The Key to Comfort
As Canadian baby boomers—the large cohort of people born in the years after the Second World War—reach their senior years, they are redefining senior living. No longer is moving to a full-time care facility an inevitability. Seniors now want to live independently in their homes as long as possible, and are seeking service options tailored to their specific needs to facilitate that desire.
With seniors living longer and healthier lives, a wide range of assisted living options is the new business model. In fact, a survey conducted by Acrobat Research commissioned by Living Assistance Services (LAS) indicates that 79 per cent of Canadians believe that aging at home affords a better quality of life. LAS is forging the path for service-oriented home-care for seniors in Southern Ontario. The holistic, encompassing philosophy towards senior care for clients appeal to the client who requires some form of assistance for their daily activities but who may not necessarily need full-time care immediately.
With the senior population doubling since the early 1980s and expected to almost double again in the next 25 years, Canada’s healthcare system is under-resourced to adequately care for the senior population. Seeing a burgeoning need, David Porter, Director and Owner, set out to create a high-quality home-service business to enable seniors to grow older in their own home as independently as possible and with comfort and dignity.
LAS’s team is comprised of experts who have dedicated their professional lives to the outstanding care of seniors, with backgrounds ranging from gerontology, general medicine, risk management and hospitality.
“We share the same basic business philosophy and principles for senior care,” says Opal Rowe, Director of Living Assistance Services. Because of that, Opal decided to incorporate her own business, Nowhere Like Home, into Living Assistance Services, bringing her wealth of experience in community advocacy, hospitality and education and business to the team.
“When we joined, we started operating in the York Region area through an office in Richmond Hill. Within a year of opening we were recognized as the best small business in Richmond Hill by the Richmond Hill Board of Trade (formerly Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce), and that is something we are very proud of,” says Opal. The award was recognition for deep rooted community involvement including senior education and care advocacy.
LAS helps provide the greater independence and comfort that staying at home allows. For the day-to-day experience of LAS clients, Opal explains, “We want to be a one-stop shop and make life easier for our clients. As you get older, some of these things become more challenging. Mobility becomes more challenging for seniors and we assist with all the activities of daily living.”
LAS services extend beyond the home into the community, as it sees part of its mandate to connect seniors and their families with both private and public resources, depending on the need. The LAS team will not rest until their clients’ needs are met, vows Opal. “That is how we stand out in terms of the services we provide.”
LAS’s infrastructure is another key differentiator. There is a full-time Director of Care on staff who is able to do patient assessments and be called directly to answer questions about everything from nursing services to palliative care around the clock. Later office hours and being open on the weekend also means faster response times for clients.
LAS took client feedback into account when devising a reliable, flat-rate fee which takes out the guessing game for clients. “We distinguish ourselves from our competitors in that our rate structure is simple and easy to understand,” says Opal. “Some of our competitors have different rates in terms for varied services or based on hours per week. We recognize that this is confusing for seniors and they need housekeeping but also companionship or personal care. We see it all as components of activities of daily living so we have one flat rate.”
In the same survey by Acrobat Research, Canadians claimed they expect to be involved in the choice of a caregiver for their aging parents and to be able to choose the most appropriate match for themselves. LAS clients are reassured that they are able to choose their caregivers, and may change them should there be a need. “If someone is going to be around you eating with you, bathing you, you want to be comfortable with them, but also genuinely like them,” says Opal. “Clients tell us their expectations and are introduced before the services start.”
As the home-care industry is poised for growth, so is LAS, with new offices opening throughout Ontario and plans to expand nationally. Though recognized in the industry for over 15 years of outstanding caring for seniors, the accolades that mean the most to the LAS team are ones that come from happy clients.