By Patricia E. Berggren
President, HART Board of Directors
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the way all of us lead our daily lives. While taking precautions to avoid the virus and its pandemic spread, many of us also have the added emotional stress of managing the care of loved ones or friends living alone who are elderly or infirm.
HART (Home Assistance Referral Team) is an organization that has served the Greater Niagara community and adjacent areas since 1982. Our mission is to enable the elderly and infirm to maintain an independent lifestyle in their own homes by linking them with qualified and affordable assistance.
Services include health and personal care, skilled nursing care, respite for family caregivers, companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping and yard work and errands.
Sources tell us that, instead of admission to a hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home, more and more seniors are choosing to receive care in their homes. This is often referred to as “aging in place,” and allows those in need to be treated or helped in the security and privacy of their own living arrangements. As our senior population grows, more Americans are expected to take advantage of home health care.
The uniqueness of HART is that we are a free referral service. Our caregivers are prescreened through background checks, personal interviews, references and training verification. There is no fee to be registered as a caregiver, and also no charge to those requesting services. Cases involving long-term care insurance are also accepted.
Rate of pay for care or assistance is mutually agreed upon by the person requesting services and the caregiver or service provider. HART does provide guidance on recommended hourly rates.
For nearly 40 years, all operating costs incurred by HART are provided by charitable support from the generosity of individual and business donors, grants and proceeds from community fundraising events. No time in our history has this support been more important as we continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us.
HART has remained open during this current health crisis and our care coordinators continue to respond to inquiries. We salute them and our nearly 300 caregivers who haven’t missed a beat in providing dedicated assistance to those entrusted to their care.
We look forward to helping you or a family member or friend stay healthy during these challenging times.
HART is located at 505 Cayuga St., Lewiston.