While interviewing Sean Mauser of Avida Homecare, he told a story that summed up for me why home care is the next wave of senior care and will soon take over the nursing home market.
“Back when I was 16 and my older brother was 18, we were taking care of my grandpa. We didn’t live too far maybe 15 mins away in the same town but it got to the point where we kind of had to put him in a nursing home. He was there for maybe about 2 weeks and he called up my older brother and said ‘Hey, do you want to go get lunch on Friday?’ My older brother was like ‘Yeah, ok. I can leave a little early and come get you and we can go get lunch.’ So my grandpa is like ‘Ok, so park outside. You don’t have to worry about signing me out or coming in. I’ll meet you outside.’ My brother pulls up and my grandpa comes running out with his suitcase and says, ‘Take me home. I’m never going back.’ He went back home and one of us was there to take care of him from then on.”
Mauser’s grandpa was lucky because he still had his home to go back to and a loving family who could help provide care for him. According to Tom Daschle and Tommy Thompson in “Who will care for America’s aging population?” — Nearly 70 percent of Americans who reach age 65 will, at some point, be unable to care for themselves without assistance. Since people are living longer due to innovations in medicine, technology, and science it is no surprise that those aging, just like Mauser’s grandpa, aren’t keen to move out of their homes and lose much of their independence to an institution. And they shouldn’t have to!
America is steadily getting grayer and according to the US Census Bureau, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or over by 2030. That means that there need to be options for families who need help caring for loved ones due to distance or other obligations, and for seniors to remain independent.
Stay at Home and Go Boutique
Thus it is not surprising that new boutique home care options like Avida Homecare are popping up across the country.
“Imagine you have been in your home and you have lived there for 30 years, and you don’t want to leave. And why should you have to?” said Raul Mendez the founder of Avida.
Avida provides daily living services including things such as meal preparation, cleaning up, and companionship, which is especially important for those clients who are suffering from dementia and may not be able to remember to take medicines and complete other necessary tasks.
Raul makes a point to invest as much in his staff as his client care. He personally reaches out on a weekly or biweekly basis to ensure satisfaction. Plus his staff of 25–38 caregivers has a 1.5–2.2 ratio to clients. This ensures that each client gets the attention they need. He is focused on building a solid foundation rather than expansion alone. All of his caregivers have at least 2 years of experience and are led by a certified nursing assistant. Considering the diversity in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is based, many caregivers are bilingual speaking Spanish and Tagala in order to ensure care in the client’s preferred language.
Home care provides more comfort for aging adults, which often leads to healthier living as it can be customized to the needs of each client. This can mean at times it is the same or even less expensive than nursing homes.
Invest in People through Learning
Raul is personally invested in this mission since he knows how challenging it can be to be a caregiver for an aging parent from his experience with his father. Without help you can trust and depend on, for many families, this can be overwhelming as they juggle full-time jobs, families with young children, and other obligations. Raul’s personal experience helps him to realize that care isn’t just about the time spent on site but also about ensuring the physical and mental well-being of his clients when his caregivers aren’t there. That’s why Raul teamed up with GetSetUp. As he says, especially with coronavirus, “We both have the mission to keep them in their home but we want them to connect to the outside world including their families.”
Through GetSetUp Raul is putting the boutique in all-around customer service, even when his staff isn’t present. He is offering his clients a customized bundle of GetSetUp classes to help them fight loneliness and have access to ongoing learning opportunities so they ultimately feel empowered. GetSetUp is a digital adoption platform specifically for seniors, where educators over 50-years-old teach their peers how to use technology devices like smartphones and Ipads, apps like Instagram and getting food or prescriptions delivered, and filing important documents online like those needed for Medicare and Social Security.
Home Care should be about ensuring that people feel at home as they age and that they continue to be an integral part of society. Teaching seniors how to participate in the digital world and use rideshare apps to go to their own appointments or Zoom to chat with their grandkids means that they continue to stay connected, active, and healthier both mentally and physically. Ultimately, when you invest in learning, no matter what age you are, you invest in a person.
As you look to the future as you age or as your loved one’s age, consider an option that keeps them at home with the care and support they need to remain socially active, independent, and healthy.