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HART file photo
HART file photo

HART provides personalized, compassionate care at home

Fri, Jan 26th 2024 11:00 am

Guest Editorial by Patricia E. Berggren

Chairperson, Board of Directors


The recent passing of former first lady Rosalynn Carter reminded all of us of her lifelong role as a champion for those who devote their lives to caring for others.

At a 1987 event, she spoke these famous words: “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those that have been caregivers, those that are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.”

For over 40 years, HART (Home Assistance Referral Team) has also been a champion of the importance of caregivers in our lives by providing personalized and compassionate care in the homes of those requesting our assistance. Our free referral service connects seniors and others with qualified care, allowing them to remain independent and safe in their own homes. HART also provides respite care for families caring for loved ones who simply “need a break.”

Whether it is a senior asking for companionship, or a fulltime 24/7 case requiring health care assistance, HART’s caregivers range from home helpers to registered nurses … all of whom have been fully vetted with background checks.

The care model provided by HART is unique and personalized for every case. The requestor or a family member interviews caregivers matching their needs and they make a choice. That caregiver or team, if needed, will remain with the person throughout their case.

The requestor and their family have the comfort of knowing that the assigned caregiver will be a constant in their home, thus providing safety and a sense of familiarity. This is especially important for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The caregiver is often referred to as a “member of our family”… helping to allow their loved one to retain a sense of dignity and identity.

Much has been written about the value of helping vulnerable seniors and those with special needs to “age in place.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as: “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”

Today, someone turning 65 has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

These statistics are having a direct impact on HART’s operation. While mainly serving communities in Niagara County for many years, we are now seeing a dramatic increase in requests from the Greater Niagara community including areas in Erie County. The COVID pandemic has seen our cases skyrocket, as families seek care for loved ones in the safety of their own home. Thankfully, our roster of caregivers has grown considerably to meet this need.

HART continues to be most proud of our service to those entrusted to our care, and this growth only emphasizes the need for us to remain viable. We are a not-for-profit organization that does not charge those in need for referral services. To that end, we have been most fortunate to operate solely on the generous donations of individuals, businesses, grants and community events.

Our board of directors realizes, however, the need to dramatically increase charitable support in order to serve increased requests. During the month of February, we will initiate a community appeal primarily through print and social media.

If you have received home care from HART for a family member, passed our information along to a friend, or simply realize that one day you may need us … please consider a gift to HART, or include us in your estate planning. We promise to be here for you well into the future – and hope you will be there for us as we continue to grow.

For information about our services, to become a caregiver or to make a donation, please contact HART at 716-754-8313 or go to our website at www.hartprogram.org. You can also check us out on Facebook.

HART offices are located at 505 Cayuga St., Lewiston.

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