Loss is the greatest fear for many of Americas 35 million seniors. They fear the loss of independence, the loss of abilityeven the loss of home. The threat of being unable to live independently is one of the most devastating aspects of growing older. A new local company has opened to help seniors face their greatest fear. Owned by Joyce and Bob Koch, and operated by Lindsey Gregg, Home Instead Senior Care provides at-home companionship and other non-medical home care services for the elderly including meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, incidental transportation, errands and shopping. Were proud to serve our local community by providing trained CAREGivers who help the elderly remain independent and at home, Gregg said. Home Instead Senior Cares services are available from a few hours a week to overnight or 24-hour care on a temporary or long-term basis. While Home Instead Senior CAREGivers assist with the basics of living at home, they also improve the quality of life for seniors by providing companionship and help to maintain important routines and hobbies. For years, one 86-year-old woman in our area loved to feed the animals around her house, but shes become unable to prepare the food for these creatures, Koch said. Part of the weekly routine for her two CAREGivers is to bake cornbread and prepare peanut butter on bread, seeds and nuts that they set out near the womans porch in her wooded neighborhood. Deer, squirrel and raccoon come to feed on the treatsa routine the woman could no longer handle without their help. CAREGivers also provide respite and support for the womans son, who lives with his mother but works during the day. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that 85 percent of home care is provided by family members or friends. In total, more than 54 million American adults are caring for an elderly, disabled or chronically ill friend, according to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA). More than half of all family caregivers are women, but an NFCA survey revealed that more men44 percentare becoming caregivers. Most of these family caregivers have jobs, families of their own and many other responsibilities. In fact, 41 percent of American family caregivers are caring for children younger than 18 at the same time as elderly friends or relatives, according to an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)/National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) report. Home Instead Senior Care is an Omaha, Neb.-based company that began franchising in 1995 to help meet these needs. The company now has more than 400 franchises in 43 states, and has expanded into Japan and Canada. The company has an exclusive training program for its CAREGivers, who are screened, bonded, insured and who have successfully cleared criminal background checks. Special attention is given to matching CAREGivers with clients to achieve the utmost compatibility. The Home Instead Senior Care Office serving Winnebago, Boone and surrounding county areas is at 2606 Broadway, Suite 3A, Rockford. For more information, including local human-interest stories, call the company at 815/229-8810 or visit its Web site at www.HomeInstead.com.