Help at Home
A look at three different local home health/house assistance providers that make easier for seniors to live at home longer.
It all happens so quickly. You work. You retire. You play some golf, do a little fishing, trim the hedges and go out to dinner. It’s called living the good life. And then, all of sudden, one morning you wake up with a few muscles in rebellion mode. Your spouse sells your 12-foot ladder, and you can’t find your glasses.
That is when you start to think about your options for the future. Do you want to stay in your home and hire in every service you can find? Or move to a continuing-care facility? Or downsize and move to a condo or townhouse where the HOA takes care of most of what you can no longer do?
According to an AARP survey, nearly 90% of Americans over the age of 75 would like to stay in their current home. If you are in that category, you will be happy to learn that there are several organizations and businesses in this area that can help you do that. They offer some of the same services, but each has its own unique advantages. Here are three that represent the different kinds of services available.
St. James NEST
St. James launched its NEST program in January of this year and, at least for now, it is only available to St. James residents. Their program is modeled after the Village concept that began in Boston in 1999 with the formation of Beacon Hill Village, which was founded on the idea that seniors could “take care of each other, rather than being taken care of.” In the 20 plus years since its founding, nearly 300 Villages have been created in 45 states and five countries, and St. James NEST is one of them. Each Village offers the elderly an alternative to moving away from friends and familiar places.
NEST is basically a home assistance service for people who need help with everything from changing a light bulb or cleaning their HVAC filters to picking up preordered groceries or prescriptions, mailing packages, etc. They offer help in troubleshooting problems with the Internet, smart TVs, phones and tablets and using these devices to fill out forms, use online shopping sites and connect to Zoom meetings. They can also provide transportation to local medical facilities, banks, personal care businesses, churches, etc. NEST is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff. Currently they have 60 volunteers and 73 clients (whom they call members). They require 72 hours’ lead time for a house call, so don’t call them at 7 pm when you want to watch your favorite Netflix show and you can’t get it.
An appointment with a NEST volunteer can be requested by filling out the form on their website. Go to sjnest.helpfulvillage.com and access the Members tab or you can call the Help Desk at (910) 250-8388 between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm Monday through Friday.
Coastal Companion Care
Coastal Companion Care’s emphasis is on healthcare services. They provide the option of 24/7 live-in assistance as well as long-term hourly or daily support. However, their website stresses that they are a “non-medical homecare provider.” They offer companionship and assistance with personal activities such as bathing, grooming and dressing, and they give the primary caregiver a brief respite. They will help with preparing meals, doing light housekeeping, transporting clients to doctor and therapy appointments or personal errands, shopping or just getting out of the house for a little while.
Coastal Companion Care has been serving the residents of Brunswick County for more than 14 years and recently opened a second office in Wilmington. According to their published literature, they accept payment from long-term care insurance where home care is part of the client’s policy.
For help in evaluating your needs and learning more about how they can help you, you can visit them at 5101 Southport-Supply Road #4, in Southport, call them at (910) 457-5300 or visit their website: coastalcompanioncare.com
Quality Concierge Service
Quality Concierge Service has a different approach. This is a one-man operation. Tim Patton started this business four years ago as an outgrowth from the kinds of services he had been providing for free over the last eight years as a volunteer with churches and other organizations.
“I have always liked helping people,” he says. And, according to his clients, he is very good at it.
Patton is a general handyman who will do the chores we all did once upon a time in our younger years. Like the other two options described above for staying in your home, Patton’s primary service is providing companionship and caregiver respite. And like the others, he will drive people to doctor visits, take them shopping, etc., and do pretty much whatever people ask him to do around the house. And, if asked, he will even play his guitar for people.
What differentiates Patton from the other two services (other than the guitar playing) is that he is usually available on short notice. You can reach him by phone at (910) 470-8004.
All three of these entities emphasize that they offer personalized care for individuals needing assistance, and each one has an extensive list of references that they will gladly provide upon request.
They also each have a different fee schedule. St. James NEST has a flat annual rate, which is the same no matter how many times you call on them. Coastal Companion Care’s rates are determined on a case-by-case basis. And Tim Patton’s Concierge Service charges an hourly rate.
Bottom line, if remaining in your current home seems like the right choice for you, there are different kinds of home healthcare/house assistance providers in the area that will make doing that a very real possibility.