Staff Spotlight: Carol Parks on Building Community
Community is the cornerstone of Alegre Home Care, and it’s what prompted Carol Parks to join the agency. Community values such as family, friendship, and healthy interpersonal relationships are important to Carol. She’s been happily married for 34 years to her husband Roger and they have two adult daughters. Carol’s mother is 92 years old and still lives in the house Carol grew up in. Carol is proud that she and her sister have been able to help her mother live independently.
With a lifestyle centered around values like these, Alegre Home Care was a natural fit.
18 years ago Carol was looking for a career change. She had a background in business and marketing, and wanted to find a role where she could make a positive difference in people’s lives. She met Charles Symes, the founder of Alegre Home Care, through industry connections, and loved what he was doing with his community-based approach to caregiving services. She approached him for a role, and it’s been a great match ever since.
Carol started at Alegre Home Care as the Director of Client Services and she remains in that role to this day. Her role comes with lots of responsibilities — she oversees all of the business operations north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin, Solano, Napa, and Sonoma.
And Carol couldn’t be happier. “I love my job. There are a lot of moving parts, which I enjoy because I like to be busy. I love talking to the caregivers and the families, and getting out in the community and promoting our business.”
The slogan for Alegre Home Care is Your Neighborhood Home Care Agency, and Carol works hard to represent that ethos in multiple ways. She is on the Board of Directors for the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and is involved in several community organizations and projects. When she began her role as Director of Client Services, she helped create a friendly competitor environment in the North Bay. Carol continues to nurture this by her participation in the Marin Home Care Association. She is Treasurer on the board, and loves that the association brings together all the licensed in-home care, home health, and hospice companies in the region. By teaming up rather than strictly competing, they are stronger together in promoting licensed care.
Carol cannot stress the benefits of licensed in-home care enough. Working with a licensed agency like Alegre Home Care protects both caregivers and clients. In-home care agencies take on the responsibilities of liability, logistics, continuing education, training, and supervising caregivers.
Carol explains, “With private care, there is no one supervising the caregivers, so that responsibility falls onto the people receiving care or their family members.”
Licensed care is important for enriching the employee experience of the caregivers, with a focus on benefits such as paid time off, overtime, training, and professionalism. This aspect of professionalism is especially important to Alegre Home Care.
“We’re not only looking for good caregivers, we’re looking for good employees. So there’s a lot of coaching on being reliable, professional, and punctual. We want to take care of the caregivers, so that they can take care of the clients.”
In-home care innately has challenges, due to the nature of the work. Alegre Home Care is there to support both caregivers and clients. Carol shares,
“What we provide is a service and I think we provide a high level of service by being an employer of the caregiver and by being the contact for the client’s family. In this way, we enable the caregivers to focus solely on providing quality care.”
She adds, “We try to be the glue, to keep everything together.”
Memorable In-Home Care Moments
When asked what some of her favorite memories are from her 18-year career with Alegre Home Care, Carol said there were too many to choose from. She loves every aspect of her job, and especially how she helps strengthen and build community through her communication with caregivers, clients, and client families.
She emphasizes that having an agency handle the moving parts takes so much stress off the families, clients, and caregivers.
“When there is a challenge and we turn it into an opportunity, it makes the relationship between the agency, caregiver, and client that much stronger. I could give a hundred examples of that.”