Golden Opportunity

Giving new meaning to the term "senior care"

By Melody Lan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After five years as an occupational therapist for seniors at a hospital, Jennifer Rayl decided she wanted to own a senior-care service business. Jennifer, 30, and her husband, Stephen, 41, visited the corporate office of Home Instead Senior Care after hearing about it from a friend. "They were professional and well-organized and had good ethics and morals. It fit what we were looking for," says Jennifer.

Within a year of opening their first Home Instead Senior Care office in Milwaukee, the Rayls opened their second office in Mequon, Wisconsin, followed by a third office in West Bend, Wisconsin, a year later. In three and a half years, the Rayls have already served more than 1,000 clients and currently assist 160 clients with more than 160 caregivers.

"We wanted to go into in-home senior care because it was a service that wasn't being provided effectively enough," says Stephen. "But as the industry grows, we have seen dramatic improvement in the quality of service."

>Home Instead Senior Care in Entrepreneur.com's Franchise Zone.

Part of the reason the Rayls have done so well is because of the attention they pay to one of their biggest challenges: finding good caregivers. Qualifications are important, since Home Instead caregivers provide nonmedical services, such as helping with chores, running errands, providing transportation and offering entertainment and mentally stimulating activities. The staff runs each caregiver through background checks and training and selects the caregiver who best complements the client's personality and needs.

The work is well worth the effort. "One client was a woman we took to church once a month. As we spent more time with her, we increased our services to better accommodate her. We've become part of her family," says Jennifer.

Stephen agrees, "Working here really makes me feel good about what I'm doing. It's challenging, but definitely rewarding."

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