Monday, February 10, 2014
Job title: Owner, In Good Company, Turners Falls
When business opened: 2011
Your duties: I offer companionship to elders using mindful attention and a non-judgmental approach. Individuals are always seen and heard with respect, and met with acceptance for who they are. My work includes, but is not limited to: medical appointments, reminiscing, playing games, listening to music, reading aloud, going for walks, taking day trips, shopping, eating out, looking at photos and creating memory books.
How did you start your business? I was inspired to do this work while providing care for my mother in the last years of her life. And, after 13 years of owning and operating Plow Frau & Bow Wow, a snow plowing and environmentally focused hauling business (with my dog Brava supervising), I was ready for a change. Peggy Hoime, founder of Practical Happiness, was instrumental in getting me started in this endeavor.
What’s most challenging about your work? I am always learning how to work more effectively with my clients who experience dementia or mental health issues.
What do you like about it? I truly enjoy getting to know each of my clients, who they are now and where they’ve come from. Using my background in effective communication techniques, as well as my hospice volunteer experience in a tangible way, is very rewarding for me.
What is your key to success? The key to success for me involves showing up on time, being honest and keeping an open mind. The work I do with others reflects the quality of my life, which reflects the work I do with others. For me, maintaining this balance equals success.
Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? I live in the Valley. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
What has surprised you most about your business endeavor? I am surprised at how easy it has been transitioning from working in a trade to working in human services.
Name a few of your goals for the coming year: I will be networking more with others working in the field of elder care. I will further my education in the study of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and mental health.
Tell us a little-known fact about you: I have been practicing Theravada meditation for many years.
What is your advice for others seeking business success: I have found it helpful to always keep in mind that I am building a reputation — I am my business. Whether buying coffee at a local café, driving behind a slow-moving vehicle or meeting a new client, I try to be friendly, patient and kind. I have noticed these qualities in many successful business owners in the Valley, and I am proud to be among them. I try to be flexible and open-minded as I make choices along the way. And, of course, dedication to my vision — focusing on the basic goodness of others — is essential.