Fifty Shades of Gray – running a Residential Assisted Living business
Sometimes simple demographics can lead to a genuine business opportunity. In 2010, there were 17 million Americans between the ages of 75 and 85. By 2050 that number will reach 30 million, according to the National Institute on Aging. Right now it’s the last of the Silent Generation and the first of the Baby Boomers who are beginning to enter that age group, and by 2050 it will be Generation X (the “Baby Busters”). This age shift, known as the Graying of America, means there will be more and more demand for residential assisted living as time goes on.
Residential Assisted Living (RAL) is a halfway house between independence and a nursing home. Residents are mobile, but require assistance with certain necessary activities. They are not yet so frail as to require 24/7 care. In fact they might be fully active except for difficulty in things like bathing and perhaps eating. RAL homes are largely free of federal regulation, unlike nursing homes. The hoops you have to jump through vary from state to state, but is generally relatively easy to get a permit to convert an existing home into a RAL home and run it as a business.
You’ll need to hire care staff and be on top of every aspect of state laws and regulations to run a RAL business successfully. But if you do everything right, there is a good chance of making decent money.
Like any business, RAL is not without its pitfalls, so one should enter it well-prepared or not at all. The RAL industry is sizeable enough to have an established training sector for those planning to start out in RAL. A good one-stop shop for training and coaching, both online and in-person, is RAL Academy. They teach a way of running RAL ‘hands off’ so that it makes money for the owner in as stress-free a way as possible.
Running a RAL business can be at any scale from converting an existing house (as long as it’s in the right neighbourhood and demographic) to large, multi-dwelling developments or communities. Every entrant to this business sector needs to know all about the issues that can arise – what would you do, for example, if a resident needed medical marijuana? Regular medication? Transportation? You need to know how to handle that. RAL is a good business for the initiated but not for the underprepared. Training can be as quick as 3 days but if managed well, the earnings can be significant.