Home health care options weren't as prolific then as they are now, so Eustis's recovery was managed piecemeal by his wife, his parents, church members and friends and neighbors in town.
Now, nearly 20 years after the injury that laid him up for months, Eustis is bringing a home health care franchise -- Right at Home -- to the metro-east, managing the franchise out of a
He's also seen the statistics showing the need for businesses like his because the current system of hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities for the injured and elderly can't handle an ever-increasing stock of Baby Boomers in need of care.
Eustis, who is currently accepting applications for caregivers, said he'll begin accepting clients
Q: How did you make your way to the metro-east?
A: "I am from upstate
Q: It was that injury in 1998 that eventually led to you getting into this business. What happened?
A: "I went home after work one night and we had just finished building our house. We had an antique 1950
Q: So literally everything that needed to get done, you suddenly needed someone else to do?
A: "I went from fully functioning to not being able to do anything for myself. Usually it's a different pattern, an end-of-life situation where capacity is gradually tapering down. I went from doing anything I wanted to not able to get myself a glass of water. So that's extreme. Most of the clients here are elderly."
Q: How did you feel about going from totally able to not able at all?
A: "I think there may be a blessing in it in that you learn you just have to give up. You just have to ask for assistance because you have no choice. I can see when someone is elderly, losing the privilege to drive or to live by yourself can be harder to give up because you still think you can do it. I had no choice, so that made it easier. It's a lesson I talk to caregivers about, that they have to understand what someone is going through. You have to be there when they want help, and when they don't want help, just step out."
Q: Have you seen a local need for services like Right at Home?
A: "We might have 60,000 people in the metro-east over the age of 65 right now. In 20 years, it's going to be 120,000 people. That's why you see a lot of assisted living facilities and continued care facilities being built all over the place. It's because of those kinds of numbers. People want to stay in their homes, but there are smaller family sizes to support them and they're farther away. Kids aren't around to take care of people. Where we used to have one wage earner in a family, you have two people working and it's darn near impossible for those people to physically take care of somebody without sacrificing their jobs."
Q: Why did you choose to bring a Right at Home franchise here as opposed to any other?
A: "Right at Home has the size and takes the leadership in this field. They're doing a study right now with (software company) Clear Care and the
Q: Is it true that studies looking at the cost of care show bringing caregivers to the patients is cheaper than placing someone into a nursing home or rehab facility?
A: "Yes. It's less expensive, and we have statistics showing savings in hospital costs and long-term care costs are reduced. If you get in and make sure safety hazards are taken care of, make sure that patients are getting nutrition and taking their medications, their chances of a hospital visit are greatly reduced. The ability to stay in the home is enhanced, and in the long run that saves money. So where I think Right at Home and other companies have worked to build name recognition over the last 20 years, the next 20 are going to be to get this to be a part of
Q: It's rare to have this double whammy of a service that's been shown to improve quality of life while also being cheaper.
A: "Absolutely. People took out long-term care insurance policies years ago when this wasn't available, so it wasn't written into policies. Now you're seeing it written into policies. You're going to start to see long-term insurance become a greater provider in this field."
Q: So do you think back on your accident and think that the business you're into now would have been really great to have back then?
A: "Absolutely. I can see exactly what I needed at the time and being told at rehab that there was nobody to take care of me. That's why we got on the phone to my parents and said 'Don't know what you're doing this summer, but you're coming home to take care of me.' And we leaned on church to take care of things and find people for rides and all the other things. And the greater community of Waterloo came to my aid."
Q: Are you optimistic that clients in the metro-east will be happy with what they see from Right at Home?
A: "Absolutely. This is a new industry for me but before we invested in it, we talked to many franchises. Some big, some small. Some new, some more established. The Right at Home template is time-proven and if we follow that, I think we'll do very well here."
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