New owner takes reins at Dauphin County senior-care provider
Mike James was looking for a new career when he took what he thought would be a temporary job at Home Instead Senior Care in Susquehanna Township.
That was in December 2008. Today, he is the owner of the in-home senior care company's Dauphin County franchise.
His mother, Laurie Hamilton, started the local Home Instead franchise in 2005.
James was leaving retail management in 2008 and thought Home Instead would be a good short-term job, even though it was not a natural fit for him.
"The idea of actually going out and providing care was not something I wanted to do," the 35-year-old said.
But he said he quickly developed a passion for the work, even when he once had to work 30 hours straight early on.
"It was rewarding. I was helping people," he said. He never found that same sense of satisfaction in retail.
Three years ago, James assumed the role of general manager for the franchise, which serves much of the Harrisburg area, out to Hershey and up into northern Dauphin County. As the new owner, James said he is focused on growing the business in Dauphin County.
The company has about 110 employees and he is hoping to add more people.
In-home care is a growing field, especially in states with aging populations like Pennsylvania. There also is a growing trend among older homeowners to "age in place," in which they are remaking bathrooms, kitchens and first-floor master suites so they don't have to move as they get older.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that the number of home health aides and personal care aides will grow by 41 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
James said he sees growing demand for caregivers to help people with Alzheimer's and dementia.
"Back when I first started, even more so when my mom first opened the office, it was more about companionship and safety assistance," he said. "People were worried about mom spending time alone. Now it's people who can't be left alone."
Home Instead also provides a variety of other senior-care services, including transportation to appointments and helping people with daily living activities like showering, cooking and other household duties. The franchise offers respite care for family caregivers and hospice support services, as well as 24-hour live-in care.
Most of its services are not covered by insurance, though some insurance providers cover certain types of long-term care.
With his move into the ownership role, the business also announced the promotion of Beverly James to general manager. A non-family member, Beverly James has been with the franchise for about two years.