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From Social Work and Telecommunications to Franchising with Seniors Helping Seniors

Larry and Brandi Stephens have always enjoyed serving others. Now, they’ve found that sense of purpose and fulfillment in business ownership with their own Seniors Helping Seniors.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
8:08AM 04/25/24

Larry and Brandi Stephens, up until now, have had very different careers but always shared a passion for giving back to their community. Larry was a leader in the telecommunications field for over two decades, and when he recently noticed the industry was starting to dwindle, he decided it was time to take the leap into business ownership to build something for himself and his family. 

His wife, Brandi, had a successful career in social work. In fact, she was hesitant to venture into business ownership because she found her current job so fulfilling. When Larry suggested business ownership with Seniors Helping Seniors, however, Brandi could see the value in making the transition.

“I have a servant’s heart. I love helping people,” said Brandi. “At first, I didn’t want to leave my job because I loved what I did. But when my husband presented the idea to me, I could see that it would allow me to provide a great service to seniors on a larger platform.” 

The couple looks forward to serving as many seniors as possible with their Seniors Helping Seniors territories in Savannah, Georgia, and Beaufort, South Carolina.

1851 Franchise spoke with the Stephens about their journey into franchising and their plans for the future.


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Larry: I was a leader in the telecommunications industry where I had been working since the late 90s. Through the changes in the industry and after seeing a lot of downsizing, I saw an opportunity to go out on my own and start my own business. 

I looked at several franchise opportunities, but I came across Seniors Helping Seniors and immediately saw it as an opportunity to not only give back but also to help people. 

Another really important aspect to me was that this is something I can do with my wife. Our work always took us in separate directions but now we get to do something meaningful together for our community. 

Brandi: I did social work for almost 11 years. I worked with people from all different backgrounds, seniors down to young kids. I've gone from a case manager up to supervision and then over to the state level as a field program specialist.

Seniors Helping Seniors gives me a chance to serve on a higher level. I have a servant’s heart. I love helping people. Now I have a chance to do some networking and help on a wider scale.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Larry: My initial perception was that it costs so much and it wasn’t affordable. Now, I know there are so many different concepts out there. I didn’t realize some of these brands were franchises. 

You can choose a concept that suits your needs. It actually is affordable because there is funding available and the costs really vary depending what path you want to go down. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Brandi: At first, I didn’t want to leave my job because I loved what I did. But when my husband presented the idea to me, I could see that it would allow me to provide a great service to seniors on a larger platform.

Larry: In the community, you see so many older people who are not happy because they’re either no longer active in the community or they need someone to take care of them and there’s no one there. With this business, we can help seniors who are currently looking for something to do. They are retired but they want to stay active. Those individuals have the chance to help their less active counterparts who want to stay in their home rather than go into a care facility. Many seniors feel as though facilities kind of degrade them or they feel stuck in a corner, and we can offer a better alternative.

We are looking forward to creating a business that is going to support and take care of people. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Larry: We definitely plan to grow. We’re starting out in Georgia and a few months down the road, we will move into South Carolina. 

Beyond that, we may look at an additional territory or two. We definitely want to create an environment that allows seniors to enjoy their lives. 

The other day in Walmart, I saw a senior who needed to get something off of the shelves and she could barely get out of her little cart to get there. I approached her and asked what I could do to help and got her what she needed. Those small exchanges and gestures are so important because you never know what might happen to you when you’re older; you might need that additional support too. Taking care of others is the most important thing. We just want to give seniors the opportunity to continue to enjoy their life.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Larry: When I saw so many doors closing in the telecommunications industry, I found another door. I found a new avenue. 

When you go through a layoff in your career, you have a constant fear of, “Are my days numbered here?” Building your own business allows you to become your own boss. You get to determine your own day and future. It takes a lot of drive to see that. Many people won’t think beyond the nine-to-five and they just go back into that workforce. 

I wanted to create something I could develop and grow, that I could pass down to my children and that I could celebrate because it’s going to produce positive results in the community and have a lasting impression.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Larry: Evaluate the situation and don’t be afraid. There was a time when I was afraid to venture out and try things, and I was content with where I was. It took a push for me to lose that fear to get out there and take on the next adventure. I wanted to see what I could do in order to be successful.


Seniors Helping Seniors® franchise system was founded by husband-and-wife duo Kiran and Philip Yocom. Kiran, who grew up in India, later worked to advance humanitarian efforts alongside Mother Teresa. After Kiran moved to the U.S. in 1995 and married her husband Philip, the Yocoms felt called to provide loving care to seniors and to cultivate an exchange of gifts at every generational level. Together, the Yocoms founded Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services in 1998, opening the brand up to franchising in 2006. With a mission to be the most respected and rewarding homecare provider in the U.S., Seniors Helping Seniors® locations stand apart from competitors as the only company that prioritizes hiring active seniors to provide care services to their less-active counterparts. Seniors Helping Seniors® service aligns caregivers and care recipients based on the abilities and needs of both by offering a wide range of care services. Seniors Helping Seniors® network has grown to 200-plus locations, 125 franchise partners in 30-plus states and international markets. For more information on Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care, visit