In February 1996, when Family Resource Home Care opened its doors for the first time, home care was largely unregulated and unknown. When families needed in-home care for a loved one, they found help by going to newspaper ads, their neighbors, and friends, or perhaps a 3×5 card posted on the bulletin board at the local supermarket. In rare occasions, they might find an employment agency that would find a caregiver but leave the family as the employer.
Demographics changed as our parents and grandparents lived longer and longer lives, many with years of chronic illness. The numbers of the “oldest old” (age 85+) became the fastest growing age group in the land. At the same time, families became smaller and more fragmented, making the pact between generations to care for each other more difficult. My father had 3 children, my wife’s father had 5, and we have 2. Our generation of siblings didn’t live anywhere near our parents, not an atypical experience.
Licensed home care agencies became a necessity for the 21st century, and Family Resource was fortunate to be there near the beginning. Considering that half of all new businesses don’t make it to their fifth year, the fact that this is Family Resource’s 20th year is an immense source of pride. We have been through smooth years and turbulent years, seen sea changes in the rules and regulations (some good, some horrible), were present at the founding of the Washington Home Care Association, and, except for one year in the aftermath of the great recession, have grown continually. For years, Family Resource has been the largest private home care agency in Washington State and among the largest in the country.
I don’t consider myself a sage type of guy and so don’t have many insights as to why we’ve been successful. But I do have a few. Timing is one; in 1996, the field was wide open with not as many companies trying to stand out from the crowd. For another, from the beginning, we were able to combine both our love for aging parents and our expert knowledge in gerontology, with solid business, financial, and marketing practices – rare in the 1990s.
My personal feeling though is that our “secret sauce” has always been the camaraderie and teamwork of everyone who, like me, has found a home at Family Resource. This is a people business, and we have the best. Caregivers and office staff – we have always been able to support each other both in our individual goals and in our shared vision of home care with commitment and kindness. As we stand by each other, we stand by our clients and community partners, and 20 years later, we’re still standing. Thank you all.