A New Headshot for Andrea Palaia
This isn’t how I normally meet people. With a phone call and then a follow up text saying they think they found my business check card and some cash. But then, it’s never fallen out of my back pocket before, either.
It was an hour after I left Sope Creek from photographing a tween that I realized I was missing my cash. And that I had voicemails stacking up. I wasn’t sure how much cash I was missing as I’d been adding to it here and there to give my kids money before they went to Minnesota over springbreak. It turned out that it was one hundred and eighty dollars in cash, in addition to my business check card that had fallen out. My stomach was churning.
Yet this honest woman had googled my business name from my check card and reached out multiple times to get the card and cash back in my hands. The more I learned about her, the more my faith in humanity was restored and the more thankful I was to know that she owns and runs a business in caring for other humans. Having been through finding the right elder care companies and facilities with a family member over the last five years, I was all too familiar with how easily some people are taken advantage of when being cared for by others.
Andrea owns Touching Hearts at home and has a team of certified individuals to extend her reach around north Atlanta in caring for fellow humans. And while our paths crossed over half an hour away from where I live, I found coincidences that made me smile in that she lives a couple miles from me, lived in Peachtree City where I lived and went to school as a kid, and she was the director of a nursing home where my great aunt lived for several years (although Andrea took over after my aunt had passed).
While we were together to create a new headshot for her (I knew I absolutely had to share this wonderful woman with others for her kindness and honesty!), I was asking questions to learn more about her.
Q: How did you get into this industry? I’ve been around it my entire life. My mom was an EMT for 15 years. My grandmother had dementia. I was a director of Southland Nursing Home in Peachtree City for six years. And just being around seniors, I knew they would have rather been at home. So many of their family members did not come to visit them. I was there seven days a week and I became their family.
Rene Peterson did this for 22 years and started up Touching Hearts at Home. It was important to me to work with someone who knows the business of taking care of others. It took me a year to find her and know this was right. Once I decided to do this, my mom wanted to join me in operating this business and taking care of seniors. I started with Touching Hearts in February 2016. It took me a year to get my application approved (it was literally one thousand pages). We started marketing, going to meetings, working on obtaining clients.
I support not just seniors or people with dementia, but also younger people. People who are autistic. A paraplegic who was once a firefighter. Anyone over the age of 18. I work side by side with people in hospice care. I’m licensed, insured, and bonded and hire certified nursing assistants. They are all nationwide background checked. While I have twenty employees working for my business, if someone calls out sick…I am able to step in and care for the patient personally if another CNA is unavailable. I feel strongly that it’s important as an owner to be able to care for people and not just run a business.
Q: What do you love most about what you do? Just being there for my clients and my families. Helping them understand what they’re going through. Watching them go through the journey. From beginning to end. Just loving them and respecting them; giving them the dignity that they deserve.
The day that Andrea and I met, she had been at Sope Creek walking the trails with one of her patients when she found my cash and card. It seems like so many of the news stories out there are filled with the bad. I’m thrilled to share the good. That there are wonderful humans among us. Who do the right thing. And this feels even better to me knowing that this fabulous human cares for other humans unable to fully care for themselves.
Thank you, Andrea! For being the incredible person you are. I’m so glad I met you!