Home care pioneer Jean Griswold founded what is now Griswold Home Care at her dining room table in 1982. She was 51 years old and confined to a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis. After discovering that there was no company offering overnight companionship for the frail elderly, she developed the firm — the country’s first nonmedical home care franchise.

Griswold’s diagnosis 12 years earlier is where her mission began. Like many adults and seniors with disabilities, illnesses and injuries, while battling MS, she wanted to remain where she was most comfortable, at home. Today, the legacy Griswold has left behind — a network of more than 168 independent franchise units in 29 states and a foundation in her name — continues her mission.

Griswold passed away in 2017 at the age of 86. This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Griswold Home Care, her foundation has launched a National Caregiver Scholarship Program.

“In 2021, the foundation board transitioned from being a private charity, which could not give individual grants, to a public foundation so that individual scholarships could be awarded,” Maryanne Murray, chair of the Jean Griswold Foundation, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “The board decided that the most effective way to honor Jean Griswold’s legacy was to support caregivers, enhancing skills and career advancement by awarding scholarships.”

Each year, the foundation will be awarding five scholarships of up to $2,000 to deserving caregivers who wish to further their education in a care-related field. Applicants do not have to be associated with Griswold Home Care, and the funds will be paid directly to the institution where the caregiver will be receiving education. The foundation plans to announce its first set of scholarship recipients later this spring.

“Jean cared deeply about caregivers and supported them by offering higher wages than most other home care companies and giving them flexibility in their schedules,” Murray said. “She often stated there were two groups that we needed to take care of in order to be successful: clients and caregivers and she tirelessly advocated for the caregivers.”

Kent Griswold, Jean’s son and former president and CEO of the firm, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse that his mother would be thrilled to know that a scholarship program has been created in her memory.

“The fact that the scholarships are intended for caregivers – those working to improve the lives of others – would have special meaning to her as she loved the caregivers that she got to know through her work,” he said. “She always believed that caregivers are the foundation of a home care business, and it’s only through supporting them that success would be achieved.”

Editor’s note: Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Liza Berger at [email protected].