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This article was published 8/4/2019 (797 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A home-care agency that started out in rural Manitoba is expanding to the big city.
Heavenly Care Agency, which offers personalized care and companionship for elderly clients, opened its doors in the summer of 2018 with outposts in Morden and Carman. Celma Pinto, the company’s CEO and a trained health-care aide, says the response in those communities was strong, which suggested to her Winnipeg might be worth exploring as a third market.
"The aging population is growing (in rural Manitoba)," said Pinto, who also has a commerce degree from the Asper School of Business. "That same thing is happening in Winnipeg."
According to a 2018 provincial Health, Seniors and Active Living population report, approximately 15.8 per cent of people living within the Winnipeg Health Region are at or above the age of 65. By 2040, a report by the Conference Board of Canada predicts that portion of the population will jump to 21.1 per cent.
As the population ages, Pinto says, the demand for services increases. And, from her research and in her experience, there was a gap for services that allowed for seniors to receive care — including bathing, cleaning, grooming, transport or accompaniment — while remaining independent and at home.
Before she started the business last summer, Pinto visited rural communities and got a sense that many seniors seeking care had to leave their communities to get it.
"I thought, ‘What’s a better way for me to help these people where they can stay in their communities without being displaced?"
The agency officially opened in Morden in September, and Carman in November.
Pinto understands how it feels to be displaced: when she came to Winnipeg from Mozambique, on a scholarship to the University of Manitoba, she spoke Portuguese and struggled to learn English and to keep up with her new surroundings.
When she graduated, she began to settle in, but it took time, and finding a career in the financial field proved difficult. Her mother was a nurse, she said, so she was drawn to do the same type of work, which led to her enrolment at Robertson College to become a health-care aide, working in clinical and home settings. She later studied nursing at Red River College, but didn’t finish the program. Still, she knew that caring for seniors was her calling.
Pinto says her business is aimed at personalizing care for seniors, meaning her hired care providers can do anything within their abilities to make life at home easier for clients, and assess their needs ahead of time. That could mean doing anything from coming over to help with food preparation, medication monitoring and laundry or accompanying clients on trips to the doctor’s office.
"Home care is not going to clean your fridge," she laughed. "There’s no limitations with us."
Pinto says she often encourages clients to apply for the provincial self- and family-managed care programs, which assesses a person’s need level and then gives them or a family member the appropriate financial means to take care of themselves. "If they can’t do it, they come to an agency like us."
For now, the agency is operating out of Pinto’s home, but she is seeking an office space in the city. The services cost a baseline fee of $25 per hour, and a free consultation is offered.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.