The Case for Jumping Into Senior Care During a Pandemic
For years, the risk of business ownership prevented Kristin Canny from pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams. She finally decided to go for it, in the middle of a pandemic, and chose, of all things, senior care.
The obvious Covid challenges of keeping one of the most vulnerable populations safe didn’t dissuade Canny from opening a Right at Home senior care franchise in Plymouth. In fact, it made her even more determined. Right at Home, which has more than 500 locations nationwide, matches seniors and adults with disabilities with caregivers who provide companionship— something that has been in especially short supply for seniors since the pandemic began. Right at Home’s trained caregivers also offer light housekeeping, meal prep, transportation and recovery care services, as well as technology assistance. The services are geared towards seniors who live independently or in assisted-living communities or memory care facilities.
“I wanted to finish out my career doing something that I was very passionate about and that really got me going in the morning to get out there and make a difference in somebody else’s life,” said Canny, a longtime Meals on Wheels volunteer who worked in sales and marketing for more than 25 years.
Getting laid off from a job in sales and marketing in February 2020, right as the reality of Covid-19 was starting to hit Minnesota, gave the Plymouth resident the push she needed. A small business seminar included in her layoff package made her think buying a business might actually be more practical than trying to find a job in a pandemic.
“Covid was such a whirlwind at that time and no one knew where we’d be now, a year later,” Canny said. “I thought I might as well give it a go and follow my passion, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But at least I was doing something, instead of just waiting for the world to return to normal.”
Canny settled on franchising, “a business-in-a-box that already has systems in place and knows how their program works.”
On top of pursuing a passion, Canny also liked knowing she was fulfilling an immense need.
According to the Home Care Association of America, 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 each day, and this will continue through 2030. More than 70 percent of those seniors will need assistance with daily living activities as they age.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the population of adults aged 65 or older will reach nearly 84 million by 2050, almost double in size from the 2012 level of 43.1 million.
“We want to make sure seniors stay healthy and in their homes,” Canny said. “It’s our job to pay attention, listen, communicate, and watch for potential issues so we can make sure they don’t happen.”
Right at Home Plymouth is currently licensed for companion care only but will apply for its personal care license once state licensing opens back up. Canny is currently looking to hire caregivers with flexible schedules. She sees senior care as a great opportunity for other people laid off during the pandemic.
“People in hospitality, retail, and customer service are already doing a lot of things that you need for good, in-home senior care,” Canny said. “All you have to do is apply passion and energy, and then you’ve got a great caregiver.”