In describing what distinguishes Amada Senior Care’s philosophy from their competitors’, CEO/Owner Ken Jenson offers a prime example:
“You'd be shocked at how many times companies say, 'Oh no — only your Mom is our client, so we will only make breakfast for her.'”
He continues, “I think one of the biggest differences that Amada brings to the table is, if we're there cooking breakfast for Mom, we will also cook breakfast for Dad. If we're there doing laundry for Mom, we will also do Dad's laundry. We’re there for the whole family.”
Facing a career crossroads several years ago, Jenson became interested in senior care ventures as he sensed an increasing demand for those services in Colorado Springs. In evaluating several local senior care providers, he noticed there was a common element missing. “I was concerned about what they offered. It was basically, 'Your mom and dad are sick, it's going to cost you this much — good luck finding a way to pay for it.”
Impressed with Amada’s business model, Ken became their second franchisee in 2012. Since then they have provided care for people ages 18 to 104, in homes and facilities; from as little as one day per month to as often as 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have grown to become the number-one Amada franchise, twice outperforming the next highest-performing Amada location.
They employ more than 350 caregivers who travel from Denver to Pueblo and all points in-between, providing clients with daily living services like cooking, cleaning, dressing, bathing, laundry, transferring, toileting and more. They currently work with over 300 families, and sign as many as 12 new clients per week.
In a field that usually suffers from high turnover, Jenson says of Amada, "We have caregivers that have been with us since the day we started, which is unheard of. Everybody thinks, 'Oh, I can do that easy,’ but there's an art to doing it for someone else, and helping them feel comfortable and secure."
An advantage that Amada has, is that they’re experts at helping families navigate the ins and outs of using long-term care insurance and VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) Aid and Attendance benefits to pay for a myriad of services.
Says Jenson, "A lot of seniors started investing in long-term care insurance eight to 25 years ago. We come in and help a family activate their policy. We bill the insurance company directly, they'll pay us directly, and once we get through the deductible period that family pays no more money out of pocket. So instead of paying up to $30,000 over a three-month period and having to wait to be reimbursed, we take that on. We become a partner with that family."
He explains that when it comes to long-term care insurance, families often look at the value on the policy from the day it was written; not realizing that most of those policies have been growing with interest for years, and may be worth up to quadruple the face value. Says Jenson, “When we explain the value of these policies, people want to use them. Once everyone knows what they have, they can make decisions.”
Another aspect of Amada that has helped them flourish, is how approachable and accessible the owners are. Says Jenson, “Between myself and Natasha [Valentine, Jenson’s Partner at Amada], we enroll one hundred percent of our new clients. They're dealing with the owners of the company. We can look at their kids and say, 'You don't have to worry, we'll take care of your parents,' and it makes a big difference."
“They can call my personal cellphone 24 hours a day and I will answer it. I've gotten calls at 2 o'clock in the morning: 'Ken, my mom fell — what do I do?' And we put solutions into action to help them,” says Jenson.
"Typically we walk into a crisis situation,” Jenson says of the typical scenario he encounters when he’s first called into someone’s home. “Mom fell and broke her hip. Her kids from out of town have gotten a call from the hospital saying they’re releasing her tomorrow and that she’ll need homecare. You don't have 100 days anymore. For a broken hip you may get seven days in rehab. So we sit down with them, and by the time we leave everyone has a plan. We can usually get a caregiver to a home within an hour.”
Jenson recounts how he even entrusted the care of his own parents to Amada.
"My dad had a stroke about 10 years ago, so my mom became his caregiver. All of us kids thought, 'Mom's there, she'll take care of Dad.' But then she had a mini-stroke and all of a sudden it hit all of us — 'What are we going to do? We can't have Mom taking care of Dad anymore.’"
Jenson enlisted Amada’s services to provide care for them, but when he informed his parents of this, they fought the idea fearing that they’d lose their independence. But, he says, "Within about a week they fell in love with their caregiver, and as their son, I no longer had to worry.”
He shakes his head as he recalls the irony, "They kicked and screamed at first … but when their caregiver later got married and moved away, they cried. They were so sad, because they had lost a friend. She gave my mom and dad more independence than they ever thought they could’ve had.”
For more information on Amada Senior Care, call 719-377-9121 or visit amadacolorado.com.