It’s one of those topics that many people really don’t want to face… but they know it will be an issue someday. Every family, at some point, faces the issue of caring for their elderly loved ones. As I’ve been researching the topic I’ve discovered a small business here in Frederick called Shepherd’s Staff. Shepherd’s Staff provides non-medical companion care to help people stay in their homes as long as possible.
Angela Martin, the owner, started Shepherd’s Staff 1 year ago out of a desire to care for seniors who want to stay in their own homes, but need a little assistance. Her experience with her own parents was the catalyst for the business.
Finding A Caregiver
Angela’s mother began to have health problems in the late 1990’s, with the aftermath of a stroke. Her health further declined after a heart attack, surgery and another stroke, but her father was determined to keep his beloved wife of 50 years at home. As he advanced into his 80’s it became clear that he needed help.
One afternoon Angela stopped in after work to see her parents. While sitting in the kitchen, she heard a faint hissing noise and followed the noise to the main floor bathroom. There she saw water dripping from the ceiling. Directly above, in the master bath, a pipe had burst and she discovered an inch of water on the floor. There ended up being serious damage to the house; large areas of the ceiling had to be replaced. That was the triggering incident that made her realize they needed to get someone to care for her parents.
Angela’s search for a companion to help with the daily care of her mother was a long, frustrating venture, full of trial and error. Some helpers had integrity issues, some were not caring enough, and some were not trustworthy. Some were wonderful, but couldn’t work for long.
When the time was right, Angela’s mother went to a nursing home, when she needed skilled care. After both parents passed in their early 90’s, Angela was driven to start a business that would provide the right kind of care for people in her parent’s position.
Shepherd’s Staff, a member of The Senior’s Choice, the nation’s largest network of senior care providers, is founded on 5 Core Values:
Shepherd’s Staff hires on an ongoing basis and is looking for people who see the elderly as human beings who deserve compassion. Angela believes that the ideal caregiver is an empty-nester, who loves to care for people. They do background checks and each caregiver is covered by Workman’s Comp. Employees wear uniforms and have regular training. Shepherd’s Staff offers CCA training and certification. Caregivers should be happy to do light housekeeping, cook meals, provide transportation and give active companionship and to embrace relationships to keep people active.
Angela has some good advice from her own personal experience:
- “It’s important for people to make decisions when they are younger and clear headed. Many people wait until they’re at the point of crisis. It’s typical to be in denial. People don’t want to make decisions for “what-if’s”. This is understandable, because it’s not easy to make definitive decisions about future events when you’re still young. But at the same time, you need to think about these things and make plans for how you might want to be cared for in the future.”
Angela explained to me that there is a wide range of care when it comes to assisted living facilities, the difference being seen in the ratio of staff to clients. Shepherd’s Staff caregivers are sometimes hired to provide companionship and to take care of non-medical tasks. Unless families have long-term care insurance, this type of care is private pay.
It’s great to know that Shepherd’s Staff is available to help caregivers and give support in situations like Angela’s parents found themselves, allowing the elderly to stay together and in their homes longer. To learn more visit the Shepherd’s Staff website. You can “like” them on Facebook and follow Angela on Twitter.