In “A Missed Business Opportunity: Senior Centers That Are Actually Fun,” I suggest that more and better senior centers are not only an untapped market for entrepreneurs, but also cost-effective for government.
In the U.S., there are about 5,000 adult-daycare centers for a quarter of a million seniors. The remainder of the 40 million Americans over age 65 are a large and unserved market.
The services offered to Japan’s seniors represents the possibilities in the U.S. Last year, 60 casino-themed senior centers opened in Japan, reflecting a desire for “adult” entertainment. The owner of one new casino told the Financial Times that most centers are “too childish.”
More adult-daycare facilities and increased participation could also ease financial pressure on Medicare. At such facilities, seniors are often in constant contact with professionals, who may notice symptoms before they become serious, preventing costly emergency room visits and hospital stays.
The U.S. has three types of adult-daycare facilities: social, medical, and specialized. Medical and specialized centers focus on rehab and managing conditions like Alzheimer’s and Diabetes. Social centers provide a hub for seniors to connect for meals and recreational activities. Both seniors and the insurance companies that pay for their care would prefer more of all three kinds of adult daycare centers.
Perhaps we have a new use for Atlantic City’s abandoned casinos!