The logo on the business cards and company Web site of Around the Clock TLC, II, an assisted living service in Gilbert, is a clock surrounded by a large, red heart.
The image tells the story.
So does the TLC part of the logo — tender loving care.
"Our goal is to provide a warm, homey environment and around-the-clock care," said Stu Paulesc, 38, co-owner with his wife, Julie, 34, of the small company operated out of their 2,000-square home at 843 N. Blue Marlin Drive, Gilbert.
Stu Paulesc, a former emergency room medical technician, designed the company logo. He and his wife, a parttime language instructor at Arizona State University and an experienced caregiver, started their company last year.
Their small company is among a growing number of smaller, assisted care homes opening throughout the state and Valley.
They currently have three residents, women aged 84, 81 and 93 and are expecting to add two more.
The Paulescs and the residents live together in the Paulesc’s home in the Park Village Community near North Val Vista Drive and East Guadalupe Road in Gilbert.
Each resident has their own bedroom and they share a bath with facilities for the handicapped. The Paulescs, when their not working directly with the residents, live in a section of the home that has a room, master bedroom and bath.
All other areas of the stucco, tiled-roofed house, including the kitchen, television room and patio are shared by the residents — and the Paulescs.
"I’m very comfortable working one-on-one with our residents," said Stu Paulesc.
"I think we’ve achieved a great professional and personal goal by being able to help people," said Julie, who not only keeps track of medical requirements of residents but cooks their meals as well.
The caregivers are licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services and are members of the Arizona Assisted Living Home Association, a nonprofit agency.
Their home also meets the basic structural and safety requirements for Gilbert as well as emergency fire services, including a sprinkler system. Residents must participate in a fire drill once every six months.
"There are many assisted care services in Maricopa County, and the average number of caregivers to residents is 10 to 1," Julie Paulesc said. "We’re two care givers for a total of 3 to 2."
She said the minimal average monthly cost is $2,500 compared with a high average nursing home expense of about $5,100.
Costs for residents at the Paulesc home can be higher than $2,500, however, depending on the services required by each residents.
Dorothy Hopper, 93, moved into the relatively small residential care center after living in a larger nursing home in Phoenix.
"My daughter and grandchildren live in Gilbert and seeing them regularly, and living here in this nice home, is perfect," said the former Denver resident.
Hopper’s favorite pastime is watching her favorite team on TV, the Denver Broncos.
Elaine Dahl, 83, has a son living nearby in Gilbert.
"I enjoy the company," said Dahl, who regularly plays board games with her housemates as well as with Jill Hart, a volunteer for the Hospice of the Valley.
The Paulescs said operating an assisted living home out of their home is accepted by nearby neighbors since the residents rarely leave the home and traffic and vehicles are minimal.
"Our neighbor brings over dishes of food sometimes," said Julie Paulesc, who, when she’s not cooking and preparing three meals a day, cleaning and conversing with the residents, teaches Romanian and French at ASU.
"If you add up our monthly income and compare it with the number of hours we put into the job, we’re not making a big profit," she said. "But we’re paid in a lot of other ways, especially by the satisfaction you get by helping people."
The Paulescs said the need for more smaller, caregiving facilities such as theirs is increasing in the East Valley, particularly as the population continues to grow.
Jeannette Zerilla, president and founder of the Arizona Assisted Living Home Association, said there are currently 1,780 assisted living homes in Arizona.
"We expect the number to continue to grow, especially since the insurance companies are leaning toward paying for long-term care for assisted living quarters that are usually less expensive than the larger, nursing homes," Zerilla said.
She said assisted living homes that are members of her association have 10 or less residents and prices vary from as low as $1,800 a month on average to $2,500, but can be higher depending on the specific needs of each resident and their ability to pay.
"Our association plans to play a part in future changes involving the creation of new rules by the Department of Health Services," Zerilla, a former nurse, said.
"I think in the near future, as the population grows, elderly folk and their families will be hard-pressed to find adequate assisted living homes," Zerilla said.
Stu and Julie Paulesc
Resides in: Gilbert
Business: Owners of Around the Clock TLC, II, an assisted living home operated from the Paulesc’s residence at 843 N. Blue Marlin Drive, Gilbert
Success Philosophy: Provide around-the-clock medical, emotional and warm care as well as a comfortable, homey atmosphere for the elderly at reasonable prices
Information: (480) 664-7789 or www.aroundtheclock-tlc.com Services licensed companies can offer
Programs: Include personal care services provided to people who are incapable of recognizing danger, summoning assistance, expressing need or making basic care decisions
Personal care: Assistance with activities of daily living that can be performed by persons without professional skills or professional training and includes coordination or provision of intermitted nursing services and the administration of medications and treatments by a licensed nurse
Supervisory care services: Include daily awareness of resident’s functioning and continuing needs, the ability to intervene in a crisis and assist in the selfadministration of prescribed medications.
Also, rooms are provided temporarily for up to 30 days at higher costs
Source: Around the Clock TLC, II and Arizona Department of Health Services