After her mother's death, Sue Arnheiter re-evaluated her life as a corporate vice president.
Arnheiter was about to turn 50. She was a single mother to one son, who would leave the home soon. Arnheiter had cared for her mother, who had lung cancer and osteoporosis, until her death.
Her corporate job was taking her away from the home two weeks out of the month. She decided to seek a career that carried more meaning.
"I decided to come live where my sisters are in Carson City," she said Wednesday. "I wanted to do something in the senior field because of my mother."
This year Arnheiter, 53, incorporated Assisted Living Resources Inc. She started up with about $40,000 and a team of about 10 care providers. Her business plan included a wider goal.
"My feeling has always been that when people get older, as a country we don't acknowledge or know how to take care of our seniors - we tend to forget about them."
Arnheiter knows that her company is small, but she isn't letting that stop her. She interviews all prospective clients and pairs them with a primary and secondary care giver. She also responds to crisis calls, whether that's a senior who is nervous about a recent move to a new care home, or one that involves what the client saw on television.
"I don't know if we can make much of an impact, but in my heart I will," she said.
Arnheiter tells her caregivers to treat the clients like their own parents. For Tina Benzler, that means reading the newspaper to her client, making him or her breakfast and doing the laundry.
"This is the most rewarding job that I've ever done in my life," Benzler said. "When you stop at a client's home they are waiting for you. You develop a personal relationship with them. If they're sad, you feel sad and you carry that with you."
She works about six hours a day with three clients, which gives her more time at home with her two young daughters. Benzler enjoys working with seniors and advocating for them if the family doesn't live nearby.
"I think it does as much for me as it does for them," she said.
Assisted Living Resources cares for seniors ranging in age from 70 to 90, Arnheiter said. To contact her, call 450-5827 or visit www.assistedlivingresources.com.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.