A little help to stay at home with Home Instead Senior Care

Home Instead Senior Care
Jen Becker looks on as Mary Ann Martell works out. Ed's quilt hang in the background

Home Instead Senior Care

Jen Becker does not hesitate to say it. “I love my work.” For seven years now, she has been helping to make it possible for seniors and others with health or mobility issues to stay in their own homes and function independently. After working in customer service for a long time, she was ready for a change when she found a position on Craig’s List for an in-home caregiver at Home Instead Senior Care. She applied and after a background check, drug screening and training, she had her first placement.

Sarah Harlow, home care liaison for the company, explained that before they pair a provider with a client, there is a careful evaluation to make sure the match will be compatible. Home Instead is committed to encouraging the development of one-on-one relationships between providers and clients. Caregivers do everything from help with dressing, bathing, hygiene and light housework to grocery shopping, preparing dinner, and sitting down to eat together.

Home Instead Senior Care
Ed’s wedding gift wall hanging in process. Home Instead Senior Care.

Becker became a presence in the rural home of Mary Ann Martell and Ed Harris 18 months ago. Despite living with multiple sclerosis for a long time, Martell remains a vibrant, active member of the Wellington community. She just needs a little extra help because of limited mobility. Her husband, attorney Ed Harris, has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis and found sometimes he needed help as well.

Becker shows up three days a week from 8 to 9 a.m. She straightens up the house a bit, makes sure there’s some breakfast for the pair and then assists Martell with her exercise regime. “Use it or lose,” Martell says. These days she is committed to working out her arms and legs and appreciates the encouragement Becker provides. “I have good days and those when I need help,” Martell says. Five days a week, Crysten Szedarsky from Home Instead arrives at 6 p.m. at the couple’s home and gets dinner on the table. It gives them time to relax and watch the news, which makes a big difference in their lives.

Martell says it is often the little things you don’t think about that make life easier for her. Becker carries the dirty clothes to the laundry room,a task that would take Martell several trips with her walker. She also appreciates something called Stand By Assist or SBA which allows Martell to go down a flight of stairs, something she cannot do without someone standing by and offering gentle encouragement.

Harris has not yet returned to his work with the Supreme Court in Cheyenne, but he is well on the road to recovery. A talented artist and quilter, he was busy with completing a distinctive wall hanging he is creating as a wedding gift.

In 2019 Home Instead celebrated its four millionth hour of care in Larimer and Weld counties and in Estes Park. Locally owned by Mike and Carol Maguire since 2001, the couple is close friends of founders Paul and Lori Hogan of Omaha, Nebraska. The Maguires are committed to the business of enriching the lives of both seniors and caregivers.

The goal is not to take over a client’s life but to help where assistance is needed, and to contribute to a person’s social life by developing a positive relationship. Providers also offer a welcome break for family caregivers that aids in avoiding caregiver burnout.


Home Instead was formed in 1994 when Paul Hogan realized the need while caring for his grandmother who was able to remain at home past age 100. Today there are more than 1,000 Home Instead franchises everywhere from Topeka to Tokyo. The Home Instead Center for Successful Aging was formed in 2008 to educate caregivers and promote preventive care for seniors. Home Instead Fort Collins is located at 251 Boardwalk, (970)-494-0289. They can also be reached online. There is no cost for an initial visit and review of the program provided by the care manager who will assess needs and see how a prospective client can benefit from the service.



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