Holiday Retirement, the nation’s largest independent living provider, is making a play into the home care space through a new venture called Milo, Senior Housing News has learned.
Bill Thomas, M.D., known for pioneering the Green House model of long-term care, is one of the driving forces behind this initiative, according to the Milo website. Thomas joined Holiday as chief wellness officer in March 2017.
Holiday declined to comment for this article, but the Milo website indicates Holiday leadership will also oversee the fledgling company, formerly known as Silver Chef.
Milo services currently are available in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Orlando, Florida, and Portland, Oregon, listed as the next markets. Services include home visits, meals, and technology.
The concept is that seniors will be able to better thrive at home and age in place by taking advantage of these offerings.
The home services component involves companionship visits three times a week. During these visits, the companion helps client well-being by focusing on four “M.E.S.H.” components: moving, eating, sleeping, and healing.
At each visit, the companion brings meals prepared by professional chefs, designed to be low in sugar, salt, and sauces. Dishes featured on the website include smothered steak with onions and other dishes based on healthy proteins and vegetables.
According to the website, each Milo client will receive a tablet loaded with apps to support and track progress toward M.E.S.H. goals. Milo companions utilize the app to share progress with family members, who can also communicate with the caregivers through the platform.
Services will be offered on a monthly subscription basis, and additional technology such as a wearable fall detection device also will be included in the Milo monthly fee. There is no additional pricing information available via the website currently.
The $25 Billion Home Care Opportunity
Holiday’s entrance into this space comes as other senior living providers also are seeing the opportunity in private-pay home care, also known as private duty. These services, such as companionship and light housekeeping, are distinct from skilled nursing care that can only be provided by Medicare-certified home health providers.
For instance, Maplewood Senior Living recently launched a home care division, seeing it as a way to drive additional revenue as well as create a referral stream into Maplewood senior living communities.
The home care opportunity does appear to be substantial, based on the market size. It could be a $25 billion market within three years, as the population continues to age, according to the calculations of Scott Osborne, founder and managing principal of Osborne Home Care Group, an M&A practice focused on home care.
However, senior living providers entering home care face some steep challenges. These include considerations such as managing a mobile workforce, as well as the need to compete against a growing number of other home care providers that are increasingly well-funded.
Private equity and venture capital firms have been investing heavily in the space. The VCs have sunk major dollars—including $42 million funding rounds—into home care startups that, like Milo, tout their ability to use technology to increase transparency and communication among the care team, while simultaneously driving more efficient business operations. This business model has yet to be proven out, and one high-profile entrant—HomeHero—closed earlier this year, citing high costs after transitioning caregivers from 1099 contract workers to full W2 employees.
There are some aspects of Milo that differentiate it from the home care pack, such as its subscription model. And it appears that Holiday, and Thomas specifically, are emphasizing what sets Milo apart.
Milo brings “a whole new approach to live where you want to, as long as you want to, and how you want to,” Thomas says in a video posted the website.
Written by Tim Mullaney