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Starting a Senior Care Business

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Starting a Senior Care Business

By NicoleD
Published: May 24, 2010

Starting a Senior Care Business

Today there are over 37.9 million people ages 65 and older in the United States, according to US Censu;s population estimates, and projections estimate that the senior demographic will balloon to 88.5 million in 2050**.

The dramatic increase in the number of people living in retirement age presents new challenges for the growing number of families that are unable to provide relative-to-relative care. However, for entrepreneurs, this presents an opportunity to address a growing businesses market.

The Senior Care Industry

There are several different types of senior care businesses, providing everything from medical support to companionship:

  • Medical Care Businesses. Medical care centers typically employ or are run by licensed medical professionals, such as certified nurses, who can administer medication, take vitals, and provide related health care.
  • Social Care Businesses. Social care centers do not tend to the medical or physical health needs of an individual, and instead emphasize interaction with peers, activities and mental stimulation, meal provisions, and group outings.
  • Home care Businesses. In a home care business, a professional caregiver visits the home of the senior to offer companionship and assist with household tasks and meal preparation. Depending on the senio-s mobility, a home care provider may help to feed, bathe, or administer medicine as well.
  • Transportation Businesses. Transportation providers typically chauffeur seniors to and from medical appointments and various errands in the local area. Unlike a taxi service, a transportation provider will wait for the senior during appointments so they are not left to wait for a return ride.

Starting a Senior Care Business
The process for starting a senior care business is not so different from starting any other type of business. You will have to register for taxes, secure the appropriate licenses and permits, and comply with federal, state, and local business laws. These steps will help walk you thorough the process of starting your own senior care business:

  1. Research and Plan Your Business. Start by deciding what type of senior care you want to provide, and where. A franchise or business opportunity may be appealing especially if you have limited resources or business experience, but be sure to thoroughly investigate a franchise opportunity before you jump in.

    Contact government agencies in your state and county for an understanding of the laws surrounding elder care businesses in your area. Use the information you learn to create a business plan.

  2. Get Business Assistance and Training. Your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SBA district office, or Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offices provide free and low-cost training, counseling, and assistance to help you develop your business plan, meet state/local requirements, and more. National organizations like the National Adult Day Services Association* can also provide assistance.
  3. Choose a Location. Wherever you choose to operate, you will encounter legal and regulatory issues like zoning and commercial leases. If you are operating out of your home, you may need a site inspection to ensure the environment is safe. Use this guide on Choosing a Business Location to understand how to navigate the law and obtain practical advice for choosing the right business location.
  4. Finance Your Business. Federal, state and local governments offer a wide range of financing programs to help small businesses start and grow their operations, including low-interest loans and economic development grants. For example, a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program insures mortgage loans to facilitate the construction and substantial rehabilitation of nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, board and care homes, and assisted-living facilities. Read more about the Section 232 program on the HUD website.

    In 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that $1.75 billion in grant money would be distributed to states over five years (2007-2011) to help shift Medicai's traditional emphasis on institutional care to a system offering greater choices that include home and community-based services. Contact your stat's economic development agency to learn if funding for senior care facilities is available in your area.

    Use Business.go's Loans and Grants Search Tool to get a list of financing programs for which you may qualify.

  5. Register Your Business. You will need to follow some basic steps to ensure you have all the necessary licenses, permits and registrations needed to legally operate your senior care business. Follow these five steps to registering a business on Business.gov.
  6. Obtain Insurance. Your state government determines insurance requirements for businesses, including requirements for employers and certain types of businesses. Learn about the different types of insurance policies for your business and in-depth guidance on insurance matters, including links to state offices of insurance in Business.go's Business Insurance Guide

  7. Create a Contract. Create a contract or agreement that includes your busines's services, rates, payment options, terms and conditions. I's a good idea to consult a small business attorney to help you draft a sound contract.
  8. Market Your Business. Advertise your business online and through traditional media. Learn more about how to market your business at Business.gov. For tips on targeting seniors, read'Marketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers: Have You Seniorized Your Marketing Strategy Lately' from our Small Business Matters blog.

Related Resources

*this hyperlink points to a non-government resource

**source: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/013384.html

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Comments:

This article has a lot of good advice. When I started my home care agency, it was a tough road - getting all the pieces of the pie together just to form, operate, manage and market the agency was a learning experience. However, during the process, we ended up developing an all-in-one home care services business startup packages that cover all of the pieces needed to start a senior care business - you can check it out at allgenerationscare.com/business - there's a detailed list of what the packages include. I honestly believe it's a great time to start, statistics show that the aging population of 65 and above has begun to amplify, plus there's a huge desire from the boomer generation to remain independent and stay in their own homes. If you look at our current technological advancements, modern medicine has extended the average life span in the U.S. and people are living longer, but they are also living with one or more chronic illnesses, which requires the need for ongoing health and supportive services. The home care industry plays a critical role in the delivery of this care. These individuals don't need the intensive level of care that's provided in a nursing home or a hospital, but these individuals just require some assistance and personal care to remain in their home. It's a good time to start.
When my Father started our senior care business 10 years ago, there were practically no competitors. Now, franchises have popped up everywhere and the niche is becoming very crowded. I would suggest that with so many options, potential customers check carefully for references and history of the company before making a decision that affects your loved ones. Great Information! With the aging population in Arizona Retirement Communities there is a large need for high quality senior care facilities.
Where do I start FIRST? I want to open my own Home Plus Nursing Facility (for the disabled and/or elderly population) in Kansas. I need to know what I am going to need to do first. Then I need to also know what I've got coming at me... I want this more than anything, and I am willing to do what it takes...I just need some starting points, and a "what to expect"...Thanks :)
Thank you for providing a lot of experience in doing mentoring to entrepreneurs. What you do have a lot of help entrepreneurs to continue to grow their business and be able to compete in any change in the country's economy.
Keep up the excellent work , I read few articles on this site and I think that your web blog is real interesting and Power to the People of excellent information.
When my mother started our senior care business twenty years ago, there were practically no competitors. Now, franchises have popped up everywhere and the niche is becoming very crowded. I would suggest that with so many options, potential customers check carefully for references and history of the company before making a decision that affects your loved ones...
Great Information! With the aging population in Arizona Retirement Communities there is a large need for high quality senior care facilities. Many families struggle with decissions like this, and the more they can educate themselves the easier the decission will be.
When examining the advantages and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage it's also important to consider both the process and the related costs of obtaining a reverse mortgage. Unlike a conventional mortgage, with a reverse mortgage, the homeowner (the potential borrower) must meet with a reverse mortgage counselor. References for counselors can be obtained from banks offering reverse mortgages or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). I may have some excellent tips on small business owners on my blog. Thanks for this great post Stuart! Charles Baratta ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
As far as training goes, I've always found Continuing Education courses to be a great non biased learning tool that also knocks out required earned credits. I recently took an 18 hour class on senior products and planning from webce
Interesting article. There are more specific businesses that can be started in the senior market. Websites such as medicalstaffingmanuals.com has valuable information on start a number of businesses in the senior market. It is trule a growing business market

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