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'A Daughter's Love': Sisters open up business caring for seniors

Carla Kuchinski, left, and Christine Tollefson decided to name their business A Daughter’s Love Elderly Care and Solutions because of the love they shared for their father, Gene Resch, who died last fall at the age of 89. The sisters are in the process of expanding their Staples-based business through four central Minnesota counties, including Wadena. Submitted photo

Christine Tollefson did not come up with the unique name for her home health business by herself. She credits a senior partner.

"God gave it to me," Tollefson said.

A Daughter's Love Elderly Care and Solutions is just beginning to take wing, although the idea for the business was born two years ago. Tollefson started putting a business plan together after meeting with Lakewood Health Systems in Staples. Satisfied that she was not going to be "stepping on any toes", Tollefson met with some seniors who told her the name of the business would be "really, really important."

The following morning she jumped out of bed at 6 a.m. after dreaming about her dad and looked at a picture she had of herself with two of her sisters. They were all hugging their dad.

"It was a daughter's love," Tollefson said. "We built all of our services around what we did for him."

Tollefson and her sister, Carla Kuchinski, run the Staples-based service. In addition to the home health care, they provide assisted living and adult day care called the Drop-in Care Club for their clients.

"This is something Carla and I have done most of our lives, care for people," Tollefson said. Their father, Gene Resch, owned Resch Tile and Carpet in Staples. When he died last fall at the age of 89 he was still a great foil for his wife, Judith, when it came to mental awareness because the "young" 69-year-old woman, though still very active, suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. Yet Judith, who worked for years at Humphrey Manor in Wadena, had him beat six ways from Sunday when it came to bustling around.

"My dad was just elderly," Christine said. "He had his mind and his body didn't work as good, and she has her body and her mind doesn't work as good. A match made in Heaven."

Tollefson said A Daughter's Love currently employs seven aides with three or four more preparing to come aboard. Their licenses have come in sporadically with their Home Health Care licensed last October, and their Assisted Living license arrived in the first full week of February.

"This is something we've always wanted to do, but the situation was just never right," Tollefson said. "It was always in our hearts."

The business operates in Todd, Wadena, Crow Wing and Morrison Counties.

The sisters own six private live-in suites and two shared suites in Staples. It makes for an inviting spot to gather. Their clients can live family style, get 24-hour assisted care and enjoy three home-cooked meals a day, not counting snacks.

"We get a lot of calls for respite where people would like to come and stay at one of our houses. They can stay here for respite for a 24-hour period."

The business partners give their Care Club clients a choice of spending from two hours to 30 days with them. It frees up families who might need to simply run errands, take a break or even take a trip.

The business world is nothing new to Tollefson. She married into a seal coating company and ran it along with an indoor digital sign business. She went to St. Cloud State University for Community Health and Gerontology (the study of aging) and was rather surprised when she was offered a job in sales and marketing for a health club "Anytime Fitness."

With their new enterprise, the two sisters find themselves in daily contact with the older set and a place where they find comfort. Tollefson remembers spending a lot of time at Humphrey Manor with her sister when her mother worked there, and they developed a great affection for seniors.

"We have always just had a deep love for people with my hair," Tollefson laughed.