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Companionship component of in-home personal care creates a decade-long friendship

For more information on services offered by Interim HealthCare of the Upstate and Midlands or careers with the company, call (800) 439-4590 or visit interimcares.com.

Annmarie Hayes has been an in-home personal care aide for 30 years. When she moved to South Carolina from Florida 10 years ago, she began searching for someone to care for, finding both a career at Interim HealthCare of the Upstate and a decade-long friendship.

“I moved to South Carolina looking for a nice lady to work for and found Nancy, and I’ve been with her now for almost 10 years,” said Hayes, 70, of Simpsonville. 1:51 “I help Nancy with everything just about. I cook her meals – because of her eyesight she can’t see the stove, I pick out her clothes, take her shopping, clean her house, pay her bills, take her out for a ride.”

Nancy is Nancy Broz of Simpsonville, who will turn 90 next May. The owner of an accounting business for 30 years, Broz took the advice of one of her clients upon her retirement and purchased long term care insurance. Having in-home personal care has allowed Broz to stay in her own home rather than move to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.

“I did it, I paid for it, and it has paid dividends for me,” Broz said. “Now I don’t have to worry about it. “(Annmarie) does everything, absolutely everything. Anything I ask, she does it.”

Interim HealthCare’s personal care services address the activities of daily living that are essential for independent living such as personal hygiene, dressing and eating. And while personal care aides don’t administer medications, they often help fill weekly pill organizers and make sure medications are taken on time.

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But for Broz and Hayes, it’s the companionship component of personal care that has proven to be the most important and rewarding, especially during the social isolation of COVID-19.

“It always has been like a friendship, so (COVID) wasn’t difficult. We just went with the flow.” Hayes said. “You had to do what you had to do. We watched TV, listened to music and talked.”

While the height of the pandemic was difficult, Broz said she and Hayes still tried to do things together.

“We didn’t walk around this place very often or anything, but we stayed in and just behaved ourselves,” Broz said.

Adds Hayes, “I couldn’t imagine her being all by herself, or me.”

Over the past 10 years, the pair also has become traveling companions, heading to destinations such as Charleston, Hilton Head, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and Saluda NC.

“It’s fun. She’s just a lot of fun to be with and to take care of,” Hayes says of Broz.

Companionship also is critical during the holidays, said Hayes, especially for those like Broz who have no family.

“Nancy loves the holidays, she loves Christmas, and I know that,” said Hayes. “I put up her tree and we did go together to Country Boys, and she picked out all her blue ornaments, one-by-one. For about the last five years, she’s been collecting the blue ornaments, so I have them all on the tree. Underneath the tree, there’s a lot of gifts and that makes her happy. My daughter even sent a box from New York City, so she’s got a gift to open from my daughter, so she’s part of the family.”

(L-R) Annmarie Hayes, Nancy Broz and Jamarcus Gaston in Broz’s Simpsonville home.

Hayes provides in-home personal care for Broz from 2:45 p.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. As for the check-in phone call each morning, that’s what friends do.

“I call her every morning at eight o’clock to make sure she’s ok,” Hayes explained. “Well, the other morning, she wasn’t. She cried and I didn’t know what was wrong. I came over in my pajamas and she just needed some TLC. I got her dressed, walked her into the sunroom and made her a cup of coffee and she was fine.

“These are just little things to help someone who can’t see well and has no family whatsoever. You put yourself in the position they’re in,” Hayes continued. “I would like somebody to take care of me just like I take care of her and that’s about it. You have to do what you have to do, and I’m happy doing it.”

For more information on services offered by Interim HealthCare of the Upstate and Midlands or careers with the company, call (800) 439-4590 or visit interimcares.com.

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