HARVEY - Few things are more precious to senior citizens than their independence, and a business here is allowing seniors to remain in their own homes with just a little help.
Cari's Angels was founded by Cari Flory, and is a home care business that does various services for seniors while offering family caretakers a respite.
"We help them with their meals, we assist them with their showers, we clean their home, we do their laundry. Just a variety of services, we do a whole number of things for them," Flory said. "Take them to their appointments, grocery shopping, doctors, you name it, we do it. Everything from companionship to personal care."
Flory stressed the services she offers are just basic care, and not medical care, which would require more extensive licensing.
"We're pretty much just basic care, allowing people to remain in their homes longer before they are at the point where they need medical care," Flory said.
Flory originally started Cari's Angels in Minot, running it from June 2009 to February 2011, when she moved to Harvey with her husband, Kenny Flory Jr.
She has spent over 20 years in the health care and human services fields and is CNA-certified and med-certified. Flory started out by going to work in Trinity Homes right after she graduated from high school in Max, and went on to work in Trinity's ICU, was an in-home care counselor for Kay's Place, which helps at-risk teenage girls who are pregnant, program supervisor for the Lutheran Social Services at-risk teen program, and also worked at Edgewood Vista.
The genesis of Cari's Angels began with a phone call Flory received while living in Minot. She wasn't working at the time, and the call came from a friend at Somerset Court asking if Flory could spend the night with a resident's mother after the mother's surgery.
"I agreed to do one night, and one night turned into three nights. Three nights turned into seven, seven turned into 11," Flory said. "Then it was getting to the point where she was needing more than just night care."
Flory said she couldn't handle more than just night care, and was asked if she could hire some people to help with the workload.
"So I did, and before we knew it I had 13 girls working for me," Flory said.
Most of the clients she had in Minot were hospice patients, and were referred to Flory by Trinity's Hospice Program. Flory said the hospice program was favored by many people because it allowed them to stay in the comfort of their own homes with their family to help.
It wasn't long before Flory and her girls were working in several retirement facilities in Minot as well as many clients' homes.
In the beginning Flory said Cari's Angels wasn't even a company, as she subcontracted her employees and everyone worked individually. In fact, things were so casual they didn't even have a name at first. That changed in a very personal way for Flory and her employees, as the mother of that resident at Somerset Court Flory originally spent those 11 nights with coined the name straight from her heart.
"This lady that I cared for from the beginning, just before she passed away I had showed up to replace one of my girls on one of their shifts, and she said, 'Oh, you are definitely Cari's angels,'" Flory said. "So she gave us our name, and we have held it ever since."
It was the job of Flory's husband that eventually convinced them to move from Minot. Kenny Flory Jr. works for Canadian Pacific Railway as a conductor and drove back and forth to the Harvey area for five years, making for a horrific commute.
They would have moved earlier, but wanted to wait until their three daughters and one son - Ginger, now 31; Lola, 25; Natasha, 23; and Taylor, 21 - graduated from high school. Once that happened, the Florys decided to move to Harvey shortly before the Souris River Flood hit Minot in 2011.
Flory hadn't intended to continue Cari's Angels in Harvey. Her biggest concern was finding enough employees that could match the quality of those she had to leave behind in Minot.
"I didn't think I'd get that here because it's a smaller community," Flory said. "I didn't know if I could get enough girls to be interested in providing these services because Social Services already does."
However, when they were moving in, people kept asking what she did, and pretty soon her experience as an in-home care provider got around town. She was frequently asked if she was going to start up Cari's Angels in Harvey because the need was so great.
Eventually Flory was convinced starting Cari's Angels back up was the right thing to do, and filled out the paperwork to become a limited liability company in June 2012. Now that Cari's Angels is an actual agency, there is a little more structure to things. Flory is now bonded, and she does background checks on all new hires as a condition of employment.
For more information about Cari's Angels, call 635-0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although things started out slowly at first, Flory now has five employees who help care for seven clients. In fact, things are going so well she is even thinking of expanding back into Minot with some of her former girls. Flory said she has received more than one referral from someone in Minot who wasn't aware she had moved, so the need is definitely still there in the Magic City.
Flory loves the one-on-one time she gets to spend with her clients, which is something she didn't always have while working in a hospital or nursing home.
While the clients love the companionship and help Cari's Angels offers, their family members often benefit just as much. Flory said it's incredibly stressful trying to take care of an elderly family member while also holding down a full-time job.
She talked about one of her first clients in Harvey, who had two sisters caring for her. The stress of of caring for their sibling had worn on both, and Flory said there was a visible difference once she started helping them carry that load.
"They looked like they were at the end of their rope, they just didn't know what to do. And after we had talked and got everything established, the next day I saw one of them and she just looked like the world had been lifted from her shoulders," Flory said. "I think what I love most, too, is that they'll say, 'I can be her daughter, again. I can be her husband again,' or 'I can be his son, again.'"
Flory is thankful she had the opportunity to move to Harvey and continue the work she began with Cari's Angels in Minot. She said running the business helps fill the long stretches of time when her husband is away, and she often gets as much companionship from her clients as they do from her.
It might have taken a while, but Flory feels she's right where she was meant to be.
"It's a great community. I absolutely love it here," she said.