Family values at the heart of home care for seniors

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Home care is a family affair for Carolina Orosa and her husband, Jay. It’s a journey they began years before founding Home Care Assistance Vancouver in 2010. As a young couple, Carolina and Jay weathered the storm of losing their fathers just months apart. That experience was fundamental to their goals when setting out to build a business of their own. Their goal? Create an organization that could help families just like theirs navigate aging and health with less stress and more joy. Fast forward to now, and their thriving organization is a testament to that purpose.

This month, we went behind the scenes of Home Care Assistance Vancouver to understand how Carolina and her team are empowering Greater Vancouver’s seniors to age well safely and happily at home.

Carolina, you often say that family values are at the core of your business. What does that really mean?

CO: My husband and I are originally from the Philippines, and family has always been a huge priority for us. After moving to the US for work, we ultimately settled here in Vancouver, where we felt our family values aligned with the Canadian quality of life. When we set out to start our business, we knew that family would be central to our mission. We had both lost our fathers to cancer around the time we got married. We know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to work through the healthcare network, while also supporting our mothers—who now found themselves without partners. Home Care Assistance was a natural fit for us. It’s become a platform that allows us to create better, comprehensive care options for families here in Vancouver. That feels very meaningful to us.

Home Care Assistance Vancouver has a team of nearly 300 caregivers. How does the breadth and depth of your team set your organization apart?

CO: The size of our team really enables us to move beyond the kind of transactional care that you might find elsewhere. Very few organizations have as many team members as we do. That dynamic gives us the bandwidth to provide reliable and consistent care. But more than that, we have the ability to focus beyond the tactical things a client might need, to actually improve the way they live overall.

Quality of life comes down to the many small things that can make a big difference for a senior. Spending time together, engaging over a game of cards or a cup of coffee, getting to know one another on a personal level—all of these things count in caregiving. And we have the resources in place to deliver on that promise for our clients every day.

The size of our team also impacts the way we interact with our clients’ families. We have the time and the resources to communicate effectively. That’s huge. Our team connects the dots between everyone in a client’s care network to ensure people are on the same page about what’s happening. That ultimately leads to better care and better quality of life.

You underline communication as a big piece of that puzzle. How does your team approach communication overall?

CO: We’re very strategic and deliberate in treating each individual case as exactly that: an individual case. No two clients, or cases, are the same. From the minute we meet a client and their family, to the way we determine the best possible caregiver fit for the senior in question: we are laser-focused on personalizing our case management, including when and how we communicate. We’ve built our brand by really digging deep to understand the very personalized needs of each client—and their family—then building a specific case management approach for them. That could include communicating through regular in-home visits at a case manager level, ensuring caregivers and clients are progressing against their care goals, talking to families on a regular basis to ensure everyone is feeling supported, and liaising with other professionals in the client’s healthcare network to connect dots. Great communication and solid case management must go hand in hand. For us, that’s the absolute key to our success.

Last but not least, what’s the one piece of advice you have for a family seeking the best caregiving option for a loved one?

CO: I would definitely say start early. You don’t want to feel rushed in assessing what you need and finding the right solution. Having open conversations as a family sooner rather than later can ensure you have a scalable caregiving solution in place before something goes wrong. That’s so important. These are big decisions. They take time. Give yourself that opportunity to really understand and explore what’s available so you can move forward with confidence.

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