We often talk about the upsides to owning a home care franchise – personal satisfaction, a growing marketplace, a great team of caregivers and an emphasis on putting the client first.
What we rarely talk about is the bittersweet side of this franchise opportunity – unfortunately, sometimes your clients pass away.
What makes this extremely difficult is that your clients are like your loved ones. They become a part of your family. We don’t generally have quick encounters with our clients – we have long term relationships. We celebrate birthdays together and often spend holidays gathered around a table. Many of our clients don’t have immediate family in the area, so we become their pseudo family, the people they rely on to provide care, nurturing and companionship. And because caregivers do not have banker hours, we are there when our clients need us 24/7, 7 days a week.
At FirstLight Home Care, we pride ourselves on the quality of our caregivers and the personal touches they bring to their jobs. For many of them, it’s not a job – taking care of people is a way of life. A fulfilling one where they go the extra mile and make homemade cookies, rent special movies or engage in activities to add an element of fun to a client’s life.
So when a client passes away, you miss them. You grieve for them. Unlike doctors that can sometimes remain detached from their patients, our clients are not our patients – they are our family. The same heartfelt reasons many franchise operators enter the senior care business is what can be painful in the end. There is no way to shield your heart, no way to remain detached. A pro and a con of our home care business.
One of our franchise operators – Carol Larkin – came up with a great idea for her caregivers when they have a client pass away. She gives them a crystal angel “to symbolize the difference they have made in someone’s life. Think of them as an angel watching over you. You protected them and now they will protect you.”
And isn’t that what family is all about?