Ian and Michele Webber opened Comfort Keepers in Syracuse in 2004. Last November, they moved their business to DeWitt to cater to their clients, many of whom live in the Fayetteville-Manlius and Jamesville-DeWitt areas.
continued “That’s huge, the fact that we’re licensed and bonded,” Michele said. “There are a lot of agencies out there that aren’t licensed and are doing personal care when they shouldn’t be.”
In addition to their home companions, who are trained to do hands-off tasks, they began to hire home health aides, who must to go through a rigorous four week course at a New York state-approved training facility and state background checks to be able to provide more in-depth care.
“Any time you’re putting hands on a person, it’s considered a home health aide or personal care job,” Michele explained. “So if you have a client who can’t get out of a chair and needs someone to help pull them up, you have to have a licensed person in there because they need to be trained properly in how to help a person up without harming them.”
Home health aides do everything from bathing clients, to feeding, to dementia care – which is something the Webbers have seen a large increase in since they started out 10 years ago.
“They are getting sicker and in the last six months, we’ve been getting more clients that are needing more and more service,” Michele said. “We’ve got some really independent people that just have a need for some companionship and socialization and then we do have people that require a lot more care – we have many clients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In 2013, an estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Family Caregiver Alliance reports that 79 percent of people who need long term care do not live in nursing homes, which means more and more families are choosing home care services like Comfort Keepers instead of nursing homes.
But Michele and Ian aren’t anti-nursing homes. They stressed that their job is to make sure that their clients are getting the best possible care – and sometimes, that means moving on to a nursing home.