Good morning from hot and humid Singapore! We are in the midst of a three-week trip across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China in search of potential home care franchise partners in each of these markets. Beyond finding potential partners, we also are meeting key stakeholders in government, senior living facilities and physicians who have the ability to drive referrals, help us understand the local caregiving market, and identify sources for trained workers.
One of the clearest and most pressing needs we already see is around home care specifically for dementia and Parkinson’s’ patients. Both diseases are not well understood in these areas, which means families and their loved ones afflicted with these diseases suffer more than they need to. This pains us to see, but it is also a big part of what motivates us to find good partners that can take programs like our Senior Gems and deliver them in a market such as Singapore.
We can already see how certain changes at work within the Singapore Ministry of Health are going to help caregiving models such as ours expand the type of services available to local Singaporeans who need care, either for themselves or their loved ones. What remains to be seen is how to build a local caregiving franchise that can access these agencies and participate in the upside potential as services and reimbursement is expanded, particularly for in-home caregiving around dementia care.
Among the aspects of the Senior Gems program that distinguishes it beyond simply a training platform for caregivers is that it helps our franchises explain to the families themselves what is happening, and how to respond accordingly. This is particularly useful in a market like Singapore, as well as across Southeast Asia, where a disease such as dementia is poorly understood in the first place, and in other cases may actually carry with it a negative cultural association. We want to help everyone impacted by the disease understand that it is not a matter of choice, or a lack of willpower, but that it is a disease that can be managed to minimize the negative impact on everyone touched by the situation.
Over the next several weeks we will be sharing more about what we are seeing and learning; in the mean time, if you are interested to learn more about our international franchise opportunities in one of these markets, please reach out. More soon!