Norm and Marcia Harris are the local owners of both Senior Helpers - Metro Portland North and Senior Helpers of Vancouver. Through Senior Helpers offices located on both sides of the Columbia River, Senior Helpers serves seniors and their families living throughout the greater Portland/Vancouver metro area.
Norm was born and raised in Portland. As the first male Junior Volunteer at Emanuel Hospital (now Legacy Emanuel Medical Center), Norm discovered his passion for health care early in life. He earned degrees at Brigham Young University (BYU) and Arizona State University and paid his way through graduate school working nights in the Emergency Room at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix. For over 20 years, Norm held senior leadership positions at hospitals and clinics along the West Coast, including Vice President at Salem Hospital and CEO of Salem CardioVascular Associates, a group of heart/circulation specialists in Oregon's capital city.
Marcia grew up in Sacramento, CA. While attending BYU (where she and Norm met), she worked as a nursing home caregiver. Marcia put her degrees in Theater and Education to good use while raising their six children. She's been an active community volunteer, founded a charter school, directed various school drama productions, and was elected three times to serve on local school boards.
During the last decade, dementia and pancreatic cancer claimed the lives of both Marcia's and Norm's mothers. Now Norm's dad, who suffers with Alzheimer's himself, is losing cherished memories of the people he loves. Through these experiences, the Harris Family has come to know personally how much is required to support an aging loved one, while trying to keep up with the responsibilities of one's own family and career. And with this discovery, a passion has emerged to assist seniors and their families in spending their most valuable resource, their time and energy, in nurturing the relationships with those they love.
When it comes to explaining the mission of Senior Helpers, Norm often says it this way:
"The truth is nobody will love your Mom or Dad more than you do. Nobody!! But it's hard to be a son or daughter when you have to be Cinderella, too."
The notion of professional caregivers taking on "the chores" so family members can spend quality time with their elderly loved ones drives much of what we do at Senior Helpers. Norm is committed to helping families find the right balance of professional support and family time during periods that can be challenging and stressful for everyone."My greatest wish for families is to be able to look back on these experiences without any regrets,"Norm says.
Whether the need for caregiving support is the result of a gradual aging process, or stems from an unanticipated event like a fall or hospitalization, Senior Helpers caregivers focus not only on the household tasks to be performed, but on hearing the stores and experiencing the laughter that comes from learning about a person's life accomplishments. Again, Norm says,"One of our primary goals is to help our clients remember who they were, before they needed our help."
Senior Helpers operates in Oregon and Washington under the legal name "December Roses, LLC". This name was inspired by verse written by Scottish poet James Barrie, as paraphrased by Thomas S. Monson, "God gave us memories that we might have June roses in the December of our lives."
The Senior Helpers home care agency has achieved licensure at the highest levels possible in Oregon and Washington. In each state we offer three levels of care: Companion Care; Personal Care; and Specialty Care, which includes Medication Management, Dementia Care (through the Senior Gems(r) program), Parkinson's Care (through the Balancing Act(r) program), Nursing Services (through Nurse Delegation) and End-of-Life Comfort Care (in collaboration with local hospice agencies).
As a non-medical in-home care agency, Senior Helpers - Metro Portland North collaborates with families and other healthcare-related entities to provide professional and compassionate care to clients whose health conditions are "stable and predictable". Our caregivers provide support in helping clients follow discharge instructions following a hospital stay and/or encouraging clients to complete exercises recommended by licensed members of their care team. We also work in partnership with local senior housing communities to assist their residents who need a little more support than is typically offered in these settings, especially during temporary periods of transition or recuperation. Recently, we've been asked to help several clients manage their medications to avoid errors in taking them too often, or not at all. With Senior Helpers, our clients get just the right amount of support to be able to remain in their preferred living environment, for as long or as short as is needed.
We understand that the lives of seniors can be somewhat unpredictable, and dramatic changes can happen quickly and without warning. That's why the relationships with our clients and their families are designed to be flexible and easily modified to meet changing needs.
While the majority of our client conversations happen during normal office hours, we have a 24-hour answering service and an On-Call Manager available around the clock to respond to calls regarding status changes and emerging needs. Our On-Call Manager makes sure competent and professional caregivers are there when you need them, and prepared to provide the kind of support necessary, no matter what time of the day or night. That's why we can honestly say we provide "Care and Comfort at a Moment's Notice."
(Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest peak, overlooks the entire Portland/Vancouver area.)
At Senior Helpers, our clients never sign long-term contracts. They only pay for the services they use, and they use only the services they need. That means when we are notified of changes that suggest a need to modify a schedule or temporarily put services on hold, the client isn't financially penalized for having to deal with unpredictable circumstances.
Senior Helpers is largely a private-pay agency. The hourly cost for our services is typically covered in one of three ways:
In all of our Senior Helpers offices, individuals desiring employment as caregivers must pass a rigorous 10-step recruitment process. This 10-step process includes several individual and group interviews, personal and professional reference checks, proof of eligibility to work in the United States, a nationwide criminal background check, screening for fraud, sexual and elder abuse, examination of driving records, and a drug screening test. Applicants with backgrounds that include theft or DUI/DWI convictions or drug screening results that indicate use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, are not considered eligible for hire. Those applicants who successfully complete the recruitment process must then receive specialized training and be able to demonstrate required skills and competency. At the end of this process, successful applicants are offered employment with Senior Helpers and are bonded and insured.
The Senior Helpers Office Team operates out of all three of the Portland and Vancouver offices.
The Owner, Norm Harris, lives in Salmon Creek, WA and acts as the Agency Administrator and a primary contact for new clients and those contemplating the need for our services. He also serves as a Certified Trainer for Senior Helpers' Senior Gems(r) Dementia Care program and the Balancing Act(r) program for people with Parkinson's disease.
Gay Dickerson lives overlooking the Columbia River and is the Office and Caregiver Manager for the agency. Her main focus is to ensure we have adequate resources to effectively meet the needs of our clients and their families. Gay's passion comes from personal experience serving nearly three years as the primary caregiver for her mother who suffered with Alzheimer's Disease. She is the primary point of contact for caregivers, and for clients with billing issues.
Mary Dickinson, RN, is our Agency Nurse. She lives in Sandy, OR and is licensed as a registered nurse in both Washington and Oregon. Mary has a strong clinical background in both Emergency and Hospice settings. She brings a passion for training and caregiver competency to the Senior Helpers team and works closely with our caregiver staff to enhance their skills and provide problem-solving support. Mary is also a Certified Trainer for Senior Helpers' Senior Gems(r) Dementia Care program.
Anna Phillips lives in Battle Ground, WA and serves as the Client Care Manager for our agency. Having been a professional caregiver for many years in adult family homes, Anna brings a level of expertise and compassion to our agency that clients can really feel. Anna spends a sizeable portion of her time conducting home visits to make sure the needs of our clients are being consistently met.
Mason Smith lives in NE Portland and is the agency's Community Relations Manager. He works with outside organizations to educate them on the resources available through Senior Helpers. Often he is the first point of contact for families seeking care for a loved one. Mason's unique background as an Emergency Medical Technician, hospital patient care tech, school teacher and Senior Helpers caregiver make him an excellent resource for people exploring whether home care is the right option for them or their loved one.
Holli Griggs lives in Clackamas, OR and serves as the agency's Scheduling Coordinator. She works tirelessly to make sure every client needing service is matched with a professional caregiver with the right skills and personality. Holli is a military wife whose husband has been deployed on three separate occasions. She understands the specific needs of veterans and serves as an advocate to make sure they get the services they need.
Errinne Hatch lives in SE Portland and works as our Human Resources Assistant to ensure we have an adequate supply of professional caregivers at all times ready to meet the needs of our clients. Errinne works with local governmental agencies and their contractors to obtain the required background checks and professional references that are required to be a Senior Helpers caregiver.
Megan Harris Flager serves as our part-time Finance Clerk. She processes nearly 100 paychecks for our caregivers every pay period from her home office in Turner, OR. When she isn't crunching numbers at the computer, Megan can be found singing songs, reading stories, and playing hide and seek with Norm and Marcia's two grandchildren.
If you or someone you care about is in need of support to continue living in their preferred environment, give us a call right away at 503-257-7787 or 360-859-0357. We'll be happy to problem-solve with you over the phone and help you determine whether Senior Helpers Home Care is the right option for your particular situation.
The next step is a free, no obligation, in-home assessment with a member of the agency's leadership team. In that assessment, you will learn more about the services Senior Helpers offers and together with Senior Helpers staff, will develop a Service Plan designed to meet the specific needs of your loved one.
Once you have determined Senior Helpers is the right resource to help your family fulfill its objectives, we get to work selecting an experienced caregiver with the right skills and compatible personality to be a good fit with your loved one. In most cases, caregiver services can start within 48 hours of the in-home assessment.
Don't delay! Call Senior Helpers today.