It’s Just a Number

With a passion for seniors and a knack for business, Lucille Green is defying her age and garnering tremendous success as a small business owner well into her 70’s.

BUSINESS NAME: Visiting Angels
OWNER: Lucille Green
LOCATION: Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Birth certificates. Those little pieces of paper that are required for doing almost anything in this country. The funny thing is, while they might tell you how old people are and where they were born, they tell nothing of the spirit with which some people defy their age.

Lucille Green can be counted among the defiant ones.

She is 77 – but unlike most 70-somethings, she owns her own business, a Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services franchise, which she started six years ago at the age of 71.

Green’s mother and father had lived in Fort Meyer’s, Fla. For a number of years and as they got older, Lucille would fly back and forth continuously. She constantly was looked for someone to care for them so that she didn’t have to travel so much, but was unable to fine anyone that she was happy with. So, when she returned to the Chicago area, at the urging of a friend, she decided to start her own Visiting Angels franchise.

Green started the business by herself, running it out of her small townhome. “It was pretty dismal at first,” Green said. “I had nobody to bounce anything off of and nobody to ask questions of. I was fine for a while, and then I decided that it was not a safe thing to have strangers constantly coming into my house, so I moved into a teeny tiny little office space.”

Lucille has since taken over one whole corner of the building. She kept taking over offices, one after the other, as those other businesses moved out.

Green is also the oldest Visiting Angels franchisee in the country and feels that her age helps her better relate to some of her clients.

“I never thought this way back when I first opened my doors, in fact, I remember trying to kind of keep from telling my clients my real age. We didn’t talk about age. If I went in to make a presentation to a client, I really didn’t talk about how I felt, or that my eyes were bad or that my hearing was going, because it wasn’t at that time, but as time went by it began to happen and now I have macular degeneration myself so I can identify with the seniors that we care for, and how they feel about life and the prospect of dying.”

In addition to her business prowess, Green has been able to grow her business and increase visibility by joining several networking organizations such as America’s Best Companies, Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the NFIB. In fact, she was nominated for the Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Chamber Choice Awards.

While many businesses claim to care about their clients, Green truly does, and it shows. “We don’t just send in bodies to a senior’s home, we try to match the personalities, the characteristics, the family dynamics and we basically work with the families of these seniors to find the best care possible,” Green said. “Rarely do we get a call from a senior that says that they need care. Seniors will always say that they don’t need care and they can handle things on their own. It’s their family that will call and say that mom and dad are starting to forget things here and there and they need help and are concerned for their safety. Our goal is to keep them safe.”

When asked how she would define success, Green simply said, “fulfillment. I feel I’ve ended up right where I should have.” Then she added, “I’m a senior now myself, and I’m glad that I’m here. I would not have retired well at 65. That’s not my nature. I love moving around all the time and I love new challenges. And … I probably always will.”

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Reader Comments

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 7:05 PM
AnnMargaret says:
What a wonderful business and such a great article. However , why no mention of the WONDERFUL Laurie? I know she has been a great asset to the company. Her true love and care for people has assited in making that businss flourish. I wish the both ladies much success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 6:08 PM
Cathryn Syler says:
Lucille Green is a terrific person. She has charm, elegance and a wonderful caring spirit.
Great article about her and her business. Keep up your good works, Lucy.

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