Seniors Helping Seniors has been providing non-medical home-based care services since the 1990s. But recently, the company announced the launch of “Seniors Helping Seniors 360,” a new business model that mixes both medical and non-medical care services.
The strategy is one that’s becoming increasingly common in the senior care world, as providers realize just how important the combination of clinical and social expertise is for achieving positive health outcomes.
Pennsylvania-based Seniors Helping Seniors is a personal care franchise company that has over 200 locations in 36 states. Over the years, the company has made a name for itself by hiring active seniors as its in-house caregivers.
Even before the COVID-19 emergency, Seniors Helping Seniors had been looking to find ways to expand its services lines, Namrata Yocom-Jan, executive vice president of Seniors Helping Seniors, told Home Health Care News.
“It took us a little bit longer to expand our services because of the pandemic, but during that time we added things like telecare,” Yocom-Jan said. “People who did not necessarily feel comfortable with having caregivers come in could just have telephone calls with us. We would check in and see how ‘Ms. Smith’ is doing, whether she’s eating her meals or taking her meds. She would still have companionship over the phone.”
Throughout that telecare program calls are conducted by clients’ primary caregivers to ensure continuity of care.
Aside from beefing up its care services with the addition of telecare, Seniors Helping Seniors 360 also rolled out health monitoring. To pull this off, the company partnered with Electronic Caregiver, a health and safety monitoring company.
“We can’t be with our clients 24/7. In some cases we are, but most of the time we’re not,” Daniel Jan, vice president of operations at Seniors Helping Seniors, told HHCN. “Most of our clients don’t necessarily have family close by, so it’s important for us to give both the senior and their family peace of mind by providing some sort of electronic monitoring device. If they fall, for example, we know — and 911 gets called in case of an emergency.”
Falls continue to be an ongoing hazard for older adults. About 3 million seniors are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries, according to the CDC.
Additionally, Seniors Helping Seniors has added catheter and Parkinson’s disease management to its service lines.
Seniors Helping Seniors 360 similarly expands the company’s Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Nationally, there are more than 5 million people age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease — a number that is estimated to grow by roughly 14 million by 2025, according to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with others including vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and more.
As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia rises, more in-home care providers are rolling out specialized services lines focused on memory care and disease-specific needs.
“There’s such a high number of people out there over a certain age that have some sort of dementia or memory loss and need that extra arm of somebody coming in, who understands what they’re going,” Yocom-Jan said. “It’s not a normal day-to-day process for somebody who’s not trained to come in and try to accommodate someone suffering from memory issues.”
For support, Seniors Helping Seniors has amped up its caregiver training. The company teamed up with CareAcademy, a Boston-based training platform for home care professionals.
While it’s too early for Seniors Helping Seniors to report the health outcomes or revenue from its new services, Jan stresses the importance of home care companies diversifying their business models.
“As the home care market gets more crowded it’s important for companies like Senior Helping Seniors to be able to find additional revenue sources for our franchise owners,” he said. “One of the ways of doing that is staying longer with clients, and if they need skilled care, being able to provide those services. And so we’re kind of encroaching a little bit on the home health side as well.”