Fredinna Lapsley wanted to create a space for seniors where they could receive care and find community. After working as a nursing home executive for over 17 years, Lapsley began to notice the challenges senior citizens in the African American community were facing. She decided to do something about it, and her Atlanta, Georgia-based business Trinity Care Group was born. Trinity Care has grown to become one of the largest senior centers in the Atlanta area and their program offers supportive services, medical oversight, nutritional management and social engagement to underserved seniors who have limited to no access to care or family support. Today Lapsley is focused on growing her business within the Atlanta area, but also looking to offer franchise opportunities in other cities and states.
Lapsley’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Trinity Care was birthed out of a passion to help seniors preserve their independence while remaining at home. The program fills a community void by offering medical support and services to seniors that would otherwise be placed in nursing homes or long term care facilities. Our center offers support to seniors and additionally provides caregivers a break from the daily demands of taking care of a loved one. Participants who are enrolled in the program are provided with a full day of recreational, physical and spiritual engagement, which are traditionally not available due to medical restrictions and or limited access. After seeing the challenges faced in the African American community, Trinity Care was started to provide options for those who did not want premature placement in an institution, while still providing first class services to seniors who were often forgotten about. As of result of poor living and health conditions in many African American communities, my goal was to create a program that catered holistically to include African Americans but also to include those who wanted to experience something different in a non-traditional health care setting.
My reason for starting and continuing has been consistent throughout the years, as I want our communities to have healthcare centers that represent the best of who we are as African Americans. Unfortunately, most centers are placed in affluent communities where resources and funding donors are available to sponsor, build and sustain programs and services for those who are already tapped into community based resources and I knew the narrative had to change. As an African American woman who worked as a nursing home executive for over 17 years, I knew my experience with building and leading organizations prepared me to understand the financial, clinical and operational requirements needed to start and maintain a successful company. Although starting my business was not without it’s challenges, each year my mission is growing upon what we did the previous year by expanding services and creating new programming for seniors that create meaningful experiences to help support and in some instances extend the lives of the seniors we serve.
Success in my opinion is not measured solely by traditional standards, but also includes being able to change lives and providing significant impact to our communities. After having had a meaningful career in senior services, my greatest success spans across my career and being able to create multi-million dollar facilities in multiple states filled with African Americans and minority seniors. Success for me, has been creating a new standard for home and community based services that is inclusive while redefining how care is rendered and made available to everyone. Throughout my career I have worked tirelessly to be at the forefront of policy change and development, and seeing those policies directly create change in our community and provide opportunities and access to the underserved has been my greatest success. Success for me is walking into my center, and hearing a senior say, “Your center changed my life”.
My biggest success to date has been doubling business operations and being able to expand my primary line of business to include job creation, community education and social assistance for seniors, community members, and caregivers. Within that last 12 months, business operations have expanded to include a full service home health company, concierge and personal support component, transportation services and meals on wheels program where we offer meals and community education related to a variety of health topics that support healthy living and disease prevention. Within a 4 year time period our company has successfully created a full service health care “boutique” that offers a full spectrum of services for clients to age in place without having to seek services and or identify resources from multiple providers. Being able to change and adapt to the needs of seniors in our community has created a market niche that distinguishes our services by offering a one stop shop for caregivers to navigate through an overwhelming health care system.
As a business operator, the biggest challenge is managing financial operations without compromising the quality of care and services. Care needs of seniors often exceed available resources. Our challenge is not only providing extended services during the day while seniors attend the program, but also identifying community resources that can supplement services when seniors have exhausted community services.
Shortly after starting my business I had a miscarriage which ultimately made me question both personal and business decisions. For approximately 6-8 months after the loss, my grief consumed my business decisions which ultimately stagnated the growth and financial solvency of the company. After recommitting to my purpose and submitting my business to God, my business survived the storm.
Within the next 3-5 years, I would like to create multiple centers within the Atlanta area and to additionally offer franchising opportunities in other cities and states. Additionally, I would like to create platforms whereby anyone can access community based resources that are personalized and specific to care needs.
I consider my mother my role Model. From my early childhood, I can remember her acts of selfishness and commitment to service which have inspired me to be a better leader and business woman. I have watched her selflessly push others to success by encouraging the pursuit of living a purpose filled life, and my dreams were made possible because of that commitment.