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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 12/20/2018

A Genuine Kinship

A Genuine Kinship

You do not have to be kin to form a genuine kinship. Such is certainly the case for in-home caregivers. Although they are paid to work in a family’s home, the nature of their work means that they quickly come to be seen as members of the family. At least the good ones do.

Cheryl Walker began working with the Hare family as a caregiver for 2nd Family Home Care and Support Services a little over a year ago. She is now a proud member of the family. 2nd Family has been providing support to the Hare family for more than six years now, and they have ensured that every caregiver is qualified to become a part of the family.

A family owned and operated homecare provider, 2nd Family was established after two cousins witnessed firsthand the sometimes-subpar care their grandmother received while living with Alzheimer’s for nearly twelve years. Chad Tracey and Josh Markland were determined to do things differently—to hire only caregivers who actually care.

2nd Family was built on the “Grandma Guarantee,” a promise that every client will be treated like family by their caregivers. Quite simply, if 2nd Family would not feel comfortable with a caregiver caring for their own grandma, they don’t hire that person.

In addition to hiring only the best caregivers, 2nd Family also employs Registered Nurses to act as care coordinators and advocates for each family. Finally, they use only Certified Nursing Assistants and Geriatric Nursing Assistants as caregivers. They also provide training opportunities for their employees to learn more about specific conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

A native of Philadelphia, Barbara attended West Chester University and did Doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. She became a third grade teacher, serving in the classroom for more than 24 years. She has also volunteered as a Children’s Church and Camp Fire leader for decades and still does part-time children’s church work.

Barbara and Bill married young and had three children: two sons and a daughter. Bill graduated from Drexel University and then served in the military and was stationed in Korea. After his service, he worked as a banker and senior trust officer for eighteen years. The couple shared many hobbies and interests, including boating and camping. 

In 1975, the Hares decided to capitalize on their passion for camping by constructing a commercial campground near Ocean City, New Jersey. The campground is still owned and operated by the family.

“We had camped with our three kids across the country,” Barbara recalled. “We went as far west as Yellowstone,
as far north as Canada, as far south as Florida and New Orleans, and as far East as the Atlantic Ocean. So we
decided to build our own campground.”

Bill built much of the campground himself. “He was so capable and clever,” Barbara said. “I think that is why I was in denial about his Alzheimer’s for so long.” 

Finally, as Bill’s condition worsened, Barbara realized they needed help. “He couldn’t drive anymore, and he fell and I couldn’t get him up. It was just all getting to be too much,” she said. That’s when Bill and Barbara moved to their daughter Susan Brown’s house.

The Hare family turned to 2nd Family after trying several in-home care providers and being disappointed. “That was six years ago, and we haven’t had a bad day in all these years,” said Barbara.

Because of the care that he received from 2nd Family, Bill was able to remain in his daughter’s home, living with his wife, until he passed away. “We had such a wonderful marriage,” Barbara said of her husband. “We were blessed to be able to have him here with us.”

Susan was also pleased with the care her father received. “As my dad’s care needs increased, it got to the point where we couldn’t do it physically,” she recalled. “The caregivers got him up every day though.”

While the family has used several different caregivers throughout the last six years, Susan noted that they have all integrated seamlessly into the family. “2nd Family really hires extremely competent people. They are just so engaged. They come in and want to be a part of our lives. They are not just doing their shift and leaving,” she said.

After Bill passed away, the Hare family again retained the services of 2nd Family to help Barbara, who has rheumatoid arthritis. That is when Cheryl joined the family.

“I am just impressed that 2nd Family always seems to be able to find the cream of the crop. Their caregivers are just amazing,” Barbara said. “They’re so good with every member of the family, including all the dogs.”

Cheryl helps Barbara with daily activities and also assists her with many craft projects. The former elementary school teacher is still passionate about teaching and loves crafts.

“Cheryl has learned some new crafting skills, and I love teaching people, so it really works out,” said Barbara. Cheryl added, “I’ve learned so much here with Mrs. Hare, and I look forward to coming here. I really do feel like I’ve been adopted into this great family.”

Cheryl and Barbara are proof of what 2nd Family’s founders always knew: you don’t have to be related to relate to each other. And sometimes the strongest relationships are between people who are not relatives at all.

By Christy Brudin

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