Like many transformative visions, The Helper Bees was conceived to fill an obvious need and an underserved community. Inspired by love and brought to reality through passion and determination, The Helper Bees was founded to empower senior citizens and their families in their search for quality, affordable in-home care providers. We do this by providing seniors the ability to easily review, choose, and access affordable quality in-home helpers. The idea roots back to founder Char Hu’s personal experience seeking the best Alzheimer’s care for his ailing grandmother. Char was attending medical school at the time, studying molecular behaviors related to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, when Char’s family decided that his grandmother would move to an Alzheimer’s facility.
“For those who have gone through that process, they know how emotionally gut wrenching it is. The effect was particularly profound on my mother,” says Char. “Years later, she decided to create her own specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia community that filled in the huge gaps we saw in the industry, and I decided to join her. I came on during the early formation of our company, with the full intention for it to just be temporary, but I fell in love with Alzheimer’s care.”
After many years leading caregiving seminars, workshops and support groups, Char and his associates at the dementia community began to realize that the in-home care process was broken. “The current agency model perpetuates the notion of loss of independence by not allowing the senior, or the family, to select the exact person who is coming out to their home. It’s terribly inefficient, with really no winners,” he explains.
It was during this time that Char and the community’s COO Eric Corum began asking some serious questions about senior in-home care in general. Questions like, “Why is there no choice in the in-home care agency model that is so dominate?” And “Why is it so expensive to the senior while the wonderful caregiver is getting paid just a little more than minimum wage?” These questions drove Char and Eric to envision a better way. Eric came on as chief operating officer, and The Helper Bees was born.
“Our mission is built around providing control to the most important groups of people in the senior in-home care experience: the senior and the helper,” says Eric. “We completely cut out the middle man. This means the senior retains the power of choice that they have had all of their life, while the helper gets better financially rewarded for their valiant work.”
Next Char and Eric called Danny Lynch into the process. Danny and Char attended high school and college together and had both studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Throughout the years we have remained close talking about business, beer and books. Without me even knowing it, I had been selling Danny on the greatness of the senior care world, just through my stories of the awesome families we help and the people I get to meet,” says Char.
“I called Danny at 11 p.m. one night when I couldn’t get The Helper Bees out of my mind to have him talk me out of it. He didn’t. Danny immediately saw the impact that The Helper Bees could make on the senior care world. Eric and I knew the why, and we knew by bringing Danny in as the chief technology officer that he’d handle the how. How was a problem Danny could solve, and with the right technology in place we knew the impact that we would have.”
Since then Char, Eric and Danny have been consumed with transforming the senior in-home care industry.
“Our business is making connections,” says Char. “Connections that lead to the sharing of great stories and a fantastic shared experience. I often tell stories of the joy I find tapping into the treasure trove of experience and lessons learned from those two to three generations my senior. Those stories are what I enjoy most and what our seniors and helpers thrive on as well. It is such a blessing and such wonderful work to be a part of.”