BY Glenn Swain
Steve Alfonsi is on a mission to assure dignity and respect for individuals and families needing care at home, as well as those facing illness, and bring comfort at the end of life.
On the second floor of his Scottsdale office, Alfonsi is CEO of Royal Hospice and Vital Palliative and franchise owner of ComForCare Scottsdale, an in-home care agency.
He spends his days directing his home care services and, at the same time, continues a legacy to his mother’s memory.
In November 2005, Alfonsi’s mother, Shelby, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a fast-moving disease.
Then an executive with Proctor & Gamble in Chicago, Alfonsi had his mother move in with him so he and his wife could provide personal care.
Alfonsi says he went “full bore” into his new caregiving role. Growing up in a small town in central Illinois, Alfonsi learned the importance of one’s family and the responsibility to provide care and support for the family when needed.
Alfonsi began doing everything from making doctor’s appointments to changing bed sheets.
“I was a corporate executive with the responsibility of millions of dollars and working with a team,” Alfonsi says. “I thought I could figure it out. But I was also in denial. There was much I did not know about, but I quickly learned.”
At the time, Alfonsi wasn’t aware of the available home-care options.
Alfonsi remembers he and his sisters spent the last days and weeks of their mother’s life acting more as caretakers than as a son and daughters.
“Mom just wanted us to be with her and hold her hand,” he says. “Instead, we were doing dishes or taking care of her other needs.”
Shelby died in March 2006.
“I dealt with my mom’s passing by working longer hours and days,” Alfonsi says. “It was a way of processing what had happened. Over the years, I found out that there was more to life. I wanted to find a way to honor my mom and leave a legacy for her.”
Following a move to Scottsdale as an executive with Henkel, Alfonsi was determined to leave a legacy for his mom.
He learned the home care industry’s ins and outs, intending to start a company to serve families who find themselves in the same position he was in back in Chicago years before.
Alfonsi’s passion for serving others began when he purchased a ComForCare franchise for Scottsdale in March 2015.
Four years later, Alfonsi started Royal Hospice, which provides compassionate care and supports families, and Vital Palliative, a company offering care for severe and chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, cancer, AIDS, kidney failure and Alzheimer’s.
Alfonsi plans to open Royal Hospice and Vital Palliative in Tucson later this year, along with further expansion to the Portland, Oregon, area.
“It’s something I feel passionate about,” Alfonsi says. “We provide respect and dignity for others. We aspire to be perfect.”
Alfonsi advises people who find themselves in a caregiving role for those who are ill or need assistance that help is always just a phone call away.
“Make those last hours, days and weeks a better experience for your loved ones,” Alfonsi says.
“Life is precious; the time goes by so fast. Spend it with loved ones.”