Care provider advocates for aging portion of population

Dave McKendry
Dave McKendry

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Dave McKendry foresees an aging population less in terms of what others have described as a “tsunami” and more in terms of an “evening out” of young and old.

Seniors need help, though, whether that’s through the services McKendry’s business provides, more age-friendly policies or less bias. “It’s about us all being in the community,” he said.

McKendry and his wife, Meshelle, own and operate Right at Home in Grand Junction, one of more than 500 locations for a franchise offering a range of in-home services to seniors, the disabled and those recovering from surgeries or illnesses.

The couple and their staff of more than 40 caregivers serve a geographic region that includes Mesa County well as Delta, Garfield and Montrose counties.

Right at Home specializes in nonmedical services that include such homemaker services as cleaning, meal preparation and shopping as well as such personal care services as assistance with bathing.

Right at Home in Grand Junction is among the biggest Easterseals providers in Colorado in offering services to adults and seniors with disabilities under an Easterseals program, Dave McKendry said.

McKendry said the couple bought the Right at Home franchise two years ago as a career change after he operated a decorative painting business.

McKendry said the couple was looking for a business in an industry resistant to economic changes, but also one that followed best practices and provided services to the community in which the business was located. “We knew we wanted something that was very community based.”

Right at Home constituted a good fit, he said. “We found a company we felt was extraordinary.”

Customer service is a priority, he said, whether that’s promptly returning telephone calls or “keeping the client at the center of our care.”

The McKendrys recently hosted a workshop to address misconceptions about an aging population, advocate for age-friendly policies and decrease what they see as biases against older people.

An aging baby boom generation and an aging population more generally have been described as a “silver tsunami” that will affect health care, the economy and work place.

Mesa County is home to a growing number of retirees along with an aging population, McKendry said.

But he said he sees the situation more as an “evening out” of older and younger people in the same community.

That means making accommodations that help seniors, he said, citing as possible examples a grocery store lanes offering a slower checkout process or workshops that teach seniors in a simple and patient way how to use their smartphones.

There can be biases against older employees in the work force although seniors can bring unique attributes to their jobs, he added.

McKendry said it’s important for him and his business to advocate on behalf of an aging population. “We are in the business to be part of the community and health of older adults.”

For more information about Right at Home in Grand Junction, call 697-1331 or visit the website at www.gjhomecare.com.