Few services are more essential than helping older adults age in place, in the comfort of their own homes. We recently caught up with the leadership of Buckhead-based Live Oak Caregivers, which provides home health and caregiving services. The company has been in operation since 2014, and its owners - Bill Falconer, David Ingram and Bill Izlar – have built a reputation of providing exceptional personal care.
The trio has a local, family-oriented focus. Bill Falconer describes how the company was founded partly out of necessity. "In 2014, my mother-in-law and father-in-law had reached an age where they needed help with activities of daily living. When I saw the issues they were facing with under-performing home health agencies, I knew it could be done better. Our business began with my in-laws as our first client. Since then, we have served nearly 350 clients throughout metro Atlanta, and delivered over half a million hours of in-home care."
Falconer's 25 years in business consulting enabled him to build Live Oak Caregivers from the ground up, with the help and expertise of two longtime friends. David Ingram brought 25 years of technology development and operations experience to the company. He is tasked with managing day-to-day operations and making sure each assignment is a success, for caregivers as well as clients. Bill Izlar, a 25-year veteran of the real estate finance industry, oversees Live Oak's financial, accounting and risk management operations. All three work together on business development, recruitment and performance management.
"Home care is a people business," says David Ingram. "From the start, we wanted to create a culture of exceptional care - for both clients and caregivers. For our clients, the objectives are to deliver compassionate care and make the experience stress free. We assess the needs of the client and put a lot of thought into choosing the right caregiver for the assignment. It's important to make the match work well for both parties."
When Falconer discusses reasons the company has grown so rapidly, "caring for the caregiver" is at the top of the list. "It's our secret sauce. It's what makes us different" he says. "When our caregivers are happy because of how they are treated, they aren't focused on their next job. They're focused on providing great care for the client. Each month we recognize and reward caregivers who go the extra mile for our clients. With this strategy, we have created a loyal workforce and a sense of responsibility for the community we serve."
Bill Izlar agrees that caregivers are the face of the company. "We are very selective and only hire about 30% of the caregivers we interview," he says. "The ones we do hire are state certified nursing assistants and personal care assistants who are thoroughly screened and background checked, and who we feel will represent our company well when they work in your home."
Live Oak Caregivers supports healthcare related non-profit organizations, including Daughters Against Alzheimer's. The company is a sponsor of the Battle For The Brain fundraising event benefiting Alzheimer's and dementia research, and is committed to helping drive awareness and fundraising to accelerate discovery for Alzheimer's treatment and prevention.
Ingram describes the company's primary responsibility. "Because we're coming into your home, it's our duty to deliver a high-quality experience. We are there to make life easier for our clients, and help them realize the best possible outcomes in their homes, whether they are recovering from an acute illness, managing a chronic health condition or just need a little support."
Live Oak's three partners say they love what they do, and appreciate being in the business of care. "Providing care to aging adults, disabled persons or those in recovery is a rewarding profession," says Falconer. "We have a great team of compassionate caregivers, and it's a privilege to serve families and individuals who need some assistance."