Murphy, a 59-year-old Alabama native, decided to implement Shirley’s Helping Hands, an in-home health care business that requires her to travel to her clients’ homes, in 2010 after volunteering with a friend’s in-home health care business.
After working in the banking industry for several years, Murphy decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business, graduating in 2008. When she discovered her desire to own her own in-home health care business in 2010, Murphy enrolled in classes and programs at KSU’s entrepreneurial focused unit, the Edge Connection, where she received her certification as a nursing assistant and completed 40 hours of clinicals at a nursing home.
“What I found out that summer was that I like this, and I’m good at it,” Murphy said of volunteering with her friend’s clients. “I said ‘I’ll go now and get all of the training that I need to accompany the undergrad work.’”
Shirley’s Helping Hands provides in-home health care service for children age 6 and older, to senior citizens.
Murphy provides services associated with activities of daily living, like helping clients shower, dress and undress and prepare meals, recuperative care for clients who are recovering from surgery or other short-term illnesses, and respite services, which allow Murphy to alleviate the client’s primary caregiver for up to several days.
“This past week I had a five-day respite,” Murphy said. “The lady is 95 and her daughter wanted to go to the coast for the weekend, so I just moved in and took care of her for those five days.”
Murphy said respite services also include taking clients to followup doctor’s appointments, church services, and even movies and Braves games.
The majority of Murphy’s clients are elderly women who have outlived their spouses and do not live near younger family members. Murphy said she developed a passion for working with elderly people almost 40 years ago after spending time with her aging family members.
“As my parents start to age, being around all of that history, some can remember when there wasn’t a computer and there weren’t cellphones,” Murphy said. “I think the passion was always there, but in 2010 I decided to do something about it.”
Murphy said she enjoys her job because she is filling a need in her community, and that sometimes bonds can develop between her and her clients.
“I’ve seen a client for 12 months, and I didn’t see her daily, but I would see her every other day,” Murphy recalled. “The attachment becomes a mutual respect. So yes, there is some emotional attachment.”
Along with her passion for working with seniors, Murphy also said she has a passion for helping others. Murphy is a committed volunteer with the American Stroke Association and a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, American Stroke Association and the American Kidney Foundation.
“I have been helping people forever, but usually through nonprofits,” Murphy said. “What I found is I like helping others so it was natural for me to go into a service business.”
Murphy said her husband’s support throughout her decision to create and operate a small business has been invaluable to her business’s success. She also encouraged others who are looking to start their own business to do something they truly love.
“Find out what it is you would do even if you didn’t get paid to do it, that’s really your passion,” Murphy advised. “What I do, whether I get paid or not, I’d still do it. Everything that you do, decisions you make, training, continuing education, make sure it’s garnering you in that direction, where you want to go.”
More information about Murphy and Shirley’s Helping Hands can be found at shirley helpinghands.com.