As the City of Santa Cruz rides the green movement wave, reaching for the horizon of an environmentally conscious and sustainable future, ComForcare Senior Services has emerged as a leader serving those in the twilight of their lives. Tony Walker, president and ceo of ComForcare’s Santa Cruz location, has pioneered the inclusion of the elderly and disabled demographics into this fairly new and developing green industry. Employing environmentally safe strategies and promoting the education of the green movement to his clientele, Walker and ComForcare were recently accredited by the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program as a certified green business.
“There are no other home care companies that are green” within the greater Northern California area, Walker notes. “Perhaps we’re the first in the country.”
ComForcare Santa Cruz is an affordable, non-medical home care service that primarily assists elderly citizens throughout the county, but also extends its services to people of all ages with handicaps requiring outside support. As an alternative to communal assisted living homes, ComForcare caregivers are responsible for what Walker calls the “activities of daily living,” which include bathing, cooking, laundry, transportation, and light housework, all within the client’s private residence.
Inspired by his daughter Victoria, ComForcare’s HR Specialist, and her enthusiasm for greener alternatives to daily activities, Walker began reformatting ComForcare’s approach to non-medical home care by enacting environmentally safe and conscious procedures. One major breakthrough was the proper disposal of expired or excess prescription medicines. In the past, it was easy for a patient to simply flush them down the toilet, resulting in the contamination of local water supplies as well as the disruption of delicate marine ecosystems. Today, in cooperation with the City of Santa Cruz, Walker and ComForcare have made agreements with various local pharmacies that allows for caregivers to give back unwanted or unusable medications, ensuring the safety of both humans and wildlife throughout the Monterey Bay area by means of green practices.
Other procedures include the safe handling and discarding of hypodermic needles and human waste products, preventing the spread of serious diseases as well as the contamination of landmasses and soil caused by an endless rot on some landfill. Again, in conjunction with the city, Walker and ComForcare have arranged to use explicitly marked waste containers intended only for these materials, averting the possibility of mixture with other garbage or recycled products.
In the end, however, Walker says being green comes down to education, and that any progress made in the green movement is contingent on the public’s knowledge and practice of sustainable lifestyles.
“Many times, people don’t know the resources they have around them,” he says.
Luckily for those familiar with the Santa Cruz area, the transition into greener lifestyles is not too difficult.
“It’s part of the culture here in Santa Cruz,” Walker suggests. “Seniors have a lot of time on their hands. They’re avid watchers of TV, readers of the newspapers and magazines. They pick up on the environmental issues in the news”.
ComForcare aims to effectively combine green knowledge and practice, simultaneously helping those in need while protecting our city’s natural resources and wildlife. comforcare.com