how to start an RCFE at home

5 Questions to Ask Before Turning Your Home into an RCFE

Perhaps you’ve just started to think about converting your home into an assisted living facility (RCFE), or maybe you’ve already done much of the research but just can’t come to a final decision. Take your time and consider all the aspects and ramifications involved. The decision you make not only affects you, but also family members, future residents, and employees.

Deciding whether to start any new business is challenging, but starting an assisted living business requires particular deliberations. Running an RCFE takes dedication, tenacity, and a love for the seniors you bring into your home. This article looks at five essential questions to examine before reaching a definite conclusion.

1. Is My Home in a Good Location for an RCFE?

Since we’re focusing on turning your home into an RCFE, this question is pivotal. Although not all potential residents look for the same things when considering the location of a facility, most mention basic requirements:

  • Safe, peaceful surroundings without excessive noise or traffic
  • Interesting walking routes with sidewalks in good repair
  • Proximity to medical facilities and quick-response emergency care
  • Nearby amenities such as parks, libraries, or stores

how to start an assisted living facility

Additionally, if your home cannot meet zoning requirements or state regulations, you cannot use it for assisted living. 

2. Is There Enough Demand in This Area for Another Assisted Living Facility?

If your home, marketing research is the next critical step. You can hire a consultant or you can also find information online and through interviews yourself.

Determine the number of seniors in your area who may need assisted living services now or soon. Take a close look at current competitors and their facility occupancy rates. If facilities exist that are not operating at full capacity, it would be futile to open another RCFE.

elderly care administrator

City, county, and state government agencies as well as senior advocacy groups are good places to start your research. You can also obtain help from trade associations, such as the California Assisted Living Association. Finally, visit any nearby assisted living facilities and talk with staff members to determine if the current needs of area seniors are met.

3. Do I Have Sufficient Financial Resources for Facility Upgrades, Equipment, Licensing Fees, and Initial Operating Expenses?

If you’ve compared quotes from reputable contractors for converting your home, researched the California Department of Social Services website for licensing information, and drawn up a business plan, you should have an idea of whether you are financially ready to operate an RCFE out of your home. If you are coming up short, you can put your plans on hold until you save more money or find an investor to help get your facility running.

rcfe license application

Before your RCFE license application is approved, California regulations require evidence that you have three months of operating expenses in a savings account. This doesn’t just mean you can pay the utility bills on time so power isn’t shut off. You must have the full amount of money to cover all payroll and other expenses needed to operate your new RCFE for at least 90 days.

4. Do I Have the Perseverance and Passion For Completing the Lengthy Planning, Certification, Hiring, and Marketing Processes?

Starting a new assisted living facility is a long, complicated process that requires time, money, and research. A good barometer for determining your suitability is to obtain an RCFE administrator certification. Not only is an assisted living manager certification informational, but it is also required by California law. You or your staff member must be a certified administrator before your home can become an RCFE.

rcfe administrator

Even after opening, you may have to deal with difficult experiences such as the illness of a resident or an important employee deciding to leave. Can you manage change and stress? 

Many people open an RCFE because they find deep satisfaction in caring for a special friend or relative, but business competencies are also required to succeed. You can learn these skills, but they take work. You need a firm commitment to your mission, the ability to stay focused on your goals, and the perseverance to keep going.

5. Can I Find, Inspire and Train the Right Employees To Make This Vision a Reality?

Finding the right people to staff an assisted living facility has always been a challenge, but the current shortage of workers in all sectors has made it even more difficult. Before finalizing your decision, talk to as many prospective employees as possible to gauge interest.

RCFE leadership

Ask what is important to them in a career. Many people want to feel they are making a difference, and they prioritize work-life balance. Support potential staff members with experience by helping them enroll in RCFE continuing education classes. Your ability to arouse interest in improving the quality of life for seniors indicates how successfully you can motivate future employees. 

Several tactics can be used to retain and attract employees to your RCFE

Assisted Living Education Can Help With Decisions, Certifications, and Licenses

You are not alone in your journey to convert your home to an RCFE. We can assist you with the multiple steps involved in completing an RCFE license application and making sure you and your staff members are certified before you open. Contact us today.

Assisted Living Education is a certified vendor providing RCFE classes for employees and guidance in keeping your RCFE compliant and running smoothly.

About Assisted Living Education
Assisted Living Education has been operating in and improving the growing senior care industry for over 15 years. Founded by certified RCFE administrators, Jane Van Dyke-Perez and Bill Perez, we have licensed more than 1,100 assisted living facilities and built close relationships with the California Department of Social Services, assisted living managers, owners and industry professionals. As senior living care educators ourselves, we strive to contribute our knowledge and skills to continually improve senior care and the satisfaction of those working in the industry.