Holland couple’s experience with aging parents leads to new business

Brian and Mollie Gaggin decided to take their careers in a new direction after caring for their aging parents as they battled Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The Holland couple opened Seniors Helping Seniors Lakeshore, which serves Holland and the Lakeshore area. Its focus is on hiring seniors to help care for their peers who are less active or independent.
CourtesyBrian and Mollie Gaggin
The Gaggins learned the importance of compassionate senior care when they witnessed how their parents’ senior friends and peers gave them valuable support as they continued to live comfortably at home.

Now, they hope to provide this opportunity to as many seniors as possible as franchisees with Seniors Helping Seniors. 

“We’ve had family members who were able to stay in their homes for as long as possible because they had companion care by the people who visited them and spent time with them,” Brian says. “It might have been neighbors or family, and they may have been providing meals, helping with cleaning or just providing companionship, but it allowed them to stay in their homes and made a big difference.” 

CourtesySeniors Helping Seniors Lakeshore serves Holland and the Lakeshore area.

The demand for in-home care for older populations continues to grow, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reporting that nearly 70% of retirees will require some form of long-term care. The couple’s location is the fourth in the state and will focus on serving Grand Haven, Holland, Saugatuck, South Haven, Allegan, Jenison, and Hudsonville. 

The Lakeshore connected with Brian Gaggin for Q&A about their new business and the challenges that come with aging in place.

The Lakeshore: You and your spouse are longtime career professionals who recently opened an in-home senior care business along the Lakeshore. How did your previous careers prepare you for this new chapter?

Brian Gaggin: Mollie and I had some time after retirement to consider what was important in our lives, and we both feel that we have found our purpose in bringing companionship and personal care to seniors who want to remain independent in their homes and need a little help in doing so. Our individual business careers provided the understanding of how to be most effective with our organization to bring the best results for our caregivers and clients alike.

TL: What about the Seniors Helping Seniors model inspired you to invest in this business?

BG: The primary aspect of the Seniors Helping Seniors model is that our caregivers are seniors themselves. This aspect provides active seniors who are looking for part-time work with the opportunity to do something meaningful by bringing the happiness of companionship to a senior who needs that and at the same time earn supplemental income for their own situation. The Seniors Helping Seniors model is truly a win-win for both the caregiver and the care recipient.   

TL: You have opened two locations. Where are they located and what area do they serve?

BG: Seniors Helping Seniors Lakeshore is in West Michigan, and directly to the west and southwest of Grand Rapids. The territory covers the communities along the Lake Michigan shoreline from north of Grand Haven to South Haven, including Holland, Saugatuck/Douglas, Allegan, Hudsonville, and Jenison.

TL: As a longtime West Michigan resident, you have a deep network in the community. How are you recruiting caregivers for the business and what are you looking for in candidates?

BG: West Michigan is an incredibly special part of Michigan. It is a place where the population has a reputation for being exceptionally considerate, welcoming, and compassionate. Our senior caregivers are, for the most part, longtime residents of West Michigan themselves and embrace this culture and are inclined to provide care and consideration for seniors who need a little assistance. Our outreach to senior caregivers is primarily through church bulletins and seniors center resource offices. We look for caregivers who have a caring heart and want to offer that care to others. 

TL: How do you see your newly launched operation fitting into Seniors Helping Seniors' overall Michigan growth plans?

BG: We are excited to be a part of the growth, both within Michigan and nationally, of the Seniors Helping Seniors Brand. The leadership of Seniors Helping Seniors has demonstrated a commitment to partnering with franchisees that share the founding vision and building a reputation for caring first. This has led to a dramatic growth of franchises over the last several years. Additionally, there is a close working relationship between the Michigan franchisees where best practices and ideas are shared. An example of this is the Seniors Helping Seniors Michigan franchisee network was well represented at the recent Home Care Association of America-Michigan Chapter Legislative Day in Lansing last week.
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