Lesson #1: Foreign brands create trust with the consumers, but local partnerships with voluntary worker organizations (VWOs) and government are key to long-term success. Broadly speaking, consumers here see value in western brands such as Senior Helpers, especially in a sensitive business such as caregiving. Many of the training platforms and caregiving techniques we have developed have taken years of learning and refinement, all of which come together to deliver a unique value proposition to families in Singapore. With this in mind, in the long term is it clear that successful home care companies will also have to develop meaningful relationships with the Singaporean government and prove how their particular care plans align with the concerns and policies of key government stakeholders.
Lesson #2: A full suite of services is critical. While specialization does matter to the government and consumers, only someone like Senior Helpers that can offer a broad set of in-home aging in place services is going to create meaningful value for everyone involved. Some of this insight is a reflection on how government is designing new reimbursement systems; but the bigger insight is that consumers want to know when they purchase caregiving services that they can access a broad set of in-home services. Being too narrow limits both what the government can do with you, and what consumers are willing to pay you for.
Lesson #3: Dementia care is going to be a huge opportunity here. We learned that Singapore’s dementia population will increase over four-fold in a little more than a decade. Families are concerned over this, and programs like our Senior Gems are very much needed. Right now, dementia care in Singapore tends to push people towards either hospitals or nursing homes prematurely. With a model such as Senior Gems, we can keep people aging in place and out of either a hospital or nursing home for longer than if they did not receive care in their homes. If these projections are correct, we believe that dementia care could be one of the most compelling parts of our business model here in Singapore.
Lesson #4: Caregiver recruitment is a huge piece of the puzzle. This is not just to say that finding staff is key to success, it is also about being able to have a robust training program that is designed to get caregivers trained and ready to deliver care in the home in a timely manner. Success in Singapore is going to be about leveraging the Senior Helpers’ platform, aligning with government and consumer’s needs, and making sure that when opportunities to deliver services present themselves, the workforce is ready and up to the challenge. We know what this takes, and our emphasis on training is one of the reasons our franchises have the ability to scale their businesses as they have over the last decade. The foundation of our successes in the US and overseas will share an emphasis on training and caregiver recruitment.
Lesson #5: Private homecare providers are entering this market and doing well. We met with several private homecare providers that are enjoying significant growth, but only after learning lessons #1 and 4 in particular! The flip side also holds: without a good care model and absent a strong local partner companies struggle. After discussing the revenue growth several local homecare companies have experienced over the last three to four years, it is clear that patience and commitment will be rewarded, both by consumers and the government.
Interested in learning more about our work in Singapore, or perhaps even in scheduling a webinar to see for your self what goes into becoming a franchise for Senior Helpers? Please reach out and contact us – we would love to talk! +1-443-672-1016