By LOIS KINDLE
David Scott and his wife, Michelle, have long held the desire to help others, especially when it comes to the elderly.
“Getting involved with seniors was always important to us,” he said, noting he loves history and enjoys talking with older folks. “As a former Verizon technician working in Pinellas County, I noticed so many seniors who lived alone and didn’t have anyone to help them with small things in their lives. I’d run into things like a guy who was distraught because he couldn’t change his wife’s greeting on his voice mail after she died or a man who thought his color TV didn’t work because it only played in black and white. (It was a simply matter of his not knowing how to adjust the color scale on the TV.)”
After 20 years with Verizon, David started an organization called Your Tech Neighbor, which provided free service to seniors on understanding and using their cell phones, e-mail and other electronics. He currently offers a monthly seminar to residents of Sun Towers and hopes to provide others in the area soon.
Michelle, who is an area service coordinator with TECO, spent many years working with the caregivers of her sister, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her 20s.
“It was so difficult finding 24-hour care and quality caregivers at an affordable price,” she said.
Her husband took care of both his parents when they experienced health issues, and he went through the same ordeals as his wife when hiring caregivers to give him respite.
From these personal experiences and out of their compassion for the elderly, the Riverview residents decided to open a Home Instead Senior Care franchise April 17 in Sun City Center.
“I liked Home Instead Senior Care’s core values, its 23 years of experience, thousands of offices, training and backing,” David said. “And unlike so many homecare businesses, its caregivers were all employed.
“They’re thoroughly trained on safety, communication skills and empathy for the aging process,” he continued. “What they do is not about simply watching clients, it’s about enriching their lives.”
Initially, the Scotts are focusing on services that include companion care, light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, grocery shopping, medication monitoring and errands.
Although most of their clients are seniors, the services are offered to anyone of any age needing assistance, Michelle said. Those same services are available to family caregivers who need a break.
That means residents who live on their own and need occasional or frequent assistance with certain chores, like sweeping or vacuuming, doing laundry, changing bed linens and such, can hire a Home Instead Senior Care caregiver. Or they might want someone with whom they can talk, walk or play games. They could hire that same caregiver to pick up prescriptions, go with them to lunch or dinner or drive and accompany them to religious services, social activities or the doctor’s office. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
The cost is $17.95 per hour for a minimum of three hours per visit. Other than that, there’s no weekly minimum required. However, if needed, companion service is available 24/7.
Every caregiver is bonded, insured and screened for drugs, has gone through a Level 2 background check and is covered by workers’ compensation.
“For us, it’s personal,” David said. “We find it so rewarding to develop good relationships with clients and their families. As part of that, I like to visit clients weekly to learn about any issues they might have so I can correct them.
“Our job is to help the aging stay in their homes for as long as possible,” he said.
Home Instead Senior Care is at 957 Del Webb Blvd. E, No. 102A, in the Commonwealth Plaza, Sun City Center. The office serves all communities south of the Alafia River, including southern Riverview, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Balm, Wimauma and Sun City Center. For additional information, call 813-633-0333 or visit www.homeinstead.com/812.