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Fall in love with your job: How one woman finds meaning in providing care to aging adults

Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune

In notable news stories across the country, more and more headlines are focused on America’s aging population and the expected caregiver shortage.

Recently, a Chicago Tribune article featured Open Arms Solutions as a professional home care agency helping seniors stay in their homes as long as possible. According to the Pew Research Center, “…roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day” and an increasing number of people in this population want to remain in their homes. Seventy percent of those people admit they will need assistance.

Founder Julie Kollada started Open Arms Solutions largely because she recognized the demand for quality professional home caregivers after struggling to find good care for her mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. To help combat the caregiver shortage, Julie pays higher than the average hourly rate after hiring to a set of core company values, and matching aging adults with caretakers who are compassionate, positive and focused on doing the right thing.

Open Arms’ caregiver, Latasha Williams, embodies the type of compassion Julie looks for in new employees. Latasha is one of four caregivers for 91-year-old Frank Shapira. Frank says about his 24-7 care, “I worked all my life…I worked, I guess, for this.”

For Latasha, the caregiving relationship is what brings the most meaning to her job. ‘Every client I ever had, they fell in love with me; I fell in love with them.” Caregiving can be a challenging job. Julie says, caregivers are “…compassionate people; they have the right heart for this; they want to do this work, which is a special kind of person.”  To read the full Chicago Tribune story, to learn more about the caregiver shortage and to understand the qualities Open Arms Solutions looks for in its caregivers serving aging adults in Chicagoland, click here.

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