Here's the problem: A senior parent wants to live in his own home, maintaining his independence, but he has trouble bathing, fixing meals and remembering to take his medications. The solution: You. As owner of a senior home care agency, you'll send a qualified, compassionate person out to assist with the daily tasks of living. This is a burgeoning field. With more and more seniors out there needing assistance and more and more two-income families, there's nobody to give mom or dad a helping hand. And with health-care costs rising by the moment, hospitals are discharging patients earlier than ever, sending them home too ill or too weak to fend for themselves. So senior home care is rewarding, not only financially but personally as well. As a senior home care agency operator, you'll act as a referral service--locating cheerful, reliable, honest and kindly people to place in seniors' homes on a temporary or long-term basis. Your caregivers will be independent contractors paid directly by the patient or his family and though they must have the qualities listed above, they don't need medical training--just good common sense. The advantages to this business are that you can start part time and you have the satisfaction of filling a real need, helping seniors lead more independent lives and taking some of the burden from worried family members. You'll need terrific people skills--the ability to determine the suitability of potential caregivers and the magical quality of knowing which caregiver to pair with which client. Organizational and administrative skills are also a must because you'll be coordinating people, times and places all at once.
Your clients will be seniors and their families. You can place ads in local newspapers, but perhaps your best bet will be to establish your services throughout the medical community, which can provide referrals. Send sales letters and brochures to local hospitals and doctors specializing in geriatrics, cardiology and other diseases that affect seniors, local health-care agencies and senior centers, and even emergency medical services like paramedics. Follow up with phone calls to reinforce your image. Get your business written up in local publications.
You don't need a medical background, but you should have the materials and knowledge to give your caregivers a good grounding in CPR, first aid and senior care professionalism. Make sure you don't position yourself as an employment agency or nursing registry because you'll need to be licensed for either of these--use independent contractors paid by the patient or his family. You'll want a computer with inkjet printer and the usual software.