Home Helpers Gives Elderly the Option of Staying Home

A Cleveland Entrepreneur's Company is Born Out of Adversity
by Cynthia Berry

Denise Marsh

Many of today's baby boomers are facing the challenge of caring for aging parents. What options are there for loved ones who can't totally care for themselves, but who aren't quite ready to commit to an assisted living or nursing home facility?

Denise Marsh, founder of Home Helpers in Cleveland, Ohio, was in this decision-making position several years ago when her father suffered a massive stroke that debilitated him. She and her extended family rotated three-hour shifts for months so her father was never left alone. But, she asked herself, "What do people do who don't have a large family like ours?"

That question, along with her desire to do something that really mattered in someone's life, led Denise to incorporate Home Helpers, a non-medical, in-home companion care business dedicated to giving seniors the ability to stay home as long as possible and maintain a high standard of living. Home Helpers also provides critical assistance to families with small children or those recuperating from recent illness. Home Helpers will custom-match caregivers to handle everything from personal care, errands, and meal preparation to childcare, light housekeeping, laundry, and transportation. Services can be arranged for any time frame, from a few hours once each week to all day, every day.

"We provide the care giving that is truly deserved by seniors, new families and those recuperating from surgery, enabling them to live healthier, happier and more rewarding lives while remaining in the comfort of their own homes," explains Marsh.

Opened since June, the franchise was a long time in the making. According to Marsh, she and her husband received extensive training and preparation before opening their doors. She has also spent months advertising for quality caregivers and tightly screening hundreds of applicants.

"We have a database of 50 caregivers who have had personal interviews, are thoroughly screened, formally trained, insured and bonded. We only hire people who love to do care giving-not just people looking for a job," explains Marsh. "Home Helpers provides professional, trusted, courteous and affordable service. We don't arbitrarily send a person; we have the ability to individually match the likes and dislikes of the client and the caregiver."

The first step is an in-home consultation, according to Marsh. At the first meeting, job details and costs are discussed. On the second visit, Marsh brings the caregiver to meet the family before they ever start the job. Then, Marsh actually opens the first day on the job with the caregiver.

"I've had people call on Friday and need someone there on Monday," Marsh. smiles. "We try our best to meet their timeframes."

Marsh's long-term vision for Home Helpers includes incorporating her faith with her business. "I would like to offer Home Helpers as a ministry opportunity," explains Marsh, who attends Union Grove Baptist Church. "Perhaps church members would be willing to serve as caregivers and donate a portion of their salary to a fund that would pay for other church members to receive free or discounted services. I am open to any ideas that could help the church."

For more information about Home Helpers, call 216/421-2600 or visit www.homehelpers.cc.

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