Thanks to a trio of Barnegat residents, Galloway residents who have elderly family members and family members in need have an alternative option to nursing homes.
Lou and Kelly Marrero opened Comfort Keepers at 29 South New York Road, Suite 600 in the Smithville section of the township this week.
Their office services Atlantic and Cape May counties, and their intention is to open a Cape May County office site at some point in the near future. There are 24 offices throughout the state, including Toms River, Red Bank, Haddonfield, Lakewood, Trenton, Secaucus and Freehold, among others. However, the Galloway office is the one located furthest south, where there has been a growing need for Comfort Keepers’ services.
“Our Red Bank office was getting continuous calls looking for services,” Client Care Specialist Kelly Marrero said. “There are competitors down here, but they’re not as large as we are. We were bombarded with opportunities even prior to opening.”
Comfort Keepers is the largest in-home provider of non-medical care, according to the Marreros. “With 6,500 baby-boomers retiring every year and living longer, the need for care is going to skyrocket over the next 20-30 years.”
Comfort Keepers was founded in 1997, according to the company’s website, and now has 550 offices worldwide, including locations in Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Comfort Keepers in Galloway currently has 15 caregivers, and is still in the process of hiring. The caregivers visit the company’s clients in their homes, and each person receives one-on-one care from the same person as often as needed. They provide both personal care and act as companions for those experiencing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as other mental illnesses and in need.
The Marreros said those experiencing these problems feel as though they’re losing their independence, and putting them in a facility can only add to their downward spiral.
“This way, they keep their sense of independence and we help strengthen their will to live longer,” Kelly Marrero said.
Those providing personal care are CNA certified, and all caregivers undergo comprehensive background checks, the Marellos said. They said they also conduct monthly background checks on those already hired, and approximately one out of every 15 or 16 applicants gets hired.
“We wouldn’t send anyone into a home if we wouldn’t be comfortable sending them into our own parents’ homes,” Comfort Keepers President Lou Marrero said.
Both Marreros have older parents, and Nursing Director Christine Arbasetti had to use care services for her mother, inspiring all three to want to join the cause.
Arbasetti conducts assessments of the clients and their home environments during visits that take place during the application process. She also provides training to caregivers, and has a background working in doctor’s offices and hospitals.
“We can’t give medicine,” Arbasetti said. “We can remind them to take it, open the bottle for them, but if they don’t want to take it, we have to call the family and alert them. We provide the family with day-to-day insight.”
While Lou Marrero is originally from New York City and grew up in the Bronx, all three now live in Barnegat.
Comfort Keepers also provides care for those in rehab, without providing the actual rehab, as well as transportation for dependents who need it. Caregivers are available as much as 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and as little as 3-4 hours, based on need. Rates are also based on need.
For more information on Comfort Keepers, visit http://comfortkeepers.com/office-917.