A Need That a Recession Can't Stop

A Need That a Recession Can't Stop

Bob Moos / The Dallas Morning News

February 16, 2009

When Scott Bennett’s friends ask why he chose now to start a business, he confidently replies that aging doesn’t slow down for a recession.

Unfazed by the deepening downturn, Bennett and his business partner, Rob Novick, have launched Full Circle Advisors, a business that steps in and helps distraught families draw up plans for the care of elderly and frail parents.

“Even raising the subject of who will look after Mom, let alone working out all the details, is difficult in most families,” Bennett said. “We teach people how to pet the elephant in the room and agree on a plan of action.”

Starting a company is risky even in good times. But the two Dallas men are among entrepreneurs who think they’ve found a recession-resistant enterprise – catering to people overwhelmed by the prospect of caregiving.

Sharon Quick, a registered nurse, quit her job at a hospice company late last year to open Park Cities Healthcare Consultants, a business that lines up and coordinates care for the seriously or chronically ill.

Many of her clients are boomers juggling their jobs and child-rearing with caregiving.

After evaluating a patient’s needs, Quick assembles a team of professionals to help the older person stay at home, if possible.

She says she’s skirted the recession. Because she’s relying mostly on word of mouth for marketing, she expected to wait at least a month for her first client. But Quick was up to a caseload of 20 after several weeks.

“There’s no bad time to launch an enterprise that promises to ease the burden of caregiving,” said Matt Thornhill, founder of the Boomer Project, a consulting firm that helps businesses market to baby boomers. “The numbers don’t lie.”

The 65-plus population will almost double by 2030, increasing from 38 million today to 72 million. More than three-fourths of those older adults will suffer from at least one chronic condition that will require ongoing care.

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