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A Familiar Level Of Care

Gregg and Eileen Balbera are longtime Roslyn residents that had achieved a life most would be proud of – they raised three boys, with Gregg building a successful 25-year-plus career on Wall Street. But for all of the professional success gained and guidance doled out to their children, there was one element of their lives that they had no control over.

Several of their older family members began to face the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and suddenly the Balberas were thrust into the role of caregivers. This experience gave them firsthand knowledge of the challenges many families face.

In an effort to help others, Gregg and Eileen decided to bring an international home health care organization closer to home by becoming franchisees of Right at Home, an in-home companionship and personal care assistance for seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently.

They opened an office in Plainview, at 8 Gerhard Rd., and serve communities across Long Island.

“We decided we wanted to transition into the next phase of our work careers, but we wanted to do something we felt was more meaningful,” said Gregg Balbera, who started Right at Home in Plainview earlier this year. “It is very personal for my wife and me, as we’ve had several family members suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. We’ve seen what families go through and the issues that go along with these diseases and we wanted to step up and make a difference.”

Miles away from his life on Wall Street, Balbera now hires caregivers and matches them with people who need day-to-day assistance caring for loved ones.

“Wall Street is a very dog-eat-dog world. You are constantly pushing yourself from the second you walk in to the second you leave; all day, every day,” he said. “I enjoyed it immensely and I built some great relationships in that business, but the business itself can be cold and impersonal. But the business of home care is the polar opposite.”

Balbera said he still pushes himself and puts all of his efforts into his work, but now he feels rewarded on a daily basis.

Right at Home provides focused, tailored services to its clients; learning about the specific needs of each family and using that knowledge to deliver specific home health care. Whether it is just a few hours a day or 24-hour, seven days a week, Right at Home prides itself on being there, no matter the challenge.

Eric Little, senior vice president of development for Right at Home, said the Balberas were awarded a franchise because they met the company’s strict guidelines – they were not simply looking for a business to supplement their income, instead they had a vested interest in the company’s ideals.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those we serve. It is why we exist,” said Little. “Eileen and Gregg are very family oriented people with personal experience caring for their own family members. They care. And it is very clear that they want to help people.”

Little said Right at Home’s main clients include people that are part of what is known as the ‘sandwich generation’ – these are people caught in the middle, with teenagers at home that need care, and also parents who are beginning to need care of their own. He said the organization strives to provide respite care, a relief for the primary caregiver in the family so that they can live their own life and not fall into depression – an all too common occurrence among family caregivers.

“For these caregivers, the big challenge is that they don’t know who to ask for help or sometimes they just won’t ask for help,” said Little. “They can get burned out and we try to be a relief for them. Even if it’s just for three or four hours a day.”

Little and Balbera both said health care is becoming more and more of a pressing issue as the population continues to age. Balbera said he is constantly having conversations with friends who are starting to think about what might happen if their parents need home care – and what might happen if they themselves need help, too.

“The loss of independence and coming to grips with that is often the most difficult part of the equation. They feel that if they ask for help they are letting themselves down and letting others down,” said Balbera. “Once they get passed that misconception, they realize this is a good thing for them and their family.”

To learn more about Right at Home in Plainview, call 516-719-5999 or visit www.rightathomeli.com.