Senior Helpers Provides Assistance for Elderly to Retain Independence

"Old age is no place for sissies," the actress Bette Davis once observed. Fortunately, thanks to Hacienda's Senior Helpers, there is assistance available for those who are beginning to experience the effects of age.

"Our emphasis is helping people live a healthy and happy lifestyle at home, even if they may not be able to do everything that they used to do. That doesn't make it bad; it just makes it different," says Stacy Guerrero, LVN and Senior Helpers caregiver manager. "We're dedicated to helping them remain at home instead of moving into a facility. Our goal is to keep them at home and as independent as possible."

Senior Helpers offers a host of services ranging from basic companion care to 24-hour live-in care, with a special emphasis on caring for those with dementia. Caregivers provide services such as meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living.

"We provide companion care and personal care, where we help with everyday, daily living activities," Guerrero says. "It can be anything from light housekeeping to running errands, helping people engage in their hobbies, having social time, any of that. Laundry. We do a little bit of everything - taking them to run errands, accompanying them to doctor appointments, since they're not able to drive themselves anymore. Because we're non-nursing and non-medical, we're really dedicated more to the activities of daily living."

For those with dementia, a senior's ability to remain in their own home can be especially important. "(Staying in the home) is huge with dementia care because (patients are) very big on consistency and having a routine," says Guerrero. "A lot of times, we find that when people move to a facility, it can be very confusing. There are new surroundings and new people. Those with dementia tend to thrive in their own environment, and that's why we're so dedicated to keeping them in their own home as long as possible, so long as they're safe and we can provide the care that they need. It's always the best place for them to be."

Senior Helpers' special dementia care services - dubbed "Senior Gems" by the company - are based on the Gems techniques, strategies, and overall approach to care developed by occupational therapist Teepa Snow. "She's really great so we use that training method for all of our caregivers as well as a way to guide our family members who are new to dementia and are working on it with their family for the first time," Guerrero says. "It can be very overwhelming for people so we use that tool to help people learn skills or conversational techniques or dealing with situations like bathing that can become more difficult. We teach them ways to deal with that, and Teepa Snow is a big part of that - her DVDs are wonderful. It's a great teaching tool."

Senior Helpers is fully licensed by the State of California. For additional information, access the company's web site at .

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