A Hot Business for 2006: Non-Medical Home Care Business

Home care in the United States is a diverse and dynamic service industry. Approximately 20,000 providers deliver home care services to 7.6 million individuals who require services because of acute illness, long-term health conditions, permanent disability, or terminal illness. Annual expenditures for home health care are projected to be $48.3 billion in 2007. Home care is a broad term that describes a wide variety of health related services provided in the home setting. Home care is health care brought to your home to maintain or restore your health and well-being.

Growth Trends in the industry

Seniors are one of the fastest growing population groups in the United States. The senior population has grown about twice as fast as the overall population since the early 1980s. The growth is also expected to continue early in the second decade of the new century when baby boomers turn 65. Seniors aged 85 and over are the fastest growing segment of the overall senior population. Consequently, the demand for Non Medical Home Care services is also growing. It is listed as one of the fastest growing occupations by the U.S. Labor Department. According to AARP, as Americans age, most will remain in their own homes. Nearly 7 out of 10 older Americans own their own residence and most have no plans to move.
As a result, fewer seniors are getting the help they need with simple daily functioning. For example, in 1990, 80 percent of seniors needing help to prepare their meals reported that someone was available to help them; by 2001, that had dropped to just 60 percent, according to the National Council on Aging. Overall, from 1988 to 2001 there was a significant decrease in the number of seniors who reported that they had spouses, relatives, friends or neighbors to provide personal care or assistance. Today, an ever-increasing senior population has fewer resources available to help them with the daily tasks of living. At the same time, older adults have longer life expectancies than ever before.
Leading Psychologists believe by seniors remaining in their own homes, they can retain an important sense of independence. It is also psychologically beneficial for older seniors to remain in familiar surroundings. While their well-meaning children may wish to put them in a retirement home, the fact is that forced relocation can cause some seniors to feel disoriented, depressed and confused.

Remaining as independent as possible can boost a senior’s overall sense of well-being. Staying in their own home is, in most cases, far more preferable (as well as less costly) than relocating to an assisted living facility. It gives them a sense of empowerment, and allows them to retain close friendships with neighbors.

The Business Opportunity

Until recently, however, few choices were available to healthy seniors who wished to remain in their homes. Most health businesses only offered Medical Home Care. This can be extremely costly, since most professionals must be registered nurses or nurses’ assistants. In addition, they may balk at performing light housekeeping tasks. Finally, they rarely have the opportunity to build long relationships with their clients. Often a different professional appears every week, which is disorienting to seniors and prevents establishing a bond with their caregiver.
Your business, Non-medical Home Care, in contrast, is designed to help the older adult with the tasks of everyday living. Non-medical caregivers do not assist with medical procedures, and since they are not registered nurses or medical personnel, their hourly rate is not as high. They also offer the opportunity for steady companionship, as they are generally assigned to specific clients on a long-term basis, enabling a friendship to grow.

These caregivers can help seniors maintain their independence by taking over the daily tasks that become increasingly difficult with age. They can take the client grocery shopping or to the bank, prepare meals, do light housekeeping and provide daily conversation and companionship. Non-medical caregivers represent a rapidly growing trend to allow people needing help to remain in their home or in the community.

Getting Started!

Barriers to entering the Non Medical Home Care business are relatively low. While potential profits are medium to high. Your success depends upon many variables: your marketing efforts, your start up budget, the demographics of your area, just to name a few critical attributes. In most states no formal training is required to provide Non Medical Home Care services. It is important to check with your state-licensing agency concerning the appropriate license for the services you will offer. Not all Non-Medical Home Care agencies can perform personal care services without a licensed.

As with all business, as the business owner, you must have exception drive and motivation. In addition, your customers will expect your business to be punctual and trustworthy. Whether you plan to provide the services yourself or hire employees, these are key business characteristics that cannot be overlooked.

The start up cost for your home care business depends on how you define your business scope. The cost can range from low to medium-high. Some business owners have started their Non Medical Home Care business with as little as a thousand dollars to as much as five hundred thousand dollars.

If you are interested in starting a Non Medical Home Care business you have two options. You can choose to start your business on your own or your join forces with a Non Medical Home Care franchise.

If you choose to start your home care business on your own there is a diverse amount of information available online and in bookstores that can help you achieve your goal of establishing a profitable home care business. You can find general business startup information ranging from how to raise capital, how to establish your business plan, to Home Care Guides specific to the Home Care industry. These guides can provide you with the critical information you need to get started.

There are pro’s and con’s to each start up option. The benefits to starting on your own are lower cost, ease of entry, and no franchise fees. The downside is you won’t have the on-going guidance of the franchisor to steer you around problems and pitfalls.

If you decided go the franchise route you will benefit from the well-established plans of the franchisor. Many of the mistakes and pitfalls that you may face by starting on your own will already have mitigating solutions. The downside is that you can expect a higher start-up cost in addition to a recurring royalty cost of 4 to 10 percent. Furthermore, the market area where you would like to operate your business may not be available.

In the end, Non-Medical Home Care is an option that allows the senior to remain in the home without feeling overwhelmed. The senior receives the assistance and companionship required, the family enjoys peace of mind that a beloved parent, aunt or uncle is not struggling with the simple tasks of everyday living and you get the opportunity to start one of the fastest growing business that will continue to grow well into the future. It is a “win-win” situation for all.

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