Jeannie Staller, of 24 Hour Caregivers, left, assists Margaret Gellatt in her Ashland home Thursday. - Julia Moore

Home Grown: Caring for your loved ones

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We provide in-home senior care, from mail-delivery services to housekeeping to caregivers and end-of-life caregiver services. We help seniors with all aspects of daily living. I've been the owner and administrator of Caregiver Services for the past 13 years and recently formed 24 Hour Caregivers as the parent company of Caregiver Services and Oregon Caregiver Registry, a direct-hire caregiver service for families that want to hire and manage their own caregivers. We have more than 40 clients we regularly serve.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I grew up here and attended Crater High. After that I spent 10 years in Chicago, five years in Philadelphia and five years in Santa Barbara, Calif., before returning here in 1993.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I have a sincere love of working with people and providing services that are personal and valued. I get inspired to see how we can support our customers. It's not easy for people to ask for help, and I never want our customers to feel the help they get at home is overbearing.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? What I've learned is that customers want many different choices in homecare. I began with a limited approach, strictly with caregiving. When people wanted a traveling program, we responded, providing caregivers who accompany customers across the country on a regular basis to meet with family members. I also discovered seniors wanted an in-home meals program. I would have done this earlier and broadened our services. It's still an evolving market place.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? Having to let go people who were not productive or couldn't follow company policy, and they were people I liked. I've learned over the years to be very specific in terms of job expectations when I hire caregivers so that they really fit the company and the services we provide.

Who are your competitors? Most of our competitors are out-of-town franchises or conglomerates such as Home Instead, which is headquartered in Denver, or Interim Healthcare, which is out of Florida.

What are your goals? I want to continue to partner with local businesses through our Connect With Care program. These local businesses have helped us sponsor senior events. Right now we are licensed in Jackson and Josephine counties, but we do see the prospect of moving into Douglas County and areas along the coast, as well. It takes more infrastructure and having the right technology in place. Because we are a people service, we have to control the recruitment process. Because of the recession, we have been able to hire some really talented people who come from different professional backgrounds, who make great caregivers.

What training or education did you need? I worked a lot in the restaurant business and mental health field. Both of those combined gave me insight to working closely with people. When I'm able to expand enjoyment of working with seniors I'm able to draw on both of those experiences. I went to University of California-Santa Barbara, where I studied business, but I didn't finish. Running a company came naturally. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was probably the late-bloomer, starting the business when I was 35. But I've been fortunate since then. In running an organization, you either have it or don't.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? It's important to keep control of your emotions and not let fear and negative thoughts interfere with your goal. If you put out a quality product at a fair price and treat customers fairly, they will support you.

To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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