Category: Economy
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Its not just young people who are taking advantage of the sharing economy.

A Burson-Marsteller survey on the sharing economy found that 28 percent of those ages 50 an older have used a sharing economy service. That includes everything from escorted rides to living with roommates, and pet sitting in homes abroad in exchange for a place to stay. The sharing economy is expected to be a $335-billion industry by 2025, and its already a part of the lives of many older Americans.

A PWC report found that 24 percent of those ages 55 and older are providers in the sector. Historically, there was a focus on those under 35 driving growth, but this is primed for looking at an aging population which needs access to specific services. You can make additional income by joining one of the sharing economy platforms or you could start your own, said Matt Hobbs, an author of PWCs report.

The sharing economy provides older Americans with much needed income, achieved through a flexible schedule. At the same time, it satisfies a crucial need for older Americans -- a group faced with dwindling retirement resources -- said Mary Furlong, a consultant to businesses and an executive professor of Entrepreneurship at The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.

However, Rowan Benecke, Burson-Marsteller global technology practice chair, said only 20 percent of those surveyed ages 60 and older were even familiar with the term sharing economy. If youre going to differentiate yourself, you need to be able to really build brand awareness, he said.

The following are eight businesses that are tapping into the growing interest in the sharing economy among older Americans, as both a source of assistance and potential income in retirement.

--By Julie Halpert, special to

Posted 18 June, 2016