Finding A Match Made In Heaven

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - August 02, 2006
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Jack Gardner’s Visiting Angels finds caregivers for the elderly
Jack Gardner’s Visiting Angels finds caregivers for the

Jack Gardner runs a referral service catering to senior citizens, and says he’s proud of his Visiting Angels business because it makes people happy.

Gardner interviews caregivers, and does a background check on them. Then he matches up care-givers with seniors who need some help.

“I’m like the in-between person, and if the family likes them, I’m happy,” he says. “The last thing the family needs is someone with an attitude.”

He’s also the “in-between person” or manager of his daughter, 17-year-old ukulele sensation Taimane Gardner, who recently appeared on MidWeek‘s cover. Her music career is taking off with a second CD and a weekly gig on the streets of Waikiki, and a spot on stage with the legendary Don Ho.

A former health teacher at Punahou School, Gardner notes that the families are the boss in the caregiver situation, and whatever they say goes. The idea is to find a match for both the caregiver and the family. The caregiver’s day-to-day schedule and training is handled by the family.

“If the family doesn’t like that person for whatever reason, we allow them to interview as many caregivers as they want,” Gardner explains. “And likewise, if the caregiver isn’t interested in taking on that case, we make additional suggestions for both parties.”

Gardner strongly advises families to have a team two of care-givers.

“This way, there’s no bumps in the road,” he says. “If one care-giver gets sick or has to attend to another matter, there will be another caregiver who already knows the drill. It’ll be a smooth transition.”

Reflecting his background as a teacher, he gives families a report card to fill out about the caregivers so he knows how they are doing. The business, which started four years ago, also offers referrals to a doctor who makes house calls, and a church with specialized grieving services.

Gardner knows firsthand how important these services are. When his own mother, Bobby, was diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors said she’d have six months to live. Gardner said he didn’t know where to go to for help, and that he couldn’t be in two places at the same time. He was very close to his mom, and he and his family enjoyed being with her for an entire year. After his mom died, the family moved to New Zealand for a year to help with their grief. When he returned to Oahu, he began Visiting Angels. He says he hopes that each caregiver he sends out has the compassion that he’d look for someone who would help take care of his mom.

He credits his success to the loving support of his wife, Elva, and their daughters Taimane and Teuila.

“As a teacher, I loved the opportunity to motivate young kids,” Gardner says. “And now I have the opportunity to let elders know they do matter.”

For more information on Visiting Angels, call 377-5264.

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