Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retiring Baby Boomers Fuel Home Care Market in Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retiring Baby Boomers Fuel Home Care Market in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

Grandpa isn't really ready for a nursing home. But he can't be alone all the time, either.

The baby boomers aren't babies anymore, and with the 65-and-over population expected to double in the next decade, entrepreneurs are anticipating demands and filling the void before it's a chasm. Non- medical home care franchises such as Comfort Keepers are booming, and Oklahoma has only seen the first entries into the market.

Grandpa may still enjoy sitting on his favorite park bench with a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels and a friendly salute for anyone who happens by. But he can't drive himself to the grocery store or scrub the bathtub anymore, and some days he gets just a little lonely. The children, long since grown, live in California, Florida, Wisconsin.

Enter Comfort Keepers Tulsa franchisees Sarah and Randy Cox. For as little as $14 per hour they'll provide a companion who can help tidy the house, run a few errands, do a little laundry or play a few hands of gin.

"In the past six months we've grown a great deal," said Tulsa Comfort Keepers General Manager Stacy Pritchard. "We're up more than 400 hours in the past month."

Dayton, Ohio,-based Comfort Keepers has more than 550 franchises operating worldwide. That's a big number for a company that sold its first franchise just nine years ago - an average of more than one new franchise every week.

"The field has grown considerably," said Comfort Keepers Franchise Development Director Jim Brown. "We're one of the largest with domestic units out there."

An Oklahoma City native who developed the Tulsa market for MotoFoto franchises, Brown joined Comfort Keepers a year ago. He attributed the company's rapid growth to referrals.

"So much comes from referral business," he said. "The adult children have scattered here and yon - you could have a senior who lives in Oklahoma City, whose adult children live in Phoenix, who are talking to their neighbors whose parents have Comfort Keepers in Ohio. That's one of the advantages of being a large group."

Comfort Keepers doesn't limit its client base to seniors. They do not offer child care, but the company provides services to adults recovering from injuries or an illness and to expectant and new mothers. …

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