By Alexander Germanis
When Dorothy Gale clicked her ruby slipper-shod heels together three times, she expressed a sentiment to which nearly everyone can relate: There’s no place like home.
For most people, home is a place of memories, warmth, and comfort, and the longer one calls a place home, the harder it can be to leave. This is why more and more seniors are choosing to age in place, staying in their homes for as long as they can. Many seniors require varying degrees of assistance in order to continue to function safely and happily in their homes, however.
For those seniors, Victory Home Care Services was established in 2019. A joint venture of Apostolic Christian Homes in Eureka and Roanoke, Victory Home Care’s goal is to help seniors stay independent in the setting of their choice and provide peace of mind for both them and their families.
Dedication to Serve
Kim Joos and Nate Hoffman, Administrators of the Eureka and Roanoke homes respectively, bring a collective 40-plus years of experience running senior health care services.
Before working for Roanoke Apostolic Christian Home, Nate opened and ran a home care agency after having a difficult time finding home care for his grandmother. Fifteen years later, the demands of becoming an administrator of a senior living community meant sacrificing his home care agency. But as one door closed, another opened when both Apostolic Christian Homes recognized the increasing need for home care.
“People want to stay in their homes, and we want to be able to provide quality care not only in our nursing facility but in their home, too,” Kim says. “We want to provide that continuum of care from their home to when they come to our home.”
This desire to serve the seniors of Central Illinois only grows stronger with experience. “Most of my adult life, I have had a passion for serving our senior population,” Nate shares. “Personally, it’s proven to be the most rewarding and fulfilling work I have ever found.”
Although Victory Home Care does not provide medical service for in-home care, they do provide a host of non-medical, personal care services.
Beginning with the activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, mobility, and medication reminders, Victory Home caregivers provide services that truly help keep a client’s house feeling like a home. It begins with companionship, Kim states simply. “For families who want someone to spend some time with their family member, we can make sure they are safe and taken care of.”
Meal preparation and grocery shopping can also be tended to or simply helped with, should a senior still want to stay involved with those aspects of life.
“We’ll help with email, do baking, running of errands, take the client to the store, the bank, the post office, or events,” Kim adds. “Our typical minimum is three hours although we can do as little as one hour of service. Some people do contract with us for round-the-clock care. It depends on the need of the person. Whatever it takes to give the family peace of mind that their family member is being cared for during those hours.”
Victory Home Care does not end at home, however. Their services extend to clients in hospitals, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, and even hospice situations. And those services can be found across the recently expanded area of seven counties: LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford.
Taking care of an aging loved one can be a difficult job, as can finding a reputable person to do the job for you. While many families have opted for private or independent home caregivers, there are several advantages to going with an agency like Victory Home Care.
The first advantage concerns no one’s favorite issues: insurance and taxes. “Families who hire independent caregivers must take on the responsibilities of being an employer,” Nate outlines. “Families used to have the option of hiring the caregiver as an independent contractor (and therefore, the family would not be responsible for payroll taxes, withholdings, etc.). However, this is no longer an option for families, as the IRS has ruled that caregivers must be classified as employees, thus requiring families to withhold payroll taxes when paying caregivers. Victory Home caregivers are employed by us, so we take care of all the payroll issues, including payroll taxes.”
Few independent caregivers have liability or workman compensation insurance, making the homeowner (which in most cases is the client) liable for any accidents or injuries that may occur. Victory Home Care covers all their employees with liability and workman compensation insurance, plus they are all bonded.
All Victory Home caregivers are not only put through mandatory training but a rigorous background screening as well. Furthermore, they are expected to keep up with the latest techniques in caregiving, receiving annual additional training.
Of course, even caregivers can find themselves in need of care from time to time. For those days when a caregiver is unable to tend to their client, a replacement is instantly found.
“We have caregivers that help out their fellow colleagues when these situations arise and make sure shifts are covered,” Nate insists. “We do our best to provide peace of mind to families relying on our services. We are very particular when it comes to hiring caregivers. We hire people that we would place in our own loved one’s homes. That’s the criterion we use.”
A team is often only as good as its leaders. With Agency Manager Holly Gerdes and Lead Scheduler Karen Burmood running things, the right caregiver is paired with the right client. “These two ladies are very passionate about the services we offer, and I wouldn’t want anyone else leading our agency,” says Nate. “After meeting them, you will understand why they are the right individuals for the job.”
The Right Pairing
As not everyone requires the same amount of assistance in their home, Victory takes those needs into account when selecting the right caregiver for the job. When a new client contacts Victory, Holly makes the initial free assessment with the client and family to determine not only what the client’s needs are, but if the personalities of client and caregiver will mesh. “We really work hard to make the matches,” Kim declares. “I think that’s a lot of what sets us apart – being able to make those connections.”
Not only are the client’s needs considered, but the caregiver’s wishes are, as well. “For example, if you’re not comfortable doing toileting, then we match you with a client who needs errands run or meals prepped,” Kim explains.
Although the home caregivers and the nursing staff in Eureka’s and Roanoke’s skilled nursing facilities are not the same people, Kim insists the right people are always going to be in the right setting. “Our goal is to provide high quality care in our facilities and in the community,” she continues. “It’s so important to support seniors at all levels.”
As the demand for home care has increased, so have people’s options. As Nate and Kim will both attest, nothing proves Victory’s worth in home care better than word of mouth.
“We get great reviews and testimonies,” Kim says. “It gets to a point where the client feels like the caregiver is part of their family. That makes us different. Families know there is somebody who loves and respects their loved one and is there with them.”
“This is the most rewarding part of the work we do,” Nate agrees. “When you get feedback from families expressing the services that we provide are life-changing to them, it validates our desire and commitment to serve our seniors.”
That validation and commitment stem from one solid understanding held by everyone at Victory Home Care – that for any senior who wishes to live comfortably and happily and still have access to the assistance they require to continue living life, there’s no place like home.
We are often looking for caring and compassionate individuals to join our group of caregivers.
Regardless of your age and experience, if you have a desire for this type of work, we would love to talk with you. We would welcome anyone that is considering these services. For those who wish to serve, are considering our services, or wish to obtain more information, call us at (309) 306-2429, email us at [email protected], or visit us on the web at www.victoryhomecare.org.