Loop founders, Margot Merrick and Maria Botham

The Loop Village Was Created as a Place of Hope for Older Adults

LOOP Village was created as a place of HOPE by entrepreneurs and best friends Margot Merrick, founder of Good Company, a well-established home care agency, and Maria Botham founder of Hair Fairies—the go-to salon and virtual service for the treatment, and prevention of head lice.

Maria and Margot long had plans to go into business together within senior care. It was Margot’s life’s work and Maria had always wanted to use her talents to help older adults live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. The two had many conversations, but nothing quite landed.

Hope, even more than necessity, is the mother of invention.

—Jonathan Sacks

Creatively Connecting During a Time of Isolation

One day early in the pandemic of 2020, Maria and Margot were on the phone discussing how each was shifting their existing businesses during COVID. As Maria began talking about training her Hair Fairies Technicians to do virtual treatment and sessions, it clicked.

They could take Margot’s background in the home healthcare field and Maria’s entrepreneurial background, particularly her recent experience bringing her in-person business into the virtual world, and create something magical for seniors.

It would be an online community, a village, offering dynamic content—live events, classes in fitness, meditation, music, etc. as well as community time—opportunities for older adults to log in just to connect, particularly around mealtime when the pain of isolation is most acutely felt.

Building One-On-One Companionship and a Hosted Community

Additionally, Maria and Margot knew that to succeed with an older audience the online community couldn’t just be a ‘build-it-and-they-will-come-and-stay mentality’. Instead, there would need to be a one-on-one component to keep the seniors feeling connected and part of the community.

So just as a client would have a regular health aide, each senior who joined their envisioned community would have their own person. They would have a ‘buddy’ who could anchor and guide them, and every class would not only have a talent leading it but a host to make sure the seniors felt comfortable and connected.

Within days the groundwork for LOOP was laid.

Within months Margot and Maria had 30 classes online and a daily ‘Café’ — an open house hour during which seniors could come on and eat lunch surrounded by friends.

Partnering With Experts in Aging and Gerontology

Soon they had partnered with experts such as Dr. George Shannon, MSG, Ph.D. (Kevin Xu Chair in Gerontology at USC’s Leonard David School of Gerontology) and Dr. Angelique Campen, an Emergency Department Physician, Clinical Instructor at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. and the Medical Director at the Burbank Emergency Medical Group.

Over 100 Classes Each Month and Growing

A year later, the LOOP community is thriving, offering over 100 classes per month, authoring a study with Dr. Campen for the UCLA Medical Research Journal around how social connection affects health in older adults, and most importantly changing the lives of seniors one class at a time!

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