If you're thinking about starting a senior day care business, you may be about to start down a very rewarding path--and one with a lot of potential. The National Adult Day Services Association estimates that as many as 150,000 people use the services of adult day care services every day, and the seniors demographic continues to grow. If you're up to the task of offering company, comfort and support to older adults, and especially if you have experience caring for seniors, this may be a great business for you. Of course, getting started requires a little legwork.
From Idea to Inception
Do your research. Find out what state and local laws apply to running a senior day care center in your area. Do you need to be licensed? Can you run one out of your home? Are there certification requirements for staff members? How many adults can you have in your care at once? The answers to these types of questions can help you determine the basics on how you will run your business.
Get your documents in order. Secure a business license and other appropriate certificates. You may need clearance from your local zoning board, as well. File with the IRS for a tax identification number, which will allow you to open a bank account for your business. The more organized you are in the beginning, the better your chances of staying on top of business matters.
Outline a typical day at your facility, including hours open and whether or not transportation will be included. Pencil in times for meals and group activities, such as board games or movies. Some adult day care centers even take occasional field trips, and you'll want to decide from the get-go if that type of thing is on your agenda, as it can affect which individuals are likely to take advantage of your services.
Hire staff. You'll want to allow ample time to call references and do background checks before you have customers. People who have a background in caregiving or have worked closely with seniors before are probably a good fit, but you may also look for those whose experience allows them to do double-duty, such as preparing meals. Ensure that all staff members have the appropriate credentials, especially if you are hiring medical personnel of any sort.
Get the word out. You can advertise through doctor's office bulletin boards (especially practices that cater to older patients), community newsletters, online support group message boards, senior centers or even nursing homes, which may frequently get inquiries about other types of care. And don't overlook traditional ad space, including newspaper classifieds, telephone directories and even craigslist.
Open your doors. Once you have your first clients lined up, it's time to welcome them into your care. Chances are, you'll make some adjustments to your daily schedules and routines, as well as your overall expectations, as you get into the swing of things. Your clients can be an excellent source of tips and ideas.
Foster a sense of community among your clients and their families. Newsletters can be great tools for keeping in touch, or you may want to create a Web site that can feature regular highlights and updates.
Make sure your senior day care business is adequately insured. Depending on the services you provide, such as transportation, meals, activities or even very minor medical assistance, you may need varying levels of protection. An insurance agent can help you determine the best coverage for your needs.
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