Thank You Reading Eagle!

Honored by Anniversary Coverage

The Reading Eagle recently connected with us at Seniors Helping Seniors in-home care agency, shining a beautiful spotlight on our more than two-decades in business. The article covers our journey and growth, since launching in 1998. As we celebrate our 24th anniversary this year, we're forever grateful for the support we've experienced in communities around the U.S. and beyond!

Founded by Kiran and Philip Yocum as a stand-alone senior services provider, the Leesport-based agency has grown to include 130 franchises serving more than 200 territories in 32 states. There also are several locations in the United Kingdom and Malta.

Kiran currently serves as chairwoman and Philip is CEO of the company.

Seniors Helping Seniors is a Berks-based company providing in-home non-medical services for seniors. The company continues to grow and expects to add 500 franchises in the next three years.

According to the Yocum’s daughter, Namrata Yocum-Jan, who is president, the need for their services is great and there is no end of expansion in sight for the company.

“We’re certainly looking to continue the growth we’ve been experiencing,” Yocum-Jan said. “We’re hoping to add 500 new franchises in the next three years. I really look at it as the sky’s the limit.”

The company got its start when Kiran Yocum moved to the United States from India in 1995.

“When I came to this country, I realized that Americans have a lot of love, but what they don’t have is time,” she said. “Everyone is busy working and taking care of children and there isn’t always time to care for older family members, too.”

Having worked with Mother Teresa for 14 years in India, Yocum was used to caring for people. After meeting elderly people who were lonely and without the help they needed, she decided to do something about it.

“Seniors should be able to stay in their homes and live with dignity,” she said. “I saw an opportunity to do something good for the world.”

She and Philip Yocum opened the business, which provides non-medical, in-home services, and began hiring carefully selected seniors to help.

“People couldn’t believe I wanted to hire them when they were in their 70s, but I knew these older people had a lot to offer other seniors,” she said. “Seniors who need some help are comfortable when it’s an older person helping them.”

He’s had two Seniors Helping Seniors caregivers for the past year-and-a-half, and said they’ve made a big difference in quality of life for he and his wife, Peg.

“They do a lot of little things that are hard for me to do,” said Renninger, 72, who has limited mobility in one arm and other health-related problems. “It makes things a lot easier.”

Having people close to his own age helping him makes him feel comfortable.

“They’re from my generation,” he said. “We’ve gone through the same things. We talk a lot about what’s going on in the world. I’ve gotten to know them pretty good now and it’s a very nice situation.”

There currently are 26 caregivers working in Berks County, and the company is always looking for additional, qualified candidates. All caregivers are screened and trained by third parties with whom Seniors Helping Seniors partners.

Caregivers receive training based on state requirements in areas specific to a caregiver’s needs. Someone who will be working with a client who has Parkinson’s disease, for instance, receives training specific to that person’s anticipated needs. Caregivers can choose to work with clients whose needs they are comfortable meeting and work the number of hours they want. They are paid on an hourly basis.

Noreen Ritz of Sinking Spring has worked for Seniors Helping Seniors for 13 years. Her husband, Brian, is also an employee.

“We knew when we retired that we wouldn’t be happy doing nothing, so we started looking around,” she explained. “I picked up a pamphlet about Seniors Helping Seniors in the doctor’s office and thought it might be something interesting to do.”

Her inclination proved correct.

“You meet a lot of nice people — lonely people,” Ritz said. “It’s a good feeling to know you’re helping people or just giving them someone to talk to for a while.”

Caregiving tasks can include light housekeeping, laundry, driving clients to appointments or taking them grocery shopping, preparing meals and helping with toileting, bathing and dressing.

“It all depends on the person you’re with and the type of help they need,” Ritz explained. “I had one lady who just liked to get out and go for a ride in the car.”

She said the company is understanding of her physical limitations — Ritz has problems with her shoulder and lower back — and advises her not to do anything that would put herself at risk.

“It’s a very good job for someone who’s retired or semi-retired,” Ritz said.

As the company, which began franchising in 2006, continues to grow, Yocum-Jan is keeping an eye on technological advances that could benefit caregivers and clients.

“We need to keep looking forward,” she said. “Technology is creating opportunities that could enable us to serve our clients even more effectively.

Meanwhile, Renninger is eager for other seniors to learn what the company has to offer.

“I want other people to know about Seniors Helping Seniors and all the services they provide,” he said. “There are people who are struggling because they don’t know they can get this kind of help, and they don’t need to be.”