a community newspaper serving western Albemarle County

In-Home Care Business Launched

Karen McConville

Karen McConville of Crozet has launched an in-home companion care service for seniors, new mothers and others needing recuperative or continuing care.

Home Helpers is a territorial-based franchise headquartered in Cincinnati. Based in Crozet, McConville will cover Charlottesville, Albemarle and Augusta Counties, as well as Greene, Louisa and part of Orange.

Home Helpers offers free in-home consultations and tailors flexible care plans to meet clients’ specific needs and budgets. Services include companionship, personal hygiene, meal preparation, transportation, and medical services including medication management, vital signs monitoring and care management.

The business also employs Direct Link, a medical alert system monitored at all times by a Certified Care Center, enabling seniors to live independently at home for as long as safely possible. Direct Link products include landline and cellular personal emergency response systems, automated medication dispensers, GPS client tracking, and remote vital signs monitoring systems. If a unit is activated or a reading is abnormal, the device alerts Home Helpers staff, 911 or any pre-established contacts, easing family anxieties and maximizing client independence.

McConville said she is also moving into personal care (anything having to do with touching a patient, such as bathing) and is about to become state-certified.

She came to the area after 18 years of working for corporations in the defense industry and opened the franchise in August. She is the youngest of seven children and a mother of three.

She has hired seven caregivers and has her first clients, which is considered a quick start for a new franchise.

“The business part is fine,” she said. “It’s enjoyable. I enjoy older people and that’s what this is, except for medical patients. The clients are so appreciative.”

“One stat that has impressed me—and I checked this out—is that everyday 10,000 people will turn 65 for the next 18 years. People don’t live near their parents any more. There’s no family there to take care of them. It’s hard for some people to hire help for their parents because they feel they should be doing it. Meanwhile, parents are often feeling guilty because of all they are asking their children to do for them.”

Her caregivers are certified nursing assistants and all are women. “We’re trying to fill all the times we need to and to have different personalities come in,” she said.

Private insurance pays for the care. She is not accepting Medicare for now. “It really doesn’t cover the cost of providing the care, so I can’t afford it yet,” she said. She said the franchise headquarters also supports the business by providing updates on health policy law and regulations.

For more information, call McConville at (540) 910-3008.

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