Updated: Feb 21
COVID Update: Before I begin my story, I want you to know that at Luxury Live-Ins of Naples, there is nothing more important than helping the people in our care live a safe and happy life. Based on what we learned during the first wave of COVID, our caregivers have the knowledge, experience, and training they need to manage any of the more complex demands they may encounter when caring for your loved one during this crisis.
The following story is how my passion for helping people, coupled with some street smarts, led me to conquer a learning disability, start my own home care agency, and find the best caregivers for my clients.
As the proud owner of Luxury Live-Ins of Naples, a live-in home care agency, I am grateful for what I do and how my life experiences have brought me to where I am today. While revealing my past may seem a bit out of the ordinary, I think it’s important for anyone considering our home care services to understand how my own experiences have informed my values and approach to supporting seniors. Being both an experienced nurse and businesswoman is a unique combination in the home care services field. I know what is needed when determining the best care for your aging family member.
More importantly, if you are reading this because you are concerned about an aging loved one, please know that I have walked in your shoes with my own family, so I completely understand the frustration and anxiety that goes along with finding quality care for the people we love. These struggles are not easy but I learned first hand how to find the best caregivers.
As a child, classroom work was not easy, but I had no idea why until I was officially diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of 35. Now that I have an explanation, I truly believe that many of life’s challenges happen for a reason. In my case, I was forced to recognize and build upon my stronger traits, such as creative problem solving, persistence, and compassion. In turn, compensating for my own disability taught me how to keep pushing forward for the benefit of others.
A good nurse always wants to help
I decided to pursue a business degree when first arriving at college. Fortunately, it did not take me long to recognize my true calling and I quickly changed majors. Applying and being accepted into nursing school was the best decision I ever made.
While the classroom work in nursing school was challenging, much of the training was hands-on with real, live patients. I loved the feeling that washed over me when I could help someone in need and there seemed to be no limit to how much compassion someone could accept during a health crisis. I gave them everything I had to give because helping people with both my skills and good instincts made me feel happy and confident. And lucky for me, my passion for helping people pushed me forward every single day. Helping is what I love!
For me, compassion always comes first
My first job was working shifts in a general hospital. One night, while I, myself, was seven months pregnant, I was asked to assist a young woman in labor. She delivered a healthy baby but, unfortunately, the mother developed an infection that prevented her from being with her infant. The mother was very sick but desperate to see her newborn — and I just could not calm her. I decided to put her mental state first, found a wheelchair, and snuck her up a utility elevator to see her baby. Even though a window separated them, she wept tears of joy when they were reunited. She thanked me profusely and allowed me to take her back to her room to get some sleep.
For me, it was important to break a small rule so that my patient could finally get the healing sleep she needed. It was a balancing act, but in the end, she recovered and went home with the strength she needed to care for her baby. Today, I get to advocate for my elderly clients in the same manner by pushing hard against anything that tries to hold them back. For me, it’s simple. Get them everything they need and deserve — and never stop!
I worked in several more hospitals, delivered many more babies, assisted surgical patients with difficult recoveries and yes, pushed the envelope a few more times along the way. I still get emails and letters from families thanking me because they felt loved and cared for by a young, green, and headstrong nurse like me. I’ve always loved the feeling of going the extra mile for someone in need.
Learning how to choose caregivers, and then match them to a person in need of care.
For many more years, I worked hands-on with patients as an RN. Then, during a job interview at an assisted living facility, someone recognized that I had a talent for seeing the big picture and hired me for a leadership role as Director of Nurses.
Taking charge at that facility and leading those who were providing patient care, I quickly learned how complex it could be to interface with all the parts and pieces. Government agencies, physical therapists, physicians, pharmacies, elder law attorney, and countless other entities come into play when trying to assist the elderly. It took every ounce of my managerial and nursing skills to get it all coordinated for the benefit of my patients.
The challenge is how to find the best caregivers
However, one of my most important functions as a leader for this assisted living facility was to interview in-person the many potential caregivers we needed to hire.
Growing up, I had always been told to look and act sharp at a job interview, so imagine my surprise when many of these job seekers arrived in casual attire and behaved in an unprofessional manner. Tight shorts, skimpy skirts, bad grammar, and rude language were the norm and very frustrating for someone like me with very high standards.
Looking back, I am convinced that these interviews shifted my life for the better. The lack of qualified applicants opened my eyes to see a niche that desperately needed to be filled. Professional, skilled, and compassionate caregivers were almost impossible to find, but with a growing population of aging boomers — someone better figure it out! Why not me?
Risking it all to find the best caregivers possible
I had all the experience and the skills I needed to start an agency dedicated to finding professional, kind, hardworking, and compassionate people to fill the caregiver gap. But, when I told my husband about my plan, he became very nervous. “Why would you want to quit a good job while we are raising a family dependant on both of our salaries?” he asked. Together, we decided I should take six months to see if I could actually find the best caregivers and make it all work. And so it began.
Seeing the joy on the faces of our clients and their families is everything
The six months came and went quickly and soon I was busy matching wonderful caregivers with my clients’ loved ones. I knew exactly who I was looking for, and while many applicants did not make the cut, I began finding good, compassionate people that surpassed my highest standards.
I had all the experience and the skills I needed to start an agency dedicated to finding professional, kind, hardworking, and compassionate people to fill the caregiver gap. And, I knew exactly what skills they needed and what kind of training I would provide.
As I reminisce about where I’ve been, the best memories are about all the caregivers and clients who have become family for each other. Compassion is contagious and, under our roof, there is a lot of love to go around. Seeing joy on every face is why we are here.
If you have a family member who may soon need home care, I would love to help you too. More than anything else, we at Luxury Live-Ins of Naples pride ourselves on being compassionate and matching each client with their perfectly matched caregiver.
My staff and I understand how big of a decision this is for you. If you are in the process of trying to figure it all out and find the best caregivers for a loved one, I want to help you.
Whether your concerns are COVID-based, financial, logistical, or just the unknown, we can answer all of your questions and put your mind at ease.
Learn more about our hiring and training process based upon what I learned as a nurse. Until then, please know that we are here for you if you have any questions about how our home care can help an aging family member or loved one.