Second Career: From Banking Professional to Adult Day Care Owner

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Lynn Ivey had spent 25 years in sales and marketing jobs in the banking industry. Toward the end of that career she saw her dad struggling to care for her mother, who suffered from dementia. The combination of job burn-out and a desire to help her family prompted Ivey to take a six-month leave of absence from Bank of America. She never went back.

Helping to take care of her mother made Ivey realize that as baby boomers age there will be a huge need for adult day care centers in the United States. Baby boomers are a large market and they will certainly want more choices for care than previous generations, she reasoned. And this inspired her encore career.

As Ivey observed the adult day care center that helped her mother and father, she thought of the many ways she could improve the service and environment to make it less institutional and clinical. She started thinking about how to create an environment that felt more like a beautiful lodge or club; she envisioned a center where adult children would feel good about dropping off their parents for the day. After doing significant research, visiting adult day care centers and talking with center directors in her home state of North Carolina, the former banker launched her adult day care center, The Ivey.

She says, "When a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic illness associated with aging, many families first think of an aide at home as a cure-all. Home health aides provide a valuable service, but they don't duplicate adult day care and their fees are much higher, often more than double. Adult day care offers socialization, activities, exercise, medical supervision by an RN and proper nutrition as well as personal care."

Ivey chose to make her center a non-profit so that she could offer an affordable alternative, reach a broader market and obtain charitable contributions and grants. She is trying to develop a national model that she can replicate in other cities.

Her advice for others who are thinking of leaving corporate American to start their own venture is to, "Know that it will take more time and more money to achieve your goals than you expect. Be flexible and change your model if you need to."

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