BY JOHN CHICK
Special to the VOICE
As Canadian life expectancy continues to rise and seniors’ health improves in relative terms, more folks in their golden years are eschewing the idea of retirement homes and seniors’ care facilities. The logic is simple: if you don’t have to leave your home, why do it?
That’s where Melissa King and her newly launched Niagara Seniors at Home comes in.
Not long ago the Pelham resident realized that with more and more seniors sticking with the independence of home living, there was a market gap for assisting them with some of the needs of life.
“I’m geared toward seniors living in their own homes — meal planning and preparation, groceries, appointments, organizing, decluttering, a friendly visit, pet care, the whole thing,” King said of the service she provides.
“I’m 56 myself, so I’m getting older, and I looked around my neighbourhood and I recognized the need for this type of service. Everyone I talk to knows at least two or three people who could use a service like this.”
King doesn’t do physical labour such as snow removal or lawn care, but she will help with gardening if needed. The gist of her service is to provide assistance with errands and tasks around the house, while at the time providing seniors with a social visit. She says her clients really enjoy that.
“Oh my gosh, I could be there all day,” King said. “They seem to find it very pleasurable. I’m generally not the most outgoing person, but it’s easy to get into … I enjoy doing these tasks and at the end of the day it feels really good.”
In a typical visit, King may clean out a client’s fridge, do some grocery shopping and cook a fresh meal while chatting with the senior.
“It’s better than getting Meals on Wheels on a regular basis, because the food is not awesome, and there’s no spending time involved with that,” King said. “Putting away groceries, I’ve got food on the stove — it’s just a more enjoyable time for them. It’s a great time to chat and just kind of visit.”
She adds that some of the people who appreciate her services are family members of the senior. With King taking care of certain errands, the family can actually spend time with their loved one when they visit.
“If I’m managing those tasks, you’ll actually have a visit and not be tackling a to-do list,” she said.
King stresses that she is not a personal support worker, but is insured with background checks and references available to interested clients.
“I’m finding the kind of things I do are filling in the gaps,” she said. “Each senior is going to be different, and I’m quite flexible.”
King charges $25 per hour for her service in Pelham, but may require mileage for points beyond. For more information call 905-324-7627 or email her at [email protected].