Meet Oumou

Employee Spotlight: Oumou Share
Caregiver at Longview Drive location

Oumou (right) at our recent team building event

What do you do for Our Family Home?

As a caregiver for Our Family Home, I provide care for residents in our Longview home in Columbus. I coordinate activities for residents, help them with personal care and eating and spend time with them.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I’ve worked at Our Family Home for six years.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy talking with our residents and getting to know each of them. Most of all, I love when they tell their stories. Our residents are like family. We learn about each other and get attached to one another.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my kids, going to the movies, restaurants or Chuck E. Cheese.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

I learn from our residents every day. I enjoy hearing their stories and learning what their life was like. I’ve been working with seniors and individuals with dementia for a long time and understand how important it is to love what you’re doing.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

Caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia isn’t always easy. Sometimes our residents are in a good mood and sometimes they’re not. However, when you take time to get to know them, you learn what they like and what they don’t like. Some people like music, dancing or activities. Others like to go outside or to sit on the patio. Some like their hair or nails done.  We try different things at different moments to learn what they like and what they don’t.

Being in Their Moment

At Our Family Home, we focus our training and care model around being in their moment. Not to be confused with being in the moment. Many of our residents can’t remember things moment to moment, so it’s important for our caregivers to focus on their moment not ours.

It’s easy for people to toss around the phrase personalized care without ever really describing it. A lot of memory care centers tout their personalized approach to care, and for those to new to the industry, it’s worth asking what that means.

For us, personalized care means allowing residents and families to influence their own lifestyle within our homes. We don’t wake our residents at the same time or choose to only serve meals at set times. This is part of the uniqueness of our care model. We recognized early on that each person in our care is different. In our homes, we have early risers and night owls and we should accommodate both.

Taking the time to understand each person’s schedule allows our staff the time to interact with each resident in the best way for them. Caregivers can feed or serve meals to two or three residents and sometimes one-on-one.

Personalized care also means connecting and building real relationships. With an industry-low ratio of two caregivers to five residents, we give our caregivers the chance to develop meaningful relationships with our residents and their families. Our ratio also translates to greater longevity with staff. When there’s less turnover among staff, there’s more time for connection, respect and trust to build.

Our favorite definition of personalized care is being in their moment. When caregivers aren’t pressured to meet unrealistic expectations for meals and engagement, they’re given greater freedom to react to what each person needs. Instead of a strict schedule for the day, we equip our staff with routines that are meant to ease our residents through the day. However, through ongoing training, we’re able to empower our residents to interject what is needed in the moment.

The caregivers at Our Family Home take time to get to know each resident allowing them to incorporate activities or tactics meant to ease tension that can arise when serving individuals with memory disease. They get to know the residents and take time to learn about where they are in their disease, what they were like before the disease and what reaches through the disease to relax and calm them.

Offering a level of care that is unique to each resident in our homes is important to us. It starts with the training we provide to our care teams and extends into our purpose to give residents and families more good days.

One of our team members recently shared this story about the level of personalized care in our homes.

“I walked into one of our locations in Worthington to do a site visit and drop off some materials when I noticed one of our residents having a “tough moment.” Something had agitated him. Within no time, one of our caregivers turned on a baseball game and began singing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The resident immediately began singing along at the top of his lungs. They stood with their arms around each other swaying, singing, and watching that baseball game without a care in the world. It brought tears to my eyes to watch this resident go from such a difficult moment to pure joy all because this caregiver was patient and understood what he needed in that moment.”

Meet Shega

Shega CaregiverEmployee Spotlight: Shega Kumnegere
Caregiver at Worthington-Galena Location

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I am a caregiver with Our Family Home at our Worthington-Galena house. My responsibilities include taking care of our residents, handling inventory and checking to see what we might need for the house.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I have been with Our Family Home for seven years.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy seeing the residents happy. Working with our residents and helping them also makes me happy.

What do you do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy gardening. I like being at home. I find joy in doing things around the house, like cooking, cleaning and spending time with my son.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

I am learning every day. Most of our residents in this house are non-verbal, and for many of them, this is the last thing they are asking for in their life. Even though they might not be able to talk, I have learned I can still communicate with them and love them. When I do something they like, I can see it in their eyes. When they aren’t happy, I can see it on their face.

How does OFH give residents and families more good days?

Our Family Home gives residents ‘more good days’ by thinking and being positive. Whatever is happening at home or personally, we try to keep it at home and only give them a smile. Making our residents happy and interacting them is our main priority. I’m always trying to look them in the eye and smile. I want them to know that everything we do; we do from the heart. I’m also trying to care for them the way I would want someone to care for me.

OFH Caregivers Selected as Finalists for Caregiver of the Year

We are very proud to announce that two Our Family Home caregivers were selected as finalists for the Athletes Against Alzheimer’s Caregiver of the Year Award. Swedie Harris and April Bullock were recognized at the 2019 Fedora Ball for the commitment to serving seniors with Alzheimer’s.

Swedie, Evan & AprilAccording to Evan DuBro, founder and CEO of Our Family Home, “The heart of our organization is our caregivers. They are the ones who work tirelessly each day to give our residents more good days. When I started Our Family Home, I knew that our success would be most heavily impacted by the level of care and service we can offer to those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am so proud to work alongside Swedie and April to care for our residents and am so happy that they are being recognized for all they do to serve others.”

The late Coach Earle Bruce was a long-time champion in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. Over the course of 12 years, Mr. Bruce hosted several events to raise money for a variety of funds and causes, with most efforts going to The Earle & Jean Bruce Alzheimer’s Research Fund at The Ohio State University. Through signature events and support, Mr. Bruce raised more than $1.6 million for the research fund. The Fedora Ball continues in his honor to support the work being done to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

April & Swedie at the Fedora BallWe are extremely proud to share more about our amazing caregivers and finalists:

April Bullock is a caregiver and team lead at Our Family Home. As a team leader, she is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities at our Olentangy River Road home, including cooking, cleaning, laundry, scheduling and activities with our residents. April was nominated because of her remarkable commitment to her residents. She approaches every challenge with patience, determination and heart. Even in difficult situations, April has a special gift of establishing meaningful relationships with her residents. When one of the residents in her house was not eating well, April got creative. She remembered that he liked spicy food and started to sprinkle cayenne on some of his food and he started eating again.

When asked about her role at Our Family Home recently, April shared, “Every resident is different and we can tailor our care to their needs. What works for one resident is not going to work for another. We’re able to take the time to narrow things down and get to what they need. We’re also able to interact with family members. Just like if you’re at home and have family members stop by, we’re able to talk with them, listen to any concerns and put them at ease.”

Swedie Harris started at Our Family Home in 2007 as a caregiver and is now a care team leader. In this role, Swedie oversees everything happening in the home, including supervising caregivers and overseeing daily needs, such as scheduling, menu selection, cooking, cleaning and personal care of residents.

Swedie holds a special place in our hearts at Our Family Home because she was the very first caregiver hired. She helped us establish our high standard for personalized memory care and even cared for Our Family Home Founder Evan DuBro’s mom. However, it is more than her role helping to build an industry leading model of care that makes her worthy of the designation as Professional Caregiver of the Year. Swedie has a truly special gift for engaging and calming residents.

A few years ago, a colleague remembers visiting one of our houses to drop off some materials shortly after she started working with Our Family Home. As she entered the house, she noticed one of our residents having a “tough moment.” Something had agitated him. Within no time, Swedie turned on a baseball game and began singing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

The resident immediately began singing along at the top of his lungs. They stood with their arms around each other swaying, singing, and watching the baseball game without a care in the world. “It brought tears to my eyes to watch this resident go from such a difficult moment to pure joy all because this caregiver was patient and understood what he needed in that moment.”

We talked with Swedie last year about what she has learned working at Our Family Home over the years and she shared the following:

“I’ve learned that one-on-one care makes a difference. We have residents come from other places and are in bad shape. But, once we take care of them, give them love and attention, they live longer. We put our residents first. Our work come second. They do better when you take time and talk with them rather than rushing them into your own agenda.”

“We explain what we’re doing and ask them what they want. We let them have a say in what they do. We don’t rush them or force them into something. We also work to understand their personalities and offer care based on it. Sometimes that means telling jokes or singing. We understand that each person is unique,” Swedie added.

Please join us for the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

We are pleased to announce Our Family Home and CRT Realtors have partnered for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 22, 2019. We hope you will consider either joining our team or choosing to support our walk financially.

Our Team Page:  http://act.alz.org/goto/OFHandCRT

Check in for the Columbus walk begins at noon with a seated opening ceremony at 2 p.m. The walk begins at 2:15 p.m. and is approximately 1.25 miles. The route begins at Huntington Park.

On behalf of Our Family Home and CRT Realtors, thank you kindly for your support.

Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease!

 

Can’t join us for the walk but would still like to help?  Join us for our Local Cantina fundraiser to support our team!

September 9-13

Happy Hour: 3pm-6pm

Buy a PURPLE Margarita and $1.00 goes to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Meet Faye

Employee Spotlight: Faye Scott
Administrative Assistant

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I am the Assistant to the CEO and support the team at Our Family Home. I’ve worked alongside Evan as the company grew from two homes to eight. I’ve done a variety of tasks from grocery shopping and ordering to property management. I continue to help with administrative duties and support the marketing team.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I started with Our Family Home in January 2013.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I really like being able to spend time in our homes with the staff and residents. I enjoy volunteering at Our Family Home events and being able to support the team.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my son, family and friends. I like swimming, reading and being outdoors. I also love attending local music and sporting events with my son. We enjoy cheering on the Buckeyes, the Blue Jackets, The Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals.

What have you learned working with Alzheimer’s patients and residents of Our Family Home?

I’ve learned this horrible disease will impact nearly everyone. Most people will be affected either as a caregiver or as someone in need of care. I’ve also found the quality of care you receive is very important and having peace of mind that your loved one is receiving great care is priceless.

Have you been impacted by Alzheimer’s or memory disease personally?

Yes, my grandfather had vascular dementia and my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve also been impacted by each of the residents who have come to Our Family Home.

How does OFH give residents and families more good days?

Our homes provide a well-designed environment in which our residents and their families can feel “at home.” But, I think the uniqueness is that we really become a family and give our residents a sense of belonging. At the end of the day, they may forget what you said but they won’t forget how you made them feel.

Also, I think this story helps demonstrate the level of care we offer: I walked into one of our locations in Worthington to do a site visit and drop off some materials for one of our nurses when I noticed one of our residents having a “tough moment.” Something had agitated him. Within no time, one of our caregivers turned on a baseball game and began singing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The resident immediately began singing along at the top of his lungs. They stood with their arms around each other swaying, singing, and watching that baseball game without a care in the world. It brought tears to my eyes to watch this resident go from such a difficult moment to pure joy all because this caregiver was patient and understood what he needed in that moment.

Meet Fanta

Employee Spotlight: Fanta
Caregiver at Northigh Location

What do you do for Our Family Home?

I am a caregiver and take care of our residents.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I have been working with Our Family Home for 10 years. I started in 2009.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working with our residents. I enjoy having fun with them and taking care of them like they are my family. I lost my mother and often feel like I’m caring for her.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy reading, going to church, spending time with my family and exercising.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

I can help them, but they also help me. I enjoy working with our residents and I also feel better when I know I am helping them.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

Our Family Home gives residents more good days by the way we take care of each person. If they’re happy, it makes me happy. We also help give assurance to their families. If we take great care of their loved one and are happy caring for them, it gives them greater comfort and peace.

Memory Care Unlike The Others

Fran and Ed Hall on their 47th Anniversary.

“Dementia ran in my wife’s family, and as a physician, I could see the early signs of dementia developing. It was really hard on both of us. Initially I was able to care for Fran. Then, I started asking our kids to watch their mom while I was at work. As the disease developed, we finally reached a point where I realized she was never going to come back home.” – Edward Hall, M.D.

In late 2017, Ed Hall realized he could no longer provide the necessary 24-hour care that his wife, Fran, needed. Even with the help of his kids, they couldn’t fully attend to her needs. After being admitted into a memory disease unit at a nearby hospital, they realized Fran needed full-time care. They discussed in-home care, but ultimately decided that a care center would be better.

Ed, a physician himself, and his daughter, a nurse, worked with the hospital to gather a list local facilities and began setting up appointments. They were surprised by what they found – or really what they couldn’t find.

The centers were nice, even offering aroma therapy sessions and video games geared toward seniors with memory diseases. However, the majority of amenities weren’t suitable for Fran – or anyone whose disease has progressed or might progress quickly.

“It felt like they weren’t keyed into what Fran needed or might need. They were looking for less dependent residents, who could more easily navigate the center. Fran had lost her sense of smell a few years before and wouldn’t be able to follow a video game.”

Ed knew she needed more attentive care. Fran had also shown signs of belligerence, common for individuals with dementia, during the initial evaluations. Some of the centers identified this as a red flag for them and even declined to accept her.

After multiple dead ends, Ed and his daughter were referred to Our Family Home.

“We knew immediately this was the right place and they’ve been a godsend ever since. From the very first discussion, we could tell they had a different approach to caring for individuals with memory disease. They were cued into her needs and were equipped to manage her care, even as the disease progressed.”

According to Ed, most of the centers they looked at had a ratio of 1 caregiver: 8 residents during the day and 1 caregiver: 16 residents at night. They were surprised to learn that Our Family Home has 2 caregivers: 5 residents during the day and 1 caregiver: 5 residents at night. This was unprecedented to them.

“Honestly, I believe that if Fran didn’t have the level of care she’s been receiving from Our Family Home, she probably wouldn’t be with us today. The staff is great. They bond with the residents and show a genuine concern about their care. I still see Fran nearly every day, but I have no worries that when I’m not there that her care is any different. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

 

Meet Kellie

Employee Spotlight: Kellie Gerding
Team Lead Coordinator, Miami Hills and Bramblewood

 

Headshot of KellieWhat do you do for Our Family Home?

I am a team lead coordinator for our Miami Hills and Bramblewood homes in Cincinnati. I manage scheduling, setting up and conducting interviews, working closely with our caregivers and helping with our residents whenever needed.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I have been with Our Family Home for three years. I started as a caregiver then worked to become an assistant team lead and now a team lead coordinator.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy being able to take care of our residents and also having the opportunity to be hands on with my team. I have an amazing team. I also love being a part of the on-boarding process and watching the relationships grow with my team and with residents.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy watching movies with my husband of 17 years. I like to spend time with friends and family, and I especially enjoy being outdoors.

What have you learned working with residents of Our Family Home?

Kellie with a resident
Kellie loves working with our residents and taking them outside on nice days.

Working with residents, I have learned that each day brings a new and different experience and I don’t know what the day holds. I am more patient and have learned to go with the flow. I have realized that one day may go a certain way and then the next is completely different.

Have you had a personal experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

Yes. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s. He passed away in 2016. I also had an aunt with Alzheimer’s disease, who passed away last year, and an uncle who has it now.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

We give residents and families more good days by treating them like they are our own family. We’re able to provide close-knit, one-on-one, personal attention, giving family members peace of mind that when they leave their loved one will be taken care of. They don’t have anything to worry about. We also get to know and love each one of our residents for who they are and their unique personalities.

A Turnaround Story

Working with Alzheimer’s and dementia residents, we see challenges of the disease that are often perceived as “behaviors” of the resident. Memory disease can make people act in ways that are completely foreign to how they behaved most of their lives, making it extremely important to find the right care option for your loved one.

Unfortunately, we encounter far too many cases where residents have been moved to multiple facilities or over-medicated because of their “behavior.” Yet, we’ve been fortunate to find that these individuals are frequently our most inspiring turnaround stories. People like Anthony.

In 2018, we welcomed Anthony to Our Family Home after being discharged from another memory care facility for his “behaviors.” During our assessment, we learned he had been in three memory care facilities prior to us and was heavily medicated. He was bed-ridden, and his fists were clenched tightly, making him unable to use his hands.

After moving into Our Family Home, our team of nurses began working with a new hospice group to reduce his medication, slowly weaning him down from what were nearly toxic levels. Over time, they significantly reduced the medicine and added a small pain medication for severe arthritis. Working together through daily interaction and simple exercises, Our Family Home caregivers noticed not just that Anthony’s hands were opening, but that he could now feed himself and hold a glass.

Once bed-ridden and unable to use his hands, Anthony now participates in multiple, group activities – like passing around a pool noodle, throwing beach balls, and erasing the chalk board and folding napkins. We’ve also been able to work with hospice and his family to equip Anthony with a high back wheelchair to move around the house independently.

Just retelling this story can almost bring tears. We’re still seeing weekly improvements and getting to know Anthony even more, which separates Our Family Home from other facilities.

We realize that not every story and not every resident will have such a transformative experience with us. But, we do know that Our Family Home’s level of care and the real connection we have with our residents preserves their health, their dignity and their livelihood.