Many have asked me why I got into the home care business. While it can be rewarding, this is not an easy business. My story begins with my grandmother, who, at 90, still lived independently, drove on her own, and even maintained a small backyard garden. Unfortunately her independence came to an end after she fell and damaged her last good eye, leaving her without eyesight. After the fall, she grew increasingly confused and started having hallucinations. It got so bad that, on Christmas day, she ended up in the emergency room. She was unable to continue living alone, so the doctors discharged her to a skilled nursing facility to recover. Every morning before work, I went to check on her, often finding her lying naked on the floor. When I told the charge nurse what was happening, she rolled her eyes at me. I was met with inaction and a severe lack of empathy. My grandmother was clearly in pain, and constantly repeated, “I want to go home.” I couldn’t bear to keep her there, so I began searching for someone to take care of her in her own home.
At this point in time, there wasn’t much information about home care online, or an abundance of care giving agencies to choose from. I found a company in Pasadena that serviced her area, but it became quickly apparent that their caregivers were not trained to deal with dementia and could not handle my grandmother’s care. Frustrated by our experience with the caregivers, I found a personal care home not far from her home. She stayed there until she passed away about a year later. Seeing someone so independent go downhill so fast was heartbreaking. Not being able to find adequate care made the experience even worse.
Several years later, when I was thinking of starting a business, I thought back to my experience with home care and my grandmother. I knew I wanted to do something that gave me purpose. Given my background as a respiratory therapist and experience starting and running a home health equipment (DME) company, I knew that I could be successful in the healthcare industry. And the struggle with my grandmother’s care showed that there was a real need for quality home care options in South East Texas. It was as if a lightbulb turned on in my head. It seemed as though God’s purpose for me was to start a home care agency. That is how Advocates for the Independent was created.
Our name, Advocates for the Independent, came to me after speaking with countless seniors about what they wanted from their care. Every senior I spoke with had the same message: they wanted to remain independent. Whether they live at home or in a community, we continue to advocate for our clients’ independence by providing compassionate, quality home care. Even as our company has grown, we have never lost track of our goal to make life better for seniors and their families.
We are now in our 10th year of service. We have never lost sight of our Goal and Mission. We treat each new client as if they were our own grandmother. My Grandmothers’s memory is the driving force behind AFTI’s guest to provide quality care.