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Seniors Helping Seniors is a 'win-win' for all involved

The national home care business Seniors Helping Seniors was founded in 1998 by Kiran Yocom, a woman who spent 14 years working with Mother Teresa. Yocom's concept: match seniors who want to provide compassionate help with seniors who are in need of help.

Matt Obermueller, who owns and operates a Seniors Helping Seniors franchise in north inland San Diego county and has a Fallbrook office, spent 11 years in the Medicare insurance business before joining Yocom's campaign a year ago.

"My wife, Sancia, and I were looking for an exit strategy from the insurance company because of the amount of travel I had to do," said Obermueller. "I, ironically, was on an airplane when I saw this ad, 'Seniors Helping Seniors.' I thought, you know, I can get my arms around that. I understand the senior market, I love the population, and I identify better with older people than younger people.

"So it just seemed like a natural fit," continued Obermueller. "And I love the concept. I absolutely love the fact that this is really a win-win for everyone involved."

Obermueller said the care providers he employs have already had a career and now want to do something rewarding.

"They want to have a life of purpose, and they want joy," said Obermueller. "And there’s nothing better than going home at night knowing that you’ve helped someone."

Obermueller added that his care providers often talk of being enlightened by their clients.

"The ironic part is our providers actually get as much out of the engagement as the person they’re helping," said Obermueller. "Because the person they’re helping has this unbelievable amount of wisdom and experience. There is something about older people and their perspective on life, and our folks leave from helping them realizing they don’t know who got more out of this. It’s a very cool dynamic that happens."

Seniors Helping Seniors offers both companion care and personal care. Thus, Obermueller says anyone that wants to join his team as a provider must be "loving, caring and compassionate."

"Companion care can entail sitting around and talking, cooking, light housekeeping and providing transportation," said Obermueller. "Personal care has to do with bathing, grooming, toileting and things of that nature. Our providers are there for whatever non-medical home care needs that clients may have."

Obermueller said matching up the client with the right provider is essential, especially since clients often resent having to need assistance.

"We all want to be independent," said Obermueller. "If the adult children recognize that mom or dad needs help, it’s mom or dad accepting that help. So there’s often time resistance. Once they meet our provider, everything’s usually really, really good. They are very happy with who they get. Our people develop relationships and those relationships are very strong to the point they like their provider a lot."

Obermueller said the key to developing those relationships is pairing people with similar personalities.

"When I go out to a home for an assessment, I get to know the person," said Obermueller. "I get to know their background, what their hobbies were, what they did for employment. And just through the course of the conversation, I can usually tell, OK, we’ve got a dozen providers that could fit that person’s need, but which one is the best personality fit. And that’s what we try to do, match that personality with the person."

People can enlist the services of Seniors Helping Seniors for short-term or long-term engagements.

"Some customers need us for two hours every month, some customers need us for 24 hours a day," said Obermueller. "We have people that will be going out of town for two or three days and they want someone to come and stay at the house with their loved one."

Obermueller said his service also helps seniors get to special events or appointments.

"We’ve been hired by people to run them to San Diego to see exhibits," said Obermueller. "If somebody calls us and says, 'I would like to go to the theatre,' or 'I’d like to go see this show,’ we’ll be happy to take them. That also works for shopping, hairdresser or doctor's appointments. Our folks will come pick them up in a clean, safe car. It’s like a personal chauffer, or personal concierge service."

Providers that accompany clients to doctor's appointments can – if requested – sit in on the conference between the doctor and the patient and takes notes for the family.

"The provider is like a reporter," said Obermueller. "Our folks take notes so that the loved ones will know, ‘this is what the doctor said to your parent.’"

Obermueller and his business associates can also assist veterans in researching possible benefit opportunities from the Veterans Association.

"We’ve talked to people that needed the help at home, didn’t have the finances to afford it, and had no idea that there was a benefit that they were entitled to," said Obermueller. "And sometimes if they knew about it, it takes 12 months to get. There's a filing process and it’s pretty complicated. We've partnered with people to really help with that process of filing for benefits, expediting the process."

For more information about Obermueller's Seniors Helping Seniors service, call (760) 884-4111 or visit http://www.seniorswhohelpseniors.com.

 

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