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Filling an identified need for aid to seniors

Wellesley-based Living Assistance Services provides care for those who need help staying in their homes

Recognizing the ever growing senior population in Waterloo Region, Living Assistance Services has now expanded to Kitchener, Waterloo, and Wellesley township, providing services to those in need of in-home care.

Kelly Rakowski is the director of Living Assistance Services covering those three areas from her Wellesley office. She switched careers to join this home care company because she was wanting to focus her efforts on seniors.

“I was looking for a different option for seniors, other than long-term care and retirement homes. A lot of them want to be in the home that they’re in and they just don’t have the ability anymore. Some of them have trouble making their own meals or keeping up on housework or adult children are finding it hard to escort mom and dad to doctor’s offices and other things they need to have done. Seniors just really have a place in my heart and I thought this was a good way to do it,” Rakowski said.

When she was looking into the in-home care services she found the average wait time in Waterloo Region is 15 business days. She says this made her think about if an elderly parent is hurt and needs someone to care for them, their adult child or grandchild will need to take that time off work to look after them until they can get in-home care in place.

She saw a clear need for more of these companies that offer a wide range of services from personal care like hygiene, bathing, dressing and laundry, to light housekeeping, medication supervision, companionship, and escorting to appointments.

Clients can request a registered nurse who does supervised care, and go as far as palliative care. They’re also able to help families navigate the healthcare system and submit referrals if they feel they’re necessary for occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social workers.

Unlike other companies that send whichever caregiver is free, Living Assistance Services gives clients the ability to choose who goes into their home.

“We come out and we meet with them and then we find out what their needs are, what their preferences are, what they’re looking for. And then we go back and we find caregivers that we feel would be a good match skill-wise, but also personality-wise. And then what we do is we go back to the family with two or three caregivers and we say here are the caregivers and then the families interview,” Rakowski said.

She says families are liking that they have ownership and get to know more about a caregiver before they hire them.

“I’m going out today to meet with another family. They have just been so welcoming, very pleased at the fact that they get to interview. They like the fact  that myself and our director of care goes out and meets with them. It’s been very good so far.”

The firm employs 14 certified personal support workers and healthcare aides, and that number’s growing. She notes families can feel safe knowing they check their references, do police background checks, and ensure they’re up to date on all their certifications.

“We don’t take everybody that we receive résumés from. I’m very particular. When I do an interview I want to make sure that each one of our caregivers, it’s somebody that I would want in my home looking after my parents,” Rakowski said.

Living Assisted Services recently expanded their in-home care services to Kitchener, Waterloo, and Wellesley, with the option for families to interview and choose their caregiver.[submitted]
Living Assisted Services recently expanded their in-home care services to Kitchener, Waterloo, and Wellesley, with the option for families to interview and choose their caregiver. [submitted]

So far she’s finding the families they’re helping just need a little bit of extra help with their loved ones. She’s hopeful they’ll become known as the local agency to go to for home care assistance, helping more people stay in their own homes.

“Everyone that works with us understands what the needs are. I myself understand what it’s like to be an adult child with a parent who has Alzheimer’s and the needs of what that means. I also understand the frustrations that come with being caught between a parent with a medical issue and growing children. We never want to become so large that we lose the relationship that we have with each of our families,” Rakowski said.

Residents can inquire about Living Assistance Services through their website at www.laservices.ca and clicking Wellesley at the bottom of the page, or by calling 226-660-1122.

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