I had lunch with my mother at her home earlier this week. She also invited Tillie Sweet, whom I know from Concord's Medical Reserve Corps, but hadn't seen for quite some time. Tillie is a registered nurse who's had a varied and fascinating career, and it was a delight to see her again and to hear her stories.

It turns out that Tillie had been a part of early innovations in home care. She told us that around 1981, she answered an ad from BayPath Elder Services. They were looking for their very first RN to be part of a brand new, innovative program. Those crazy kids were going to try to keep seniors in their houses and out of nursing facilities by delivering personal care and homemaking services right where they lived!

And you know what? It worked! They found that para-professional services could successfully come right to people's homes. Seniors could enjoy their familiar surroundings, receive the help they needed right at home, save money over the cost of an institution, and continue to live out in the community and not in a nursing facility. This system is now known as "home care."

And here we are today at Caring Companion, just about 30 years later, continuing to blaze trails in home care by adding technology and wellness activities in innovative, cost-cutting and humane ways. I was so thrilled to hear about "the old days" from an early adopter like Tillie, and to learn about a part of her life I hadn't known. I'm proud that we're continuing to advance our field with "thinking outside the box" programs and services. Hats off to Tillie and her fellow early innovators -- we have some big shoes to fill!

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