Right at Home, a home care agency, focuses on helping older adults stay in their homes. Gig Harbor residents Tyson and Ili Johnson opened the franchise in the Finholm District, 8805 Harborview Drive, in 2011.
Ili had been a caregiver in her native Figi. Tyson was searching for a career path away from being a real estate developer. Together, they found Right at Home, a national company that started in 1995 in Omaha, Neb.
“We looked at other home-care options and found Right at Home suited us,” Tyson said. “They focus on quality of care, not about numbers. They have access to a national network of resources along with real Midwest values. Each franchise is encouraged to work independently and service clients at the mom-and-pop local level.”
Tyson handles administrative duties and home assessments. Ili is the staff coordinator.
Carol Green, a newly hired community liaison, connects caregivers and service providers with community resources.
The Johnsons say they often hear comments such as, “I wish I would have known about this for my mom or dad.”
“People want to stay at home, be independent and have dignity in life,” Tyson said. “Our goal is to create a better experience for our clients with a smooth transition for what their time in life brings, and give education to family members, letting them know the resources available for them. Carol helps add that for us.”
Right at Home employs 20-25 caregivers to service clients. All are registered and trained, licensed and bonded with the state. The care-givers range from nursing students who are gaining experience to seasoned veterans.
“Our most important quality of staff is the maturity level,” Tyson said. “Our caregivers aren’t about doing this for their next paycheck. They are genuinely interested in their client and bond with them. The key is to hire the right people.”
Employee Tawda Davis, a certified nurse assistant who has worked in other care facilities, said she appreciates that clients get to stay in their own homes.
“Ili and Tyson go out of their way to do anything to help with clients, even the little things like replacing a light bulb,” Davis said. “It’s a family-oriented, family-friendly place to work.”
Tyson said the community has responded in a positive manner.
“There is no price tag for trust when it comes to a loved one,” he said. “It’s warmer and friendlier to have some place to come in to see what we’re all about. The generation we are serving is proud of being self-sufficient, and it can be difficult to accept help. Stopping by to get to know us is an advantage.”
Tyson said they added Green as someone who can add an outreach component.
“She has an extensive background with outreach and elder care,” he said.
Green is passionate about serving older adults.
“I want seniors to know about services available and get connected,” she said.
Green is networking with groups and identifying resources to help fill in the gap that can exist when someone makes the transition to a home-care situation. She sees transportation as being the biggest gap that needs to be filled to help seniors utilize services and to get to appointments.
“It can be a challenge to get providers to be able to get the word out to patients and family members,” Green said. “This is a great fit for me working here.”
The company provides caregivers for companionship, physical assistance, wellness, short-term disabilities, such as surgery recovery, and long-term care for Alzheimer’s patients, hospice and beyond.
“Right at Home gives families permission to be the administrator,” Green said. “It frees family members to fill their intended role of mother, wife and child instead of having the focus being caregiver.
“This service restores the family structure so lines and boundaries for families stay in place, allowing the time spent together be one of enjoyment,” she added.
An adult caregiving guide is available from Right at Home. For more information, visit www.rahpeninsula.com.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_kim.