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Homecare Agency Caters To A Fast-Growing Market

3 June 2008
News release

NZ’s Most Experienced Private Homecare Agency Caters To A Fast-Growing Market

As the population ages and more elderly people choose to stay in their own homes, the demand for in-home care is growing fast.

Miranda Smith Personal Home Care – the most experienced private home care agency in the country – says its carers have never been busier.

“The baby boomer generation are now in, or heading towards, retirement and here, as in other parts of the world, the trend is to keep people in their own homes as long as possible,” says company founder Miranda Smith.

“There’s a lot of research that shows allowing adults to stay in their own surroundings has advantages in terms of longevity and happiness. People respond better if they can stay in their home and maintain a degree of independence.”

Miranda began providing care in the community nine years ago, after working for a similar style agency in the United Kingdom. She introduced the concept here in 1998, becoming one of the first private home care agencies in the country.

Now the longest-running private home care agency in New Zealand, Miranda Smith Personal Home Care operates in Auckland and Wellington, providing carers to assist the elderly, disabled and convalescents in their own homes. It also provides support for “medically fragile” children.

The company has also just started operating in Christchurch.

“We’ve grown very quickly, with referrals coming via people’s GPs, needs assessors for District Health Boards and friends and relatives of existing clients,” Miranda says.

“Our business has doubled in size in the past two years and our turnover has grown 100% in the past three years.”
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In the United States, about 6.25 million people - 16% of the population over the age of 65 - receive home care. That figure is up 36% since 1980 and compares with 1.5 million people living in nursing homes.

Miranda says the percentages in New Zealand are very similar.

“Some clients pay about $300 per week for services like bathing, dressing, housekeeping, cooking, shopping and companionship while others pay up to $3,500 per week for round-the-clock care.

“Clients also get to choose which carer they prefer and often form a very close bond with that person.”

Miranda says about 60% of the company’s business is providing companionship and personal care while the other 40% is “high needs”.

In Auckland, the company has more than 100 independent carers it can call on to assist with helping people in the community, whether it be in their own home or retirement villages.

Last year, Miranda Smith Homecare was the subject of a home care story on the Target television programme and was the top-rated agency.

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