By Sue Moore
The owners of a healthcare business in Schoolcraft couldn’t think of anything else that so personified their personal feelings, so they named their business, “Passionate About People HomeCare”.
Joe and Shelly Ramirez’s story starts with how their business found them. Shelly’s parents both became ill 17 years ago. Within a six month period, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and her father had a massive stroke. Shelly knew nothing about home care at the time and she learned quickly what it meant to become family and caregiver all at once.
Shelly tells how the experience has taught her patience with ill and elderly people. “I just want to help everybody,” she said.
When Shelly realized the home care agency she was employed with did not seem to put their clients’ needs first, she knew she needed to make a change. In 2009, she began working out of her home taking on a few clients and hiring a few employees, often times doing interviews at the McDonalds in Schoolcraft.
They moved from Portage and built a home in Schoolcraft in 2004. They both agree they love the small town atmosphere and Schoolcraft schools for their son Andrew and daughter Megan.
Joe joined the business in 2011 to help with marketing the business drawn from his background in customer service. Joe’s decision to walk away from a company he was employed with for 28 years became easier when one of Shelly’s clients asked him to become a pall bearer at his wife’s funeral. That stemmed from the strong bond between Joe and Shelly as caregivers and the client and his wife toward the end of her life. Walking away from a company vehicle, full benefit package, and security sounded crazy to most of Joe’s friends, but Joe knew he was making the right decision.
Their son Andrew has joined the business now that he is finishing up his education at Western Michigan University studying Pre-Med. Their daughter Megan is employed through Bronson Hospital and has future plans to join the family business.
When a call comes from a family, Joe or Shelly go out and assess the goals of the family and then come back to the office to put a team of employees who match the client’s personality and healthcare needs. Their employees provide light housekeeping, laundry, meal prep, medication reminders, companionship, and so much more. All of the employees are put through a screening process including a criminal background check. Passionate About People HomeCare is licensed by the State of Michigan.
“None of our clients will ever be left alone,” Joe points out. If an employee has to cancel, due to an emergency, if need be, Joe or Shelly say they will cover the shift themselves to assure a client is never left abandoned. Joe feels ‘empty nesters’ are some of their best employees. People who have experienced life first-hand, which is something you cannot teach in any text book.
Joe and Shelly recommend that people consider private duty home care for their loved ones in advance, before someone has fallen or become ill, while recognizing that for the most part, such a choice is not made until after a diagnoses has been presented.
You don’t know “what it’s like” until it happens to your loved one. It’s a very scary thing, and asking for “help” is understandably one of the hardest things for anyone to do. “At the end of the day, if we have enabled one more person to stay in the comfort of their own home and live their lives to the fullest ,then we know we are doing our job,” Joe and Shelly say in unison.