A Helping Hand from a Personal Assistant

When Sara Green first learned about Seniors At Home’s Personal Assistant Services, that provide older adults help with organizational projects, household management, tech support, and other tasks, she knew right away that it was the perfect solution for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi is 92. She lives in a senior living community and is very independent. But certain chores are getting harder for her to manage, in part because of her macular degeneration.

Sara and Naomi

“Naomi and I get together every Wednesday to run errands, have lunch, and go grocery shopping,” says Sara. “She’d tell me, ‘Oh, I have a stack of papers at home that I have to go through,’ or ‘Oh, I have a honey-do list of things I need to take care of.’ These tasks were a little bit tedious or getting harder for her to do. I’d come over and we’d start to go through the stack of papers, or to organize a cabinet she wanted to neaten up. But we would end up chitchatting, and the list would never get done. It’s more fun to chat!”

As a longtime volunteer and donor with JFCS, Sara was familiar with Seniors At Home’s Personal Assistant Services and thought they might be just what Naomi needed. She knew her mother-in-law didn’t need home care, but maybe having some sort of professional help would be useful. She reached out to Seniors At Home, and Naomi was matched with a personal assistant, Mary Kay.

“A natural problem-solver”

The two clicked right away. “The first time I saw Mary Kay she had this smile and an open face. I liked her immediately,” says Naomi.

Once or twice a week, Mary Kay comes to Naomi’s home and helps her place Amazon orders, troubleshoot devices, and keep her home organized. “When she’s here to help, it keeps me from getting frustrated,” Naomi says.

A few of the projects Mary Kay has helped with: Making sure the flashlights that Naomi keeps around her home have fresh batteries. Finding a better price (and free shipping!) for an alarm clock that Naomi planned to purchase. Making Naomi an appointment at the DMV. Reading the small print on her CPAP machine manual and calling the manufacturer to order a part that needed to be replaced.

Sara appreciates that Mary Kay doesn’t just help Naomi with her to-do list—she also anticipates Naomi’s needs and finds solutions. For example, Mary Kay noticed that Naomi was having trouble seeing inside some of her darker cabinets. She found illuminated light switches that would be easy for Mary Kay to see, even with her declining sight. Once Mary Kay had the switches installed, Naomi found it much easier to switch on the light and see her belongings.

“Mary Kay is more than a helper. She’s a friend.”

“She’s just a treasure,” Naomi says of Mary Kay. “I can’t say enough about how lovely she is to have here. She’s more than a helper. She’s a friend.”

Sometimes the two just enjoy fresh air and companionship. “We’ll go down to her track and walk and talk,” says Mary Kay. “Naomi has a wicked sense of humor. We laugh a lot together.”

Mary Kay adds, “I love spending time with Naomi and hearing stories about earlier years in her life. I love helping her age gracefully. I really love helping people–this might be a job, but I genuinely enjoy it!”

“A personal assistant relieves the pressure”

“I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law,” Sara says. “And now that Mary Kay is in her life, my husband and I love that we’re able to spend time with Naomi going out to lunch, or just having fun.”

She points out that sometimes it’s easier to accept help from an assistant than from one’s adult child. “Having a personal assistant takes pressure off us because we don’t have to use our time together helping her with these tasks. And it takes pressure off Naomi, too, because she can have these things taken care of without feeling like she needs to ask us for help.”

“It gives us such warmth just knowing that there’s somebody else out there who is loving and helping toward Naomi,” she says. “We are so grateful.”

We understand that every older adult’s needs are different. Our personal assistants are prepared to tailor their help to an individual’s requirements. To learn more, or to see whether our Personal Assistant Services are a good fit for you or an older adult in your life, click here.