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In 2003, Debra Reis desired to provide the best non-medical home health care services in the nation. AmeriCare was born of Reis' experience with her independent mother, who needed some extra assistance at home. Reis tried to find a qualified caregiver for her mother, but failed to find what she believed was an acceptable company. She ended up being the sole caregiver.
Atlanta-based AmeriCare has now grown into a leading home-based caregiving franchiser. The company was founded by Reis and her husband and business partner, Mike Reis, and Vicktoria Baylor, an exercise physiologist who specializes in geriatrics and now serves as AmeriCare's vice president of franchise development.
AmeriCare is growing to meet the demand as the number of senior adults is expected to double in the next 25 years. Franchisees currently in these states -- Georgia, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah -- pair clients with pre-screened, licensed caregivers selected to work with individuals. AmeriCare is a member of the International Franchise Association.
The mission of AmeriCare is multi-pronged. The company strives to: "improve the lifestyle and condition of every client," as well as "to provide the highest standard of home care assistance available" and "to always believe that we can achieve any goal in life if we help enough others achieve their goals." AmeriCare also is focused on dealing in an appropriate manner, as it seeks to "embrace the ethic of the Better Business Bureau of America in every business transaction."
Expanding to Help Elders
AmeriCare exists to provide help to families and elders seeking to "age in place." More than 34 million Americans personally care for a family member at home, and the company sees a growing demand for "quality, flexible" caregiving services.
According to the company's Facebook page, whether the support people need is companion care, home care or senior care, they'll find AmeriCare unique. "Our approach provides comfort for your loved one and complete confidence for you. It's really a solution for the entire family, at a time when priorities weigh heavy, commitments are stretched and balance seems hard to achieve," says the page.
According to U.S. Census data, 12.8 million Americans of all ages need assistance at home. AmeriCare recognizes that seniors desire to stay in their homes for as long as possible, even as they are recovering from surgery or battling a degenerative disease.
The company's most basic corporate value, according to Debra Reis, is this: "To deliver unparalleled commitment to quality caregiving with flexible schedules designed to meet a client's specific needs."
AmeriCare's Assistance: A Variety of Options
An array of caregiving options are available with AmeriCare, which helps individuals live on their own terms from the comfort of home. The company estimates that its average home health care service costs about a third of the cost of an assisted living facility and less than one quarter of the cost of a skilled nursing facility cost. Veteran's benefits also may be available to cover the cost of home health care.
Caregivers can work on a short- or long-term basis, and help senior clients as they age or battle diseases such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and Muscular Dystrophy.
A full range of services are offered by AmeriCare's caregivers, who seek to provide devoted assistance to people needing extra help at home. AmeriCare can assist with light housekeeping, personal care, general administrative assistance (from answering the door and photo to clipping coupons and organizing mail), food, medication, shopping, and travel and entertainment.
AmeriCare's senior care can be customized to meet the senior's specific needs. Some people remain independent and only need help with a few tasks while others need more extensive assistance.
AmeriCare's companion care provides an attentive caregiver to help a senior continue living independently at home. Caring helpers can provide transportation to doctor's appointments and other events, help with housework and grooming, or become a friend to the senior, taking them on walks and other outings. AmeriCare caregivers also can run errands such as picking up laundry and groceries, as well as plan meals.
AmeriCare's homecare services can help fix minor repairs, such as leaky toilets, and even handle routine tasks such as bringing in the trash and recycling or changing out light bulbs. AmeriCare knows that sometimes seniors who live independently need a little help around the house.
With AmeriCare, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. The company creates a customized care plan that is specific to each senior and meets their exact needs for assistance at home. AmeriCare also helps others needing in-home care, from new parents to individuals who aren't yet seniors but battling chronic illness, disabilities, or recovering from surgery and needing a helping hand at home.
Some children of seniors turn to AmeriCare to assist them in the task of caring for an elderly parent. More than 25 percent of U.S. households provide support to older family members who want to remain independent and don't want to move out of their home, the company notes.
With AmeriCare, the company doesn't set hourly minimums, which gives clients the flexibility to run errands, visit with friends, and make it to appointments, no matter how long it takes. No additional stress needs to be added to the lives of adult children who often are caring for their parents and their own families, as well as managing a career and other activities.
AmeriCare understand that no matter how much planning is done for the future, seniors can have needs that arise at any time. Its caregivers are flexible, willing to give seniors the attention they need over time.
The focus for AmeriCare is helping bring happiness back into the home and enabling seniors and other clients to live joyful, fulfilled lives as they age and/or battle illness.
Education and Training
Before any AmeriCare franchise launches, AmeriCare provides in-depth training. The franchise investment ranges from $69,838-$102,988, which includes a $35,000 franchise fee. Role playing and interactive exercises aim to help franchisees provide devoted caregiving services to AmeriCare clients.
The support doesn't end there, with AmeriCare offering more hands-on training and assistance on an ongoing basis, which includes weekly conference calls and continuing education. Debra Reis, one of the AmeriCare founders and its president, boasts 20 years of experience in the training and sales fields, for companies such as General Electric, Deltak Training Co., and Applied Learning,
AmeriCare employees must pass a background check, which includes a criminal background check and drivers' record check. Professional and personal references are verified.
AmeriCare hires caregivers that have multiple training certifications, such as CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and HHA (Home Health Aide) certifications. Some franchises also have a registered nurse (RN) on staff, to manage client cases, design service plans, and visit clients to make sure the level of care doesn't need to be changed.
Each AmeriCare senior home care agencies is required to be bonded and insured and to have appropriate licenses (depending on state requirements). AmeriCare's franchises cover employees who are caregivers under Worker's Compensation Insurance.
AmeriCare seeks caregivers with patience that are resourceful and willing to be a companion to a senior. Seniors also must approve their caregiver, recognizing that it's an important relationship and a sense of trust and compatibility must be in place.
As AmeriCare notes, its business is about more than caretaking. It's about caregiving.
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