It’s not the same as a nurse or a caregiver—it’s more like a personal assistant.
Jill Kaplan, who was a freelance photographer, started working with the Denver-based Elder Concierge Services seven years ago. Now, she makes between $25 and $40 an hour, and works just a few days of the week.
“It’s basically … mom and dad are getting older but they start needing a little bit of help,” Justin Lin, CEO of senior concierge service Envoy told Tech Crunch in an interview. “They’re not ready to hire a full-blown caregiver, they don’t need help getting dressed, they don’t need someone to come every day but they need a little support. And they need that personal touch and trust factor.”
That’s where you can come in—you can use the International Concierge & Lifestyle Management Network database to see what elder concierge companies are in your area or go it alone. You can freelance through Care.com (not just for babysitters!) where you’ll be placed with families who are looking for an in-home care provider. (Bonus: Care.com offers its employees a wide variety of benefits.)
If this sounds like something you’d be interested, you should know that it’s a tough road to actually getting a position. At Envoy, the application process is very difficult. There are initial interviews, a background check and another set of interviews with current, successful Envoy employees. The applicant also has to attend the “Envoy school” where they learn about the company and what customers expect.
On Care.com, don’t expect it to be any less rigorous—people want to know their loved ones are in good hands. If you have previous caretaker experience (or experience in a similar field), that’s a good thing to promote.
Kaplan says she does everything from driving clients to appointments to playing cards to “just acting as an extra set of eyes and ears” to appease worried family members who can’t be there to take care of their elderly parents or relatives.
“It’s very satisfying,” Kaplan told the New York Times in an interview. She said her work with the Elder Concierge supplements her photography income. And like many others who have looked for a part time job, she considered driving for Uber but said working with the elderly offered her the ability to do something “more meaningful.”
“We feel like we are creating a new occupation,” Marty Bell, the National Aging in Place Council’s executive director told the New York Times. “It’s really needed.”