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‘Personal Validation’ Alone Is a Powerful Concept: But What If You Factored in the Power of the ‘Law of Attraction’ When Leaving Everyone You Meet With a Smile Or Blessing? Wow!

January 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Relationships & Family

 Can You Harness Power of Validation?

About six weeks ago, as we moved into the year-end holiday season, I told you about my intent to personally take note of everyone I encountered, on a daily basis for at least 30 days. My plan was to make sure that I recognized everyone, but more powerfully, I wanted find some way to compliment each and every person in a unique and personal way.

In personal development terms, this act I was taking on is called, “Validation,” which is defined by the self improvement gurus as “an observable act and human behavior that espouses both appreciation and gratitude.”

However you want to define it, my decision was largely inspired by watching the short movie, “Validation,” which is freely available on YouTube, and, with over 426,000 views since it was uploaded, has acquired a bit of a following…

Here Are My Personal – Albeit Unscientific – Results:

During this time period, I had a lot of fun, and exercised my creativity:

  • I didn’t just offer individualized (or personalized) recognition and validation to friends and family members
  • I also offered validation to total strangers I met on my daily journey
  • I didn’t just make eye contact with everyone I encountered, while greeting them with a generic “Good morning,” or “Hello”
  • I actually made a point to personally engage each person I met in conversation, offering some sort of individualized and personal feedback; with the goal to leaving them smiling and in a more positive mood than when I’d met them.
  • Sort of like Clint Eastwood, in the movie “Dirty Harry,” I actually tried to “make their day” – (but In a very uplifting way!)

The particular attempt at validation varied, depending on the person and the situation.

  • It might have been as simple as a genuine compliment about something they had done, the impact they were having on the people around them, or the attractiveness of something they were wearing
  • On other occasions, it was a personal inquiry that showed I remembered something about them from a conversation we’d had the last time we’d met
  • And in the case of total strangers, it was a personalized comment based on my appreciation of the situation at that moment. You know, something a lot more personal than, “So do you think it’s going to snow today?”

Doubtless I will never see some of those people again. But it was still empowering to take note of their presence, and leave them with a warm feeling in their hearts.

To review a few of the dozens of people I had the opportunity to positively interact with, so you understand the scope of my actions:

  • A couple who held the door for me as I entered a store
  • Checkers and cashiers at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and shops
  • Waiters, and restaurant owners, with whom I might previously have exchanged general chit-chat
  • A handful of postal workers, who I see at the window and make idle conversation with on a regular basis, as well as fellow USPS customers, none of whom I’d met before
  • Of particular note were a couple of fellow customers at a gas station: one,  who saw me attempting to open my car’s hood, so I could add windshield wiper fluid to my car. One came over to offer to assistance with the latch; another stepped in to offer to pour in the fluid… Both were total strangers who doubtless didn’t know each other, and who may never be in the same place at the same time again…

They All Felt Appreciated – And I Felt Great, Too!

That’s one of the key “take aways” about validation – which you would probably best define as “a specific acknowledgment of appreciation for a task well done:” It is even more powerful for the fact that it feels just as good to the person who does the validating as it does to the person who gets validated.

But the unintended outcome was that I was amazed at how many people reciprocated my greeting by going out of their way to help me, even though I am a fully capable adult, and wasn’t seeking or soliciting any sort of assistance!

This was a total surprise which I didn’t fully comprehend until I happened to pick up and read a quick little book called Using the Law of Attraction to Get Anything You Want,” by Shawn Casey and Antonio Thornton.

You See, By My Actions, I’d Unwittingly Called The Law of Attraction Into Play…

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction. Most people who’ve learned about it define it as a Universal Principal – like the Law of Gravity – that  works every time, whether you choose to use it for your benefit or not. In other words:

  • Like attracts like
  • Thoughts become things
  • In life, you will always get what you are expecting to get, because that’s what you call into action

If you haven’t seen the Validation movie yet, you should. It’s both powerful and uplifting, though a number of people also report that it makes them cry, so be warned. At a bit over 16 minutes, making the decision to watch may daunt you, of course.  But you’ll find it is thought-provoking and well worth your time…

And if you’d like to learn more about how you can use both Validation and the Law of Attraction in your day-to-day life, grab the book, too. It’s a very worthwhile, quick read.

Among many other points made in the book, Shawn Casey tells of an organized personal greeting effort – similar to mine – which has been growing, worldwide. Started in Florida, this movement is called “Hello From My Heart Day.”

Seems that by invoking the Law of Attraction, and consciously choosing to validate, or genuinely greet people, you can actually participate in a growing movement that has reduced violent crime by as much as 33% according to statistics cited in the book.

Who Knew There Was That Much Value to Personal Validation?

  • Grab the book, “Using the Law of Attraction to Get Anything You Want,” learn how you can use the Law of Attraction to get anything you want – and discover how you can help reduce violent crime in our world.
  • What a deal! Especially since the book is only a measly seven bucks!
  • What’s that equate to? For the price of a fast food meal, you can get on the road to improving your life, and help make the world a better, safer place for all of us!
  • That’s gotta be what they call a “no brainer,” right?

Read the Book and Prepare to Have Your Life Changed.

And after you’ve digested it, feel free to send me a note telling me how it impacted You!

Now That You’ve Rounded Up Your Waffle Iron and Whetted Your Appetite, Weren’t You Wishing You Could Serve Those Yummy Restaurant-style Sourdough Waffles at Home?

January 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

Ready for Sourdough Waffles?

Yesterday, when writing about waffles and those cool “flip style” waffle makers so many motels now feature in their breakfast rooms — the ones that produce those really crispy, thick Belgian waffles — I also started thinking about the waffle batter they provide for those ubiquitous free continental breakfasts…

If you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy those hotel waffles, you know the batter is generally provided in Styrofoam cups, which conveniently measure out the appropriate amount of batter for one waffle. And the batter is a thick, bubbly, yeasty concoction, redolent of sourdough

I Used to Suspect it Wasn’t Really Truly Sourdough Batter

But I’ve changed my mind, now that I’ve just read that sourdough starter can actually be frozen.  That makes sense, as it’d make daily setup pretty easy for the motel management…)

Meanwhile, as I was thinking about how I might be able to bring you a recipe for THOSE exact waffles, I searched the deep recesses of my brain, and came up with a memory that’s an “oldie but goodie” from my “earth mother days of yore”… Maybe you remember it too?

It’s “Herman!”

Yep. Herman was that sourdough starter everyone shared with their friends, back in the 70s. If you’re a true Baby Boomer, you’ve either nurtured your very own batch of Herman – possibly for years – or you’ve dined on “friendship bread,” bread, pizza, coffeecake or pancakes made with a Herman sourdough starter.

Because the thing is, once you accepted a Herman starter, you were pretty much committed to feeding your Herman, and keeping it going.

Good thing I’ve lost track of Chris B., the dear friend who gave me my Herman starter eons ago, when we were both young women recently transplanted to Iowa. I’d hate to have to tell her I lost track of it over twenty years ago! (Then again, she probably doesn’t have hers anymore, either!!)

Think About That “Sourdough Starter” Process For a Moment… If You Recall, It Required Regular Attention:

  • Most sourdough (and Herman) recipes required one cup of “fed” sourdough starter.
  • Which meant you had to plan ahead, to get the starter “fed” and keep it growing.
  • So, up to twelve hours before beginning a recipe – essentially the night before – you’d stir the starter and remove your cup of bubbly goodness.
  • The cup you removed was what you would use to make your product.
  • Then you added more flour and water to the remaining starter, to replace what you’d removed.
  • And the starter required maintenance, so if you weren’t going to bake something with the starter, your alternative was to give it to a friend, or throw it away…
  • However you did it, your goal was to get rid of one cup of starter on a regular basis — at least once a month — so you could feed the rest and keep it lively without ending up with a house full of yeasty-smelling starter.
  • Remember?

The Whole Sourdough Tending Process Sort of Reminds Me of Child-rearing…

But, like raising kids, it’s all worth it if you have a good starter. And the amazing thing is, there are actually people who are fortunate enough to have access to 150 year old sourdough starter. Which takes us back to the heyday of sourdough, the Gold Rush days!

If you’d like to make sourdough waffles and you don’t have access to any historic sourdough starter, here’s a recipe for making your own. This isn’t “Herman,” which is a sweeter and more “tempermental” starter that includes milk and a fair amount of sugar… But this is a good basic sourdough starter:

Sourdough Starter

INGREDIENTS

2 cups warm water, separated (water you’ve used to boil potatoes is traditional, but tap water works fine)
1 tablespoon fresh active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups unbleached flour (separated)

Pour 1 cup warm water (105°-115°, no more) into a non-metal or glass bowl or jar,  sprinkle yeast over it, mix, and let stand a few minutes until yeast dissolves. Add the sugar and 1 cup of flour. Mix. Let the starter sit on the counter (room temperature of 70-80° F) for 5 days (uncovered, or draped with cheesecloth, if you can’t stand to leave it completely uncovered). Your goal with leaving this out is to allow the natural yeasts that exist in the air get into the yeast sponge. Stir this mixture daily. When ready, the mixture will be bubbly and a little frothy, and smell nicely sour. If bubbles have not started forming after 24 hours, though, start again. Your water may have been too hot, or your yeast not fresh and active. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

On the 5th day feed the starter with the remaining cup of flour and water.

Stir and loosely cover the starter again.

Your starter will be ready to use on the 6th day.

Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter:

  • Once you have successfully prepared the sourdough bread starter recipe, store it in the refrigerator, loosely covered, in your jar or other non-metal container. (They make crocks just for sourdough starter.)
  • Replace the amount of starter you use. Most recipes call for 1 cup of starter; replenish it by adding 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the remaining starter. Return it to the refrigerator. Should you need more starter, add the flour and water first, and let it ferment for 24 hours, (or at least for 12 hours).
  • Sooner or later a dark liquid will collect atop your starter. This is called the hooch. Just stir it in. It’s a good thing.

Sourdough starter can be refrigerated indefinitely, but works best if you get it out and use some of it periodically, while you feed the rest.

And why not? That’s what you made if for, right?

Parting Thoughts:

  • Now that you have a recipe for sourdough starter, here’s a link to a sourdough waffle recipe, which comes from King Arthur Flour.
  • Be sure to check out this post, as it has loads of great photos, to make the whole sourdough waffle-making process really easy for you!
  • If you’re a Food Network fan, here’s a link to  video with Alton Brown talking about his method for making waffles
  • And a final link, to Alton’s preferred machine for making waffles. (Gotta love that Alton Brown!) 

Coming Up in My Next Recipe Post: Loads of Ways to Showcase Your New Sourdough Skills

Time to Heat Things Up, Make a Stand for Pure Goodness: “Waffling” May Be Poor Politics, But Who Can’t Love the Chef Who Serves Up Waffles for Breakfast, Brunch – or Dinner?

January 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

Crispy Homemade waffles: What's not to love?

I don’t know about you, but I love serving making and serving waffles at our weekend brunches – about as much as my husband and guests love devouring them! Don’t get me wrong, pancakes are good, french toast can be absolutely divine, and quiche never fails to impress. But waffles are my absolute favorite brunch meal.

One Reason Waffles Are Brunch Winners Is Their Versatility: You Can Serve Them Sweet or Savory – With Toppings to Match!

Everyone thinks first of sweet waffles. That’s why the standard image of a waffle generally comes with butter and syrup. But many of you are just as comfortable with healthier versions, topped with fresh fruit, or perhaps peanut butter or nutella.  

However, those crispy rectangles or circles with the delicious dimples – made for soaking up the toppings – are just as wonderful served with heartier toppings:

  • For example, you could make Cheddar-cheese enhanced waffles, and serve them alongside nice juicy slices of ham. With a crisp green salad on the side?
  • Or how about offering your guests a plate on which you’ve artistically ladled heavenly home-made chicken a la king atop a nice, crisp sourdough waffle?
  • Then again, there are several restaurants around the country who claim to have originated the concept of serving fried chicken and waffles – on the same plate. Not sure what you think of that. For me, this combo fails to appeal… Either it sounds too heavy or it’s too much brown! I like more color contrast on my plates.

I’m Not Alone in My Love of Freshly Baked Waffles, As You Surely Know.

It’s no coincidence that a lot of motels now feature “make your own” waffle bars as a part of their complimentary continental breakfast offerings: 

  • A lot of people, including my sister, actually select their lodging based on whether or not the dining room includes one of those ultra cool “Belgian waffle” gizmos that rotate the waffle 180-degrees.
  • And who could blame her?
  • After all, those babies turn out a delicious, light, crispy product with nice deep pockets for holding your favorite toppings in under three minutes!

Perhaps I ought to tell her I’ve just discovered you can buy a home version of these wonderful Belgian waffle makers on Amazon.com – for much less than a commercial machine would cost.

  • The online reviews are glowing, so I expect it’s a great buy…  
  • But then again, maybe I won’t share this info.
  • She might quit visiting me, as my well-used waffle baker isn’t quite so fancy!!

Now, call me an elitist, if you will, but when I talk about serving  waffles at home,  I’m not talking about those poor excuses for waffles that you can buy in the freezer case at your grocery store. No matter how much the TV commercials tout those things, you’re certain to “let go” of the idea that those are edible treats once you’ve baked – and enjoyed – waffles from scratch.

Waffles aren’t any harder to make than pancakes, though you do need a waffle iron. If cost’s a concern,  go check out your local or resale shop, check out what’s available on eBay.com – or just borrow one from a friend.  (Though once you start making waffles, you won’t want to give it back!)

Slightly used waffle makers are generally pretty easy to find, so not having one is no excuse for not making homemade waffles. Lots of people receive waffle irons as gifts, and never get around to using them.

  • So if you go the thrift shop route, you might even be able to pick one up for under ten bucks.
  • Given a choice, go for a vintage waffle baker if you can, the cast iron grill plates make nice crispy waffles. And the housing will probably be more sturdy.
  • On the other hand, as mentioned above, there are some pretty fantastic new waffle makers available – there’s even one from Kitchenaid that allows you make two Belgian waffles at the same time! (No waiting!)
  • And the newer George Foreman grills include removable waffle plates.

I have to admit though, I can’t make waffles without recalling Donkey, in the Shrek movies.

Specifically, what comes to mind is that scene in the first movie, after Shrek tells Donkey he can spend the night. Donkey is excited, prancing around, and he tells Shrek: “This is gonna be fun! We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I’m making waffles!

Don’t know what kind of waffles Donkey serves up in Shrek’s swamp. But true to my “creative foodie” cooking style, I can’t make my waffles the same way twice. No matter how good they are, I know my creative muse will demand something new  next time… Hey, maybe that’s how Racheal Ray comes up with all those delicious new variations on her culinary themes!

Regardless, the waffles I just finished serving were pretty darn memorable – and fairly healthy too. Which means they were good enough that I thought I’d jot down the recipe and share it with you.

  • Today we had ginger, oatmeal and applesauce-enhanced waffles topped with butter and maple syrup. And a side of maple-flavored sausage patties.
  • A topping of grilled apple slices would have made a great alternative to the syrup.  And been a fantastic accompaniment to the pork sausage. Yum! Maybe next time!!!
  • As always with all cooking, feel free to exercise your own creativity: I made today’s waffles with oatmeal, applesauce and spices, but if you don’t have applesauce or oatmeal on hand, you could substitute a cup of shredded apples and/or a cup of granola…

Here you go…

Splendid Apple Ginger Waffles with Pecans

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup old fashioned (not instant) oatmeal, swirled in blender
½ cup pecans, swirled in blender
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
tablespoon fresh ginger, grated (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup 1% or skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions

Preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also preheat your oven to 250°F so you can keep the finished waffles warm while you complete the baking process.

Into a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt. Add the oatmeal, pecans and spices and stir to mix evenly.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are a pale yellow color. Add the milk, melted butter, applesauce and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk just until blended. Do not over-mix.

In a third bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter, being careful not to over-mix.

Coat the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray as required and pour enough batter in the iron to just cover waffle grid. (For my George Foreman G5 grill, I use a half cup of batter on each half of the grill.)

Bake according to your grill manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes, depending upon grill size. Check the waffles for doneness about a minute before you estimate they will be done, and continue cooking if needed, to a golden brown. (In checking for doneness, open the waffle iron carefully and watch out for steam. Do not open the waffle iron for at least 1 minute. If you do, the waffle will split, leaving half the batter on each grid, and you’ll have a mess to clean up!)

That’s all for this post on waffles. Next up: Sourdough waffles!

Need to Generate Income? What if You Could Enter the Growing Home Health Care Field to Financially Benefit From the “Uptick in World Aging and Chronic Disease?”

Is Home Health Care Biz For You?

There’s no two ways about it: The fact that we humans are all getting older every day is as sure as the inevitability of death and taxes.  

Your challenge is to figure out how to use this to your advantage… And do it in a way that will make you money. One big idea is to develop a home health care oriented business related to helping people deal with chronic health conditions.  And do it now:

  • Don’t be like, Vivian, one of my former coaching clients, a 60+ physical therapist, who had an idea for a product to be used by Alzheimer’s patients.
  • It was a great idea: Simple, elegant, effective, dignity-enhancing, and inexpensive to manufacture.
  • A product that, if developed, would have sold like hotcakes, and made her a wealthy woman.
  • Sadly, she was so bound by fear that her idea would be laughed at that she waited a decade to seek help in bringing her idea to fruition.
  • In the end, just as I was aiding her to explore the manufacture of her “baby,” she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and didn’t survive her treatment.  Talk about a tragedy.

So as you’re sitting there, wondering what sort of business you can get into that will help you successfully ride out this current recession, think about the obvious:

  • What is it that people will always need, no matter what the economy is doing?
  • What resources can you personally access to serve these needs?
  • How might you be able to set things up to provide yourself with an ongoing, recurring monthly income? One that can be grown, but that won’t likely be discontinued, once you acquire a customer?

Your answers to these questions are crucial: They could help you develop a recession-proof business that will fund your retirement.

Actually, these are the very same question the “big boys” of industry are currently asking. Based on their answers, they’re taking action – they’re shedding old businesses that don’t support the answers they’ve arrived at, and acquiring new ones which do.

Need proof? Check out this recent article from the New York Times, “Royal Philips Sheds Old Businesses for New Directions,” which notes that execs at the Dutch industrial giant have become convinced of two things:

  • The population is getting older and
  • It is becoming more interested in becoming “greener”

The article notes that these two trends  – aging and greening – are guiding Philips as it transforms itself, reorganizing its divisions and jettisoning (non-compliant) product lines while picking up others. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the aging aspect and save going green for another day…)

Of course this is worth our attention. After all, Royal Philips is a well-known a manufacturer. By the way, we’re not talking about the folks who bring you Milk of Magnesia or the petroleum company. We’re discussing the firm previously known for its manufacture of home electronics products, including: 

  • Magnavox televisions
  • DVD, Blu-ray and home theater surround-sound devices
  • MP3 players, home appliances and portable music accessories
  • Philips incandescent light bulbs
  • Norelco shavers 
  • Sonicare power toothbrushes

“Uptick in World Aging”

These days, Royal Philips is selling off its home electronics businesses and instead delving into the business of selling hospital and at-home scanning and monitoring equipment and high-tech light bulbs made with light-emitting diodes.

  • “We were a technology-driven company,”said Gerard J. Kleisterlee, the chief executive of Philips. “But that is only one element. Now we are focusing on care cycles. ‘Health and well-being’ is a common theme that everyone works on.”
  • Or, as the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, puts it: “An uptick in world aging and chronic diseases will drive our business.”

To support this new business direction, Philips has acquired a number of existing firms: First, they bought Lifeline, a home health care monitoring system, perhaps best known to millions of Americans for an old television commercial whose tagline was, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Dozen of comedians had with that line, but despite the fun, the fact is, almost 40% of all seniors fall each year, and protecting them when they do, is big business. Look at these facts related to falls and medical helplessness at home:

  • Falls are one of the most serious health risks among seniors over the age of 65, affecting more people than stroke and heart attacks combined.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in those people 65 and over.
  • 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living and 20% will die within a year.
  • More than half (55%) of all falls by seniors take place in the home. An additional 23% occur outside but near the house. Lifeline can intervene in close to 80% of all falls.
  • Most falls go unreported, but it is expected that 35-40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year.
  • Those who fall are 2-3 times more likely to fall again.
  • Additionally, many other chronic medical conditions place millions more seniors at risk.Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diminished hearing and eyesight, and Parkinson’s all leave seniors vulnerable to helplessness at home.

No wonder Lifeline currently keeps track of 720,000 elderly or infirm at-home customers in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the number of people who subscribe to this service will continue to grow as our world population continues to age.

The Importance of Developing Recurring Income 

  • Most noteworthy is that Lifeline uses an intriguing business model, which you might do well to consider: they give away their products and charge a monthly fee for their use.
  • Explains Ronald Feinstein, Philips Lifeline president, “I don’t want to sell blood pressure cuffs and defibrillators,  I want to give them away and charge a monthly fee.”
  • Currently, customers pay $35 to $45 a month, for use of a pendant or a TV set-top box that connects to Lifeline. If they experience a medical problem, they push a button on the device to summon help.

Not surprisingly, considering that their target market is people who are aged or infirm, the company does lose about 35 percent of its subscribers to death each year. But you might wonder whether they even notice:  After all, since the world continues to age, they have been able to grow their subscriber base about 10 percent a year.

  • At this point, the company estimates it owns 60 percent of the home-monitoring market in the United States.
  • The final addition to their home-healthcare monitoring revenue stream: the 250 installers who show the subscribers how to use the devices also sell them other products, like fall detectors and automatic pill dispensers.
  • But to round out their presence in the medical monitoring field, Philips also sells cardiac home monitors that transmit data to a doctor’s office, home defibrillators and a variety of out-patient monitoring systems for assisted living operations.

Chronic Health Conditions Require Regular Treatment

Next up, Philips bought Respironics, the home health care firm which is best known for their positive airway pressure (PAP) machines and accessories used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

  • As with Lifeline, Philip’s Respironics business uses a business model which charges a monthly fee for use of their equipment.
  • And finally, Philips entry into the Home Medical Equipment field means that they can roll out ancillary products, such as oxygen therapy, light therapy and respiratory drug therapies. You can also develop ancillary products, once you get your business started…

Home Health Care Future Is Bright 

Philips Healthcare anticipates great successes ahead with their home health care businesses: Says John L. Miclot, CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions:

  • “By leveraging our strengths as Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, we will improve quality of life for at-risk individuals through better awareness, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of their conditions – in the home.”
  • We are looking to a bright future as part of Philips Healthcare. We’re expanding our efforts to simplify healthcare by providing innovative solutions for the home that connect patients to their providers and support independent living for at-risk individuals.”

Should You Try For a Slice of the Home Health Care Pie?

 If you’ve got appropriate credentials, this is a “no-brainer.” Of course you should!
 
But what if you’re not a doctor, licensed nurse, social worker or LPN?
 
Even if you aren’t trained in the medical field, you may still find opportunities in this marketplace if you give it some thought. Assess your skills and talents and copnsider whether or not you might be able to build a business related to assisting health-challenged individuals to co ntinue to live independently in their homes.
 
For example, what about:
  • A Dog-Walking Service for the Homebound? – Pets are great companions, of course. But those who are physically challenged may have difficulty exercising their pets, washing them, trimming their nails or getting them to the vet.  This business is similar to the pet care services provided for people on vacation, but would give you the benefit of regular repeat business.
  • A Personal Shopper/Delivery Service? – “Have car, will shop or run your errands.” Many physically challenged people would appreciate having access to a service that runs errands and even does grocery shopping.  Alternately, offer a service where you pick up and deliver meals from restaurants which don’t normally offer delivery. Anyone who has difficulty getting into and out of a car would be a prospect. Also, home-based business people who are busy would likely appreciate this sort of personal assistance.
  • An On Call Barber/Beautician/Massage Therapist Service – Again, the concept is that you take your service to the client, and do the work at their home, saving them from the physical challenges of having to leave their home.

Not interested in providing an in-the-home service?
There are still thousands of other options. How about:

  • A service where your clients call in daily, to confirm that they are OK, and receive some message or benefit in the process. Similar to the Lifeline service, this concept requires that your clients call you daily – at a pre-arranged time – to confirm that all is well. Of course, you can augment and personalize the service Lifeline offers in many ways. This would be a service many Baby Boomers who live far from their parents but have concerns over them would find beneficial.
  • Or you might offer a subscriber service where prepare you deliver a daily blog post or podcast on a topic of interest – possibly even something as simple as reading aloud a chapter of a book each day. 
  • Another concept could be running a group call or teleconference on a daily or weekly basis.
    • A “virtual book club,” for example.
    • Or a specialized virtual support group – could be for people with a specific disability, like fibromyalgia, for example.
    • Or possibly a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
    • These virtual groups have the benefit of not being limited by geography. You could actually have people calling in from all over the country – your only limitation to a world group being time zones.
  • Videos are great too!
    • Could you create a series of exercise videos specifically designed for people with physical limitations of one type or another?
    • What about a book, workbook, video and journaling program to assist people recovering from stroke or other life-altering illness to relearn skills they’ve lost? Possibly how to survive hip replacement surgery, for example. Or maybe how to learn to love your C-PAP machine – for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea?
  • Finally, my favorite: An Ombudsman Service for people who are challenged by working the American healthcare system. If you’re good at details and cutting through red tape, there’s a huge need for this service. And in some situations – such as arguing with insurance companies – you can do the work from home!

What Makes a Great Concept for This Type of Business?

  • Ideally, your new home health care business will not be labor intensive: You are able to do it once, and get paid repeatedly. A subscription service, for example. Or a book you write once and sell many times. Possibly a combination of both…
  • A service you provide that insurance companies will cover is also ideal, because it limits your customers’ out of pocket expense and means your payments can be automated.  
  • Look at your skillsets and figure out whether you can offer a product or service that is unique, solves a problem, and does not require you to “trade hours for dollars.”
  • A product or service that is based on your own experiences and your concern for helping others overcome a challenge you have faced. The personal aspect really shines through! This then might be something you market through doctors or clinics which work with people experiencing the same medical challenge.
  • And don’t forget the lesson Royal Philips teaches us: Strongly consider a product you can give away, which then allows you to charge a monthly fee for service or maintenance!

Now it’s your turn!

Put on your thinking cap, assess your life experience, and come up with some business concepts and ideas. Then develop a business plan that will put you in the game!

What are you waiting for? Go! Do! Now! The world is aging, and it needs your help!