EPISODE 31 – Discussing Non-medical Home Health Care with Genell and Tim – May 15, 2023

“If you fail to plan you plan to fail,” says Tim, a non-medical home health care representative. He and Genell are with MidSouth Home Helpers. Both are interviewed by Bart, the host of the Vista Points podcast episode named Choose Your Path. Put yourself and your loved ones first. Hear tips, timing and suggestions from this company of caregivers who provide assistance with day-to-day living activities. Plan for success with VistaPoints and MidSouth Home Helpers.


Greetings from our Middle Tennessee studio…and welcome to today’s Vista Points podcast, “Choose Your Path”, where the Vista Points’ staff are committed to improving the quality of life for people of any age, who are living with a physical, mental or intellectual disability. 

I’m Bart, your podcast host. My role is to walk with you on this journey of discovering and using special needs trusts. We continue our podcast, this session, with an interview of a couple of helpful professionals. We’ll also give you stories about how people use their special needs trust, how it’s impacted their lives. In case you’re new to our podcast, I invite you to refer to the past episodes which are found on the Vista Points website and on YouTube. 

Recently, we’ve brought attention to the importance of health – especially through self-care and mental health. We’ve focused on services and resources most often found outside the home. After today’s podcast, hopefully, each of us will be able to know how to obtain the services or resources we need. Each of these conversations recognizes the value in paying attention to our overall health – for ourselves and others – no matter who it is, what age someone is or what phase in life they are in.

Today, we are fortunate to interview Genell Holloway and Tim Flesner who are co-owners of MidSouth Home Helpers of Germantown, in West Tennessee. We’ll learn the goals, the details and the steps of experiencing nonmedical health care in the home. 

Bart: Hello, Genell and Tim. Thanks for joining us today.

Genell:  Excited to be a part of the show today, Bart.  Thank you.

Tim:  Good morning. Glad to be here. 

Bart: I understand you both have recently become the owners of MidSouth Home Helpers. Would you tell us what this organization is and the services it provides? What makes it stand out from other home health companies?

Genell:  Bart, that’s a great question. Thank you for asking it. We are a premier non-medical, in-home agency providing care wherever people call home. That could be in the home of many years or a facility. We help people who need assistance with their day-to-day living activities, whether it be for a short time while recovering from surgery or a long-term declining health situation. Some are living in a facility but need extra help. And of course, some have chosen to stay in their home, aging in place. And, some may even be living with relatives who also need help with their parents’ care or with the care of their loved ones.

What differentiates us from other in-home care agencies are that we hire experienced caregivers. We require a fingerprint background check as well as drug testing as part of our caregiver onboarding process. And, we do a home assessment to ensure that the home is safe for both the prospective client and our caregiver.

Bart: That’s terrific. I appreciate that all these services are found in this one place. Now for us to get to know each of you better, first, Genell, would you explain your title and what you do in your work? How did you become involved in Home Helpers? 

Genell: Bart, I have such a vast round of experience in the healthcare industry. My very first job was working as a nursing assistant in my little, small town hospital. And, I’ve been a caregiver both professionally and personally. And, I love helping people. When the opportunity came up to become an owner of Home Helpers, it was just a natural fit with my personality and desire to help others. Now, I get to help in a much broader way than I could individually. My role with Home Helpers is more geared toward the marketing side of our business.

Bart: That’s great. Thanks, Genell. You’re a wealth of information! Tim, would you explain your title and work? And, what led you in this direction?

Tim: Year, well, much like Genell, I was introduced into healthcare, but at a very young age. My mom was employed as an activities director in the nursing home in our small hometown in Illinois when I was just a young boy. In that, I remember being surrounded by elderly. And, I remember being a part of activities that mom would facilitate to enrich the residents’ lives through engaging them in fun activities.

In regards to MidSouth Home Helpers, I am the Managing Partner. Basically, Genell is the “Boss Lady.” We refer to her as “Boss Lady.” She tells me what to do, and I just make sure it gets done. No, seriously. We… I’ve got a background in third-party logistics where I was responsible for day-to-day operations. And so, in that, I’m bringing that expertise to MidSouth Home Helpers, where I work with the team daily, to ensure that we’re, making sure that we get all the schedules that the clients are requesting. Making sure they’re filled with quality caregivers, ensuring that we adhere to all federal, state and local regulations.

Bart: You know, both of you seem to offer a lot. During our podcasts, I enjoy having our guests share stories with listening audience. Do you have a story related to the company that you can share with us?

Tim: Well, I’m usually not a storyteller, and we’ve only owned the business for a short period of time. But, to kinda tell my story, it’s been getting to know the established business. When you’re taking over a business, you have to get to know the stakeholders, the clients and understanding the processes that have been in place. But then also looking at it, in ways so we can make it better to provide better quality of care. So, Genell and I came into the business with the hopes of providing quality care for those in need while offering respite for the primary caregiver(s) or their family. Both of us have first-hand knowledge of we need because we’ve been primary caregivers. Genell, caring for her terminally ill husband until his passing. And then, me caring for my mother. She’s been with me since 2016. She struggles with onset dementia and her cognitive skills have diminished over the years.

So, in regards to the business, in the short timeframe that we’ve had ownership, we have experienced quite a few unexpected obstacles that, just helping provide the care to our clients, but we’ve also been able to experience the inner joy of being able to provide quality service to our clients that we know gives them some respite, some time just to enjoy themselves. There’s many, many stories we could share. Maybe Genell has a couple. But, I’ve been kind of in the operation side of things. Just trying to help us streamline things so we can provide better quality care.

Bart: That’s interesting. And, it does bring up a couple of questions in my mind. Do you care for children in addition to the adults? Do you provide 24 hour a day, 7 day a week care? What about the holidays? What other specifics do you provide that most people don’t know or think to ask at first? 

Tim: Yeah, those are all great questions. Currently, so, we currently don’t care for children. Not that we couldn’t. We do have one, late teen/early twenties young man that we care for right now. But, our business has mainly been geared toward elderly or disabled. We do provide care 24/7 if that’s what’s needed by the families. We, again, offer assistance to all the family members, caring for their loved ones. Again, just, more, offering assistance and the responsibilities of care. We’ve basically stayed in the lane of elderly care. But, we are looking to expand those services. We’re recently looking at getting certified with the Veteran’s Association so we can provide care for them. We also, as I mentioned, have a client that has, is on the autism spectrum. You know, being able to provide care for him while his family gets a little bit of respite time. So, we’re available to care for anyone that may need assistance in their day-to-day needs, from again, individuals recovering from outpatient surgery to those aging in place. 

Bart: That’s great, Tim. I think you answered some of my questions before I ask! Now, when I learned you would be coming in to the podcast, I immediately visited your website. I see your company likes to care for a client’s loved one like they are part of the family, keeping them safe and independent. I think that’s great! At Vista Points, many of our clients – who we call beneficiaries – request and/or need non-medical home health. Will you explain the different tiers of service you provide to people living with a chronic illness or a disability?

Genell: That’s a great question, Bart. And, home health is different from non-medical home care in that they have licensed nurses on hand to perform those medical needed tasks, such as administering medication to IVs. They are restricted to only being able to certain tasks within a short time frame such as they don’t typically provide 24-hour care. Whereas in home care, it can cover a few hours each week to 24 hours a day. Our caregivers help with light housekeeping, laundry, bathing, meal preparation, getting dressed, transportation to activities or doctors, grocery shopping and/or taking the client personal shopping.  

Bart: Wow, I think that covers all the gammits. It seems there’s something for everyone. Genell, do you have a story of one of your patients who lives with a disability?  

Genell: Oh yes, each client has a story for sure. Life is never dull in the caregiving business. Our youngest client right now battles the challenges of autism. Our caregiver is able to engage with this client so they have built a meaningful rapport. The time we spend with him allows his family to have a break to go and do the things they need or want to do without concern for their autistic adult child.

Another story I can tell you is about one of our clients who battles dementia. We were providing care for a few hours each day until the family dynamics changed drastically in just a short period of time when the spouse passed away unexpectedly and the need changed to 24-hour care immediately. We were so happy that we could help out with this situation.

One more story is about a couple we were caring for where the gentleman had been the victim of a stroke. We were giving care a few days a week, a few hours each day, about 3 time a week. And, when his spouse fell and broke her hip, the need for 24-hour care immediately went into effect. The spouse is now home, and as she improves, the need for 24-hour care is diminishing. And, we’re able to adjust to the family’s needs as their needs change.    

Bart: Genell, that’s great flexibility that you’re showing. That’s what I especially enjoy hearing about – all the good care you provide. In thinking about your services, Tim, what resources do you suggest for anyone to access, regardless of their location or yours?

Tim: Well, first and foremost, you should talk with your doctor. Of course. Some other areas or agencies that could possibly help is the Area on Aging chapter, maybe, for additional resources. I think they’re in various areas. You have individuals like eldercare consultants or estate planning attorneys. Any of those could by all means offer various resources. And then, of course, there’s VistaPoints. I mean, VistaPoints has a plethora of resources that are helpful, especially when one is needing to qualify for SSI and Medicaid, but then also want to preserve their assets.

Bart: That’s terrific. Such a help. Well, do either of you have any parting thoughts or words of wisdom you can impart on us today? 

Genell: Well, Bart, I often say that caregiving is one of the hardest hats we wear. It’s especially hard when we are caring for our own children and our parents at the same time. It’s absolutely critical to make a plan long before the need arises and to have in place power of attorney as well as executor and a plan for who would be caring for your loved ones if you were no longer able. Consider purchasing long term care to help pay for services. And, be sure to schedule time for self-care and rest as well.

The other word of wisdom I can impart is to ask for help early in the process. I waited too long in asking for help, and it took me a year to regain my energy after caring for my husband.   

Tim: Yeah, I’ll shadow just what Genell says. Caregiving can be hard. I’m a business consultant also, and I tell a lot of my clients that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Well, you can take that into your personal life, also. We work hard. We set up our legacy. We need to be intentional on that. We’re here to make a difference in today’s world. So, don’t let lack of planning just take away the joy that you can have in your elderly years or if certain situations arise. ‘Cause, you never know what happens. Different things happen all the time, and so it’s best to have a plan in place. And the best way to have a plan in place is to prepare.

Bart: Wow, you two have really opened my eyes. This is helpful and practical information. I know I better understand home health care now. I’m sure our listeners better understand it, too. What are the best ways to contact you or Home Helpers of Germantown? Namely, that’s your phone number, your email, your website?

Genell: Thanks for asking, Bart. You can reach us at 901.414.9696 or through the website.

Tim: Yeah, our quickest way, as Genell said, is through our main line. At that number. You can visit our website www.midsouthhomehelpers.com or come see us in person. We’re at 5865 Ridgeway Center Parkway here in Memphis.

Bart: Thanks so much to both of you. Genell, Tim, you have truly provided information for each of us to understand and be able to take steps with in-home care if or when they need to. Thank you. 

This podcast has grown to reach more and more people and has become a beneficial resource for many. I encourage you to subscribe to the Vista Points YouTube channel. It is named Vista Points SNT, that’s S-N-T as in special needs trusts. This way you are notified as the latest episodes go live, which is on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can listen to current and past episodes there. Again, the Vista Points YouTube channel is named Vista Points SNT.

You can also find episodes to listen to, or read their transcriptions on, the Vista Points website at vistapoints.org. That’s vistapoints-dot-O-R-G.

Enjoy your day with your loved one. Come back for more or look into past episodes of Choose Your Path. Regardless of where you find us, we walk beside you on your path. I look forward to sharing more information with you on how special needs trusts can be of benefit to anyone who’s living with a disability.