The Roundup -

By Tie Shank 

Searching for a Richland County Homemaker


"You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give"-that quote rings very true for Richland County Commission on Aging's most recent homemaker. Linda Lunstad worked for more than a year providing contracted homemaking services (light duty housework) to elderly clients in Richland County. While this did tend to be a full-time job, it was much more than that to Linda-and to her clients. Linda recently moved away from Richland County but says she is still missing her job. "I just think it's one of the most rewarding ways to make a living. I became friends with every one of the people I helped and they were a blessing to me, that was the hardest part about leaving for me." One of the customers receiving Homemaker services says they'll miss Linda for much the same reason, "She was just always so cheerful. Sometimes I looked forward to the company as much as I did getting my house clean." These sentiments are echoed routinely by all 62 clients on the homemaker list.

Linda not only left the area but also some big shoes to fill. Sadly, the Commission on Aging has been unable to find someone who can satisfactorily take up the post which leaves a big gap in the services to the elderly of Richland County. Many elderly clients depend on the homemaker service to do the things that they are no longer able to do. One client says, "I don't know how I would manage without the homemaker. It's too hard to keep up with the house on my own but I really don't want to leave it."

That is the goal of the program, to keep people living in their own homes for as long as possible. Unfortunately, without someone to fill the position, the program won't do much good. Linda says she can't understand why people aren't standing in line to be the next homemaker. "This is the best job in the world; I have hard time even calling it a job. It's contracted so you basically get to bid what YOU want to make per hour and you get to set your own schedule. On top of that, it's the single most rewarding thing most people will ever get the chance to do." Jodi Berry at the Commission on Aging says this is a program that is definitely missed in its absence. "We get a couple of calls every single day wondering how the search is going. It's hard when people have been counting on a service and it suddenly ends. We just want to get someone up and running soon."

The Homemaker position has its advantages. Because it's not an employee position, prospective workers can bid what they feel is a fair hourly wage that encompasses all their expenses. Contractors do need to have reliable transportation to get to and from client's homes in Fairview, Savage, Sidney and Lambert and obtain their own workman's comp insurance policy. The program will supply all cleaning supplies and equipment. If you are interested in learning more about the Homemaker position, you can call the Commission on Aging at 433-3701.


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