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Meet the Charleston/Mt. Pleasant Office

More than 90% of seniors want to age in their own home with dignity but getting the right type of care can seem daunting. At Senior Helpers Charleston, we believe that getting the best care for your loved ones should not be complicated. Amy Petersen-Smith opened the Senior Helpers Mt. Pleasant office because of her passion for helping others and her interest in the growing need for in-home care services. Amy is committed to delivering the best possible in-home care to seniors in the Lowcountry community.

We take in-home care seriously and make it a priority to provide the highest level of client service possible. We have built an exceptional team of care professionals, each committed to remaining at the forefront of the in-home care industry through our proprietary ongoing training and education programs.

Charleston Office Team

Our History

Senior Helpers was founded in 2002 by Tony Bonacuse with the help of Peter Ross after their firsthand experience in caring for their respective family members. Tony and Peter identified a need that was not being filled properly by the other companies. They realized most seniors would prefer to age in their own home rather than move into an unfamiliar institution. Unfortunately, the options available to most seniors were very limited. Most seniors did not have access to well-trained, dependable and affordable in-home care. This was the mission-driven spark that started Senior Helpers.

The first office opened in Baltimore, and quickly developed a reputation for delivering excellent in-home senior care with their well-trained staff of professional caregivers. Based on the success of the Baltimore location, the company began to expand. Over the past 13 years, the Senior Helpers family has grown to include a network of more than 300 locally owned and operated franchises across the United States.

Senior Helpers of Charleston is proud to be a part of the Senior Helpers family and like every other owner, we too are fully-committed to the original goal of providing dependable and affordable in-home care with well-trained caregivers. Nothing is more important to us than being the best available resource for seniors and families in our community. 

Amy was drawn to Senior Helpers because she wanted to bring a sense of peace to families. Knowing your loved one is being taken care of by friendly, trained, and compassionate care providers all in their comfort of your loved one’s home will provide that for you.

We have been lucky to serve hundreds of seniors in our community over the years, and we are committed to continuing to provide uncompromising levels of care to all our families.

Caregiver pouring water

Our process

The first step in the process is a complimentary, initial in-home care assessment with a Senior Helpers consultant.  This assessment can help you understand the true needs of your loved one, and your options. Together we can discuss their needs, our senior care services and determine what’s best for your entire family.

We will cover:

  • Your family's specific goals
  • Your loved one's daily plan design and schedule
  • Pricing and payment methods
  • Implementation process
  • Ongoing communication and follow-up plan
  • Create a unique LifeProfile and Smart Care Plan

Kim is the best caregiver Mom has ever had!! She makes our family a better one. Also, she brings joy to Mom (and the rest of us too), which is priceless. Thank you for matching her with us!!

Kelly T. | Charleston, SC

Meet the Charleston Team

Barry Smith

Barry Smith

Owner; Community Relations Coordinator

Barry is an experienced sales professional with over 20 years as a manufacturer's rep in the sporting goods industry. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron in Business Administration and Marketing. Barry and his wife, Amy, started Senior Helpers of Charleston because they both watched their grandparents and mothers grow older and run into difficult situations caring for themselves. They wanted to bring peace of mind to others as they saw with their own families by using home care, including Senior Helpers in Ohio for Amy’s grandma.

They started this company because they believe with care and hard work, they can make a difference in the lives of their clients in Charleston. They want to help them stay independent, ensure they are not lonely and just make their lives a little easier to manage from home. They have set the highest standards for hiring, training, and service to our clients.

They also want to provide a healthy and fun work environment for their team, helping them reach a positive and meaningful life for them and their families. In Barry’s spare time he can be found riding his bike around the Isle of Palms, researching the latest and greatest cars, or relaxing at the beach with family and friends.

Amy Petersen-Smith

Amy Petersen-Smith

Owner

From a young age growing up in the Midwest, Amy’s grandparents and parents not only instilled a strong work ethic but that caring, respecting, and giving back to your elders was just the natural way of life. She started this mission early in life as a first grader, volunteering with her grandpa at the church. She always enjoyed hearing the stories and jokes told by the “young fellas” and picked up a bit of wisdom along the way. She later went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and spent the last 25 years in executive management for various human service companies; including the last 9 years with the corporate office for Senior Helpers before moving to Charleston. She and her husband, Barry realized the value of being able to help seniors remain independent at home after her grandma had a fall and was forced to move out of her home for her own safety. They have seen the struggle that so many families experience in trying to keep mom or dad at home, where they want to be, because life pulls us in many directions. We cannot provide that care all the time nor have the energy it takes to care of an aged loved one and manage your own lives. Amy and Barry decided to take this value and bring the convenience of living with assistance at home to your loved one in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley Counties with Senior Helpers. Their mission is to bring you a sense of peace knowing your loved one is being taken care of by friendly, trained, and compassionate care providers all in their comfort of your loved one’s home. In her free time, Amy enjoys running, swimming, biking, taking her dog (and office mascot) Brutus to the beach, watching college football (especially her beloved Ohio State Buckeyes), and cooking for friends and family.

Kim Appis

Kim Appis

RN

Kim comes to Senior Helpers with a nursing background in adult progressive care and post-surgical nursing. She is dedicated to the safety and comfort of her patients, delivered in a professional and compassionate manner. Kim considers every individual and family situation unique and knows that listening to their wishes is paramount in providing top notch care, especially in the home. When she isn’t busy being a nurse she loves practicing yoga, being on the water, running on the beach, and enjoying nature.

Sheryl O'Neal

Sheryl O'Neal

Family Care Director

Sheryl O’Neal loves where she lives on rural Johns Island nearby Charleston, South Carolina. Her roots are deeply set in the Lowcountry as her parents were born and reared near Charleston.  Fate brought her to live in Charleston in 1993.  Her children and grandchildren are her delight, and she sees them as often as possible. Her husband, Carroll, is a farmer and owns a construction company. Their lives are full of family and friends.


Sheryl has served older adults and their families in the Charleston area since 2008, when, at a friend’s behest, she launched headfirst into a new career in eldercare. It was there that she learned about the aging-in-place model of care that assists seniors in the development of a logical and person-centric care plan that empowers and enables them to remain in the comfort and security of their own homes for as long as possible.


Her interest lies in helping persons with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, memory loss that progresses to full dementia like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig disease.  It touches her deeply to have the privilege of getting acquainted with the persons who need care and their family members who are often extremely stressed and overwhelmed.


Problem solving with solid resolutions through collaboration with everyone involved in the making of often difficult decisions can be a complicated process.  Sheryl has a special, natural approach filled with empathy and understanding.  She is an intentional, patient listener with the goal of helping families and their loved ones to be in control of the steps needed for the older adult’s best outcomes. The benefits of having a caregiver are many.  The older persons retain their dignity and gladly remain in their own surroundings while their sons and daughters are set free to continue their daily endeavors.  


Sheryl loves to hear from adult children after a few weeks of assistance in the home who feel they have their moms and dads “back” as parents. They feel great relief to know they can rely on the Senior Helpers team of managers and caregivers.
Sometimes they even get the courage to take a long-awaited vacation!

Ann Prussel, BSN, M.Ed

Ann Prussel, BSN, M.Ed

Director of Client Care Services/Caregiver Manager

Ann has been in the field of nursing for over 35 years. She has served in a wide range of nursing competencies, including in-hospital patient care, in-home personal care, assisted living and memory care communities and outpatient care services. A common thread has been her passion to support those in the community who have need of assistance to not only maintain capabilities but to improve their quality of daily living.

Ann’s primary purpose with Senior Helpers is to promote best practices which ensure the safety, wellness which, in turn, is intended to improve the daily welfare of older adults, veterans and other members of the community with any kind of impairments. The goal of in-home personal care along with socialization supports the clients to see improvement in their quality of life while remaining at home.

Ann engages in providing important education based in factual information and offers tips and techniques for professional caregivers and the community-at-large on a wide range of subjects, such as dementia.

Ann holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UMass Boston, and a Masters of Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Antioch University New England.

She is a native of Boston, MA, and now happily resides in Summerville, SC with her husband Michael and their Labrador Retriever named “Moxie”. She and Michael have a son in Pennsylvania and a daughter who resides in New Hampshire who visit sunny South Carolina often. In her leisure time, she enjoys global travel together with her family and, of course, quiet days at the seashore. 

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller

Care Team Manager

Jen is originally from NY and moved to the Eastern Shore of MD when she was 10. Jen has lived in different parts of the country (NY, MD, VA, MS, SC, and WA state). She loves to travel and has been to almost every state and have driven cross country twice.

At the age of twelve Jen got very sick and had two kidney transplants by the age of 21. Jen feels this makes her uniquely empathetic to what our clients are experiencing with unexpected, challenging, and often times unwelcoming life challenges has worked in the medical field most of her life, starting with my dad who was a PA at the family practice he was co-owner of during her senior year of high school. She also worked as a private sitter for a client who was bedbound, in a rehab/LTC facility, and in a hospital. She started out in the hospital on a MedSurg unit and transferred to Oncology/Hospice. Jen has soft spot in her heart for Oncology/Hospice patients and have recently discovered a love for Parkinson's patients.

Jen holds a CNA license and is almost finished with her associate degree in chemical dependency but is on pause to spend time with her brother who was suddenly diagnosed with cancer.  In her spare time, she loves to take road trips, going to the beach, reading, exploring Charleston and the surrounding areas, and spending time with her menagerie (3 dogs, 6 cats, 4 chinchillas).

Kim Schneider

Kim Schneider

Manager

Kim grew up in New Orleans, LA but spent most of her career in New York City.  Looking for a lifestyle change she relocated to the Low Country in 2017.  Most of her career has been in executive positions with large retail brands.   When relocating she decided to focus on finding her next career where she could make a difference.  Her nature is to nurture and has much compassion for disadvantaged children and seniors.  As you care for them, in turn, they offer such a rewarding purpose in life.  Part of the caregiving phases for her father, she knew he was most comfortable at home and found a true respect for all the contributors who assisted in fulfilling that agenda.  She is grateful that she can feel compassionate about being a participant in the process of the transitioning phases in so many unique and individual lives.  At the age of 14 Kim’s family lived across the street from a senior care facility and made frequent visits to see the elderly to either read short stories, listen to their story or just hold their hand for a few moments.  Kim learned very early on, everyone needed love. Due to many social restrictions lately, Kim has chosen to try a new hobby and she has a new perspective and respect for anyone who can hit a golf ball in under 3 swings! ​

Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown

Scheduler

Danielle grew up in Augusta, Georgia and, after living in Southern California for 10 years, relocated back to the South. She is thrilled to be in the Low Country and working at Senior Helpers. As a child, her grandmother lived nearby in an assisted living facility where she had a private caregiver named Nina. She vividly remembers her parents referring to Nina as an angel. Her parents could not have raised 2 young children, worked full time and appropriately cared for their loved one without Nina. She cared for Danielle's grandmother with deep compassion and respect. She became part of the family. This experience began Danielle’s appreciation for the important work of caregivers. As the scheduler, Danielle loves the satisfaction of matching a client with a caregiver and witnessing the life changing relationship that can occur. She also loves spending time with her family, reading a good book, fitness and exploring all that Charleston has to offer in the way of nature and restaurants.

Gary Petersen

Gary Petersen

Marketing Manager
Emma Ashcraft

Emma Ashcraft

RN

Healthcare Leadership Council Meeting in South Carolina

Senior Helpers attended the Healthcare Leadership Council meeting with Congressman Joe Cunningham in South Carolina.  Those in attendance felt that the meeting was productive and look forward to an ongoing relationship with his office. Pictured here (L to R): Brian Feldman, HLC;  Alexis Johns, MUSC Boeing Center; Patti Horne, Change Healthcare; Rep. Joe Cunningham (D/SC); Amy Petersen-Smith, Senior Helpers; Sarah Piwinski, MUSC Boeing Center; Walker Smith, Bon Secours Health System

And of course the Congressman’s dog which was a welcome first for a Congressional meeting!
 

Areas we serve

Senior Helpers Charleston provides a full range of senior home care services for you or your loved one - from companionship and housework help, to more complex care services, including disease management, Live-In and 24-hour care services.

Senior Helpers Charleston serves the cities and towns of: 

  • Charleston
  • North Charleston
  • Hanahan
  • Awendaw
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Isle of Palms
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Goose Creek
  • Huger
  • Moncks Corner
  • Summerville
  • Jamestown
  • West Ashley
  • James Island
  • Ladson