|By Virginia Bridges, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The company helps adult children navigate and connect with services to help parents who are experiencing health and related aging issues.
"A lot of times the adult children are not from here," Ruffner said. "They don't know the resources here. They have no idea what to expect."
Ruffner, 56, founded Navigate NC in
About eight years ago, Ruffner helped her mother as she dealt with a physical disability and breathing challenges and her father struggled with memory issues and a benign tremor. Soon, friends and family were asking Ruffner and her sister,
"They saw what we had done, and they knew where we worked," Ruffner said.
In May, Ruffner left her employee assistance position at benefits services provider Workplace Options.
Her six years at the company included providing solutions for people across the U.S. who were struggling to care for elders.
Ruffner-Linn, who worked for the
"She is one of my best bloggers," Ruffner said.
After Ruffner left her job, she enrolled in a social media class at the
Ruffner also reached out to the
"I hit all of them," she said. She continues to use those resources as she explores financing and other growth options. Ruffner also joined professional and networking organizations.
She also established agreements for Navigate NC's subcontractors and clients, and secured liability insurance.
Navigate NC's services include home health assessments, accompaniment to doctor's appointments, hospital bed and medication monitoring, along with helping patients and their children understand treatment options and medical bills.
"We are going in there and getting that medication listed," Ruffner said. "Who prescribed it, how long, what for, and making sure that all the doctors know about it."
Other services include checking on patients during inclement weather, or when their children are or on vacation, and identifying when it's time to modify a patient's home or consider a move to an independent or assisted living facility.
"And reporting across the miles to the adult children," Ruffner said.
Ruffner spent the summer establishing her company's infrastructure, processes, and liability insurance.
In the fall, she turned to professional networking organizations, reaching out to former and new contacts that work with the elderly population and learning about related businesses and organizations.
Ruffner's business goals include serving 25 clients in the company's first 18 months. As of February, she had three clients, two through the business' website and a third was from a referral.
"I can see where it is going to get a lot bigger," she said, "Once the standard operating procedures are honed."
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