SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Since August 2009, Homewatch CareGivers of Essex, Morris and northern Union Counties has offered an affordable non-medical alternative to assisted living or nursing homes. According to franchise owner Larry Aronson, his organization has already serviced 100 clients and provided 60,000 hours of care.
Today’s seniors are accustomed to being an active group. Everyone wants to remain capable of independently living at home before possibly transitioning to a dedicated assisted living or nursing home center.
However, as this population ages, their baby boomer children find themselves, often from a distance, not only dealing with their aging parents’ healthcare needs and daily routines, but maybe even their own. Financial changes may have also resulted in changes in where parents reside.
Families are often unable to participate in their loved ones’ daily routines, so outside help must be arranged.
This trend was recognized by the national Homewatch CareGivers network, which opened its headquarters in Colorado in 1980. Since then, the company has expanded to its current 120 franchise owners in 33 states and six countries.
What motivated Aronson to become a franchise owner? He explains, “I saw a business opportunity that required community participation and where I could do something important.”
Aronson worked 24 years in the consumer package goods industry. His background includes 16 years for Proctor & Gamble-three in medical office coverage-, four years with Warner Lambert and three years with Revlon. He ultimately was promoted to president, North American sales & customer marketing, for Revlon.
Homewatch complies with New Jersey regulations, providing non-medical services as a licensed health care services firm. The license excludes any nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy or other “skilled care” services.
Homewatch offers its clients either live-in or hourly support for activities of daily living (ADLs). These ADLs include showering, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring and eating. Some cases may require only “companion support” for meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, transportation to doctors’ appointments, running errands and medication reminders. Homewatch works with all age groups and those clients with special needs, but does not have special needs programs.
“Occasionally, our job is just to bring some life back into the home. When someone has lost a spouse, the family is often unable to regularly be there,” Aronson says.
Providing quality care is critical to Aronson, who sets high standards for his professional staff. He employs two nurses, a social worker and a very experienced CNA/CHHA scheduling manager who frequently makes house visits to insure that caregivers are appropriately trained to perform their jobs well.
Clients and their families have individual personalities, and Aronson stresses that Homewatch focuses on their needs. He believes what separates Homewatch from other agencies is their group dedication to working with the entire family as a unit.
“From the first day, we try to understand the ‘family world’ to provide a complete family experience. It begins with the first phone call from people who are usually stressed and confronted by a situation beyond their experience. We have to listen and offer solutions. People frequently breathe a sigh of relief once we have spoken to them. Our goal is to inform families of our abilities to exceed just personal care. For example, we even provide laundry services,” says Aronson.
Because of the potential vulnerability of a client, additional factors must be considered. Entrusting a loved one’s care to a stranger is daunting for most families. Homewatch makes every effort to verify the honesty and integrity of its home caregivers.
Aronson explains, “In addition to confirming their own certification, we do professional background checks, driving record checks and reference checks. All cases requiring personal care ADLs utilize aides who are certified by the state. Achieving this certification entails completion of a 76-hour training class and passing an exam. New Jersey also conducts background checks that include finger printing.
Home care is a two-way relationship. Clients and their families also have obligations to the caregivers. Homewatch clients must sign a form that outlines mutual responsibilities and respect.
Aronson suggests that prior to arranging caregiver service, his team and the family should jointly develop a “care plan”, which will enhance the value of the arrangement. Upon starting their service, families should communicate with the professional staff to insure that Homewatch is honoring their caregiver commitments.
Although he launched Homewatch CareGivers in the middle of the economic downturn, Aronson says his company has consistently expanded. He credits aggressive marketing and quality care giving, and is optimistic that an economic improvement will result in even greater growth.
Aronson is uncertain about how the new healthcare laws will impact his services. He says, “I will worry about this when it becomes clear as to what it means. For now, we are just focused on growing the business and providing quality care.”
(973) 810-0110 - Main Office (24/7)
75 South Orange Avenue Suite 201
South Orange, NJ 07079