Marla and Gary Colton of ComForcare Senior Services were inspired to start the business after caring for Marla’s grandmother. (Staff photo by Alexandra Yearly.)

Gary and Marla Colton of ComForcare Senior Services in Ewing say personal attention to detail and genuine concern for clients set them apart from other caregiving services and attribute the personal focus to their franchise’s fast growing success.

The Coltons started their franchise for a very personal reason. Marla Colton’s grandmother had fallen ill and needed assistance with things she had once been able to do on her own. That inspired the Coltons to start their own business in June 2007 to ensure they could provide the quality of service for others they would expect for themselves.

Marla Colton, a registered nurse, already had plenty of experience working with the elderly before she and her husband began their ComForcare services. She had worked in Greenwood Nursing Home and the Visiting Nurses of Mercer County, so she was familiar with what is necessary when it comes to providing senior care.

Through franchises like the Coltons’, ComForcare provides nonmedical, private-duty home care services. Clients can opt for either a certified home health aide or a companion. Certified aides are qualified to assist with bathing, grooming, and hygiene, and they are licensed by the state. Companions can assist with meal preparation, transportation and errands, provide companionship and help with basic chores and light housekeeping.

The Coltons know how important it is that clients know their loved ones are cared for by a trustworthy person.

“We wouldn’t put someone in a home who we wouldn’t feel comfortable with in our own home,” said Marla Colton. “We care about people as if it’s our own family.”

Employees go through a 10-step hiring process, which includes passing the National League of Nursing Competency Exam, ethics survey, and drug test, they said. However, the Coltons stressed that employees are well cared for too and can enjoy benefits and are offered a paid-time-off program.

ComForcare provides services to more than 100 clients throughout Mercer County and has more than 100 employees. While some clients utilize ComForcare services for as little as two hours at a time, others arrange for live-in caregivers.

“We love helping,” said Gary Colton, the president of ComForcare. “It’s very rewarding when you get a letter back from a client thanking you.”

As director of operations, Marla opens and manages each case for their clients. They inform clients of community resources and even have client calls forwarded to their mobile phones when they are not in the office, in case of emergency.

Though they provide many services, they may not be able to help everyone. When prospective clients need more than private-duty care, the Coltons refer them to other companies better suited for the clients’ financial or medical needs, such as independent living facilities or in extreme cases, adult protection services.

Marla and Gary Colton’s biggest objective is to let seniors know what options they have when it comes to their care options. The couple has given talks at numerous senior centers in Mercer County about elder care options, and Gary Colton is on the board of Mobile Meals of Trenton and Ewing, which is a meals-on-wheels program.

“We go the extra mile and it shows,” said Marla Colton. “We want to make sure they know what’s out there to help them.”

ComForcare clients each have a plan set up for them for free, individualized to his or her specific needs. Although ComForcare mainly focuses on senior services and assistance, there is no age limit on who can receive care. ComForcare has had clients anywhere between the ages of 18-104 years old, and will provide assistance for people who have had accidents or been injured, are mentally or physically challenged, or who suffer from illnesses such as multiple sclerosis. ComForcare also has contracts with seven hospice facilities in the area and can provide certified home health aides for support.

Gary Colton still works as a personal trainer in the early hours of the morning, and is the assistant wrestling coach at Hopewell Valley Central High School. Gary and Marla Colton have three children: 23-year-old twins Lisa and Eric, and 10-year-old David. They reside in Hopewell.

ComForcare is located at 1901 North Olden Ave., Suite 14, in Ewing. While they do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, they accept private pay and payment through other sources. For more information, call (609) 771-0083 or go online to mercernj.comforcare.com.