Our Story

To us, it's personal.

Why we do what we do.

My father recently experienced a series of strokes, which left some lasting effects on his memory and mobility. When it rains, it often pours. In the very same month my father had his experience, my wife's father was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and has been battling it ever since.

I live a short 15 minute drive from my father's home and can check in on my parents from time to time helping wherever needed. My father-in-law, on the other hand, lives in Minnesota--much too distant for a regular check-in. 

However, the seeds of Next of Kin were planted many years ago...

In 1981, my parents, Sid and Ann Smith, relocated our family from Mesa, Arizona to Logan, Utah. Although my parents were delighted to return to their native land of Cache Valley, spending 20 years away meant that my family had set down roots in Arizona and my father, particularly, was entertaining significant career choices across the nation.

Of course, they knew Cache Valley would be great place for us kids. But, their primary reason to move back was to care for my grandmothers--Lola Belle Smith and Frances Pocock--who had been widowed for many years. We loved visiting our grandmothers occasionally throughout the week--each of whom were living in their own homes at the time.

Our visits to grandma's house seemed to follow a three step ritual--Step 1: "a kiss and a peck and a hug around the neck", Step 2: a rush to the refrigerator in search of a homemade grasshopper or rubharb pie that might surface again at our Sunday dinner together, Step 3: a cookie from the cookie drawer or a piece of freshly baked bread smothered with raspberry jam while we would visit about my life, her life, and life in general. Some of my favorite things to talk about were my grandpa's life because I never got to meet him as he passed away before my birth. I don't remember all of the stories, but I do remember my grandmother tearing up frequently as she spoke of him despite his absence being well over 30 years by now. It's good to feel loved, no doubt. 

As time went by I got older (as most people do) and so did my grandmothers. I noticed that the nature of my visits to my Grandmother's house was changing a bit. Our "three step ritual" expanded to include more steps. Steps 1-3 remained the nearly the same, but the ritual grew in length and scope. Steps 4, 5, 6 and beyond included things like mowing the lawn, washing windows, fixing this and that, weeding the garden, running errands, etc. With age, certain things were becoming more difficult for them to do on their own and I was happy to help. I was no longer 7 and 8 years old, but 13, 14, 15 and much more capable.

When I was 17, I lived with Grandma Smith for a year. It was just the two of us. Eating dinner together. Watching programs together on TV. Story time commenced each evening until sometimes late into the night. I remember even dancing together in her tiny kitchen a few times as her Neil Diamond cassette or favorite station played the tune. Grandma Smith gave me shelter, food, wisdom, and much love. In return, I helped her out with this and that. What a great year that was. It's obvious that I got the better part of the deal. 

A few years later, Grandma Pocock moved out of her home and into ours where she spent the next 8 years. The home and garden were a bit much and basic daily living activities that were once simple were becoming difficult and impossible without assistance. She was a welcome addition to our home. Soon her memory faded. Yet, amazingly, she could still play the piano by ear--a gift that used to leave me absolutely mesmerized as a child. Because of her memory loss, she would play the same song on a loop, many times over. In fact, I can still hear her playing "How Great the Wisdom and the Love" on our piano. She liked to play that song over and over again. It must have been one of her favorites as it is now one of mine because of her.

Eventually, Grandma Pocock passed away and Grandma Smith moved in. I miss them both.

My parents are now around the age that my grandmothers were when they moved us to Cache Valley back in 1981. My own children have established their own "three step ritual" when we visit their grandma and grandpa's home (my parents). As time passes my parents have health issues and they get older (as most people do), the number of ways that we can help them grows and additional steps are being added to the ritual.

That was a long story. Thank you for sticking with me. Why am I telling you all of this? Because you need to know why we are doing what we do. 

Not all families can follow my family's pattern. This is completely understandable. Today's society has us extremely busy and spread out and away from each other across the nation and even around the globe. Life is full of challenges and changes to be sure.

That's where Next of Kin steps in. I named our personal assistant business, Next of Kin, because I consider us to be our client's closest living relative. Please take a look at the long list of services that we provide. You can make a request at anytime--but, chances are that we will have already anticipated and recognized your needs before you even ask.

Our assistants are caring professionals that you can trust. They have been hand picked by me with the main criteria being, "who would I want caring for my own parents, or for my spouse?"

I believe that using a personal assistant will drastically increase the enjoyment in your life. It's interesting that receiving assistance actually increases independence.

Please contact us for a free consultation. Welcome to the family.


Tyler Smith, Owner


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