ST. PETERSBURG — Seniors Helping Seniors, a national in-home senior care service that employs fellow senior citizens as caregivers, was founded in 1998 in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was created with the idea of using active seniors to help non-active seniors with everything from companionship to errands to yard work, according to Seniors Helping Seniors Vice President of Operations Daniel Jan.

“The company’s founders worked with Mother Teresa in India and when they returned, they saw a huge need for senior services in America,” Jan said in an interview from his office in Reading. “They wanted to start something that gives back to the senior community, so they founded Seniors Helping Seniors to use active seniors to help non-active seniors.”

The idea quickly caught on.

Jan said they began franchising in 2006 in order to “bring Seniors Helping Seniors to other communities across the country and teach seniors to be independent and stay active.”

He noted Seniors Helping Seniors now operates 200 locations in 30-plus states as well as a half dozen international operations. And while the concept began in the northeast, the model proved to be an ideal fit for Florida as the Sunshine State, and specifically Pinellas County, is widely regarded as the senior citizen capitol of the United States.

The Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater Metro Area has one of the highest senior populations in the country, and many are transplants who don’t have family in the area, Jan said, noting the first Seniors Helping Seniors Florida franchise opened in 2009 and they now have roughly 30 locations around the state. “They like the fact that we provide quality care for them, and it gives the family peace of mind they’re being cared for by people who care about them.”

While there’s no question the seniors on the receiving end of care that includes housekeeping, running errands, assistance with personal and pet care, even dementia and Alzheimer’s care, are benefitting from the services, those seniors providing the services also get something out of it — including a paycheck.

“The number one thing is we’re exclusively focused on hiring retired and semi-retired individuals,” said Andy Malivuk, who’s been running the Pinellas County branch of Seniors Helping Seniors from the Carillon Office Park since 2017. “We’re putting them to work in very meaningful ways and it makes them feel good to be helping others while earning a paycheck.”

Malivuk, who employed his 97-year-old, World War II veteran grandfather as his first hire, noted the caregivers don’t need licenses but must adhere to state regulations. They are given a training course and background check, and he said another benefit is the caregivers can work flexible hours.

“Very few of our employees must have 40 hours a week, so we have the flexibility of offering them a schedule that fits their needs,” he said.

Employing seniors also works both ways, according to Malivuk.

“Sometimes clients aren’t willing to accept in-home services,” he said, citing security, compatibility and comfort as contributing factors. “But when they see they can have a 60-year-old come in and take care of mom who is dying, it’s a much more comfortable environment. They feel more comfortable as soon as they see our name.”

With their recent growth, Jan said the next step for Seniors Helping Seniors is to look toward the future.

“Recently we started our Seniors Helping Seniors 360 initiative, which is taking what we do to the next level by providing a full circle of care,” he said. “It’s basically what we do now and expanding more into the medical side of things in the next year.”

Here in Florida, the future of Seniors Helping Seniors also appears bright. Jan said it plans to add 30 more locations in the state in the coming years, including four in Tampa.

“There’s a huge need there and that need isn’t going away anytime soon, because the senior population there is only getting more dense,” Jan said.

Malivuk, who saw how important home health care could be through personal experiences with his mother and grandmother, said his goal is “to continue to grow. Ideally I’d like every single person who wants to age in place in their home have Seniors Helping Seniors to help them age with dignity.”

For more information on Seniors Helping Seniors, visit