When did you open your business and why did you choose this community?
I opened Assisting Hands Home Care San Diego in the fall of 2011 and chose the RB community because I live there and want to make a difference in my community and North County. I have lived in the RB community since 2003 when I transferred here with with Five Star Quality Care/Remington Club where I used to be the controller. The most satisfying part of my job was not the financial aspect of it but helping seniors live as independently as possible.
I have since joined the RB Rotary Club, local Chambers of Commerce and several area professional organizations in an effort to help my community.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced? What have you learned from them?
The biggest challenge I had initially faced was getting the word to our community that we were here and ready to provide quality service! We have passed some of the hurdles and there is a lot of competition in this business. But I have learned that by setting ourselves apart from the rest of home care agencies by going the extra mile and doing the right thing for our clients and team members, we would gain ground and we have!
We pride ourselves in a team approach to each and every client and care for them as if they were part of our own family. Just check our YELP reviews and client testimonials!
What distinguishes your business from others in the same industry?
For starters we are a 24/7 company. Our clients have our cell phone numbers and whether something was scheduled or not, they know they can call us day or night, holidays etc. to add a bit more help whenever they need it.
All our caregivers go through rigorous background checks, drug testing etc. at our own expense. All caregivers are hired not as an outside contractor but on our payroll. We match each client’s wishes to find just the right caregiver, i.e. the right fit in personality. We conduct regular and random supervisory visits to ensure our clients are receiving the best care by our caregivers. We have a certified case manager who can help with transitions to make sure our clients remain as independent as possible while living in their own home and offer suggestions. We provide free consultations, referrals for other types of assistance and treat each call and person we talk to with dignity and respect and help them in any way we possibly can, whether or not that person is our client.
Our client relations manager calls and visits each client regularly to make sure their needs are met and that they are happy with our service. We do special things for each client, such as holiday and birthday recognitions. This is just a few of the things that set us apart from our competition.
What’s the best business advice you’ve been given, and what’s your favorite advice to share?
The best advice I was given was to do what you love and you will be successful. My motto for business is to find solutions that are win-win and that’s how I run my business. If I can provide quality care and help people live independently to the extent possible, employ the highest quality staff, then everything else will fall into place. I feel good knowing I am instrumental in helping the economy and quality of life in my community and making it a better place.
What changes, if any, would you like to see in the local business community?
I wish I could eradicate all hunger and homelessness! It hurts me to know children and elderly are living out in the open somewhere with no food or a bed to call their own. This just should not happen in this country.
I have been elected as chair for community services with the Rotary Club and will be conducting a needs assessment in our community and will be able to offer assistance to those in need.
Bonus: Is there anything else you’d like to share about owning your own business?
It’s been a hard road to drive when you are first putting a business together. Seeing it grow from two full-time staff, a couple of caregivers and one client to a half-dozen full-time administration staff, around 30 caregivers and clients in just over a year has been very satisfying. The most rewarding part is seeing the day-to-day improvements in the quality of life for some of our seniors. It makes me feel we are in the right business. We hope to double that in the very near future!
Jane Northam is the Staffing Manager of Assisting Hands San Diego. Retiring from a 30 year career in the communications industry, Jane stayed home to care for her young grandchildren and took on the family role of watching over her 89 year old Mother who lived alone and needed homecare. The family sought the best homecare possible and wanted to be sure they could trust and depend on the caregivers coming into mom’s home. It became clear to Jane that finding just the right caregiver for her mother was very important as not only physical but emotional and social needs were paramount to her overall health.
Jane has been with Assisting Hands San Diego from the start. With the help of the Team, Jane has developed a system for hiring the most caring, compassionate caregivers who have a deep passion for helping others. Jane recruits, interviews and handles all staffing related matters, conducts training and has constant communication with the caregivers who are then additionally screened and reviewed by a staff nurse. Each client and caregiver are introduced to each other, ensuring a compatible match for both client and caregiver. Only caregivers that have passed our standards are employed by AHRB, ensuring the best continued care for our clients. All caregiver skill sets and certifications are also monitored and up to date records are maintained.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys spending time with her family, ocean outrigger paddling, cooking healthy meals and exercising. Jane is proud to be part of the Assisting Hands San Diego team, where the most important goal is to help maintain quality of life for those in need.
Pam Larson is the Staffing Assistant and newest member of the Assisting Hands San Diego team. Pam retired from a Fortune 500 Communications Company a few years ago, after having worked there 30 years.
Upon retirement, Pam worked part time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park driving the tram thru Journey into Africa and educating guests about the animals and birds there. The San Diego Zoo/Safari Park has always been a special passion of Pam’s.
During this time, Pam became increasing aware that she wanted to do something that would truly make a difference and fill a real need in peoples’ lives. Fortunately for Assisting Hands, we found each other!
Pam has lived in San Diego County for 44 years and been a San Diego resident for 15 years. Pam serves on the Board for the One Oaks North HOA. In her spare time, Pam enjoys long walks around North County San Diego and spending time with family and friends.