The word is out, adult day care centers are popping up all over the place. And they should be because we need them! Some even lament that it appears people from a certain ethnicity are the ones opening these centers or at least making the effort to do so. Some seem to be pushing full-speed ahead while others appear to be lagging with bureaucratic red tape and cost overruns. Regardless of the pace of progress the reality no on can ignore is that adult day care is “a business of the heart.”
Financial gain is possible and highly likely, especially from multi-faceted programs which serve multiple populations with a variety of services. However, the truly successful are concerned about the burn-out associated with stressful family caregiving and the fulfillment they can bring to the lives of so many who would be better cared for in adult day care than in the often less dignified institutional settings. The latter entrepreneur is also busy developing a remarkably well-designed, sometimes even luxurious building but at the same time they are working to ensure that what they are developing is specifically responsive to the needs of your community.
Of course this involves realizing that some things are needed by all communities and that includes programs where a person never has to leave during the day due to the large cadre of services available. This is why the programs that offer the most (i.e. intensive personal care, visiting specialty physicians, incontinence management and more) are the ones most likely to succeed. And this special achieving program has to be developed to give the most while also including the required ingredients for the operators to find personal fulfillment and enjoy themselves. (Click here for a touching story from one adult day care entrepreneur who shares how and why he had such a good time being of service to others. You will be asked to enter your email address to listen but it is not shared for commercial purposes)
When the commitment to help others is not in the cards, a center could implode in disaster as quickly as you started. Families and care coordinating professionals will sense the lone-profit focused mode of the operator and the word will spread.
Another mistake some make is not knowing what is already present in the community and ensuring that your new program exceeds current community expectations and offers what others may not be or offers it better and more efficiently than others may be doing. This makes your homework of grave importance whether you do it or hire a professional to do so. Knowing what is feasible and what is not will go a long way in helping you to craft that perfect program that has positioned itself to overcome or better manage hurdles that have created stumbling blocks for others. (Click Here for a Professional Feasibility and Business Development Report Template that Gathers Helpful Data Before a Program Commences)
It is the belief of this blog’s managers that adult day services have only touched the surface of what they can be to really influence caregiivng around the world. So much more can be offered and right now we need real innovators. A future blog will speak to how adult day services and professional mental health case management can combine to help more of the mentally ill and developmentally delayed to remain at home in the loving and supportive company of family. This would mean less living in ill-equipped adult foster care or similarly poorly managed settings.
In the meantime let’s keep developing these wonderful community based care initiatives while ensuring that what we develop responds well to the needs of your community.
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