8.25.2010

Teaming up to provide Peace of Mind

After years spent working in nursing homes around the Capital Region as an aide to the elderly, Karen Backus felt it was time to get closer to her work.

The South Glens Falls resident recently teamed up with Rayeanne Morin, of Queensbury, to open Peace of Mind Home Care, a private home care business serving the elderly in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

“We have both been doing elder home care for 20 years but decided to go into business for ourselves,” Backus said. “Every time I left the nursing home, I felt like I never finished my job. You couldn’t do enough to help them because you have 15 other people to take care of. If you really want to give someone 100 percent of your time, the only way to do that is in their home.”

Backus is a past-certified elder care aide who has also trained in massage therapy. She grew up in Kingston and Lake George, learning home care skills from her mother, who ran their house as a state home for mentally and physically handicapped individuals.

Now, at 51, Backus is doing the training. Along with Morin, 41, she has hired about 12 aides and is matching them up with local clients to provide a variety of non-medical services: everything from total bed care to transportation to and from appointments, running errands, making meals, housework and wheelchair assistance.

Because Peace of Mind is a private small business, as opposed to a nursing home or assisted living facility, there is no certification requirement for her newly hired aides, Backus said. Instead, they learn through on-the-job training.

“We set the houses up, put teams in each house and supervise them,” Backus said.

Most clients are homebound individuals 65 or older who are ill or need companionship. Some have disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s, all of which her crew is trained to handle, Backus said.

“Private care is just wonderful care because you really get to know the person and their family,” Morin added. “It takes compassion, kindness and patience.”

Peace of Mind Home Care services cost $20 to $30 an hour. Call 708-9732 or 338-8769 for more information.

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