Elk County HomeMakers staff

Pictured are Elk County HomeMakers office assistant Kylee Ehrensberger, Supervisor Shawn Myslinski and Assistant Supervisor Marla Quail.

ST. MARYS — An agency that provides in-home care for seniors and disabled individuals opened recently on Erie Avenue in St. Marys.

Elk County HomeMakers assists people in Cameron, Elk and McKean counties with daily tasks they encounter while living within the home, such as bathing, vacuuming, transportation and more, according to Supervisor of Care Shawn Myslinski.

County HomeMakers, which also has a DuBois location, has been providing “alternative nursing homes” since 2005.

The agency and its people believe many seniors would rather stay in the comfort of their homes, without being placed in a nursing home, Myslinski said, which is where Elk County Homemakers comes in.

“The most important qualities we search for in a personal care aide are compassion, adaptability and the willingness to be an advocate for the elderly population,” he said. “We hope to grow our Elk County Homemakers office, and continue to provide top-notch care to our local residents, and hopefully many more.”

County HomeMwakers Services Director Felisha Reich said 21 percent of people in Elk County are over the age of 65.

“Elk County has a population of 30,000 people,” she said. “There are a limited number of nursing facilities there, leaving the elderly and their families to consider the benefits of in-home care.”

The limited number of home-care providers in the area opened the door for County Homemakers, Reich added.

“We have a genuine concern and compassion for our consumers, and want them to remain healthy and safe in their homes as long as possible,” she said. “It only made sense to bring our services to Elk County, where the elderly population needs more options for their long-term care.”

Having an in-home aide is also important, since if an elderly person would fall or have an emergency, someone is there to help them, Reich said.

“It allows the senior citizen to maintain their routine,” she said.

Administrative staff members are also trained to provide care, in case a personal care aid is unavailable.

It’s important to not take away a senior’s independence, Reich said, but encourage them to continue living their lives and make their own choices.

“As children, we are taught to be independent and free thinking,” Reich said. “We are taught to make sound decisions, and to do things for ourselves. Then, as we get older and become a senior citizen, we are told what decisions to make and what we can do for ourselves.

“Encouraging senior citizens to remain independent and to do things for themselves as much as possible allows them to feel useful and important.”

ECH will host open interviews for personal care aides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 23 at Pennsylvania Career Link of Elk And Cameron Counties in St. Marys.

For more information, visit www.countyhomemakers.com.