Tom Anderson’s parents raised five children in their Saint Paul-area home, where his mother, 86, still lives. It isn’t unreasonable to think that Mrs. Anderson had some sleepless nights, worrying about a child here or there.
As is the case in many families, Tom Anderson’s mom aged, and roles reversed. Anderson and his siblings endured some concerned-filled nights of their own, worrying about the well-being of their widowed mother. This was especially the case after she went outside to get her newspaper and fell, landing in an unforgiving bed of snow, where she lay for almost an hour, getting frostbite on her hands.
Anderson and his family sought the help of ComForCare-St. Paul, which provides in-home and elder care services. A caregiver assisted Anderson’s mother with wound care and morning and bedtime routines. What began as care given twice a day for five days a week has been reduced to just once a day. Anderson appreciates ComForCare’s flexibility, which allows for 24-hour notice for schedule and service changes. “Being in the business world, I thought it was very flexible,” Anderson says. “That was a nice 'aha' moment.”
Karen Hansen’s 85-year-old mother needed nighttime care only long enough to bridge the time until she could be admitted into an assisted living facility. Her dementia made it impossible to remain living at home by herself. “It was a great feeling that someone was there with her, and [she] wouldn’t wander,” Hansen says.
ComForCare offers a wide range of services, including chronic condition management, dementia/Alzheimer’s care, meal planning and preparation, transportation, errand assistance, support with household tasks, companionship and family respite.
During the intake interview, clients are given fall risk, nurse and vulnerable adult assessments. A social history questionnaire is given to glean insight into the client’s interests. One client enjoys watching Minnesota Wild hockey games, and another loves attending orchestra concerts. ComForCare is able to provide transportation to those events and others around the area.
The service, part of a franchise, is operated by registered nurses Jalane Mosley and Cathy Daigle, who is also director of nursing, and Kim Kirmeier, owner and managing director. “I’m really motivated to keep people at home,” Kirmeier says.
Increasingly, it appears more senior citizens are remaining in their homes due to a variety of factors. “People are living longer and running out of money faster,” Kirmeier says. Moving to a health-care facility is the only option for some senior citizens, but for those who can remain at home, it can be a more cost-effective proposition. According to Kirmeier, some long-term health insurances assist with the in-home care costs.
Providing care for clients isn’t the only service ComForCare offers. Family members are supported as well. Internet portals enable them to regularly view caregivers’ notes, providing insight into a loved one’s daily activities and offering peace of mind, especially for those in the family who live out of town.
Hansen welcomes any solace, especially since she lives 200 miles away from her mother. Anderson is also resting easier. “This has been a tremendous relief,” he says of ComForCare. “You don’t go to bed worried, or wake up wondering how Mom is. Not that we don’t care, but the blood pressure is just a few beats lower.”
There are resources available for those in search of reputable care and programs for senior citizens. A partial list includes the Minnesota Board on Aging; the Minnesota Department of Health; the Patient Bill of Rights; and the Minnesota HomeCare Association.