Glen Scharfeld’s path to owning a successful Senior Helpers franchise along the coast of Florida began with a career in law enforcement. While that may sound like a leap, a passionate dedication to serving the needs of his community connected Scharfeld’s two professions and continues to provide his daily motivation.
After growing up in Tampa, Florida, Scharfeld’s first job out of high school was working for the well-known “Time” magazine. “They threw towers and towers of inventory at me, and I had to figure out what to do,” he recalls. Scharfeld, a born leader, was instrumental in setting up the warehouse’s organizational processes at the time.
Scharfeld then obtained both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human resources while working full time as a deputy sheriff of the Tampa Bay Area. “I had a wide variety of assignments, from court-authorized search warrants to sitting in people’s living rooms enjoying a cup of tea while discussing neighborhood issues,” he said.
It was during Scharfeld’s career in law enforcement that he began working with seniors. He served as the area’s Community Resource Deputy, helping a wide variety of people with ongoing issues to find solutions that worked for them and their families. “I was basically a social worker with a gun,” explained Scharfeld. He worked in conjunction with other government organizations, like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Child and Family Services, and agencies dedicated to eldercare. He even served as an abuse investigator, advocating on the behalf of voiceless children and seniors.
After he and his wife, Michelle, had their two children—a daughter, now 15 years old, and a son, now 13 years old—he began thinking about leaving the force. “It was fun while I was single, but with a family, it’s tougher,” he said. The couple always wanted to go into a service-oriented business together. “Like most good things,” said Scharfeld, “getting into Senior Helpers was an accident.”
Michelle, an avid scrapbooker, met a woman at a crafting event who owned a Senior Helpers franchise. Michelle followed the woman on Facebook, keeping in touch over several years. The franchise continued to intrigue the Scharfelds, so they began investigating the business and the senior care industry at large.
“I know doctors and a pharmacist, so I talked to them while completing my due diligence about the industry and its future,” said Scharfeld. “We knew there was a need, and the caregiving industry was growing. I had leadership experience and relationships with other service agencies. It was a great fit.”
Officially launched on March 11, 2011, the Scharfelds’ franchise location now employs 230 caregivers, with around the same number of clients. Their two Senior Helpers territories are based in Spring Hill and New Port Richey, Florida, servicing Nature Coast.
“It’s been awesome for us, and life-changing,” said Scharfeld, adding that Senior Helpers was instrumental in providing the support and training they needed to help get the business off the ground. “When it comes to growing our business, it’s all about relationships. I was shaking bushes all day and into the night at first. You have to go all in, and that’s what we did.”
One of Scharfeld’s most unique community partnerships has been working with P.K. Beville, the founder of Second Wind Dreams®, a company that helps seniors’ dreams come true, and Virtual Dementia Tours, a program for dementia education. Together, they have hosted nearly 3,000 individuals—doctors, nurse practitioners, family members and even a group of neurologists—in a large tour bus, creating a firsthand virtual reality experience of what it’s like to live with dementia. “It really hits home,” he explained. “People get very emotional, and it’s been an invaluable tool for the community.”
Owning a Senior Helpers franchise has allowed Scharfeld to create a life that works best for him and his family. “Since I left the sheriff’s office, I haven’t missed a single one of my kids’ dance recitals, swim meets or school functions,” he said. “Not many people can say that. I can live the life I want with financial security. And it’s a good life.”
After all, those who are satisfied with their own lives are the ones best suited to help others. “Whenever I had a rookie join the force, or when we hire a new caregiver now, my message is the same,” said Scharfeld. “‘Every case matters. Are we doing everything we can for our client?’ That’s the bottom line.”