Destined for A Peaceful Way

We are thrilled to mark the one-year milestone of Levi Unkefer working with A Peaceful Way Home Care in Palos Verdes. We thank her for helping our clients experience the best day possible every day.

During her life, she’s personally experienced needing care, being a family caregiver, and providing professional caregiving. This has made her acutely empathetic to what others may be experiencing, whether that be a client, family member or caregiver. Her friends describe her as compassionate, sympathetic and trustworthy.

She enjoys living in the small community of Palos Verdes. Having grown up in San Francisco, she has always valued having a sense of community. Similarly – now in PV – it is not uncommon that she bumps into her clients and their family members while grocery shopping. “I love that!”

Levi has had a unique journey, and we want to share a portion of it that led her to working with our team. In hindsight, some might say she was destined to land in the office of A Peaceful Way Home Care.

Levi’s Story

In 2013, Levi was in a car accident. The injuries left her unable to walk without pain and rendered her unable to work for a time. “It was a very humbling time… I became aware of what it was like to be dependent on someone else for nearly everything. My neighbor drove me to get groceries and – moving as slow as I was – just taking a shower and getting ready for any kind of day took up to two hours.”

“Though I had a management career I liked, this was a period of great reevaluation and change: I needed to take a different life-path and felt called to going back into something where I was in service again.”

She’s always had a passion for people being happy and well. As a prior Ayurveda practitioner, she resonated with the holistic approach to health and well-being. During this vocational exploration, she enrolled in a Red Cross Certified Nursing Assistant training. “This is what got me hooked,” she explains. She had never spent any time in a skilled nursing facility or anything like it before. But she felt a natural affinity for spending time with the senior residents and their visiting families. But environments like these – away from home without individualized focused care – appeared to correlate with delayed improvement for the patients, both physically and emotionally.

With the CNA courses completed, her first job was as a Personalized Living Attendant, working with up to a dozen residents a day one-on-one. Families – often out of town – told her how much they depended on her reports to understand their loved one’s status. “I especially fell in love with learning the care needs of memory care clients. It was there that my relationship with families came into focus for me. That connection. That their loved ones were having better days made a difference.”

Later, another company gave her more opportunities to learn and grow what she fondly calls “a business that’s so strange to love this much!” Serving in a local Redondo Beach assisted living community was also very fulfilling, seeing the same faces regularly. This is where she first experienced the rewards of helping those with more advanced memory care issues. Working for such a large company also gave her work in ongoing private home settings. This is when she realized that helping people stay independent, healthy and comfortable at home was her joy.

Levi flourished in this role until personal tragedy stuck. For over a year, she served as a full-time caregiver, nursing a loved one back to health after he had suffered an acute heart attack. The health complications and subsequent difficulties often appeared overwhelming.

Fortunately, because of her past work, she was trained and knew what to do. She had already dealt with bed-bound and memory care patients. But periods of burnout were becoming frequent. This only added another layer of compassion to better support clients. “All this galvanized into my work. When I meet with a spouse who hasn’t taken a break from the situation, I am happy to receive her call and serve as part of her respite care plan. I understand what it means not to have that help.”

After her loved one’s recovery and returning to work, Levi was hired at a large corporate in-home care firm as a Client Care Coordinator. Thinking that working for a large company would enable her to help more individuals, she was motivated to do well but found that large firms have their drawbacks. Comprehensive Care plans were seldom addressed. “I spent more of my time worried about the lack of follow-through I couldn’t effect, than working as part of the solution in a functional team.” I met so many amazing people working very hard to make things work, but I hadn’t found my work-family yet.

The Whole Company is a Team

“That’s what I love about working at A Peaceful Way Home Care in Palos Verdes: we are a team, a hundred percent. What Terry is doing is truly unique. Since it’s a smaller company, we have more control over every aspect. Each person in the office was once a caregiver. You don’t normally see that level of compassion in the workplace. So, when we meet to discuss each case as we do, each and every person pitches in on that discussion. It’s awesome. I love working in our office. There’s a shared passion. It’s not perfect – we’re always learning – but working beside others with the same work ethic is priceless,” beams Levi.

She first heard of A Peaceful Way Home Care during her career in caregiving. Living in Palos Verdes, she remembers seeing the sign in the office window on her drive home and decided to stop-in to learn more. This is when she connected with the owner Terry McGovern. “After a brief chat, I could tell he was doing right by people.”

There were no openings at the time but two weeks later, fate intervened. Terry reached out to her and hired her as the Supervisor of Caregivers. “I have such a passion for this work and wanted to do more.” Six months later, Terry gave her the opportunity to just that. She was promoted to Care Manager.

Being the Care Manager

As Care Manager at A Peaceful Way Home Care Solution, Levi meets with potential clients, conducts in-home assessments, determines the level of care needed, evaluates the safety of the home, and uncovers what else A Peace of Mind can do beyond the caregiver essential services (e.g., showering, medication reminders, meal prep) to support a better daily quality of life for the recipient.

“Through talking with the client and family members, I find out what they enjoy doing or perhaps need assistance with since they may now have disabilities and challenges. For instance, the client may suffer from depression. Additional health providers are seen as part of a larger team (e.g., home care aids, nurses, OTs, PTs) that are in the home to shorten the client’s recovery time in the case where there is an injury involved.”

“We engage the family members to be part of the solution; get that dialog going. Understandably, there is often fear and anxiety around the failing health of loved one. We enjoy relieving them of this as much as is possible. There are only six of us in the office and I can tell you that each person is part of that process, extending that support and aid.”

Home as a Helpful Healing Resource

“When an older adult proudly shows me pictures of their grandkids on the walls, or generations of family, the house is part of their memory. In some instances, they may not recall the names but the sight of those faces bring them a sense of pride. And because of things like this, the home really is part of that care plan, a mental health resource. Their well-being and sense of belonging is restored in that moment. You can’t underestimate the power of this. This is why we do what we do; for this. The details.”

Why I Love What We Do

There is a myth about caregiving. Some people lose heart once they “submit themselves” to caregiving. Instead, we want the client to understand that caregiving can be an enabler for good. It is about how we can support and promote the most independence possible for the client that is safe and possible in-home.

“We work with hospice as well, so we are sometimes with them in their last days. Why would we not make every effort to make each day the best possible for them? It’s not about me. It’s about all of us. We are part of this at some point of life. We are all connected.

“This job is not a stress-free life. There is a lot of tough stuff to deal with, but I love my work.”

Levi appreciates working for Terry McGovern. “He breaks the mold. He has built a high-functioning team and has confidence in us. The office staff is all involved in and has a say in the hiring of caregivers. We only hire those with the temperament, values, and compassion we look for A Peaceful Way Home Care Solution – someone who will work well in the team. We only hire one out of 15 or 20 skilled applicants because of that.”

“This is a unique and special company. Terry genuinely cares about each and every client. What other owner still answers call every night? You don’t find that quality of care at every in-home care firm.”

A Peaceful Way Home CareCares Solutions is a provider of Palos Verdes senior care. If you are looking for senior in-home care in Palos Verdes or the surrounding area, please contact A Peaceful Way Home Care now to start the conversation.