Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Elkhart, IN

Home Care Elkhart, IN

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Morehous Residential Historic District gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Elkhart, IN is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Elkhart, IN

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“I have worked alongside Always Best Care and they have been amazing. Very quick to help out patients in need and staff is very polite and professional.”

Jill W.

“ABC is a great place to be! Thank you Patti, Stephanie, and Michele for all you do! You all are Awesome & thank you for the honors of being part of the team also acknowledging myself for Employee of the Month of March! You all are appreciated”

Sowana H.

“Best Company I’ve ever encountered. I love how flexible and efficient they are. I love the open door policy. Michelle is my favorite schedule she does an amazing job with communication.”

Angelnique T.

“I give always best care of 5 stars. They are caring and have a sincere heart I love working with this agency..”

Deniva J.

“Always Best Care has been exceptional the four years i’ve worked there. The staff and schedulers, especially Michele, are helpful in finding compatibility for your clients, they’re also flexible in scheduling hours. Great company, great staff.”

Alexis E.

“it is my pleasure to leave a review for the Coffee need that support the most I would like Stephanie Kramer for supporting me and helping me get through my work schedules and feel comfortable at my place of employment. I am sad to see that she left Scheduling , but she still tries her best to help everyone even with her new position. Her dedication means everything I would like to Tasha as well for communicating with me so much I also cannot forget Patricia and Michelle as well. You ladies help me so much with my client. I greatly appreciate you ladies. I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that you ladies have with meeting me halfway when it comes to our job it definitely makes everything much easier. Keep up the great work as well as the rest of the staff thank you ladies for everything that you do and congratulations Monique on your new position.”

Doninique W.

“I have worked with more home health agencies than I care to remember, both in GA and MI, when I worked in healthcare; and I have to say that Always Best Care is one of the best home health care agencies that I have found since the early 90's !!! I have been a client with Always Best Care since February 2022 and I have been extremely pleased with the help I have received both from my caregivers and the office staff. All the staff work hard and the quality of care is exceptional!!! The few occasions that I didn't like a caregiver because of either poor work ethic or personality, Always Best Care always took care of finding another caregiver to better meet my needs ASAP!! When I first started with Always Best Care I did get a few caregivers that weren't a good fit. But, within a very short period of time my scheduler learned my specific needs and personality and she found caregivers for me that were a wonderful match!! As in every area of healthcare, the high turnover of employees is to be expected!!! But, Always Best Care has always made sure that I have a new caregiver that matches my needs and expectations!! I have and would, highly recommend Always Best Care for your home health daily care!!”


“We used ABC several years ago for my dad, after he had a stroke. I called a few months ago to set up a care plan for my elderly mom. She had a hip replaced, and lives alone. I knew we would feel better having someone there to help her and visit with her until she could get up and around on her own. ABC works through our scheduling nightmares (mom tends to send people home early, and tell them not to come back)….and they have been SO patient with our ever changing and increasing needs for mom. Their response time and communication are impeccable!!”

Amy L.

“We used ABC several years ago for my dad, after he had a stroke. I called a few months ago to set up a care plan for my elderly mom. She had a hip replaced, and lives alone. I knew we would feel better having someone there to help her and visit with her until she could get up and around on her own. ABC works through our scheduling nightmares (mom tends to send people home early, and tell them not to come back)….and they have been SO patient with our ever changing and increasing needs for mom. Their response time and communication are impeccable!!”

Amy L.

“I love working for Always Best Care The staff is very helpful, encouraging wonderful, loving family. Thank you for the opportunity of serving for your company thank you to Michelle, who is always looking out for me and making sure that I have the hours that I need.”

Jazzmine .

“Always Best Care gives great encouragement and support to their caregivers during any situation or time of need. The care and dedication to their staff is incredible and I throughly enjoy my time working along side them!”

Kaitlyn S.

“I love the company I think they really do care about the employee the residents”

Falon S.

“Stephanie Stevens is a great CSD! Thanks for all you do!”

Stephanie S.

“Always Best care is amazing!”

Patti V.

“Always Best Care is a great company. Not only do they provide the best care for their clients, but they go above and beyond for their staff as well.”

Monique B.

“We have used Always Best Care two different times for our Mother. Both times the care was excellent. I have referred Always Best Care to several people.”

Michelle P.

“Hi my name is Linda and I've been working with always best care for 2 years now and it's a great atmosphere I like coming in to work meeting new people. It's a place that's kind friendly and it makes you feel at home it makes you feel that you're working with people that understand you know you're different needs your different hours and if something come up they are there to help you with anything that you need help with it's a great company I'm so glad I signed up with the company I signed up a little bit after the pandemic and I just needed somewhere that I could really consider myself at home or I find a home and I have I'm amazed at how the people are so nice when you talk to them on the phone how nice they are friendly you can tell this saying it with a smile I enjoy working there I tell people ask me where I work at always best care they like what yeah always best care yes it's a nice company sign up with it you won't regret it I'm glad I do it I'm really glad I did”

Linda M.

“Always best care has always been there when I needed them! They make it convenient for me to take care of my father. I most definitely recommend them!”

Stacy F.

“I have used quite a few different providers and ABC is by far the best company. From the office staff to the caregivers, they are doing what they love and it shows.”

Wendy O.

“Great place to work at very professional and appreciative for their staff”

JerelCDBErep C.

“Overall a great company to work for! They do a wonderful job recognizing caregivers; from big recognition like a monthly caregiver award and random drawings, to small recognition such as any time you visit the office you are free to grab snacks, beverages, gear and more often than not there is some type of food they have ordered that is available. They really don’t hold back in this area! There has been quite a bit of changes made in office positions within the last year. Response time, outside of the scheduling department, can be improved upon.”

Natalie C.

“They really help people when they need it”


“I've had caregivers for about 5 years now. Only having been disappointed and frustrated. Since Always Best Care came into my life, my worries have ended. I never knew if previous caregivers were going to show up, or do what I needed. Everytime they would complete a task, they would sit down and be on their phone. Kari and Jamisha finish a task and right to the next. No problems. My mind has been put at ease. They are very professional yet so so friendly. They ask, what else they can do for me. I also have my ABC emergency call button. Now I have peace of mind if an emergency should arise. My case coordinator Stephanie Stevens. Stays right on top of my case. Thank you so much for making my life easier. I have recommended your company to others that may need assistance in the future.”

Gary M.

“Carole is an excellent caring professional. She has been extremely helpful in advising us and in scheduling care. With respect to the caregivers, we have no complaints. We want to give a special thank you to Rhona for her time and effort in creating a special bond with our mother.”

Melissa E.

“They were my mother's caretakers up until we moved away to seek life saving treatment. It was hard for them at times, because sometimes the homecare aides sometimes called off last minute. One time something came up missing, and the owner personally delivered a replacement. They're not perfect but they try their best.”

LaVon T.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Elkhart, IN?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Elkhart, IN

Types of Elderly Care in Elkhart, IN

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Elkhart, IN
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Elkhart, IN
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Island Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Elkhart, IN
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Artisan or visit Ruthmere-Havilah Beardsley House, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Elkhart, IN

Benefits of Home Care in Elkhart, IN

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Elkhart, IN, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Elkhart, IN

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your IN's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Elkhart, IN

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Elkhart, IN understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Elkhart, IN

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Elkhart, IN

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Brentwood at Elkhart Assisted Living
  • Hellenic Senior Living of Elkhart
  • Harmony at Elkhart
  • Brentwood at Elkhart Independent Living
  • Golden LivingCenters
  • Riverside Village
Home Care Elkhart, IN

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Elkhart, IN

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Elkhart, IN 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Elkhart, IN

Latest News in Elkhart, IN

FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Morton loses thriller to Elkhart and more

Times StaffIn a back-and-forth affair between Morton and Elkhart, Holland Harris threw a 79-yard pick six with 4.8 seconds left to give Elkhart a 48-38 victory.Morton opened the contest with two touchdowns, but Elkhart answered back with two of its own in the opening half to tie it up. After Elkhart took a 28-20 lead in the second quarter, Morton answered back with two of its own to make it 32-28. After an Elkhart score and another Governors touchdown, Harris threw the interception that sealed the game.Dontell Harris was...

Times Staff

In a back-and-forth affair between Morton and Elkhart, Holland Harris threw a 79-yard pick six with 4.8 seconds left to give Elkhart a 48-38 victory.

Morton opened the contest with two touchdowns, but Elkhart answered back with two of its own in the opening half to tie it up. After Elkhart took a 28-20 lead in the second quarter, Morton answered back with two of its own to make it 32-28. After an Elkhart score and another Governors touchdown, Harris threw the interception that sealed the game.

Dontell Harris was dominant in the loss, compiling three touchdowns, but the Times No. 9 Governors (1-2) were not able to get stops en route to their second consecutive defeat. Holland Harris chipped in two running touchdowns in the loss as well.

Undefeated River Forest (3-0) headed to Wheeler (0-3) to take on the Bearcats, and it was a close one throughout. The Ingots eked out a last-second 17-14 win.

While the Ingots struck first, getting a 6-0 lead, they allowed their first score of the season in the second quarter and trailed 7-6 heading into the half.

After a Christopher Whitt field goal put them up 9-7 in the third, the Bearcats responded with a fourth quarter touchdown to put them up 14-9. With 57 seconds left, the Ingots drew up a flea flicker that gave them the game, and they tacked on the two-point conversion to boot.

This game was never close, as the Times No. 3 Vikings (2-1) pulled away to win 49-0 in LaPorte (1-2).

The score was 21-0 after the first quarter, and the lead only expanded from there, with the score being 35-0 heading into the half, and a running clock ensuing. The Vikings tacked on a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter.

Lowell allowed a touchdown at the 10:59 mark of the first quarter, and it snowballed quickly from there. While the Red Devils answered with a kickoff return on the ensuing possession by Nathan Vujaklija, those would be the only points they scored as New Prairie took a 28-6 lead into the second quarter, and used that to down Lowell (1-2) 47-6.

Dashawn Woods' big night helped propel Hammond Central (3-0) over Griffith (0-3) with a 41-0 win. Woods compiled 220 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries in the first half to help give the Wolves the win.

Lake Central led 7-6 in the first half, but Portage scored two unanswered touchdowns to give them a 20-7 lead. Lake Central (3-0) responded with two touchdowns of their own to give them the 21-20 win over Portage (0-3).

Calumet (1-2) picked up its first win of the season against EC Central (0-3), winning 52-8. EC Central was able to tack on a garbage-time score, but this game was never close.

Another big result as Boone Grove (2-1) took down West Side (1-2) 52-12.

After opening its season with juggernauts in Merrillville and Valparaiso, Andrean (1-2) defeated Kankakee Valley (1-2) at home. The 59ers took a 17-0 lead into the half, and settled into the 24-8 final.

Hobart (2-1) defeated Munster (1-2) 49-21, a game in which it led 35-7 at the half.

Recession fears are rising. Here's the status of economic bellwether Elkhart, Indiana.

Elkhart County, Indiana, proudly calls itself "the RV Capital of the World." But there's a belief that where Elkhart County goes, Indiana — and the rest of the nation — is sure to follow.Economists like to use the RV industry, which dominates the manufacturing city on the very northern edge of Indiana, as a barometer for the health of the U.S. economy. And the news coming out of Elkhart is giving some plenty of reason to be worried.Total wholesale shipments of recreation vehicles are down 20...

Elkhart County, Indiana, proudly calls itself "the RV Capital of the World." But there's a belief that where Elkhart County goes, Indiana — and the rest of the nation — is sure to follow.

Economists like to use the RV industry, which dominates the manufacturing city on the very northern edge of Indiana, as a barometer for the health of the U.S. economy. And the news coming out of Elkhart is giving some plenty of reason to be worried.

Total wholesale shipments of recreation vehicles are down 20.3 percent, year to date, across the industry, signaling to some Indiana economists that a recession is on the way. Companies such as Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. have slashed production and cut back the work week to slow the pace of production.

Economists reading the tea leaves for signs of a recession have typically held declining RV shipments as a strong warning of a contracting U.S. economy.

Trade war hits home:Indiana farmers were already hurting. Then the US-China trade war got even uglier.

And that's not the only warning sign flashing in Indiana, said Ball State economist Michael Hicks, who tracks the RV sector.

He listed the state's peaking manufacturing employment, the nation's declining auto sales numbers and disruptions in international trade as other indicators of an economic downturn.

"I think Indiana's economy is far more susceptible to this downturn than most states," Hicks said. "I think there's evidence that Indiana is well ahead of the U.S. economy in moving towards recession."

In Elkhart, RV production is a barometer

More than 80 percent of recreation vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced in Indiana, and roughly 65 percent of that production takes place in Elkhart County, population 206,000, according to the RV Industry Association.

But, consumers usually stop buying expensive, big-ticket discretionary items like RVs when money starts to tighten. As such, economists watch for declines in the RV sector— in addition to a slowdown in auto sales — for signs of a downward-turning economy.

"Those are really strong signals of where the Indiana economy is going," Hicks said. Total U.S. auto sales fell 1.8 percent year-over-year in July, according to JD Power and LMC Automotive, industry consultants.

Hicks, along with business professor Kyle Anderson at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, said the looming recession results from disruptions in international trade by President Donald Trump's trade wars and tariffs imposed on key U.S. foreign trading partners like China, Mexico and Canada.

"The big problem for Indiana is that we make a lot of things," Hicks said. "A big chunk of what we make is exported overseas — about 10½ percent of our economy."

Is it too much?:Downtown Indianapolis has 7,726 hotel rooms. And thousands more are on the way.

And in manufacturing-intense Indiana, tariffs on imported goods used in production means higher costs that companies can pass along to consumers.

While there haven't been widespread layoffs in Indiana's RV sector, Hicks says there are worrying signs in Elkhart's labor pool, where manufacturers like Thor Industries, Patrick Industries, Renegade RV and Berkshire Hathaway's Forest River Inc., among others, employ tens of thousands of workers.

The county’s unemployment rate climbed to 3 percent in June, up from 2.8 percent in the same month last year. The average number of hours worked in the county decreased by four, Hicks said.

While the unemployment rate in Elkhart remains below both the state and national average, it has increased while the state a whole has declined, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chris Stager, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County, said he's heard anecdotal stories about RV manufacturers implementing longer periods of "relaxed scheduling."

Thor Industries, in its second quarter 2019 financial report, said it cut production at some facilities of its North American facilities and shifted to a four-day work week at others.

The RV industry has $32.4 billion annual economic impact in Indiana. It supported 126,140 jobs and $7.8 billion in wages, according to the RV Industry Association. The industry pays $3.1 billion in taxes to Indiana.

A softening sector or an industry 'adjustment'

Not everyone is convinced that declining RV shipments are a harbinger of an upcoming recession.

The RVIA and the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County both cautiously say an inventory adjustment is taking place after a period of overproduction.

RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom said dealers placed excess supply orders in anticipation of long-term consumer demand that didn't pan out. Suddenly, the dealers found themselves with a lot of inventory on their lots, and it's taking some time to sell through that, he said.

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Production and inventory levels are starting to normalize, he added, with the association projecting that shipments for the year will be down about 14% — instead of about 20%— at the end of 2019.

"There is the wild card of the tariffs and the trade dispute being thrown in the mix and it's difficult to tease out how much of an impact those are having right now," he said.

RV shipments have dropped in five periods since 1981, but only three of those periods were followed by recessions, Broom added.

Stager, of the Economic Development Corporation, also said he's remaining cautiously optimistic.

"We're very pro-RV," he said. "We're very positive about the fact that the supply base that sells into the RV sector is very diverse and continuing to diversify."

China tariffs and trade impact the industry

Both Broom and Stager say the sector has been impacted by tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on key foreign trade partners like China.

The federal government on Tuesday altered its list of imported goods that would be subject to an additional 10 percent tariff. Some of the items were removed because of health safety and national security concerns.

Tariffs on other items, such as laptops and cellphones will be delayed until Dec. 15 to ease fears about increased pricing during the holiday shopping season.

The RVIA said as many as 167 products that could be used by the RV industry would be more expensive, based on the original list of $300 billion in imported goods subject to the new tariff.

The products include doors, raw hides, and knobs, among others. The RVIA is analyzing the revised list for potential impacts on the industry.

Broom said the economy may be due for a dip, but he said pegging it to what's happening in the RV industry may be not be wise given the ongoing foreign trade issues and inventory rebalancing.

"The American economy has grown every year since the Great Recession," he said, referring to the prolonged economic downturn that began in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009. "That's an unusual period of sustained economic growth, so it is possible that there is an economic downturn coming."

So far, no RV companies in Elkhart County have filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, notices with the state.

Stager said he is hopeful that the warning signs don't foretell a recession.

"I think Michael Hick's assessments are correct," he said. "(RV shipments) have, in many cases, historically been an indicator of some trends in the national economy. But, I prefer to stay positive about the national situation and how that could play out here."

Hicks does not share Stager's optimism. He said the double digit decline in shipments during the first half of this year is well into a recessionary level for the RV industry.

"They can't recover over the rest of the year. That's a permanent decline," he said.

Other recessionary indicators

The RV industry's shipment decline isn't the only worrying sign.

Other flash points include bad economies in Germany and Hong Kong, the high New York Federal Reserve's recession probability indicator, and the inverted Treasury yield curves that sparked a flurry of recession chatter in the U.S. this week.

If there's no progress in the trade war and the Trump administration imposes the next round of tariffs in December, Hicks said there's a good possibility the nation will be in recession in the first half of 2020.

Still, it's hard to predict the severity of a recession and when it will occur.

Despite the chatter, small businesses, in general, remain optimistic about the economy, said Barbara Quandt, the Indiana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB's July optimism index rose 1.4 points to 104.7. Many businesses indicated they plan to create new jobs and make capital outlay investments. Unemployment also remain low in Indiana and nationally.

But Hicks said unemployment is a lagging economic indicator, and it's not uncommon for hiring to continue as more sensitive sectors are flashing red.

"Health care mostly hired all the way through the Great Recession," he said.

Call IndyStar reporter Alexandria Burris at 317-617-2690. Follow her on Twitter: @allyburris.

Elkhart couple steps up to help homeless in Goshen and Elkhart with limited resources

GOSHEN, Ind. -- An Elkhart couple is trying to make a difference for the homeless in the community.They set up at the Heritage Trail in Goshen to give away supplies to those without a roof over their heads as the temperatures are dropping.It all started a couple months ago; John Bess and Brandy Wixson were taking a walk through a local park in Elkhart and came across some people in need who were taking shelter in the woods.“I just want to make a difference,” Bess said. “We came out and found tent city a...

GOSHEN, Ind. -- An Elkhart couple is trying to make a difference for the homeless in the community.

They set up at the Heritage Trail in Goshen to give away supplies to those without a roof over their heads as the temperatures are dropping.

It all started a couple months ago; John Bess and Brandy Wixson were taking a walk through a local park in Elkhart and came across some people in need who were taking shelter in the woods.

“I just want to make a difference,” Bess said. “We came out and found tent city and we set this up, here we are. At first it was blankets out of our own home, clothes out of stuff that I don’t wear, money out of our own, just to do what we was doing.”

Today (Sunday) was their first time organizing an event to give away supplies to those in need. With winter approaching, many homeless in Elkhart and Goshen have nowhere to take shelter.

Michiana Five, a charity group for the homeless, was at the event in support of the couple’s efforts.

John Shafer, Director of Michiana Five for the Homeless, said there’s no adult shelters for homeless in Goshen.

“We need more shelters because there are hundreds of homeless who are outside year round and in the winter some of them are still unable to take advantage of weather amnesty,” Shafer said.

This puts a lot of burden on shelter in South Bend because there are not enough options.

“Cities need to step up because people will die, people will freeze, people get frostbite, they will lose toes, we’ve seen that,” Shafer said.

“They get ran out of the parks, they’re getting $150 tickets for sleeping in the parks and they have nowhere to go,” Wixson said.

Bess and Wixson say they will continue their efforts to help the homeless because the cities of Elkhart and Goshen are not giving them enough resources to better themselves.

“We’re slowly learning how to become a non-profit organization so that way businesses will be more inclined to donate to our cause,” Wixson said. “Right now it’s just the goodness of people’s hearts.”

For now, anyone who wishes to donate can reach out to Bess or Wixson via their personal Facebook pages until they can set up their non-profit.

They need items like blankets, gloves, clothes, tarps, tents, and non-perishable food. launches The Elkhart Project has launched “The Elkhart Project,” a special editorial initiative that will tell the story of the nation’s economic crisis through the residents of Elkhart, Ind. The Elkhart Project ( is a sustained and in-depth approach to covering the worst American financial crisis since the Great Depression. and NBC News will document the personal stories of struggle and survival in this small Midwestern ci... has launched “The Elkhart Project,” a special editorial initiative that will tell the story of the nation’s economic crisis through the residents of Elkhart, Ind. The Elkhart Project ( is a sustained and in-depth approach to covering the worst American financial crisis since the Great Depression. and NBC News will document the personal stories of struggle and survival in this small Midwestern city where the recession has hit hard.

Elkhart, which once enjoyed a thriving recreational vehicle production industry, is representative of many American manufacturing cities now suffering from a shortage of credit for businesses and individuals, rising unemployment, and a skyrocketing number of foreclosures. By January 2009, employment in the Elkhart metro area had fallen 9.4 percent from a year earlier, the worst decline in the nation. Industrial production fell 21.9 percent, also the worst.

“We’re making a commitment to cover this catastrophic national story in a personal and local way,” said Jennifer Sizemore, Editor-In-Chief of “That’s why we’ve chosen Elkhart, a place with the highest unemployment rate in the country yet a place with hope for recovery – a place where the president has visited and promised help.”

“The Elkhart Project is smart reporting that will go beyond the numbers and reveal how this unprecedented financial crisis touches everyone,” said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. “By combining the power of continuing NBC News coverage of the crisis with’s insightful reporting from Elkhart, we’re uniquely positioned to provide viewers with a depth of coverage unmatched in today’s news arena.”

The site’s original journalism and comprehensive on-the-ground reporting from Elkhart will be combined with exclusive multimedia features, interactive maps, and video from NBC News and MSNBC Cable. has joined with Moody’s to create the “Adversity Index” ( that allows consumers to compare and contrast their own cities with Elkhart and to draw connections relevant to them.’s journalists will collaborate with The Elkhart Truth, the city’s local newspaper, sharing news gathering resources to broaden and deepen its coverage.

“From investigative reports to interactive tools, we’ll leverage traditional journalism and the full power of our platform to let our readers follow this city’s journey from recession to recovery,” added Sizemore. “Together with NBC News and The Elkhart Truth, we believe this project will help us all to better understand and cope in this time of crisis.”

Consumers can find the latest stories, useful tools and updates about The Elkhart Project at Users are encouraged to engage, connect and participate in’s Elkhart Project by sharing thoughts, ideas, and solutions through Newsvine (, Twitter ( or Facebook (

Six indicted in alleged cocaine distribution ring between Elkhart and Ohio

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. - A federal grand jury has handed up indictments against six people for allegedly selling and distributing cocaine in Elkhart and Columbus, Ohio.While collaborating on this story with our reporting partner, The Elkhart Truth, ABC57 obtained the indictment detailing the arrests.A ...


A federal grand jury has handed up indictments against six people for allegedly selling and distributing cocaine in Elkhart and Columbus, Ohio.

While collaborating on this story with our reporting partner, The Elkhart Truth, ABC57 obtained the indictment detailing the arrests.

A federal search warrant was served at the Super Mex Fresh Market store on Jackson Boulevard on Wednesday. Property records in Elkhart County, the owners of the store are identified as Aurelio and Jose Cervantes of Donna Texas, according to The Elkhart Truth.

ABC57 took a mugshot of Aurelio Cervantes to shoppers and they confirmed he is the man they have purchased their groceries from in the past.

According to the indictment, the following people are facing charges:

Aurelio Cervantes, 52, of Elkhart (15 counts)

Jose B Pena, in custody in Ohio, (11 counts)

Jose C Pena, 36, of the Dominican Republic (11 counts)

Omar Loza, 33, of Elkhart (14 counts)

Kristina Jimenez, 34, of Florida (3 counts)

Hector Lopez Jr, 40 of Donna, Texas (11 counts)

Super Mex Fresh Market was open Thursday, but employees did not discuss what happened on Wednesday.

Cervantes, J.B. Pena, J. C. Pena, Lopez, Loza and Jimenez are accused of conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilos of cocaine beginning in or around the summer of 2010 through February 2013, according to the indictment.

Cervantes, J.B. Pena, J. C. Pena, Lopez and Loza are accused of sending cocaine to Ohio for distribution in November 2010, December 2010, January 2011, February 2011, and May 2011, according to the indictment..

Cervantes is accused of receiving a shipment of cocaine for distribution in March 2011, according to the indictment..

Jimenez is accused of delivering cocaine from Elkhart to the Columbus, Ohio area for distribution in January 2012 and in the spring of 2012, according to the indictment.

Cervantes and Loza reside locally and are booked into the St. Joseph County Jail.

ABC57 went to Cervantes' home in Elkhart, but a relative refused to comment.

Both Cervantes and Loza are scheduled for a hearing next Wednesday.

History of the grocery store

ABC57 has learned the same family has owned the building at 240 E. Jackson Street for over 2 decades, according to the minutes of the Elkhart Board of Zoning Appeals meeting of December 9, 2010. Jason Ward, a person speaking on behalf of the petitioners, Aurelio Cervantes and Jose Cervantes, told the board the building has been in the family for 18 years. The Cervantes' were requesting a variance so they could open the grocery store at that location.

It had previously been a restaurant.

According to a nearby business owner, identified in the meeting minutes as Bill Wargo, when the building was a Mexican restaurant, a man named Martin Cervantes was arrested for dealing drugs from the location in 2002, according to the meeting minutes.

Ward responded:

The property has been owned by the family for 18 years, so it hasn't been recently purchased and that leads me into something. I know Bill and respect his position, but I disagree with the suggestion that because a former family member might have operated that facility 7 or 8 years ago that did something wrong, that this is going to be operated for purposes of illegal activities. It's not going to be operated for purposes of illegal activities. I'm not sure that Bill was meaning to suggest that, but a lot of the discussion was about a previous family member. They don't know where the previous family member is, but they believe he is dead. They are not going to run drugs out of this store; it will be a legitimate business. Suggestions to the contrary are disagreed with from that standpoint.

A search of Indiana court records shows a Martin Cervantes was charged with dealing in a controlled substance in Elkhart in 2001 but the charges were dropped.

The board approved the variance.


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