GRANGER — A business has opened in Granger with the goal of helping seniors locally.
Terry Cuzzocrea, co-owner of Seniors Helping Seniors Northern Indiana, said the idea began developing about a year and a half ago, after his father passed away. He and his wife, co-owner Becky Cuzzocrea, would travel every other weekend to Columbus, Ohio, to help care for his mother.
“These were your basic household things, just taking care of the little things that require attention. And when you go from two people to one in a house, there’s a lot more to take on,” Terry said. “She was extremely happy every time we were there, not only to see us, but also for the things we did for her.”
Then, Becky’s aunt started to have health issues and needed help, too.
“We were assisting her with doctor’s appointments and things around the house and beginning to see this trend, and this need, at the same time Becky and I had been talking about starting a business,” Terry said.
Seniors Helping Seniors was founded in 1998 by Kiran Yocum, who worked with Mother Teresa for 14 years prior to leaving India, and her husband Philip, an experienced franchiser.
“She realized early on that younger caregivers were not establishing connections with their older clients,” Terry said. “It’s been quite a success from there.”
Originally intended as a nonprofit, the franchised business chose that model because 501©(3)s can’t franchise, Seniors Helping Seniors Director of Business Development and Training Howard Algeo said.
Through their model, the focus is developing a business where seniors can be paid to help their peers with nonmedical, personal or daily living care.
“The seniors receiving the care get so much out of it, but the seniors providing the care get a lot out of it as well,” Algeo said. “Our caregivers are just so reliable. They keep their commitments; the work is important to them. We pay them of course, but they’re not in it for the pay. It’s their way to add meaning and value to their lives by helping other seniors. It’s as close to an ideal situation as you can imagine.”
Terry said when they saw the company’s business model, learned about their heritage and met with the home office in Pennsylvania, “it checked off every box and we were 100% sold on this brand.”
Terry and Becky decided to open Seniors Helping Seniors in order to provide job opportunities to a sector of the labor market that is typically overlooked: the seniors themselves. Currently, they’re seeking out senior caregivers to join the team.
“We do want to have several caregivers because the whole beauty of Seniors Helping Seniors is you match people up with people that are compatible and have similar interests,” Becky explained. “You match them up and they each get some reward out of it, and they’re both benefiting from that relationship.”
Tasks may include light housekeeping, pet care, companionship, homemaker service, meal prep, grocery shopping or transportation. Caregivers can choose how many hours they’d like to work and Seniors Helping Seniors works to accommodate that goal.
Veteran’s assistance is available and long-term healthcare insurance is accepted as well. In some cases, Medicare or Medicaid are also accepted, but for the most part, the service is paid for by the client.
For more information call 574-385-3900 or visit www.shsnorthernin.com.