It's late on a Thursday. Lillie should be home by now. But she can't leave-- there's way too much snow. The power is going out all around the area. The roads aren't safe to travel. Buffalo is in the middle of what will be dubbed the "October Surprise" storm. Lillie will be hunkering down here at her patient's home. Lillie is a certified Personal Care Aide. She's a professional caregiver and she wouldn't leave even if she could. Her patient relies on her and other PCAs from the Buffalo-based licensed home care agency, Allwel. Ensuring the safety of those she cares for is her priority, especially during a surprise snowstorm in October.

As most Western New Yorkers recall, that storm was 11 years ago. All these years later, Lillie's story still stands out as a glimmering example of the type of quality care Allwel strives to be known for, as well as the type of employee Allwel hopes to attract. After 17 years in business, we've come to understand that it takes a special type of person to provide care like this. While it can be tremendously fulfilling to provide care for someone, we recognize that the caregiver role is a very demanding one which is why we are committed to identifying employees who we believe possess experience and a strong skill set that might help ensure their success in this very challenging role.

At Allwel, we believe in order to be a successful caregiver, a person must be able to demonstrate compassion, dependability, and patience. It takes a person who inherently finds reward in helping someone who is limited in their ability to care for themselves and keeping that person safe in their environment. It takes a person who is not afraid to assist with personal needs and understands the importance of maintaining the dignity of the person they are assisting, at all times. It takes a person who is able to work independently, but who also enjoys collaborating with others (such as co-workers, other medical professionals, or the patient’s family members) in an effort to empower the individual they are caring for, and to be empowered in return. When a person possesses all of these traits, it's usually been developed through past experiences with caring for loved ones, whether through raising their own children, or perhaps taking care of an ill or aging parent. Alternately, a person just might have what we like to call the "caregiver gene," or a natural ability and drive to do the type of work that is called for in home care. Whichever the case, based on our experience, the likelihood that a person who possesses these traits will excel in the role of a personal care aide is pretty darn good.

So why is this topic important? It's important to Allwel, and other companies like us, due to the fact that nearly 40 million people in the United States are currently receiving assistance from a caregiver, and this number is only expected to rise with the aging of our population. Additionally, most people who need care, when given the choice, prefer to remain in their home for as long as they can and to receive their care in a home-based setting. One of the factors that will determine the role that home care agencies like Allwel can play in providing care to the individuals who will need and want our services is our ability to recruit, hire, and train qualified employees. There are a lot of people asking for our help, which means we need to find more qualified individuals who are able and interested in making a difference in the lives of our patients. Maybe that person is reading this article. Better yet, maybe that person is you!

A valuable lesson that Allwel has learned over the years is that the success of our mission rests squarely on the shoulders of the men and women who work directly with our patients in their homes. Because of that, we believe it is our job as an employer to support our employees in whatever ways we can and to use our relationship with them as an opportunity to enrich their lives. Allwel has been built around three core values: Collaboration, Compassion, and Empowerment. These values not only drive the business decisions we make but, perhaps more importantly, they also drive the culture by which we live and work. We believe in taking care of our employees as much as we expect them to take care of our clients, and it is our number one goal to develop our team and help our employees grow and pursue their goals. Through this mission, we seek to offer an extraordinary employee experience and to equip our employees to provide the best care possible. The end result of all of this is a better patient experience, a higher quality of life and independence for our clients, and, ultimately, greater happiness for both clients and employees.

Speaking of happy employees...remember Lillie? We are very proud to report that on the very same day that Western New York celebrated 11 years since the October Surprise, Allwel celebrated 16 years since Lillie joined our Allwel family. A quiet, intimate ceremony was held in our conference room at which time Lillie was presented with flowers and small token of appreciation for all her years of service. There were also words of appreciation shared to highlight and recognize some of Lillie's notable contributions over the years, and when the story of her dedication during the October Surprise was mentioned, Lillie began to cry. Later, when she was asked what was going through her mind during that storm and while she was confronted with those difficult circumstances, Lillie stated very humbly, "I was just doing my part."

When looking at employees like Lillie, Allwel recognizes that she represents a demographic that is not the norm. It is the older, more mature, above 50 group- seasoned, caring individuals who understand and who have managed through the imperfections of life. It is individuals who know that at the end of the day it is not so much about money, status, or power, but about creating purpose in their lives through meaningful connections to others. It is individuals whose values and priorities have weathered the test of time, shaking off the fluff of what the world tells us is important, and focusing strongly on what truly is to be valued. Individuals who realize that at the end of the day, all that each of us wants is to be treated with love and respect. It is individuals who have played many roles in their younger days, and who have modeled love and respect to their children to launch them into the world. These individuals bring to the Allwel family a natural respect, love, and caring for our patients that no textbook can teach or even describe.

Is that individual you? If so, we would welcome you with open arms. To learn more about Allwel, please visit us at allwelcares.com. If you’re interested in joining the Allwel team or would like more information about employment opportunities, apply today online or call us at (716) 826-6245 ext. 203.