The United States is aging.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. By 2034, adults 65 and older will outnumber children under 18.
This demographic growth will create a strong demand in senior services such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home care businesses. Whether you’re thinking about opening a senior care business or you already run one, here are five things you can do to improve your chances at success.
1. Find Your Niche
Senior care isn’t a one-size-fits-all business. Specializing in a type of care could help you stand out. If you’re launching an assisted living facility, you could focus on memory care. Or if your home care business cares for seniors who stay in their own homes, offer nonmedical services, such as cleaning or transportation to and from appointments or the grocery store.
When you define your niche, you’ll know how to market your services and whom to market them to — whether seniors or their adult children.
2. Ensure Safety and Security
Every health care business needs a strong focus on patient safety. Senior care facilities are no exception. Families trust senior care businesses to care for their loved ones, many of whom cannot care for themselves.
To keep your safety and security standards strong, focus on three areas:
- Infectious diseases. Older adults can be more susceptible to sickness, especially infectious diseases. Strictly following health and safety regulations, such as strengthening sanitization protocols and increasing personal protective equipment stockpiles, can help mitigate the risk of infectious diseases.
- Falls and injuries. Seniors are at a higher risk of falls, which could lead to injury. Invest in safety and mobility equipment, such as bed rails and shower seats, and quickly clean up spills and messes to lower your patients’ risk.
- Facility security. Residents might wander away if unsupervised, especially if you specialize in memory care. Equip your facility with alarms and cameras to keep everyone safe.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers policies and guidelines for nursing homes and personal care facilities. You want to create the comforts of home, but you also want to keep patients secure.
3. Hire a Good Staff
A senior care business revolves around providing the best service to your clients. Keep this in mind when you hire your team, especially the people who’ll have direct patient contact.
Define the experience and qualifications for each role. Some jobs may be entry-level, but others might require specific experience or certifications. During the interview, look for candidates who not only have the right experience, but who demonstrate patience and empathy. Conduct thorough background checks, and request and call references. You could issue a behavior-based personality test to assess desirable traits.
Your caregivers are the heart of your business. Take the extra time to make the right hires.
4. Secure Sensitive Client Information
Your databanks are full of sensitive client information, such as medical histories and financial details — and you don’t want your patients’ private information falling into the wrong hands.
Software created for health care facilities can help you record and store information conveniently and securely. Look for systems that are easy to use, have robust security features (such as password protection and encryption) and offer technical support. And let only the employees who need the information have access to it.
5. Keep Sufficient Liquid Funds
As your business grows, you’ll need enough money on hand to cover growth-related expenses like new equipment and supplies, as well as to cover any unexpected costs. But your cash flow might slow to a trickle, if, say, your clients are late on their payments.
Avoid unnecessary financial stress by taking out a small business loan for a senior care business or a line of credit before you need it. Having money readily available can help you make payroll, cover bills, and invest in your business without delay.
Owning a senior care business or a home care business can be extremely rewarding. You’re helping an important part of your community navigate their later years. By spending your resources wisely to ensure you’re providing the best level of care, you make a sound investment in the life of your business.