Americare Announces Partnership with Shopping Site Joe & Bella

A new ecommerce site that offers “one-stop shopping for the older adult in your life” has joined forces with Americare to help their residents and their families provide better care.

Joe & Bella, an ecommerce platform dedicated to older adults that launched earlier this year, has announced a new “give-back” program that rewards frontline workers in care communities.

“Families of residents of senior-care communities have long needed a simple shopping solution -- a single destination where they can find and buy whatever they need for their loved ones. And, what’s become quite apparent is families want to give back to the frontline workers who take care of their loved ones,” says Jimmy Zollo, Cofounder and CEO of Joe & Bella. 

Joe & Bella gives back a portion of every purchase a family member makes to an Employee Appreciation Fund controlled by the community to recognize and reward frontline workers, Zollo explained. 

“Our families have long been looking for a solution like Joe & Bella,” says Patricia Cokingtin at Americare, headquartered in Sikeston, MO “Joe & Bella not only provides an easy shopping experience for families, but they give back in the most meaningful way: by celebrating our frontline employees.” 

Joe & Bella offers everything from comfortable clothes to creative gifts and from personal-care essentials to new tech that allows for safer and more effective caregiving.

Americare’s 140 communities offer independent-living, assisted-living, memory-care, skilled-nursing and rehabilitation throughout the states of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Noted aging expert Lori Bitter, president of the Business of Aging, explained that “until Joe & Bella, there was no single retailer that offered pretty much everything a family caregiver needs, together with valuable content that shows -- with empathy and advice -- that you’re not in this alone.”

Joe & Bella Cofounder Jimmy Zollo shared that in 2012, after his grandmother “fell one too many times despite in-home care, our family made the decision to move her into an assisted-living community. “ His grandfather moved in soon after due to Parkinson’s. They immediately became fast friends with two other residents - Joe and Bella.

As it turned out, Joe and Bella were “widowed Holocaust survivors who found each other later in life. They quickly became part of our family, joining us for holidays and special occasions. We fell in love with our adopted grandparents. Joe and Bella made such a wonderful, positive difference in our lives.” 

This multi-year, very personal experience was the inspiration for Joe & Bella. But, it just so happened that Zollo’s marketing-insights firm, Collaborata, had been researching the aging space. The company launched a series of groundbreaking research projects over the past three years, led by AARP with a focus on caregiving. Dr. Alison Bryant, AARP’s Sr. VP of Research, who’s also on Joe & Bella’s Advisory Board, explained that caregiving now affects four generations in the US with the troubling statistic being that 117 million people need care, but only 47 million are available to provide it, which is the lowest ratio ever. “Caregivers feel they’re called to the role because there’s often no one else,” Dr. Bryant explained. “They approach their responsibility with a delicate balance of gratitude, grief, and guilt.” 

This insight hit a personal chord for Zollo. “We were determined not to show our grandparents that we were less than confident and organized in their move into assisted-living, though that’s exactly what we were. So, we created an ever-expanding shopping list for their new lives in a new place.”

“We felt like we deserved a victory lap, but as soon as we set up their rooms, we felt anything but triumphant,” Zollo admitted. “It quickly dawned on us that our grandparents were going to start running out of some of what we just bought for them and will soon need more and there will be plenty of other things they’ll probably want and need that we just didn’t yet know about.” 

The insights from this research, which also received backing from the likes of Procter & Gamble, The Hartford, Unilever, and T-Mobile, validated the concept of Joe & Bella, Zollo explained and “guided us to the type of brand we want to be, while the original Joe and Bella gave us the voice.” 

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