“We’re here to provide care for anybody,” said Tanya Finnerty, owner of Homewatch Caregivers in La Jolla.
Finnerty has provided care in the area for nearly a decade, with a staff of more than 85 and two more locations in Carlsbad and Temecula.
“Homewatch Caregivers is an in-home, non-medical home care agency,” Finnerty said. It offers three service lines.
The first, called companion care, is a “no-touch” service. “Maybe your grandma ... is not getting out as much. We can check on her, make sure she’s thriving. We can help with laundry, get the garbage cans out,” Finnerty said.
“The next level up is our personal care services, helping more with the bathing, with toileting, helping with hygiene, with medication management, getting them to doctors’ appointments,” Finnerty said. This level also uses a “unique system where we can track how they’re doing week to week and report that to doctors or hospitals.”
"[The] highest level is our complex care,” she said. “It’s ... for those who need a high level of care and expertise: maybe bedridden or in hospice care. That’s where we have home health aides and certified nursing assistant licensed caregivers.”
Along with their “mechanical” duties, Finnerty said, her caregivers attend to “the social, emotional aspect. We look at the whole person.”
The “biggest thing now,” she said, “is our elderly are lonely. They’re shut in, regardless of COVID-19. They’re home a lot; their kids maybe live elsewhere.”
Finnerty said it’s important that the caregivers focus on “social engagement and bringing joy to their lives. It’s so wonderful to see the relationships our caregivers have formed with these people.”
Finnerty said most of Homewatch Caregivers’ clients are senior citizens, but its services are for “people of all ages. We have younger clients with ALS or other diseases or offer care for those recovering from surgery. We have a child care program as well.”
Finnerty became involved in caregiving in 2010, leaving the corporate world after her second maternity leave. “I wanted to know I was giving back, doing something meaningful in my community,” she said.
Finnerty also has a contract with San Diego County under the Aging and Independent Services program, which provides services through licensed partners like Homewatch Caregivers using federal funding. “It’s rewarding,” Finnerty said. “I’m proud of that partnership.”
Finnerty also is proud of the flexibility she can offer. Caregivers are available for as little as two hours once or twice a week up to 24-hour care.
“We can give as much or as little as you need,” she said.
And with caregivers “strategically placed all over the county, we can get someone there quickly, within hours of picking up the phone. We’re always on call, we are very reactive,” Finnerty said.
Many clients are nervous about losing their independence. “Home care will help them keep their independence,” she said. “[Clients] don’t realize that. We’re almost personal assistants. You’re still living at home, you’re still independent, you just need a little bit of help with things here and there.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, “people are realizing that in the home is the safest place to be right now,” Finnerty said. “If your mom is at home and there’s only one person in personal protective equipment coming in and out, you’re very safe. That’s where things are going in this industry.”
For more information about Homewatch Caregivers, visit hwcg.com/la-jolla or call (858) 780-5162.
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