A family affair

Kaliahna Baxter

PHOTO BY shannon rooney

With the growing number of seniors in the U.S. these days, there’s more and more demand for care for our aging population. In partnership with her parents, Kaliahna Baxter owns and operates Happy at Home, a nonmedical in-home caregiving business. Baxter gives a lot of credit to her top-notch staff, whose members receive ongoing education and take pride in helping to make others’ lives brighter. Some of the services offered include companionship, errands, transport to doctors’ appointments, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders and pet care. That takes the burden off other family members, offering piece of mind that their loved one is being looked after and their needs are being met. One of the ideas behind Happy at Home is to allow seniors who don’t need around-the-clock medical care to be independent and live at home. “Our goal is for home care to be as least invasive as possible,” she said. For more information on Happy at Home, which offers services throughout Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties, call 774-2127 or log onto happyathomechico.com

How did you get into caregiving?

After high school, I moved to San Louis Obispo for college and worked in in-home situations and in facilities as a caregiver. Then I moved back up here to finish school at Chico State. The last year, I was talking with my parents because I knew I wanted to own a facility as I knew taking care of seniors was my passion and my purpose.

How did you decide what kind of caregiving business to create?

We went back and forth as to how to do it. I realized through looking back on my experience that the people who got to stay home were a lot happier, and I liked the relationships I made with people who were in their own home. I like that that relationship has the opportunity to build. If you find the right caregivers, then they appreciate that relationship as well.

What sets Happy at Home apart?

The fact that we’re a family-owned business makes a difference because the business is about family. Usually some son, daughter, or niece is hiring someone for someone in their family.

How many caregivers do you have, and how’s business?

We have 10. Just in the last three months, we have seen a huge boom in clientele.

What do you look for in a caregiver?

I want people with experience, and I try to hire an array of backgrounds. I want a couple people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s experience, a couple who have stroke or paraplegic or quadriplegic experience. I try to have that array because when I get that client, then I have that expertise. I try to find people for whom this isn’t just a job.

What do you love most about your work?

I love that I get to make a positive difference in people’s lives—not just a client’s life because they now have the help they need to stay at home, but it makes a positive difference in the life of the family member who is relieved that some of the workload is off their shoulders, or if they’re not here, that someone is here to check on their loved one.