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Trudy Strewler-Hodges is the director of home care for Envida, which serves clients and caregivers in Teller County.

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As the trend toward aging at home gains steam, the business of home care is thriving. Less expensive than a nursing home or assisted-living facility, the new wave of care, some from a loved one, is comforting.

For residents of Teller county, Envida — the former Amblicab — offers two types of personal home care for the elderly, the blind, the disabled and those with head or spinal-cord injuries. Some clients need an attendant who can help with bathing, using the restroom, taking medications, transferring from a chair to a bed or vice versa, for instance. Others may need an Envida employee to clean house, do laundry, cook meals or shop for groceries.

“We want them to be able to remain independent with dignity intact for as long as possible,” said Trudy Strewler-Hodges, Envida’s director of home care.

A nonprofit organization, Envida (“together in life”) relies on employees rather than caretakers who are self-employed. “So through Medicaid we can pay family and friends of the family to care for an individual whom they love,” Strewler-Hodges said, adding that the consumer has to qualify for Medicaid.

However, while Envida does not accept insurance other than Medicaid but does take private pay. “Not everyone can afford to do that but it is another way we’ve expanded our services,” Strewler-Hodges said. “But a lot of individuals think they don’t qualify for Medicaid; you can own your home and have a car and still qualify.”

The caretaker is paid by the hour to fulfill goals of individualized care plans, each based on an assessment of the consumer’s needs. “We have the ability to pay a caregiver full-time, up to 40 hours a week, if the person needs that,” she said.

Envida employees receive medical benefits if they provide care more than 30 hours a week. “We’re proud of that because most medical agencies don’t provide medical benefits,” she said.

As well, after a year, Envida offers employees a 401(k) retirement plan, with up to a 3 percent match by the agency.

“Part of the reason we approach things in this way is that we’re a nonprofit and want to make sure our employees feel valued,” Strewler-Hodges said.

While the nonprofit organization is based in Colorado Springs, Envida serves 22 clients in Teller County with the same number of employees, all residents. “We match the employee with the consumer because matches matter — we want that employee to stay with that consumer for months, if not years,” she said.

Recently, Envida merged with The Resource Exchange which has replaced Rocky Mountain Options as the point-of-entry. “It may seem complex but it isn’t — the contact can be put in place within a couple of weeks,” Strewler-Hodges said. “But you can call us and we can walk you through the process.”

The initial appointment includes an assessment of the client’s needs. “It’s important to assess early and then get the care that will keep you from having accidents or taking a risk medically,” she said. “It’s been proven that home care actually decreases the number of hospitalizations and emergency-room visits.”

For information, call Strewler-Hodges at 645-8350 or David Samson at 301-6870, or check envidacares.org, which includes an assessment tool to determine qualifications for home care.

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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