After several experiences helping family members through the difficult process of finding the right services and facilities to help aging loved ones, Paul and Susan Doyle decided to turn what was fast becoming a talent into a business and recently opened their own Fairfield County franchise of a national company, Oasis Senior Advisors.
Their franchise has a mailing address at 1127 High Ridge Road in Stamford, but the couple largely operates the business from their home in Eastchester in Westchester County and in meetings at clients’ homes.
“It became a family joke that we should do this for a living,” said Paul.
But providing the right referrals for seniors in need is a business the couple takes seriously. Paul’s mother suffers from dementia and he lost his father in 2014 to a blood cancer that required repeated hospital stays and in-home and hospice care.
“When families come to us they are generally in crisis,” said Susan.
Many times adult children find themselves quickly searching for an assisted living center or other senior care services when a parent is being discharged from a hospital or suffering from rapidly developing frailty or cognitive impairment, she said
Headquartered in Bonita Springs, Florida, Oasis also has franchises in Westchester County, New Jersey and Long Island, according to Paul Doyle. The company offers solutions for clients that range from referrals for assisted living centers or in-home care to something as simple as a handyman to install a shower handle. The service is free to clients and their families and no placement fees are received for referrals to professional services, which can also include financial or legal advice for estate planning.
To reduce the potential for bias in referrals and more accurately define the needs and optimal placements for clients, Oasis’ approximately 50 national franchises use proprietary software that matches the client’s financial, medical, family and lifestyle profile with the varying strengths of different living centers.
The sole employees of their Fairfield franchise, the Doyles meet with clients to evaluate their needs and tour prospective senior living centers with them. They generate revenue through placement fees from approximately 30 assisted living centers in their territory.
“We look at what is best for the client culturally, medically,” said Paul. “We have confidence enough in the business model that the business side will take care of itself.”
The Doyles, who invested less than $100,000 to open the business in May, said their enterprise is off to a good start, with a 90 percent conversion rate in turning tours by clients into placements. “I think we are the second fastest franchise to get a placement,” Paul said.
He said he expects the business to hit sustainable numbers at the beginning of 2017. His wife and business partner said she is optimistic that the pipeline of aging baby boomers, combined with the “sandwich generation” of adults caught between caring for elder parents and raising their own family, will provide a stream of business in the long term.
Paul said their entrance into the senior care referral service has been warmly received by the industry in the county, which includes national companies such as Care Patrol and A Place for Mom.
“The people in this business in Fairfield County have been remarkable,” he said. “By and large they get the idea of reciprocity. They realize we are all rowing in the same direction. We are not in competition with home-care folks or even Care Patrol and A Place for Mom. We are not fighting over the same people.”
Both Doyles are transitioning from other careers to devote themselves fulltime to the franchise.
Paul Doyle was a producer, showrunner and executive producer for 16 years at Bombo Sports & Entertainment, a film production company in New York City. Susan is wrapping up a career teaching preschool children at JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale.
“It’s a people business,” Paul said. “It’s not the type of thing you can do parttime, you have to be all in.”
“We become very close to our clients,” said Susan. “If something bad happens — they start to feel sick — it really pulls on your heart. We want the best for them and we want them to be safe and be happy and we want them to live their life.”