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My Home Companion gives the elderly an option to access spiritual care

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When Michael Rodia’s mother was not able to receive the sacraments and participate in church activities, she found solace in My Home Companion’s faith-based initiative. The company arranged for a home visit from an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, someone to recite the rosary with her and transportation to and from church services. 

“In addition to the wonderful caregiving services My Home Companion provided, the spiritual component was a much-appreciated bonus,” said Rodia.

The Springfield-based company offers personal and companion care, care management for adults with disabilities, and help with relocation, but one thing that sets it apart from other home-care providers is the focus on spiritual care.

“We noticed a void and a gap on the spiritual side,” said Bob Carlin, managing director. When his father-in-law was sick he had caregivers to help him. “One of the things that was interesting to me was the things that bothered him were getting (communion) or getting a ride to church. You don’t realize those kinds of things are taking place until you experience it,” he said.

Carlin said many caregivers focus on physical, mental, emotional and psychological needs. 

“Those types of things are treated well because there is a playbook everyone is following,” he said.   

The spiritual care is built into the client’s care plan. Calling, making arrangements for Mass, or reciting the rosary is documented as they go. There is a family portal, a web-based tool that allows families to check in on their relative, including their spiritual care. Church leadership also has access to the portal with the permission of the family.

There are 56 parishes in their service area. Carlin said he and Nasto are reaching out to St. Ambrose in Annandale, and Queen of Apostles Church and St. Rita Church in Alexandria. Interest has grown among other Protestant denominations and a Jewish Community Center. 

My Home Companion is teaming up with diocesan Catholic Charities to find volunteers and participants for the June 2018 Retreat for People Facing Serious Illness. They also are collaborating on a training program for potential caregiver certification through Hogar Immigration Services, collaborating with Jackie Chavez, education services manager, and Courtney Lord, curriculum and workforce development specialist. Young adults organized by Sally O’Dwyer, director of volunteers for Catholic Charities, visited Sunrise Braddock Glen Assisted Living in Fairfax and Arden Courts in Annandale. Carlin said they also have identified other communities who will host future visits.  

Carlin, a parishioner of the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria, and General Manager Paul Nasto, a parishioner of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale, have worked together for the past 15 years. 

They began the company last year with the goal of paying caregivers competitively, addressing transportation issues by working with rideshare companies Lyft and Uber, and including better access to spiritual care. 

My Home Companion is working with development teams to allow for the use of personal voice assistance technology such as Google Minis and Amazon Echo Dots to bring independence to clients and help them avoid feeling isolated, according to Carlin. “It can serve to allow families peace of mind knowing there’s another tool available in the unfortunate event of an emergency or to serve as another set of ears.”

Carlin and Nasto say their business is a calling. “Everything we have done that has been spiritually based has worked out,” said Nasto. “It is like we are being led, step by step, in what we are doing.” 

Find out more 

Call 1-833-286-9466 or go to myhomecompanions.com/ourservices.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018