We want to continue to highlight the work of our amazing adult foster care home providers in Oregon.
Matt Gannon spent some time talking with Provider Hana Legesse, owner of Furlong Way Adult Foster Home in Beaverton, Oregon. She is both an Aging & People with Disabilities (APD) and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) provider. Please read below to learn more about Hana.
How long have you worked in the adult care home business?
When I was in high school I assisted the teachers in the special education class, and I discovered I truly loved working directly with people where I could make a difference. This stuck with me. When I graduated high school I became a private in-home caregiver where my skills to care for others really took shape.
While serving my clients as a private caregiver, oftentimes they would transition from their home to other levels of care, and I would continue to work with them through their transitions. It was during this time I was exposed to what caring for a lot of people in a large place looked like and it felt very busy, to say the least. Between 2014, and 2015 I made a switch from private in-home care to adult foster home care, in both APD and I/DD homes.
In 2019, I became a licensed APD care home provider and began Furlong Way Adult Foster Home in Beaverton. Earlier in 2021, I became Co-licensee of a DD-licensed Home in Beaverton.
What do you believe makes adult foster care homes special?
Care homes are built for companionship. Each day comes with flexibility, creativity, and one-on-one time together in many important ways, allowing the residents’ daily wishes, desires, and needs to be fully met. How the day unfolds is up to what the residents feel like doing or not doing that day. We can adapt to whatever the residents are feeling or needing and also have the time to throw in creative ideas or improvise and adapt to what is best for them at each moment of their day.
This is a special way of providing care, and it is special to the residents who benefit from the one-on-one attention. We do virtually everything together, as a home and as a team, and we all are considerate of each other in what we decide to do. Companionship is key to making a difference as a caregiver, and caring for residents in a care home allows your relationships to have real depth, which I feel is special.
Companionship is key to making a difference as a caregiver, and caring for residents in a care home allows your relationships to have real depth, which I feel is special.
What do you love most about the work you do?
This question reminds me again of being in high school and working with a teenager who was in the special education program. This student was living with Down syndrome and could not read. We worked together and tried different creative ways to approach reading, and after working with her for long enough it finally worked! She loved reading and was always wanting to do more and more, and she felt so good about herself.
I love working on creative solutions to meet the needs of others, and when it works - the joy you feel is simply amazing. This is exactly what I get to do now with our homes. I also love being a part of resident care and their meaningful activities. We make sure our residents have the opportunity to participate in what matters most to them, and if that means taking a ride in the car with me to the store or going to the beauty salon together, we tailor it to what they like most and we get to do it with them. I love how I get to repeatedly have the same feeling of making a difference in our homes I felt when working in the special education classroom where it all began.
What do you believe makes someone’s work successful?
What makes someone's work successful is pushing through, even when things seem the hardest and not giving up. Also, staying motivated because you know what you are working toward and the difference it makes for you and all of the people around you. You also must remain positive because there will be times when you face difficult problems and obstacles along the way, but you cannot give up.
Believe me, there are mornings I do not want to wake up early to go to the gym, but I push through anyway knowing it is best for me and for those who depend on me so I have the strength and energy I need to be my best. This is how you will find success. You must believe in hard work and how it pays off. You must continue to work hard, do the right thing, have integrity and understand the reason why you are doing what you do; believe in your "why" and believe in yourself. Be your own best friend and push through!
You must continue to work hard, do the right thing, have integrity and understand the reason why you are doing what you do; believe in your "why" and believe in yourself.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Our residents and team really do all enjoy being together and making decisions that best support each other. It's a very harmonious and friendly atmosphere. We are great at teamwork. We are not afraid to get out of our comfort zones to do what it takes to meet the residents’ needs and to support the entire team. We all have individual strengths, and because we recognize this and can work to those strengths, everyone achieves more.
We have such a variety of skill sets and experience levels on the team and so we put all of the knowledge to good use in support of each other. I still have staff who began with me on day one. I depend on them for so much, and I recognize how they depend on me too. I invest in them by offering competitive wages, bonuses, vacation days, gifts for self-care, just to name a few. We also celebrate their birthdays and recognize and honor each of their own cultural and religious happenings throughout the year.
I cannot be successful and our residents cannot be fulfilled without my team, and I make it a priority to know what they want or need to be successful.
We all have each other’s back, which makes all of the difference because no one can have a successful home all on their own.