Friday, May 25 , 2018, 8:58 am | Partly Cloudy 59º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.


Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series