Woman smiling with long straight dark hair, wearing a green top. Background is a plain light yellow color and the woman is positioned in the center looking directly at the camera with a friendly and approachable expression.

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) Heritage Month, a time we take to pay tribute to the incredible service and achievements of our AANHPI staff, participating families, and caregivers across the nation.  

This month we shine a light on Alayna Bochenek, a PPL Senior Regional Director who celebrates her Chinese heritage. In addition to her deep experience supporting participants in Medicaid and Managed Care programs, Alayna understands the needs of caregivers and the importance of different cultural approaches to caregiving. For 10 years, Alayna provided care to both of her grandparents. Alayna shares,

In Asian culture, elder care is an honor and a sign of respect. We want to ensure family members are well cared for and comfortable living in their own space with family surrounding them. These values also drew me to work for PPL in support of self-directed care.”

In the 1920s, at age 5, Alayna’s grandfather Joe immigrated to the U.S. from Guangdong, China aboard a merchant ship. He settled in New York City and married her grandmother, Edna, in 1947. Together, they had four daughters. Joe worked as a chef in several restaurants in NYC, and in 1971, he and his family moved Upstate and opened the first Chinese restaurant in the area – Chu’s China Doll. People traveled great distances to visit the restaurant and experience authentic Chinese cuisine. Alayna’s grandparents lived above the restaurant and lovingly cared for Alayna’s great-grandmother who lived with them.

A young woman with long dark hair wearing a light green hoodie, stands next to her grandfather and holds his arm in an apple orchard. The elderly man has glasses and is dressed in a patterned shirt and sweater. Both are smiling and the background is filled with apple trees with many red apples.
Alayna with her grandfather, Joe.

Elder care is often generational in Asian culture – with each age group providing care for their parents and grandparents. And while there have been challenges, Alayna cherishes the time she spent caring for and honoring her grandparents. She says, “it made me so happy to see their increased quality of life made possible by their ability to age in place with the support of trusted, family caregivers. And, I was able to be a closer part of their happiest times – like dominating competitions to become local Scrabble champions.”

Alayna infuses her work at PPL with her unique understanding of culture and caregiving, knowing the broad positive impact it has on so many other families. She states,

The self-directed care enabled by PPL is not cookie cutter. Every family and caregiver is unique. As a result, PPL is agile, flexible, and supports a diverse workforce, ensuring cultural competencies are a priority.”

Now, Alayna and her husband are preparing their home to welcome her mother when she is ready to come live with them – continuing her family’s tradition of caregiving alongside the great work she does to support hundreds of other families participating in self-directed care options powered by PPL.

A selfie of two smiling women in winter attire against a snowy landscape. The younger woman on the left wears a knitted hat and the older woman on the right, her mother, wears a grey knit scarf and black winter jacket. Trees without leaves and covered in snow form the backgound.
Alayna and her mother.

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