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How to Start an Elderly Home Care Business

Madhushree Kelkar
Starting an elderly home care business can be a self-satisfying and lucrative venture. Here are the steps to take and points to consider before initiating a personal care home for seniors.
You can get training for your elderly care business at The American Red Cross and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.
Given the increasing number of the baby boomer population, a home care business for the elderly is definitely a venture that can bring you a lot of profit, as you will have to visit the elderly in their homes and spend some quality time with them.
It may include helping them in household chores, running errands, preparing meals, payment of bills, administering medicine, and most importantly, communicating with them to make them feel better. These are just a few of the many duties of a home care professional.
Today, many seniors prefer to go for this option rather than opting for old age homes. It provides them assistance and care in the comfort of their own homes. Hence, this business can help you earn a good amount of profit. Here's a lowdown on how to start an elderly home care business.

Find Your Niche

Remember that there are stringent rules for providing medical care, and specialized training will be mandatory.
There are several different segments in providing elderly home care. You will have to choose whether you will provide medical or non-medical care. Also, decide if you are going to provide transportation along with home care.
This means that you will have to drive around the seniors for their appointments and wait for their return. Take one niche initially, as going for all of them together will require a good amount of investment in terms of manpower and vehicles.

Do Research and Make a Business Plan

Make a business plan which will help define the terms and conditions, budget, planning, hiring and firing policies, marketing, etc., for your business.
You will have to conduct a business viability research in the area that you plan to operate. Review the statistics in the area to find out about the baby boomer population. Calculate the investment costs and know the legal formalities surrounding the business.
If you lack the experience of dealing with such a business, it is advisable that you go for a franchise instead of an independent venture. If you are planning to avail a loan, you will require to make a foolproof business plan.

Get Trained

You can also volunteer for elder care services to understand the business requirements carefully and get hands-on training.
You will have to undertake CPR training and first-aid training as many states have laws regarding the same. You will also need to be trained in behavior management. Also, if you undertake short courses in non-medical elder patient care, it will be helpful for your business.
If you are planning to provide medical care or transportation, you will have to undertake special certifications as required by your state.

Make a Workspace

Try to decorate your workspace with posters of smiling and happy seniors; this will create a good impression on your customers.
As you will be going to the home of seniors for providing care and companionship, you do not need to invest in an office space at a good location. You can start an office at your own home. However, ensure that you have a professional and clean-looking setup.
If you do not have a clean house or workspace, it will reflect on your ability to provide care to elders. Make people feel comfortable when they approach you for work. Also, your ability to provide assurance of quality elder care will help you get more business.

Legal Formalities

If you have a facility, it may be needed to be inspected by the authorities.
It is important that you consult an authority from your state's health department to know about the rules and regulations regarding elderly home care business.
You will have to consult the local, state, and federal authorities to know about the necessary permits and licenses required for your business.
You will have to file your business name as DBA (doing business as) with the authorities. You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you have employees.
Consult an insurance professional to know about the insurance requirement. Also, understand about the taxes that you will be liable to pay.

Hire and Train Employees

Often, clients get used to dealing with one employee; hence, employee retention is as important as recruitment for your business.
Try to hire people who have experience in caring for the elderly. When you hire them, give them training according to your business philosophy. Ensure that they are genuinely interested in caring for the elderly and have compassion towards them.
Hire individuals who can communicate well and have the ability to reach out to elderly people. Train them to maintain a proper record of the diet, medicines, activities of the elderly, etc. You may also run a background check on the candidates to ensure you are hiring the right people.

Promote Your Business

Many professionals do not want to keep their old parents in old age homes and are on the lookout for such services. Hence, reaching out to them through social media can also promote your business.
Create a website for your business, and give details of your elderly care services so that people will contact you. Try to have a section about your policies, complaint registration against employee, and payment terms.
Also, print brochures, leaflets, door hangers, posters, etc., and distribute them in areas with a concentration of the baby boomer population. Try to introduce and promote your services at the local hospitals, clinics, community centers, etc., where many elderly people gather.

Make a Contract

Try to study a similar contract online to know what all clauses need to be incorporated in the contract.
You will have to make a legal contract with your clients for the services you provide. The rates can be based on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis. You will have to seek the help of your legal adviser to get this contract done. Apart from mentioning the terms and conditions of the contract, also add the actions during emergency, extra costs if any, etc.
Finally, ensure that you provide quality care that will enable you to get more and more referrals. You may also buy software that's specifically designed to help you with billing, invoicing, and maintaining records.