By Chris Howell 331-4346 | firstname.lastname@example.org
June 4, 2012
Liz Kalina, left, owner of Elder Care Home Connections, and one of her employees, Shaki Rodriguez, right, say goodbye to two of their clients, Bob and Joan Burt, center, as they gather in their living room after lunch at their home Friday in Bloomington. The Burts, married for 61 years, get help in the mornings and evenings from caregivers who help with daily chores around the home, such as cleaning and cooking lunch. Find previous Pathways columns, some with audio slideshows, at HeraldTimesOnline.com/tags/pathways.
A helping hand late in life is what Liz Kalina hopes to lend her clients.
Kalina, a registered nurse and professional geriatric care manager, started her own elderly care business when she was in the Boston area 15 years ago and started Elder Care Home Connections when she moved to Bloomington about 11 years ago.
As a care manager, she can help with the logistics that an elderly person may need both physically and mentally.
Physically, she can help determine if they are well enough to live on their own, or if the family should consider other means to keep their loved one safe and healthy.
Mentally, she works to prepare clients and family members for the changes in their lifestyle if they need to start in-home care or be moved to a nursing facility.
“What I love about my role, is that I can get involved with many different issues related to somebody’s health and well-being,” Kalina said. “And then, through time, set up steps to help people to recover. To feel better emotionally and physically.”
Kalina has helped Joan and Bob Burt continue to live in their home comfortably and safely.
The Burts have been married for 61 years, and for the past few years Bob has been the sole caregiver for his wife as she showed signs of dementia. For the past year or so, they have used Kalina’s services and have adjusted to having a caregiver helping with such chores as fixing lunch, laundry and hygienic care.
“As long as we can do those things,” Bob said, “we will stay here.”
“Our health is the key right now,” he continued while knocking on the wooden kitchen table. “It’s pretty good. We are as independent as we want to be,” he said.
Kalina considers herself a small part of the larger team of clients, family and health care providers.
“We’re all working as a team,” she said, “helping the seniors feel the best that they can. To have quality in their life.”
“That’s what makes me very satisfied,” she said, “when I start to see my clients become a lot happier and much more content with their life.”