Seniors Helping Seniors brings unique concept to First Coast

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In-home care for senior citizens is nothing new, but one local couple has introduced a unique approach, in which seniors are provided the help they need by fellow seniors.

After decades of social service work, owners Brian and Rita Sanders decided to get involved with the company known as Seniors Helping Seniors, which was founded in 1998.

“I really hope to raise the quality of senior care to a new level,” Brian Sanders said.

According to Brian Sanders, the company was co-founded by Kiran Yocom, who spent time working alongside Mother Teresa.

“That was a big selling point,” Brian Sanders said. “We felt it was just the right fit for us.”

He believes that what makes the process work so well is the simplicity behind pairing more active seniors with those who are less active and therefore in need of assistance.

“Because the caregivers are aging themselves, they can often relate to the hardships and pain the seniors in need are going through,” Rita Sanders said. “They develop a bond and relationship.”

Another area where the Sanderses have seen a difference be made by placing seniors in the caretaker role, is with the passion dedicated to the role.

“The biggest problem with this type of service today is people not putting in the proper work ethic,” Brian Sanders said. “By using seniors, we are nine times more likely to have people show up when they’re supposed to and be ready to help.”

Despite the approach being so unique, the Sanderses have not had difficulty finding people who want to be a part of the program.

“We have 40 or 50 people right now chomping at the bit to help and get to work,” Brian Sanders said.

However, with the service still being new to the area, the number of seniors in need of assistance that have joined the program does not yet equal the demand of those that have shown interest in being a provider.

“I was really blown away by the response we’ve gotten,” Rita Sanders said. “Especially with us still just introducing it.”

Brian has 36 years of social service experience under his belt, while Rita began her service work years ago as a nurse in her native Hungary.

Although Seniors Helping Seniors assists people across the First Coast, Ponte Vedra, Nocatee and The Beaches was an area they believed they could make a definite impact.

Brian initially realized the need that existed for a better way of in-home senior care after searching around and doing research for his grandmother before she died a couple of years ago.

“She was a catalyst during this, because I couldn’t find what I was looking for out there,” Brian Sanders said.

By being there to provide the aid needed, Brian Sanders hopes that will allow seniors to remain in their homes instead of a nursing home for as long as they can.

“It was heartbreaking to hear about the seniors who passed away during COVID without their family by their side,” Rita Sanders.

The services offered include companion care, shopping, personal care and even pet walking. Medical care is one of the only forms of assistance not offered.

“We want to make a community difference,” Rita Sanders said. “It’s more than just a business, it’s a family and friend environment instead of a work environment.”

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