As originally seen in DRW Magazine
By Jason Zauder
Seniors Helping Seniors® Home Care Connects Senior Caregivers With Seniors in Need
Moving from Virginia to Florida would be stressful enough; but moving after leaving an executive level job of 35 years and not having a new job lined up would certainly induce extra sleepless nights. Add to this moving to take are of an aging family member, and you have a perfect storm of crises. Rather than be overwhelmed, Diana Cabassi turned these challenges into an opportunity by bringing a Seniors Helping Seniors franchise to Central and Southwest Broward County.
Active Seniors Provide A Range of Services For Their Peers-Including Companionship
Seniors Helping Seniors offers in-home non-medical services by matching seniors who are in need of care with active seniors who can empathize with and understand their needs. This peer-to-peer approach to business is based on the idea that the the best person to take care of a senior is someone who can understand and relate to their needs. Said Ms. Cabassi, "For the people who help in the Seniors Helping Seniors community this is not just a job, and you are not just a client. We're interested in who you are, what you need, and what you, in turn, can share with us."
She continued, "Our main goal is to provide loving, compassionate care. The most important thing for me is that seniors, who often are not respected, are treated with dignity and given the respect they deserve."
Seniors Helping Seniors can assist with light housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, transportation services to go shopping, run errands, attend doctor's appointments, and much more!
While some seniors may initially need help with the aforementioned services, the companionship that comes with having a fellow senior around is often their service's best feature. Some seniors may be living with physical health challenges, but being alone can also wear on ones's mental health.
"At Seniors Helping Seniors we like to say it's 'Like Getting A Little Help From Your Friends®,'" said Ms. Cabassi.
Ms. Cabassi learned firsthand about the challenges of seniors while caring for her elderly mother. After much personal soul searching, she partnered with Seniors Helping Seniors when, in the process of conducting a thorough due diligence, she realized that their values aligned perfectly with her own. Mrs. Cabassi said, "Seniors Helping Seniors provides the most vulnerable and overlooked population with care and dignity in their last years by providing services that can help them stay independent in their own homes."
Ms. Cabassi, who in addition to being a professional Life Coach and a Certified Senior Advisor, has found that running a Seniors Helping Seniors franchise has been a very rewarding and eye-opening experience. "I've learned a lot about myself. Talking about this business and the idea of seniors helping their fellow seniors is so enjoyable," she said.
Qualified & Screened Providers with Deep Empathy
The providers working for Seniors Helping Seniors have as diverse backgrounds as the people they are caring for, and are all interviewed by Ms. Cabassi personally. In addition, all of their references are checked and they must undergo a Level 2 FBI background screening, which is done at the national level.
Ms. Cabassi understands that the qualities a caregiver possesses are much more important than their resume, as she was previously responsible for human resources operations in the US headquarters for a global organization of 68,000 employees. "We look for people who have volunteer hearts and that don't mind getting paid for their services," she said.
Seniors Helping Seniors understands that providing care for a senior in need also often means being aware of the needs of the people around the senior. Caregivers run the risk of overlooking their own needs when caring for a loved one. Ms. Cabassi noted, "We often work with the family of the person who is receiving care and can give them advice and referrals so that they can take care of themselves as well."
How It All Began
Kiran and Phillip Yocom began Seniors Helping Seniors in Berks County, PA, where initially it was a non-profit organization that provided a much-needed and appreciated service in their community. Seniors Helping Seniors was incorporated in 1998 as a way to spread their philosophy across the country through franchises, but the original seniors Helping seniors continues to provide more than 1,000 hours of community service a year.
Prior to launching Seniors Helping Seniors, Kiran Yocom served with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) in India for 14 years. They now have 250 franchises throughout the world with 21 offices in Florida. The Central and Southwest Broward Franchise opened in March of 2014 and has already proven to be quite a success.