Company helps make home a safe option for elderly

SPRING HILL — When John Delrico and his wife moved here to retire, they planned to grow old gracefully and together. But his wife, Doris, developed breast cancer and died, leaving her husband of 50 years devastated, heartbroken and alone.
Company helps make home a safe option for elderly
Owner Maureen Riser and Staff Coordinator Eileen Tenly discuss the checklist used to conduct a home safety inspection. Either Riser or Tenly makes the initial connection with potential clients to discuss their services. KIM DAME
Delrico, now 80 and in declining health, began having difficulty with basic tasks such as remembering to take prescribed medicines, cooking meals and getting to doctor appointments.

His family, who lived up North, considered an assisted living facility. But Delrico was adamant about remaining in the home where he had retired with his wife.

Delrico’s story is common, particularly in a community with a high percentage of retirees. And his situation is the type that might benefit from an evaluation by Home Instead Senior Care to determine if its services might provide the peace of mind his family needs while allowing Delrico to remain safely in his home.

In recognition of Safety Awareness month, Home Instead Senior Care in Spring Hill offered a free home safety inspection through June for anyone who might be worried about hazards in the home.

Owner Maureen Riser said her company will extend its free offer through July to help seniors implement safety precautions. Without such insight, situations that might seem minor or not dangerous can lead to slip-and-fall accidents or other safety hazards.

Riser spoke of a client who became trapped in her bathroom, unable to pull herself up from the toilet. She remained in the position for hours and worked herself into a weakened physical state.

Thankfully the woman had a nephew who made regular safety checks on his aunt with a routine morning phone call. When he didn’t get an answer, he notified Home Instead who found his aunt trapped and weak from trying to get up.

“She was so weak she could offer no assistance to our care team,” Riser said.

Using a detailed checklist, representatives look at everything from throw rugs, which might pose a tripping hazard, to obscured lighting and a lack of grab bars in bathrooms.

Many people don’t even realize how much safer a home can be after a simple inspection to prevent potential accidents from happening. It allows homeowners to be proactive in keeping their homes secure and less likely to become an accident zone.

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Home Instead Senior Care evolved from a family’s struggle to handle the caregiving needs of an elder loved one. In 1994, it launched into a senior care business that offered services to help families care for their aging relatives or others.

Home Instead Senior Care became a franchise and grew internationally, opening new entities across the globe.

Maureen Riser opened the Spring Hill location in River Country Estates in 2012. She recognized the need for an alternative to assisted living facilities for seniors and adults who need non-medical care.

“And we’ve seen a steady growth since,” she said.

“We have over 43,000 seniors in this county that are 65 and older,” Riser said. “But I believe Spring Hill has the fountain of youth because the average age of our clients is 88. And they’re spry!”

Home Instead Senior Care offers services that are customized to each client’s specific needs, ranging from companion care to 24-hour in-home services. Services include light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation to and from doctor appointments, grocery shopping, companionship and escort to church or other functions.

Caregivers are trained and certified, Riser said, before they enter any home. They complete a multi-phased training program and receive consistent continuing education. “You can never be too critical of the people you are hiring,” Riser said.

The majority of clients are seniors either living alone or with a spouse who is aging and families living out of state.

“We can go from the spectrum of the very smallest intervention to the very detailed,” Riser said.

Before the relationship is established, either Riser or Staff Coordinator Eileen Tenly will visit a home and meet the potential client, inspect the home for safety concerns and, when convenient, meet the family members. A plan then is crafted to meet the person’s needs.

The main goal is to provide services that help clients safely maintain their independence in their own homes.

Home Instead Senior Care is at 8184 Chaucer Drive in Spring Hill. The office can be reached at (352) 340-5900. Visit their website at www.homein

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