My name is Adaria and I am the CEO of Home Helpers & Direct Link of North Jersey. Being a long-time resident of Morris County, it has been a blessing being able to give back to the Community that has raised me. Having spent most of my life battling my own health issues, and helping to care for those around me when they have needed care, becoming a part of the Home Healthcare field just seemed natural. In 2007 my need to do something with my life that I could relate to, while also giving back to those around me, led me to enter into this field. I have spent the last 8 years trying to break all of the preconceived notions and the stigma associated with the healthcare industry. Some people say we need to change people’s views of our industry; I say the people in the industry need to change.

Owning a home health care company has thrown me into a completely different world. I am introduced to people every day…some amazing, some…not so amazing…professional Caregivers, “nonprofessional” Caregivers, people in need of care, and other industry professionals that have taught me so much. The knowledge I’ve obtained in a matter of years has allowed me to become what most would refer to as an “expert” in our field. But at the end of the day…nothing is more important or more valuable than the fact that I’ve been in your shoes.

Looking at me, most people would never know something is “wrong” with me…but if there is one guarantee in life, it is that nothing is ever what it seems. Most of my life has been a whirlwind of one medical problem after another, and of course they have never been those easy to diagnose, “here let me put a Band-Aid on that” kind of problems. Whether it was chronic infections as a baby, crippling growing pains as a child, being diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (or “old people’s disease” as I used to call it) in the fourth grade, mysterious red dots on my finger that bled profusely for over a month straight, knee surgery, wrist surgeries, countless other surgeries, mercury toxicity, chronic and debilitating migraines, allergies to things that people just should not be allergic to, and of course unrelenting infections in-between, I was constantly sick. I spent most of my sophomore year of high school in bed due to my being infected with a parasite that was not commonly found in humans or in the US. This would not have been as detrimental to most people, but because it had gone undetected for so long, and I already had an autoimmune disorder, it was destroying my body.

I could not go to school, so I was on bedside assistance with tutors coming to my house, and only really left to go to the doctors. I was constantly in pain; I remember nights where I was up hysterically crying because the pain was so bad, telling my Mother (my Caregiver) I would rather be dead because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. Even to this day…the memories of those nights still make me cringe. I couldn’t sleep because the pain was so bad and my brain wouldn’t shut off, so the Doctor put me on medication to “shut me down”, which meant I would walk around the house leaving the fridge open, the stove on, and meant that you would have better luck going outside and have a conversation with a tree. Needless to say, our families laugh when they hear these stories because it is often something they are dealing with.

It was at that point when I was 15-years-old that I felt like someone had removed me from the life I was living and transplanted me in hell. And saying I felt alone would be the understatement of the century. But even so, the worst part wasn’t the fact that I was so sick, or that I was dealing with this unbearable pain every day, the worst part was that I felt like I was trapped inside of my own body and there was nothing I could do about it. This is one of the things I relate to most with all of my clients. People often don’t realize that being sick, having chronic/degenerative/terminal disease, or simply having O.L.D (as my Mom cleverly calls it), isn’t the worst part. We all know this is a part of life. But what IS so hard is having these issues and dealing with the fact that you just aren’t yourself; feeling as if you have no control. THAT is when you feel most alone.

As most people do, I went through the “why me?” phase where I was depressed and angry. There were times where I just wanted to give up (and I probably would have had it not been for my family and friends). There were days where I questioned how there could possibly be a God because how could someone be so cruel…why would someone want me to be in so much pain every day? Why would someone just sit and watch as my life was falling apart? There were days I thought that someone was just sitting up in the clouds, pointing and laughing as problem after problem kept popping up. Unfortunately, this is something I see every day with all of the amazing people I encounter. But fortunately, because I have been there, there is some comfort found in knowing that I understand how they are feeling.

It took a lot of time, wallowing in self-pity, hating the world, losing faith in God, and wanting to do nothing but curl up in my bed and die, before I started to realize there was no point in wasting energy on feeling sorry for myself. I somehow came to the realization that my life could be worse. From that point forward, I decided to stop focusing on what was wrong in my life, and to focus on everything in my life that was great. I was alive, I was surrounded by family and friends that loved and supported me, and most importantly I now had the hope that I was lacking before. This is around the time I started living by the phrase, “hope dies last”. Not everyone gets this…some people say it sounds so depressing, but if you really think about it, it’s the exact opposite. When everything else in your world is falling apart, when it feels like everything else around you is dying, as long as you have hope…everything will be okay. I literally lost the life I was living, my body was dying on me, my friends were disappearing because no one wants to be around someone that quite frankly, isn’t any fun, but somehow I still had hope that everything would be okay, and because I did…I am able to do the things I am today…I am able to provide comfort to my Clients and their families because they know that this is not a business for me; this is my life.

After years of meeting families every day, listening to their struggles, hearing their stories about how alone they feel…I realized someone in the industry needed to let people know that they aren’t the only one feeling overwhelmed; they are not the only ones frantically trying to sort out all of the BS that gets thrown at you when you reach a point where you or a loved one needs care. I wish I was able to meet all of these wonderful people and their families under better circumstances, but the reality is that when we get a call from someone, they are often at their breaking point. Their loved one is suffering, they cannot handle the care needs that are being thrown onto them, and they need someone to tell them what their options are. They just need someone to hold their hand, to be that support, and to help get them through the emotional hell they are in.

I would get so frustrated having people calling, at times in tears because they felt so lost…their Doctors were saying they needed care but not educating them on their options, or referring them to people who would do nothing but sit on their phones all day; people were being told they needed someone to help with all of this medical jargon, not even knowing what half of it meant. I’ve spoken to family after family that was forced into needing the care but never knowing how they could possibly afford the services. I reached a point where I felt like someone had to be that support system for all of the people that get tossed into needing our services and are constantly feeling as if they are drowning because no one is there to guide them. I wanted to be that person that assured anyone we spoke to that we would be here to help, that I would be here to guide them with no other intentions than to ease their worries and make what is often a very tragic situation even the tiniest bit more bearable.

So as you read this, know one thing…we are always looking for people to join our family that will assist us in guiding our families through this be that resource. Whether it is answering questions, giving advice, or just being that support that is needed and is often lacking during trying times…it is our promise that we will be that difference. So come join our family today!

All my best,

“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light.” [Norman B. Rice]

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