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Nashua Telegraph: Home Instead Senior Care Opens Nashua Office



Sunday, October 16, 2011

 

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NASHUA – When Hudson native Lisa Ganem lost a parent and grandparents over a few short years, she gave up her job as a corporate CFO to help others experiencing those same tribulations.

A mother of two young kids at the time, Ganem recognized the difficulties in balancing work, caring for the immediate family and nursing aging loved ones.

“When I sought out help in the ’90s, there wasn’t the solutions there are today,” Ganem said. “My dad died very young, and my grandfather passed. My grandmother and my mother, they were taking care of each other.”

Drawing from those experiences, Ganem opened a Home Instead Senior Care location with her husband, Ed, in 2002, to provide the aid she’d wished her family had during difficult times.

“I really thought I could make a difference,” Ganem said. “I really wasn’t loving my life at the time. Sometimes you become good at things that you don’t really want to. I thought I could take this business and make that experience better for people.”

Home Instead Senior Care is a network of locally owned franchises that provide trusted, nonmedical, in-home care for elderly people and their families.

The goal is to help the elderly stay wherever they call home, Ganem said, through hired caregivers providing hourly, daily or 24/7 care, from houses on cul-de-sacs to assisted-living apartments.

“We’re helping people maintain their independence and quality of life,” Ganem said. “We look at what their routines are, what their needs are, what’s becoming more difficult for them – whether it’s meals, getting to doctor’s appointments or personal hygiene. It’s all targeted to the person.”

Ganem started with Home Instead in Windham, then moved offices to Portsmouth and Salem over nine years, serving the Seacoast and southern New Hampshire regions. In that time, Home Instead has helped more than 1,200 people in New Hampshire, Ganem said.

Today, Home Instead operates out of headquarters in Portsmouth, along with a recently opened Nashua office at 65 Technology Way, serving the southern tier of the state.

“We were in Salem for many years, but to really service our clients, we realized we needed to be more centrally located for southern New Hampshire,” Ganem said. “We knew we wanted to be in Nashua, so we made the change.”

With a growing workforce of about 140 caregivers, Home Instead employees are assigned clients who live 10-15 miles from their homes, serving towns across the state at all hours of the day and night.

People hire Home Instead for a multitude of reasons, including help with memory loss, driving, nutrition or socialization, Ganem said.

“Sometimes people need help with nutrition because their spouse has died, and without the interaction of someone to eat with, their normal routine starts to deteriorate,” Ganem said. “People don’t want to eat alone, so they graze. They don’t pick the best foods; they don’t hydrate.”

Some clients seek Home Instead caregivers for a one-time need, such as a helpful companion at a party.

“We’ve taken people one day of the year, where a family contacts us, and they need us to take Grandma to a family wedding,” Ganem said. “It’s the first time everybody’s going to be in the same place – all the people who take care of her. They need help to get her dressed, to go in the limo with her, to help her when she needs to go to the bathroom, or to take her back. It lets her be a part of everything, and it lets the family enjoy the festivities.”

Others opt for 24/7 caregivers right up until the end of their lives, Ganem said.

One of Ganem’s Nashua clients, who worked with Home Instead for eight years, started with caregiver visits three hours a week but eventually needed 24/7 help as her dementia progressed, Ganem said.

“It advanced to the point where communication was almost impossible and she couldn’t swallow what she was fed,” Ganem said. “But she would work with us because was used to us. The way you’d communicate was through singing. She was a dancer all through life, so the caregivers would come up with songs that were appealing to her, and she would feel safe and happy and do a dance shuffle to the bathroom and back, or if it was time to eat, that’s what they would do.”

The average client Home Instead works with is about 85 years old, Ganem said, an age most people start needing a helping hand.

A lot of the time, caregivers simply provide the human contact people need but can’t always get because their relatives live too far away or can’t visit as much as they’d like.

An introductory assessment determines what services are needed but allows the person to maintain their usual routine as much as possible.

“You don’t want to overdo the care, you only want to give them what they need,” Ganem said.

Once a caregiver is hired, it’s not always forever.

“We’ve had people start services because they were in a situation, someone had hip surgery, but then got better and didn’t need us,” Ganem said. “Then something else happened and they said, ‘We need you again.’”

Whatever the case, Home Instead allows people to meet the changes and challenges that come with old age from the comforts of their home, Ganem said.

“This is something where people feel like it’s still a sense of themselves or their identity,” Ganem said. “We’re coming to them and we’re saying, ‘Here’s your world, and we’re adapting to you. We’re here to help you do the same things you always did, it’s just getting a little harder.’”

To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or to find a caregiver in your area, call 890-0015 or visit www.homeinstead.com/531/Pages/HomeInsteadSeniorCare.aspx.