22 Oct 2013
- Written by Carlee McCullough
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Whether you reference aging as growing older, more mature, wiser or seasoned, the common denominator is that we must all age. It is a fact of life.
Today, there are approximately 40 million people age 65 or older in America, which represents about 13 percent of the population. However, by 2030 there will be over 72 million or almost 19 percent of the population in this bracket.
A staple of our basic needs in life is housing and as we grow older our housing needs will change. While we hope to maintain our lifestyle, health, mobility and financial strength along the way, things may not always develop as desired.
Savvy entrepreneurs truly understand the upside and opportunity in providing housing for the aged. It doesn't take a genius to realize that based on the sheer population numbers, the demand for senior housing will continue to increase. A profitable business can be created by providing a much-needed product for a very deserving segment of the community.
There are several housing options that exist for the aged depending upon the circumstances and budget.
Stay at home
Depending on the level of independence of the individual, remaining at home may be an option. If and when mobility begins to deteriorate, alterations may be made to the home to adapt to the needs of the resident. Those modifications to make the home safer or easier to navigate may include installing a wheelchair ramp, bathtub railings, and/or emergency response systems. When aid and financial resources are available, in-home care services may be an option as well. However, if mobility is a challenge, staying home alone may not be ideal.
The business perspective here may come in the form of retrofitting family residences for senior living. If family or friends cannot make the modifications, then most likely a business can and will make the alterations.
Retirement communities, senior housing or apartments are all terms used to describe independent living. Independent living communities are attractive to seniors with few medical problems because the house maintenance is minimal and socializing with other seniors is available. These units are typically fully-equipped apartment complexes, houses, or condos reserved for seniors.
Build them and they will come is certainly a truism as it relates to senior housing. Many locations have waiting lists for occupancy. More and more apartment complexes are being retrofitted for seniors. The older population tends to pay its bills and have income in the form of retirement benefits, social security or disability. While the cost of entry is more expensive on the front end if starting a business, the profit potential is also great. A strong business plan and financial strength is a must-have when providing these units.
The ultimate goal is to maintain as much independence as long as possible. If some help is needed with life activities such as medication dispensing, meals or housekeeping, assisted living may be the way to go.
Frequently referred to as residential care, adult care home or alternative care facility, the idea is to provide as much – or as little – care as needed while the resident lives in an apartment-style home with scaled-down kitchens. Designed for seniors who can no longer live safely totally independent, assisted living residents do not require round the clock medical care or supervision.
The business cost of entry of an assisted living facility requires lots of planning and resources. The need for this type of facility is only going to grow in the future. So those interested in providing assisted living must have a business plan and resources to enter the arena.
A nursing home is the highest level of care for seniors who are not hospitalized. The stay in a nursing home may be temporary or long term depending upon the illness, recent hospitalizations or declining health conditions.
As a business, this type of housing is very expensive to provide because of the staffing requirements. Doctors, nurses, and aides are a must in this environment. But again, it can be a lucrative endeavor.
Residential care homes
The cost of entry of providing a residential care home is not as great as some of the other senior housing options because these tend to simply be a house converted into senior housing and the quality of staff is varied and unique to each.
Offering assisted care services for the elderly that desire a more home like atmosphere, these units provide assistance with bathing, dressing and meals. Nursing services will vary with each home depending upon the experience and licensing of the staff.
If making a difference while making a profit is important and you are passionate about the elderly, senior housing may be the business for you.