October 09 2018
The situation I have been facing started a few years ago when my Uncle had health issues that precluded him from staying at his home, which required he be able to do stairs. My Aunt had health issues and hired home care aides for about 15 hours a week to help her about the house, but clearly did not want to move to be with my Uncle. Part of that was that she had gotten overly stressed about caring for him, which was understandable. And -- I live half the continent away. After over a month's worth of visits during the first year for crises & getting put between the two when they had disagreements, I got both to agree to hiring a care manager. (A move suggested at the time by the home care aide company.) Did research and comparisons for several care managers in the area and we all ultimately decided on Barbara of Umbrella Care. Barbara's main advantage in our evaluation was her RN background, which was immediately helpful when she would attend status meetings for my Uncle's rehab, then cover the situation and decisions to be made in terms I could understand. It was very difficult to ask the right questions, let alone make the right decisions, when you couldn't translate all the medical terminology and the medical staff didn't have more time to give you. She also helped get my Aunt to a better state of health by making sure she went to appointments and getting my Aunt to understand what she needed to do to get better. Throughout this ordeal, Barbara never hesitated to step up and get care staff to act when she saw things that should be getting done, were not. I also have found that Barbara is great at managing relationships and making suggestions on how to handle difficult personal situations. My Aunt was constantly putting me between her and others she had disagreements with, which made helping the two of them out all the more difficult. Just one example: She'd refuse my suggestions to even consider moving to assisted living, even if it was a different room or location than where my Uncle lived. Then when friends would suggest the same to her, she would tell them that I wouldn't let her move because I said it was too expensive. I'd then get calls from upset friends complaining! At any rate, Barbara is a great listener and would suggest approaches to alleviate the tensions that arose. Also, she was very helpful in regards to coping with difficult health decisions. Fast forward to the last year and my Aunt's condition was worsening. She'd want home care aides fired and eventually we went through 3 or 4 agencies, besides a couple other crises happening simultaneously. My Uncle was declining physically and eventually passed away. Barbara continued to provide great service, understanding and guidance to everyone involved. She even brought on Sharon (also with an RN background) who lived close to my Uncle and Aunt. Sharon was thrown into the fire, right before my Aunt's health reached it's most difficult point, continuing the exemplary service that Barbara gave the last couple years. My Aunt is finally at an assisted living facility, in so much better condition than how she was living the last few years. With what we went through, I cannot imagine having been able to get to this point, without more damage, had we not had Umbrella Care's help. ("We" is not just me, my Uncle and Aunt -- it includes my wife, kids and my sister, as well as my Uncle and Aunt's neighbors and friends. And even clients of mine, who've had to deal with several inopportune absences.) Barbara's background, people acumen and ability to hire others that are very qualified has simply been incredible.