Seniors Helping Seniors to open

Published 10:55 am Friday, October 24, 2014

By Jason Schoonover, Austin Daily Herald

AUSTIN — A longtime Austin businessman and his wife are opening a new business to help area senior citizens stay in their home longer.

Dick McIntosh recently sold Arizona Cleaning Co., and now he and his wife, Linda, are opening a local Seniors Helping Seniors franchise.

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The business, which will serve Mower, Freeborn, Steele, Dodge and Olmsted counties, is a non-medical assistance program. The main goal is to help seniors stay in their home as long as possible, but it also aims to help form relationships.

The business will employ active seniors to help out aging seniors who need help cleaning up, getting to doctors appointments and more.

“It’s not just someone coming in to work,” McIntosh said. “Real relationships are forming between the provider and the receiver.”

McIntosh was looking to sell Arizona Cleaning to slow down, and he ended up seeing several ads for Seniors Helping Seniors. When he brought the idea to Linda, she encouraged him. In September, Brad Stemper of Albert Lea took over Arizona Cleaning.

Seniors Helping Seniors will debut with a soft open on Monday, and he’s already looking for providers to work with the business.

Customers will pay an hourly rate for Seniors Helping Seniors. Services include companion care, light housekeeping, transportation, handyman services, yard work, meal preparation, and more. Providers will also drive people to doctor’s appointments, go with them to the appointment, and then take them home or out if they want to go shopping

“We’ll work very hard at creating those relationships, so it’s the same person coming to provide those services on a regular basis,” McIntosh said, adding that will provide more continuity.

Many of the services offered by Seniors Helping Seniors are offered through some service programs like the Mower County Senior Center’s CHORE Program.

While McIntosh praised such low-cost, volunteer-based services, he said he saw the need to bring more services to the area for people that could afford to pay.

“We charge a reasonable rate for the service and then we pay our providers,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh doesn’t see his business as competition to such programs; instead, he said it will supplement and help reach more people.

“I’m going to fill a niche that they can’t fill,” he said.

McIntosh is already receiving a positive feedback on the business, noting he’s run into several people who either may utilize it or have a relative who could have at some point.

“Everyone I talk to seems to have a story about either how they could use it or their mother could have used it a couple of years ago,” he said.

McIntosh said the business will have several benefits to people hiring for similar services on their own. Seniors Helping Seniors will do background checks on providers and handle things like insurance so the customer doesn’t have to.

Providers won’t necessarily work 40-hours per week. McIntosh is seeking workers with a “volunteer spirit” who are willing to work flexible hours.

People interested in being a provider or looking to buy the service can contact McIntosh or Linda at 507-396-8080.

McIntosh, 63, is confident he’ll have no shortage of customers once the word gets out, noting many people getting older want to stay in their homes as long as possible.

“I really feel the number of people that are going to be wanting this service will be tremendous,” he said.