PHOTO: Owner Steve Logan is pictured with his support staff at the Always Best Care office in Nashville on August 8, 2018. // RUSSELL VANNOZZI
By RUSSELL VANNOZZI
The American population is quite literally getting older every year.
According to a study conducted by the Population Reference Bureau, 13 percent of the U.S. population was over the age of 65 in 2010. By 2040, that number is expected to reach 20 percent.
Local entrepreneur Steve Logan is finding ways to better serve the ever-growing elderly population through an existing senior care franchise.
Along with his wife, Francie, Logan purchased the Middle Tennessee branch of Always Best Care Senior Services in 2016. The company employed about 40 people at the time, but Logan said the staff has grown to 150 in just two short years.
“We’re adding people all the time,” Logan. “Sometimes the availability of caregivers doesn’t always line up with client needs, but when it does, everything works really well.”
Always Best Care provides non-medical in-home care and assisted living placement services for seniors. Logan said most of his business deals with taking care of people at their homes, but he’s always willing to help those looking to live in a facility.
“For the most part, people want to stay at home,” he said. “It’s up to the individual and what their wants and needs are. If they’re social and want to be around other people, assisted living is great. It’s really more of a personality thing than anything else.”
The firm has 200 independently owned and operated franchises throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Memphis and Knoxville represent the company’s other two Tennessee locations.
Taking care of the elderly
Francie Logan was a doctor of audiology and found fulfillment in working with veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs, while Steve Logan earned an MBA from Ole Miss and worked in various business ventures.
Their backgrounds combined perfectly and ultimately led to their purchase of the Middle Tennessee franchise of Always Best Care in September 2016.
“We wanted do something that could combine my background in business with creating something to help our seniors,” Logan said.
Always Best Care recruits, trains, and schedules caregivers to work with individuals in their homes. Some caregivers are CNAs, while others are students or young adults looking to break into the medical field.
“You don’t have to have a specific license to be a caregiver,” Logan said. “There are certain things that we want them to know and be able to do, but the main thing is that they have the right attitude.”
While caregivers help make life comfortable for clients, they do not provide medical care, opting to leave that to the trained doctors.
“We try to be the eyes and ears of what’s going on for the primary care physician,” Logan said. “We don’t diagnose anything, but we tell them the doctors about the observations we’ve made.”
Finding labor is toughest challenge
Logan initially operated the Middle Tennessee franchise out of an office in downtown Franklin. But he soon realized a more centrally-located space was needed to hire and train caregivers.
The new Nashville office is located at 4332 Kenilwood Drive, just off I-65 at the Armory Drive exit.
“We’re close to many of the main arteries of the city,” Logan said. “Mainly, it’s important to be close to the caregivers to recruit. We’re trying to get as many caregivers as we can.”
Logan found that the demand for caregivers in Williamson County far exceeded the supply, prompting him to reach out to other areas of the Midstate to find labor.
“It’s really difficult to find caregivers in Williamson County,” he said. “(Instead), we’ll find people in Nashville that will travel to Williamson County to help us with our clients.”
To combat that problem, Logan said Always Best Care tries to show appreciation for caregivers whenever possible.
“Whether it’s a phone call, a card, going out to see them, we try to show appreciation,” Logan said. “The number-one reason for caregivers staying with you is the appreciation factor, the second is wages.”
Building for the future
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to pop up all over Williamson County as the demand for senior services increases.
Logan said Always Best Care has relationships with many of those facilities, even offering free tours for families unsure of the next step for their elderly family member.
“We do the touring and set them up with certain places,” he said. “We’re doing caregiving in most of the facilities in Williamson County. If we have a current client that’s going to get placed (in a facility), they may want take their caregiver with them.”
One of the most important issues surrounding the future of senior care is keeping the costs manageable for families.
“It’s about what we are doing for affordable housing and making sure things are (reasonable) for the seniors,” Logan said.
While Always Best Care is a for-profit business, their work is rooted in helping the elderly live comfortably during their final years.
“We’re educating the adult children on what their options are and what to expect,” Logan said. “People can get so overwhelmed that they need somebody like us to explain what’s going on.
“It’s not just for business, it’s to help people out.”