It’s the big heart behind the small business that’s making Stay@Home Senior Services a success. Karen Sergeant puts heart and soul into her business every day – whether it’s grocery shopping, going to appointments or light house cleaning – she listens to her clients and acts on their wishes.
Above all, she doesn’t judge, criticize or make anyone feel ashamed of what’s happening to them. “We’ll all be in the same boat someday,” she says, explaining it becomes a dignity and independence issue as you grow older.
Sergeant has been in business for just over four months and already has 15 clients. The Balderson-based woman sees clients weekly, bi-weekly, on a monthly basis, “or when someone calls and needs something.”
From the time she was 13 and worked, on occasion, with her grandmother at the Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls, she’s worked with people who need help. The compassion she learned there, and at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Centre in Ottawa, stands her in good stead now at the age of 53, as she’s embarking on her new business.
Readers might recognize her from the Metro in Perth – she managed the bakery there, but in the back of her mind was always the desire to start her own business. She knows she’s a good manager and enjoyed being a boss, she likes to organize and schedule and run things, she’s proud of her accomplishments, and she lays the responsibility for all these attributes directly on her father’s shoulders. “He instilled pride in us,” she remembers.
So when the stars aligned for her (leaving her job, starting a course at the Small Business Advisory Centre in Smiths Falls, winning a grant in a Dragon’s Den-like competition) she grabbed her chance and started a business. The grant helped with advertising, equipment, and uniforms, and allowed her an appearance of professionalism she might not have otherwise had. It is also helping to further her learning about seniors in an online course which will eventually make her a certified professional consultant on aging. Her biggest asset, she says, is knowledge, and she’s out to get it.
Presently Sergeant offers transportation to local appointments and accompaniment, if requested; shopping, outings or going for a drive; errands done and groceries delivered; light housekeeping and laundry; paperwork, phone calls, internet searches; gardening and fall clean-up; companionship and respite care, and other non-medical assistance, if requested.
She is available and will work 24/7 but so far has not been asked to stay overnight, “just days and evenings.” Her travel radius is 25 km around Perth (a 15 to 20 minute drive); that takes in McDonald’s Corners, Hopetown, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, and Rideau Ferry.
She charges $25 per hour (which includes mileage), but if it’s for three consecutive hours the price drops to $20 per hour. She doesn’t give baths or medicine as she’s not trained as a Personal Support Worker. She has current CPR and AED training as well as a liability insurance policy. Her clients range in age from 65 to over 80 but she will care for younger people as well – “anyone who needs it.”
“I’m totally above board. I look after [my clients] as if they were my family, no different than my mother.”
Reach her at 613-812-4486. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org; her website is presently under construction.
This article was first published in the April 2018 issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our April 2018 issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer (find a list of locations here) or read our digital version.