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Senior Planning Services Celebrates 20 years of Success in Elder Care Solutions

A Santa Barbara company solves the problem of finding and employing a caregiver

Finding and properly employing a caregiver for an elderly person can be confusing and time consuming; however, a Santa Barbara company has the solution to the problem.

Suzanne McNeely
Suzanne McNeely

Senior Planning Services provides help for seniors and their families by matching well-screened, compatible and capable caregivers to their particular needs and circumstances.

The company, which serves all of Santa Barbara County, is celebrating its 20th year of operation. As parents of baby boomers grow older, they face health and other issues that prevent them from living independently in their homes and managing their resources.

“We work with the senior and their family to come up with the best care plan for them,” said Suzanne McNeely, who founded Senior Planning Services and has served thousands of clients during the past two decades.

McNeely said the company provides elder-care solutions tailored to the unique needs of each situation; a comprehensive array of services that allows seniors to remain safely and securely at home; and certified geriatric care managers and trained home-care professionals.

After a thorough evaluation, Senior Planning Services specialists look for the most cost-effective plan for their clients, which might include details such as strategically scheduled short shifts, 24-hour care or use of tax deductions for care, McNeely said.

Senior Planning Services is a resource for the information needed to help a family access long-term health care, McNeely said.

“Senior Planning Services really looks at helping the family find the right solutions and options,” she said.

Senior Planning Services eldercare coordinator Lenda Smith stressed the need for clients to feel at ease when a caregiver comes to their home.

“You can’t predict how the relationship between the caregiver and received will work,” Smith said. “Caregivers must have the right personality, dependability and flexibility.”

Smith trains the caregivers Senior Planning Services employs based on their level of expertise in dealing with various client situations. She said caregivers must have the right personality, dependability and flexibility to meet the needs of their clients.

It’s a slow process, Smith said, but it is important for the caregiver to learn the client’s history, life style and the details of who they are.

“It’s their house, you’re their guest,” Smith said of the company’s approach to providing care for clients. She makes sure her company’s caregivers remember that.

“Some days are longer than others because there may be a change in their schedule if the client becomes ill,” Smith said. “Caregivers might have a lot of different duties.”

For example, Smith said Alzheimer’s patient caregivers must make sure they provide the services that are effective in their client’s living situation.

“To meet the client’s needs, they must see what works best in their environment,” she explained.

Lenda Smith
Lenda Smith

McNeely said SPS caregivers work with clients who have impaired memory and they must understand how that feels because memories can define who they are.

“It’s important to have the knowledge of how to respond to the person’s moods,” she said.

After working as a social worker in health care and rehabilitation for many years, McNeely had a growing concern for the elderly and disabled who lacked family to advocate for them in the fragmented, impersonal systems that they were dependent for treatment and care.

“I put together the services they needed to assure their quality of life, safety and dignity,” McNeely said.

Smith said the collective experience and the range of services and referrals provided by Senior Planning Services is unlike any other company around. Along with Smith, McNeely employs more than a dozen specialists.

McNeely said her experience with nonprofit organizations, insurance and publicly funded programs convinced her the only way she would be able see that all their needs were addressed comprehensively was to offer herself as a privately hired professional “rent-a-daughter,” without the limits of those environments and funding sources.

Click here for more information about Senior Planning Services, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.966.3312.

— Barbara Burger is a media specialist for Senior Planning Services.

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