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Assisted living at your doorstep
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Jeffrey Dillon, chief operating officer of Chateau Home Care, has been overseeing the home-care division since its parent company, San Francisco-based Intercontinental Services, began home delivery in December 2005 at one of its six Bay Area facilities. Dillon expects all six facilities to have in-home services within two years.

In addition to offering a full range of in-home care and access to on-site cultural and social activities, Chateau also delivers dinner to stay-at-home customers.

"It's the evening meal because, traditionally, the Meals on Wheels programs normally serve a lunch, and a cold lunch," he says. "We deliver a hot meal to at-home residents, and it's very popular."

Chateau Home Care costs $22 to $24 per hour, $240 per day for live-in care. Residence in their assisted-living community costs $4,000 to $7,000 per month.

"The assisted-living business has been through a lot in the last 10 to 15 years, and it's now just becoming profitable again for a lot of companies," says Dillon. "We look at this as a futuristic supply-and-demand issue in that we will probably have more potential residents than we can possibly accommodate. By taking care of them in their homes, we are building our business base, and when they do need assisted living, they're already familiar with us."

The thundering herd
Home delivery of medical and ADL assistance will likely continue to grow as the baby boom generation stampedes into its golden years. According to the Health and Human Services Department's Administration on Aging, the age-65-plus population of 36.3 million in 2004 is expected to nearly double to 71.5 million by 2030, when one in five Americans will be over 65. That's not only going to cut the proportion of income-earners to retirees in half but will likely force economies of scale across the elder-care industry to meet the demand for services.

"It's almost going to be the same way lawn service is done today in many communities, where the lawn team starts at one end of the community and mows through all the yards," says Wylde. "In the future, I see the assisted-living services team coming through and doing the baths, checking this and that and working down the home rows. You're just not going to be able to find a person to contract on your own."

Wylde says boomers may not be as averse as their parents to living in multifamily assisted-living communities; as a group, they are more mobile, have already embraced multifamily condo living and won't miss the large yard. She envisions assisted living 20 years hence to resemble condo living of today, with a la carte health and ADL services available.

The challenge is going to be finding enough caregivers
"With the sheer numbers of boomers that will require assistance all at once, combined with the fact that we didn't birth a lot of babies compared to other generations, the ideal would be to have home care," she says. "Where the service force is going to come from is the question. If we don't allow immigration in sufficient numbers, there will not be people here to supply the work force that will allow people to have that luxury."'s corrections policy -- Posted: Aug. 30, 2006
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