By Samana Sheikh
Growing up, everyone has a dream to become a super hero and help humanity.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and people seem to forget that the elderly need attention; they need proper care and most importantly, love from family and friends. Shaista Kazmi, the owner of Apna Ghar LLC, wanted to help improve caregiving within the elderly community after her own father needed proper attention and had a tough time.
Kazmi was frustrated by the subpar services her dad received through local caregiving agencies. She felt like there was a language barrier, the staff was not prepared, there were different caregivers each week, they lacked proper training and they were unnecessarily expensive.
Therefore, her idea for a company that provided comfortable caregiving was established. Apna Ghar LLC is the first woman-owned senior care agency to serve elderly ethnic minorities. Its primary goals are affordable pricing, quality care, and hiring caregivers that are bilingual to speak to patients and their families if English is a secondary language.
The caretakers provide services such as meal planning, preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, medication reminders and companionship.
In addition, the company provides home care in short-term and long-term facilities. In Michigan, the Plymouth Inn Assisted Living, Notting Hill of West Bloomfield and Ciena Healthcare Community offers these specific services.
Kazmi also invented the unique Peace of Mind Visit program. Clients receive a short visit each day to help with bathing assistance, meal preparation, medication reminders, getting out of or in to bed, and “check-ins.” There is a rise and shine service where caregivers can check in the morning to make sure patients have taken their morning medications and fix them breakfast. There is also a turn-down service to make sure your loved one has taken their evening medications, do light dinner prep, and help turn down their room for bedtime.
“I wanted to help people that were having a hard time with finances and dealing with healthcare,” Kazmi stated. “Larger healthcare agencies don’t understand what families are going through.”
Although, the company’s main location is in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., the caretakers stem from a variety of cities in the state including; Hamtramck, Detroit, Canton, Dearborn, Sterling Heights and Commerce Township.
Also, the clientele in Michigan focuses on serving individuals from Detroit and the suburbs surrounding the main city.
Kazmi went on to mention how it’s easier for a family to communicate with caretakers in their native language.
“Personally, communication was such a major obstacle I had to deal with,” Kazmi said. “When a person speaks your native tongue, it helps you ease in to comfort, establishing a personal bond. The caregivers I was provided when I had to help my dad just did not know how to talk to my father or ease the anxiety.”
Therefore, to provide extra comfort to help struggling families, live-in care is also an option residents can choose, where caregivers are available to provide 24-hour coverage. However, the company has a policy that caregivers must receive eight hours of sleep per night, also appropriate breaks if needed. This service provides up to seven days per week indefinitely. “Our staff is welcoming and very friendly,” Kazmi stated. ”They love helping people, and want to hear new stories each day to help relate to their client as much as they can.”
Despite language being a crucial barrier, cultural and ethnic differences also impacted Kazmi’s family. “I remember caregivers would try and talk to my mom while she was praying,” Kazmi stated. “In our religion, prayer is sacred and we cannot talk while we pray. They wouldn’t understand if they could touch something they weren’t allowed to touch, which caused my mother to get irritated.”
Therefore, Kazmi spent hours coming up with various ways in her company to tackle any obstacles her family personally faced.
Apna Ghar LLC is slowly spreading to different states including Illinois and New Jersey. Kazmi’s dream is to eventually ease the comfort in families already stressed with elderly care. However, the most important aspect is to ensure that the client is always happy, loved and cared for to the best ability that Apna Ghar LLC can provide.