Seniors Helping Seniors – Help Is Not A One-Way Street

Photo courtesy of Carley Chana
Photo courtesy of Carley Chana

We are relieved when someone reaches out a helping hand in our time of need, but the giver gains as well. Not just a do-gooder flush, but a certain intimacy in the knowledge that we will all, in the circle of time, need one another. 

It is a further boon if the giver and receiver speak the same language and have similar life reference points. I once observed a young technician administer a word association test to an elderly, bed-ridden client. When the younger woman said, “Bars,” the elder replied, “Post Office!” The young woman rolled her eyes and scribbled furiously, not realizing that in the client’s youth, post office employees were separated from the public by barred grilles. 

Seniors Helping Seniors is aware of and is serving this need for shared understanding that infuses but goes beyond a basic desire to help, offering caregivers who have traveled a similar road, have shared experiences, play Parcheesi and Canasta, and know the name of Nick and Nora Charles’s fox terrier. A home service agency that today covers 150 territories in 31 states and international locations, Seniors Helping Seniors® employs some 6,000 caregivers world-wide, 85% of whom have entered into their second half-century. Minnesota boasts two offices—one based in Plymouth, covering most west Minneapolis suburbs, the other in Austin, providing senior care for the state’s southeastern area. (There remain yet more opportunities for other, different areas of the state.) 

Administrator Carley Chana explains that all of the Seniors Helping Seniors offices are independently owned, so that services offered may vary by location. Specifically, the Plymouth location offers non-medical, in-home services that include companionship, light housekeeping, outdoor chores like snow shoveling, personal care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, respite care, transportation, and more. 

Photo courtesy of Carley Chana

“In the future,” Chana says, “we anticipate adding home health services such as health monitoring, medication management, wound care, injections, blood draws, and more, as well as facility-based care such as assisted living, nursing home care, memory care, and adult day care.” 

The care extends beyond the client to those closest who want the best for their loved one, but who themselves need respite. The client sees new faces, family members can relax and refresh, and the caregiver benefits from new faces and gains insights into their own future. Extremely important is a client’s ability to retain autonomy. 

“Seniors Helping seniors has been a godsend for our family,” writes Susan B. “After our mother was diagnosed with progressive dementia, we needed help to keep her in her home as long as possible in line with her wishes. The skilled and compassionate ladies that cared for her (when we couldn’t) went above and beyond expectation and have been a true blessing for us and especially for her. They became an extension of our family, and for that we will always be grateful.” 

The very name Seniors Helping Seniors implies a peer relationship between client and caregiver. The brand, Chan explains, was founded by Kiran Yocom, a young woman who grew up in a Hindu family in India, but attended a Catholic school. She began donating money weekly at Mother Teresa’s charities, and when she met Mother Teresa, Yocum’s life was changed. Teresa’s teachings inspired Yocom and her husband, Philip, to start Seniors Helping Seniors in the United States in 1998. 

Photo courtesy of Carley Chana

“I am so grateful for the kind, caring support of my sister from Seniors Helping Seniors,” shares MichelJoy D. “After my parents died, I didn’t know how I could manage my sister’s care. Seniors Helping Seniors was recommended by a friend in the area. From the first phone call, they have provided everything needed. They even provide the services of the same person, every week. Al treats my sister just like his own sister. He has cared for her after foot surgery, cleaned her entire apartment, driven her to doctor/dentist appointments, taken her grocery shopping and to her hair dresser (you know a girl just has to take care of how she looks!) and checked up on her when needed. I never have to worry about her because I know that Al and Seniors Helping Seniors are there. To us, they are all saints!” 

Our world is aging as well as warming, and those with senior loved ones now will be needing services themselves in the not too distant future. Seniors Helping Seniors has been addressing the problems and concerns of families and clients for over three decades, spreading a net of care and consistency to many families around the globe. They’re ready to help with current crises, or to help plan for a smoother transition into the future. 

For further information concerning services or lending a hand, visit Seniorselpingseniors.com.

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