Senior Care Franchise Owners May Be Among the Happiest People
The aging Baby Boomer population is creating an unprecedented marketplace for senior care service providers. If you wish to help others and want to run your own business, starting a senior care franchise will enable you to do both. In addition, doing so will likely deliver on many of the points that make people happy according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. The report strives to objectively measure happiness around the world and analyze what creates happiness.
Below are some key findings from the 2017 World Happiness Report and how they relate to senior care franchising.
- More income is better. Higher income tends to result in higher feelings of happiness, but apparently only up to a certain point. A 2010 Princeton study found that once you earn about $75,000 in annual income as a single earner, earning more doesn’t make you happier.
“Dara and I earn more money than we did working long hours for others,” says Brad Trout, who owns four Seniors Helping Seniors franchises in Pennsylvania with his wife Dara. “We were profitable, albeit not making a living, in about six months. We were able to sustain ourselves at month 11 when we took on the second territory.”
The Trouts were inspired to purchase their first Seniors Helping Seniors territory (which was quite small compared with their second one) by Dara’s experience caring for her mother, who had Alzheimer’s. They intend to sell their business to fund their retirement and feel that having an established franchise brand will help them do so.
“The work is high pressure, but we have realized a lifestyle we never thought we would have,” says Adie Walls, who owns the Caring Senior Services of Brazoria County, Texas, franchise with her husband Mike. “We have three kids who are involved in different things and can afford to support their interests. In addition, we can afford to travel and do other things such as remodeling. Neither Mike nor I have college degrees. We didn’t understand how liberating working in senior care would be both financially and by giving back. Not worrying about making ends meet has been good for our marriage and our family.” When they purchased their franchise, Adie’s grandparents needed care and Mike was the Director of Franchise Development for Caring Senior Services.
- Work-life balance is important. Spending less time at work and more time with family and doing what you enjoy is beneficial.
“We have built a powerful set of key performance indicators that allows us to keep in touch with the quality of care we are providing, while taking more time away from the business,” says Jeff Tews, a franchisee of BrightStar Care and BrightStar Senior Living. He and his wife Susan Rather own and operate five territories in Wisconsin.
“Susan and I are adventure junkies,” he says. “We spent 14 weeks over two summers riding our tandem bicycle across the United States. This year, we have taken two weeks to go to Chile on a mission trip, two weeks to explore Slovenia by hiking the Alps and bicycling the Adriatic Coast, and are about to descend into the Grand Canyon for a five-day wilderness hike. When we are at work, we continue to happily put in 60-hour weeks, but since we have a high level of passion for the work, it isn’t really work as we knew it before.”
Tews says he experienced the stress of being a distant caregiver to his mother, who had Alzheimer’s. Susan’s grandmother had a poor experience with home care, so both understood the importance of high-quality home care before investing in their franchise.
“I’m not good at stepping away from the business because I stay focused, but I am able to do so in order to fill the family roles I really enjoy,” says Christine Friedberg, who owns a Griswold Home Care franchise in Alexandria, Virginia. “I coach soccer, meet my kids for lunch, take them to Girl Scouts, etc.” She decided to invest in her franchise after learning about it while working for franchise research firm FRANdata.
- Variety is valuable. People with variety in their work report higher levels of happiness and well-being.
“Every day is different. I am never bored,” says Ralph Fern, who owns Homewatch CareGivers of Phoenix with his brother Dan. The Fern brothers had firsthand experience caring for loved ones: their mother had dementia and their father had physical challenges. They left their corporate jobs and invested in their senior care franchise because each wanted to do something with “heart.”
- Autonomy leads to satisfaction. Having control over your work tends to make you happier at work, as well as in life. This kind of autonomy creates a certain kind of freedom.
“I appreciate that I can make a decision quickly and not have to convince anyone but myself that it is a good decision,” says Kristen Carlson who owns a Right at Home franchise in Galveston, Texas. Before opening her franchise, she worked for more than 12 years in medical management and had cared for her elderly aunt for many years.
“After a 33-year career in corporate customer service, I made the decision to start a business where I could establish and maintain a culture of high-level customer service and employee engagement,” says Jeff Tews. “I knew I was not an inventor of fresh ideas and that I lacked the patience for the detail required to establish a fresh process, so the BrightStar franchise model made sense for me.”
“Dara and I both had our share of crazy bosses and long work days,” says Brad Trout. “We knew investing in a Seniors Helping Seniors franchise would enable us to work hard for ourselves and answer to each other.” Before investing in their franchise, he ran IT service operations and she did inside sales for an education company.
- Job security matters. If you feel you may be unemployed in the near future, you’ll be less satisfied with your work. Stable jobs make one feel secure.
Own Your Happiness
Doing work that motivates and satisfies you is another important part of achieving happiness. In a Huffington Post article, Wharton Professor Adam Grant stated that the key thing all “meaningless” jobs have in common is that they don’t make an important difference in others’ lives. Working in senior care certainly does.
“Owning our own business has given Dara and me control of our destiny,” says Brad Trout.
“Having a business that provides peace of mind for families faced with tough decisions and crisis is a wonderful thing for our hearts,” says Jeff Tews.
“I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives more than I could have imagined,” says Christine Friedberg. “I get to provide over 100 people with meaningful careers and we help clients and their families at a time in life that is often full of change and unknowns. We bring them solutions.”
The needs of seniors vary greatly. Some require assistance with everyday activities like errands, bathing, dressing, medication management, or housekeeping, while others have medical conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes that need monitoring and care. Still others require round-the-clock care in an assisted living community or nursing home. There is a senior care franchise that addresses each of these in-demand needs that can potentially help you achieve your own happiness.
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