By Peter Saunders
The growing market for personalized in-home senior care in Canada has been targeted by many franchise systems in recent years, but one that has stood out from the competition with its unique programs is Senior Helpers.
“It is known as the first in the industry to provide specialized caregiver training in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease,” says Tennille Kerrigan, president of the Stonewood Equity Fund, which serves as the system’s master franchisee for Canada. “My husband Dwayne and I were interested in changing the face of health care, so we were drawn to Senior Helpers by the quality of the services it offers. The disease management programs that are exclusive to the system really impressed us.”
Founded in 2001, Senior Helpers now has more than 285 franchises across the U.S. It crossed the border in 2016, when Stonewood signed on and opened its first corporate office in Pickering, Ont., to serve Durham Region. The first two franchisees expanded its reach to Barrie and Burlington, Ont., in April 2017. Next up is another corporate territory spanning Toronto’s North York region, set to launch before the end of this year.
“We Canadianized the system to meet regulations, but we didn’t change the programs,” says Kerrigan, who serves as CEO for Senior Helpers in Canada. “Our franchisees are introduced to the systems in the U.S., then return to our headquarters in Pickering for continued training. The process takes 14 weeks before they open for business.”
The training includes certification under Senior Helpers’ proprietary ‘Gems’ strategy for care and overall approach, which was carefully developed in conjunction with dementia care expert and occupational therapist Teepa Snow and has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the American Society on Aging.
“This helps, as our franchisees get connected with new clients through disease management centres and foundations,”says Kerrigan. “We are also very prominent at community events that raise funds for disease research. The ideal franchisee does not need a professional background in health care, but is passionate both about the business and about helping people in their community.”