Senior Helpers an in-home elder care franchise is expanding, and its latest focus is the Phoenix, Arizona market.
The brand already has a presence in nearby Scottsdale, but the demand for quality senior care in the popular retirement state is calling for more options in the greater Phoenix area.
“We have six additional territories available in that area,” Senior Helpers Senior Vice President of Franchise Operations Mari Baxter said. “As each territory is sold and developed, more employees will be hired. We have territories that have over 300 employees when they reach a certain level. So the sky’s the limit.”
The brand is looking to add these Phoenix territories through mid-2020.
“I am looking at filling the territories over the next year and a half in the market,” Senior Helpers Vice President of Franchise Development Rob Cantrell said.
In terms of which Phoenix neighborhoods to target, all neighborhoods are possibilities as long as there is a community that can use the brand’s services, Baxter said.
Phoenix is an increasingly popular destination for retirees, which Senior Helpers has noticed.
“It is a priority because of the large number of retirees that move to the area,” Baxter said of Phoenix. “They move to enjoy the weather and all that Phoenix offers.”
Senior Helpers franchisee Stacey Goulet, whose franchise is located in Tucson, Arizona, has been franchising with the brand since 2009.
“In 2009, I decided I wanted to start my own business and explored a couple of different franchising opportunities and stumbled upon homecare,” Goulet said. “I just really felt connected to Senior Helpers. Just all of their collateral was beautiful. It was crisp and clean and had a great message.”
Arizona, Goulet said, is a prime place for a brand like Senior Helpers. Her franchise has received a warm response from her customers.
“Arizona is a retirement destination,” she said. “There’s a big senior population. The warm weather even brings in snowbirds, so we have seniors here during the winter. They love the service and they’re very happy knowing this type of service exists. That’s half the battle. A lot of people don’t even know that home care is available for them. Families are very grateful to have us care for their loved ones when they can’t be here to do that themselves.”
Goulet, who is considering purchasing a second territory within Tucson, had positive things to say about the brand’s corporate team and franchise culture.
“The corporate team is very supportive,” Goulet said. “They’re always there to offer advice. They’re always looking for new opportunities for us, plus the other owners are like an extended family. Everyone is very friendly and helpful.”
The brand will be well-received in Phoenix, Baxter said, because the system works for both seniors who want to retain as much independence as possible and for their families.
“Having assistance means they can do more not less,” Baxter said of the seniors the brand helps. “It means not having to move in with a family member or move back east. We provide peace of mind to family members that their loved ones - often living remotely from family members - are being looked after.”
Baxter described the ideal Senior Helpers franchisee as someone who is compassionate and passionate about working with seniors. This person must understand “that they represent a brand that wants to not just take care of seniors but enrich their lives,” Baxter said. “We try to bring back the activities they loved to do before they needed us.”
Senior Helpers franchisees must also be actively engaged in the business.
“We teach and train them how to manage their business but ideally they will have good business acumen,” Baxter said.
The brand’s franchisees also tend to only focus on their franchise.
“Typically they do not have other franchise brands,” Baxter said of Senior Helpers franchisees. “We like our owners to be focused on Senior Helpers and their clients and caregivers. Having other businesses, unless complementary to aging care, can be a distraction.”
The brand is equipped with several tools to help seniors lives their best lives, tools that set them apart from other players in the senior home care industry. One of those tools is related to home safety.
“We have a tool that no other agency has for analyzing home safety,” Baxter said. “When clients are discharged from a hospital or rehab, they often go back to a home that is not safe. They are high risk for falls, for injuries, medication mishaps that can lead to confusion, an increased risk for strokes if they are unable to keep their blood pressure stabilized, etc. They end up being readmitted to the hospital simply because they were not able to manage their home environment. We have a tool that analyzes just how much of a risk they are for being readmitted to a hospital, or their risk level for injury. We make their home environment safe so when we are not there, they are not at risk. This is a differentiator.”
Baxter said the brand is also in tune to disease management.
“This means we send caregivers who are trained to work within that disease versus just caring for them,” Baxter said. “With various stages of Alzheimer’s for example, the activities a client can manage change. Our caregivers are trained to work with their clients on what they can do, not what they can’t do. Imagine being 80 years old and living a wonderful, exciting life then all of a sudden you are being told you can’t drive, you can’t cook, you can’t walk in the park anymore. You can’t, you can’t, you can’t. That saying is heartbreaking for many! And many agencies reinforce that concept. We don’t. We believe you can still cook and go to that park. You just will do it with our help. You can’t drive your car, but we can take you out in your car. It is a focus on positive changes not the negative.”
The brand is confident it can serve seniors in the Phoenix market.
“Senior Helpers can provide those seniors the independence to stay in the homes they love and enjoy,” Baxter said.