NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- It used to be that for elderly people who did not have family to care for them, the only option was living in a nursing home once they were unable to live independently.
No longer. Successful franchises are cropping up as entrepreneurs react to a growing demographic: people living longer who are not necessarily ill, but do need help with basic living functions such as cooking, cleaning, taking medication and personal hygiene. The entrepreneurs' work enables senior adults to stay in their homes longer.
The need for senior care services and products (medical and nonmedical) will become even more pressing in years to come. Not only are baby boomers' parents living longer; as they age into their own sunset years, they too will need these services. And this age group has money to spend.
According to census data compiled by Home Instead Senior Care, an estimated 36.8 million people, or 12.4% of the U.S. population, are 65 and older, a figure expected to double by 2026. Those older than 85 are projected to roughly double from 4.7 million in 2003 to 9.6 million in 2030.
In-home care is also seen by some as a way to reduce exponentially rising costs associated with health care. Private home care is more cost effective than nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, according to the National Private Duty Association, a trade organization for private medical and nonmedical home care companies.
According to data collected by the NPDA:
- The average annual cost of one nursing home resident is $69,715.
- The average annual cost of one assisted-living facility resident is $36,372.
- In contrast, 20 hours a week of home care services costs about $18,000.
"The underlying challenge all the policymakers are trying to figure out is we've got all this aging population that will need care that the government will have to pay for. The challenge is there's really not an effective way of reducing the cost of the care," says Right at Home's founder and CEO, Allen Hager.
"You have to find a way to take care of people at less cost. A service like Right at Home, where we send caregivers for the basic activities -- if that's not neglected then they have a lot better chance of reducing the amount of time they have in the hospital," Hager says. "We know the big trend will be more in-home care services."
Right now, some 90% of elder services are out-of-pocket expenses to the client or their family. As consumers get more comfortable with long-term care insurance policies and insurance companies get more comfortable with approving in-home care expenses, that dynamic will change, experts say.
Here are five in-home senior care franchises doing extremely well: