The idea for Greg Solometo’s business, he said, came from his experiences caring for his grandmother in her final years.
Raised by his grandparents in upstate New York, Solometo said he spent five years as his grandmother’s primary caregiver after she developed Alzheimer’s disease at 85.
“I took care of everything — I hired and fired caregivers, I took her to the doctors, I paid her bills,” Solometo said. “Over that time period, I developed an interest in it and a passion for it.”
In 2006, Solometo alongside fellow founders and registered nurses Michele Teter and Diane Sirakovsky opened Alliance Homecare and was licensed by the state Department of Health in 2009.
The company now has three offices in New York — one in Woodbury, one in New York City and one in West Nyack.
Solometo said the company is built on three core principals: finding great caregivers, managing cases with care managers and offering personalized concierge services.
The nurses and caregivers hired, Solometo said, are typically the top 15 percent of the workforce, with 150 hired in 2017 out of the approximately 900 that applied for positions with Alliance Homecare.
“When we’re hiring people, we’re conscious of their personalities, their positivity and the softer skills you can’t really gauge without having experience or empathy,” Solometo said.
The caregivers are managed in small batches by care managers, Solometo said, who typically manage about 20 cases per manager.
The care manager’s job goes beyond the supervision of the caregivers but also coordinating between doctors for the client as well as working with the children and grandchildren to help the entire family as a “professional family member,” Solometo said.
Alliance Homecare’s personalized concierge options for each client range from physical and occupational therapy for all clients, including a fall risk assessment and individualized plans to increase strength, to geriatric psychologists and psychiatrists for mental health support.
Solometo said about 30 percent of the clientele works with the psychiatric team as well as some of the client’s spouses.
“These are hard times for people,” Solometo said. “They’re entering new phases of life, they’re losing independence and losing control, so the clients themselves can use support sometimes.”
Solometo said the company also partners with eldercare attorneys who can assess all end of life documentation and help clients who haven’t drafted a power of attorney or health-care proxy document yet.
Food, Solometo said, is a critical part of eldercare but one often overlooked in the eldercare industry.
Alliance Homecare offers a registered dietician to build a culinary plan for the clients and an organic chef can help caregivers, clients and family members implement that plan with shopping lessons, cooking classes and easy but healthy recipes.
“Food is something that’s so critical and really not considered in the general homecare industry,” Solometo said. “We’re trying to educate the caregivers on culinary expertise and provide good food on a regular basis to the clients.”