New Lake Elmo business aims to help seniors, those with disabilities


Terri Ostler

In pursuit of a lifelong desire to help people, a Woodbury resident recently opened a business in Lake Elmo, hoping to address a need in her community.

Her business, called IKOR — and part of the IKOR International franchise — is a life planning and advocacy service for seniors and people with disabilities. Although IKOR is a global corporation, the Lake Elmo location, 8530 Eagle Point Boulevard, is the first IKOR franchise to open in Minnesota.

Managing director of the Lake Elmo franchise, Terri Ostler, 53, determined there was a local need for senior and disability advocacy and life planning when she began helping her own aging family members manage day to day tasks. 

At the time, she was a dental hygienist, a career she enjoyed for many years because of the connection she was able to make with her clients. However, after the dentist she worked for retired, she saw an opportunity for change. 

This opportunity was doubled when her husband, Grant, 56, also experienced a transitional period at the company he works for in Woodbury. He will be joining IKOR in September.

“We wanted something that would give back to the community and give back to civilization as a whole,” Ostler said.

She added that “watching how society affects people with disabilities and the stumbling blocks they run upon” gave her “the desire to make that better for them.”

While brainstorming her options, Ostler initially considered opening an in-home care service, but as the owner of such an enterprise she said most of her time would have been spent hiring staff and doing administrative tasks, not engaging with the clients. 

Several personality tests later, she discovered IKOR, a relatively new corporation looking to expand franchise by franchise. 

Ostler said what initially caught her interest with IKOR was the opportunity to build relationships with the clients. 

When she opened IKOR in May, Ostler selected Lake Elmo because it’s near her aging relatives and because many of the neighborhoods in Lake Elmo, Oakdale and Woodbury have a high senior population in general, she said.

 

Addressing a growing need

IKOR helps clients in a variety of ways, including checking in on clients who do not have relatives nearby, helping identify potential home safety improvements, advocating for clients at medical appointments, aiding clients with financial decisions and serving as power of attorney. 

Kim Root, vice president of operations for IKOR International, explained that the need for services like IKOR is becoming a global issue as baby boomers are starting to age. 

“Those baby boomers did not have as many children as their parents had, so there’s a lot less caregivers currently,” Root said. “Those caregivers today look a lot different than the baby boomers did when they were taking care of their parents, so most homes have families where both the husband and wife are working.”

Root added that the divorce rate is also higher in today’s families and there are a lot more seniors who don’t have children or family nearby to take care of them.

“There’s such a need for individuals to come in and coordinate and assess and really take on the heavy lifting from the family’s point of view” Root said. “[The Ostlers] have a great wonderful passion for the service that they provide.”

Right now IKOR in Lake Elmo staffs three people including Ostler, an operations manager and one nurse, though Ostler indicated there are plans for a few additions to the team. 

Another nurse will likely be hired soon as well as a personal needs coordinator and her husband Grant, who is a certified public accountant and will be officially joining the team in September.

“I don’t see us getting any larger than 10 to 15 employees,” Ostler said, and added the benefit to having few people staffed is that she, herself, will be able to focus on clients and not staffing.

“Ideally it’s great for [the clients] to be able to do whatever they can on their own. ... We just want to help out wherever we can,” Ostler said. 

 

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com


 

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