Spokane Journal of Business

Helping seniors sort out living, support service options

Havenwood Caregiver Services, Honoring Elders see demand, revenue jump

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-—Photo courtesy of Honoring Elders LLC
Registered nurse Susan Geittmann, the geriatric care manager for Honoring Elders LLC, talks with a client.

Affiliated Spokane businesses Honoring Elders LLC and Havenwood Caregiver Services LLC have recorded 30 percent combined revenue growth this year compared with last year, and likely will see similar growth over the next five to 10 years, says Bob Pierce, director of operations for both operations.

The businesses, operating together at 303 E. Wellesley, offer various types of assistance for aging and disabled clients and their loved ones, including home care, care management, and consultations. Havenwood also operates a moving service for seniors.

The two concerns together employ more than 100 people here, Pierce says. He attributes their strong revenue growth this year to word-of-mouth advertising and strong client referrals, as well as a rising need as more people advance in age. The overall senior services market, Pierce says, has rebounded slightly after a big decline in 2008.

Honoring Elders has been operating in Spokane since 1993; Havenwood and the moving service were started here in 2001. Havenwood also has an office in Boise, that offers home-care services. The current owners, John and Terri O'Keeffe, of Boise, bought the businesses in 2007. They operate under the umbrella of JT O'Keeffe Enterprises LLC, also of Boise.

Honoring Elders provides consultation and assessment services for those wishing to age in their own home or wanting to move into a retirement facility. It also offers its services for those of any age who have a disability and require assistance for care management. Its caregivers assist clients in choosing the most suitable care services or living facility for them.

Pierce says that choosing a retirement home is something many people do based entirely on location, which can be a mistake. Honoring Elders aims to help clients get in the best facility for their specific needs, he says.

"Different facilities have different capabilities," he says. "And it can cost thousands to relocate if the wrong one is chosen."

The first step is to provide clients with an assessment, which Pierce says is vital for making any recommendations.

"Assessments let us get a baseline of who people are: their medical history, their needs, any issues or previous diagnoses," he says. "This allows us to get them the right in-home services or placement."

Pierce says the assessments also are important to determine what could happen with a client down the road, say in five years, and how that can affect their decisions now. He also says a typical assessment will cost from $300 to $500, but will hopefully save clients money in the long run by ensuring the right services are selected.

Havenwood Caregiver Services, which operates as Havenwood Home Care, offers a variety of nonmedical, in-home services to seniors. These can include bathing, preparing food, running errands for or with a client, and driving a client to appointments, among others. A unique feature of Havenwood, Pierce says, is that it offers services for a time period as short as one hour. He claims that most in-home services don't allow anything under three hours.

The cost for Havenwood's in-home care is usually between $20 and $25 an hour.

"With Havenwood, clients know they're getting quality caregivers who have been background checked and are professionals," Pierce says.

The moving side of Havenwood helps seniors with packing and transporting their belongings, whether to a new home or an assisted-living facility. The cost for that service is $95 an hour, with a three-hour minimum. Pierce says Havenwood started the service to fill a rising demand.

"It's something we see a need for all the time," he says. "Our movers might do as much as two or three jobs in a day. Big movers don't really do small jobs where someone may just need to move down the street."

In a typical day, Pierce says, from one to seven clients may be receiving home care, moving help, or consultation services from Honoring Elders or Havenwood Home Care. Pierce estimates Havenwood and Honoring Elders have assisted thousands of clients since opening.

The businesses do face some challenges. One, Pierce says, is that the state has made the process to become a licensed caregiver more strenuous, which in turn makes it difficult to find licensed staff. Another issue, he says, is the sheer number of aging citizens.

"We're on the cusp of a huge tidal wave of people coming into senior age," Pierce says. "We provide them with the ability to achieve what they want to in those final years of life."

The companies mostly rely on referrals and word-of-mouth to promote their services, Pierce says, but they also network locally and put a lot of work into their websites. He also says that in the future, they aren't looking to franchise or expand, but rather to fine-tune the services they already offer. Their ultimate goal, he says, is to help clients age the way they want to.

"We want to give stellar care where we're at, here in Spokane and in Boise," Pierce says.

Katie Ross
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Reporter Katie Ross covers manufacturing, hospitality, and government at the Journal of Business. An outdoor enthusiast and snowboard fanatic, Katie is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University.  

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