The Baby Boomer generation in the United States, comprising people born between 1946-1964, makes up the second largest age-group in the US. Millennials make up the first largest age-group. According to the US census bureau, by 2030, all boomers will be at least age 65. And by 2034, older adults are projected to outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history.
The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) predicts a 75% increase in the number of Americans aged 65 and up requiring nursing home care, from 1.3 million in 2010 to about 2.3 million in 2030. And yet, it’s estimated that 26 million people over the age of 50 are living alone in the United States. So what does this mean?
The U.S. is going to have to get creative about finding care for its aging population. Andy Niska, president and founder of Love in Home Senior Care in Spokane, WA recognized this when he launched his business back in 2013. This January marked Love in Home’s 10th year in business. Their mission is to provide the very best in-home care in Spokane at a reasonable price.
Andy recounts he first fell in love with biology and the human body in his high school biology class. In college, he recognized he wanted to be involved in healthcare, and decided to pursue a degree in healthcare administration. As a fresh graduate, he worked as the assistant manager of the Lidgerwood Clinic run with Group Health NW (now owned by Kaiser).
While he enjoyed clinic management, he wanted to expand his knowledge and understanding of the healthcare system. After interacting with pharmaceutical representatives that came to the clinic, Andy decided to explore the pharmaceutical industry as a sales specialist. He enjoyed learning about therapeutic modalities and interacting with specialists who treated a variety of disease states.
Andy notes that while he had achieved traditional success in his career and was able to provide a comfortable life for his family, he began feeling like he wanted to build something of his own. “2012 was a year of extensive evaluation for me. I talked with my financial advisor at length to decide if I could continue to support my family of seven and risk not making a paycheck while starting my own business.”
First Andy looked into opening a franchise: “Going the franchise route is an easier path to follow, although you will have to pay royalties and follow a lot of the parent company’s rules. There is much greater risk creating something out of nothing, but that’s what I was called to do. To create something from nothing.”
Little by little, Andy became interested in homecare. It turned out that one of his friends from the pharmaceutical industry had connections with other professionals in the homecare industry. He had also observed firsthand the challenges that come with navigating elder care options when his grandmother required extra support.
With his background in healthcare administration and a dream to run his own business, Andy launched Love in Home Senior Care in January of 2013. “When I started, I was the only employee and had to wear every hat. I was responsible for marketing, doing IT, being our financial officer, hiring caregivers, and managing our care team. I was happy to be able to hire our first administrative employee after 10 months.”
Andy notes that the first two years of the business were the most challenging. “We were making money, but I wasn’t bringing in nearly as much as my previous salary. I think of this time as the valley of despair. Through that adversity, you can really appreciate the success that will come out of it. If there were no barriers to success, everybody would own their own business!”
He also comments that while COVID actually increased the need for home-based services, the labor shortage has made things increasingly challenging for their business. “There was a shortage in caregivers before the pandemic, and now with the labor shortage that almost every industry is facing, we are still short on the caregivers we need. There are certifications and licensing requirements for caregivers that can be an obstacle to people who might otherwise be interested in caregiving. And the processing times for these licenses also got longer when everything shut down with COVID.”
To advocate for improvements in the home care industry, Andy has been a board member of the Washington Home Care Association for the past 6 years. “Every legislative session, we’re presenting solutions to open up and address the labor shortage problems we are facing.” He also enjoys giving back to the seniors of Spokane as a board member and volunteer of the Senior Action Network of Eastern Washington (SANEWA).
Andy shares something that surprised him as his business has grown: “I knew I would be fulfilled by providing a solution for people in their homes that would help them. But I didn’t imagine how fulfilled I would be by also having the opportunity to provide financial stability and growth opportunities for my employees. It brings me so much joy to see one of my employee’s buy their first house.”
For questions or to learn more about the services provided by Love in Home Senior Care, visit www.loveinhomeseniorcare.com. You can also call (509) 474-0663.