Business Profile: At Home Services for Independent Living, Inc.

01/11/2011 10:22 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO At Home Services for Independent Living owner Holly Vescovi, left, with her assistant Heather Newman, at their home office.

Owner: Holly Vescovi

Year established: 1997

Location: 370 Rocky Point Road, P.O. Box 194, East Marion

Phone: 631-477-3095

Number of employees: 7

In 1982, Holly Vescovi of Cutchogue, then a recently divorced mother of four, found work as a home health aide through a friend who ran a local placement agency. She later moved on to a career with the U.S. Postal Service but, after retiring in 1996, returned to home health work. She was assigned a case that was tough but straightforward, involving an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s. It turned out the woman’s husband was ill, too, with Parkinson’s disease, and between them they took 27 medications and saw five doctors.

Ms. Vescovi was taken aback by the day-to-day problems the couple faced and the limited choice of services available in the area to help them. “It put me in a state of mind to do something better,” she recalled.

After spending a year getting her state employment placement license, Ms. Vescovi founded At Homes Services for Independent Living, Inc.

Today, she has seven full-time aides on staff and about 100 carefully screened independent aides placed in homes across the East End. Her daughter, Heather Newman, recently joined the agency as an executive assistant.

For a fee, the agency connects clients with companion aides who can help the elderly and disabled stay in their own homes and remain independent. The aides provide non-medical help with daily tasks — from housecleaning, cooking, shopping, transportation to doctors, daily hygiene and walking the dog to helping clients bathe and dress and reminding them to take medications.

Aides can be hired on a part-time, full-time or live-in basis. Fees and wages vary. Clients can pay independent aides directly or have the agency handle payments — including all the legally required deductions clients often ignore — or they can engage one of the agency’s own staff aides, who are paid a salary by the agency.

Ms. Vescovi said her aides are the highest paid in the area, with hourly wages starting at $17. “You get what you pay for,” she said, explaining that her rates enable her to attract, screen and choose from the best candidates.

During her first year of business, she said, “I wondered if the phone was broken.” It’s not like that now. With the East End’s large elderly population, and so many trying to stay at home on their own, her agency’s services are in high demand.

The aqency is licensed, bonded and fully insured and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call or go to athomeeldercareservices.com for more information. Consultations are offered without obligation.