With such a large senior population, Florida has no shortage of nursing and assisted living facilities. For those who aren’t in need of medical care, however, finding the right kind of help can be challenging.
Realizing this need, Nocatee resident Kimberley Schaffer opened a Right at Home franchise earlier this year to assist those who require help of a less hands-on nature.
“Our office opened its doors on May 30, and we are growing,” Schaffer said. “We have about 30 caregivers on staff, and we’re adding more each and every week. We have a core staff of office people and administrators that make everything happen in the background, and it’s been great lining up such an excellent team.”
Schaffer noted that her business is currently licensed to serve both Duval and St. Johns counties, and she is in the process of obtaining licensure for Clay County as well.
“We provide companion care, which is anything that helps someone live safely and well in their home,” she said.
Companion care, which is non-medical, can include everything from light housekeeping and meal preparation to transportation to and from appointments, or even just being present whenever a client would like some company.
“One of the more important things that we do as part of our companion care is that building of a relationship—that caring relationship that actually stimulates someone cognitively, and also just connects with them emotionally,” Schaffer said. “It’s not a task, as much as it’s something that’s baked into any of our experiences between our caregivers and clients.”
To help form those relationships, Schaffer said that Right at Home goes the extra mile when hiring companions.
“We hire only experienced caregivers,” she said. “We are an agency model, which means all of our caregivers are screened, licensed, bonded, insured and employees of ours. We train them, we develop relationships over time, we get to know them well so that we can make an ideal match between a client, a family and a caregiver.”
Schaffer added that she expects to add personal care to her business’ list of services later this year.
“We will do personal hygiene services; things like assistance with toileting, bathing, feeding and dressing,” she said. “All of those things that are more of a hands-on care we will be adding down the road as well.”
As for Schaffer, she hopes to revolutionize the way people think of home care.
“I’d like to change the notion that in-home care is only for people who are in dire straits or at the very end of life,” Schaffer said. “That just isn’t the case at all. We can help people when they’re downsizing their home, moving from one to another. We can also help someone who’s recovering from a procedure. We can help at any stage of being a senior, and it’s so much better to plan ahead. It can be hard to plan ahead for times of need, but it can be so much easier when you do.”