Senior Helpers, a new caretaker business in Jamesport that assists elderly residents, wasn’t due to open until the middle of this month, co-owner Jennie Holman said.
But two weeks ago, she and her business partner, Erwin Gruber, were on a conference call at the office when a woman walked into the building.
The woman, who had noticed a road sign advertising the organization, was “obviously very stressed out,” Ms. Holman said. As it turned out, her mother was in need of immediate assistance.
That’s when Ms. Holman said she realized Senior Helpers’ grand opening couldn’t wait.
“If people are starting to come in and there’s a real urgent need for care, it’s not something you can put off,” she said.
While its official opening is still a few days away, Senior Helpers has already begun to attract caretakers and clients from across the East End, Ms. Holman and Mr. Gruber said.
The Jamesport branch, part of Senior Helpers’ national organization, pairs paid caretakers with the elderly and those with medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or disabilities. Caretakers can provide a range of services, from daily well visits and live-in care to monthly check-ups and transportation to doctor’s appointments or shops.
Since its founding in 2002, Senior Helpers has opened more than 300 branches in the United States, Canada and Australia, including offices in New York City and elsewhere on Long Island.
The local branch — the organization’s first on the East End — will service both forks and clients as far west as Patchogue to the south and Miller Place to the north.
“We saw a real need out here that was really unmet,” Ms. Holman said. “The demographic out here is aging rapidly.”
Caretakers are community members and can be retirees, stay-at-home parents looking to rejoin the workforce or students, Ms. Holman said. Each is trained to properly care for each client’s needs, Mr. Gruber added, and can also prepare special meals for those with dietary restrictions. Ms. Holman and Mr. Gruber both stressed how important it is for caretakers to provide companionship in addition to care.
Ms. Holman, a former New York City real estate agent, and Mr. Gruber, an entrepreneur from Austria, said their experiences with aging family members inspired them to open the branch.
“I wanted to do something that was directly helping people,” Ms. Holman said.
“It’s a feel-good job,” Mr. Gruber added. “You go home and you feel you really made a difference.”
Photo caption: Erwin Gruber and Jennie Holman, co-owners of the new caretaker business Senior Helpers on Main Road in Jamesport, said they’ve opened their branch early to meet demand from elderly residents in need. (Credit: Paul Squire)