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Angie Wieck, Published March 24 2013

It's My Job: A care-based business

FARGO – Jerret Thiseth has combined his compassion for elderly and disabled individuals with a love for physical education to start his own business, Active at Home Helpers.

Thiseth describes the business as providing personalized, activity-focused caregiving.

Q. What made you interested in doing this type of work?

When I was studying physical education at North Dakota State University, I got a job at Access of the Red River Valley in Moorhead. As a caregiver, I worked with disabled individuals. It was there that I realized how fulfilling it is to help people.

How long have you been in business?

It will be four years ago in April. I started right out of college.

What type of services do you provide?

We do anything nonmedical to assist people of any age or disability. We help clients with things like housekeeping, cooking, shopping, bathing, exercise and errands.

I called the business Active at Home Helpers because I’m a phy ed teacher and keeping people active is a part of everything we do. I try to motivate clients and my employees to stay active. We offer a number of exercises and activities to do just that.

Most of our clients are elderly, but some are just people who are short on time. We often help busy parents with errands, cooking and cleaning.

What is your coverage area?

We serve within a 20-mile radius of Fargo-Moorhead.

How far in advance do clients need to line up assistance?

We are available to clients from 1½ to 24 hours a day. Our minimum visit is 1½ hours. What kind of notice depends on their need. If they need 24-hour care or companionship, we might need a few hours’ notice. If they just need help for a few hours, we’re always ready to go for that.

People can contact me at (701) 540-3483 to receive a free consultation. I’ll visit their home to discuss our services, and we’ll get to know each other from there.

Are any of your services covered by insurance or government programs?

Long-term care insurance policies vary. We do work with insurance companies when the policy allows for it. We also work with the state when a client physically and financially qualifies for state assistance.

What kind of services would that cover?

It’s specific to the individual. In some cases, it’s just housekeeping. In others, it might include bathing, cooking, shopping and housekeeping.

How do clients find out about you?

I purchase ads and market like any other business, and that’s how I get a lot of out-of-pocket clients. I’m also on caregiver lists with places like Sanford and Essentia hospitals, Cass County Social Services and the Department of Human Services.

What do you like best about your job?

To me, helping people is more human nature than a job. When someone needs help, like an older lady in a grocery store, I just want to help. … I get a charge from helping people and I thank God every day for the ability to do so. It makes me feel good.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501