How to Start a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly

During the past few decades, the demand for elderly care facilities has been constantly on the rise. Society is suffering from having fewer available caregivers in the family circles to take care of the elderly, disabled, or people in need of assistance conducting daily life activities. Starting a business in the residential care industry can be a considerably rewarding experience, and not just in a financial way.

Many people find it hard to stay alone at home, and with people being busier than ever, the distressing situation is not likely to get better. The aging population projections state that there could be about a hundred million people older than 65 by 2035, which would be a 60% increase since 2016.

The average lifespan is increasing, and if you want to make the most significant contribution to improving the quality of life in the later years, here is a guide for starting a residential care facility for the elderly.

First Steps in Starting a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly

Once you develop your business plan, look for options to best insure your business property because it is the principal contributor to the functioning of your business. Your insurance plan should cover each facet of your residential care facility business plan. You can make further adjustments depending on whether you are inclined to operate an independent or assisted living facility, a memory or specialty care center, or a continuous care retirement community, also known as CCRC.

Residential Care Facility License

If you want to be a certified administrator of a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, Adult Residential Facility, or a Group Home program, apply for the Initial Certification Training Program (ICTP), where you must complete 40-hour training. If you want to opt for NH or Nursing Home Administrator, there are an additional 12 hours of classroom instruction. After completing the training program, you have to pass a test administered by the Department of Social Services with a score of 70 or above within 60 days.

Once you pass the test, you will receive a congratulatory letter from ACS or the Administrator Certification Section, after which you have to submit a completed initial administrator application packet within 30 days of receiving the letter. You have to submit a  LIC 9163 Request for Live Scan form for a statewide (Department of Justice) and national (Federal Bureau of Investigations) criminal background check. You also have to submit a LIC 508 Criminal Record Statement, and in the event of a criminal record conviction, provide a written statement describing the circumstances regarding the crime.

Premises and Furnishing

When choosing a location for your residential care facility, location plays a key factor, so opt for a quiet environment away from the city noise but not too far for visitors to drop by. Look for different financing options whether you purchase or lease the facility premises, and consider giving advantage to prospects with existing furnishing pieces when evaluating your options and their potential. 

Multi-functional furniture can be incredibly useful in a residential care facility, although the overall design should be focused on safety while incorporating a homey touch. Explore different furniture arrangement options, and make room for residents to be able to enjoy their hobbies.

Residential Care Facility Staffing and Training

Residential care facilities for the elderly usually have licensed administrative workers, medical staff including a medical director and director of nursing, housekeeping and janitorial staff, cooking and dining staff including a dishwasher or wait staff. Hiring positions like landscaping staff and someone to remove the leaves or snow can significantly contribute to the overall attractiveness of your premises. 

The employees you hire should have credentials matching your clientele’s needs, including physical therapists. As the manager of a residential care facility, you have to plan ongoing training and include volunteering activities to present and optimally manage an effective program for the occupants of your premises.

Advertising Your Residential Care Facility

Whatever you do, if you neglect the marketing aspect of your business, you will never see the true potential of your effort. Make sure to include different marketing types in your strategies, like print leaflets and cards, for example, but do not undermine digital advertising like TV and the radio. Your residential care facility should have a website as its dedicated corner on the Internet, and you can run ads to advertise it.


With the rise of living standards and technology, business entities that focus on residential care facilities have to recognize the potential for improvement and raise the standard quality of life for people in all assisted living facility types. Whatever your motive for starting a residential care facility, it is virtually impossible to fail if you closely follow the best practices and guidelines outlined.