Hot Home Biz: Elder-Care Manager/Consultant

Want to work from home but not sure what you can do? The Hot Home Business Directory helps you find a business to run out of your home, lists the skills you need to do it and tells how to get started and where to get more information. Read on to find out if this Hot Home Biz is for you!

What you'll do: Provide senior citizens and their families with personalized information, support and counseling on health care, housing and other related elder-care services.

Through a consultation with the seniors and their families (done either in person or by phone or teleconference), you'll first assess individual medical issues and financial resources. Then, you'll recommend specific short- and long-term care services that are best suited to each older person's particular needs and preferences -- whether home-based service, a retirement home, an assisted-living community or a nursing home. You'll arrange for families to visit various facilities and shepherd them through the decision-making process and paperwork.

For families who live far away from their elderly loved ones, you might also act as a long-distance liaison, monitoring the care regularly and keeping the family updated on potential problems. Some elder-care managers also help make moving arrangements, so that senior citizens have a smooth transition when relocating to a new living arrangement. They might also assist with money management, the selling of a home and the planning of an estate sale.

Skills you'll need: A gentle, patient personality and a thorough knowledge of the various services available to senior citizens, both locally and nationwide. It's also helpful to have training in gerontology, nursing or social work, or job experience working with senior citizens.

Equipment you'll need:

  • Computer and Internet access
  • Business phone
  • Fax machine
  • Letterhead stationery
  • Business cards
  • Brochure detailing your services

You should also set up a Website so that busy families can quickly access and review information about your services. In addition to equipment, you'll also want to invest in basic business liability insurance, as well as professional malpractice insurance, so you are protected in the event of a lawsuit.

Start-up costs: About $3,000 to cover cost of computer, phone, Website design and marketing materials.

How much can you make? Anywhere from $75 to $200 an hour, depending on your location (big cities command higher fees). To remain objective and unbiased in their recommendations, most elder-care managers will not accept referral fees from health care facilities or payment from third-party sources such as Medicare, Medicaid or insurance companies. In fact, accepting referral fees is illegal in most states.

How to break in:

  • Make up business cards and brochures that list the services you supply, along with your background and testimonials from satisfied customers or friends and family members you have advised.
  • Aim your advertising and marketing efforts at both senior citizens and their relatives. It's a good idea to have two types of brochures or flyers. For example, one flyer could be directed to the seniors themselves and posted in doctor's offices, in senior citizen centers, on bulletin boards and in newsletters in retirement communities, country clubs and other recreational areas where seniors congregate.

The other set of marketing materials should be directed to adults who are struggling to juggle the needs of their aging parents. Pass these around everywhere -- hair salons, gyms, nursery schools and local libraries and community centers. Once you land your first few clients, your best advertisement will be the word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.

  • According to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, it's helpful to distribute your brochures to other professionals who often work with senior citizens and their families, such as attorneys, bank and trust officers, doctors and health care professionals, social service providers and staff at senior housing communities.
  • Establish yourself as an expert in elder care by giving free speeches and workshops at local libraries, community centers and hospitals.
  • Join an organization dedicated to elder care, where you can network with other professionals in your field and keep on top of developments.

National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers
ElderCare Online
American Society on Aging
Care Scout

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