By Lee Howard
The Day, New London, Conn.
When Suzanne Karp’s father insisted on taking care of his wife, who had Alzheimer’s disease, a tragedy played out.
Just a short time after her mom died, Suzanne’s previously healthy father was dead as well.
“He died of Alzheimer’s,” Suzanne said. “People don’t realize the burnout.”
So five years ago, Suzanne and husband Daniel decided to make a business out of helping take care of elderly residents in their homes. And business was pretty good, but something still nagged at them.
“What can we do better and different?” they asked themselves about two years ago.
The owners of Care at Home came up with a few ideas and then put their plan into action about a year ago. The results, they say, have been nothing short of amazing, as referrals to their home-care agency come in batches every week.
One of the first things they fixed, the Karps said, is the problem of home caregivers not showing up at their appointed time.
They quickly decided on a system requiring their staff to call in from the client’s home to ensure that everyone is covered without fail, and Care at Home personnel follow up if they have not heard from an employee, with people on call to fill in if necessary.
“We want to have direct contact with our clients,” Daniel said. “We’re part of their family.”
And that brings up another change for the better at the Karps’ business: a section of the company’s website devoted to keeping families on top of what is happening with their elderly parents and grandparents. Loved ones have the option any time of the day or night to log in to the “Family Room” to view daily reports on their loved ones filed by Care at Home employees.