Meet Angil Tarach, Owner/Director RN of Visiting Angels of Washtenaw County in  Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
I am a 48 yr old woman, nurse, business owner and senior advocate.  I have cared and advocated for seniors since I was 17 years old.  For the last 7 years I have owned a Visiting Angels franchise in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place?
I love seniors!  I feel honored and privileged to meet, spend time with and help seniors and their families.  For a better explanation of why I chose what I do, I invite you to go to this site and click on the “Love Letters” link.  It is a guest blog I wrote for Great Places Inc. describing an experience I had while working in a nursing home at 17 yrs old.  This job at 17 set in motion a lifelong passion caring and advocating for seniors.

Tell us about the organizations your company supports and why? 
There are several we support in a variety of ways, so I’ll just tell you about a few.  The Alzheimer’s Association, the American Red Cross Family Caregiving Program, Private Duty Homecare Association, and local senior centers, groups, and associations.  Someone is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease every 70 seconds.  This devastating illness not only affects the person, by taking their life, but affects their families in profound ways.  Research and support are necessary, and we feel this is a great cause.  The Red Cross Family Caregiving Program is a wonderful program for the nearly 50 million Americans providing care for a loves one.  We support the PDHCA because of the advocacy to help people stay in their homes, where they prefer to be over a nursing home.  We support organizations in our community that provide senior resources, socialization, and advocacy.

What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
The biggest risk was walking out of a job as an Infection Control Coordinator for the State of Michigan to open my agency.  The biggest obstacle has been a personal health crisis I faced a year after opening my agency.  I am chronically sick with Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
My inspiration comes from being able to help seniors and their families, as well as seeing and hearing about seniors receiving poor treatment and care.  One role model was a boss I worked for as a hospice nurse, named Ingrid Deininger.  That was the absolute best company I ever worked for a nurse.  Ingrid really cared about her patients and staff, and hired the same kind of caring people.  Ingrid would do whatever it took to help patients, and created a very caring, cooperative, and supportive work environment.  It felt like a family of people that always put the patient’s care and well being ahead of anything else.   I have formed my own agency in that same manner.  It has never been about having a business and making money for me.  It has been about providing the best care available to help out senior clients and families.  My agency is directed with care, dignity, respect, relationships, and as much independence as the client can possibly have in mind, first and foremost.

How is the current economic situation affecting your company/organization? 
Michigan has been hit hard economically and we are no exception.  It saddens me to get calls from people who need care and can’t afford it.  We have managed to continue our mission, even in trying times.

What one thing would you like to learn this year?
How to better organize myself and my time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Traveling the country and speaking on my book, “Behind the Old Face” and the national training program that is based on the book.  I anticipate better care and treatment of our seniors because my book and training program has changed minds and hearts towards seniors, their lives and their care.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I spend time with family and friends.  I have 2 adorable grandchildren that I really enjoy.  My fiancé’ and I spend time relaxing in the pool, going to concerts, sporting events, having people over for dinner.  I love to travel, and particularly love spending time in the Caribbean, relaxing on a beach and snorkeling.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? 
There are a lot of things I could share so limiting it is difficult.  The things that come to mind are follow your passion, and don’t give up, no matter what challenges you face, or what anyone says.  Know if someone did it before you, you can do it too. 

The other is that God willing we will all grow old.  We will either care for an aging relative or we will know someone who is.  Our seniors are amazing people with decades of service, contributions, struggles, and accomplishments.  They deserve enormous respect, and excellent care.  You only have to think about yourself or parent(s), and how you would want to be treated to provide wonderful treatment and care of our elderly.  Seniors face incredible challenges as they age.  It is not easy to lose independence, physical or mental health.  Do not look at an elderly person as the person they currently are, but look Behind the Old Face, recognize the person they have been, and provide the same dignity as if you were in their shoes.

The majority of unpaid family caregivers are women.  This can be an incredibly difficult journey.  Do not think you can do it all or have to.  Do not feel guilty for what you can’t do.  You must take care of yourself to provide care for someone else.  Get help early and often, so you have time for yourself.  It will make an incredible difference in how you feel, and how the person you care for feels, and journey will be much better.

Which, if any social networking sites do you belong to ?
My Blogs- Ann Arbor News Wellsphere –   National Senior Living Provider’s Network-  

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