Philip and Kiran Yocum
Seniors Helping Seniors Co-Founders Philip and Kiran Yocum.
How one agency is tackling caregiving through the ages
by Kristin Easterling

Do you picture your retirement taking it easy and spending time at the beach or golf course? Or do you dream of taking a greater part in your grandchildren’s lives? Life after retirement can be rich and fulfilling—and for seniors who are interested, there are also opportunities to help other seniors in their communities.

Seniors Helping Seniors is a family-owned nonmedical homecare provider with franchises in 33 states, the United Kingdom and Malta. The average age of a caregiver with the company is 55.

“We hire active, mature adults—typically seniors—to provide care to less active individuals,” said Daniel Jan, vice president of operations. “We think it’s a win-win, because we’re hiring seniors and helping those people that want to stay in the comfort of their own home without having to go to facility-based care.”

The company’s cofounder, Kiran Yocom, was inspired to start this unique caregiving model by her experiences as a youth worker with Mother Theresa. Yocum said that Mother Theresa was known for saying that Americans were very giving of their money, but poor when it came to giving their time. When working with seniors around her, Yocum noticed that families were often too busy to sit with their elders.

“I realized that there were seniors who had nothing to do and had nobody to love ... So to have a friend come and share their time with them would [allow each to give and receive love],” said Yocum.

It’s also about connection, Yocum said. The average age of a caregiver in the industry is 49.2, but many are younger, working to start their careers. There’s going to be a disconnect in life experiences, she said. Seniors living at home want someone who can understand their stories. The average age of a caregiver at the company is 55.

“A lot of the seniors were asking ‘Who am I?’ after retirement,” said Namrata Yocum-Jan, executive vice president. Yocum-Jan added that many of the company’s employees are looking for something meaningful to do and want to feel they are giving back to their community.

Seniors Helping Seniors’ caregivers are paid for their time and experience. With the growing number of seniors in the United States, ensuring there are employment opportunities for those who want to work is important, said Yocum.

“We need to make sure that people give them a chance to work because they have beautiful work ethics,” Yocum said. “Seniors have loving hearts and want to do anything and everything they can to make a difference in another senior’s life.”

Seniors Helping Seniors has endured through the pandemic, with web searches for the company increasing 15%, said Jan.  He said that the company’s employees understand what their clients are going through and are taking precautions.

“They’re going to be conscientious in their free time so that they don’t get exposed to COVID-19,” he added.

Kristin Easterling is managing editor of HomeCare magazine.