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The Boomer Biz

These clever new products will make life easier for a generation turning 60.

As the first wave of the 78 million baby-boomers enters its seventh decade, entrepreneurs are creating a variety of products and services to help this large, affluent group age gracefully. The $10,000 Boomer Business Plan Competition, by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and Mary Furlong & Associates, stimulates business ideas aimed at boomers. Some are already in the marketplace, and others are being developed.

Last year's winner, Tibion, a medical-devices company, is working on a prototype of its PowerKnee. This battery-powered and sensor-activated orthotic device -- which you strap around your knee -- helps you regain mobility after knee-replacement surgery. Some other businesses to look for: Moving Solutions makes downsizing less stressful by packing and unpacking everything, down to medicines in the cabinet and glasses on your night table. SterraClimb is a stair-climbing hand truck that hefts boxes up the steps. And Green Diamond Traction Soles applied to boots or shoes keep you from slipping on the ice.

-- Joan Goldwasser