Consultant finds right place for grandma and grandpa
Nancy Raske tailors seniors' needs with variety of services
Nancy Raske didn't realize at the time her mom had a massive stroke in 1989 that the event would eventually lead her to a new career, but it did.
Raske's mom, Janice Nelson, lived in King City and worked as one of the receptionists at the King City Civic Association Town Hall.
"She usually worked the morning shift and sometimes worked all day," Raske said. "She always walked to work for the exercise, and one day she didn't show up. From that point on, my life changed forever.
"I had to decide what to do at each step along the way. Her left side was totally paralyzed, and I couldn't bring her to my home because it wasn't handicapped accessible. There were no placement services to provide information and help me decide about rehabilitation and where to put her. It was so hectic."
That experience led Raske to eventually open her own adult-placement and referral service business called NW Senior Resources Inc. in 2006.
But a lot happened in the years in between.
"In March 1990, I got an early buy-out from my job and took it," Raske said. "Then I got a job at a Lake Oswego church helping families get the care and resources they needed. As I did more and more, ministers and doctors would say to me, 'You should open your own business.'
"But first I wanted hands-on experience, so I went to work for an in-home care business and then a couple of assisted-living places until the end of 2006. I was seeing first-hand how care was provided, and I absorbed it all. I also volunteered at Meridian Park Hospital in both admissions and critical care, and I got training in grief counseling.
"In addition, I did internships and mentorships with university students in the field, going with them on visits to seniors. I wanted a full compliment of training in all the areas of helping seniors."
At NW Senior Resources, Raske works with Julie Ouellette, based in Milwaukie, who has 20 years of experience and training in the same fields.
"We help each other with assessments and tours, we confer on all clients, and we divide up the workload," Raske said. "We also do several follow-ups once we place people."
Since Raske learned the hard way that there were no placement services available after her mom had her stroke, she estimates that there are now 15 to 20 agencies in the metro area.
"I call mine concierge service," she said. "It covers seniors from end to end - from the start of when they need help until they die. I give them and their families options. Our service does not end after assisting the family to find the appropriate living solution. We continue to monitor and consult with the family as long as needed."
Raske knows that making the decision to move a senior can be challenging for the entire family and that emotional needs must be considered along with choosing the appropriate housing option.
There is no charge to families to have Raske recommend appropriate facilities and services, including adult-care homes, assisted-living communities, Alzheimer's care centers, in-home care agencies, rehabilitation centers, residential care, retirement communities and skilled nursing homes.
Raske also recommends estate sale and moving businesses, elder-law attorneys, nurse care managers, long-term-care insurance brokers, and senior-specialist real estate brokers.
"I get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing this," Raske said. "I help make people happy and bring them joy so everyone in their life can sleep at night. When you get to know the various care options, you can handpick the right places for each person. There are in-home care places in Street of Dreams homes and many other places.
"I estimate that more than 50 percent of the in-home care providers are from Romania. What is fascinating to me is where the caregivers come from and what they did before and what they gave up to open these homes. They appreciate all the freedoms and choices we have here. They were all raised in intergenerational homes, so they just want to adopt you."