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Almost Home Care, DCCC win state award

Several years ago, Kathy Hatfield began a mission to open her own full-service residential care home for seniors with memory loss.

About a decade and 54 business plan revisions later, Thomasville’s Almost Home Care Group has three homes, 46 employees and 18 residents.

A major portion of that work was accomplished through a partnership with Davidson County Community College’s Small Business Center, which helped Hatfield receive a loan from the Bank of North Carolina and helps her find quality certified nursing assistants.

Martha Larson, DCCC’s small business center director, believed Almost Home Care Group was quite the success story. The state’s Small Business Center Network agreed with her sentiment.

In recognition of Almost Home Care’s growth in recent years, the state organization awarded DCCC’s small business center with a Center of Excellence Business Success Story Award in the category of most impact.

“I felt like it was a good story because I could report that not only is her business growing, but (Hatfield) gives back to the community,” Larson said. “And that is one thing that they mention. They always try to keep it a secret and read out like some information about the business, and I knew that it was her when they said that it was sparked after a family illness and that she saw the need.”

From 2004 to 2011, Hatfield gained much experience as an in-home caregiver while taking care of her father, Lyman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

This sparked Hatfield’s interest in opening her own facility. The Almost Home Care owner said she wanted to give families an option that doesn’t involve sticking loved ones in a nursing home.

“I tell everybody it’s like Golden Girls except everyone has dementia,” Hatfield said. “You can tell it’s just like their house. … And the family care license being used for this is very new in this area. And really there’s only five family care homes in Thomasville, and we’re three of them.”

The three homes are known as the Perryman House, Lyman House and Clinard House. The Perryman and Lyman houses are in the WallCliff Park neighborhood in Thomasville, while the Clinard House is across the street in the Erwin Heights neighborhood.

Larson said having more than 40 jobs under one company is rare in Davidson County. The small business center director noted that she was impressed at how Hatfield has added homes to her business in recent years.

“She did a lot of research and a lot of planning and started small rather than own all these houses at once,” Larson said. “And I think that’s huge — to have a lot of patience and you have to be prepared to learn the industry.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, the organization predicts the number could rise as high as 16 million.

Hatfield said the statistics prove that a residential facility for memory loss patients will serve an even bigger need in the future.

“There’s just not enough places to put people,” Hatfield said. “And if you put them in a big nursing home with a bunch of people, they fall because they don’t have supervision. And here, we can keep an eye on everybody because it’s a nice, small little place. And we’re able to — because it’s an almost home — we’re able to tell people, you’re coming from the hospital, you broke your hip and this is your temporary place until you get to go home.”

The Almost Care founder said she is a firm believer that an environment can have a significant impact on people.

Simply put, Hatfield believes these seniors need a place that feels like home.

“I think if people are in a place where they feel like they’re sick, they’re not going to behave well,” Hatfield said. “They’re going to be more upset about where they are than if they’re in a nice house with a bunch of girls around them that love them and get them coffee and buy them books and read to them and sing to them and play piano.”

Ben Coley can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227 or at ben.coley@the-dispatch.com. Follow Ben on Twitter: @LexDispatchBC

Article source: http://www.the-dispatch.com/news/20171121/almost-home-care-dccc-win-state-award

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