Seniors Helping Seniors, a care provider service for seniors that desire independent living

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One in eight America’s population is 65 years or older. There is a large gap between those that can readily afford assisted caregiving and those that qualify for governmental funded services for assistance. Many in the senior population want the ability to live independently at home, but are unable to do so without assistance. This can cause a strain on those needing care and their families, many times, as a last resort having to leave home and move into an assisted living center.

One in eight America’s population is 65 years or older. There is a large gap between those that can readily afford assisted caregiving and those that qualify for governmental funded services for assistance. Many in the senior population want the ability to live independently at home, but are unable to do so without assistance. This can cause a strain on those needing care and their families, many times, as a last resort having to leave home and move into an assisted living center.

On the other side, there are many out there that are retired, want something useful to do and in many cases need extra income. Seniors Helping Seniors helps meet both needs by matching a senior that needs assistance with a senior that has the ability to be a caregiver.

Seniors Helping Seniors is a non-medical homecare company, part of a national franchise started in Pennsylvania by Kiran and Philip Yocom. With a location in San Diego, Seniors Helping Seniors owners Sue Erskine and her daughter Tricia Izadi said there are now about 250 operations around the country.

Due to a number of calls from the area, Seniors Helping Seniors is branching out to East County, beginning with El Cajon and La Mesa.

Erskine said her father, who passed away about a year ago, had Alzheimer’s disease. She said he was able to stay at his home for the entire time, but as the disease progressed, they needed help from outside sources.

“We always found that the senior caregivers worked out best,” she said. “He related to them better, he didn’t fight about them coming in to help and developed a really nice relationship with two of the care providers that he had.”

Erskine said they began thinking about the next step in their lives and wanted to help seniors. She said what is unique is the concept of Seniors Helping Seniors.

“You are helping the senior that needs the care, but you are also helping seniors that need the extra income, almost like an employment agency,” she said.

Erskine said the program attracts many seniors that like to volunteer, but need extra money to supplement personal income. Services provided include companion care, light housekeeping, personal care, transportation, over-night supervision, 24-hour care, house maintenance and small repairs and yard work.

Izadi said someone looking for a caregiver can contact the office by phone, e-mail or its website and after speaking with them about their needs, schedule an assessment at their home to find out more.

“From there we match them with a caregiver and set them up together to provide the care that they need,” she said.

Clients that need support pay for the services, and sometimes it is covered by long-term care insurance or veteran’s benefits, but primarily it is a private paid service with the senior caregivers as employees.

Seniors looking to be caregivers are screened by phone, find out what kind of services they can provide and then find the best match for them.

Izadi said in a personal interview they take time to get to know the caregiver, to make the best match possible.

“When they are an appropriate match, we do a criminal background check, a tuberculosis test and then orientation and training,” she said. “Then they are ready to work.”

Erskine said it is important to match the talents and personality of the senior that need help and that it is a key to the success of the program.

The medium cost for this type of non-medical home care around the country is around $22 per hour with an average care giving need of 15 hours per week. But she said the company’s only minimum is two hours. Depending on schedules, caregivers are able to work for more than one client.

“Caregivers control how much or how little they want to work,” said Izadi. “Some work a full schedule of five days a week, other work two days a week.”

Caregivers can work an independent schedule based on their availability and earn extra money in the process, said Erskine, and get the same satisfaction as they do when volunteering. “It is a good service to provide,” she said. “For people that need care, it is important that if they want to remain at home, that there are ways to do it and Seniors Helping Seniors can help identify the supports they need and find the people to help them.”

Izadi said it is important for families that are caregivers to know that Seniors Helping Seniors provides a respite for them.

“Care giving like that can shorten the life of a caregiver,” she said. “Because of the stress of this constant care it is a difficult position to be in. We do not have to provide all the services, but we can perform some of them for them.”

Erskine said services needed to stay independent at home drive the program. Whatever services a client needs to stay at home without needing to go into a higher-level service care facility is the core function of Seniors Helping Seniors. 

With two independent partner franchises that serve the coastal and inland parts of North County, this branch serves clients south of Highway 56, covering the south-central and eastern part of San Diego County. Working together, Seniors Helping Seniors’ services are available throughout the county.

Seniors Helping Seniors is also reaching out to the communities of Point Loma, Coronado, La Jolla, Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta.

For more information on how to receive care or become a car provider go to www.seniorshelpingseniors.com/sandiego or call (619) 346-4535. Seniors Helping Seniors is located at 5694 Mission Center Rd., Ste. 602-449 in San Diego.

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