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Senior Helpers opens

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By Denyse Middleton

INDIAN LAND Opening Senior Helpers is Seth Zamek's way of giving back, he said.

When his mother-in-law suffered a broken hip after a fall, the family needed a professional caregiver, Zamek said.

The experience left such an impression on Zamek and his wife, Jennie, that they decided to open their own Senior Helpers caregiving franchise after Jennie's mother died.

Senior Helpers offers companion and personal in-home health-care services, primarily for the elderly, that range from one-hour to 24-hour care, Zamek said.

"We're here to help the individual so they can continue to live independently and with dignity in their own home," Zamek said.

Senior Helpers' caregivers assist with light housekeeping, meal preparation and errands. Zamek's employees specialize in assistance to individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia, he said.

His staff of caregivers has grown to 38 employees since the business opened in January, Zamek said, adding that he's been hiring another three to five employees a week.

But Zamek is particular about those he hires. He conducts personal and professional background checks on each employee, as well as phone and face-to-face interviews, Zamek said.

"For every six interviewed, one is hired," Zamek said. "We hire folks with experience, credentials and passion for the elderly."

His staff now includes four registered nurses (three of whom live in Sun City Carolina Lakes), certified nursing assistants and experienced companion caregivers.

Zamek, who has 20 years experience in hospital management and hospice health care, is also trained as an emergency medical technician, he said. He has a masters degree in health administration from Georgia State University.

Senior Helpers caregivers are available in Lancaster, Chester, York, Union and Chesterfield counties, Zamek said.

In addition to in-home caregiver services, Senior Helpers also provides assistance to hospital patients who need a companion to sit with them when a family member is unable to visit, Zamek said.

Senior Helpers' services are considered "non-medical" and require private pay, long-term care insurance or Veterans Administration benefits, Zamek said.

Zamek takes no personal credit for the success of his business, he said. The credit goes to the caregivers who care for the individual clients and their families and make everyone's quality of life better.

"We're only as good as our caregivers," Zamek said. "I believe we have good people working with us. They are caring and compassionate and that spills over into what we do every day."

Senior Helpers, which opened in Baltimore, Md., in 2001, has about 80 offices nationwide. The Zameks' office is the first Senior Helpers location in South Carolina. There are about six others in North Carolina.