Canadian seniors account for more than 15 per cent of the country’s total population, according to a recent report by the Government of Canada. In addition, by 2030, seniors are projected to make up 23 per cent of the entire nation’s population (roughly 9.5 million people). With seniors reaching a higher life expectancy than they did decades ago, senior care facilities and home health care facilities for the elderly are becoming more and more common.\r\nWhat is a home health care facility?\r\nHome health care is exactly what it sounds like—a range of healthcare and/or services provided from home, rather than bedside at a hospital. Home health care is usually less expensive and more convenient, especially for older individuals who enjoy the comfort and ease of being treated at home.\r\nWhy you should invest in a home care business\r\nBesides a booming elderly population, there are many reasons for small business owners in Canada to invest in a home care business, including the following:\r\nYou'll feel good about doing it\r\nWhen you choose to work with a vulnerable population, like children, or the elderly, you are inevitably making a difference in their everyday quality of life. Something as simple as having a quick conversation with your patients every morning or taking the time to get to know them on a personal level can make all the difference in the world for those living in a long-term care facility, especially if they have no family of their own, or can't see their family as much as they'd like.\r\nDemand for home care is at an all-time high\r\nAs statistics show, Canada's ageing population is only going up. The demand for home care services for seniors is increasing, especially as the debate around how COVID-19 is managed in private healthcare facilities continues to be a topic of concern. Many seniors do not want to enter a long-term care facility because they want to hold on to their homes, which is another reason that personal care done out of a home is becoming so popular.\r\nYou don't need to be a nurse\r\nContrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a nurse or even a personal support worker (PSW) to start a senior care business. As long as you love to help people and operate in accordance with any licensing regulations, you'll be just fine! Of course, as with any new industry, it's always a good idea to do your research and reach out to those who do have a background in healthcare to obtain any advice before you get started.\r\nIf you love people, you'll love this job\r\nIf working with people and helping to make a difference in others' lives are two things you're passionate about, starting a senior care service could be the perfect business solution. Offering short-term or long-term care solutions from home means you'll be interacting with a number of clients every day, sometimes multiple times a day. If you choose to work as an employee within your own business, you'll likely be part of a team, too, which means you'll be working closely with others who share your same passions.\r\nYou can network with your community\r\nStarting a home health care business also gives you a chance to make your mark in the community. As a small business owner, relationships are important. Next to word-of-mouth and referrals, partnering with another small business is one of the best free marketing tools out there to let others know about your business and the services you will provide. Many seniors who opt to receive home health care are still very active in their own communities as well. Try visiting your local library or town hall and check out some of the free events going on for the month, where you're likely to meet seniors in your own neighbourhood who could provide some additional referrals.\r\nHome health care is a permanent solution\r\nHealth care, much like the wedding and funeral industry, is an industry that will always be in high demand. People will always need treatment plans and solutions, no matter the severity. People will always age, and as hospitals continue to face unprecedented capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian seniors want access to services from the comfort of their own homes, whether the level of care is medical or non-medical.\r\nHow to start a senior home care business in 9 easy steps\r\nOnce you've decided to go ahead and start offering home care services for seniors, you'll need to do the following:\r\n1. Come up with a business plan\r\nA successful business doesn't just happen overnight. Once you've come up with the idea, you'll need to create a basic business strategy that addresses what you need to turn a profit and how you'll get there. As an entrepreneur, your business plan should help you better respond to opportunities in order to succeed.\r\n2. Pick your services\r\nThe extent of your home care services will depend on several factors, including your budget. As a cheaper alternative to the treatment you'd typically receive in a hospital, this could influence the extent of services or products you choose to offer. Providing wound care and injections, for example, will cost much less than purchasing the medical equipment needed to run chemotherapy or paying staff to perform 24-hour emergency care. There are many services, both medical and non-medical, that you can offer your clients. Some of these include:\r\n\r\n \tSkilled nursing\r\n \tTherapy (including physical therapy and massage therapy)\r\n \tDietary planning/education\r\n \tSupport monitoring\r\n \tWound/surgical care\r\n\r\n3. Give your business a name\r\nOnce you've established your client base and the services you'd like to provide, you'll need to select a name for your business. It's a good idea to also create a website for your business that lists all available contact information in a clear and legible manner.\r\n4. Pick your business structure\r\nIn Canada, business owners can choose between one of five different business structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, cooperative, or non-profit. As a sole proprietor, you're the sole owner of the company and are therefore in charge of making any and all business decisions.\r\n\r\nA partnership depends on one or more individuals to make it work —choose wisely!\r\n\r\nIf you choose to register your home care business as a corporation, you're in charge of how and when you make money, and you can seek funds from investors, which can be used to grow your business.\r\n\r\nIf you choose to operate as a cooperative, you will be running an incorporated business controlled by people with shared needs and values.\r\n\r\nNon-profit businesses can be set up just like any other business in Canada, but the employees don't benefit from any profits the business brings in. If this is your first business venture, keep this in mind, especially if it's your goal to pay out multiple employee salaries.\r\n5. Obtain all licenses/certifications\r\nHome health care services require licensing and certifications in order to operate. If you're looking to start a retirement home, you must obtain a license for your seniors’ personal care business from the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) and make sure that you comply with their rules and requirements.\r\n\r\nLong-term care homes are also subject to mandatory health inspections to ensure that seniors are receiving satisfactory care. The Government of Canada can provide you with more information on any and all licenses that you will need to start a senior care business.\r\n6. Get business insurance\r\nBoth small and large businesses in Canada require business insurance before you can obtain a business license. There are multiple insurance providers to choose from, all with varying levels of coverage. After you decide on a provider, simply gather all of the necessary documents, and apply over the phone or online.\r\n7. Hire employees\r\nRunning a home health care business for seniors is too much work for just one person, even if you're a people pleaser! When you work in healthcare, the people you hire are just as important as the people you help. These individuals will be taking care of your clients, and the best way to get more business referrals is from clients who feel that their needs are being met or exceeded.\r\n\r\nWhile you yourself do not need to have a healthcare background, your staff should, as they'll be the ones in charge of administering medications, overseeing treatment plans, and performing medical and non-medical applications like wound care and physiotherapy. You should have at least one registered nurse on staff at all times and several personal support workers who have the required training and certifications, like CPR and standard first aid. As always, make sure to conduct a thorough criminal reference check on anybody that you hire, as they will be working for a vulnerable population and as the business owner, you're ultimately responsible for the well-being of your clients at all times.\r\n8. Buy supplies\r\nThe supplies you need for your elderly home care business will depend on the kinds of services you will provide. Many wholesalers in Canada specialize in medical supplies, which is a much more cost-effective option than purchasing things on an individual basis.\r\n\r\nIt's a good idea to always have commonly used items, like disposable gloves and disinfectant on hand at all times. You can also seek out a medical products supplier or manufacturer and deal with them directly, as opposed to going the wholesale route.\r\n9. Spread the word\r\nFunding your business is essential to its success! Once you've raised enough capital and have a steady client base to start, you'll need to get the word out that you're open for business. Some of your best business could come from your current business—happy clients are likely to tell their friends, who may be in need of similar services, and those referrals are crucial! It's also a good idea to be active on social media. After setting up your website, create social media accounts and start churning out content that will resonate with the clients you're looking to attract.\r\n\r\nStarting a homecare business for the elderly offers a long-term solution for those who are looking to receive care, but do not want to leave the comfort of their own homes. And, while you do not need to have a background in medicine or nursing, with the right business plan and attitude, working with Canada’s ageing population has the potential to become a rewarding career path.