Senior Helpers home safety

Senior Helpers prioritises safety at home in tailored approach to positive ageing

Sarah Stowe

Safety at home is a crucial issue for our ageing population yet often overlooked by those caring for senior citizens, says Leonie Williams, franchisor of Senior Helpers Australia.

“This is a totally underserviced area,” she says. “As providers, if we assess the safety risks, we can address these in the support we provide. It may not mean additional services. It’s a matter of how we work with individual clients and help them and their family to make life safer at home.”

Being safe at home differs between person to person and family to family, she says. For some it will be the ability to undertake simple or complex tasks independently; for others it is management of prescribed medication.

“Ninety per cent of older Australians want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But what is the measure of ‘possible’?” asks Leonie. “That’s where we strive to work with clients and their families to create a safe and supportive environment at home.”

Exclusive data fuels safety care

Senior Helpers is well positioned to take action on the safety aspect of care. There is over 30 years of research that can be used on the frontline. 

“We are lucky to have access to this information. It has been tested and now we can identify 144 different ways people can be unsafe at home.”

Leonie says Senior Helpers can train franchisees on how to use this data in practice, and in their own businesses, without needing to be a scientist.

A focus on safety aligns well with other assets that differentiate the home caring franchise network from competitors: unique dementia and Parkinson’s Disease training programs.

“They are all part of the fabric of Senior Helpers. There is no extra cost to franchisees.”

Leonie says the focus on specific support such as safety care will become more important to the overall business.

“It’s going to be more visible from 2024 because of significant changes to homecare funding,” she explains. 

Three different funding streams will merge into one, making it easier for clients to access care. 

Tailoring support

Senior Helpers offers targeted support – which includes disability, for instance adults with Multiple Sclerosis – as well as all-important companionship.

“We are trying to tailor the services our support staff can provide to more specific needs of individuals, “ says Leonie.

“Families are identifying a need for more targeted care because of the frequency of dementia in the community. The longer people live, the greater the chance of getting dementia,” she says.

But there is more education needed about dementia care in particular, she suggests. 

“The services now are a lot better than people may remember from previous generations. People are afraid of dementia, but it’s the fear of something unknown. The general public has memories of what they saw with their grandparents, but treatment modalities have significantly changed,” Leonie points out.

Senior Helpers carers can provide services that target where clients are in their journey with the disease, she emphasises.

“There are over 110 different disorders that can lead to the development of dementia. What’s important is that support staff have the training so they don’t take away people’s independence.

Positive challenges

“Our approach at Senior Helpers is to respect what people are losing, and capitalise on what remains. We have learned how to change communication patterns with people who develop dementia.

And we understand the challenges they experience, including reduced vision, which can lead to falls.

“Caring for clients with dementia is a positive challenge,” she says “because we can do better.”

Senior Helpers is focused on doing just that. It is seeking entrepreneurial individuals with or without any professional health experience but are keen to run an effective business. 

“We want people who can understand some of the positive challenges in providing homecare,” says Leonie. “A Senior Helpers franchise is the opportunity to grow and do something unique.”