Senior care start-up checklist

Working with seniors requires patience, compassion, and physical endurance and often entails long working hours. Your senior care business can range from residential, adult day programs, rehabilitative, or hospice services. Use this checklist to help find the requirements needed to start your senior care business.

This checklist is meant to provide detailed information on starting a senior care business. For general information on business start-up, consult our Business start-up checklist.

  • Business start-up checklist
    When you're setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.

Another option is buying an existing business — find out more.

  • Buying a business
    Find out what you need to know before buying a business: where to look, how to evaluate potential acquisitions, and what a fair price would be.
  • Franchising
    Learn more about buying a franchise as an option for starting a business.

Table of Contents

    Knowing the senior care industry

    With the senior demographic continuing to rise, there are many opportunities available in this growing industry. Be sure to research the senior care industry before you open your business. You may find that there is a need for more retirement homes, long-term care or rehabilitation centres or palliative care services in your area. Use the following resources to help develop your knowledge base and deepen your understanding of the different aspects of starting a senior care business.

    • Demographics
      Get data that sheds light on population characteristics such as location, age, income, education level, and more.
    • Seniors — Statistics
      Browse Statistics Canada resources on the characteristics of seniors, organized by subtopics such as care, health, income and retirement.
    • Community Care Facilities for the Elderly (NAICS 6233)
      Access information on in-patient nursing and rehabilitative services.
    • Home Care
      Find reports, analyses and data sources regarding home care for the elderly.
    • Aging and Seniors
      Learn more about age-friendly communities, emergency preparedness, elder abuse, and injury prevention.

    Setting up your senior care business

    You have the compassion and communications skills for caring for the elderly, but have you considered everything you need to get your business started? You will need to learn about food preparation, health products, accessibility, emergency preparedness and more. Understanding these topics will ensure that you meet the needs of both your clients and their families.

    You may need to protect your business, your clients and their property. Be sure to investigate different types of business insurance including liability insurance.

    • Protecting your business
      Your company is your greatest investment. Discover safeguard options that will help keep your business secure.

    Complying with senior care regulations

    Regulations vary for senior care services. Check the regulations in your area as these services are governed by federal, provincial, and municipal laws. You may also need to meet licensing requirements for zoning, transporting adults or health and safety inspections.

    • Permits and licences
      Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.
    • Human resources regulations
      It is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer with regards to hiring, labour standards, wages, employment equity, and more.
    • Privacy and your business
      If you collect, use or disclose personal information about individuals, you need to understand your privacy obligations.
    • Workplace health and safety regulations
      Find out what you need to do to ensure the health and safety of your employees while they are at work.

    Hiring and training your staff

    Proper employee screening is important, particularly in the senior care industry. You'll want to protect your business from potential risks, and ensure that you have the best qualified people working for you.

    Special skills are also required for your senior care business. You may need specific training in CPR, first aid, dementia care, palliative care and medication management. Some businesses may require the services of licensed health care professionals such as nurses, doctors and personal support workers.

    Additional resources

    Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur who's been in business for years, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.

    • Starting a business
      Want to be your own boss? Find out how to start a business.
    • Business support organizations
      Seeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.
    • Contact the Canada Business Network
      The Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success.
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