Visiting Angels Detroit has been providing care to seniors who want to remain in their homes since 2005. Our inspiration for providing this important service was Oliver “Bo” Kenyon.
Uncle Bo was our father’s older brother. A WW II veteran, he retired from Ford Motor Company, then started a business delivering medical supplies.
After his wife died, Uncle Bo began having serious health issues, including high blood pressure, gout, congestive heart failure and extreme edema. Eventually, he moved from his Detroit home to an assisted living facility.
For three years, our family was Uncle Bo’s primary caregivers. We arranged home visits, prepared meals, performed household chores and helped with his finances. On his behalf, we consulted with social workers, doctors, lawyers and social and government agencies.
It wasn’t until Uncle Bo died a few days before Christmas 2002 that we heard about Visiting Angels. If only we had known that their caregivers could have provided peace of mind for him and his concerned family members!
Eventually, we decided that the best way to honor our uncle was to help care for seniors like him who want to remain in their homes.
Today, we are the only African American-owned Visiting Angels franchise in Michigan. That matters in a city like Detroit, our primary territory, where more than 80 percent of the residents are black.
Another important fact: African Americans “are two times more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's disease than whites and less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
We see that reality in our own family. Our mother, Mable Kenyon, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two years ago.
Home care, you see, is not just our family business. It’s what we live every day. It is our calling. Better than most, we understand the importance of the work that we do.
Certainly there are challenges. Detroit was once home to nearly 2 million people. That number has dropped to about 677,000 today. Unfortunately, nearly 40 percent of Detroiters have annual incomes below the federal poverty level.
Nevertheless, we are committed to working hard and compassionately to provide care to Detroit seniors who want to stay in their homes. We truly believe in our motto: “Every home needs a caregiver.”
Joyce K. Stallings, Director of Services