Another company rides the age wave. Two-year-old Standish Care, in Boston, has developed retirement communities that provide on-site health care, meals, and transportation to their elderly tenants. CEO Michael Doyle says his assisted-living communities cost residents 40% less than traditional nursing homes and offer an alternative to middle-income retirees who need daily help, not hospitalization. Financed with $16 million in bonds, Standish operates two communities and plans expansion through joint ventures with hospitals.

-- Anne Murphy