You Are Not Alone
A Kingston company is playing an important role in helping seniors live where most would prefer to be: In their own homes.
Since 2012, For the Love of Seniors has been helping older residents from Kingston to Gananoque with everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, bathing, and preparing meals.
Lisa Reynolds, the company’s founder, owner and sole employee, says many seniors often just need a little company and she provides that as well. Most of her clients either live alone or far away from family members.
With a background in retirement-home management and a degree in psychology, Lisa decided to launch For the Love of Seniors “out of an admiration for seniors and a desire to provide one-on-one personal support” to a vulnerable population.
“What I was hearing from people was that they wanted something where they knew the person. For instance, if they wanted to get groceries or they wanted to do an errand, a lot of them didn’t feel comfortable calling a cab because you get somebody different every time. A big portion of what I do − a big portion − is the social aspect of it. They want to talk.”
She adds: “That’s how it started − with me knowing there was something missing in our society.”
Initially, Lisa wanted to help seniors avoid moving to retirement and nursing homes, but over the years she has helped a growing number of people in long-term care lead a better quality of life. Companionship is the greatest need and “highly requested,” she says.
For example, Lisa often visits a 98-year-old woman who recently moved to a long-term care facility.
“She is a lot more comfortable in her room, but I do occasionally get her to go out with me,” she says. “We’ll go out for coffee or something, though in the winter it’s never advisable. We talk about politics, about religion, about her history − we talk about everything.”
Every client has different physical and cognitive abilities so interactions vary. To date, her longest relationship lasted nine years. The man recently passed away.
Losing a client “is no different than losing a parent or a friend,” she says.
For the Love of Seniors is registered with The Seniors Association and Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). A family member, social worker, or health-care worker from one of the hospitals usually makes the initial contact, but self-referrals are accepted.
Most visits occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and last between one and three hours. Fees are flexible.
− Lan Yan Lilian Lam and Melanie Joy Firme