There are several countries with an aging population and hence automatically the diseases which lead to dementia are on the rise.
If you don’t know what dementia is, then it is an umbrella term that is given to symptoms that are caused by different diseases like Alzheimer’s. 155 million people are anticipated to suffer with dementia by 2050, as per reports from Alzheimer’s Research UK.
A doctor working with Home’s Cognitive Support Program, Diane Darby Beach told Business Insider that majority of the people suffering from dementia are entirely taken care of at home either by their close friends or family members.
The huge burden of caregiving falls on those who are their informal caregivers. Neither the friends nor their family members have any professional training on how to take care of such patients and they are just pushed into this situation as there’s someone close suffering from it.
For some such informal caregivers, things get very tough with the progression of the disease. There are several caregiving companies that offer home care packages for the family members to choose from.
Signs and symptoms of dementia tend to get worse eventually
If you’ve ever had a tryst with a person who has been suffering from dementia for a long time now, you would know that this disease will force the patient to seek help with everyday tasks. During the early stage of the disease, most patients continue to enjoy their regular activities even before being diagnosed with this disease. However, as time progresses and the diseases crosses each stage, they get more distressed, forgetful and confused which clearly means that they need special care.
Few of the tasks which patients who are recently diagnosed with the disease can carry on are gardening, laying the table for dinner, taking the dog for a walk or having dinner and lunch on their own. With the little help from memory aids like short notes on doors and cupboards can assist the person in remembering the smaller details.
As time passes by, dementia starts affecting the personality of a person, his ability to perform his regular tasks and the way in which they communicate. The caregivers have to henceforth adjust themselves with the person they’re taking care of. The easiest way that the caregiver can adopt in order to avoid causing more distress to the patient is by accepting the reality.
If you try to talk them out of their harsh reality, this will just increase the frustration among them. Hence, it is better to keep them wherever they are. If a lady suffering from dementia is a school teacher presently, then she is a teacher. No one should argue or engage in any kind of reasoning with the person as the reasoning centers and abstract thinking of the person has been thrown.
In short, caregivers have to simplify their world and carefully reframe it into an environment which they can easily handle. Try to be with the person at that moment and avoid taking him too much into the future.
A caregiver can take baby steps to make a difference
There are times when dementia doesn’t have any impact on the functions and memory of a person unless it reaches an advanced stage but it can definitely have an impact on the vision of the patient. The head of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s communications and engagement department, Laura Phipps says that there are few types which can affect the perception and sight of the person.
There are huge impacts on the way in which the dementia patients can live but they fail to realise them. This might actually be a very small thing which can allow a person to feel anxious but if you can articulate and communicate things properly, things can change with time. As dementia patients are not able to communicate their feelings, they feel agitated and aggressive.
Dementia caregivers should also take out time for themselves
It is extremely tough to constantly take care of someone who is suffering from dementia. When the caregiver is someone close to the family, they might feel that the person is someone whom they never knew. The caregiver’s world gets so small that they don’t get time to do anything that they did before they started playing the role of a caregiver.
As the person at the receiving end of dementia caring gradually slips away, they too enter a phase of grief as it gets tougher to see the health of their loved ones deteriorating. They start losing their personal abilities and hence the caregiver starts battling their own sadness. They then start getting frustrated and angry and it is completely okay to feel that way. The caregivers can’t be so hard on themselves as they too need time to relax.
Seniors are the hottest demographic – The burgeoning caregiving market
Whoever had discovered the phrase ‘growing old gracefully’ definitely had a clear idea of how the senior demographic may look like. As per the US Census Bureau, more and more baby boomers are entering the retirement quota and studies reveal that there will be almost 71 million seniors by the time its 2030. Being a powerful generation, it is certainly a huge market. So, let’s take a quick look at the several senior care businesses that you can start off with.
#1: Consultant senior care
When it’s time to move out of your home where you’ve spent the happiest years of your lifetime, handling the pesky details would certainly be the last thing that you would like to do. You can start off with a business of being a senior care consultant where you can find a good quality environment where you can happily spend your golden years. As they take over these tasks, transitioning into a new surrounding will become easier and effortless. A senior care consultant can offer services like packing items, selling the previous home, looking for a realtor or even unpacking at the new destination.
#2: Home care (non-medical)
As the current seniors feel younger at heart, most of them wish to live at home with home alternatives rather than receiving out-of-home care. For the population that finds it difficult to go out of their homes, it is better for someone to bring in the entire community at home. This is why non-medical home care for the seniors is certainly going to be a lucrative business idea. As the non-medical home care industry is in huge demand right now, it will also have higher future demand as there will be more and more baby boomers that will age with time. As the biggest need of the seniors is social interaction, this can be provided by such home caregivers.
#3: Meal delivery system for seniors
As for the caregivers, they love to ensure that the seniors are eating healthy. How about starting a meal delivery system for the seniors? You can deliver healthy and fresh meals for an amount of less than $20 in a day. There are several such meal delivery joints that started from the scratch and which have expanded into reputed restaurants. However, before taking the plunge, you need to educate yourself on what seniors want or need in terms of nutrition. Seniors expect home-style cooked meals which are light and non-spicy.
#4: Senior Transportation
One of the biggest challenges in the senior transportation business is looking for ways of offering seniors a mode of transport who no longer have the ability to drive on their own. It can be a devastating experience for a person (who has always driven by himself) to lose his ability of driving. However, if there are entrepreneurs who can give the seniors ways to make their ride enjoyable, that would be a great idea. For the slim seniors, there could be an impersonal ride at the back of a van by a community service center. On the other hand, for the wealthier seniors, the service could offer outfitted limos to replace the taxi. There can be car services too which can drop a senior, pick him and again return him from a dinner or a party. These too can be great endeavors.
#5: Senior products and clothing
There are also several seniors who need assistance in choosing accessories and apparel. They prefer side and back openings, durable yet soft fabrics and different types of modesty jumpsuits for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients as they are prone to undressing more often. You should keep in mind that men are way more practical than women and men usually opt for basic colors. On the contrary, women prefer shopping regardless of their age and they love to feel good and beautiful in whatever they wear.
#6: Senior Concierge
If you open a concierge service for seniors, you could offer escorted transportation and bring those services at home according to what the client demands. There can be dry cleaning services, beautician services, domestic help services, mobile vets and other such tasks which can make the lives of seniors easier and smoother.
Starting a home health care agency – The steps to take
If you’re eager to start a home health care agency, you basically start a service where professional caregivers or medical experts visit a senior’s home and provide them with some sort of care. Here are the few basics of starting off such a business.
Step #1: Devise a business plan
For starting off with any type of business, the first and foremost step has to be devising and writing down a proper business plan. Now that you want to start a home health care agency, the plan is going to be the base of your company and it will be needed in every step that follows. A business plan should include the following:
- The basics of your company or the summary
- The goals and mission of the health care agency or the description of the company
- The description of services that will be provided
- The way in which the company will be promoted and the price management
- The way in which the ownership structure of the business will be decided
- The financial plan, balance sheet, projection of cash flow and break-even analysis
- The decision of hiring staff, facilities and supplies
Step #2: Register your business with the state
If you wish to obtain funds from Medicaid and Medicare, your agency will have to abide by all the requirements that are put in place. Complete the state’s home care application and only then can you certify the agency. One more thing that you need to do is to incorporate the business, receive a tax identification number and then register for your NPI or the National Provider Identification number.
Step #3: Get Medicaid and Medicare certifications
Once you grab these certifications, your home health care agency can offer health care services like physical therapy, nursing care and several other services while being paid for Medicaid and Medicare plans. You have to be aware of the fact that such a process of being accredited can sometimes take enough time, till a year. However, that shouldn’t steer you away from getting these certifications as they’re important.
Step #4: Recruit the best people
As your home health care business is offering different sorts of personal service to the patients, you would like to have a staff that also reflects the goals and ambitions of your company. You have to make sure you hire the most efficient workers for your home health care agency. As you interview the staff members, conduct a thorough background check to stay away from any kind of legal action against any employee in the long run.
Step #5: Run for your clients
As and when the business plan and staff members are ready, it’s time you invest time behind getting clients. This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult parts of starting a business, particularly a home health care agency or any other service-based business.
Therefore, if you’re venturing into the industry of senior caregiving, you can take a close look at the various business ideas mentioned above. Take the right steps to achieve success.