Create a “Third Place” for retirees, a replacement for the workplace
- The number of retirees who have no places to go every day will increase

Many older adults who are retired do want to remain connected to society and are looking for a replacement for their workplace

Many older adults today do not consider themselves to be “elderly people.” As a result there are fewer people going to the so-called “elderly clubs” or “senior centers” both in Japan and the U.S. Older adults do not like the “elderly” image of these places.

On the other hand, many older adults who are retired do want to remain connected to society and are looking for a replacement for their workplace.

“Starbucks Coffee” became a big success by offering people a “third place” which means a social locale place that is neither home (the first place) nor workplace (the second place).

“Mather Café Plus” is a new type of café in Chicago that is popular among this new type of older adults.

“Mather Café Plus” is the Starbucks for older adults. What are the reasons for their success? They don’t give you the impression that it is a place for “elderly” people. At the same time, they offer many different programs and ideas to respond to the varied needs of older adults.

If you go in to a Mather Café Plus, you will find that they serve good quality drinks/foods at such reasonable prices that you can drop by regularly. The atmosphere of the café is rather stylish, not like a tacky elderly club at all. In a room attached to the restaurant, they also offer more than 40 different programs such as computer lessons and exercise classes tailored for older adults where you can be stimulated intellectually and physically and make friends.

Their staff looks after you with warm hospitality, too. Even if you go there by yourself, they will talk with you or introduce you to other guests. The remarkable point here is that their goals are more than just making money by operating a café for older adults.

Their success comes from the business structure that they have built.

They offer a place for older adults to get together and meet other people. And then, their customers use many of the different activities that the cafe offers.

“Mather Café Plus” offers other services as well. For example, they take suggestions from their guests for their menu. They also offer a free telephone counseling service that provides information of all sorts; they can recommend a handyman service or provide information about the cost of an in-house caregiver.

This telephone service plays an important role in their business because the information Mather gets from their customers helps them to understand the needs of older adults. And this helps them improve their services for their customers.

“Super Sento" is one of the third places for retirees in Japan

In Japan, a Japanese-style public spa called Super Sento (“public bath”) is now a popular leisure spot in many cities. It is especially popular among older adults. For a fee of around 600 yen ($5.75), you can enjoy about 10 different types of baths (jet bath, herb bath, hot spring, outdoor stone bath, sauna, etc.).

Outside the baths, there are other spaces such as a restaurant, a massage center, a barbershop, a Korean body scrubbing place etc. Super Sento has established a good business model of making profits from services in addition to the baths. Many older adults spend their time during the weekdays in this kind of spa. And they help to increase the utilization rate of these places.


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