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Yorba Linda Brea, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, La Habra, Chino Hills and Orange County

I was brought up by my grandmother, and the concept of looking after the elderly was instilled in me as a child. I grew up during the days when four generations lived under the same roof, and there was always someone in our extended family home to look after the young and the old.

As I got older, one of the best experiences during my high school exchange year in Germany was volunteering in a nursing home for six months. I was asked to provide companionship to those who did not have family of their own to alleviate their loneliness and boredom. Nothing was more gratifying than to see their smiles and lighted faces during my visits. I wanted to be a social worker at that time. Instead, I graduated with a pharmacy degree in Australia, and worked in many different local communities for 15 years. I chose to work in community pharmacy as I treasured the patient rapport and goodwill built over time.

Today, I feel that my volunteer experience has come full circle. Having raised three children, and currently being in the situation of providing long distance help for my aging parents; I understand how difficult and frustrating long distance caring can be. I now want to help families care for their loved ones; from parents caring for their special-needs children to adult children providing solutions for their parents.

Caring for the elderly requires a holistic approach; one that considers not only their physical, cognitive and emotional health, abilities and resources, but also whatever health concern that is most problematic at the moment. This is particularly true for homebound older patients, whose circumstances, like their health problems, tend to be complex. To be effective caregivers, I believe in active listening, keen observation, open communication lines with clients and their families, and providing objective and practical advice. This client-centered care leads to optimal outcomes in home health care.

We do our best to ensure there is a good fit between our clients and our caregivers. We are culturally aware and sensitive to the individual needs and wants of our clients. I have lived in several countries, speak four languages, and understand multiculturalism. Meeting our challenges is very rewarding, and our determination to provide the highest quality care achievable for our families is our priority.

Irene Finney