As the U.S. population ages, it’s estimated that there will be more older adults than kids by 2035 — and for the first time in U.S. history. With this shift comes a growing need for elderly care businesses that cater to the baby boomer generation, and their families needing the extra support.
This guide explores how to start an elderly care business in your area, covering everything from acquiring start-up capital to marketing your increasingly in-demand services. Follow along to learn how to bring your elderly care business ideas to reality.
Decide on your services
With a range of eldercare business types and needs, start by focusing on what services you’ll offer. While a broad range of services can help engage a larger clientele, it can be beneficial among the competition for an eldercare business to have a specific niche.
Examples of popular elderly care services include:
- In-home care – Bring services straight to your clients in the comfort of their homes. In-home care can consist of errand running, household chores, or providing specific health services.
- Day programs – This is a popular option for those looking for someone to take care of their elderly relatives during work hours. They’re dropped off in the morning and picked up in the evening, creating a convenient schedule for those who need daytime flexibility.
- Independent-living facilities – These spaces are designed to provide a community for senior citizens to thrive while remaining autonomous. Those in an independent-living facility are generally capable of taking care of themselves, so there’s less of a need to provide medical treatments or care. Many are located near medical service providers should a resident have an emergency.
- Assisted-living facilities – For elderly people that require some level of regular care, assisted living is a middle option between total independence and around-the-clock care. With personal care staff and basic health services available, assisted living can be a temporary or long-term arrangement.
- Nursing home – With a team of nurses, aides, and cleaning staff, nursing homes provide constant care to seniors who need it. Social workers, therapists, and a range of professional services may be available on-site or on-call.
- Specialized elderly care – For those with progressive and degenerative conditions, there are also specialized elderly care options that fit their needs.
Choosing your services and type of business will depend on your background and experience. As Dr. Zachary Palace, medical director of the New York-based Hebrew Home of Riverview, says, “My first job after fellowship was as a staff geriatrician at the Hebrew Home. It was a great opportunity to implement the skills I had honed in residency and fellowship.”
Create an elderly care business plan
As you build a business that provides care for those in need, make it a sustainable endeavor for you and your clients with the right strategy. A business plan is an essential part of the portfolio you’ll present to banks, investors, and partners when launching or growing your company. Every entrepreneur can benefit from a business plan that helps you turn your vision into action, from mission statement to marketing.
Your elderly care business plan should include the following details:
- Business structure – This includes the services you’ll offer and your plans for daily operations. From owners to managers to employees, detail your organizational structure making sure all responsibilities are clearly defined.
- Licenses and certification – Elderly care businesses often require specific certifications and licenses to operate in varying state-by-state or even between counties and cities. Elder caregivers often become CSAs (Certified Senior Advisor). Confirm your needs within the area you plan to operate, and include all certifications and operating licenses here.
- Insurance – Liability is an issue to consider in elderly care, making business insurance important. Potential investors will want to know you and they are covered from financial and legal risk, so include these details.
- Financial planning – An effective business plan shares both a compelling narrative for your idea and the reality of how you’ll make it successful. Your financial planning section should be well-researched with a realistic timeline for when and how your business will be profitable.
Lock in a location
Whether you’re looking for a headquarters for employees or a space to see and care for clients, your elderly care business may require a brick-and-mortar location. A business plan will help you seek out what you need for this, including funding or partners.
When establishing where you plan to operate, consider factors, like:
- Community needs – Look into who you’ll be serving and what other elderly care businesses already exist in that community. Ideally, you’re able to offer neighbors a new option that they want and need.
- Accessibility – From elevators to wheel-chair ramps, it’s imperative that your eldercare facility is fully accessible for those seeking your services. If this requires renovations, factor these costs into your budget before signing your lease.
- Overhead, maintenance, and miscellaneous costs – Renovations aren’t the only budgetary consideration. Add up the down payment and any deposits, possible maintenance fees, and other unexpected expenses in the first years of operation.
Hire your staff
Who you choose to employ in your elderly care business will depend on the specific services you offer. You may require trained medical professionals or only a small crew of diligent support staff.
Whatever your staffing needs, consider the following when you begin the hiring process:
- Ask for references – Caregiving is a compassionate industry. Be sure you’re hiring those with strong reputations.
- Hire locally - tart the hiring process by sharing any job listings on Nextdoor to find talented individuals in your area, quickly and conveniently.
Your team will play a big part in the quality of your services. Ensure the best possible results with an in-depth onboarding process that unites employees around your mission and vision for the company and the care you provide.
Build your marketing strategy
To help your elderly care business take off, design a marketing plan that speaks to your important audiences of local elders, plus their families and adult children.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for marketing, start with the following:
- Build a digital presence - A website and free Business Page on Nextdoor will make you easy to find, learn about, and get in touch with. Your Nextdoor page instantly unlocks a following of verified neighbors looking for services like yours. Keep your online pages up to date, and utilize social media to interact with your community of potential clients.
- Keep it local – Free posts with your Nextdoor business page let you share updates with neighbors within two miles of your business. Hyperlocal advertising tools help you get an ad live in minutes reaching the ZIP codes you want to grow your business in. You can also visit fellow local businesses to pass out flyers or put up posters on community bulletin boards.
- Get recommendations – Word-of-mouth marketing builds trust in your business and reputation. Ask for website testimonials or Nextdoor recommendations from former clients. As you open, make this ask a part of the process so you have a steady stream of positive reviews.
As Sam McCoy, senior vice president of elder rights at the Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities, says, “I am a believer that past performance is the best indicator of future performance.”
Any marketing efforts you make, lead with messaging that highlights your unique value along with your dedication to quality service as a people-first business that cares about its clients.
Community-first elderly care with Nextdoor
With a business plan, dedication to service, and buzz started in your local area, you’re on your way to building a successful elderly care business. Keep your community in mind with Nextdoor, where neighbors share recommendations, learn about local businesses, and build stronger neighborhood connections. Claim your Business Page today.