Senior Care Enterprise Seeks to Bridge Age Gap

by Jennifer Ellis  on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 12:00 am  

John and Kay Sammons of Sherwood launched Seniors Serving Seniors Homecare in March. The agency puts healthy, active seniors to work caring for the nonmedical needs of their fellow seniors so they can remain living independently.

The home care business, which helps seniors avoid retirement facilities and live independent lives in the homes they have lived in for decades, is not a new concept, but Seniors Serving Seniors Homecare provides a different take on the usual model by giving clients the aid of someone of a mature age to whom they can relate.

The agency, owned by retired pastor John Sammons and his wife, Kay, of Sherwood, is staffed by healthy, active senior adults and provides nonmedical home care service to other seniors who are not as fit.

After spending 25 years in the Baptist ministry, John Sammons said he could see that many seniors had needs beyond what church members had time to help with and that's where he got the idea for Seniors Serving Seniors.

"Being a pastor and chaplain, I've dealt with a lot of older people who wanted to stay home," he said, "but they couldn't stay home because nobody was there to take care of them."

"We hire healthy older adults to take care of unhealthy older adults," he said.

Any home care agency can hire a staff of young people, he said. "But what about a 55-year-old or a 65-year-old that's in good health that can go in and relate to them, help them and do a service for them?"

Not only does it benefit the client to have a mature caregiver they can relate to, he said, but it also provides seniors who have been active all their life and may just be sitting at home bored with nothing to do a chance to feel productive and supplement their income, while in the service of their fellow seniors.

The service is completely customizable to the client and can include meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, running errands such as medication pickup and driving to doctor's appointments, recreational activities and companionship 24 hours a day or for a minimum of four consecutive hours.

Seniors Serving Seniors completes extensive background checks on its caregivers, Sammons said, adding, "I wouldn't send anyone to your home that I wouldn't send to my mother's home."

Although the agency currently operates out of the Sammonses' home, Sammons said he hopes to move the business into a 1,500-SF office in the North Little Rock or Sherwood area in the next six months.

Startup costs for the business were about $20,000, with about half of that going for an out-of-state training program the two attended and the other half paying for advertising, insurance premiums and bonding.

In addition to expanding the number of clients the agency serves, the Sammonses hope to help train other seniors to open their own home care businesses throughout the state.

"I believe central Arkansas is an entrepreneurial market, and if you see a niche market that's out there, you should go out there and do it, if you feel led to do it," John Sammons said.

For more information, visit SeniorsServingSeniorsIn or call (501) 920-6217.



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