To say that Traci Beagley, founder and CEO of Sunland Home Care & Medical, knows her community of Mesa, AZ, well is an understatement. Traci’s great-grandfather, together with her grandfather, in 1958, built the first 55+ active adult community in what has become a national mecca of retirees in the Valley of the Sun. Her father, Craig Ahlstrom, Sr, continues to build active adult communities in Mesa. Traci naturally grew up serving and working with seniors and given the litany of accolades bestowed upon both her and Sunland, it’s clear that her devotion to this special group of people has never waned. Sunland was awarded A Great Place to Work in 2019 and 2020 and was named #4 on the Fortune Best Workplaces for Aging Services 2020. Traci, herself, has been featured in Scottsdale Lifestyle and in Volume 2 of The Know Book Phoenix, a global group of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, and was recognized by Healthcare Insights as one of 20 Most Influential Healthcare Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021. But it’s not the awards that drive Traci as the passionate leader of a company that specializes in in-home private-duty nursing services for senior citizens and one-on-one caregivers to assist them with daily living. It’s the joy and fulfillment in knowing that she’s helping seniors enjoy their golden years every day. “Now I can help seniors stay in the homes my ancestors built—and to age as safely and gracefully as possible in their own familiar surroundings.”
But Traci could not have known in 2016 how changes in her own life would sharpen and clarify her commitment to her company’s mission. In 2018, just two years after opening the doors of Sunland, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. As a survivor who endured the emotionally and physical toll of prolonged treatment, it was this personal experience that deepened Traci’s empathy for those she serves. “I know what it feels like to need others to help, when the doctor’s orders are confusing, when the sheer number of appointments is overwhelming. It’s very complex, amid a difficult disease,” she shares. “I now relate with those I work with closely in a deeper, even more meaningful, way.”
“Our goal is to provide a high continuity of care with nurses and caregivers that fit with our clients not just in terms of skills, but also in personality. Seniors can feel vulnerable and apprehensive about having a stranger in their home, but after the initial contact, a relationship forms, and often the client looks forward to visits from our staff,” Traci says.
Traci aims for her clients to feel a peace of mind, and as a Certified Dementia Practitioner, she knows well the importance of this. With continuity of care, the nurse or caregiver is able to note changes in behaviors and patterns and are attuned to whether the client is having a good day or not. And when a strong trust relationship exists, clients are more inclined to take their medications and follow exercise and hygiene routines. Traci also has realized a more nuanced effect of effective in-home care. “When the kids are trying to work out how to parent their parents, conflict often arises. With effective care, the kids can be the kids, the seniors can be the parents and grandparents, and our staff can work in a third-party capacity to supply the medical and other daily care needs as they arise.”
As the face of the Banner MD Anderson October Breast Cancer Campaign, Traci spearheaded an effort that raised over $150,000 for breast cancer research. “I want to be an advocate for my clients,” Traci says. “Not everyone has family members who can step in and help. I was lucky. I want to make sure that no one feels alone while navigating such a difficult time.”
Founder & CEO — Sunland Home Care & Medical