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Letter from Marina

As a caregiver who has made the journey from North Macedonia to the United States, I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and experiences. Before making the move, I was a nurse in North Macedonia. I had always enjoyed helping others and providing care to those in need. When I arrived in the United States, I was excited to continue my career in healthcare. My English was limited but I quickly learned and was able to communicate quickly with my clients. Just as importantly, they taught me English, allowing me to write this letter. Six years ago, I couldn’t speak or write English at all!

However, I soon realized that the healthcare system in the United States differed from North Macedonia. At first, I found the change a bit overwhelming, but I needed to make the most of the opportunity and find a way to make a difference in the lives of others. After some searching and networking, I was fortunate enough to find a job as a caregiver.

Lake Ohrid is a popular tourist destination in North Macedonia

When I first started, I was hesitant about taking a caregiving position because I always saw myself as a nurse. After a couple of months, I realized that my client wanted to stay at home. For her, having me in the home meant she stayed comfortable and in place. I really felt like I was making a positive impact. A realization swept over me, this work fulfilled a part of me like nothing before. I build strong relationships with my clients and their families.

One of the things that I love most about being a caregiver is the flexibility and variety this position offers. No two days are the same, and I have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients with a wide range of needs. I also appreciate the ability to work one-on-one with my clients, because this way I am able to provide personalized and compassionate care.

One of the challenges that I’ve faced as a caregiver is learning how to approach end-of-life care as it can be really complex and overwhelming at times. I’ve had to learn to be calm, so that I can provide support for the people who are with the client I’m caring for rather than focusing on my own challenges with a very natural process. I’m fortunate to work with a supportive team that has helped by always providing guidance.

In addition to enjoying the job and what I do for clients, I find that being a caregiver has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve learned a lot about different cultures and have had the opportunity to work with people from every walk of life.

Thank you to all of my clients!

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

The Advantages of Aging at Home

Many older adults who desire to maintain their independence and autonomy receive personalized, professional care from the comfort of their own homes. Let’s explore five reasons why aging at home with the help of a caregiver can be a valuable option for individuals:

1. Familiar surroundings

Aging at home allows individuals to continue living in their own homes, creating a sense of comfort and control. Moving to a long-term care facility may be intimidating for many older adults because it threatens their independence. Aging at home under the watchful eye of a caregiver maintains a client’s autonomy and dignity while still living independently. Additionally, aging at home allows them to remain in a familiar environment—a home that offers comfort and familiarity. This becomes particularly significant for those dealing with cognitive impairments. 

2. Tailored Care

Care should never be one size fits all. Aging at home enables individuals to receive care-tailored plans that optimize their quality of life, needs, and preferences. At PHC, we prioritize the perfect match for every client. We work closely with caregivers and families to develop care plans that accommodate a client’s personal, medical, and social needs, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as more specialized care like medication management and mobility support. 

3. Cost-effective 

For those requiring minimal assistance with daily activities, aging at home can be cost-effective compared to moving into a long-term care facility. In-home care arrangements offer flexibility on an as-needed basis. For instance, caregivers may provide support during specific times of the day or week to help with bathing needs or mobility assistance. A caregiver’s help reduces the burden on family members or loved ones. 

4. Flexibility

Aging at home provides greater flexibility when choosing the proper care provider for each unique situation. Each individual has distinctive needs and preferences to consider when making these decisions. The ability to select the most suitable caregiver allows for a more personalized care experience. 

Aging at home with the assistance of a caregiver offers numerous advantages for older adults. It promotes independence and autonomy, provides tailored care, maintains familiar surroundings, and is cost-effective. These reasons make aging at home a valuable and desirable option for many individuals seeking to maintain their independence as they age. The flexibility offered by receiving care at home should be noticed, as it allows adjustments based on individual needs. Notably, the availability and variety of options for aging at home have grown significantly over time. For those seeking a more comprehensive discussion, please contact us today. At PHC, we are prepared to go the extra mile to make this critical transition as easy and manageable as possible. 

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

5 Benefits of Home Care for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement and can cause tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Here is a blog on the benefits of in-home care for individuals with Parkinson’s disease:
In-home care, also known as home care, refers to a range of services that are provided to individuals in their own homes by caregivers. These services can be especially beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, as they may require assistance with activities of daily living and may benefit from personalized care and support.

Here are five benefits of in-home care for individuals with Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Personalized care: In-home care allows individuals to receive care that is tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Caregivers can work with individuals and their families to develop a care plan that meets the individual’s unique needs and allows them to continue living as independently as possible. This can include help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as more specialized care, such as medication management and mobility assistance.
  2. Familiar surroundings: For many individuals with Parkinson’s disease, their home is a source of comfort and familiarity. Aging at home allows individuals to continue living in an environment that they are familiar with, which can be especially important for those with cognitive impairments. A caregiver can help to maintain the individual’s home environment and make necessary adjustments to ensure that it is safe and comfortable.
  3. Flexibility: In-home care allows for greater flexibility in terms of care delivery, as caregivers can work with individuals to develop a schedule that meets their needs and preferences. This can be especially helpful for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, who may require more frequent care and support during certain times of the day or week.
  4. Cost-effective: For individuals with Parkinson’s disease who require only minimal assistance with activities of daily living, in-home care may be more affordable than moving to a long-term care facility. In-home care can be arranged on an as-needed basis, which can be especially helpful for those who may only need help during certain times of the day or week.
  5. Emotional support: In-home care can provide not only practical assistance, but also emotional support for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their families.

For more information on how we match a caregiver to assist you or a loved one withParkinson’s , please give us a call or engage the live chat on our website.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

In-Home Care: The Basics

In-home care services bring multifaceted solutions directly into the homes of individuals seeking assistance while preserving their sense of dignity within familiar surroundings. Such services benefit older adults, people grappling with disabilities, and those recovering from illness or surgery.

Many older adults experience anxiety about moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility—an inclination rooted deeply in concerns over perceived obstacles to autonomy. A cherished benefit of in-home care is the affirmation and sustenance of an independent and self-governing lifestyle. Additionally, in-home care empowers individuals to sustain their hobbies, social habits, and routines.

At PHC, we ensure that in-home care remains rooted in service and passion. PHC hand selects professional caregivers to support your loved one’s passions and meet your loved one’s needs. The repertoire of home care encompasses a variety of assistance surrounding daily tasks facilitation, medication management, and mobility aid.

For individuals needing modest assistance while undertaking everyday activities, reliance upon in-home care may yield more favorable outcomes than seeking accommodation within long-term care facilities. We aim to meet the clients where they are and bring them the quality of life they deserve. Moreover, PHC customizes crucial attributes of our care plans to support every client best. We staff certified nursing assistants (CNAs), level one med aides (LIMA), CPR-certified caregivers, and professionals with years of experience in their field.

Lastly, in-home care allows caregivers and clients to build lifelong relationships and ensure cognitive stimulation. Through PHC’s lunch-on-us programs— where caregivers are invited to a free lecture and provided a meal, we keep our caregivers updated on the most reliable in-home treatments and new practices.

Compared to alternative solutions, in-home care stands out for its remarkable flexibility. To learn more about home care, please contact us via phone or communicate directly with one of our agents using the live chat option on our website.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

The Role of Vitamin D in Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It is also important for immune system function and has been shown to have a number of other health benefits. In recent years, there has been a growing body of research on the potential role of vitamin D in successful aging and the prevention of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

One of the main benefits of vitamin D for successful aging is its ability to maintain bone health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. As we age, bone density naturally decreases, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. By maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D, older adults may be able to reduce their risk of bone-related conditions.

Vitamin D may also have a protective effect on cognitive function. Several studies have suggested that low levels of vitamin D may be associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. In one large-scale study, researchers found that older adults with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with the highest levels. Other research has suggested that vitamin D may help to improve brain function, including memory and learning.
Vitamin D may also have a role in the prevention of other age-related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of these conditions, and maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may help to reduce the risk.There are a few ways to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D as you age. One of the best sources of vitamin D is sunlight, as the body is able to synthesize vitamin D when the skin is exposed to UVB radiation. However, it is important to use sunscreen and to limit sun exposure to prevent skin cancer. Foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods like milk and cereals are also good sources of vitamin D. In addition, older adults may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly if they are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency due to factors such as limited sun exposure or a diet low in vitamin D-rich foods.

Overall, the evidence suggests that vitamin D may be important for successful aging and the prevention of cognitive decline and other age-related conditions. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, ensuring that you are getting enough vitamin D is an important step towards maintaining good health as you age.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

10 Benefits of Pets for Aging

  1. Companionship: Pets can provide a sense of companionship and can alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, particularly for older adults who may live alone or who have limited social support.
  2. Physical activity: Many pets, such as dogs, require regular exercise, which can help to encourage older adults to get up and move around. Even simple tasks like taking a dog for a walk can help to improve physical fitness and mobility.
  3. Stress reduction: Interacting with pets has been shown to have a calming effect on humans and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. This can be especially beneficial for older adults who may be dealing with the challenges of aging and declining health.
  4. Sense of purpose: Caring for a pet can provide older adults with a sense of purpose and meaning, and can help to give structure to their day. This can be especially important for those who may have retired or who may be dealing with the loss of a spouse or loved one.
  1. Improved cognitive function: Some research has suggested that interacting with pets may have a positive impact on cognitive function, including memory and attention. This may be due to the fact that caring for a pet requires individuals to engage in activities that stimulate the brain, such as learning new commands or playing games.
  2. Improved cardiovascular health: Owning a pet, particularly a dog, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. This may be due to the fact that caring for a pet encourages physical activity and can help to reduce stress.
  3. Improved mental health: Having a pet has been linked to improved mental health, including lower rates of depression and anxiety. Pets can provide emotional support and can be a source of comfort during times of stress.
  4. Increased socialization: Owning a pet can provide opportunities for socialization, particularly if the pet is taken for walks or to public places. This can be especially beneficial for older adults who may have limited social connections.
  5. Improved sleep: Some research has suggested that interacting with pets can have a positive impact on sleep, particularly for those with insomnia or other sleep disorders.
  6. Increased sense of well-being: Owning a pet has been linked to an increased sense of well-being and happiness. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of accomplishment and can help to boost self-esteem.

Overall, owning a pet can provide many benefits for older adults, including improved physical and mental health, increased socialization, and a sense of purpose and meaning. If you are an older adult considering getting a pet, it is important to carefully consider your own physical and financial limitations, as well as the needs of the animal. Working with a healthcare provider or a social worker can help to ensure that you are able to safely care for a pet and that you are able to get the most benefit from the relationship.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: The Latest Research

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, research has shown that certain lifestyle factors may help to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. In this blog post, we will explore the latest research on preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

One area of research that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years is the role of diet in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Several studies have suggested that a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, may be associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This type of diet is thought to be beneficial due to its high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help to protect the brain from damage.

Physical activity is also thought to play a role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise has been shown to improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and it may also help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In addition, regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of other conditions that may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Another factor that has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s is social engagement. Studies have shown that people who have strong social connections and engage in activities such as volunteering or participating in social organizations have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This may be due to the fact that social engagement helps to stimulate the brain and keep it active, which may help to prevent cognitive decline.

There has also been a lot of research into the potential role of specific nutrients in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. One nutrient that has received a lot of attention is vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline, and some studies have suggested that supplementing with vitamin D may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Another nutrient that has been studied for its potential role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s is omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and may help to protect the brain from damage. Some studies have suggested that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.

There has also been a lot of interest in the potential role of certain medications in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. One medication that has received a lot of attention is statins, which are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels. Some studies have suggested that statins may also have anti-inflammatory effects and may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

In addition to these lifestyle and dietary factors, there has also been a lot of research into the potential role of genetic factors in the development of Alzheimer’s. While genetics cannot be changed, understanding the genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s may help to identify individuals who may be at higher risk for the disease and allow for earlier intervention.

Overall, the research on the prevention of Alzheimer’s is ongoing, and there is still much that we do not know about this complex disease. However, the evidence suggests that certain lifestyle and dietary factors may play a significant role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, and understanding these factors will help to reduce the risk of developing this debilitating condition.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Survivors: Recovery after a Stroke

A stroke can change your life forever. Every year, over 795,000 Americans have a stroke. For about 610,000 people, it’s their first one, while another 185,000 strokes are in people who’ve previously had a stroke. The human toll is substantial: nearly 1 out of every 20 deaths in America is due to a stroke, roughly 140,000 people annually. While many recover, stroke remains the leading cause of long-term disability, with nearly half of stroke survivors over 65 experiencing a permanent reduction in mobility. Although more common in adults over 65, strokes can undoubtedly occur at any age, with 35% occurring in those under 65. More and more stroke survivors are making better recoveries thanks to increased care, greater awareness, and more stringent post-stroke recovery plans emphasizing physical therapy and lifestyle changes. 

If you or someone you know has had a stroke and survived, recovering at home after rehab can be overwhelming. There are many ways for stroke survivors to get the care they need. In this article, we will examine one option: in-home care and how it can support stroke recovery.  

Once a stroke patient is discharged from the hospital or a rehab facility, the recovery process at home begins. Some stroke survivors will require a complete lifestyle change while they recover. For this transition to successfully take place, the following should be considered:

  • A safety assessment of the home to ensure simple things like handles and railings are in place to make the home safer and more accessible. This is important for individuals with even minor physical impairment.
  • In case of stroke-induced paralysis, the house needs to be made more wheelchair-accessible. 
  • Removal of rugs to prevent falls.
  • Re-organization of furniture for more effortless movement around the home. 

The rehabilitation process is the most critical part of any stroke recovery, with fall prevention measures key to success for long-term recovery. Usually, the hospital will devise a plan for the patient’s rehabilitation depending on whether they decide to stay in the hospital, go to a nursing home, a rehab facility, or at home.

A few things pop up in the rehabilitation process:

  • Physical therapy 
  • Relearning how to perform everyday tasks
  • Mental health counseling
  • Speech therapy

A major pillar of the rehabilitation process will be physical therapy and consistency with physical therapy exercises. Caregivers can assist clients and help them stay on track with exercises set up by physical therapy. Consistency with these exercises is essential. In many instances, caregivers are more effective at ensuring a client performs physical therapy exercises when compared to family members since the role of the caregiver is to keep their client on track and have an exercise regimen.

Consistency is key to recovery, and caregivers are often firsthand witnesses to the impact activity can have on a stroke survivor’s outcome. The emotional and psychological toll can be just as debilitating as the physical effects, so caregivers and families alike must be motivational advocates for survivors and do their best not to lose sight of goals, especially in the first months at home. In a care plan aimed at rehabilitating a survivor, an effective caregiver must push for consistency with exercises and make sure all focus is on the client, their recovery process, and their goals. Taking the time to focus on exercise routines, mental health, medication, and anything else needed to achieve the best outcomes is all part of what a caregiver reinforces. 

Consistent exercises are key to recovery after a stroke. An effective caregiver should ensure the survivor is regularly exercising and following any exercise routine set up by physical and occupational therapists.

Caregivers and family members should be looking out for signs of another stroke. In fact, around a quarter of the 795,000 Americans who survive their first stroke will have a second stroke. Therefore, a clear Care Plan must be established and followed by the survivor and all of their caregivers. This plan is a living document that considers everything: feedback from a survivor’s medical team, physical and occupational therapy recommendations, caregiver observations, outcome goals, medications, etc. This plan should also account for all life changes the survivor is comfortable making, including but not limited to changes in diet, lifestyle, and routinely tracking numbers like blood pressure and blood sugar.

The bottom line: survivors can’t lose sight of the fact that surviving one stroke does not mean they are out of the woods and won’t have another. The end goal is not only rehabbing but also preventing another stroke. Treatments to avoid a second stroke have drastically increased, and health care professionals are conscious of the importance of tailoring treatments for individual patient situations. A lot can be done at home as well and again, as with everything else, consistency is key. Checking numbers at home, such as blood pressure and blood sugar, and understanding the importance of tracking said numbers is crucial to long term prevention. 

Although lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, and genetics play huge roles, sometimes, there is no explanation as to why someone has a life changing stroke. The best that we can do is be consistent and if you or a loved one have a stroke, it’s important to understand your options. This is especially true for those who want to remain in their home and as independent as possible. This is where home care comes in. To understand how we can help, please feel free to give us a call, or access the chat on our website. In addition to explaining the role of home care, we can also help direct you to local resources, such as geriatric care manager, that can aide you in determining the appropriate post-stroke care solution.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Caregiver Spotlight: 5 Questions with Raevynne Clark

Raevynne has one of the most important jobs at Private Home Care. As a Talent Acquisition Specialist based out of our St. Louis office, Raevynne has spent the last year tirelessly searching for the best caregivers in the home care industry while completing her master’s at Webster University in Webster Groves, MO. During her time in this role, Raevynne has reinvented the way we recruit, focusing on multiple platforms and delivering results that ultimately better the lives and well-being of our clients. Additionally, amid labor shortages across the country, Raevynne and her fellow recruiters have managed to grow our team and keep up with demand.

I recently got the chance to sit down with Raevynne and learn more about her experience, what drives her to excel at her job, and how she does what she does.  

1. Why do you love doing what you do?

I love advocating for and getting to know caregivers and hearing their stories. I love discovering creative ways to make sure we are doing our best as a company to keep caregivers happy by assisting with the right training, support, and placement. I also believe in our mission at Private Home Care. I really want to make sure we have the very best caregivers here because I know this industry and understand what we offer compared to our competitors. If we find and support the best caregivers, we will deliver the very best care. Private Home Care has rolled out health insurance coverage for all caregivers, and we will soon offer 401K options. This, combined with our attractive caregiver compensation and reasonable rates for our clients, means we can keep caregivers worry-free and gainfully employed for as many hours as they want while doing what they love. Helping others do what they do best and what they love is another reason why I love my job. 

I believe in our mission…Private Home Care has rolled out health insurance coverage for all caregivers, and we will soon offer 401K options. Helping others do what they do best and what they love is another reason why I love my job.

2. How did you get into Talent Acquisition?

As an undergrad, I volunteered as a caregiver, which helped me better understand this industry and what it takes to provide exceptional care for clients. My mom worked at the VA Medical Center [John Cochran], and I volunteered there as well. After completing my undergrad, home health care seemed like a natural and comfortable fit, so I started as a Health Care Recruiter for another local provider, heading operations for several locations. However, I wanted more from my career, so I joined Private Home Care in November 2020 during the COVID pandemic. 

3. Can you tell me about a family or client you have worked with that has really affected your life? What made them so great?

The first client I had had paraplegia which meant I had to really know what I was doing to assist. I became certified and learned how to use a Hoyer lift. I quickly found out that listening was key: my client was an independent, successful businesswoman, and now she could not take care of herself. I learned never to lose sight of that because although she could not get out of bed without a Hoyer lift, she could provide detailed instructions, and it was my job to listen and allow her to control the aspects of her life that she could fully. I learned so much from her, and I also learned what it takes to be a successful caregiver. 

As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I meet many people, and I love hearing the lessons they learned while caregiving and how former clients impacted them. Recently, I asked a candidate what made her become a caregiver. Her response really struck me. She explained that she became a caregiver because of her grandmother. She had asked her before she died to make sure that she took care of others the ways she cared for her. That really moved me. She had the skills for the job; she was certified and had a lot of experience, but that story and her convection really sold me on her. 

Private Home Care allows me to be creative…Helping others do what they do best and what they love is another reason why I love my job.

4. What do you love about working for Private Home Care?

PHC really allows me to be creative! Any idea I suggest, the response is always, “Great, let’s try it!” If it works, it becomes a practice. They really allow me to be myself. I’m very grateful to be working here and that they gave me a chance. I would say it’s like a family. Everyone here has the same goal. And that is to take care of people, both clients and caregivers, not just be in business. 

5. What advice would you give to families who are looking to start care?

Do your research first! You might feel rushed and be tempted to go with the first company you talk to but avoid doing that. Be realistic, and have clearly outlined expectations and questions beyond who will be the caregiver. Ask about the company: What benefits do they offer their caregivers? What type of clients do they work with? What makes that company excel at what they do? The answers to these questions will have a direct bearing on the care your loved one will receive. Also, home assessments are really, really important. Make sure to be there and meet the person who conducts the assessment for your loved one. If you have questions, ask; nothing should be off the table. I’d also add, if possible, to make sure all decision-makers are on the same page and informed about what’s going on and who to contact with questions. For example, if multiple children want to have a say, they really should all feel at ease with what’s going on, and they should all know who to contact if they have any questions or concerns. They will all ask different questions and have different perspectives and concerns. 

Private Home Care provides home health care services tailored to the unique needs of our clients, no matter their age or how long they need us. Our Caregivers have the experience and knowledge to provide an array of care services, from short-term, post-surgical support to long-term companionship and care, which can be an alternative or supplement to long-term care communities. In addition, we are a leader in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, and we have specialized care teams who provide compassionate end-of-life care and hospice support.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Caregiver Stoplight: 5 Questions with Kathy Herbener

Today, we had the opportunity to sit down with a person everyone wants, or should want, to have on their team, Kathy Herbener. Kathy is a Client Care Manager based out of our Chicago office and has over 15 years of experience in home care space, and what makes her really special is the attention and thought she puts into managing her client’s care and the relationships she forms with clients, families and colleagues along the way. Kathy quickly becomes an advocate for her clients, an indispensable and trusted advisor that really explains care options before putting care in place. She is thoughtful when placing caregivers, always going the extra mile to make sure they feel supported when working in the field. In fact, Kathy accompanies caregivers when they first start working with clients and if there is ever a change in the regular staff or any issue whatsoever, she is right there, finding the best solution. Before launching her career in the Home Health Care space, Kathy had a number of jobs, but perhaps none was as notable as the position she held at Shirl’s, a restaurant in Roselle, IL her parents owned and operated for nearly five decades. It was there that Kathy learned the importance of community, customer service and reputation. Not very many restaurants are around for 50 years and Shirl’s was a community staple until it closed its doors when Kathy’s parents, also staples of their community, retired in the early 2000s. 

We got the chance to interview Katy recently to learn more about her caregiving wisdom, and what drives her to excel at her job.

1. How did you get into caregiving?

Well before I ever thought about working in the home health care business, I was trained as a lay minister at my church. This taught me a lot about how to care for others when they are in crisis. 

Then a moment came where a very close friend of mine had a daughter who was born with a microdeletion of chromosome 7. Which is basically similar to Down’s Syndrome – but very rare. In fact, there were no previous documented cases in the United States, so she was an extremely unique case. It was a wonderful chance to put my skills into practice and help a dear friend, and a wonderful little girl who needed me. What could be better? She’s 14 now and doing fabulous!

I really enjoyed that experience and soon thereafter my husband’s parents – my in-laws – needed help. Because of my background and upbringing, I was uniquely suited to stepping into that role. It was also a very rewarding experience. 

This led to an opportunity to manage the care of a young woman who had brain cancer and a stroke – she was just 40 when she was diagnosed. She’s passed now, but I was with her for a few years and that experience was transformative.

After that, I had an opportunity to move into more of an administrative role, which is what I’ve been doing since. 

Shirl’s Drive-in in Roselle, IL was a neighborhood staple in and was owned by Kathy’s parents for nearly five decades. 

2. Why do you love doing what you do?

Well, I guess you could say, in a sense, my whole life has revolved around service to others,  making people happy, and taking care of them. But, also growing and continuing to learn how to take care of others. It’s a very important part of who I am. 

Really you could say it was baked into my DNA from day 1. I was brought up in a big, loving family. My parents owned a restaurant and of course, as soon as I was old enough I was put to work before going out into the real world! I worked there from the age of 14. Watching how my parents took care of their customers and by extension, our community, were lessons that have stuck with me. I know there were more than a few times they fed people who couldn’t afford the meal, and never asked for a penny. The church was always a big part of our lives – and still is, and those core principles of selflessness and service are very important to me. 

3. Can you tell me about a family or client you’ve worked with that has really affected your life? What made them so great?

I can honestly say that each opportunity I’ve had to take care of someone else has been a blessing for me. When you serve others, you often get just as much back – if not more. You know, at the end of the day we all have to look out for each other, don’t we? 

Kathy loves dates and her date loaf is out of this world. 

4. What do you love about working for Private Home Care?

Every person or family I’ve been blessed to help, and every person or family that we serve at PHC is like an extension of our own family. The team orientation is wonderful. Working as a team and having a common care philosophy with the members of that team is so important. 

Kathy calling out bingo numbers
Kathy calling out bingo numbers at a local senior center.

5. What advice would you give to families who either need help or even think they might need help?

First, start assessing and documenting the changes you are seeing. Get a doctor’s advice always. After that, I would say to gather as much information as possible about the care you need and who is providing it. If you’re aren’t sure where to start PHC offers a Complimentary Home Assessment. We’ll send a team member to your home to assess your needs and recommend a plan of care for free. Even if home care is not something you are sure is an option, we are here to provide you with information so you can make the best, informed decision. 

You know there are things that will seem obvious in retrospect, but not so much when you are new to the process – like a Safety Assessment. Basically, “is the environment safe”? Examples might be trip hazards like rugs or furniture. If a loved one falls, what sharp edges are there that could be much more serious than just a fall? If the environment needs to be changed, you’ll need to address that before bringing in home care. This is all part of our information-gathering process. But these are things you can start thinking about on your own as well. 
On a more personal note, I would say that families need to work together – if there is more than one person in the family. Especially when a loved one can’t make decisions for themself. It’s a team effort, and it’s going to take a team effort. Not everyone in a family unit is equipped to do the same thing. We’re not all wired the same way, and we don’t all have the same skillsets, but everyone can – and should – have a role to play. Ultimately, you have to remember that it all comes down to what’s best for your loved one. It’s about them. No one else.

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