Hearing-, speech-impaired mother-in-law finds enjoyment, accomplishment through Nurse Next Door

Nurse Next Door Serena and Marzia

                                                         Marzia (left) and Serena


Serena’s mother-in-law, Marzia, has accomplished some extraordinary things in her 67 years.

Born in Uganda, she left the East African nation for London as a young woman, then relocated to the Vancouver area in the late 1970s. Her husband, Sultan, died of a sudden heart attack in the early 1990s, leaving her with three sons who hadn’t yet reached adulthood. (To protect their privacy, we’re not including their last names.)

Most remarkably, Marzia did all this even though she could neither hear nor talk. She’s been speech- and hearing-impaired her entire life. Her boys stayed with her in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond — the oldest, Kazim, moved into the house next door, and Ali, the middle child, stayed at home with his mother and his new wife, Serena, for 18 months after their marriage in 2010. The youngest, Husein, still lives at home.

As Marzia reached retirement age, Serena, who had begun working as a franchise development manager at Nurse Next Door, thought about how the home care franchise might help her mother-in-law.

“She just didn’t have the confidence and independence most people had at her age. She didn’t go out unless she was accompanied, she didn’t go to school, and she was living this very protected existence — but she somehow did raise three boys,” Serena says. “She was alone all day long, and we thought, ‘Something’s got to change.’”

Nurse Next Door Marzia


Marzia didn’t need medical care — she was in perfect health apart from her disabilities. So the family hired franchise partner Kim Kendrick’s Richmond-based Nurse Next Door franchise, which provided her with a caregiver under our Taking Care tier, which provides people who don’t have dire medical needs with companionship and emotional support.

It’s the first of our three tiers of care, which ultimately encompass end-of-life care; the breadth of services reflects our commitment to all our clients’ needs, medical or non-medical. The array of services separates Nurse Next Door from its competitors, most of whom don’t offer both kinds of care.

For Marzia’s caregiver, the care consisted of spending two hours per day visiting her, speaking in sign language to her and teaching her the basic verbal skills she’d never learned. Serena saw her mother-in-law’s assurance grow and a new world open.

“She loves to learn new things, so we had a caregiver in the home, teaching her basic reading and spelling, almost the kind of thing you would teach to a small child,” Serena says. “It’s been about keeping her mind sharp and occupied — mostly, just having some company and someone to communicate with. I think she definitely has more confidence and is more cheerful because she has the opportunity to speak with somebody during the day while everybody else is at work.”

Best of all, Serena says, Marzia knows her life is better, and making lives better is what Nurse Next Door is all about. With an expanding senior population and rising health care and nursing home costs, quality in-home care is more important than ever, and Nurse Next Door understands emotional, mental and psychological well-being is just as important as medical care for a relatively able-bodied senior.

If this sounds like the kind of small business opportunity and challenge that’s right for you, we want to hear from you. Fill out the form on this site and download our free and detailed franchise report. Then let’s start what could be a life-altering conversation.