After experiencing the struggles of caring for her grandmother who suffered a stroke, Lauren Dovolis-Rix was inspired to start a business, Caring Homes of Bend, which operates five adult foster care homes in Bend and provides an option beyond a nursing home.
While family members may want to care for their elderly loved ones in need, they might not have the time, accommodations or skills to provide proper care.
“When a family is looking (for care), they feel so lost, and they don't know what to do with their mom or their dad because of their dementia, Alzheimer's or hospice (needs) ... Then they find us,” Dovolis-Rix said. “You can see and feel they are so relieved because we are doing everything they would do, but they don't have to feel guilty for not being here every day and making sure their mom or dad is being taken care of. They know we are doing it.”
Dovolis-Rix, 31, opened Caring Homes of Bend with her mother, Gina Turner, 65, eight years ago. The Sunriver residents not only operate the business, but each serves as a caregiver, working three to five 24-hour shifts each week.
They started their business with two adult foster care homes, and it has since grown to five, with three new homes opening on the east side of Bend in May 2012. Each home houses five residents and a caregiver who's in charge of cooking all the meals, cleaning, giving medications and helping residents with everything they need.
Turner said the facility is Medicaid-approved and state-certified for Level 3 clients — those needing full assistance in at least one daily activity, such as mobility, cognition or eating, according to the state. Residents never have to leave the home unless they need hospitalization or skilled nursing. Cost for the home varies depending on the needs of the resident and the financial situation of the family, she said.
Dovolis-Rix said in a nursing home, residents have a set schedule where, for example, they each have to eat breakfast at a certain time. At Caring Homes of Bend, she said, caregivers personalize care for each resident.
“When they want to shower, we give them a shower. When they want to play games, we play games with them,” she said. “If someone wants to sleep in they can sleep in. It's all about them.”
Q: Where do you see the industry and your business in the next 10 years?
A: Gina Turner: I see more and more of a need for the smaller adult care homes that give more contact with the person, rather than the larger group home where you have different girls all the time caring for different residents ... I see the same structure, with the small adult foster care, and maybe a few more homes (for Caring Homes of Bend). But I won't let the business grow so big that its not personalized. It has to be hands-on all the time.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of operating this kind of business?
A: Lauren Dovolis-Rix: The hardest thing as an owner and caregiver is dealing with the passing of a loved one. That's what we're here for. We call it end-of-life care.