Many seniors desire to live independently, even if they may need assistance with daily care, and Senior Helpers is designed to fulfill that wish. Founded in 2001, this professional in-home senior care company provides a number of services to help seniors and their caregivers. LoveToKnow Seniors spoke with the CEO of Senior Helpers, Peter Ross, about the concerns of seniors, and how in-home care can be a benefit to the family.
Senior Helper Interview
What are seniors' biggest concerns regarding independent living?
Safety is far and away the biggest issue facing seniors living independently, and it's also one of the main concerns for families in charge of caring for or providing care for their elderly loved ones. More of our clients want a professional caregiver around simply because they want someone there in case something happens. Quality of life and the ability to live well without being a burden are concerns a lot of seniors living on their own worry about as well. As they get older, parents don't want to be thought of as extra work for their children, but they also don't want to leave the home and the community they are comfortable in.
How does an organization such as Senior Helpers address those concerns?
We understand the situations facing seniors from their perspective, and also from the point of view of their family members. We do an in-home assessment of each new client to develop a customized care plan for each senior based on the type of assistance and care needed. This helps to identify the main concerns of both seniors and families, and the type of personal care we provide ensures that these concerns are covered and alleviated as well as they can be.
The goal is to provide enough help and assistance so seniors and families are both confident and comfortable that our clients can remain living independently with a safe, healthy and high quality of life.
As seniors age, they tend to do less and less of commonplace activities that we do everyday, like self-care, yard work, homemaking, etc.... The ability to do these so-called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) is what allows us to live on our own. When these things start to become a challenge, seniors need someone to lend a helping hand - which is exactly what Senior Helpers can do.
Senior Helper Services
What are some of the services Senior Helpers provides?
We offer both personal and companion care services to our clients. Both are non-medical in nature. Personal care consists of bathing and hygiene, grooming, incontinence care and ambulatory services. Companion care provides meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship.
Another interesting service is the Peace of Mind visit. Can you tell us more about that?
The Peace of Mind visit service was developed to provide families the comfort of knowing someone will be stopping by to talk with and check on a senior living on his or her own each day. The service calls for a caregiver to stop in and spend an hour with the client, just to make sure everything is okay and lend a light hand where necessary.
While some families only need the Peace of Mind visit, the vast majority of our clients opt for a more normal home care schedule which consists of at least four hours a day of either personal care or companion care. It's not feasible to provide in-home care service for just an hour per day, but sometimes just knowing that a trained professional is stopping by to make sure everything is okay is all a family needs to know.
How does your company help family members who are the primary caregivers for loved ones?
According to the Gallup Poll, almost one in five employed adults in the U.S. is a primary caregiver for a senior loved one. There are more than 65 million adults serving as caregivers for elderly family members throughout the country-and these numbers are increasing each year.
Many of these caregivers are part of the "Sandwich Generation" in America, where they have elderly parents that need them and children at home as well. Add in a career on top of that, and it's impossible for most people to give senior family members the kind of care and support they need to continue living independently.
This can cause an enormous amount of stress, making balancing a daily life extremely difficult for people in this situation. It's also not uncommon for people playing this primary caregiver role on their own to develop illnesses and health issues themselves trying to juggle so many responsibilities, and when this happens, the situation can get substantially worse.
Senior Helpers provides relief for these primary caregivers as a professional third party to supply in-home care needs. Our staff allows people to relax, knowing that professional care is there with their loved one when they can't be.
Selecting the Professionals
Choosing an experienced and reliable caregiving staff is a formidable challenge. What steps does your company take to select the right individuals?
Selecting a staff is one of the most important aspects of the Senior Helper's solution - and one of the main reasons people choose Senior Helpers over other in-home care providers. We incorporate personality testing, strong interview guidelines, a complete criminal background, reference checks, and motor vehicle checks to ensure that our clients have the best caregiver possible for their specific situation.
We match our clients and caregivers through personality profiling, alleviating any worries about the integrity of the people taking care of their loved ones. All of our caregivers attend the Senior Helpers University to keep their caregiving skills at the highest level at all times.
Also, all of our caregivers are employees of Senior Helpers, not independent contractors, so they are bonded and provide the best possible level of compassionate care for each our clients.
Affording In-Home Senior Care
How can an individual or family on fixed income afford a service such as Senior Helpers?
There are several programs available to seniors and families that many people don't even know about. For one, each state offers Medicaid services that can help pay for non-medical senior care for individuals who fall below the specified Medicaid poverty line. Specific programs for veterans are available too, like those through the Veterans Administration, which can provide home care reimbursement for veterans, surviving spouses and even some dependents of veterans if they qualify.
Most states, counties, and local governments also have programs that can help families who don't have the resources to apply for other types of funding. Programs vary by location, so we encourage all people interested in in-home care to look around and research their own area, because there is usually some type of financial help or assistance available. Planning ahead is the best idea, though. Some of our clients took out long term care policies when they were younger, and we accept those as payment in most cases as well.
More Information on Senior Helpers
Anything else you'd like to add?
We certainly appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed by LoveToKnow Seniors and share some information about Senior Helpers and senior in-home care in general. Please let your readers know that they should feel comfortable contacting Senior Helpers for any situation, no matter what their personal situation may be, because we're here to help. We will also be introducing the Senior Helpers Navigator program soon, which will provide a list of comprehensive services and partners to answer any need related to senior care. Be on the lookout for more information on this in the months ahead.
~Tracey L. Kelley