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New service offers 'son or daughter on demand' to help seniors

NaborForce is working to help keep caregivers on the job by giving them backup options.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Neighbors helping neighbors takes on a whole new meaning as a new service launches in Charlotte. 

NaborForce looks to help senior citizens in a way we haven’t seen before and some big corporations think this could be the way to keep caregivers forced to choose between work and family on the job.

NaborForce pairs older people in the community with neighbors willing to help and it’s gaining a lot of traction thanks to the pandemic that forced us all to take a hard look at caregiving.

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Jamie Morrow is trying to be a good neighbor, literally. A nurse who stopped working during COVID-19 to be home with her two teens just signed up with NaborForce.

"I'm kind of bored not doing anything but I want to do something meaningful," she said about her reasons for signing up to be a neighbor.

"My mother passed away a little over a year ago and my father died several years ago and she lived in Arkansas and if there was something like this when she was still alive I would have been great to have help around the house," she added.

NaborForce pairs seniors with adults who live nearby and can help with everyday tasks. It's like having a son or daughter on demand.

"You're more like a substitute child for an older adult who needs help changing lightbulbs go to the grocery store or an appointment, really just running errands," Morrow said. 

Paige Wilson founded NaborForce after she found herself sandwiched between trying to care for her own kids and her mom who lived in another state. She didn’t need medical care, but she still needed some help.

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"I was trying to help my mom several years ago and there was nothing there and I hated seeing her lose access to all the things she loved," Wilson said.

Wilson said the pandemic showed everyone, especially employers, that caregiving is a very real issue that can impact the workforce.

"We're growing like crazy. We call it the 'neighbor force for labor force.' We've gotten a lot of interest from employers," Wilson said. 

It costs $28 an hour and the “neighbors” are paid a small amount but most, like Jamie,  aren’t in it for the money. Naborforce does complete background checks and in-person interviews and it’s clear there’s a demand. They added four cities just this year  - and there are plans for many more.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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