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Belina Nernberg, Founder & CEO of 1HEART CAREGIVER SERVICES, LLC.

Childhood and old age are the two most vulnerable periods in an individual’s life where they need special care. While the former is always in the limelight, the latter gets less attention oftentimes. After surpassing the adult age, people start heading towards their post-retirement days, where they are physically weak. They usually are low with their physical strengths as compared to their early life.

When age progresses, various health issues arise, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart ailments, etc. In addition, people also feel lonely due to the busy schedules of their younger family members who are of working age. It affects them emotionally and makes them feel neglected.

In this vulnerable age, elders seek unconditional emotional and physical support to spend the rest of their days. To provide for this delicate care of old people in their final days, 1Heart Caregiver Services started its journey with an advanced operating system. 1Heart is a non-medical home care company providing professional, reliable, and trained caregivers to families, senior living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Brief About the Company

1Heart is a brand built on a very simple yet powerful concept: ‘All it takes is one heart that cares.’ The company believes that a single compassionate individual can positively impact the life of a senior and improve their well-being and caregivers, adhering to core values of ‘Excellence, Integrity and Heart’ for the clients.

Every family 1Heart serves has a dedicated Client Care Manager, who makes sure that the needs of the care recipient are met in excellence. 1Heart’s ongoing training for its employees at 1Heart Caregiver University also ensures that the caregivers are trained and prepared for the requirements of their assigned cases. The company also executes its health education advocacy by providing health education and wellness lectures like Brain Fitness Education sessions, Neurotics brain exercises, ‘fall prevention’ awareness lectures, and other wellness activities in partnership with the senior living communities.

Inspiring Leadership

The FounderBelina Calderon-Nernberg, immigrated from the Philippines to the US in 1991. For more than a decade, she worked for a cellular phone retailer in Encino, CA, until she realized that going into business for herself would be the best way to achieve her dream of financial freedom. In 2001, she started a placement agency for skilled professionals, which became popular and successful in LA County. Before long, her clients began asking her for help in finding caregivers for their parents.

Seeing the growing demand for care by the aging population in the US, Belina started Caregiver Services, an in-home care agency, in 2004. Ten years later, the company started offering franchise opportunities to those who wished to carry the brand of 1Heart Caregiver Services. 

The Pandemic Days

Talking about the pandemic, Belina shared her experience, “One of the things that this pandemic has reminded us of is our mortality. No one is exempted from the risks that the virus could give us when infected. It has also shown us that our seniors who are at higher risk need to be protected. Because of that, despite the lockdowns, our business has continued to grow and flourish. In-home care proved to be an essential business that is needed more than ever.”

The company went through some operational challenges when the lockdowns were first imposed, and the infection rate was high. Their priority was to ensure that company’s caregivers were protected as well as the seniors they were serving. So, the management quickly implemented safety measures such as providing PPEs to its caregivers and clients, as well as implementing mandatory training on COVID-19 and taking care of COVID patients.

“There is an increase in the demand for in-home care, especially for seniors who were locked down during the pandemic. The year 2020 gave the whole 1Heart franchise group a stable 24% growth compared to the previous year’s revenue performance,” said Belina. 

Adapting to the New Normal

The senior care industry is a burgeoning industry and will continue to thrive as the baby boomers start going into their golden years, where they will need care. It is not even officially post-pandemic, yet it is visible that how the supply of caregivers is not able to meet the demand for it.

1Heart is adapting to the ‘new normal’ by building a strong digital brand, utilizing the internet in creating an effective consumer awareness program. The company continues to help franchisees build a strong balance on different functions of the business, focused on sales and marketing, operations, and finance, through its 1Heart Business Academy, where they carry out training sessions through webinars, workshops as well as field coaching.

Time is changing, and the circumstances created by the recent pandemic have made it imperative for 1Heart to find new ways to harness technology to improve its operations and give the best service to the families it serves. It was happening across the nation among all healthcare providers.

The company has adapted to the changing market and its client’s needs by utilizing a technology platform that enables the system to continuously enhance scheduling, staffing requirements, monitoring of client’s ‘Quality of Life’ progress, caregiver’s tasks performed, and online care academy training.

“If you don’t have the compassion to help seniors, this is not the business for you. Before starting this business, study the industry, research the competition, and decide whether you want to do this by yourself or go with a trusted brand,” advised Belina.

The management is of the opinion that the big advantage of going into a franchise business with a good brand image and success record is following a proven and tested business model. One does not need to reinvent the wheel while they can still apply the creativity and managerial skills in growing the 1Heart brand in the local area.

Turning the Page

For the year 2021, 1Heart’s corporate agency is already showing significant growth of 34% compared to last year. To date, the total franchise group is showing a growth of 54.5% in total revenue. Team 1Heart is focused on its goal – to open at least eight more locations within CA and other states by the end of the year.

This year, the company is implementing the utilization of new platforms to track financial performance/comparisons and the gauging of service quality assurance through capable third-party affiliates. “That way, as we continue to grow, we would still be capable of maintaining high-quality standards,” said Belina.