“We're different because I lived that experience,” she said. “We have hair dressers for people who can't get out of the house. We went from the needs we had with my mother who was 100 percent bed bound.”
In the 1970's, when Jackie Lieske was 12, her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Four years after being diagnosed, her mother, Peggy Sheltzer, went into a coma.
"She was able to manage before that, but after the coma, that was it," Lieske said. "The medication the doctors gave to her put her in a coma for 10 days."
When Sheltzer came out of it, she was no longer able to talk or walk.
"She was almost to the state of vegetation."
For nearly the next 30 years, the Middletown woman helped care for her mother on a regular basis until she passed away in 2001.
Lieske said that she wanted to start her own home health care business for a long time, but when she was in her 20's, it wasn't financially feasible.
Then four years ago, things started to come together and Lieske began Shorecare Delaware, an in-home health care agency that serves the entire state.
"I set a goal and a dream," Lieske said. "I started my business from the ground up."
Shorecare Delaware provides a variety of services, some of which can't be found anywhere else.
"We're different because I lived that experience," she said. "We have hair dressers for people who can't get out of the house. We went from the needs we had with my mother who was 100 percent bed bound."
When Lieske started Shorecare Delaware in June 2009, she started with just one client.
Now, she has about 50 active employees, all of whom she has interviewed, who visit patients from either just an hour a day to being with them all day, every day.
"We go to homes of people with a variety of needs," she said. "If someone is elder and lives alone, a caregiver may stay there permanently. We can help people after surgery, take care of people who are bed ridden, provide transportation and help assist them with activities of daily living."
Shorecare Delaware also has a portable wheelchair ramp, Lieske said.
Lieske did all of the research on how to run her company, and for eight months, went without a paycheck and started the business from the ground up.
Before starting Shorecare Delaware, Lieske held an Assistant Vice President role at Bank of America, but was laid off when the economy began to turn south.
Her entire life though was dedicated to caring for her mother, she said.
"My father promised to my mom before she got real sick, to always be there with her," Lieske said. "I was the only child. I had to be there for the support team too."
From the age of 12 until 2001, Lieske helped her father care for her – and now she even takes care of her mother's sister, who has stage four Alzheimer's.
"We still care for her around the clock, between my husband (Ben) and me," she said.
The first sign Lieske's mother showed of MS was numbness to her face.
"My mother was a big entertainer," she said. "Everyone knew her when I was little. When she was trying to put lipstick on, her lips were numb. That was the first sign."
From there, it took nearly two years for the diagnosis to come.
"The numbness spread from her face to her legs," Lieske said. "Things progressively got worse, and they didn't know what it was."
What was happening with her mother began to lead to Lieske's desire to start a home health care.
In 2012, Shorecare Delaware served almost 150 clients in all three counties. Lieske has a small, main office in Dover on South Governors Avenue.
As of right now, they provide services to about 40 clients.
The number varies though, since some patients are in hospice.
Lieske graduated from Middletown High School in 1979.
More about Shorecare Delaware
Phone (888) 482-8201
Office 885 S. Governors Ave, Dover Del.