Meet The Team | Senior Helpers of Knoxville - Oakridge - Maryville
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Serving Knoxville and surrounding areas.
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Serving Knoxville and surrounding areas.
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Meet the Knoxville 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 of Greater Knoxville, we believe getting the best care for your loved ones should not be complicated. We have an exceptional team of care professionals who have helped us build a premier agency that strives to deliver the highest level of client care possible in Knox, Anderson, Blount, Loudon, Roane, Campbell, McMinn, and Polk counties.  We work hard to ensure our clients and caregivers are well taken care of so we can fulfill our commitment of always providing excellent service to our aging population for years to come.

The Senior Helpers Guarantee is what sets us apart from other Home Care Agencies

The Senior Helpers Guarantee is what sets us apart from other Home Care Agencies

  • Our process and what we cover at the complimentary assessment includes discussing your loved one’s needs, our services, and determining what is best for your entire family – TOGETHER.

The first step in the process is a complimentary, initial in-home care assessment. The assessment helps you identify the true needs of your loved one and understand your options. We will discuss your family’s goals, your loved one’s specific daily plan and schedule, pricing and payment methods, implementation process, on-going communication and follow-up plan.

  • Our commitment of never having a stranger at your door ensures a proper introduction and review of the care plan will always be made by one of our office staff :

In our experience, one of the most difficult aspects of being the client of a home care agency is having caregivers show up at your home without being properly introduced or prepared, or in the case of having a substitute, not getting advance notification of a change – then dealing with a poorly prepared fill-in that can’t provide appropriate care.

  • Our caregivers are supervised employees, not independent contractors which means Senior Helpers is professional, safe, and reliable home care services for your loved ones

We are not a referral service where workers are assigned to cases, leaving families to sort through the fine points themselves such as, who is to pay taxes, unemployment insurance and workers compensation; perform background and reference checks, and insures the caregivers are bonded and insured. Senior Helpers also tests caregiving skills, verifies credentials and reviews driver license history for safety.

This means that Senior Helpers pays caregiver taxes, provides unemployment insurance and workers compensation; performs full background and reference checks and insures the caregivers are bonded and insured. Senior Helpers also tests caregiving skills, verifies credentials and reviews driver license history for safety.

  • Our Nurse on staff provides oversight and skilled knowledge that ensures quality care by a fully trained caregiver

Senior Helpers of Greater Knoxville employs Registered Nurse oversight training to ensure that all caregivers that join our team are fully equipped to provide the best quality care available.

  • Affordable options with local partnerships offers your family financial support to get care when care is needed

As you start to explore the full continuum of care options for your loved one, it becomes obvious that elder care can be costly. We have the experience, certification, knowledge, and local partners to assist you in:

Veterans Administration benefits

EEOICPA (White Card Holders)

Reverse Mortgages and Life Insurance conversions

Navigating your Long Term Care policies

Meet the Knoxville-Oakridge-Maryville-TN Team

Laura & Tim Palenkas

Laura & Tim Palenkas

Owners

Prior to working in the senior care industry, Laura was in marketing and merchandising for 21 years in Knoxville, TN. She also served on the boards of the Salvation Army and Children’s Hospital of East TN. Tim was self-employed as a general contractor building homes in Maryville, Alcoa, Kingston, and Knoxville, TN. They have two married daughters and have been blessed with two granddaughters. The experience they bring from their former careers along with their passion to help seniors get the support, dignity, and respect they deserve, led them to Senior Helpers. They have experienced first-hand the stress and burden a family experiences when having to care for elderly parents who are no longer completely independent, while facing the challenges of everyday life. Both of Tim’s parents required extra care and support toward the end of their lives. His mother passed of cancer, and his father of heart disease after having several strokes. Laura’s father struggled with diabetes, heart disease, and a series of medical challenges towards the end. Having someone who is trustworthy and compassionate supporting loved ones is critical and comforting. Laura and Tim have a strong passion for serving the community in the greater Knoxville area with a team that champions the elderly and has the ultimate goal of providing each and every client an environment that feels like they have family in their homes.

Heather Atkins

Heather Atkins

Director of Operations

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Heather has many years of experience with business administration, particularly customer service. Her philosophy is that if you are going to do anything, do it well and always strive to go above and beyond. She has worked in Knoxville with local and corporate customers in a variety of business settings. She knows firsthand the difficulties of watching her father pass from Muscular Dystrophy and seeing her mother struggle as the primary caregiver. A few years later her family cared for her grandmother suffering from Dementia and Parkinson's disease. She is very excited to now work with families and their caregivers to better their quality of life. Heather has lived in Knoxville her entire life and would not live anywhere else! Her most important job is being a mom to three busy daughters and supporting her husband in his military career. With three daughters, plenty of time is spent in West Knoxville at Turkey Creek as the area continues to grow and provide a multitude of shopping opportunities. Heather loves spending quality time with her family. Her family enjoys taking day trips to Cades Cove and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as biking and hiking at Ijams Nature Center. They enjoy the views that hiking House Mountain has to offer and the family can’t pass up a day boating on Norris Lake. One of Heather’s favorite places to frequent is Downtown Knoxville, and Market Square. The electric and lively feel draw both her and her family there quite often. She and her family have a very active lifestyle, but that doesn’t stop her from striving to help you maintain your own rigorous day to day schedules while providing your loved ones the quality care associated with Senior Helpers.

 Lisa Wilbanks Hooper

Lisa Wilbanks Hooper

Business Development Director

Although Lisa has lived all over, she is mostly a Knoxville girl, graduated from Bearden High in 1988. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 1992 with a B.S. in Psychology, with a concentration in learning and motivation. She has worked in retail as a buyer, in Human Resources for outplacement services, and most recently in the senior industry as Marketing Director for the Senior Directory of East Tennessee. She has 2 beautiful children, Augusta 22 and John 20-and the best husband, Mike. Fun fact: Lisa joined the senior industry after caring for her father during his 2 year battle with cancer and experiencing first-hand the toll caregiver fatigue takes on family, as well as the end of life process. 

Beth Ford

Beth Ford

RN, MSN, Director of Training & South Office Operations

Beth moved from East Pointe, MI to Maryville, TN 28 years ago, and has never looked back. She earned her BS in Nursing from Roane State University and went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee. She is a certified case manager, receiving her certification in 2016. She has worked in hospitals, home health, but for the most part specialized in Renal care. Beth joined the team because she loves working with seniors. She provides all new caregiver training, and any new client nursing assessments needed.

Beth has a husband of 13 years, and a son who is a senior at Bethel University in McKenzie, TN. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and the idea that with effort you can keep an extended family connected

Teresa Caylor

Teresa Caylor

Client Services and Care Team Manager

Teresa joined Senior Helpers in November of 2020 as our Human Resource & Training Manager.  She transitioned into our Client Services & Care Team Manager in April of 2021.  Teresa has been in the industry for over six years as a community Liaison in Marketing and Client Services.  She moved to East Tennessee in 2008 from Florida.  She comes from a background in Education working in The Blount County School system since 2008.  After losing her mother to cancer, she felt the need to change careers and found her calling working with hospice patients.  Teresa knows how important it is to ensure a positive experience and provide excellent care to our wonderful clients.  She recently was married in Savannah, GA and now has a blended family with eight children and a new grandbaby on the way in March of 2022. 

Susan Vieira

Susan Vieira

Senior Advocacy Specialist

Susan is a middle Tennessee native, having grown up in Nashville. She attended the University of Tennessee where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. Susan has worked in the senior industry for 20 years. Susan serves on the boards of the Senior Information and Referral Service, and CADES Adult Day Program. She has been an active volunteer for Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Caring Hearts, and the Office on Aging. Susan is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. In 2020 Susan was named the Snowflake Ball Queen setting a record for the most money raised in the 12-year history benefitting the Senior Companion Program. Susan is married to Scott and has a son Harrison. In her spare time, she enjoys her two labradoodles Knox and Ribbie. She also enjoys watching her son play baseball and working out.

Carol Guillemet

Carol Guillemet

Human Resource Manager

Carol grew up in Kokomo, IN, where she began working with seniors in 1983 as an activity assistant in a skilled nursing facility. She has worked in the medical field for over 35 years. Carol and her two sons moved to Tennessee in 1995 where she continued in the industry as a business office manager and billing specialist for an Internal Medicine physician’s office. In 2010, Carol decided to return to her roots in the senior industry as the business office director in an assisted living community. She is a certified ACLF administrator, earning her certification in 2015 and serving as an administrator for an Assisted Living community prior to joining Senior Helpers. Carol is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. Helping seniors comes from her passion to enrich the lives of our elderly. Carol is extremely excited to be part of the Senior Helpers team, ensuring the recruitment and onboarding of qualified caregivers joining our team. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family. Carol met her husband Bob in 2001 and has been married since 2005. She has two sons and five grandchildren. Carol’s mother, who passed in 1999, has been the most influential person in her life. Carol believes that the secret to happiness is helping others

Ann Fisher

Ann Fisher

Client Services and Care Team Coordinator

Ann joined our Client Services Team in February 2022. Tennessee became her home in January of 1983. She has two children and is a grandmother of three. Ann has worked as an Accountant for over 30 years prior to coming to Senior Helpers. After discovering her mother had dementia and losing her in 2014 she figured out her true passion wasn’t in numbers at all, it is in helping others. She started health care in a facility where she worked in the memory care unit for over a year and then moved on to home health care. For fun she likes dancing, sewing, knitting & spending time with her grandchildren, family & friends.

Our process

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

Areas We Serve

Senior Helpers Knoxville 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 Knoxville serves the cities and towns of:

  • Andersonville
  • Clinton
  • Heiskell
  • Knoxville
  • Farragut
  • Powell
  • Alcoa
  • Friendsville
  • Greenback
  • Harriman
  • Kingston
  • Lenoir City
  • Louisville
  • Maryville
  • Oak Ridge
  • Oliver Springs
  • Rockford
  • Wartburg