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Aging in America and NCOA 2009 Conference. Comments and Observations. Part 2.

Posted Mar 18 2009 3:56pm

As a follow-up to the post Aging in America and NCOA 2009 Conference Comments and Observations Part 1, this blog posting (Part 2) focuses on the exhibitors at this year's event. 

(The photo below, taken from the exhibit floor, shows some of the members of our company - from L to R, Jonathan Goodman, Mark Willaman (me), and Jocelyn Goodman Cook).


Here is a short list of my observations:

  1. There were over 100 exhibitors. See complete list here.
  2. The exhibit floor was an interesting mix of (a) well known national health care, senior care and related businesses (AstraZeneca, Philips Lifeline, ADT, Home Instead, Visiting Angels, etc.) (b) non profits, associations and government agencies (AARP, Alzheimer's Foundation, CDC, etc.) and (c) start-ups and smaller less established businesses. 
  3. Many of the exhibitors were local or regional businesses from around the country (as opposed to selling nationally or globally). In my experience, most senior care / caregiving companies are local.  One reason is that hands-on caregiving businesses can be difficult and expensive to scale.   See number 5 below for another reason.
  4. The smaller senior care companies that were national in scope tended to be consumer product or software companies - both of which are more scalable. Two I spoke with included Walker Wonder   (a company that provides fun and uplifting walker accessories) and O Koncepts LLC (a company that markets a product called MediSunMinder that allows you to electronically store your prescription medicine information - very cool).
  5. Many senior care businesses on the exhibit floor were inspired by the founder's personal experience with caregiving. This can be good and bad. It is good because of the passion this inspires. These company's really do care. Its bad because passion alone doesn't grow a business - you need a good strategy and good marketing, and far too many of  the senior care businesses I speak with (not many at this event) seem to have neither  - especially marketing. One that does appear to have a very solid strategy and outstanding marketing is a company founded by Andy Cohen -    Andy was inspired to co-found his company based on his personal experience with caregiving. And they are off to a tremendous start. Kudos Andy.
  6. There were a lot of start-ups - and expect a lot more as the senior care market is just getting started and on the verge of dramatic growth due to the aging population's explosive growth.   Think about this - $800 billion is spent on end-of-life issues today and it will only rise as the Boomers age. 
  7. There were a handful of senior care "dot com" businesses on the exhibit floor. I already mentioned  Two others include   (a social network for caregivers and families) and (a marketing service for companies that sell products and services relating to the aging population, helping them to gain increased online visibility, web site traffic and sales leads).
  8. One very interesting company I came across - Priceless Legacy, a company that helps individuals, families and organizations preserve and celebrate their life legacies for the benefit of future generations. You have to check this feel-good company out. Everyone should consider doing this for their aging loved ones. It's very cool and the sample books they displayed at their exhibit were wonderful - good marketing. 
  9. The event's co-host NCOA has a wonderful service called BenefitsCheckUp that was on display. Developed and maintained by The National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources.BenefitsCheckUp includes more than 1,650 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  10. Lastly, the U.S. Census bureau was exhibiting and had some very interesting reports on display. One I found quite interesting was a report, " The 65 Years and Over Population" which had a map showing the percent of total population 65 years and over by county throughout the U.S., Check it out here.

I wish I could discuss every exhibitor as there were so many interesting companies - and it was a real pleasure meeting so many of the exhibitor's.  This was a quality group of people and fun to be around. Some of the other exhibitors and many others senior care companies can be found in the SeniorCare Buyers Guide - if you have a senior care company make sure to get your free listing in the  Buyers Guide.

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