Many families today are faced with the reality of caring for their aging loved ones. In a time where compassionate care and tools for promoting quality of life for seniors are in demand, two companies have stepped in to bridge the gap. Homewatch CareGivers of Oakland and The Hummingbird Project have forged a partnership that focuses on engaging older adults and helping them feel connected to the world around them. Leah Bloom, Director of Community Outreach and Co-Owner of Homewatch CareGivers of Oakland, shares her thoughts on the best parts of working in the senior care industry and how her company’s partnership with The Hummingbird Project can transform lives.
When did you join the senior care industry?
My husband and I have owned a home care company for seven and a half years. Prior to that, I worked with families recovering from domestic violence. I’m an ardent supporter of peace and social justice and I enjoy bringing those principles to my work with the senior community.
What is your favorite part about serving home care clients? Do you have a favorite memory of a special client you were able to help?
Serving clients is my absolute favorite thing. I love helping to create an environment where we can talk safely about uncomfortable and scary things. I find it exciting to help people work through stigmas and fears surrounding aging, illness and family disharmony.
I have a lot of favorite memories of working with clients but one in particular comes to mind. One of our clients had brain cancer and her daughter reached out to us for help. When we showed up, the whole house was decorated with fun, bright crafts and homemade art. It turns out that the client’s sister and brother-in-law were famous and very talented clowns. They introduced me to the idea of play being a part of healing. It made me realize that we can think creatively about disease and about how people live with disease. This concept ties in very closely with the philosophy of Homewatch CareGivers because we focus on the power of creative problem-solving in the care that we provide.
You recently partnered with The Hummingbird Project to provide unique activity boxes to your clients. Can you share some details about these boxes and how your clients can receive them?
The activity boxes are called Joy Boxes. The Joy Boxes start with the belief that people living with illness still have so much to contribute and they are a tool to help bring out that contribution. They provide step-by-step instructions and activity ideas to help clients and caregivers try new things, rediscover old interests, and create joyful moments together. They are self-guided tools for both family and professional caregivers. I think they are brilliant because the activities help the client to create a bond with the caregiver whether they know them already or not.
Anyone who signs up for 20 hours or more of service with us, over the next few months, will receive a complimentary joy box.
Are there different themes for the Joy Boxes?
Yes, there are three themes for the Joy Boxes and they are centered around the following ideas: Creativity, Living Legends and Comfort.
The Creativity Box is designed to stimulate creativity and ignite artistic expression within seniors.
The Living Legends Box is all about telling your story. It comes with a book called “The Book of Myself – A Do-It-Yourself Autobiography In 201 Questions.” Additionally, it comes with a special pen designed in a way that is easy for elderly or arthritic hands to use.
The Comfort Box focuses on bringing comfort to adults who are in more advanced stages of aging. It includes items such as a cozy blanket, tea, and a book of affirmations.
All the contents of the Joy Boxes are high-quality, well-curated, durable and thoughtful.
What made you decide to join forces with The Hummingbird Project?
I wanted to partner with The Hummingbird Project because their whole mission is about being creative and unafraid of bringing joy to a situation.
On a more personal note, for readers who would like to get to know you, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love being with my family and gardening. I also deeply enjoy breaking bread with people. Every Friday we open up our home to family and friends and I think sharing a meal together is a really transformative medium.