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New visiting service brings social contact to lonely seniors

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Do we live in a community where some of our older citizens are so lonely families are willing to pay for a visiting service?

Absolutely, says Kim Halerwich-Clark.

“I know there are people who are isolated in their homes. I’ve seen it first-hand,” she said. “Family schedules are so busy, it’s difficult for them to make time to visit regularly, or families live too far away.”

Halerwich-Clark has launched a new visiting service where she will talk with a client in their home or retirement facility, and focus on their interests for one to two hours at a time.

“I’m opening it up to anyone 65 and over,” she said. “So many people have absolutely no social outlet and they need someone willing to listen to them.”

Prices for Earth Angels Visiting Service range from $99 a month for three one-hour visits, to $499 a month for 10 two-hour visits.

Halerwich-Clark, 47, said she began thinking of the business concept nearly a decade ago while working as the activities director of a Sarnia retirement home. A group of residents there never participated in the organized programs, she said.

“They didn’t have family coming in to see them either. They would have been very isolated if we didn’t have a volunteer to visit them.”

But volunteers are hard to find and can’t meet the demand in the community, Halerwich-Clark said. “I know there are some volunteer visiting programs out there but I think it’s a marketable service too.”

Health-care professionals or personal support workers who may come into a home aren’t able to offer the same service she can, Halerwich-Clark contends.

“They don’t have time to chat. They do their work and have to leave. My program is about one-on-one social interaction.”

She said it’s a sad reflection on society that even neighbours no longer know one another well enough to have coffee.

“If someone is a church goer, then that’s wonderful, but so many people are not. This is really about getting to know someone, being compassionate and empathetic.”

Halerwich-Clark grew up in the Listowel area and moved to Corunna 11 years ago where she and her partner raised a blended family. She has a diploma in hospitality and tourism and was a real estate agent for four years.

In 2013, she began writing self-help books and has self-published seven of them, including one about losing her son Logan in a car crash in 2015.

Along with Earth Angels Visiting, she has numerous ventures that fall under the personal development umbrella, including a line of holistic remedies and oils. She is also facilitating a workshop on Oct. 17 at the Lochiel Kiwanis Centre called Coping with the Death of a Loved One.

Halerwich-Clark is the sole employee at Earth Angels Visiting but hopes to hire professional visitors if demand warrants. An initial consultation is free-of-charge.

For details about the workshop or visiting service, visit online or contact Halerwich-Clark at [email protected] or call 519-292-6493.

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