I Am Visiting Angels: Nate Stokes
In 2008, Nate Stokes was ready for a career change. A few years earlier, his family had walked down the same road many of our clients have traveled. As his grandparents’ health declined, the family gathered to make a plan that would allow them to live safely and comfortably at home for as long as possible. They decided to hire a home care agency, and Nate saw how beneficial homecare services were to his family. “I thought, if I’m going to own a business, that’s what I want to own - one that’s helping others,” Nate says.
Although Visiting Angels is a business, it’s also much more than that. Nate’s personal faith and values have shaped the way Visiting Angels functions, from clients to caregivers and from the front office to the living room."I believe all life is sacred, whether we’re talking about babies in the womb or the elderly population. When our elderly are unable to care for themselves efficiently, I see it as a way to demonstrate love and compassion as we help them through those times.”
In his first few years leading Visiting Angels, Nate’s job involved office work, as well as time in homes. He was in charge of most of the administrative work, including answering phones, setting up client care plans, hiring home caregivers, and thinking about things like insurance and taxes. He also had the privilege of filling in some of the shifts and got first-hand experience as a home care provider.
“I enjoyed that and still do, but at the time, I needed to grow the business so that we could serve as many people as possible,” Nate says. As Visiting Angels Joplin grew, his worked veered toward the organizational side. A typical day starts with checking emails, preparing for the day’s appointments and tasks, and meeting with staff to answer questions or discuss their challenges. Nate’s job mostly involves keeping all the gears turning behind the scenes and thinking about the big picture of Visiting Angels Joplin.
Although he spends more time in the office now than he did in the early days, Nate says he still gets the most enjoyment out of meeting with families and being able to provide solutions to the challenges they face. From his own experience, Nate understands “it’s not just challenging for the senior, but for their family, as well. When we can provide a family with solutions they might not even know existed, it’s rewarding to see that a burden has been taken off their shoulders.”
Those conversations are the highlights of Nate’s week. When he can come alongside a family who wants to care for their loved one, but feels overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make, that means a lot. “Once we’ve discussed the possibilities of how we can help, sometimes they break down in tears of joy. They thought they were at the end of the rope and had to put their parent in a facility. When they realize they have options that seem more dignified, it brings tears of joy. And, I usually reciprocate. We can give people hope by showing them what’s possible.”
That’s the difference Visiting Angels makes. “We’re very intentional in making our business about people and about hope,” Nate says. In his role, it’s necessary to look at numbers but everywhere else in the organization, the emphasis is on people. This attitude extends not only to the clients and families Visiting Angels cares for, but the caregivers themselves. “We want them to feel as though they’re part of a family and being cared for, as well.”
When he leaves the office at night, Nate knows it’s been a good day when everyone has been taken care of. His clients are provided for and satisfied, and his office staff feel accomplished in their day and hopeful about tomorrow. Most days at Visiting Angels Joplin end just like that.
Because we love the family of caregivers and administrators we’ve built at Visiting Angels, we want to make it available to more people in our community. If you have questions about the next step in caring for your elderly loved one, we can help you think through your options. Or, if you’re looking for a meaningful career where you can serve the needs of others, we’d love to discuss current openings at Visiting Angels Joplin. Let’s talk soon!