Senior Helpers, a provider of personalized in-home care for seniors, has opened its second Fairfield County operation.
Led by co-owner and manager Katie Vanovitch, the new franchise at 1700 Post Road in the town of Fairfield will serve senior citizens and their families throughout the upper Fairfield County area as well as Southport, Weston and Easton and the municipalities of Milford and Orange in New Haven County.
Already operating at 1266 E. Main St. in Stamford, Senior Helpers, which is headquartered in suburban Baltimore, chose the Fairfield location due to the area’s aging population, according to Senior Helpers Chief Marketing Officer Chris Buitron.
“Senior Helpers is continuing to expand in our franchise development this year and Fairfield is a perfect fit for our specialized in-home senior services that will benefit the overall community,” he said.
Launched in Baltimore in 2002, the company has more than 300 franchises operating worldwide, said Buitron.
“It’s an exciting place to be,” said Vanovitch, whose business background includes 11 years as a vice president at Morgan Stanley in commodities operations risk management. “We have a lot of people who are looking to age in place here, who are looking to stay in their homes, remain independent and not have to move into another facility.”
Vanovitch owns the franchise with her husband, Joel, who is retaining his executive director’s position at Morgan Stanley, where he is global head of capital markets and syndicate operations. They are a part of the “sandwich generation,” said Vanovitch, raising a young family of their own in Darien while also caring for their parents. She said her mother is in the early stages of dementia.
The businesswoman said she took a couple of years off to devote to the couple’s four children. Looking to re-enter the workforce, she decided that a career in elder care made sense, given the resources she and her husband had discovered while caring for their parents. Unlike some other home care services, she said, Senior Helpers targets every stage of disease.
“Our caregivers are specially trained for that and we get strong support from the corporate team, so there’s always someone we can turn to if we have questions,” she said. “We also have 300-plus training courses online for any scenario that could come up.” Hired caregivers at Senior Helpers are brought in every six months for additional training.
“My feeling is, if they’re not good enough to take care of my parents, then they’re not good enough for Senior Helpers,” said Vanovitch.
Care varies according to a client’s needs. “We can be in a client’s home for as little as three hours a day, up to 24/7 as needed,” she said. “We offer live-in care where the caregiver lives and sleeps there.” Prices range from $24 an hour to $280 per day for live-in care.
Along with compassionate care, Vanovitch said many seniors have additional needs for housekeeping, errand-running and someone to accompany them on doctor visits.
The company operates on a private pay system and works with most long-term care insurers. It also suggests reverse mortgages for homeowners that can turn the value of their home into cash without having to move or to repay the loan each month; those funds can then be used to pay for home care. Senior Helpers also offers assistance to clients in navigating other systems, including the Veterans Affairs and various state and local programs, for additional financial aid.
While it officially opened on June 12, the Fairfield operation is still in the process of hiring staff and meeting with potential clients. Vanovitch has eight caregivers on staff and plans to hire another 20 to 30 over the next six months, she said.
“Ideally, we want a ratio of at least 1½ caregivers per client,” she said.