It’s not hard to imagine that it would be difficult for an elderly or disabled woman to put clean sheets on her bed, or vacuum her whole house without a little help. But that help sometimes comes at a cost that is unaffordable for individuals on a limited, fixed income. Whether it is contemplating how to afford in-home care, or the fear of having to leave their home – low-income elderly or disabled persons face obstacles that many of us don’t realize.
Fortunately, the Help At Home program is available to provide supportive home care to those who don’t have the resources they need to continue living independently in their own homes. The program is designed to provide in-home care services to low-income individuals at a rate they can afford to pay – as low as $3 per hour to qualified clients.
“Without the services provided by Help At Home, our clients face increased risk of injury, isolation, depression, and ultimately having to leave the home prematurely for a facility,” said Mary Kummerow Johnson, Director of Marketing and Fund Development at Clarity Care. “The typical Help at Home client is a widowed woman in her 80s. She may be afraid to walk down the stairs to do simple tasks such as laundry for fear of injuring herself, or unable to carry in her own groceries and prepare a fresh meal. She may not be comfortable driving or leaving her home with assistance.”
According to the 2010 South Winnebago County Life Study, 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 have a disability. With that, about 1 in 8 older adults are also living in poverty. Help at Home is wholly subsidized by grants and donations and therefore wouldn’t be able to exist without them. It is the only organization of its kind to provide supportive home care on a charitable, sliding scale fee.
“The average client pays about $5 per hour for Help At Home assistance with running errands, transportation, grocery shopping and meal preparation, housekeeping and much more. But one of the most important things provided by Help At Home is companionship,” said Kummerow Johnson. “Our clients look forward to the visits they receive from our caregivers not just for their help, but for their company. They are able to form friendships and have friendly conversations while the work is being done.”
“Every day I come into work, I know that what we do at Clarity Care is making a difference in someone’s life,” said Kummerow Johnson. “We couldn’t do it without the support of our community partners, and for that we are extremely grateful.”