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Daily Inspiration: Meet Missy Krugh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Missy Krugh. 

Hi Missy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My story starts with having a love and passion for helping others, particularly seniors or anyone who may need a little extra love or care. It started young with my grandma, my dad’s mom. My sister and I would stay overnight with her any chance we could. Since my mom’s mom, passed away at a really young age of 34 I didn’t get to know her, so my grandma Ada got a lot of my attention. She was funny, loving, never had an unkind word to say about anyone. I would brush her hair; she would rub my feet, we’d sing together, talk about life and how things were when she was a little girl, she’d read her old poems to me, and I could kind of see her as a young girl like me through her words. Later on, my sweet loving grandma started to forget things; she would think things that weren’t really quite true and even loved to hold a baby doll like it was real. Well, I didn’t realize what was happening until many years later actually. My grandma eventually had to move out of her home and was living in a hospital in a behavioral unit where many people there were elderly and seemed confused. My sister and I continued to go visit with her and she always wanted us to sing to her, so we did. We participated in the group activities that were going on in the facility. Overall, I could tell we still brought her a lot of joy by visiting. It wasn’t until many years later that I even realized my grandma must have had dementia or Alzheimer’s. Nobody ever told me that, and I don’t even know if my family even realizes it. It was so long ago, way before there was much research or understanding about this horrible disease. I am 46 now and well my grandma passed away when I was 17 years old. She had one of the greatest impacts on me, along with my mother who cared for her younger 6 siblings when her mother passed away of cancer; she was only 16 and became a mother figure for her younger siblings ranging from 3-14 at the time. Let’s just say that was just the beginning of her story, and my momma is a saint. I have been blessed with amazing parents and role models in my life. 

I remember walking into see my counselor in college to discuss my results to share my most ideal type of career. I remember her reading some things like… “I want to help people, I want to have flexibility, I want to make a difference in this world, I want to be able to have a voice for those who can’t, I want to blah, blah blah. As she looked at me, she said, I think whoever gets you is going to be really lucky because you really do care about people… but I’m not sure that anything like this exists! Hummm, what? I just remember thinking what do you mean it doesn’t exist. I remember thinking wow, that could burst my typical college head, or I can keep my plan and forge ahead until it comes to me on what it is. I worked as a hospital liasion and continued to work hard to find my place. I started my family and stepped out of my full-time role, and was able to stay home with my children when they were little. I continued personal training as I loved the ability utilize my passion of fitness and make a difference. I loved working my own hours and volunteering at the school for recess duty, field trips, etc. But eventually, I went back to work. As I was working for a home health care company, I would go into Assisted Living Communities and found them to feel so cheerful and fun. I would volunteer to do activities with residents and would get to know the residents and hear their stories. 

A few years later, I got divorced and decided to move to Columbus. I decided at this point I want to work in a Senior Living Community every day. I remember sitting through one of my first days of training and watching a video about dementia and how to work with individuals with dementia. To this day, I can recall how I sat there and had tears in my eyes and felt such a profound feeling inside of me, knowing, “God, you have something great in store for me, I don’t know what it is, but I know there is something I am supposed to do.” I never had a more fulfilling position; I was blessed with an amazing team of people who really cared about each other and about our residents and families. It was my dream job; I would tell everyone. Not because every day was easy, but because I was able to work with these seniors who had so much to share and give and teach. To this day, I am still on a group chat with that team, and we still stay in touch. That was over 10 years ago. 

From there, I continued working in Assisted Living and Memory Care as a Sales Director in the community. I continued to love working with my seniors and helping teach others the things that I have learned along the way. After having a very successful community, I felt there was something bigger and something more that I was supposed to do. I kept thinking, what is it? So, I left my position, took some time off work, and set out to find what it is I wanted to do. This is how I came to starting Illuminate Senior Services. I had thought of it before I took the last position, but with my kids still being young and being a single mom, I knew the timing just didn’t feel right before. But now, it was time, and I felt everything I had done leading up to this had prepared me for this next journey! 

Little did I know, a few months into it, Covid appeared, and we were in quarantine. It was a scary time, and I wasn’t sure what would happen and quite honestly, I didn’t sit around to just watch and see. I immediately became in involved with a newly founded Volunteer group that was just started due to the crisis of covid. I worked tirelessly as a Shopping Angels Coordinator group for Ohio. I remember not getting out of my pj’s and or even showering, as I had so much work to do. I created a team of people/volunteers in Columbus, and we made sure those individuals who were at higher risk and elderly could get groceries delivered to them. Volunteers were created in each section of the state, and we did the grocery shopping for them and brought it to their homes. This is how I would come to meet some of my best referral sources. I had many healthcare entities reaching out to have our group get groceries for their patients, members, etc. None of these resources even knew about my new business, and it wasn’t until much later that they would figure this out. I felt honored to help so many people during that time and the amazing volunteers who showed up to help. At some point, we all went back to work, and once again, I started putting all of my heart, passion, and love into Illuminate. 

Being a solopreneur is not for the weary; it takes time, commitment, sacrifice, purpose, and passion. I work more than I ever did when I worked for someone else, but it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like I’m fulfilling a greater need and making a mark that is so needed for our elderly population and their families. Like I said, everything I have done previously has prepared me for this time in my life and the journey that I am on. I am locally owned and operated, I have always been a huge fan of leadership training and self-improvement, I spent many years developing a sense of understanding and being a sponge to learn from others who knew more than me. I’ve had some wonderful mentors along the way. One of my favorite books is “The Slight Edge” by John Olson. It taught me in my early 20s do the things that are easy to do but just as easy not to do. This is truly the difference that has made a huge impact in my life. I have tried to instill this into my kids as well. I think that’s a book every young person, before they go off to college, should read. It’s very profound; my 17-year-old is reading it right now. I told her if she reads it and discusses it with me each chapter, I’ll pay her $300. To me, that’s an investment in her future. and I offered to my son as well. When they were little, I would ask them to do something at school that was easy to do but just as easy not to do. When they would come home from school, I’d have them talk to me about it. I figured it would eventually catch on to them without thinking about it, and well, it definitely has, and I’m very proud of my two kids. Morgan 17, Caden 15. 

Illuminate helps families when they are looking to find a senior living community for themselves or for a loved one. This is a big decision, and a lot goes into this. My goal is to help families by simplifying it for them. Each situation is unique and cannot be put into a system or cookie-cutter approach. Illuminate takes the time to really understand what’s going on with the potential resident and has an approach to bring it full circle. What I mean by that is, someone may call me, and they aren’t actually looking to move yet, they are in need of a temporary stay (respite), or they need someone to help with little chores around the house, transportation, meals, or basic support for activities of daily living. My goal has always been to look at the holistic approach, care needs, finances, long-term care policy, Medicaid waiver, location of town, family dynamics, amenities, other services that may be needed. With each family, they deserve a roadmap to know which options make sense now and which options make sense later. A comprehensive approach will allow them to make well-informed decisions that ultimately guide them in the right direction. My job is not to tell them where to go; my job is to ensure they understand their options, provide things to consider when choosing one over another, such as discharge criteria, or needing to make a move potentially if they choose Independent Living but need more care than they can provide. I am straightforward with clients, I would rather be direct and upfront so they aren’t surprised later. We don’t have a crystal ball, but with decades of experience and working with thousands of families and situations, you start to understand what may or may not happen. Illuminate’s name is purposeful; when a person is in the dark and not sure which way to go, Illuminate will provide a guided path to help them find their way, such as a lighthouse in the dark. Funny, I’ve had clients explain to me examples of how they felt, and one described it as feeling like she was in a dark room and had no idea where to find the light switch to turn it on, and then she found me. Talk about feeling good about what you do; these are the things that make me feel like my hard work and long hours are worth it! 

Senior Placement is more than just finding the right community; it is about support during a really difficult time and understanding what families are going through and how much pain, hurt, fatigue someone is feeling because they are a full-time caregiver to a loved one who maybe doesn’t even remember who they are. My passion just starts here, I can’t share all of my plans for Illuminate just yet, but I can tell you this. Big things are in store for our Industry, and I plan to be a pioneer in bringing it all together. Illuminate Senior Services is a FREE RESOURCE to families; we don’t charge for our services. We have contracts with communities that we know and trust, and when we make a match, and our client chooses a community that we recommended, the community pays us for the placement as a referral bonus. Oftentimes, we work for free, and we help anyhow. To me, it all washes out, and I believe when you do the right thing, good things happen. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Some of the obstacles, in the beginning, is trying to wear so many hats and being everything to everybody. 16-hour days are not glamorous, and I don’t look glamorous working that much. I understand balance, and I try very hard to shut it off at times, but when you feel like it’s not work and people are counting on you, it’s hard to do. I spend a lot of time working in my business as well as on my business. Without both, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the volume of clients without lacking quality or value! These are two things that I never want to lose as my company grows, I have a lot of plans and ways to keep this at the forefront of who Illuminate is. One of my biggest challenges has been to let go enough and trust someone else to handle my company with care and trust in that. I love to travel, and my kids made me take some time off and vacation this summer for a week. I had barely looked up to even know it was summer. This has been a little hard because I want to provide my time to my family and loved ones as well. It’s a process, and it’s getting smoother all the time. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My work has always involved certain components, the ability to help others and to make a difference no matter how big or small. I have accomplished some amazing things throughout my career that I am very proud of. I am fortunate enough to say I have enjoyed all of my jobs except my first one; being a dishwasher at 14 years old made me realize really fast, I will work hard to find something that I love. 

My very first job as a bariatric coordinator, I was chosen as new graduate from college over a nurse of 30 years; I built the program from ground up and later recognized by the Ohio Insurance Corporation who asked for my program to be used as a model for other hospitals when developing their program. That was pretty amazing considering I was in my young 20s, and I felt very honored. 

I also created a Resource Networking Group with my first homecare job. I was in a territory that nobody even knew the company, and it had been there for 20 years. I was able to make big strides within that company and hit goals that had never been expected due to that group that I founded with two other people. I’m proud to say it’s still going strong today and is a huge benefit for health professionals to connect. This was before social media was really a thing. No Facebook or LinkedIn to connect at that time. 🙂 

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I have to say, I feel like I am possibly a risk taker, but on the other hand, I think of it more as being an optimist. I believe so much in things and myself that I go for it. Even when it may seem a bit crazy, I feel like things have a way of working itself out. I’m not a risk taker in things that can be harmful, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know, and that’s just not who I am. To me, regret is worse than making a mistake and realizing later that you could’ve made such a positive difference. That’s RISK! 

Pricing:

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Image Credits

Josyln Crowl Photography

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