No shortage of seemingly honest-hearted Americans approach our firm about entering the business of adult day health care. Many of them were not born on American soil but feel a yearning to assist in the care of others. Some have watched neighbors struggle with the stress of caregiving and this cuts a hole in their own hearts.
The question today is: What blocks many from pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations in care and instead has them opting for more retail oriented businesses involving less professional environments, longer hours, more time away from family and more economically cyclical business models? Often it is the thought that they would not be accepted as a care business owner or pioneer in care by American families, even if they worked as a care delivery professional in their home country.
We have listened to this from Americans who originate from locations as diverse as Lebanon, UAE, India, The Philippines and various African nations. Some take the position they will only focus on those of their own ethnicity even if they do decide to enter care, but this is a market limiting tactic that can spell failure quickly. Additionally it buys into the same stereotype you claim to want to fight against. You want a business that serves anyone it can assist in a meaningful way.
So the question remains, how do I, as a person not born on American soil work to be accepted and serve Americans in an adult day health care program or other care venue? While no formula is perfect, these tips might help you to assimilate into your local community based care family.
- Be Prepared to Help
Families want to see the case manager in you. So be sure you know in grand detail what the regulatory requirements are for your business, to what extent a user of your services can rely upon public funds to pay for attending your adult day health care program, etc. Let people see your overall and extended commitment to maintaining a knowledge base of care resources.
This allows you to be the care counselor you need to be and a quality information source. You thereby demonstrate that your care based knowledge is rooted in how much you care about others and that has value. Trust us, for most families it will not be about your beliefs or heritage but your commitment to helping them in an effective, sincere and quality way.
2. Wear Your Feelings
- Are you genuinely concerned about the daughter and son-in-law who are terrified about leaving mom at home all day while they work, knowing mom has Alzheimer’s disease?
- Are you genuinely concerned about the granddaughter whose marriage crumbled under the weight of caring for her demented parent recovering from a stroke?
If you can answer yes, then offer a hug if it does not violate your beliefs, arrange for regular caregiver support groups in your centers, allow burdened families to vent their frustrations to you. Dig into your own spirituality to help people manage these challenges in their lives. If you stand off at a distance and show no concern, buying into the perceived disconnect you associate with your not being American born, you will not endear the community to you.
3. Be Strategic
Strategy of a practical value also matters. Be diverse in your selection of management and care delivery personnel as well as board members. Show others that you accept how large the world is and that you demonstrate this in how your business is organized and governed in key operational areas. This should be reflected in videos used to market the business and every other ounce of publicly distributed media.
None of us can break through every ounce of bias, prejudice or preference that exists in the neighborhood but we can make a contribution to our own success with the right assimilation strategy. So be careful running from opportunity because you doubt your ability to make a dent in the lives of others. Approach these relationships with great sincerity and you may find acceptance is easier than you thought.
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