CarePatrol Baltimore: From left to right, Arlene Cohn Scherr, Rich Simmons, Paula Sotir, Lee Roebuck, Marion Lyttle and Sherille Otto.

The Baltimore branch of CarePatrol, an organization that helps seniors and their families navigate the often complicated transition to independent living, assisted living and memory care living, has recently been named “Franchise of the Year” by its national management.

The local owner, Paula Sotir, had extensive experience in the healthcare industry prior to opening CarePatrol in 2014. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, a Master of Science degree in general administration with a healthcare focus, is a Certified Senior Advisor and spent several decades in healthcare and healthcare administration.

That background, combined with her own experience caring for her mother prior to her passing away, helped her recognize the value of an organization like CarePatrol.

When it’s time for people to move, CarePatrol team helps individuals and their families identify and choose the best option in terms of social, medical and financial needs, and work through the details and logistics of that move. The CarePatrol team knows who to call to help make the transition, which can be tough both emotionally and in practical terms, easier.

The Franchise of the Year award reflects the company’s service both to clients and as a mentor for other franchisees, says CarePatrol’s Rich Simmons.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things, including Paula’s involvement with the CarePatrol universe,” he said, explaining that Sotir was recognized for her efforts to help other franchises adopt best practices in terms of bookkeeping and tracking referrals, and her willingness to share information and lessons the Baltimore branch has learned over its three years of business.

In addition to Franchise of the Year, the Baltimore branch was recognized for having the most referrals, which means they have placed the most clients in new residences.

The service is free to seniors and their families; CarePatrol works like a real estate company, receiving payment from facilities after CarePatrol clients move in. (Though the CarePatrol team is also quick to note that they do not simply connect people with facilities they have contracts with; they seek out the best facility for the person’s needs, no matter what, and they negotiate good rates on behalf of their clients.)

“I use the analogy that we are similar to the Red Cross,” said Simmons. “We are there in case of an emergency. When someone needs to go into assisted living for any reason, we are there. The other part of the Red Cross is education – like when people take first aid or CPR. We are there as a resource, if needed. Hopefully you won’t need us, but if you do, we’re here.”

And by being “here,” the CarePatrol team often goes above and beyond what might be expected; recently, Simmons and Sotir personally moved a client who was in the hospital from her home to an assisted living facility.

It’s that sort of care, rooted in Sotir’s experience as a nurse and empathetic personality, that has boosted CarePatrol to the top of its game – both as a franchisee and as a partner in care.

For more information and to stay informed on issues facing seniors, ‘Like’ CarePatrol of Baltimore’s Facebook page.


Kit Pollard

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.