Penny Golden’s affinity for older people began when she was just a kid.
She would tag along with her father to his weekly lunch meetings with the older gentlemen of the Optimists Club in Youngstown, Ohio, and as she grew, her affection for the elderly evolved into a career as a registered nurse that included being a geriatric psychiatric nurse at two Chicago hospitals.
Today, Golden, along with her husband, Steve Golden and their business partner, Ann Elk-Weist, are helping older people live independently in their homes with services from Home Companions Solutions.
Located at 10829 S. Western Ave., Home Companions Solutions provides non-medical live-in care or hourly companion care in people’s homes. Its services include personal care, meal prep, light housework, laundry, errands and accompaniment to appointments.
Home Companion Solutions was created to offer families compassionate, reliable care at a reasonable fee, and the company has served many clients in Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood and the neighboring southwest suburban communities.
The business is a division of The Nurse Agency, a supplemental staffing agency for health care providers that the Goldens and Weist have run since 2001.
Penny Golden, president and nurse care manager, earned her degree in nursing from North Park University, and she has been a registered nurse for over 35 years.
“Geriatric nursing,” she said, “is my love.”
Steve Golden has spent his 30-year career working exclusively in the supplemental staffing industry. He is responsible for all financial aspects of Home Companion Solutions and its business licenses and insurance requirements. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola University.
Ann Elk-Weist, vice president and supervisor, has worked in the health care industry for over 20 years, and she earned her master’s degree in consumer/industrial research psychology from Cleveland State University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Toledo.
Home Companion Solutions was created not only to satisfy the staff’s personal interest in direct patient geriatric care, but also to serve growing demand in the community.
“We were getting calls to The Nurse Agency all the time from people looking for in-home companions,” Penny Golden said. “We realized there was a great need for these types of services.”
According to Golden, a lot of older people don’t want to live away from their home but may need assistance with day-to-day activities like grocery shopping, light housekeeping and personal care. The caretakers from Home Companion Solutions can also run errands, pay bills and provide conversation and comfort for their clients.
In essence, Golden said, companions do whatever a family member would do for a loved one whose life is affected by illness, dementia or age when there is no family available or when relatives need respite from caregiving.
Many times, she said, even if family members are available, neither they nor the patient know what type of care is needed. That’s where she provides helpful advice.
During a consultation, Golden meets the patient, assesses his or her living arrangement and evaluates the level of care that is needed. She then matches a caretaker with the client’s needs and personality.
Home Companion Solutions conducts thorough background checks on all employees, and all its caregivers have experience as in-home caregivers and take part in annual training.
The mission of Home Companion Solutions, Golden said, is to assist clients in leading “dignified and independent lives in the comfort and safety of their homes.”
It’s a job that the staff of Home Companion Solutions is honored to have.
“I believe we’re definitely making a difference for people,” Golden said. “A relative of one of my clients said to me, ‘You helped her live until she died.’ That means a lot to me.”
For more information about Home Companions Solutions, call (773) 779-8889 or visit the website at homecompanionsolutions.com.
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