Thursday, May 22, 2014
Claudia Berner, owner of Grand Strand Homewatch Caregivers
Native of Rocky Hill, N.J.
Graduate of Virginia Tech in pre-veterinarian program
Employed by Johnson & Johnson for 22 years
Nine years in Cincinnati at J & J corporate office
Last three years with J & J IT company
How did you get started with Homewatch Caregivers?
I started the local franchise after I took care of my dad, Walt Berner.
He had Alzheimer's disease and died in July 2010.
My dad was a big person in my life and I miss him every day. Now I live with my mother and take care of her.
My family and I have had various experiences with caregiving.
I thought I could use my experience to help people suffering with a disease to stay in their homes.
That is a better option than what we experienced.
How do you help families?
Our motto is, “Let our family care for yours.”
We want adult sons and daughters to remain just that, instead of doing things that change the family dynamic.
Things can change drastically.
What was that point in time for you?
I remember how my life changed when I walked out of CVS with diapers for my dad.
In quiet moments when he was lucid, my dad asked me to keep him at home.
At the time, I said sure, but it was difficult to keep that promise.
I told him that he could stay at home as long as he was safe, but I could see things had changed.
I knew that with my mom taking care of my dad, they both could get hurt because he was 6'2” tall.
What does Homewatch Caregivers offer people that is different?
This particular franchise is so human centric and so centralized for taking care of people.
I didn't want it to be about dollars. I wanted it to be about quality and the type of care we could give people.
When I met the owner, I started asking questions how he got into the business.
He had rings on his fingers and when I asked about them, he said they were his dad's and he started to cry.
I wanted to be part of a company with that kind of passion, that ability to feel, and see people as the individuals that they are.
We work with most hospices on the corporate franchise level and the two we work with mostly locally are Hearltand and Tidelands.
We work with the Veteran's Administration and different organizations that support veteran care.
We work with Parkinson's groups and Alzheimer's groups and we take care of people of all ages.
We look at the people in our care and try to help their quality of life as long as we can.
We see the beautiful young girl behind the cranky older lady and tap into her stories.
Loneliness, helplessness and boredom account for the bulk of the challenges of our elders.
Sometimes they don't have enough social interest, and their spirits are gone.
We make sure they have lovely companionship.
If one of their passions is to go out for ice cream or to play golf or fish, we try to take them out to do those things.
For more information, people can visit our website at HomewatchCaregivers.com, come visit us at
3577 Highway 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, or call our office at 843-299-0291.
Can you tell me about your family?
I live with my mother, Muriel, in Wachesaw Plantation.
I have a partner named Julia.
My older sister, Carol, lives in New Jersey and by brother, Ted, lives in California.