COMPANIONSHIP & SOCIAL
by Nancy McGill, Hebron Journal-Register
Before Caring Friends In Home Care opened three years ago, Chris Heitmann and Michelle Sorsen were visiting senior centers and physician offices to let them know about an atypical service for rural areas that takes care of the little things.
“Bigger cities have it and in the smaller areas, it wasn’t available,” Heitmann said about help with stability Caring Friends can provide. “The first part of our venture was educating people on in-home care for the non-medical side.” She is the regional director at Caring Friends and Sorsen is the executive director.
Needs range from meal preparation to bathing and grooming to social outings. Caring Friends will help write letters, shop, do the laundry or just sit and visit.
“What we do is followup on referrals from nursing homes, hospitals or from individuals,” new site coordinator for Thayer, Haylee Williams, said. “We talk with the family to meet their needs. I have a lady who can’t see very well, and we write out the bills. Some people are short term or they will use us for as long as they need to.”
Caring Friends In Home Care has a site coordinator in each of its counties, including Thayer, Jefferson, Fillmore, Nuckolls, Clay and Saline. The company is also in Webster, Adams, Hamilton and York. Hall, Gage and Seward counties are on the radar. There are 18 people receiving services in Thayer.
People living in the counties and needing services may recognize the Caring Friend working with them since the company hires from within the counties it will serve.
“We’re giving back. We are taking care of people and providing opportunities for a job in that area,” she said.
Located at Kingswood Court Assisted Living Facility in Superior, Caring Friends is covered by veterans assistance, the medicaid waiver program, some long term care insurance or people can choose to self-pay. A plan of action is designed for each individual.
“It’s really starting to pick up,” Williams said. “I’m joining at an amazing time. I feel like it’s going to be awesome.” She said a lot of employees at Caring Friends are retired or have part time jobs. All passed background checks before they were matched as closely as possible with the people needing services.
Heitmann said they are also providing services in assisted living facilities. “Caring Friends is part of their care and they can stay in assisted living. If you don’t need a nursing home or assisted living, try to stay in your home,” she said.
Little things, like needing help with exercising, dressing and medication reminders, are sometimes what causes people to search for assisted living. Heitmann managed Meadowlark Heights Assisted Living in Deshler for 10 years and she saw it — the little things people need help with.
“It fills your bucket,” Heitmann said about their services. “Michelle and I both have a deep passion for caring for people. This completes what we do, why we do it.”