BERLIN — For seniors who need help with day-to-day living, but want to stay independent and out of a nursing home, a local company could be just what they need, as it provides nearly any kind of non-medical support imaginable.
“We offer help getting dressed, help getting ready in the morning,” said Visiting Angels Director Tyler Betz. “We’ll make meals, we’ll do shopping, we’ll do light housekeeping, we’ll give people rides to the doctor. And all of that menu depends on what each person needs.”
Operating out of Berlin since January, Visiting Angels’ assisted living service covers Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties. Caregivers are able to support a senior anywhere from two hours a day to full 24-hour coverage.
“We could provide 24-hour care,” said Betz. “Someone would be awake all of the time. That’s probably the far end of the spectrum as far as what happens.”
Generally, Betz said that most seniors that use Visiting Angels only need a few hours of help every week to continue to live independently.
“Just making a meal, doing the laundry, vacuuming; just doing things like that can really take the edge off for a family,” he said.
The average amount of care is approximately 20 hours a week, though several clients ask for closer to 40, according to Betz. The organization currently handles 11 families in the tri-county area though the office will be able to support between 50 and 70 families before being full. After only being open six months, Betz said he is pleased with the pace at which Visiting Angels is growing and is keeping a close eye on too much growth too fast.
“I don’t want to have a calling service; I want to be able to answer the phone,” he said.
Staying small enough to remain personal is a primary goal for Visiting Angels. Caregivers are selected and screened extensively, with Betz promising that the agency takes care of “a lot of the work for the families.” Those caregivers are then interviewed by the families before they begin to support anyone. The relationship between the caregiver and their charge is “crucial,” asserted Betz.
“That’s probably the biggest piece of the puzzle for us. A lot of people have the set of skills that are needed but the biggest x-factor for us is the relationship between the person receiving the care and the person providing the care,” Betz said. “And that’s a big part of my job; finding that match and making sure that match works.”
All Visiting Angels caregivers have at least two years of experience in the field but usually more, Betz added.
All of that effort and experience can go a long way. According to Betz, the average annual cost of a nursing home is around $82,000. In addition to that, Betz said that 90 percent of seniors 65 and older want to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
Visiting Angels’ care is perfect for that, continued Betz, and is also great for families where the younger members live far away from the senior and need someone to keep an eye on them regularly.
“It’s kind of the peace-of-mind business as well,” said Betz.
While the local operation is young, Visiting Angels company has a decade-plus pedigree, being founded in 1998. Betz also personally has 15 years’ experience in the care field as a social worker.
If able to keep growth consistent but manageable, Betz said that he hopes that the Visiting Angels in Berlin will be providing for about 70 families per year before it hits its 10-year anniversary.
For more information on Visiting Angels contact Betz at 443-513-4149 or visit www.visitingangels.com/BerlinEasternShore