Battle Ground woman helps families find a home for aging parents
Battle Ground resident Kathy McLaughlin knows plenty about senior care facilities, having worked for the past 15 years as an administrator in the industry. Now she’s put her knowledge to work as a referral agent, helping families sort out the details involved with picking the right place for their aging loved ones.
McLaughlin in May formed A Caring Heart senior housing referral agency. She works with clients to find the best fit for the individual—a task that can prove daunting and oftentimes unsuspected.
"To do the type of research required to select the best home really takes a lot of time," McLaughlin said. "A lot of people find it interrupts their work schedule. What happens is people will wait (to find a home) until it’s too late, and then they’re in crisis mode."
McLaughlin said being familiar with what each home offers in respect to the client is key.
"There are some places that focus on health issues and have a medical staff, while others pay attention to the social aspect," she said. "If memory is an issue with the client, then you don’t want them to be in a very big place, because they could get lost, and not just physically, but emotionally."
McLaughlin said too many times "Mom" will end up getting "warehoused" in a facility as a result of short-notice decisions. Another consideration in home choice is the family’s financial ability to cover the cost. McLaughlin said not all homes accept Medicaid, and so will allow a resident to stay there only as long as they can pay. This, she said, is another pitfall in choosing a home, as many families find themselves relocating their loved ones once or twice, causing undue stress.
"What I really love doing is working with families to help them with their loved ones at this stage in life," she said.
Typically, McLaughlin sees an average time of three months for placement of a client in an appropriate home. She currently handles six clients with her new business, and hopes to expand and hire a staff in the near future.
A Caring Heart Senior Housing Referral Agency
Kathy McLaughlin, owner/agent
18405 N.E. Cedar Drive in Battle Ground