About Our Staff
Peter Holewinski – Co-Owner
After leaving northern California to complete undergraduate and graduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University, I pursued a 30-year career in the financial services industry. This took my wife, Mary-Frances Walsh, and I to live in wonderful cities across the USA and abroad as we raised our family. But as parents of three young adults who are moving forward in their own careers and studies, we chose to return to Sonoma County where family roots run deep. And to pursue our goal of making a difference by providing a service that truly meets a vital community need.
My family goes back four generations in Sonoma County. My great-grandfathers were both immigrants from Tuscany. One lived independently well into his 90s on a hillside ranch in Alexander Valley; he grew his own food, kept a few ranch animals, and made a little local wine. [With my mother, now in her 80th decade, we’re enjoying life on this same property]. A second great-grandfather raised his family in Healdsburg, where he worked with local farmers to ship their produce to points east and ran the Cerri general store, now the site of Costeaux French Bakery.
Mary-Frances Walsh – Co-Owner
Early in my career, my graduate studies in Health Care Administration at The Johns Hopkins University led to valuable experiences in hospital administration and health services planning in New York City and Chicago. Later on, life brought experiences in caring for an elderly loved one long distance.
My mother, who reached the grand age of 102, spent her 80s and 90s with no immediate family living nearby. When she began experiencing minor falls and increased mobility challenges, we sought assistance from a placement service and were urged to move her to an assisted living facility for her safety. Home Care was not presented as an option at that time.
While her essential needs were met in assisted living, it also meant giving up many of her favorite daily routines: shopping for and preparing meals, walking to church to attend daily mass, and frequently connecting with long-time friends. She would have loved to have had the support needed to remain safely in her own home – someone to help with errands, accompany her on walks, etc.
Toward the end of her life, my mother’s health challenges increased. On several occasions she was sent to the emergency room for pain; minimal weekend staffing at the assisted living facility meant that they were not able to monitor her condition effectively. So she was repeatedly admitted to the hospital, observed overnight, and then returned to assisted living – feeling exhausted, weakened and alone. And living far away, her family was left worried and feeling helpless.
Danielle Tucker – Client Care Administrator
Since early in my life I have had a passion for helping others, which is why I studied the social and behavioral sciences at Santa Rosa Junior College and then at Sonoma State University. My experience includes caring for medically fragile, developmentally delayed adults and later, with residents of a memory care facility where I became interested in working with older adults. This led me to join the Home Care Assistance Sonoma County team as a Caregiver, where I was trained in their Cognitive Therapeutics Method.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, as a volunteer to help children with reading and math. Upon my return, I transitioned from Caregiver to my current full-time role as Client Care Administrator at Home Care Assistance.
I am responsible for Caregiver recruitment and orientation. I also work with the office team to ensure that Caregivers and clients are well matched. This includes introducing newly assigned Caregivers, taking the time to make sure that our clients, their family members and the Caregiver have a common understanding of the client’s needs and preferences – and problem-solving when needed. I have really enjoyed these experiences and strive to continue helping others in a variety of ways.
Latifa Lovelyn-Chandler RN – Client Care Manager
A native Texan, I moved to Sonoma County ten years ago to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. Several years ago I witnessed the healthcare system miserably fail someone dear to my heart. Eye-opening and heart-wrenching, the experience inspired me to become the change I-wished-to-see in health care.
I have been taking care of others for as long as I can remember. After graduating from the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) nursing program, I recently achieved my goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Although nursing comes with challenges, it is more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I love what I do!
I know that it takes a village to make our client’s care complete, which is why I value teamwork and believe two heads are better than one. I have a strong drive to succeed, a lot of heart, and an incredibly strong work ethic. I take every client’s story and experience to heart. I became a nurse because I have a strong desire to help others, and I love working with our clients. I do my best to provide the best care I can possibly give.
As Community Outreach Chair for the SRJC Student Nurse Association, I facilitated my classmates’ participation in many community events and organized clothing and food drives for the homeless and disenfranchised of Sonoma County. At graduation I was honored with the Nightingale Award, given to a graduate nurse who embodies the core values of nursing with an emphasis on the provision of holistic, patient-centered and compassionate care. I look forward to working with you and your loved one.
Riki Jacobsen – Client Care Manager
Rikki moved to Petaluma with her husband and two sons from Sebastopol, CA, in 2015. They believe in raising their sons in a family-oriented environment and are grateful to now be close to both sets of grandparents and the boys’ great grandmother.
Originally from Washington State, Rikki moved to Half Moon Bay with her mother and brother in 1997. As a teenager she was recruited by her grandmother’s bridge group to be an honorary member of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The group’s mentorship of women and girls fostered Rikki’s love of the arts and learning; it also taught her the importance of community and philanthropy. The friendships developed led to her appreciation and passion for working with older adults. Thirteen years later, Rikki is proud to contribute her knowledge of case management to the Home Care Assistance Sonoma County team.
Deena Hansen – Scheduler
I have lived in Northern California my entire life and taken care of others for nearly as long. As the oldest in my family, I helped watch my younger siblings and cousins. As a ten-year-old I began helping my aunts to care for their newborns and as a teenager, began taking care of older adults.
I like to help people who can’t help themselves and have learned by doing. As a live-in caregiver for my husband’s grandmother, I had my first experience caring for someone living with dementia. I learned how important it is to have compassion when caring for someone in those shoes – and how to find common ground with an individual who may be difficult to communicate with. I have since accumulated 20 years’ experience caring for older adults and really enjoy helping them stay in their own homes.
Now I’ve moved on to scheduling the caregiving done by other caregivers. For me, it’s an opportunity to share my experience, as well as my passion for finding ways to make the late-in-life experience a peaceful one.