By Felicia Farnsworth

Mrs. Evergreen Walker Freeman is the owner-operator of Smiling Home Care. Mrs. Freeman opened her business in September of 2009, just after retiring from her long career as a high school educator and school counselor.

"I was a high school educator for 40 years. Twenty-five of those years I spent as a high school counselor. I also participated in the monthly ministry at Southern Springs Nursing Home," stated Mrs. Freeman, "Working at the nursing home made me realize the want and need to help the elderly in my community. Plus, I didn't want to sit around and do nothing when I retired." A devout Evangelist, Mrs. Freeman, now 75 years young, has a thriving business doing what she loves, helping others.

Smiling Home Care was contracted with a Medicaid waiver and with Alabama Cares; however, after the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, they decided to downsize. This left the company with six employees instead of the 17 they were accustomed to and one contract, Alabama Cares.

"In 2020, my sister became ill, and I decided to take time away from the company to care for her. Also, our elderly patients were not comfortable having people in their homes for fear of contracting the coronavirus," stated Mrs. Freeman. The pandemic also affected their role in the community.

Due to CDC guidelines and protocols and the well-being of the patients, Mrs. Freeman's Elderly Walk-A-Thons were canceled. The funds from the walk-a-thons helped to make food or gift baskets for the elderly in the community. These baskets are given out at Thanksgiving or Christmas; however, in 2020 and 2021, they could not do so due to the pandemic. Smiling Home Care offers home-maker services and personal care services.

The patient's doctor must recommend these services. Home-maker services require the patient to be mobile on their own with little assistance.

These services include; meal prep, changing linens, bathroom sanitization, cleaning dishes, vacuuming, bill paying, sweeping and mopping, cleaning the refrigerator, encouraging a proper diet, and taking the patient to the grocery store and appointments well as making sure the patient takes their medication.

Personal care services are just like that of a CNA and require a more hands-on approach to the patient. These patients are incapable of caring for themselves. These services include; bathing, changing linens with the patient in the bed, changing soiled garments, bowel and bladder activities, taking the patient on walks, feedings, skincare, oral care, monitoring prescriptions, and sitting with the patient.

They do not administer shots of any kind; only an LPN can do so. Smiling Home Care services areas in Bullock, Macon, and Pike counties. Mrs. Freeman's plans for the future of Smiling Home Care include leaving the company to her son Jesse and his wife, Donna Freeman. Jesse and Donna are the office managers at Smiling Home Care.

For now, Mrs. Freeman intends to fulfill her contract with Alabama Cares. "Alabama Cares services are still available through Smiling Home Care. You can contact Amy Thigpen at the home office of the South Central Alabama Development Commission Area Agency on Aging, located in Montgomery, at 334-244-6903," stated Mrs. Freeman.

You may also contact Mrs. Freeman or her office assistant, Cierra Likely, at Smiling Home Care 518 Little Indian Creek Rd Union Springs, AL 36089, or call the office at 334-738-8969.

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