Seniors Helping Seniors

Monday, January 31, 2011

Who is Seniors Helping Seniors?

We have people from all walks of life who have joined our Seniors Helping Seniors Family to bring our loving, caring and compassionate service to their community just as we have done for seniors in the Grand Rapids community who need some home health care to maintain their independence.

Today, we wanted to share with you the story of Gertrud - our Franchise Partner in Ft. Lauterdale, FL:

Growing up in a small village in Bavaria, Germany, where it is tradition to care for grandparents and parents as they grow older, it is no wonder Gertrud Lulla, owner and operator of Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services has dedicated so much to helping others, especially seniors.  “I believe we need to recognize the wisdom and knowledge of our elders,” shares Gertrud. “Assist them to live healthy, productive and joyful lives, remaining in their own homes as long as possible, just like my parents and many of my uncles and aunts in the village were able to do.”

Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services match seniors who need a little help with seniors who want to help.  This peer-to-peer care gives comfort to seniors who need some assistance.  Seniors and their loved ones can rest assured they will receive care from someone they can trust, rely on and relate to. 

A few years ago one of Gertrud’s neighbors, a 90-year-old woman, began to need assistance with daily tasks.   Despite the woman’s hesitance, her children brought in 24-hour care to help their mother manage.  Unfortunately, Gertrud noticed how unhappy her neighbor was.  She and her helpers did not connect to each other, there was no compassion coming from them, which made the woman very unhappy.  To Gertrud, it seemed the situation would have been so much better if the woman was assisted by someone she could relate to.  “If my neighbor had been able to find a companion who understood her, had grown up under similar circumstances, who was familiar with her like and dislikes, the outcome might have been different,” shares Gertrud.  This is exactly what Gertrud’s goal is with Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services.  She strives to match seniors together who will really understand each other thus making the experience of receiving care that much better. 

The senior providers who work with Gertrud offer many services including light house keeping, meal preparation, transportation, doctors appointments, shopping, yard work, house maintenance and small repairs, pet care, computer assistance and most importantly companionship. 

Gertrud immigrated to the United States in 1970 with her husband and is the proud mother of two children.  She is a Registered Nurse and has an Art degree from DuPage College.  For the past 21 years Gertrud has worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines.  She is extremely active in her community, in the past volunteering at her children’s schools and at her local Catholic church.  She has also worked as a Guardian-ad-litem, volunteered in a hospice setting and done literacy training for adults.

Seniors Helping Seniors in-home services has sites throughout the U.S.  The organization was founded by Kiran Yocom, who has a mission and a passion to help seniors live independently. Kiran’s personal interest in seniors grew out of her work with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She leads the organization through compassion and caring for all.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SHS Quoted in INC Magazine

The below is from INC Magazine's Article "The Shape of Franchising in 2011"
Read the full article here

Seniors Helping Seniors has ridden a dramatic change in the way care is provided for senior citizens. “We have been able to continue to add over 70 franchise partners over the past year and a half, during the exact same time the rest of our economy was shrinking, and to expand our franchise system to over 120 territories,” says Philip Yocom, co-founder and CEO.

When it started in 2005, the Reading, Penn., company planned to double in size annually for five years and then add 100 new franchisees a year for another five years. There’s every indication they’ll achieve that. “During our past week, we have actually granted as many franchises as we did throughout our first calendar year,” Yocom says. Seniors Helping Seniors is targeting the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West Coast in its expansion plans, Yocom adds.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grand Rapids Senior Advocate Passes Away

Long time friend of Seniors Helping Seniors, Jerry O'Bee, passed away peacefully earlier this week. Jerry helped and touched many seniors in the Grand Rapids Community and will be missed by everyone.

O'BEE - Jerry O'Bee, of Ada, died on January 17, 2011 of congestive heart failure at the age of 77.

Jerry was a Catholic priest in Detroit for 15 .5 years. In 1975 he moved to Grand Rapids. Jerry influenced many young adults as the campus minister (Newman Chaplain) at universities in the Detroit area, among them, Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, The University of Michigan (Dearborn Campus), Macomb County Community College, Lawrence Tech and his final six years in that capacity at Oakland University in Rochester at St. John Fisher Chapel. Jerry was Personnel Director at Clark Retirement Home as well as an insurance agent for Connecticut Mutual Life and Mass Mutual Life.

He was a life member of the Downtown Grand Rapids Lions Club since 1975 where he had been president. He was the official weekly joke-teller and a member of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. As a care-giver for his father and mother-in-law, he was dedicated to helping caregivers. He belonged to the Area Agency on Aging, and the Council on Aging of Kent County. He also facilitated a monthly caregiver support group at St. Robert's Parish in Ada, where he was a lector at Mass and start the still-active Christian Men's Group seventeen years ago. He was committed to the importance of family owned businesses in their need to develop succession plans which led him to co-found with Dr. Camille Connelly the Family-Owned Business Movement in the Grand Rapids area which ultimately led to the Family Business Alliance and the Family-Owned Business website of Grand Valley State University.

As a member in good standing in the Catholic Church, Jerry had committed himself to modernizing the Catholic Church. The process began with the 2nd Vatican Council, where all the Bishops of the world were called to Rome by Pope John XXIII to lead the Catholic Church into the modern era.

Visitation will be Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the O'Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Saturday 10:00 a.m. at St. Robert of Newminster Church, 6477 Ada Dr. SE, Rev. Leonard Sudlik, presiding. Please no flowers. The family directs that donations in Jerry's memory be made to Clark Retirement Community, the Grand Rapids Lions Club or Faith Hospice. O'Brien Eggebeen Gerst

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are You At Risk for The Silent Thief of Sight?

We would like to thank Dr. PJ Holser of Advanced Eyecare of Grand Rapids for providing us with some useful information about Glaucoma.Did you know January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month? Neither did we, but now we all do!

Please read the following article from Dr. Holser and get his contact information from the resources page of our website if you have any questions for Grand Rapids' leading eye care specialist.

Are You At Risk for

The Silent Thief of Sight?
It can come with no warning and no noticeable symptoms. It is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. "IT" is Glaucoma, the Silent Thief of Sight, according to Dr. Patrick Holser, Therapeutic Optometrist

“January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and we encourage all people, especially those at higher risk for this disease, to familiarize themselves with the potential symptoms and need for regular eye examinations” Dr. Holser said. “A regular eye examination is especially critical since a person with early-stage Glaucoma may not notice any symptoms at all.”

Dr. Holser added that while the early stage symptoms may not be noticeable, persons with more advanced Glaucoma -may notice blurred vision, the presence of halos around lights, loss of peripheral vision and difficulty focusing on objects.

“Glaucoma affects an estimated 4 million Americans,” Dr. Holser said.  Some people are more at risk than others. Those at higher risk include:
•People over the age of 60
•African-Americans over age 40
•People with diabetes
•Individuals that have experienced a serious eye injury
•Anyone with a family history of glaucoma

“While there is no cure for Glaucoma, early detection and treatment can slow or prevent further vision loss,” Dr. Holser said. “First and foremost in the process is a comprehensive eye health exam by your family eye doctor.”

Dr. Holser owns and practices at Advanced Eye Care of Grand Rapids located at 5258 Plainfield Ave NE in Grand Rapids and is a member of Vision Source, the nation’s number one network of private practice optometrists. Founded in 1991, The Vision Source network includes more than 2,100 offices in all 50 states and in Canada. Find out more at

Guest Bloggers!

Seniors Helping Seniors is teaming up with other experts from various fields who serve the senior community so that we can provide useful information to our providers, receivers and friends. Look for upcoming blog posts from guest authors from a wide range of industries on many topics! If you are in the Grand Rapids area and you want information on local resources that we trust, you can visit our website for helpful links - visit our Resources Page. Or you can always email us with your questions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why is In-home Senior Care Growing?

The "Graying of America" is something we have all heard about now for years. News stories tell us daily about boomers, our elderly and upcoming changes in health care and so forth. And, it's true. Our population is aging and our resources are being more and more stretched as we try to care for our elderly in the manner that they want to be cared for. 

Why Is the Need for Homecare Greater than Before?
Did anyone ever want to go into a nursing home?
Not in most cases. But historically many families were able to provide care for their elderly relatives so that they did not need to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. And families still do provide care - 65 million Americans are already serving as caregivers.
Who Are Caregivers
Many caregivers are baby boomers themselves. Older baby boomers are starting to turn 65 now and they are becoming more aware of the need to plan for their own needs. We are seeing our government start to talk about how to deal with our aging population in the best and most cost effective manner. Caregivers themselves in many cases are trying to juggle family, work and care giving.
What Happened?
What changes have happened in our society to make this issue bigger today than it ever was in the past?
1) Adult Children are more likely to live further away (do you know anyone who has left Michigan?)
2) Higher divorce rates mean more seniors are living alone and families caring for 2 elderly parents are stretched even more
3) Lower birthrates mean fewer potential caregivers

4) Nearly 40% of chronically ill adults live alone (according to a U of M study) and many of them are married to a spouse with health issues of their own 

Seniors Helping Seniors has a well defined process to help potential franchise partners get all the information they need to make an informed and prudent business decision. At the same time we are sharing information about us with you, we also want to learn more about why you think in-home care may be a good fit for you.
Throughout our process you will have the opportunity to meet our founders as well as our entire corporate team, speak with and ask questions of existing franchise partners, go through a detailed demographic analysis to define a territory that sets you up for success and review our franchise agreement. Email today to take the first step in learning more about the franchise opportunities available with Seniors Helping Seniors In-home Services.