If you’ve always been interested in the helping professions (things like nurses, counselors, and clergy) but didn’t want to get an advanced degree or medical training, there’s a great opportunity for you in non-medical senior home care. the field
Your role as a non-medical home care professional will be to provide seniors with a way to “age in place,” even when they are unable to shoulder full responsibility for their home and daily living.
About 20% of the population will be 65 or older by 2030, so there is a great need for this type of service work. And the great news for you is that owning and operating a non-medical home care business doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated!
Advantage of working with seniors
As much of the population ages, with the massive baby boomer generation moving into their retirement years, there is a huge opportunity for home care, even of the non-medical kind. Most seniors prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible, but as the challenges of aging arise, it becomes increasingly difficult to do so without assistance.
By starting a business like this, you can help these citizens live in their own homes and live out their last years and decades with dignity and autonomy while generating a sustainable income for themselves. Your business can be run from your own home, and you can scale your hours and availability according to the schedule you want. You can even set up a business that hires others and works in a sort of agency model, if you so desire.
But perhaps the most satisfying aspect of this type of work is the very real, much-needed and much-appreciated service you offer. Not only are you meeting a real need for your clients by helping them age in place, but you’re also providing tremendous peace of mind for their grown children – many of whom aren’t around and appreciate knowing someone local is checking on their elderly parents on a regular basis.
Types of Non-Medical Home Care Businesses You Can Start
The needs of today’s seniors are varied, and there are many instances of those who have grown old without any of their adult children around to provide any kind of help or support. With that gap growing, you’ve got a great opportunity to start a business that really helps people. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Patient advocate: A patient advocate’s role is to help the patient navigate medical appointments, prescriptions, diagnoses, and more. As a patient advocate, you don’t necessarily have a medical background, but you need to take clear notes, ask questions that the patient may or may not want to know, get clarification, and be. Be prepared to explain things again to the patient and the patient’s family. Your role is to make sure your clients are getting the right information from their doctors and are able to make informed decisions.
- Home maintenance and support: Older people with various chronic health conditions find it difficult to perform some of the mundane tasks of living. When you offer home support, you might pick up their mail, pay bills, go grocery shopping (or take them out shopping), do some basic cleaning and housekeeping, even troubleshoot their technology and email. Helping with basic things like thermostat programming. If you’re so inclined, you can even offer “handyman” services for small home repairs, gutter cleaning, window washing, and more.
- transport: One of the hardest things to lose is the ability to drive. You can offer senior transportation services to help your clients get around town to work, meet their friends, get to appointments, and more. This particular type of business may require you to dig deeper to get bonded and insured, although ideally you’ll get bonded and insured no matter what business you open.
- Outdoor maintenance: Gardening is great fun, but yard work can become more difficult with age. If you are interested in gardening and maintaining someone’s outdoor space, you can target your business to seniors who need a little help in this area. If you work with a woman who prides herself on her flowers, you can bring that joy into her life even if she can’t weed and decorate herself. If you live in an area that gets snow, you can also add snow removal services and be a tremendous help (especially if your client has neighbors who aren’t keen on pitching).
- Pet care: Many seniors have small pets for companionship and the improvement in quality of life that pets can provide, but at the same time maintaining the care these animals require can become more difficult over time. As a pet care service provider, you can offer anything from regular dog-walking services to pet transportation and grooming to vet visits.
These are some basic concepts, but the needs that our seniors have are certainly endless.
Some tips for success in non-medical home care
If you want to be successful, you have to keep a few things in mind. First, and perhaps most importantly, your marketing needs to be directed not at older clients themselves, but at their grown children. These are likely to be the decision makers and those most likely to recognize the need for your services. It’s a delicate balance, but the work you do is truly valuable and necessary. You can also benefit from building relationships with hospital and rehab discharge planners – not only are they incredibly insightful into the needs of this population, but they can also be a source of referrals for you.
This is helpful if you live in an area that is economically sound, with some disposable income. Non-medical home health care is usually a service that is paid for out-of-pocket, so you need to have a client base close enough to pay for your services on their own.
Finally, consider joining a franchise or membership. The advantages are that you will have plenty of guidance and support as you start and operate your business, but the disadvantages include higher start-up fees and potential restrictions on how you can operate your business.
All in all, it can be an incredibly rewarding career, especially if it’s right for you. The services you provide can be life-changing and even life-extending for your clients, and non-medical home care is incredibly rewarding in that sense. The care and companionship you provide to your clients may be the only bit of human interaction they receive, and it is a deeply rewarding thing to be involved in.