By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Professional Services | Issue: July 2010
Tracy Collins-Searcy, owner of Lifestyles Companion Care Services, hires only people she would feel comfortable taking care of her own grandmother.
Eliza is a sweet elderly lady. She stays active and still loves to cook, but she suffers from short-term memory loss. She often gets confused and anxious in the night, arising several times to make certain the door is locked. For her safety, she needs someone close at all times, but her family has no desire to put her in a nursing facility.
Thankfully, they do not have to. Through Lifestyles Companion Care Services, Eliza has a companion with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling her to live as full a life as possible, and giving her family the comforting knowledge that she is well cared for in a loving environment.
Situations like Eliza’s are becoming more and more common. Life expectancy in the United States is on the rise. It has more than doubled in the last century, so it is no wonder that the elderly now make up 13 percent of our population. This number is expected to rise to over 20 percent by 2050 and has already created a need for quality care for elderly family members.
In response to this need – and because of her heart for the elderly – Tracy Collins-Searcy started Lifestyles. Tracy had long been interested in issues concerning the elderly and had become educated on those matters. For years she was co-host of Senior Class Radio (KFAQ 1170 AM), where she participated in roundtable discussions on issues, information and services affecting seniors, until recently, when she decided to devote even more time to Lifestyles Companion Care Services.
Because of her extensive knowledge of and experience with seniors, she is very particular about the companions she hires. Each applicant must pass an extensive background and drug test before they can even be considered. “Elderly abuse is something you have to be ever mindful of,” Tracy states. “And there is so often theft when no one is looking. That’s why we are so selective of who we work with. I only hire people I would feel comfortable sending to my own grandmother’s home.”
Tracy points to such a person in Debbie Rush, who Tracy describes as the model companion. “Debbie loves helping people and has a genuine love for others, and that thoughtfulness and care really comes through in her work,” says Tracy. Debbie works for an elderly woman who comes from a close-knit family. The woman and her family have come to truly love and appreciate Debbie, and have welcomed her as part of the family.
Several packages are available to prospective clients, according to each various need. Some, like Eliza, need constant care, but some elderly people only need help a couple of days a week with light housekeeping and errands. No matter the need, however, Tracy reports that most elderly people enjoy the friendship offered by companions like Debbie most of all. “We are there to perform specific tasks, but we try very hard not to be task oriented,” says Tracy. “Instead, we try to be companionship oriented.”
With this attitude, it is easy for Tracy and staff to reach their ultimate goal: to improve the quality of life for every senior under the care of Lifestyles Companion Care Services. As Tracy says, “Let us spoil you in your old age. You deserve it.”