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New area business helps seniors remain in their own homes

Senior citizens who want to stay in their homes can now benefit from a new business which provides help for those who are having difficulty in keeping up with daily tasks.

Under Your Roof Senior Care is the new company started up by Vankleek Hill’s Sandra Bennett, who has been assisting area seniors in their own homes for more than 15 years. The company’s focus is on duties such as household chores, errands and social outings, rather than personal or medical care, and is geared towards those seniors who are still active but beginning to find it difficult to keep up with all of the things required to maintain a home.

“I do things I would do at home, and things they can do but find difficult we do together, because they’re still active and don’t want to give up their homes or the things they do,” says Bennett, adding it is often not the individual tasks themselves which her clients find difficult, but the overall amount of work which needs to be done to maintain a home can sometimes be overwhelming.

“Sometimes if they do too much they can’t finish their day, so if I help them throughout the day, then in the evening they’re still able to make their own supper and they’re not weak or tired – it just makes their day a little bit easier.”

Another benefit to seniors from the services provided by Under Your Roof is they are able to spend more quality time with family members when they visit, rather then depending on them to help with things they were unable to complete on their own.

“They are all capable and they all have family, but when the family comes over they don’t want to have a long list of things for them to do all the time,” Bennett comments. “They want to visit with them; they want to go out to lunch with them; they want to enjoy them.”

As with many other home care services, Bennett had to suspend her operations from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was very touched by the reception from her senior customers when she reached out to inform them over the past few weeks that her visits to their homes could resume.

“When I decided to come back and was phoning people, they were so excited,” Bennett recalls. “That’s what I love (about what she does for a living). It feels so nice that they missed me.”

Bennett says the reason she decided to formalize and expand her business because she believes there is a need, but many people who could use assistance do not know how to obtain the types of services Under Your Roof has to offer.

“Most of my clients are from (Vankleek Hill) and everyone kind of knows me, but I think I have to advertise more and get out there more a little bit,” she observes.

Bennett says most of her clients are still very active and socialize regularly with friends and family. While she will often drive seniors to local events, most times they are able to arrange their own outings.

“Sometimes if there is a church lunch or something like that I’ll tell them ‘how about we go for lunch on Friday?’ and we’ll take them out to that. Most of them are still able to get around on their own and a friend will pick up a friend to go to something, but if they’re not able to go to a certain meeting or something fun I’ll arrange my schedule to be able to bring them.”

There are a number of local agencies which can also provide no-cost services for retirees and Bennett says seniors and their families would be wise to take advantage of some of the health-care services offered by the Local Health Integration Network, as well as those provided by some businesses in Prescott/Russell.

“I think seniors have really got to use the services that are out there, like pharmacies which offer delivery,” emphasized Bennett. “The LHIN is wonderful. They have PSWs and nurses and if you need to go to the hospital or have a doctor’s appointment they have access and they can get you in.”

One area Bennett would like to see improved is a greater focus by local municipalities, agencies and individuals on providing activities for senior citizens. She hopes that issues which have been brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic will ultimately lead to improvements in overall care and support for the elderly.

“Once this is all done and the quarantine is over I think community-wise people should be more involved at Heritage Lodge; more involved with seniors overall,” Bennett believes. “Put on a tea – even if there’s just 10 people that come. Go into The Broken Kettle and buy 5 coffees and then offer them to a group of seniors. It doesn’t take much and we have the places to do it. (Seniors) need a place to go.”

Asked what type of care she would wish to see provided for senior members of her own family, Bennett took a moment before observing that care for seniors is about more than just performing household tasks and running errands.

“I hope they have people around them who have compassion. People who really care about them.”

Under Your Roof Seniors care can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 613-677-6874.

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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