Aging Boomers Helping Seniors
Ed Note: As aging boomers shift from full-time careers, they are looking for new options. Many will get involved in helping seniors. Maggy Young shares her story.
I hope my story is just starting. For many years I had been involved in a property business, but the slump brought this to a close. I am a ‘boomer’ but was used to being busy and active and didn’t want this to end. Plus having even a small business gives you additional interests, together with many contacts and new friends, all of which helps to keep you young. So I went looking for a new venture and for three years found nothing which seemed to be right. Opportunities of course were not helped by the combination of the recession and the rise of the web resulting in many traditional businesses dying on their feet.
That was when a memory from the old property days came back to me. I had purchased a quality second floor apartment in a modern block which was being sold by a nearby relative of a deceased elderly lady. I heard from the neighbors in the adjacent flats how the old lady had lain there for three months or more until suspicions were aroused and eventually there was a forced entry. It had always stuck in my mind about how sad this all was.
I had read that Guy Kawaski, – the famous venture capitalist, entrepreneur and author of ‘The Art of the Start’, said that you should look for a wrong to right, look for a problem and help to answer it. I thought how people nearby almost certainly never realized how few callers that old lady locked in her flat sometimes had and wondered if she might have survived if a no answer had been detected earlier….. if she had had any callers of any sort. And how people probably never realized how few callers she sometimes had.
From the memory of that sad flat, in March 2011 I launched a new business marketing a daily call program for Seniors and the infirm. The program runs every day of a week except Sundays, with a nominated relative being notified if there is no answer after three calls. Initially I saw it as a first line of senior citizen services, providing a level of reassurance to both family and the client being called. Then the concept of the social angle became more prominent as I discussed it with others and this related back even more to that senior lady in her apartment who had so few callers from time to time. I read commentaries in the New York Times ‘New Old Age Blog’ featuring the increasing loneliness and isolation of many seniors who have lost touch with family, friends and neighbors and decided that lessening this situation was the key aspect which a daily call program offered.
This is reflected in our Mission statement: “To ensure that Seniors and others do not pass more than one day of a week without enjoying at least one conversation to brighten their day and a contact with the outside world.” The program has only just launched in the US and UK, but I have now found a new business with a strong sense of purpose and one which can hopefully make a contribution helping seniors.