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 Mishawaka, IN

Home Care Mishawaka, 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 Princess Mishawaka 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 Mishawaka, IN is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Mishawaka, 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.


“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“I want to thank Always Best Care for the outstanding services provided for our family during my husband's recent illness. You took care of all his personal needs, provided companionship, moral support when he needed it and made sure he was always as comfortable as possible. We are so grateful for that. In the meantime our ABC helper made every effort to keep the household running smoothly. The skills that come to my mind when describing the staff at ABC are dependability-patience-kindness and respect for the patient and family. They demonstrate a genuine concern for the folks under their care. This organization truly lives up to its name. I extend my heartfelt thanks once again for all you have done for this family. We asked for help and you gave us much more than we expected.”

Charlene P.

“I want to thank Always Best Care for the outstanding services provided for our family during my husband’s recent illness. You took care of all his personal needs, provided companionship, moral support when he needed it and made sure he was always as comfortable as possible. We are so grateful for that. In the meantime our ABC helper made every effort to keep the household running smoothly. The skills that come to my mind when describing the staff at ABC are dependability-patience-kindness and respect for the patient and family. They demonstrate a genuine concern for the folks under their care. This organization truly lives up to its name. I extend my heartfelt thanks once again for all you have done for this family. We asked for help and you gave us much more than we expected.”

Charlene P.

“I have had the best help from best care . My main two worker’s are Denise she comes out to my home everyday....never complains about anything just falls in the door working, from the minute she gets here till the minute before she has to leave. Denise is a wonderful person! Sabine is the other I talk about, she is the head of the girls..... she is one of the most caring people that you’ll ever meet”


“After meeting with several agencies, she knew right away that Always Best Care was the one for her. This decision wasn't because of a flashy sales pitch; it was because they were genuine, kind, and straight forward, qualities important to Janet. All of the family was comforted by knowing that Janet was getting the care she needed and that this care was in the hands of wonderful people who were willing to take the time to understand Janet's needs. We know they really did care for Janet---this was not just a job---and went above and beyond to assure she received the support she needed. We feel blessed that Janet found ABC care and will be eternally grateful to Always Best Care and their staff for being there for her when we could not be.”

Joan M.

“I am a past client of this provider Professional company that guided us through the process. They provided a trained and personable home health aide that my Mom enjoyed. The agency staff genuinely cared about my Mom. We’re grateful for their support.”

A. B.

“I am a current client of this provider Always best care is a good name for this company as they always give me the best care possible my caregiver is very compassionate and very helpful”

Ruth N.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, IN

Types of Elderly Care in Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Central 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 Mishawaka, 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 Corndance Tavern or visit Mishawaka Historical Museum, 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 Mishawaka, IN

Benefits of Home Care in Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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:

  • Heritage Point Assisted Living and Memory Care
  • Hellenic Senior Living of Mishawaka
  • Primrose Retirement Community of Mishawaka
  • Tanglewood Trace Senior Living
  • Silver Birch of Mishawaka
  • Cedarhurst of Edison Lakes
Home Care Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, 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 Mishawaka, IN

Latest News in Mishawaka, IN

Visit South Bend Mishawaka welcomed more than 5,200,000 visitors to St. Joe County in 2022

Guest columnistEver have that weekend when you couldn’t park in your usual spot because of all these cars from different states?Maybe at the same time you saw a bunch of youth teams, flying pucks, soccer balls, batons or even juggling. That’s us.As the staff of Visit South Bend Mishawaka, part of the ...

Guest columnist

Ever have that weekend when you couldn’t park in your usual spot because of all these cars from different states?

Maybe at the same time you saw a bunch of youth teams, flying pucks, soccer balls, batons or even juggling. That’s us.

As the staff of Visit South Bend Mishawaka, part of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, we promote events, bid on conventions and meetings, and attract visitors to St. Joseph County to experience all we have to offer. Last year, we welcomed more than 5,200,000 visitors who spent $1.2 billion!

Jeff Rea:Indiana wage growth lags behind most other states according to new report

A recent and unique example of what we do was on full display for a week in July throughout South Bend.

After a competitive bid process in 2019 that pitted us against many other cities around the country, more than 650 jugglers from across the globe came to South Bend for the 76th International Jugglers’ Festival.

The jugglers graced the stage at the Morris Performing Arts Center and held late evening performances in the Palais Royale. They hosted public demonstrations at Fridays by the Fountain and in the library. They even competed in jolleyball, a combination of volleyball and juggling.

Event organizers thanked us, saying they experienced a ”warm, welcoming hospitality from everyone they met” and hope to return potentially in 2028.

It’s hard to believe, but ice hockey season is right around the corner. Youth hockey, other than Notre Dame athletics, is the largest driver of sports tourism in our region. It accounts for more than 13,000 overnight hotel stays and $24 million of economic impact.

Youth hockey is doubly important in that most of the competitions take place from October to March when our general visitation is far less. Last year, kids from 17 states played at the Compton Family Ice Arena and the Ice Box Skating Rink.

Our research shows more than 53% of visitors to the county come because of Notre Dame. Yet we have so many other attractions — Ironworks Plaza, Howard Park, Potawatomi Zoo, Newton Park, St. Patrick’s County Park and more — that make our visitors’ experiences even better.

We are excited to welcome two new attractions next year: The Indiana Dinosaur Museum and Mishawaka Fieldhouse. These facilities will be incredible additions to our county and will provide not-to-miss experiences. There are also planned improvements at the Ice Box and Indiana Invaders Athletic Complex.

Generally, visitors coming to experience the area live within a one-tank-getaway radius and most come from Chicago and Indianapolis. While learning of our area from our robust marketing efforts, they stay at one of our 54 hotels that offer more than 5,400 rooms.

Even more, St. Joseph County has more than 1,300 private homes that are available on platforms like VRBO and Airbnb. We expect more than 1 million room nights stayed by visitors in our hotels and nearly 100,000 at private residences this year.

Market Basket:UP Mall in Mishawaka shows its resiliency by bringing in new restaurant and retailers

The resulting impact of these visits provides funding to help operate Potawatomi Zoo, Mishawaka Fieldhouse, Morris Performing Arts Center, Century Center and our operation at Visit South Bend Mishawaka. The proceeds also go toward the tourism capital investment fund, which is dedicated to investing in hospitality product throughout St. Joseph County.

Once a month, on the fourth Sunday, we will use this column to share some of the exciting events and experiences for both visitors and residents alike. From Walkerton to Osceola, Lakeville to Roseland, New Carlisle, Mishawaka and South Bend, there’s so much to see and even more to do!

Visit South Bend Mishawaka is here to help tell our story, highlight the incredible experiences and bring the best to The Bend. Here are a few highlights of events in The Bend. To see more, visit us at

Jeff Jarnecke is the executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka ([email protected]).

Here's which St. Joseph County schools are reducing quarantines with new state guidance

Students in Indiana schools may no longer be asked to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.The Indiana State Department of Health extended new guidance for school quarantines Wednesday that could significantly reduce the number of students asked to stay home if they're identified as a close contact to someone else who has tested positive for the virus, and multiple Michiana school ...

Students in Indiana schools may no longer be asked to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

The Indiana State Department of Health extended new guidance for school quarantines Wednesday that could significantly reduce the number of students asked to stay home if they're identified as a close contact to someone else who has tested positive for the virus, and multiple Michiana school districts are already embracing the new recommendations.

The policy applies to schools where mask requirements are “consistently followed throughout the day,” according to state officials. And, these schools will still be required to contact trace positive cases and communicate with their local health department, as well as parents, teachers and staff.

New guidance: Indiana schools can stop quarantines, but only if they require masks

The School City of Mishawaka and Penn-Harris-Madison schools, which have quarantined hundreds of students in their first weeks of school, contacted families within 24 hours of the order, inviting some of their students who meet criteria of the new guidance to return to school this week.

Mishawaka and P-H-M are among dozens of Indiana school districts that reversed mask-optional policies after seeing high numbers of students test positive for COVID-19 as students returned to class this fall.

School officials in South Bend say they are currently reviewing the state’s recommendations, pending conversations with local health officials.

St. Joseph County’s deputy health director did not immediately respond to a request for an interview Thursday. The department, along with hundreds of health care providers in the region, has been vocal in its support for universal masking in schools. The CDC is still assessing data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus, according to its website.

“Before we make any changes to any of our processes, we always make sure that we get the input from local health officials, that includes the department of health, physicians, principals, other groups,” said Brandon White, assistant superintendent of academics for South Bend schools. “We make our decisions or changes based on our COVID procedures in a collaborative setting looking at all of the factors.”

Changing guidance comes amid quarantine surge

The new guidance comes with a series of conditions which must be met to avoid quarantine.

Students, teachers and staff identified as close contacts may return to school only if the person who tested positive and their close contacts were masked at the time of their interaction. Close contacts must not be showing any symptoms of COVID-19, such as developing a cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, and should be asked to self monitor for those symptoms — including with twice daily temperature checks.

If symptoms develop, including a temperature of 100.4 F or above, close contacts should isolate and take a COVID-19 test.

The guidance applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff — a key detail considering only 28.1% of 12 to 15 year olds and 38.3% of 16 to 19 year olds are fully vaccinated.

Quarantines in Penn-Harris-Madison: Read the district's letter to families

But, families shouldn’t expect school quarantines to end entirely.

The state health department’s guidance only applies in classroom settings, so any exposure identified during school lunches, on bus rides, during athletic events or in extracurricular activities, for example, could still send students and staff home for seven to 14 days depending on a school’s policy for returning to class.

Buses have yielded the highest number of close contacts so far at P-H-M, said Lucha Ramey, a spokeswoman for the district. Others say they’ve seen an even mix of contact tracing across classrooms, athletics, lunch rooms, recess and more.

In his letter to families this week, P-H-M Superintendent Jerry Thacker said the district has received approval from the county health department to reduce contact tracing on buses from six feet to three feet because of a federal order requiring masks on public transportation.

The recommendations for quarantine provide incentive for schools to keep up with their indoor mask policies.

Most schools across St. Joseph County have now adopted these policies after coronavirus cases and quarantines spiked in the first weeks of school in districts like Mishawaka and P-H-M, which were initially mask optional.

In Mishawaka, 10 staff and more than 100 students have tested positive since students’ first day, Aug. 11. Over 470 students and staff are in quarantine so far this week, according to data available on the district’s website Thursday afternoon. The district had 676 out on quarantine last week — or more than 11% of its total in-person population of 6,000 students, teachers and staff.

P-H-M, a much larger district of nearly 11,500 students, has had more than 100 of its students test positive and more than 500 identified as close contacts this year.

Ramey said 13 of the student positives occurred before the district’s first day, Aug. 18, and so far, none of the total 105 positives reported by the end of the day Tuesday had developed from transmission in school.

'We have nothing left': Mishawaka school leaders defend masks amid COVID-19 surge

“We have 507 close contacts,” Ramey said Wednesday. “Only six of those have tested positive, but they are not school based. They were close contacts to their parents.”

South Bend, which started its school year Aug. 11 with a mask requirement, had about 100 of its more than 16,000 students on quarantine this week.

“It does make you wonder, ‘did our mask mandate at the start of school have any impact on us having lower quarantine numbers?’” White said when considering higher quarantine rates in some schools that opened without a requirement. “I can’t say that for certain, because I don’t know, but it is interesting to see that.”

The state guidance, however, is just that — guidance — so schools can choose to adopt the new recommendations or continue with their current practices.

White said leaders in the South Bend school corporation meet on Fridays to discuss COVID-19 policies and would be discussing new guidance at that time.

“We keep trying to ensure the best we can the health and safety of our students,” White said. “But we also know that educating students is our top priority.”

Reducing quarantines a focus to address learning loss

The new state guidance, if adopted locally, could ease the burden on schools looking to maximize in-person learning this year.

Districts like Mishawaka and P-H-M have done away with virtual learning options and are instead treating quarantine absences more like they did extended absences before the pandemic.

Rather than watching a livestream from home as some did last year, students are now being asked to log into learning management systems like Google Classroom and Canvas to find assignments to complete in their own time.

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“They’re basically doing work as they would if their family was going on vacation or they fell and broke their arm,” Ramey said.

This style of asynchronous learning, also being exercised in South Bend and Mishawaka schools, helps relieve some of the burden placed on teachers last year who were expected to navigate in-person, virtual and hybrid learning.

Unlike Mishawaka and P-H-M, the South Bend district continues to offer a fully virtual option to families through its South Bend Virtual School and is exploring partnerships with external vendors that could provide live virtual instruction to its quarantined students.

P-H-M schools are boosting support for quarantined students through virtual office hours with teachers and peer tutoring. And schools across the county are ensuring students of all ages have access to technology at home.

But, the shift back to asynchronous learning for quarantined students, also comes as teachers push to remediate and accelerate learning after 18 months of instability, which is no easy task given new layers of uncertainty cast by the highly contagious delta variant.

Educators say they’re best able to build connections and promote a productive learning environment with students in classrooms. Schools across the country grappled with chronic absences among students who mentally or physically checked out during periods of remote learning.

“Accumulating that level of loss of instructional days, even when you’re doing your absolute best is of concern, and should be of concern, to any parent or any educator,” Mishawaka’s assistant superintendent Sarah Hickle said in an interview before the state issued its new guidance. “We do as many things proactively to minimize the quarantines. That’s where our time and energy has been focused.”

Penn strong enough in 'Backyard Brawl' win over Mishawaka. Here's what we learned

MISHAWAKA — Penn bent. It didn’t break.Three second half turnovers forced by the Kingsmen defense — including a pick-six by Penn senior Vincent Horner with seven minutes left in the game — sealed a 28-7 victory for Penn of Mishawaka in the first ...

MISHAWAKA — Penn bent. It didn’t break.

Three second half turnovers forced by the Kingsmen defense — including a pick-six by Penn senior Vincent Horner with seven minutes left in the game — sealed a 28-7 victory for Penn of Mishawaka in the first Backyard Brawl game in four years.

Horner’s second interception of the game came with the Cavemen facing a 4th-and-8 from the Penn 47-yard line. Horner read the pass from Mishawaka quarterback Brady Fisher perfectly, stepping in front of the pass and running it back 64 yards virtually untouched.

“It was great seeing the ball come out right to where I could get it,” said Horner of the game-sealing interception return for a touchdown. “My blockers set me up perfectly to where I could take it into the end zone.”

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Horner intercepted another pass in the third quarter when Mishawaka was driving. The Cavemen reached the Kingsmen 28-yard line before Horner stepped in front of another pass, intercepting that one at the 15-yard line.

“On the first interception, it was a really good play by their corner,” Mishawaka head coach Keith Kinder said. “We thought we had something in the middle of the field, and he made a really good play. The second one was more out of desperation; it was 4th-and-8. We’re not built for 4th-and-8. We weren’t very good on first down, we had too many silly penalties that hurt us, and we got beat because of it.”

Mishawaka (1-1) took three plays to get on the board first. It looked like Penn had forced a fumble and recovered on a second-down play, but a pre-snap penalty on the Cavemen negated the play.

Fisher capitalized on the second chance, with the Mishawaka senior quarterback bursting through the line for a 51-yard touchdown.

Penn (2-0) responded on its first drive of the game, going 61 yards across nine plays. They capped it off with a seven-yard touchdown run by senior Jake Balis.

Mishawaka marched down the field on its next drive, but it stalled at its 18-yard line. The ensuing 35-yard field goal attempt fell short, keeping the game tied.

The Kingsmen then took the lead for good on the next possession. On a third-and-goal from the five-yard line, Penn senior quarterback Nolan McCullough found senior Elijah Coker in the back of the end zone for a touchdown reception.

The game would be 14-7 at halftime.

It only took two plays into the third quarter for Penn to go up double digits. McCullough ripped off a 54-yard touchdown run, juking a Mishawaka defensive player before running untouched for the final 40 yards of the gain.

Horner’s first interception came on the next Mishawaka possession.

After a Kingsmen punt, Mishawaka turned it over again after a lengthy drive. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Fisher tried to pitch the ball to junior Kaden Smith. The toss was off the mark, and Penn senior Taylor Bauer was there to fall on it.

The Penn defense held Mishawaka to just five first downs in the first half, four of which came on the first two drives. While the Cavemen moved the ball easier in the second half, the “Wild Bunch” Penn defense shut them out on the scoreboard.

“It’s hard to simulate them and prepare for them; we hadn’t played it in a while, and Fisher does just a good job running that thing,” said Penn coach Cory Yeoman on Mishawaka’s triple-option offense. “Our offense came back and had a nice score to answer the call, which helped our defense out. The defense then settled in as things got going on.”

Kinder tried to keep perspective after the game, which was attended by an estimated 8,000 people.

“I want to make sure we put this in a frame of reference: it was a big game for the people outside the white lines,” Kinder said. “Inside the white lines, it’s two good football teams competing. These kids are going to be fine. Mishawaka was going to be fine. It’s a week two game. It’s not like we’re packing up gear tomorrow. There’s still going to be football in the morning.”

Player of the game

Horner. His interception in the third quarter came with Mishawaka closing in on the red zone. He then sealed the game with the pick-six.

Horner. His interception in the third quarter came with Mishawaka closing in on the red zone. He then sealed the game with the pick-six.

“It’s a great victory,” Horner said. “And its coach Cory’s 200th win, so that just puts the cherry on top.”

Cory Yeoman on his 200th victory as head coach at Penn

As Horner alluded to, Friday was the 200th win in the 22-year head coaching career for Yeoman. He’s one of 12 coaches from the area to reach that milestone in Indiana.

“Two-hundred wins to me means, one, I’m getting a little old,” Yeoman said. “Two, my best ability as a coach I think is to surround myself with great people. I’ve got a bunch of coaches on my staff that could be head coaches anywhere they want, but they love it here. I’m very lucky. I’ve been surrounded by great young men for all these years, and a great community and administration to back me. That’s the key: if you want to be successful in life, don’t try to do it yourself. Surround yourself with great people, get out of their way and let them do their jobs.”

Penn 28, Mishawaka 7


M: Brady Fisher 51-yard run at 10:05 (Lucas Larson kick)

P: Jake Balis 8-yard run at 4:58 (Dylan DeDario kick)


P: Elijah Coker 5-yard catch from Nolan McCullough (DeDario kick)


P: McCullough 54-yard run at 11:09 (DeDario kick)


P: Vincent Horner 64-yard interception return at 6:48 (DeDario kick)

Up next for Mishawaka and Penn

Mishawaka: visits Northridge in the NLC opener for both teams.

Penn: visits Indianapolis Cathedral.

Mishawaka and Shiojiri celebrate 50-year-anniversary as sister cities

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Mishawaka’s close connection with the Japanese city of Shiojiri continues to stand the test of time.The two cities have now been sister cities for 50-years.This week, Shiojiri Mayor Toshiyuki Oguchi came to Mishawaka to celebrate the golden anniversary.In Mishawaka, you don’t have to go to a Japanese restaurant for a taste of of their incredible cuisine. You can get it at the Shiojiri Room at the local library, or at the city park that has a Japanese strolling garden, complete with fo...

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Mishawaka’s close connection with the Japanese city of Shiojiri continues to stand the test of time.

The two cities have now been sister cities for 50-years.

This week, Shiojiri Mayor Toshiyuki Oguchi came to Mishawaka to celebrate the golden anniversary.

In Mishawaka, you don’t have to go to a Japanese restaurant for a taste of of their incredible cuisine. You can get it at the Shiojiri Room at the local library, or at the city park that has a Japanese strolling garden, complete with four bridges and more than 200 boulders.

“And so, we can go there. It’s a very popular place to visit, but there to, it was not a city invested project. It came about through donations from both Japan and from citizens of Mishawaka,” said Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood. “A lot of sister city relationships are about going and forming ties so you can have some economic development. This one is about friendship. It has always been about friendship and close-knit communities coming together and celebrating their, what they have in common. In my mind it’s what’s right in the world today.”

Sister city status actually grew out of a relationship started in the 1960′s when a teacher at Battel School set up a pen pal program with students at a school in Shiojiri.

Sister city status was bestowed in 1972.

“They wanted to have lunch in an Americana kind of restaurant, so what better place than Doc Pierce’s in downtown Mishawaka,” said Mayor Wood.

Of course, gifts were exchanged. Shiojiri is known for its lacquer wood products, and this time they came in the form of cups and spoons. Shiojiri’s mayor received a rug with images of Mishawaka city landmarks.

A celebratory dinner was held at the Beiger Mansion where the mayors joined city council members and a delegation of Mishawaka High School students who are planning to visit Shiojiri later this year.

Mayor Wood, too, eventually plans to visit Shiojiri.

“You know, I’ve grown up here and I’ve lived here all my life. You kind of get used to things in your own little secluded world and to get that perspective of somebody who lives, you know, half a world away, but you find out you have so much in common with them,” Wood said.

Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.

Michiana hit by flash floods, more rain expected later this week

South Bend and Mishawaka were hit with a concentrated, intense band of rain Monday evening, leading to flash flooding in several areas.The National Weather Service reports that the west side of Mishawaka and the east side of South Bend received around 4 inches of rain in approximately four hours. Other areas of the cou...

South Bend and Mishawaka were hit with a concentrated, intense band of rain Monday evening, leading to flash flooding in several areas.

The National Weather Service reports that the west side of Mishawaka and the east side of South Bend received around 4 inches of rain in approximately four hours. Other areas of the county saw lower rainfall totals.

"The heaviest was in the central part of the county," said Nathan Marsili, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Northern Indiana. "The storm movements were really slow and allowed that to happen."

The rain caused temporary road closures along McKinley Avenue, Day Road and Dragoon Trail in Mishawaka. High water also pooled on the road along Mishawaka Avenue and in various residential streets near the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds in South Bend.

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The Mishawaka Fire Department said water rescue crews were called out on a few occasions Monday evening for motorists who underestimated the depth of the water and couldn't move their cars out. One such call came from a driver in the parking lot of Arby's on McKinley near the Town & Country Shopping Center around 5:30 p.m., dispatchers said.

Monday's rain comes on the back of a series of thunderstorms over the past few weeks, though Marsili said the flash flooding was likely not exacerbated by the earlier rainfall.

Heavy rain hits South Bend:Additional flooding possible

"That amount of rain in that amount of time is probably going to cause problems regardless of the conditions leading up to it," he said.

St. Joseph County is likely to see more rain Tuesday before things clear up Wednesday, Marsili said. However, the weather service is tracking another thunderstorm system that it expects to pass over Michiana Thursday evening and into Friday.

Email Marek Mazurek at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @marek_mazurek


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