Review of Seniors Helping Seniors

Review – Seniors Helping Seniors.

From Bette Boomer… the link above to go to her blog…her post is below

Seniors Helping Seniors was created in 1998 from Kiran Yocum’s personal mission to care for those unable to care for themselves, based on her 14 years of experience working with Mother Teresa in India. Headquartered in Reading, PA, Kiran currently serves as SHS Chairwoman and her husband, Philip Yocum, as SHS President & CEO.

Seniors Helping Seniors (SHS) is really a three-faceted company designed for seniors. The first two facets of the company involve the concept that seniors can help each other age better, and that those who give and those who receive benefit equally. SHS non-medical in home services matches seniors who need affordable help with seniors who want to help others and could use additional income. The older helpers provide both the physical and emotional help seniors need to live independently in their own homes, with dignity and respect. While providing valuable support for seniors, SHS services also relieves the day-to-day stress on overwhelmed family members as well as those living a long distance from their loved ones.

SHS offers a full range of home care, companion and home maintenance support services all provided by seniors who enjoy helping. It also offers reasonable hourly rates for seniors who want services and reasonable hourly wages to seniors who provide them. In home services available include: cooking; light housekeeping; *companionship; personal grooming & dressing; shopping; Dr. visits; transportation; yard work; mobility assistance; house maintenance & small repairs; overnight stays (24-hour care); *long distance check-ins; respite care and *Alzheimer/Dementia care.

  • Companionship – helper becomes a part of the family; comes to help with everything from cooking to going out together to church or senior center events.
  • Long distance check-ins – SHS will visit once or twice a week for a couple of hours each visit or for the whole day; while visiting, will do a load of laundry, change the linens, check the fridge, shop, clean the bathroom, take out the trash. Or if needed, cook a nutritious meal once a week and leave leftovers for lunches.
  • Alzheimer/Dementia Care – 24/7 help with daily tasks, shopping, cooking, bill paying, yard work, driving, and housekeeping.

A quote from the SHS website: “I’m losing my eyesight so Mary is really a pair of eyes for me, but even more, she’s my friend. We go places and have fun together. I can’t imagine life without her. She takes me places, brings me gifts, helps me shop, cook, and get the house cleaned. And since we were both nurses, we have a lot in common. She tells me she gets a lot from me, too, and I believe it. Over the years we’ve become really close friends.” Mrs. B

The 3rd facet of Seniors Helping Seniors is the ability for retirees to purchase a SHS Franchise; satisfying the need for additional income and the desire to help others, by employing seniors and taking care of seniors who need assistance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports those 55 and older will account for 19.1% of the labor force by 2012. Older workers are foregoing traditional corporate careers to go into business for themselves and take control over their fiscal future. SHS has a trade mark quote “Do Good and Make Money.”

Add comment November 29th, 2010

100 Years of Love

By Alice Iseminger (Seniors Helping Seniors), August 10, 2010

She bends low to hear a whispered plea. Gently she touches a cheek and holds an outstretched hand in hers. She loves. She prays. She offers help for the blind, the disable, the aged, and the dying. The voice, the touch, the person of Mother Teresa is known the world over.

It is fitting that we should remember this diminutive giant of a woman on her 100th birthday. Born in Macedonia of Albanian decent on August 26th, 1910, Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was a young school girl when she felt a calling to serve the Lord. In 1928 she left her home and traveled to Ireland to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she received the name Sister Mary Teresa. In less than six months, this 18-year old was on her way to India to teach at the St. Mary’s School for Girls.

In 1937 she took her final vows and became Mother Teresa. As a beloved teacher and later principal of the school, she was quite content with her life in the Loreto Convent. It wasn’t until she was 38-years-old that she felt the push to go beyond her comfort zone and out into the streets of Calcutta to help the “poorest of the poor.” She describes this calling as the moment that “Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls” took hold of her heart and her life. This “desire to satiate His thirst” became her driving force.

She was gripped by her desire to reach out to others in love, to “help all those who felt unwanted, unloved and uncared for in society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” She left the safe-haven of her convent and put on her now-familiar white sari with the blue border and began her work. In 1950 she received the Vatican’s permission to start what would be become the Missionaries of Charity. Like ripples in a pond, her single-minded passion for this mission—to help those who couldn’t help themselves—expanded from Calcutta, India to include charity centers in over 120 countries around the world, including the United States of America.

She was first introduced to the Western world by journalist Malcolm Muggeridge in his 1971 book and documentary of the same name, Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta. “Pretty well everyone who has met her would agree, I think, that she is a unique person in the world today,” wrote Muggeridge, “not in our vulgar celebrity sense of having neon lighting about her head. Rather in the opposite sense — of someone who has merged herself in the common face of mankind, and identified herself with human suffering and privation.”

In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. When she received the prize, the 69-year old was asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” She answered. “Go home and love your family.”

Mother Teresa eloquently expressed her belief that we were all capable to “be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, and kindness in your smile.” In her 87 years on this Earth she presented her life as a living sacrifice to love. Her rock-solid belief in the value and dignity of every person, her challenge to engage in acts of service with love and a smile, and her faith in God speak to us still.

# # #

Author’s note: Alice Iseminger, along with business partner Janet McGarvey, is the co-owner of Seniors Helping Seniors® in Northern Ohio (, 440-935-3848).

Kiran Yocom, co-founder of Seniors Helping Seniors® worked for Mother Teresa in India and dedicated 14 years of her life to her mission before moving to the United States. Mother Teresa’s passion for loving others and the sanctity of human life are woven into the very core of Seniors Helping Seniors®.

Add comment November 15th, 2010

Seniors Need to Stay Safe in Winter Months

Many people do not look forward to Michigan winters. And while many seniors “fly south” for the winter, many more that live independently can take a few steps to help with a safe winter. Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Services, a national franchise system that matches seniors who need services (receivers) with those who offer them (providers) is providing some winter safety tips for the senior community.

While roads can be icy and treacherous, there are things that can be done to help prevent problems during winter rides before you are even on the road. Make sure you have sufficient pressure and tread on your tires. Make sure your wipers are in good condition and that you have plenty of washing fluid. Consider having a mechanic inspect your vehicle for the winter and check things like the radiator, belts, oil and the battery. Finally, if you are not comfortable driving in the winter, all Seniors Helping Seniors transportation providers have passed a driving record check as part of their interview process.
More home fires happen during the winter months than any other time of the year mainly due to home heating devices. Seniors age 65 and older are three times more likely to die or be injured in a home fire as younger people. In addition, fireplaces or household appliances that are fueled by gas, kerosene or wood in a closed up house can produce carbon monoxide gas. Some simple things seniors can do to protect themselves include:
• Make sure you have a glass front or screen on your wood burning fireplace to catch flying sparks and rolling logs and have chimney flue pipe checked annually.
• If you’re using a space heater, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heater. If you buy a new space heater get one that automatically shuts off if the heater falls over.
• Get a fire extinguisher for the home; learn how to use it and check it annually to be sure it is working.
• Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; check the batteries every month and change them annually.
If you use any mobility assistance devices, like a cane for example, modify it before winter arrives. Metal grips are available for the bottom of a cane and can increase stability. A worn hand grip should also be replaced with new grip.

Remove your shoes or boots when you enter your home to avoid puddles caused from melting snow on your shoes. Having a bench or chair inside the doorway can provide a place for you to sit down to remove your shoes when you get home.

If you have any concerns about maintaining a safe environment in your home, or if you are concerned about a loved one, Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services does offer free in-home safety assessments for the elderly to advise on fall prevention and home safety.

Seniors Helping Seniors provides a variety of help including companion care, transportation to doctors and healthcare facilities, around-the-clock in-home care, basic handyman services, lawn and garden work, shopping, respite, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, cooking, cleaning, etc.

“Winter can be hard on many seniors. We hear stories every year about someone who slipped and fell while shoveling their walkway or cleaning off their car. While no one can just stay inside all winter, there are a number of resources available for seniors to help them get through the winter months safely,” says Amanda Thrush Director of Client Relations.

For more information on Seniors Helping Seniors, call 616-234-0190 or visit the website

Add comment November 10th, 2010

Driving Miss Cathy

We have built our Seniors Helping Seniors business here in Grand Rapids to serve the Greater Grand Rapids area….we technically cover Kent County, but if someone calls from a nearby area we do our best to serve them since we are currently the only Franchise in West Michigan although there are 7 franchises in Michigan.
By the way, do you know anyone who is in Kalamzoo, Holland, Muskegon or anywhere else in West Michigan who is looking for a business opportunity, who wants to be their own boss, do good and make money? Have them visit our website or give us a call if you do
Now back to the story….
Like I said we try to stay in the Grand Rapids area, but every once in a while we do get a call from someone just a bit out of our area. Last week we got a call from a bank here in Grand Rapids and they have a client in Big Rapids who needs to come to Grand Rapids every couple months for a doctor appointment. One of the account managers had been driving this senior from Big Rapids to Grand Rapids every time she had an appointment.
Well, we have providers in the northern part of Kent County who are only 45 minutes from Big Rapids who are willing to help out with this transportation. So, we look forward to driving Miss Cathy to her upcoming appointments and also providing her with any other home care that she needs….hopefully we will have a franchise partner right in Big Rapids soon so that they can take care of her locally from up there.

Add comment November 5th, 2010

Home Health Care Meets a Need

This article was recently published in the Detroit free press and it discusses the growing demand and need for home care for seniors.

He found her one morning in the kitchen, where she’d just warmed up a saucepan of cherry Jell-O. Jaroslawa Anna Karpij, 83, stared at her son. “I said, ‘Mom, what are you doing?’ and the only thing I could really get from her is that she thought it was water,” said Myron Karpij, 48.

And standing there, in the simple kitchen of their Warren home, where his mother had so often made stuffed cabbage or pierogi, where she’d happily welcome his friends when he came home from school as a boy, Karpij knew he could no longer ignore his mother’s slipups. The misplaced mail. The cereal boxes in the refrigerator. That her thoughts slipped off-track — often mid-sentence. Karpij knew he needed help, even if just an extra set of eyes on his mom when he couldn’t be there or a bit of help with her most personal needs.

“It’s so distressing,” he said. “Who do you even call first?”

Karpij said online searches for things like “dementia” didn’t really help. So he began asking neighbors and friends.

“They’re all like me, trying to care for someone,” he said. “You find out that we’re all dealing with some of the same stuff.”

Karpij began looking at nursing homes, but it wasn’t what he or his mother wanted. He needed a solution that would allow her to stay at home while getting the help they needed.

Karpij, like many Michiganders, found the home health care industry, an area of explosive growth even as the rest of the state’s economy continues to struggle for a footing.

Nationally, growth in the home health care industry in the past five years eclipsed that in private community care facilities or private nursing homes. In the 12 months ending in August, revenue increased 11%, making home health care services the fastest-growing of more than 1,200 private industries tracked by Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based firm that analyzes industry finances.

These businesses cut down on medical expenses by keeping seniors in their homes or by stabilizing them after they leave hospitals and nursing homes.

In Michigan, being a home health aide is the fastest-growing occupation, expected to surge a jaw-dropping 44% in one decade — from 32,580 jobs to 47,050 between 2008 and 2018.

These are workers who, on the medical side, tend to healing wounds, take vital signs and check on medications. But they also might do light house-keeping, help with errands and assist with personal hygiene. Home health care aides don’t provide round-the-clock care, but that’s not always necessary.

“I just needed an extra set of eyes, really. In a way, I didn’t even know what I needed,” said Karpij, an only child. He said he has lived with his mother all his life, in part, because his father died suddenly of a heart attack when the younger Karpij was in his 20s.

His was a sense of helplessness that is felt in other families, too, experts say.

Nationally, it’s estimated that one in four households is helping care for someone 50 or older. Using these national statistics, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging estimates that 786,000 households are involved in caring for a loved one in that demographic. Many of these caregivers are baby boomers, a population bulge born between 1946 and 1965. They’re looking after aging parents even as they juggle work and their own children. Some live too far away to care for their parents.

In coming years, these boomers themselves will contribute to an exploding aging population in Michigan. Many will be entering their senior years with fewer family members to look after them: While baby boomers came from families with nearly four siblings, they had an average of two children themselves, according to the U.S. census.

And many had none. According to a 2009 census report, the percentage of women age 40 to 44 who were childless increased from 10% in 1976 to 20% two decades later.

So sometimes the most important work of a home care worker isn’t a blood pressure or medication check; it’s to stave off loneliness.

For Mittie and Bob Grosscup of Sterling Heights, many of their friends have died and no close relatives live nearby. Having registered nurse Chris Hull check in on them fills a void.

“Sometimes I feel like just being someone for them to talk to is as important as the other things I do,” said Hull of Madison Heights-based Residential Home Health.

A familiar setting helps

There’s another reason it’s sometimes tough to care for elderly parents today — the age of some of the caregivers is creeping up, too.

“It’s not unusual to see a 70-something daughter caring for a 90-something mom or dad,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Graddy-Dansby of Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Senior Independence in Detroit.

The Henry Ford program helps frail, Medicaid-eligible Detroit seniors stay in their homes by providing in-home care, coordinating other services for them and providing respite services for caregivers.

Patients are as young as 55; two are 105, she said.

Their goals, though, are much the same, Graddy-Dansby said: staying in familiar surroundings, where they can make their own decisions.

“A soon as an old person leaves the place they’re used to, they start losing touch and can become more prone to psychotic episodes or depression — even if it’s a really nice facility,” said Dr. Daniel Fink, director of clinical program development for the Farmington Hills-based Visiting Physicians Association.

“All around, it’s a better place for them to be at home when possible.”
A money-saver

Hiring home aides also can make good business sense for families.

Most nursing homes cost more than $50,000 a year, according to the national AARP. Neither Medicare nor conventional life insurance covers long-term stays in nursing homes, said AARP financial consultant Anita Salustro.

“There’s a myth that Medicare pays for nursing homes because people view it as an extension of health care. But that’s an assumption and it’s wake-up call when (you) get discharged from a hospital … and Medicare doesn’t pay.”

In comparison, depending on how much help is needed, home care can cost as little as $20 a day. Medicare and Medicaid cover it only in extremely limited circumstances, but home care a few hours a week is often more affordable than nursing home care.
Myron Karpij found the Senior Care Solutions program by Oakwood; it launched in November 2009.

The program begins with a $250 assessment. An Oakwood team visits the family to offer a rundown of what’s needed — from complex medical care to help with bathing and household chores.

Karpij said he has been out of work for several years and has put his job search on hold for now — a frustration with the job market and the increasing demand on his time caring for his mother.

Fortunately, his parents lived meagerly. They saved money and Anna Karpij draws pension benefits from her late husband’s job as a civil engineer, Karpij said.

Tapping into his family’s savings, Karpij now pays about $200 a week for 20 hours of help from Oakwood staff.

Caregivers stop by the Karpij home several times a week, helping the elder Karpij bathe or play checkers. They do her nails and help her with her hair. On Karpij’s birthday, her home care worker brought flowers and uploaded the “Carmen” opera and Beethoven for Karpij, introducing her to an iPod.

The program not only brings medical expertise into the home but, just as important, it allows family members to be that — family, said Julie Eklund, senior resources manager with the program.

“It’s humiliating when you have to look at your son to help you remember to eat or deal with incontinent care issues,” she said.

Rather, sons, daughters and loved ones can relax.

“It’s hard being caregiver and a daughter at the same time,” Eklund said. “Sometimes, that’s just impossible.”

Many times, too, home care is there to help family members understand why Mom or Dad forgets a daughter’s name, but remembers a dead pet from when they were a child, or why they think someone is stealing from them, or why they might be agitated or even hostile.

The emotional toll and confusion can be exhausting, said David Curtis, president of Residential Home Health. “It’s about giving a framework of how to help the loved one and not make it worse … and (how) not to go crazy,” he said.

To learn more about the franchise opportunities with Seniors Helping Seniors please call Dave VanderLinde Jr. 616-916-6160 or email

Add comment November 3rd, 2010

Seniors Helping Seniors Supports Breast Cancer Awareness


Seniors Helping Seniors is supporting breast cancer awareness with Lifetime and Discovery Health.

Please take a moment to watch the video and to learn more about Seniors Helping Seniors and our loving, caring and compassionate seniors who can help you or your loved one please visit our website at

Add comment October 21st, 2010

The Art of Caregiving

Visit our Seniors Helping Seniors booth
At the Grand Rapids Public Library
@ 111 Library NE Grand Rapids, MI
FOR: Any and All Caregivers
TO: Assist with the caregiving process
FROM: 4PM-8PM on Monday, November 8, 2010

Open house format, come and go as you please

Learn how to incorporate a variety of therapies into your caregiving routine:
°Art therapy (4:30 & 6:30 PM)
°Movement therapy (4:30 & 6:30 PM)
°Life Story/Reminiscence therapy (5:00 & 7:00 PM)
°Healing touch/Massage therapy (5:00 & 7:00 PM)
°Music therapy (5:30 & 7:30 PM)
°Horticulture therapy (5:30 & 7:30 PM)
°Pet therapy (available throughout the event)

Seniors Helping Seniors is a member of the Grand Rapids – Caregiver Resource Network (CRN)
While you are at the event you can meet photographer Dan Johnson who exhibited our CRN Grand Rapids Art Prize Piece.

1 comment October 8th, 2010

Home Safety


One of the registered trademarks for Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services is: For your senior’s personal care, when you can’t be there.® If one of our receivers is using our services for 2 hours per day, we want to make sure that they are safe for the other 22 hours of the day that we are not with them. The goal is to eliminate risks for injury in the home to prolong health and independence

What are some things that can be done to maintain a safe home environment?
❖ Remove throw rugs from walkways.
❖ Use a cooking timer, especially if you leave the kitchen while the stove/oven is on.
❖ Keep all flammable items away from the stove, including shirt sleeves and towels.
❖ Place frequently used items within easy reach by rearranging shelves and counters.
❖ Take your time getting in or out of the tub or shower. Use a non-skid bathmat.
❖ Keep phones and emergency numbers in every room of the house..
❖ Keep the house brightly lit: use the right wattage bulbs and nightlights.
❖ If you live alone, stay in contact with a neighbor or relative on a regular basis.
❖ Use a pill organizer to keep track of daily medications, or keep a daily pill journal.
❖ Call your physician if you do not feel well or if you have questions about meds.
❖ If you use a walker, do not carry items — use a rolling cart, walker basket or bag.
❖ Ensure your electrical cords are not tripping hazards.
❖ Never stand on an chair, box or other unstable object to reach something.
❖ Never put anything on the stairway. Take your time on the stairs.

If you have any concerns about safety in your home – or the home of your loved one, then call Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services today to set up your free in home assessment with our staff.

Call us today and find out why our customers say our services are: Like getting a little help from your friendsTM

2 comments October 5th, 2010

Our services are listed on Thumbtack

For those looking for services in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Seniors Helping Seniors is now listing some of their services on
In an effort to make finding the resources that seniors need even easier, Seniors Helping Seniors is now listing various services like handyman, transportation and companionship on
To view our posting you can visit Handyman Services

Add comment September 30th, 2010

Turning the Page

Today, Thursday, Sep 30 2:00p to 8:00p Seniors Helping Seniors will be at Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, MI for an event called Turning the Page.
The event will include exhibit tables from 60 organizations & 30+ breakout sessions with a focus on: medical, legal and financial decisions you’re facing right now, from transitional living to in-home care, financial planning and more.
The goal of the event is to help you address real-life challenges.
Seniors Helping Seniors is a leader throughout West Michigan in providing non-medical in home care for seniors. More than just a home health care agency, Seniors Helping Seniors is a resource for the entire community able to go above and beyond their normal services like: housekeeping, cooking, transportation, Alzheimer’s care, Handyman Services and more. The organization also has connections with reliable, trustworthy organizations who can offer everything from snowplowing to lawn care to pest control.
“Seniors are very worried about being taken advantage of. Through our network, we have found reliable organizations that are just as committed as we are to providing seniors with the services that they need at fair or discounted prices. Our mission is to help seniors – even if if that means recommending them to another company that we trust to take good care of them.” says Amanda Thrush, Client Relations Director.

Add comment September 30th, 2010

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