CHARLOTTE – Roberta and Les Farnum were looking for a growing city to launch their Home Instead Senior Care franchise. Charlotte fit the bill.
Since opening 18 years ago, Roberta Farnum estimates her company has served more than 5,000 families in Mecklenburg County.
“In the early days, my husband was going door to door educating people on what we were,” Roberta said. “People didn’t even know the concept of in-home care.”
Home Instead Senior Care allows older adults age in place by connecting them with caregivers to help them with daily tasks, like showers, meals and chores.
There was a time when the Farnums were the caregivers in their fledgling venture. Now they employ a general manager that oversees operations, which includes more than 250 employees and a scheduling department.
Charlotte is still growing, as is its senior population. Many move here to be with their children, while the influx of active adult communities allow more people to stay where they grew up or built their careers.
But Farnum said people don’t consider that they need extra care as they age. People also don’t want to think about the possibility of developing dementia.
A survey by Home Instead found that while 73 percent of seniors have a written will, only 13 percent have made plans for long-term care. While the AARP finds that 90 percent of seniors prefer to spend their final years at home, Home Instead found that 74 percent of seniors have shared their wishes with adult children.
Seniors don’t want to burden their children, while adult children find it difficult to approach their parents about long-term care. Typically, a crisis opens the door for the adult children to take action.
“It is a difficult conversation because people want to maintain their independence,” Farnum said. “If they talk about they’re going to need help, they’re afraid everyone’s going to gather around them and make decisions for them.”
Farnum said one of the biggest misconceptions people have about long-term care is that Medicare is going to pay for it. She recommends older adults educate themselves on investing in a long-term care policy.
Home Instead has resources to encourage seniors and their adult children to talk to one another about long-term care plans. Visit www.homeinstead.com.