By Alana Melanson
FITCHBURG -- Cousins Keith Lanzilotti and Rick DiPaoli watched their own family members age and struggle with physical disabilities that made it difficult for them to stay in their own homes, and realized that not everyone has the support to remain independent.
They say they're using their strong family background and professional skills they've learned in their own varying careers to offer vital services to the elderly and disabled so that they may be able to stay in their own homes.
Lanzilotti, 53, of Pepperell, and DiPaoli, 56, of Ashburnham, both originally from Fitchburg, started Peace of Mind In-Home Care, based at 164 Elm St., in September. They got their idea from a similar company in New Hampshire, and expanded upon its offerings to offer the Fitchburg area a unique array of services with a personal feel.
"More and more elders and disabled folks want to stay in their own homes and apartments, and our services will help them do that," Lanzilotti said.
Peace of Mind offers many non-medical personal care services, such as companionship, physical assistance, meal planning and preparation, running errands, and help around the house, such as laundry and light housekeeping.
"What makes us unique is that we provide home services, and that ranges from, if someone becomes disabled, installing wheelchair ramps and grab bars, to modifications in the home, whether it be door widening or counter lowering--- things for people who have become handicapped," Lanzilotti said.
They also offer landscaping services, snow removal, fall cleanup, home winterization and assistance for those who must transition from living on their own to living with family members, in assisted living facilities or in nursing homes.
For those with hoarding problems, they help with decluttering and finding appropriate psychological services when needed. They even help seniors with new technology that they can't understand, from cable and TV remotes to computers.
"We'll even offer services like Skyping, if they want to Skype with their families," Lanzilotti said of the video chat program useful in keeping in touch with those who live far away.
DiPaoli, who has a background in construction and carpentry, manages the home modification portion of the business. Lanzilotti, who comes from a high-tech marketing and sales, people and project management background, is focused on "finding the right employees to make sure we're providing the right things for our clients."
They've already hired four caregivers, and will continue to hire more as need dictates, Lanzilotti said. DiPaoli said he has yet to hire any help on the construction side, but is looking.
"We're always looking for people that are going to fit in well with our culture, and fit in well with the elderly and disabled," Lanzilotti said.
He said the business is insured and bonded, and full background, CORI and sex offender registry checks are performed for all prospective employees.
"The main thing we want people to understand about us is that we have passion for getting things done the right way," Lanzilotti said. "Although it's not easy because there's a lot of people involved in getting it done the right way, we're going to go the extra step to do that."
They will start by focusing on Fitchburg, Leominster and all of their surrounding towns, and will only expand beyond that once they know they're serving the population here to the best of their ability, he said.
Personal care services such as companionship and meal preparation are about $25 per hour, while home modifications will be priced on a by-project basis, Lanzilotti said. Many of the other services can be billed at either an hourly or flat rate depending upon the client's wishes, he said.
For more information, call 978-342-0009 or visit pominhomecare.com.