Another option

Home-care companies, such as ComForCare, are helping families fill gaps in caregiving

St. Paul residents Cathy Daigle, RN, Kim Kirmeier and Jalane Mosley, RN, co-owners, opened ComForCare Home Care St. Paul in August.
St. Paul residents Cathy Daigle, RN, Kim Kirmeier and Jalane Mosley, RN, co-owners, opened ComForCare Home Care St. Paul in August.

Senior housing developments are popping up all over the Twin Cities metro area, rising steadily along with the number of baby boomers entering old age.

And yet, the vast majority of Minnesotans age 65 and older own their homes and don’t plan to leave anytime soon.

But how are older adults, who often have special care needs, managing to age in place?

Family and friends often help with caregiving. Another option is hiring out for home-care services — another business sector that’s growing along with the aging baby boomer population.

Take, for example, ComForCare Home Care of St. Paul. It’s the fourth franchise of its kind to open in the Twin Cities as part of Michigan-based ComForCare, an international company that was founded in 1996 and began franchising in 2001.

This past August, three St. Paul women combined their collective work experiences to open the new St. Paul franchise, including registered nurses, Cathy Daigle and Jalane Mosley, and Kim Kirmeier, a longtime business development strategist.

Other ComForCare franchises include St. Paul East (Dakota County), which also opened this past August, West St. Paul (Washington County), which opened three years ago and Minnetonka, which has been operating for seven years.

ComForCare, which specializes in senior care, bills itself as the only service of its kind to use a match-making methodology to identify health-care assistants or companions who meld well with individual clients. ComForCare also uses a 10-step hiring/screening process for caregivers, as well as ongoing training.

Kim Kirmeier giving scrubs and cert. to Maria Leitsch
Kim Kirmeier giving scrubs and cert. to Maria Leitsch

Mosley and Kirmeier see themselves as part of the so-called sandwich generation, raising children while recognizing the needs of senior parents and friends who can require more assistance to remain in their homes.

Mosley has 20 years’ experience as a registered nurse, including 15 as a clinic director.

Daigle, who serves as director of nursing for the franchise, worked previously at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis.

“Most baby boomers are active and prefer to age in their own homes, so our services will become very important as time goes on,” Kirmeier said, adding that the number of older adults will outnumber school-age children in Minnesota by 2025. “Another key consideration is the mobile nature of our society. Many families live in different geographic areas, so they are not able to take care of loved ones, so they will need to rely on home care services. That’s where we come in.”


ComForCare

Where services are offered: Four ComForCare franchises serve the Twin Cities’ greater seven-county metro area. The new St. Paul franchise serves St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as Arden Hills, Columbia Heights, Falcon Heights, Fridley, Hilltop, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Spring Lake Park and St. Anthony.

Cost: Care plans are tailored to clients’ needs and range from a $70 fee for roundtrip transportation to an appointment to $320 a day for around-the-clock hands-on care. Monthly fees can range from weekly companion visits for $360 a month to 24/7 hands-on complex care for $12,000 a month.

Headquarters: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based ComForCare has 172 franchises operating in nearly 200 territories in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Caregivers provide professional personal care and companionship services for individuals — due to illness, injury or aging — in many settings, including homes, independent living communities, nursing homes, hospitals or wherever clients reside.

Info: comforcare.com or 651-237-7727

Services offered:

Companionship: Playing games and cards; reading books, newspapers and magazines aloud; reviewing the day’s activities; and discussing current events.

Personal: Planning the day’s schedule; clipping coupons; helping with selecting clothes and dressing; and providing transportation to social activities.

Home: Assistance with moving around the house; light housekeeping; washing dishes and taking out the trash; laundry and ironing; grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Hygiene: Help with bathing and showering; incontinence care; grooming and hygiene assistance; and transportation to the hairdresser or barber.

Health: Medication reminders; escorts to doctor visits; monitoring of diet and eating habits; brain-fitness activities; and light exercise assistance.

Transition care: Specialized plans are available for when a loved one is discharged from a hospital, rehabilitation center or nursing home and needs transitional care.

Nursing: Nurses administer medications and supervise certified medical assistants, who perform personal care and provide respite to family members of seniors who face physical restrictions or who are living with chronic illnesses, such as congestive heart failure or diabetes.