Home Helpers brings assisted living to homes

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Stephen and Sandra Reese will never forget the date they began their Home Helpers franchise — Nov. 21, 2010

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila-News-Bulletin photo: Stephen and Sandra Reese began Home Helpers in November 2010. The assisted-living business helps elderly individuals receive care while still living in their own homes.

It was the date of Sandra’s father’s birthday, the man who caused them to begin their day-to-day assistance and companionship business that serves Albuquerque and Valencia County.

Sandra said she “didn’t believe in nursing homes,” so when her parents became elderly and in need of assisted living, she brought them home to live with her and her family.

At that time, Sandra was operating a day care in her home, so with her parents, it made three children, two 87 year olds and a puppy under one roof.

“They kind of were able to entertain each other at the time,” Sandra remembers.

Sandra, who had no formal training in assisted living, also remembers her father telling her to take what she learned caring for them and “go make some money.”

In caring for Sandra’s parents, the Reeses tried to find outside assistance to help them shoulder the burden of 24-hour care, but found few resources available to people in their position.

“Companies didn’t seem to care what type of care they were sending out,” Sandra said, adding that simply getting a live person on the phone was often impossible.

So, after her parents passed away, she and her husband decided to start a business to help other families in the same position that they were in.

According to the Reeses, there are 300 Home Helpers franchises nationwide and in Canada. The company offers care for individuals in the home as needed, up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for anyone from elderly people to expectant mothers to individuals recovering from surgery.

All of the Reese’s employees are caregivers that she trains personally in her own home, because, she says, she would never send someone to take care of another person’s parent whom she couldn’t trust in her home.

The caregivers assist in all areas of day-to-day living, including transporting individuals, preparing meals, assisting in grooming and dressing and household chores as well as in providing important companionship.

“It’s so you can live in your house and not be put in a home,” says Stephen.

The caregivers are certified nurse’s assistants and trained extensively in areas such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s.

However, unlike hospice, the caregivers do not perform any medical tasks. In addition to providing companionship and care, the company also offers a personal emergency response system called Direct Link.

This device has a 25-second response time once the button is pressed. The dispatchers that answer speak up to 700 different languages and dialects and have a list of people to notify at Home Helpers.

“We can put that into a home at a very low cost,” said Stephen, adding that the device provides clients with an added sense of security.

The company also offers an automated medication dispenser, which is loaded by a pharmacist, that alerts Home Helpers if medication is not taken on schedule.

Depression, the Reeses say, is one of the biggest issues seniors face, which can often be combated by simple companionship. The company is currently looking to hire older people to work as companions.

For more information on Home Helpers, call Sandra at 508-2927, or visit their website at www.sandiahomecare.com.


-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.