Lamar Odom may not be top of mind when you think of independent living for senior citizens, but the former NBA star would like to change that.
The former basketball player and reality TV star sold his company, Odom Senior Care, to ZNest.com, “an internet platform that simplifies the way families find senior living options.”
As part of the acquisition, Odom is serving as chief creative officer. He told CNN he was inspired to start his company because of his experiences with his 96-year-old grandmother, who lives in Brooklyn, New York.
“She’s senile and she’s been living in the same apartment for 70 years,” he said.
Meeting ZNest.com founder Bennett Kim and learning about his business seemed like a natural fit.
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“He found out what I was doing in the senior care business,” Odom said. “It seemed like a match made in heaven after we met and put our ideas together.”
Kim said he learned about Odom’s company via a news article and it piqued his interest “because you rarely see celebrities or athletes in this industry.”
The two are seeking to make the process of finding senior living and care resources easier to find for the general public, they said.
“What’s unfortunate is that the people who kind of dominate this industry in terms of providing this information are these referral companies,” Kim said. “So all of these referral agencies, or even referral internet companies, what they say is, ‘We’re going to help find the best possible care for you.’ But then all they do is they steer you to their corporate sponsors.”
“What we want to do is we want to democratize all of that data, just give it away for free, and then figure out a different way to monetize, because it’s just not helpful for families,” Kim added.
Odom has come a long way from 2015, when he was hospitalized in Nevada after being found unresponsive due to an accidental overdose. His struggle with sobriety, as well as his former marriage to reality star/entrepreneur Khloe Kardashian, dominated the headlines.
But now Odom is sober and stable.
“Decision making is important for me at this stage in my life,” Odom said. “I’m no longer getting high. I’m taking care of myself to the best of my abilities. I’m present.”
Odom also wants to help others through his senior care and drug rehabilitation centers.
“At this point in my life, if I enter a business, I want to stand on it, stand by it,” he said. “That’s the only way I can really be involved.”