By Mike Davis, Covenant Caregivers
It is projected that there will be 7.8 million unfilled jobs by 2026 due to caregiver shortage in our country. This is a serious statistic that Covenant Caregivers is trying to address to minimize the impact on our state and, specifically, the Pine Belt. The aging population is demanding greater assistance in the home as well as in care facilities across the state. Fewer professional caregivers are entering the workforce, which has already started to affect all providers in the senior care arena.
Covenant Caregivers is a non-medical home care agency which strives to keep its clients in their homes — whether they live in a private residence, independent or assisted living facility, or memory care community. We do this by meeting the needs of senior adults in all aspects of their daily life. This may be as simple as providing companionship, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and transportation to medical appointments or social gatherings. Or, it could be assisting a client with all activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, personal hygiene, and medication reminders. Non-medical home care covers a very wide range of services, all in an effort to keep the senior adult comfortable in his or her home.
So, how and why did Covenant Caregivers come to be? The simple answer is a combination of the need for such a service and the passion to deliver that service effectively. The agency’s owner, Mike Davis, is always willing to explain that the “how and why” is much more than a business plan when addressing a growing need. The path to establishing Covenant Caregivers started almost 20 years ago. Looking back, it’s easy to envision God’s hand at work even though, at the time, Mike had little idea of what was in his future.
In 1998, Mike responded to a job posting for a marketing director at an assisted living community in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Despite having no experience in senior care or senior housing, Mike was selected to become the community’s new marketing professional. It was a beautiful, new facility with a homelike feel; however, the best feature and the attractive aspect was the family of residents. The “people” side came naturally, whether providing tours or explaining the benefits of living there; the “business” side was fairly easy to grasp as he put his MBA from Ole Miss to work. After about six months of serving as the community’s marketing director, Mike was presented the opportunity to assume the role of Executive Director. This position opened an amazing opportunity, as the corporate entity was quite progressive, with a focus on the professional development of its leaders. Still, the real reward came from the senior adults that called this beautiful environment “home.” The experiences and relationships are far too numerous to express, and impacted Mike’s life for many years and continue to do so today.
Following eight years in the retirement and assisted living industry, Mike was given the opportunity to try out a new venture with a national hospice organization that served people at the end of life, many of whom were senior adults. Coming back into contact with some of his former residents of the assisted living and their family members was bittersweet, and through the next six years in the hospice industry, there would be even further validation that this population being served was truly the greatest generation. Even though there was certainly professional development, the patients, families, and clinicians were all uniquely incredible people.
Now, a little over fourteen years in the “business” of serving seniors, there was a growing sense that something great was coming. Having friends, colleagues, and mentors in the industry, the idea of a caregiving agency entered the discussion. There would be much study and prayer in the last half of 2011 that ultimately led to the opening of Covenant Caregivers in the Jackson area in January 2012. Prior relationships were renewed, supportive friends and family were present, and this dream became reality. It wasn’t a superb business plan or a carefully thought-out budget that drove the rapid growth and stabilization of Covenant Caregivers, but rather a passion for assisting those in need and contributing to the community that enabled them to expand into Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt in 2017.
There are many things to look for when choosing a company to provide such personal care for yourself or a loved one. Why a company rooted in service exists is equally as important as its policies and procedures and its mission statement and values. Now that you know a little bit about our why, we want to offer you some practical advice on selecting a home care provider.
Covenant Caregivers suggests that you consider the following when selecting a caregiving agency for yourself or a loved one:
- Find out as much as you can about the agency’s leadership or management team — some companies are very transparent on their website which is a good place to start. Call the agency and speak to a manager about his/her philosophy of care and how that aligns with your goals. Does the agency have senior care expertise built into its management? If so, you are getting more than a “sitter” service. You want a service that is well versed in the continuum of care for seniors.
- Does the agency employ its caregivers, or do they utilize independent contractors? We highly recommend using an agency that fully employs the caregiver. This means the company is paying all appropriate payroll taxes and covers the employee should there be an injury (i.e. workers compensation insurance). You want to be sure that you have no liabilities beyond the agreed upon fees.
- Make sure the provider has a manager on-call 24/7 for emergencies and that there is a backup plan for when caregivers become ill or can’t make it to work.
- Ask for a few references that you can call to inquire about the experience they have had with the provider. It’s okay to ask for a reference that is in a situation similar to yours.
- Is the agency a member of a national organization such as the Home Care Association of America, which provides on-going education to its members keeping them abreast of best practices in the industry?
- What is the response time when you have a problem or need additional help? Does someone always answer the phone or call you back timely? You won’t find a perfect provider, but you can find a responsive, solution-focused one!
- Does the agency insure and bond its caregivers? In addition, is there a comprehensive screening process that includes background checks, drug testing, and reference checks?
Covenant Caregivers would love to be a partner in care for you or your loved one. To learn more about us and to find out how we can best meet your needs, call us today at 601-856-5660. Proudly serving Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt.
Trey Richards joined the Covenant Caregivers team in 2018 as the manager of our Hattiesburg office. He is no stranger to senior care as he “grew up” volunteering in local nursing homes and watching some of his family members work in the industry. His passion to serve is rooted in these experiences. Trey was born and raised in Petal and loves living in the Pine Belt. He’s blessed with a great family, including a sister and twin brother! Trey oversees the day-to-day operations for the Hattiesburg area. Some of his duties include meeting with potential clients, interviewing and hiring caregivers, making quality assurance visits, educating area healthcare providers on our service, and more. Give Trey a call if you have any questions about Covenant Caregivers of Hattiesburg!
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