DR. MARK WREN FOUNDS SENIORS 4 SENIOR CARE TO MATCH OLDER CAREGIVERS WITH PATIENTS WHO WANT TO RETAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE
by LINDSEY MCMILLAN
Dr. Mark Wren is passionate about a longtime vision of his which has taken shape in the community. In response to the gentle, compassionate care his father received before passing away in 2016, he founded Seniors 4 Senior Care where experienced, older caregivers are matched with patients wanting to retain their independence and ability to live at home. Services available to clients range in variety from companionship to personal care. Many patients with minimal medical needs discharged from an inpatient hospital stay or rehabilitation facility simply need to bridge the gap with care enabling them to remain at home. Seniors 4 Senior Care allows clients to retain their autonomy and provides peace of mind for family members. This non- medical approach to caregiving is also known as Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and allows for continuity and aid of care in conjunction with home health nursing which is also often in place. Tasks such as meal preparation, errands, transportation to doctor’s visits, and light housekeeping are helpful to those simply needing the extra hand at home.
Dr. Wren serves as the Medical Director at Encompass Health Rehabilitation in Texarkana and is an active local Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician working with countless patients in the areas of geriatric and palliative care. During his many years of practice, he has witnessed this great need for pairing compassionate, trained caregivers to those in need for such assistance services. Seniors 4 Senior Care was founded on the belief that caring, Christian care be available to elderly and disabled individuals in need. Working in collaboration with UAMS and The Texarkana Center on Aging, the service works hard to pair the caregiver with clients based on similar interests and needs. All of the staff works closely with the client and family to ensure that the best care is provided. Seniors 4 Senior Care strives to “meet and exceed the standards required by Arkansas and Texas and are building an A-Team of caregivers who are committed to excellence in attitude and service.”
Dr. Wren believes that these skilled and trained caregivers are both companions and trusted friends who can provide the quality of care like that of one’s own family member. A childhood best friend, James Scott Andrews, who passed away several years ago, inspired Dr. Wren to pursue making this dream a reality. James collaborated with him 10 years ago on constructing the program. There is quite a shortage of qualified caregivers to connect with seniors needing help and this new service in the ArkLaTex can assist with that journey. Dr. Wren praises many people who have helped get this up and running. This includes Amy Overton McCoy, the director of the Texarkana Center on Aging, who is also a geriatric nurse practitioner. Her center helps conduct training for caregivers and provides many resources to families looking for assistance for their loved one at home. Jessica Devasier serves as their director of operations and is a registered nurse as well. All Seniors 4 Senior caregivers are licensed and fully screened. In addition, they are “seasoned caregivers who have a calling to serve others. They enable clients to live to their fullest potential by providing care that enables dignity, independence, and quality of life.”
Dr. Adam Myers, a family physician currently serving as the director at the Cleveland Clinic, is a college classmate of Dr. Wren’s and has provided additional help as a medical consultant. George Maney, CEO of Jefferson Dental in Dallas, has assisted the medical team at Seniors 4 Senior Care with the business acumen and ability to recruit the best available. One vision of Dr. Wren’s is to implement a smartphone app which works much like a dating website where many facets of personality, needs, and concerns are set up in a profile or portal. He refers to it being like an “Uber for caregivers” in the sense that at the touch of a button caregivers are paired up with clients both appropriately and efficiently. Dr. Wren, colleagues, and his staff have spent time studying models for such technology across the country. This area of non-medical caregiving is indeed a growing area of concern amongst more and more older adults and their families.
This also serves as an opportunity for seniors to find active outlets for extra income and the pleasure of serving others. Seniors 4 Senior Care advertises through other physicians, psychologists, social workers, hospital case managers, as well as others to network among seniors needing assistance and those wishing to provide help to others. There are many benefits to this network which includes mental health benefits, building positive relationships, reducing burden placed on families of elderly and disabled patients needing care, and much more. The overall quality of life is increased with such proper pairing of care and companionship.
Dr. Wren’s unique professional and personal experience has enabled this vision of his to become a reality. In addition to having his Doctor of Medicine, he also holds a master’s degree in Public Health and completed an externship at The Mayo Clinic. He also has served as a virtual preceptor for MD/MPH students at his alma mater, Tulane University. Dr. Wren has worked with two such students over the past year who have aided in gathering research and data for use in perfecting and implementing services such as these. Such studies enable proper analysis of the program and assessing future plans. The Seniors 4 Senior staff is happy to help those needing this innovative service. For more information, visit www.seniors4seniors.com or call 870-216-2273.