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.
Living well at home has been important to my family across the generations and because of this, I know that there are times when helping hands are needed. Home Care Assistance has a proven track record for quality of service, integrity and caregiver training – each essential to providing older adults who need help maintaining quality of life and their families, with peace of mind. I look forward to playing an active role as a community resource for aging well in Sonoma County.
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.
How much better all of us would have been with a knowledgeable Care Manager in place to help us understand what was happening and how best to help her – and a trained Caregiver to help her regain strength post-hospitalization.
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.
Toni LeCompte – Employee Care Manager
Born in San Francisco, I chose to move to Sonoma County some 25 years ago to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. After raising two sons and being blessed as a grandparent, I began asking myself where I could be of help to others. Starting a house cleaning business was my answer and in time, I found my clients asking whether I knew anyone who provided home care services. I realized then that house cleaning did not offer the kind of personal connections that I sought in a career.
After more than two decades of experience as an in-home Caregiver, I have gained a broad knowledge of the field by serving a wide range of clients. At UC Davis, I earned a certification as a Children & Family Services Eligibility Worker and at Santa Rosa Junior College, as a Certified Nursing/Home Health Aide. I’ve also completed certificates in Complementary & Alternative Medicine, End-of-Life Issues, Being With & Caring for the Dying, Storytelling, Life Review, Grief & Loss Rituals and Managing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s & Dementias. Home Care and Health Care are my passions, as is helping others to have a fulfilling quality of life at any age.
Rebecca Little – Caregiver Recruiting and Training
Rebecca identifies and recruits caregivers for Home Care Assistance, Sonoma County.She also conducts orientation, training, and monitoring of their early progress. Rebecca’s background includes 19 years of working with and caring for seniors with physical and developmental limitations. She also operated her own home as a facility for disabled adults, and it gave her a platform to be an advocate for those she had not been able to help before. When she closed her group home, several HCA employees who knew of her passion and recommended her for CG Recruiter and Trainer, and she was chosen for the role. She arrived at her new position with a wealth of skills and useful knowledge. As the first person to meet any potential Caregivers for HCA, Rebecca’s job as recruiter is a crucial step in the process of providing care for our clients. Her background has given her knowledge of the job, as well as the ability to recognize someone who will be a caring and successful care companion. She looks for confidence, how they listen, and if they have compassion and a drive to help others. Rebecca likes being the “face” of the organization for applicants, and enjoys meeting and working with caregivers. She is also happy to be part of efforts to enhance caregiver skills and enjoys recognizing others who realize the importance of the role our caregivers play in the lives of the many people we serve.
Charlene Still Well – Client Care Coordinator, Scheduling
Charlene started her career in Customer Service at the age of 17. Nine years later, she became a Caregiver through an agency in Ukiah. She loved the clientele, but found she needed a different type of challenge. She was able to transfer to the job of receptionist, in an organization working with clients with developmental disabilities. She enjoyed the position, because she still had some interaction with clients, but also loved the faster pace of scheduling and recruiting. On top of that, she also helped with Payroll, and even worked 24-hour shifts. Considering her calm demeanor, she’s obviously hiding a dynamo inside! She loves that scheduling is like a giant puzzle! It can be crazy sometimes, with sudden changes triggered by health issues, client appointments, or caregivers with a sick child or car trouble. In addition to the physical needs of clients and caregivers, Charlene also likes being creative in helping to solve issues, and having the product be happy clients, happy caregivers, and all shifts covered! She is involved in the lives and needs of many people — and knows that they trust her and are depending on her to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s a very satisfying feeling for Charlene. She is also glad that she is in an environment where the staff works as a Team, with good coordination and communication. And she is glad Home Care Assistance is flexible, open to changing procedures to do what will work best for the clients.
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