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Romanian immigrants dominate adult foster care niche

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Articles - July 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Romanians dominate the adult foster home market by showing how to replace overpriced, impersonal care with the homey and affordable.


Dorina Crainic in the dining room of her Eastmoreland adult foster care home. Crainic’s daughter, Lidia, also runs her own adult foster home in Southeast Portland.

Dorina Crainic, owner of Dorina’s Adult Care Home in Portland, walks into a bedroom, where an elderly man is trying to put on his shoes.

“How are you, papa?” Crainic asks, wiping saliva from the man’s chin. Battling a urinary tract infection and encumbered by a feeding tube, the man was up much of the night coughing and choking. The evening before, Crainic spent several hours attending to another resident, a woman suffering from dementia.

“There is always something coming up,” she says.

Running an adult foster home, a private residence licensed to provide care for up to five dependent seniors, is physically and psychologically demanding. But the 48-year old Crainic, soft spoken and articulate, isn’t complaining. In 1992, the former electrical engineer emigrated from Romania where she and her husband faced religious persecution under the notoriously hard-line communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. After working in another foster home for several years the couple bought their current residence where they care for clients on the first floor and raise two children on the second.

“I’m very happy, very thankful, “ says Crainic. “This is a very good business for us.”

On the surface, Crainic’s story is a familiar one: Hard-working immigrants build a successful new life in the United States. But Crainic’s story also spotlights a lesser-known tale about Romanians and how they have cornered the market on adult family homes in the Portland metropolitan area.

Some 85% of the 900 adult foster homes in metropolitan Portland are owned by first- and second-generation Romanians. “They dominate the industry here,” says Grover Simmons, a lobbyist for the Independent Adult Foster Home Association of Oregon.

The story of how Romanians came to control this niche is simple  on the surface. But it also underscores the importance of traditional values such as thrift and diligence as the nation and Oregon grapple with the complexities and expenses of health care reform. More specifically, as the state’s elder population soars, the Romanian foster-care model offers a compelling example of creative adaptation. Oregon is “at the forefront” of a larger effort to provide more cost-effective, less institutional alternatives to nursing homes, says Sylvia Reiger, policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Seniors and People with Disabilities. Combining Old World values with New World marketing savvy, Romanians are at the cutting edge of modern-day health reform trends by showing how to replace overpriced, impersonal care with the homey and affordable.




+1 #51 RE: Romanian immigrants dominate adult foster care nicheGuest 2015-09-22 23:32:23
Check your family member or friend for bruises. Many people just work for money and harm the residents
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-1 #52 GET INFORMEDGuest 2015-09-23 15:57:35
MOST people, especially Romanians see this business as a BLESSING... We are not in business to harm people. I am in and out of Nursing Homes and Assisted Livings that are not Romanian owned and the care level residents receive in nursing homes and memory care units and assisted living does not even compare with the one on one care and love and attention that residents receive in good adult care homes. We see this business as a blessing from God and we treat and take care of each one of our residents as a blessing from God. No one deliberately "harms" residents unless they are animals and have no respect for humanity!
Elderly people are very frail and they bruise very easily even if they bump a little against the wall as they walk by or as they scoot themselves to the dinning table they bump their arms and bruise super easily. Look into the medical side of things and how easily bruising happens before you go and make assumptions! I own an adult care home for over 15 years and we take extremely well care of each resident, but we cannot prevent every bruise that they get especially if they are on Coumadin for blood thinners they bruise super easy...
Anyways... please don't throw every adult care home in the same bucket... I'm sorry for those of you that have had a bad experience... but there are some really amazing care homes out there and I know them personally and I am proud to be a second generation Romanian adult care home owner.
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