Problems with transportation and a lack of in-home care are two major issues the senior community in Hall County faces.
Tina Boggs, director of a new franchise of Seniors Helping Seniors, believes her new agency is in a pivotal position to alleviate this burden.
“Transportation’s a big one,” she said. “But I also think that [needing help] around the house to be able to stay in their homes [is an issue]. Most seniors want to stay in their own environment…when you’re not feeling well and not able to do, and then you have all the responsibilities a home takes to keep it up, that can be overwhelming for our seniors.”
“I think that having someone to be able to come in and do those things for them that allows them to be able to stay there, I think, is huge,” she said. “I feel like that’s a huge need for them to be able to stay in their homes.”
Boggs’ commitment to serving older adults evolved over a period of time, though it was sparked about 15 years ago. She said that not long after, her mother experienced a rapid decline in her health and required frequent in-home care.
That need she saw in her mother throughout those years “struck a chord,” she said. Right away, Boggs, 51, said she felt some sort of divine force pull and urged her to provide such support to others in similar circumstances.
Boggs, with a background in IT and no experience in the healthcare field, had long contemplated other avenues to uplift others as she had for her mother. Last January, the opportunity presented itself in a slightly different form.
Licensed in June, Boggs said she has no doubt that now, four months later, fulfilling the role as director of a for-profit organization helping seniors is what that force had been pulling her toward for so long.
“Everything fell into place and it just was very obvious this is what I needed to do.” Boggs said. “I have zero doubts this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
With that guiding force still present within her, Boggs said she knows how people like her feel when they make the drastic transition from son or daughter to caregiver. It’s this degree of empathy that she says continues to shape the approach she takes in matching clients in need of care with the best person to manage that care and support.
“I know that struggle,” Boggs said. “I know it very well. I know the guilt that comes along with it. I know just how hard it can be and the toll that it can take.”
While her employees range in age, Boggs often seeks retired CNAs and older adults with prior medical experience to match caregivers with care receivers. The idea, she said, is to pair a match that narrows the age gap between the two roles.
Boggs cited what she described as a “matching system” for doing that, stating this provides the best outcome for those receiving care, since the two are more compatible generationally.
“What’s most important at the end of the day is that companionship,” she said. “We try to really focus on that. We find that since they’ve lived similar life experiences, they have more things to talk about and relate to…when I meet with a caregiver and care receiver, I take a whole profile of that person and what their likes and dislikes are. We try to match people up that have those commonalities.”
Boggs, who said a major objective is to keep clients as active as possible, said that greater companionship improves the overall quality of life for the individuals they serve.
“We want to keep everybody active,” Boggs said. “If we have somebody go in and cook a meal, and the [care receiver] used to enjoy cooking, we’ll encourage them to get up and cook with the caregiver…again, we’re there for encouragement and as a support system.”
“If I have a room in my home that needs to be organized, I’m more likely to do it if I have a friend come along than if I have to tackle that by myself,” she added. “That doesn’t change for our seniors, and that’s what we’re there to do.”
Seniors Helping Seniors, which operates primarily in Hall and Forsyth counties, provides a range of services including in-home and personal care, transportation and general companionship that focuses on cooking, cleaning, bathing and assisting with basic mobility needs.
Seniors Helping Seniors President Namrata Yocom-Jan said Boggs’ new role with the organization is representative of what the group strives to accomplish in its service to seniors.
“The differentiating force of Seniors Helping Seniors services in the senior care industry is our
mission to bring the power of love to senior communities across the country,” Yocom-Jan said. “What was missing in the senior care space was the love, kindness, companionship and understanding that we provide. The Boggs’ are passionate about servant leadership and committed to bringing love into the lives of seniors with dignity and respect.”