“Written by Beth Brown”
After running her own business for 30 years, Fair Oaks resident Lisa Lyles says she wanted her next venture to touch people’s lives.
By going into home care services for the elderly, she is finding that the number of lives she can touch will be increasing rapidly.
By 2030, nearly 20 percent of Americans will be 65 or older, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.
San Antonio can expect its own bubble of baby boomers in that group. More than 10 percent of the city’s population was 65 or older in 2010, according to U.S. Census data.
“As we hit that aging tsunami, there are opportunities for business folks like myself,” said Byron Cordes, president of Sage Care Management, which works with seniors to identify their appropriate level of care based on their health and personal finances.
For her part, Lyles applied in early 2012 with her son Scott, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, to launch the local franchise of Nurse Next Door, a senior home care services provider with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Lyles said she saw a need in the San Antonio area, and her business now is serving Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch, Stone Oak, Spring Branch and San Antonio. In late November, the state gave her franchise the go-ahead to begin hiring employees. Since then, it has picked up more than 100 clients.
“I knew from personal experience that home care was going to be something we would all need,” Lyles said. “I knew that industry was there, and I knew it was a financially rewarding industry.”
Her franchise’s services range from three hours of caregiver companionship a few days a week to around-the-clock assistance. It allows seniors to stay in their own home, which is an emerging trend in senior care, said Martha Spinks, director of Bexar Area Agency on Aging.
“What all seniors want to do is what we call in our industry ‘age in place,’” Spinks said. “They say, ‘This is my house, and I prefer to stay right here.’ So if that’s the choice we make, then family caregivers get pulled into the mix. … There are a lot of agencies that provide home health care, so it indicates that there is a business opportunity there.”
With so many options for senior care — and weighing what options are covered by various kinds of insurance — some are capitalizing on helping seniors manage their care options.
Sage Care is one of them. Its staff, with backgrounds in nursing, social work and physical therapy, helps clients determine what level of care they need. Its clients tend to be more affluent.
“You may need a ‘nursing home’ level of care, but if you’ve got $30 million in the bank, we can create a nursing home in your house,” said Cordes, who’s also board president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. “You can hire nurses around the clock and have a ventilator in your house.
“But if you’re on Medicaid, there’s very little help you can get in the home.”
Sage Care serves about 150 clients a year and recently has hired more care managers.
Cordes said there’s a national movement to expand the number of care managers by 50 percent in order to prepare for the aging population.
Kayla Hester, a caregiver with Nurse Next Door, began working with Alzheimer’s patients after becoming a certified nursing assistant and now believes this is the industry where she should stay.
“This industry is growing so fast and people think it’s such an easy industry, but you really have to have the heart,” Hester said.
The field of health care assistants will only grow larger. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the field will increase by 28 percent by 2020, adding more than 100,000 jobs in that time.
“Seniors are going to be big business,” Cordes said.