When families realize they need a helping hand with an aging parent or grandparent or a disabled family member, they want to turn to someone they can trust to provide care and share their burden.
In New Tampa, Temple Terrace and surrounding areas, that need is being met by Visiting Angels, located on N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace, only minutes from most of New Tampa.
Visiting Angels provides services as an alternative to moving into a nursing home, retirement center or assisted living facility, allowing people to maintain the independence of their daily routines in the comfort of their own homes.
A nationally branded company, headquartered in Pennsylvania, Visiting Angels has 600 locations across the U.S.
Franchise owner and director Christal Becton opened the local office of Visiting Angels in 2004.
“We’ve been a staple in the community for 17 years now,” she says, adding that the close-knit group of five people who work in the office give personal attention and care to every family who reaches out to them when they need assistance.
“Most of our referrals are seniors who need some extra help,” Christal explains. “We also can help anyone over 18 who needs assistance. Younger people sometimes need help, too, due to their own physical challenges or health issues.”
Visiting Angels caregivers provide home care services, companion care, personal care and respite care. This can include anything from helping someone temporarily recover from an illness or surgery to providing ongoing companionship to a senior who just needs a friend.
The Visiting Angels home health care aides accommodate their clients’ schedules, whether they need a few hours of assistance a week or even 24-hour-per-day, 7-day-per-week care. Day or night, weekends or holidays, temporary or long-term, Visiting Angels can help.
Caregivers include both Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Home Health Assistants (HHAs). All caregivers have passed a background screening, and most are graduates of medical academies that specialize in home care and also have worked at assisted living facilities or in other health care environments.
Typical care might include grocery shopping and running errands, preparing meals, assisting with personal care and doing light housekeeping.
Christal says some clients require help with bathing or shaving, some just need a hand getting up in the morning and starting their day, while others may need their clothes laundered and linens changed.
Pandemic Assistance & More
With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, these continue to be unprecedented times. Over the past 18 months, Christal and the members of her office staff delivered essentials to seniors in New Tampa, even if they weren’t clients. They called it “no-contact Saturday,” delivering essentials without contact, to minimize any possibility of spreading the virus to someone who might be particularly vulnerable.
While the local Visiting Angels office is no longer doing no-contact Saturdays, calls from clients who are in need of food, meals, or shopping are still being accepted. The Visiting Angels often provide those services, but also are happy to refer families to services that may help them with these tasks, such as Instacart.
“We give a lot of advice to members of the community,” she says.
The office staff currently is getting ready for the annual Thanksgiving distribution, where staffers take meals from local restaurants and deliver them to everyone on the company’s registry who lives alone or has no family expected to join them for the holiday.
The first step to hiring Visiting Angels is a free, in-home assessment, which Christal personally handles. “I like to make a connection with the family. I get to see how they live and learn about their backgrounds, which makes it easier to connect them with the right caregiver.”
She says this is important to communicate to the family that she takes pride in her company and in the quality of care that will be provided.
“Most everyone has heard of Visiting Angels if they watch television, but people are often blown away that the owner of the company showed up in their home. They think that if the owner comes to my house to talk with me, then that’s a company I want to take care of my mom.”
During the in-home assessment, Christal reviews each client’s needs and asks about the types of services desired, noting the patient’s daily routine, meals, proximity to doctors’ offices and number of regularly scheduled appointments. She then prepares a care plan and selects the caregivers who are best suited to meet those needs.
Transportation To Appointments
In addition to in-home care, Visiting Angels provides transportation to doctor’s appointments and medical treatments.
Unlike other services, Visiting Angels caregivers do not leave the appointment, but will wait on-site until the appointment is concluded. Once the patient is delivered safely home, post-op care can be provided, as well, if desired.
Christal says this service is not typical, and that it relieves any stress someone may feel, wondering if a ride is coming to get them and how long they’ll have to wait. Having the Visiting Angels transportation waiting for them means patients don’t have to wait or wonder, or experience any undue anxiety about how to get to their medical appointment(s).
Visiting Angels’ transportation is not just for seniors. While seniors often take advantage of the services, anyone can use it.
Christal says many of the rides she gives are to and from plastic surgery appointments, anything from cosmetic facial surgeries, to tummy tucks and liposuction.
“Our office works very closely with a number of plastic surgery centers in the Tampa Bay area,” she says. “The patients or even the surgery centers call us to schedule and they tell me Visiting Angels is one of the few providing this service.”
Christal says many people don’t want to ask a friend or family member for a hand, especially when it comes to a plastic surgery appointment. She and her team are happy to help anyone who would prefer the discretion of using Visiting Angels if any post-appointment care or transportation is needed.
The Visiting Angels office serving New Tampa is at 9812 N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace. For more information, call (813) 929-7067 or visit VisitingAngels.com/Tampa or Facebook.com/VisitingAngelsTampaFL.