- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

OMAHA, Neb. — Paul Hogan's family took care of his grandmother for 12 years, helping her get to church, prepare meals and do laundry. It was demanding work, even with help from most of his grandmother's 12 children, 50 grandchildren, and 51 great-grandchildren.
"We had all these people, and the vast majority lived in Omaha, and it was still not enough," he said. "It was still difficult helping her out, especially in those latter days when she needed help round-the-clock."
That experience along with an awareness of the country's growing elderly population prompted Mr. Hogan to start Home Instead Senior Care, a company that provides caregivers to help people over age 65 stay in their homes.
With more than 300 franchises in the United States, Japan and Canada, Mr. Hogan's business has grown into one of the largest companies of its kind. That success was fed by his experience as an executive with Merry Maids International, a home-cleaning franchise company.
Mr. Hogan's grandmother, Eleanor Manhart, was living with Mr. Hogan's mother when she died in 1998 at age 100.
Her longevity is not as rare as it once was. More than 50,000 Americans were age 100 or older according to the 2000 U.S. census, a 35 percent increase over the past decade.
About 12 percent of the country's 281 million people, or 35 million, were age 65 or older, and that number is expected to double to 70 million in the next 30 years.
Those demographic trends motivated Mr. Hogan, 39, to leave Merry Maids after 10 years and start his own franchise company.
Founded in 1994, Home Instead offers shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, medication reminders and companionship. It charges $12 to $20 an hour depending on the region and type of service, and it offers up to 24-hour care.
It has become the largest nonmedical, home care service franchise business in the country, with 352 franchises earning $111 million last year in the United States and Canada. Home Instead expanded into Japan two years ago, with its first of three offices generating revenue of about $80,000 a month.
Home Instead is followed closely by Comfort Keepers of Dayton, Ohio, which has 286 franchise offices across the country. Other franchises offering similar services include Home Helpers of Cincinnati and Visiting Angels of Havertown, Pa.
Many of the companies were founded in the 1980s and 1990s in response to a growing demand for alternatives to nursing homes.
The companies provide reliable care that some families and volunteers can't deliver, Mr. Hogan said.
"When you're a professional career person, and you're also caring for your parent, you've got to have somebody who is going to show up," Mr. Hogan said.
Mr. Hogan used his experience in franchise sales at Merry Maids, which was sold to ServiceMaster in Downers Grove, Ill., in 1998. He also received advice from Merry Maids founder Dallen Peterson, who had spoken to an Omaha luncheon group in 1989 about the business potential of serving America's elderly population.
"Paul read about that, and we later discussed it," Mr. Peterson said. "I encouraged him. I still felt strongly about the potential of the industry, and I felt strongly about Paul's potential."
Acute care provided by hospitals fills only part of the need felt by the elderly, said Val Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care. "More and more what the country will need is help and assistance in keeping people in their own home."
Connie Keefe was concerned about the well-being of her 92-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Adler, in Portland, Ore., before she heard about Home Instead's services.
Miss Adler, who has no family, fell and had to be hospitalized for a short time. It became apparent she needed help with daily tasks, Miss Keefe said, and she and others persuaded her to try Home Instead.
"They were less than what Dorothy was paying out to various people to come help her," Miss Keefe said.
Miss Adler said she appreciates Home Instead's help with making breakfast and lunch, doing her shopping, banking and housework.
"My house is always clean and that really helps," Miss Adler said.
Home Instead employee Sally Walton cares for Miss Adler and four other persons in the Portland area. She works 30 hours a week at $8.55 an hour.
Franchise owners pay $19,500 in start-up fees and a 5 percent annual royalty fee on their sales.
"You can see you've been able to make a difference with some of these elderly people, or that family member who is halfway across the country and needs someone to stay with their mom," said Val Gomez, who makes up to $200,000 a year running a franchise in Carmel, N.Y.
Lynda Patriquin, who runs a franchise in the Los Angeles area with her daughter, Brandi Johnson, said she sees friendships form between the company's caregivers and the elderly they serve.
"Our service literally extends the life of seniors," Mrs. Patriquin said. "If allowed to live in their own homes, they live five to seven years longer."

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