Keith Wong, Owner
My name is Keith Wong and my initial introduction to caregiving was both instantaneous and very close to my heart, it involved my two daughters Kayla and Alicia May. Here is some of the backstory:
After graduating from Pepperdine University in California, I returned to New York City and helped my father manage the family businesses, which included a packaging distribution company and a well-known restaurant called Keewah, which was located just steps off 5th Avenue in the heart of Manhattan.
In 1999, I met my wife, Leyla, and in 2000 our first daughter Kayla was born. About a year later we moved the family to Quito, Ecuador, which is Leyla’s native country. Our family grew with the addition of our second daughter Alicia May, and I was successfully building and selling residential homes.
When Kayla turned 5 years old, she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia which is a rare, potentially fatal disease that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. We immediately flew the whole family back to New York City to get Kayla the best health care possible. At a top New York hospital, Kayla went through intensive treatments which included months of medial isolation, chemotherapy and eventually a successful bone marrow transplant (Kayla’s bone marrow donor was her sister Alicia May). For almost a year, my wife, myself and Kayla’s sister Alicia May served as Kayla’s caregivers during her six month hospital stay and through her subsequent post bone marrow transplant recovery.
It may be of interest to note that after Kayla’s recovery and our return to Ecuador, my wife Leyla was inspired to start a foundation; she named it the Creer Foundation (“creer” means believe in Spanish). Her foundation was staffed with international volunteers and provided music, art, and other therapies in the local children’s hospital for children stricken with cancer. She really loved this work and is looking forward to doing something similar again in the future.
Interestingly, in addition to my daughter’s homecare experiences, I also had significant caregiver experiences with both of my parents. During the last five years of her life, my mother was confined to a wheelchair. The family housekeeper at that time Joyce slowly began her transition from part time housekeeper to my mother’s caregiver. And although my mother has since passed, the relationship that my mother and her caregiver had was a very special one that our whole family still cherishes to this day. Over ten years after my mother’s passing, Joyce is still working part time for my brother’s family in New York City.
Sadly, my family’s last experience with caregiving was not a good one. When my father retired, he decided to move back to China to be near some of his old friends and classmates. There he hired a local caregiver to assist him with some of his daily needs. With none of his children living nearby, it only took a few years for my father’s caregiver to exert very strong control over my father. When my father passed away, the extent of his caregiver’s financial abuse of my father’s assets was quite obvious but not really actionable in China.
Transitioning into Home Care
Around the time of my father’s death, my family decided to move back to the U.S. and we settled in Southern California, close to my many aunts, uncles, and first cousins. A short time passed when at a college reunion, I saw an old classmate who owned a home care company. Having seen some of the many different faces of homecare and how vital this service can often be, I was naturally drawn to this industry. After much research, I decided to take over the Right at Home office of Laguna Hills from the retiring owner. That was a few years ago, and since 2005 our Laguna Hills office has been serving the South Orange County Community for over 12 years.
My wife Leyla and I are very hands on owners. Leyla supervises caregiver scheduling, and through her human resources experience, she makes sure that we only hire and retain the very best caregivers. While I handle most of the general office administration, I really enjoy my community outreach work which includes meeting with our clients and their families, doing home visits to confirm that the right care is always being provided, and public education. Also, don’t be surprised if you see or hear of me working a last minute caregiver shift. Accidents or unexpected events do happen and our office - just like our lives - is a 24 hour operation. When needed, I have and will make myself available (even in the dead of night) to run to a someone’s home if there is a vulnerable client in need.
Thank you to all of our clients for your continued trust in our services!