North Texas Daily

Comfort Keepers serves clients as friends

Comfort Keepers serves clients as friends

March 31
03:02 2016

Haley Yates | Staff Writer

@haleysocoollike

Though she thought it was a mattress company, Natalie Woods was already looking for a permanent position in Denton when Comfort Keepers contacted her about a position as office manager after finding her resume online.

Woods felt that her resume was “alright,” but knew that her passion and heart for people were what made it shine to founder, and nurse, Becca Allford.

“With all the activism that I do, I was looking for a gig that could bleed into my volunteer work, and now they do,” she said. “It was fate that they happened to find me. I thought it was too good to be true because everything is always too good to be true.”

Comfort Keepers aims to provide personal care to seniors and adults who need assistance and want to stay in the comfort of their own home. The franchise opened their office this week, and are now waiting for their first client and caregiver. Some clients are recruited through hospitals, home health agencies or social workers, but most client referrals are by word of mouth.

Upon brainstorming business ideas for a new startup, a franchise consultant suggested dog grooming, window blinds and a multitude of other ideas. After she suggested Comfort Keepers, Allford knew it was the perfect fit. 

“Different people need different kinds of help, so we’re not just in one bracket,” Woods said. “Seniors are our primary focus, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t reach out and put a companion in the home of somebody in need.”

Allford will be going into the client’s home to assess what level of care they might need, whether it’s companionship or more immediate needs like mobility assistance or grooming needs.

Comfort Keepers offers different levels of care, seeing as some clients might just need someone to take them to the movies, while others require more homemaking care services like bathing and cooking. Part of Woods’ job is matching up the right caregiver with the right people based on their personalities and individual needs.

“One of the most important aspects of Comfort Keepers is the focus on interactive caregiving,” Allford said. “We want our caregivers to be getting involved with clients. For example, not just cooking for them but getting them involved too.”

The franchise in Denton started up after a consultant told Allford about the company and said there was territory available in Denton. Woods said that although Denton is sometimes generalized as a college town, many people retire here and are raising families who might have to move a family member in with them.

“I know our services are needed in Denton because when I’ve worked with nursing homes here, there were people who could take care of themselves, but needed a little extra assistance. So, their family put them in a home,” Woods said. “I love the idea of allowing someone to still have their independence on top of being able to employ the people of Denton who want to help for the greater good.”

Woods also said that she foresees a greater life expectancy in seniors that are allowed to stay at home and salvage their independence. Placing seniors in assisted living homes can affect the whole family, she said, and create a shockwave of anger, bitterness and sadness.

Allford said if there is an immediate need a client needs access to that Comfort Keepers can’t provide, a nursing home may be a more viable option.

“It’s scary to jump right into a nursing home,” Allford said. “The elderly are generally at risk for depression as a result of aging. You pull them out of their homes and throw them into a new environment and they have to move out of their homes where all of their memories are.”

Comfort Keepers also offers a software called Family Room that allows family members to watch their loved ones live, what tasks have been performed by caregivers and any notes the caregivers have left.

“We want a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Because, for a lot of seniors, it’s an uncomfortable situation to ask for help,” Allford said. “It’s mutually beneficial for caregivers and our clients because it’s very rewarding work. 

Featured Image: Becca Allford opened up Denton’s franchise of Comfort Keepers in March. Haley Yates | Staff Photographer

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