Skokie senior care becomes mission for couple
Home Instead Senior Care owner Michael Melinger (right) is shown with marketing coordinator Allison Sheridan (left) and client services manager Tessa Silvestri (center) near a Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas tree at Jewel-Osco store in Wilmette. | Buzz
HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE
What: Provides trained and compassionate caregivers for seniors
Where: 8816 N. Bronx Ave., Skokie
Information: (847) 673-1250
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:30AM
SKOKIE — What began as a career search of sorts ended as a life mission for Michael and Jackie Melinger.
The married couple own the Home Instead Senior Care outfit, which trains caregivers in providing invaluable and compassionate aid to seniors in the area.
The work these caregivers perform is too important, the feedback the owners receive too meaningful to have this qualify as just another career.
“I get a little goose-bumpy when I say this, but Home Instead has a culture and we now feel we’re a part of something bigger,” Michael Melinger said.
Headquartered in Omaha, Neb., Home Instead includes more than 900 franchises worldwide, including 600 in the United States. Skokie’s Home Instead was the 283rd franchise.
About a dozen or so years ago, the Melingers were exploring their next career move. Jackie had background in nursing home administration, Michael had worked for Block Steel in Skokie.
“I had a good job and it took a lot to walk away from it but I was hungry for more,” Melinger said. “I was looking to do something on my own.”
Jackie had put her own career on hold to raise her children. During that time, she created party invitations, but she was ready for more work.
The couple first investigated opportunities including janitorial businesses, Dairy Queen operations and other ideas.
When Home Instead came along, the couple immediately knew it would be “the perfect fit.”
For one thing, it allowed Jackie to use her background in nursing home administration. Also, the Melingers, like many people, have had family health issues where caregivers were needed. Most recently, Jackie’s father died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“He lived a lot longer because of the caregivers he had,” she insisted.
That’s really what Home Instead Senior Care is all about – well-trained caregivers who address their clients with respect and compassion. Home Instead’s motto: “To us, it’s personal.”
Client testimonials usually come from relatives of the seniors who receive Home Instead’s care.
“Ginny always prided herself on being independent, but with age and deteriorating sight, she relied more and more on those two great associates of yours,” said James Hornbrook of Park Ridge, describing the care his aunt received from Home Instead.
“We are grateful beyond words for the care you arranged for my mother,” said Mary Linblad of Northfield. “Maria has been more than any of us could have hoped for, and she has been vital in keeping my mother from going totally downhill.”
The training for caregivers is thorough. More recently, Home Instead has held a series of community workshops for people – usually family members – who become caregivers. In addition to providing useful information, the seminars have allowed people who sometimes feel isolated and alone caring for a senior the opportunity to meet others in the same situation.
Another benchmark of Home Instead’s success is the physical space it occupies. It began with under 1,000 square feet until it expanded in the same building to 2,400 square feet. It will soon move to a nearby office of 3,500 square feet.
“Our caregivers have made a difference in our clients’ lives,” Jackie Melinger said. “We hear about it all the time and that means everything.”
To the Melingers, it really is personal.