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Meet Donna Composto of Mom’s Care Plan in Northeast

Today we’d like to introduce you to Donna Composto.

Donna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My dad’s journey with cancer was the inspiration for Mom’s Care Plan. Providing care for someone you love is more then just the physical – hands on part. It’s emotional, spiritual and affects the whole family.

Mom’s Care Plan began five years ago during a difficult time when my dad was battling lung cancer. My parent’s still lived in Brooklyn, New York where my three brothers and I were raised. Like most adult children, we were spread out and living in four different states. The distance was challenging to say the least, but we worked around our jobs and family responsibilities to take care of dad and relieve mom of caregiving duties as much as possible. For me, that meant leaving my family in Houston for weeks at a time as I traveled back and forth.

The days and months ahead just seemed to run into each other with doctors appointments, lab tests, medical records, insurance, medications, hospice and overall care. While our primary focus was on my dad, we were also concerned about mom and the toll this was taking on her health. We worried how she would continue on without him. We worried how we would take care of her. Where would she live and how would she cope? There was so much to consider and so many important decisions to make at a time that was very emotional and unexpected.

As a professional with 15 years of experience in senior care, I felt privileged to have the knowledge in hand to act in my parent’s best interest. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder how the average family gets through any of this without proper guidance and support. How would they know what questions to ask or what options and resources are available? It is my goal to make this process easier for families by providing a Senior Care Advisor to help them understand the health care system and navigate through appropriate senior living and care for their loved one. This is the foundation of Mom’s Care Plan. Our mission in providing seniors with the best quality of life is in loving memory of my dad, Dominick Calvoni.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Finding the right people to join our team has been a challenge. I love what I do and I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow to do it all over again! So it always surprises me when we receive a resume from someone who doesn’t feel exactly the same. I’ve learned that not all health care professionals are created equal! We receive phone calls on a daily basis from families caring for a loved one with progressive diagnosis’s like Alzheimers, Parkinsons and ALS, to name a few. So needless to say, we are very protective of those families and therefore extremely selective in choosing who will represent us in working with them.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am known by two entities that I hold near and dear to my heart. One is Mom’s Care Plan and the other is Kingwood Memory Cafe. Let’s start with Mom’s Care Plan:

Choosing the right care environment that will provide a quality of life and yet keep your loved one safe and well cared for can be the most challenging experience of a lifetime. Often when adult children are seeking care for their parents the process can be totally overwhelming. There is no preparation for this most difficult life stage or the anxiety level associated with seeking a solution. As a Free elder care advisory service, Mom’s Care Plan spends the time to understand the circumstances surrounding your family’s situation. We guide seniors and their families in search of Independent Living, Assisted living, Personal Care Homes and Memory Care. We help them to understand what type of care their loved ones require, costs involved and means to pay. We educate and provide customized senior living and care options that are best suited to their loved one based on their daily needs, budget, lifestyle and desired location. We are the one stop help desk for seniors who are no longer safe to live alone. Our local Senior Care Advisors live in your neighborhood and are familiar with all communities, contacts, resources and support available. Your Advisor is your personal “go to” professional who will listen, take you through all the next steps and walk with you throughout your journey. In just one phone call, our families hang up with direction, a care plan in hand and peace of mind. Our team is available 24/7. You can contact us online through our website or via email anytime and never have to be concerned about receiving unwanted emails or phone calls that are often associated with 3rd parties and online inquiries. Your privacy is important to us – We respect your rights under HIPAA.

Kingwood Memory Cafe began shortly after I met with an Early Stage Alzheimers support group in June of 2013. Through the years I have had the privilege of sharing information at various types of support groups, but this was my first time with Early Stage Alzheimers. The caregiver group that I met with was in their 50’s and early 60’s. One woman was even younger, late 40’s with teenagers still at home. All were trying to lead normal lives, work and take care of a spouse. Amongst the many challenges these families face, I heard about how difficult it was to socialize or even go out for a meal together as other couples do. Perhaps their loved one would say something inappropriate to the waiter, have difficulty ordering from the menu or eat with their hands. There is so much work involved in going out that staying at home instead ends up being an easier choice. When our meeting ended, I left there determined to do something about it.

Kingwood Memory Cafe offers two programs: a monthly dinner and assistance with short term care expenses. The monthly dinner, offered free of charge, includes bingo and other social activities. Here people can interact, find support, share concerns and celebrate without feeling embarrassed or misunderstood. It is a fun social time around a shared meal, yet it means so much more to these families who are challenged by ordinary social situations. Wives bring their husbands, husbands bring their wives, daughters and sons bring their moms and dads. And sometimes grandchildren come along too. Nothing is judged or criticized and laughter is in abundant supply.

Short term care (respite care) cost assistance makes it easier for these family members to take a much needed break from the 24/7 demands of caregiving. This program is offered when donations exceed the cost of the monthly dinners. I am delighted to say that for the first time in 3 years, we will be offering respite care over the upcoming holidays.

What were you like growing up?
I was raised in a big Italian family surrounded by males. My mom was one of six (one sister and 4 brothers) and my dad had 4 brothers. My three brothers and I grew up with all of our cousins, all of which were mostly male. I was the ultimate tomboy and I have scars on my knees to prove it! I had a competitive streak that forced me to play harder then anyone else. It was the only way I had a chance at being picked when teams were chosen for some of our favorite games. Stickball was at the top of the list when we had a broomstick and a rubber ball.

Oh and just in case you were wondering, I have three sons. 🙂

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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