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Senior concierge service started on Pine Island

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Jul 27, 2021

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

Occupational therapist Jody Franke began her business, Pine Island Wellness at Home, because she has a passion to help those who need it to stay independent for as long as possible. With a heavy focus on senior concierge, Franke said it’s important to help people keep their independence as long as possible by allowing them to “age in place.”

“A lot of people will fall and break their hip and they end up in a skilled nursing facility, where they’re under rehab in physical or occupational therapy,” said Franke.

When the pandemic happened, Franke said her 40-plus occupational therapy patient number dwindled down too far for her to continue managing financially. The progressive slow-down, in addition to the heavy amount of traveling she was doing for her job, made her question the way she was expending her energy. The one constant was that she loved what she was doing, but she soon realized there was enough need in her own backyard on Pine Island to continue to do what she is meant to do right here.

“Nobody wants to be a patient,” said Franke. “I literally go in like a friend.”

Franke explained the various needs people have, from healing after an injury to something as innocuous as getting their cookbooks together. Whatever motivates someone to continue living as they deserve to live is key in doing her job.

“People need to be able to live their lives in their own homes without people barking at them, that they need to go to an ALF (assisted living facility), when sometimes all they need help with is buying groceries and making breakfast,” Franke said.

The amount of time needed by clients fluctuates, she said, as some may need her as little as an hour a week and others may need several hours per day. The little things she is able to do for her clients add up to their being able to flow through their life, assisting them by tackling chores most people take for granted, such as helping an unsteady client polish their nails or hanging their clothes.

As solely an occupational therapist, Franke found she was often buried under paperwork, having to individually document everything she did with a client, rather than being free to ascertain what they most need and provide more well-rounded assistance.

“Sometimes I get to spend three hours cooking a meal with someone. They have someone they can count on — they have a relationship.”

Keeping the cost affordable, she said, allows her clients to retain her services, while simultaneously allowing her to stay on the island, caring for locals. The difference in going into a facility and being cared for at home is immense, Franke said, explaining that it can take years after an injury to get back to where someone was.

“Everyone knows someone who needs help,” Franke said. “Allow them to be independent and happy in the greatest years and moments of their life — they deserve it.

“This is something we needed on the island. I’m happy to be able to do this for people.”

Contact Pine Island Wellness at home at 239-940-0767 or visit www.pineislandwellnessathome.com for additional information about the service.