In-Home Assistance & Support for Elders

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello! I'm looking for full-time in-home care (9am-3pm) for my mother-in-law who has mobility issues due to her Parkinson's.  She mostly needs help with meal prep, getting in and out of bed, laundry, dishes and encouraging her to get out of the house each day.  I've been in touch with some agencies that seem fine but wanted to reach out to see if anyone has personal experience with anyone or a specific agency they trust. Thank you in advance! 

    We used Senior Helpers of the East Bay for my dad, who had Parkinson’s. They were okay.

    A couple of the carers were excellent, and a couple were so terrible we complained and said never to send them to our house again. There is more demand for this kind of care in the Bay Area right now than available well-qualified carers, which means that not everybody who gets hired is good enough. But some of them are wonderful. When you find someone who’s a good fit with your family, you want to try to hold on to them and increase their hours with you. And it’s okay to decide you want to try a different person if it isn’t being a great fit, though it’s a slight roll of the dice. 

    Also, when we had a family emergency and suddenly needed 24-hour cover with no notice, they scrambled and found it for us, and I will always be grateful.

    Talk to On Lok.  They are the CA PACE program for our area and are designed to provide wrap around care to keep seniors in their homes.  Good luck.…

  • I'm looking for recommendations for a caregiver agency. My elderly parent in Berkeley mainly needs companionship and light housekeeping perhaps 2-3x/wk.  I've contacted 2 agencies but they tend to make appts to meet then cancel last minute due to scheduling issues. Is this just the nature of the business? I'm still working with one of them but want back-up choices just in case. 

    My parents have had great experiences with Kindred At Home. Almost everyone they have sent has been wonderful. They have been using their services for over 2 years. 

    My post-stroke father needed companionship and light housekeeping (and more) for 12 years. He actually had 24-hr home care in three shifts. Home care is a difficult industry from all angles. For clients it’s expensive and often unreliable: last-minute cancellations and turnover of regular clients is very high. As a low-skill profession, it’s very low-paying for workers with little incentive to stay. It’s hard for business owners to recruit and keep employees. 
    We worked with several agencies over time. We did lots of interviewing to determine the ethics of the company. 
    We had one worker for the whole 12 years, several that lasted half that, many that stayed around for 1-2 years and many that only came once or for a few weeks. We had one worker that secretly smoked pot and drank on the job, one that would leave my dad unattended overnight and lied about it, one that let Dad fondle her. One that dropped him during a transfer and lied about it. That was 4 bad apples (that were caught) out of the at least fifty that mostly graciously and kindly helped my Dad. 
    My advice is to just know up front that it can be a lot of work to maintain home care. It will require a consistent commitment on your part to manage it. 
    The agencies are good because they have all the insurance and do the recruiting. And the workers sometimes get unemployment and sick and vacation benefits. 
    Have you ever hired long term childcare or housecleaning services? Did you use agency or hire independently? For the 2-3 hours/week I might recommend looking yourself for someone on Craigslist etc. 
    Turnover is always hard because the new aides need to be trained and your parent has to get used to a new person. Then again, each new person might be the perfect long-term fit you’ve been looking for! Despite the seemingly endless hassles, looking back there were so many angels and bright moments for my dad and for us. It made our visits so much richer, so we could enjoy dad without having to do endless chores. I’m wishing you so much success, patience, and serendipity. 

    I'm sorry to hear you've had this experience. It can be really stressful to take care of our parents. I can recommend an amazing caregiver: Jonathan J. Levine. He is a wonderfully patient, kind and empathetic soul and very reliable. You can check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.  He has experience with elders with disabilities and dementia and those who need the type of care you are describing. His email is jonathan.jay.levine [at]

    Best, Lisa

    Home care agencies usually require a minimum of 4 hours per shift with the cost around $35/hour. Here are two contacts that can help you set up home care:

    -Andy Hashimi at Lighthouse Professional Placement & Caregivers, 925-525-2727

    -Fernando Aquino at Your Senior Living Consultants, 510-938-0017

    Hope you find the right caregiver for your needs. Best of luck!

    I have used for support services for my daughter.  Their data base includes elder care.  I've been pleased with the one person that I hired and was able to verify her qualifications as well.

  • My 96-year old mother lives alone in her 3-bedroom home in Berkeley and is not open to living elsewhere. She has mild cognitive impairment and sometimes needs help with cooking, bathing, and reminders about taking medicine, changing clothes, etc. She's oriented, and can read and converse. She does not need physical caregiving. 

    If she pays caregivers for 24 hours/day it costs over $220,000/year. We're trying to figure out how get the care she needs without spending so much.

    One idea is for her to pay daytime caregivers, and find a responsible person to live rent free in her home and provide limited nighttime care, which means checking on her 1-3 times/night. They'd be in the Elmwood area and would have a bedroom, private bath, office, and shared kitchen and backyard. Start and end times would be flexible. Her daytime caretakers are present 9am-9pm, and she is okay alone for limited periods of time.

    Do you have other suggestions for ways to handle this? If the rent-free idea sounds good, do you know of anyone who might be interested, or have suggestions about how we might find someone?


    Ashby Village is an organization of elders helping elders. I joined last August. There is a professional staff who runs the organization, but most of the activities help, driving, assistance, hikes, chats, etc. are run by volunteers.They also have lists of caregivers and professionals, although I have not consulted these lists.

  • My mother lives with us (and our almost-five-year-old). She's been afraid to leave the house since COVID hit in 2020 and, unsurprisingly, her health has suffered, particularly her mobility. I think I'm at the point where I need help with her personal needs. If she falls in the shower, for example, I don't think I'm strong enough to lift her up. She is uncomfortable with strangers, so we're going to need someone who is very sensitive to that. Thankfully, she does have long-term care insurance, so I'm looking for recommendations for an organization that can send someone to the house occasionally (once a week? once every two weeks?) for help with personal care (and making a friend wouldn't hurt either). Thanks.

    If you just need occasional help at the moment, I would recommend an agency. The downside is that the personnel varies, but you don't have to handle scheduling/payroll and given that your mom doesn't need fulltime care yet, you could have a couple people come and see who might be a good fit. We worked with 24 Hour Home Care, which is a pretty large agency, and it worked for us. My recommendation is to start working with caregivers before you think you really need them, because that way you and your mom already have a relationship with the caregiver and your mom is comfortable before/if they need more help. I can't tell you what a difference it made for my mom to have someone else to talk to other than me! Depending on what level of coverage her insurance will cover, I would say use the max amount of time that they'll reimburse.

    You mentioned your mom has developed mobility issues, has she received any Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy? If she is homebound, she can usually receive these kind of therapists through Home Health. The Physical Therapist can develop a home exercise program that will help to strengthen and hopefully make her less of a fall risk. The Occupational Therapist can assist her with performing activities of daily living and energy conservation. Also do you have equipment like a shower chair or mobility devices such as a cane or walker to assist with ambulation? If she is on Medicare, that usually covers a walker or cane, but not the shower chair. I’m not sure where you are located. If you are near Walnut Creek, please contact me and I can provide some names of caregiving agencies in the area. Thanks and best of luck to you

  • Hello - I'm looking for advice about how to find a part-time in home caregiver for my senior father with Alzheimer's. We are interested in someone who could come 5-10 hours a week. Many of the elder care companies require a minimum of 20 hours/week so I was curious if anyone had specific recommendations of where to find someone. 

    My mom found good CNA options for my dad using  Most of the people there are independent so it requires that you interview and vet them, but she has been quite happy with those she has found.

    24 Hour Home Care does not have weekly hour minimums. 

    id recommend talking with your father’s PCP or neurologist to see if they have a clinic social worker who can get you a better list. I know there’s one available to KP members. 

    A Love for Seniors, ask for Janet Ruehle she will help you find a caregiver no problem 

  • Hey BPN! I'm seeking a short-term, full-time/live-in senior caregiver to help take care of my grandmother for about two weeks in late January/early February. I know folks use for both elderly and child care, but was wondering if there are other similar sites since we haven't had much success so far with 

    In particular we are seeking someone who speaks Mandarin and is willing to travel to the San Jose / Milpitas area. Referrals are welcome! 

    I've used Sitter City successfully (just like There is a fee but it is free for UCB employees (and maybe other UC employees as well.

    But given the specifics of what you are looking for, I would reach out to Chinese cultural centers in the South Bay as well as senior centers with large numbers of Mandarin-speaking clients, since they may know of Mandarin-speaking caregivers. And maybe an ad in one or more of the Chinese papers in the Bay Area (

  • Older parent in home care

    Dec 16, 2017

    One of my very good friends has older parents

    Her mother is in her early 80's and provides  day to day care needs to her husband who is in his late 90's

    That said her mother may be in the hospital for a period of time. My friend will be traveling back and forth and wanting to explore in home care for father.

    He does have some medications and will need assistance in daily care needs and has limited mobility 

    She will also be looking into insurance and community options 

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    I'm a local geriatric specialist and refer people to the following agencies for Home Care: CASE home care, elder care services, and Senior alternatives. The only insurance that pays for day-to-day care needs for an elder is through someone's long-term care insurance so if you don't have that and if you don't qualify for Medi-Cal then you're on your own. Qualifying for Medi-Cal means having $3,000 or less in liquid assets and still being able to own a home in a car and personal items. If the Elder made be eligible go 2 the Family Caregiver Alliance is also good source of information and and stopping in to the local Senior Center is also a great resource for local information. I always suggest people make contact with their social network including synagogue Church, temples, ther elders obviously for referrals for care private caregivers.take care.

    Does your friend's mother qualify for Medi-Cal? If so, she can get an in-home helper that the state will pay for. My mother has that, and it is fantastic. Her helper makes breakfast for her, drives her to doctor appointments, takes out the garbage and laundry, things like that. If not I also know of Ashby Village, which is a nonprofit service you subscribe to that provides various services like transportation, food delivery, household maintenance recommendations, and things like that.

  • Hello,

    My mom is in need of live in help and we are searching for someone to start asap. The person would be paid through In Home Supportive Services. Does anyone have any experience with finding someone that is really amazing, trustworthy, caring, someone you would want living in your smallish apartment? Does anyone know of anyone? Any help would be appreciated.

    Here is an ad that we have put together, feel free to pass it on to anyone you know who may be interested or a good fit.

    Elderly disabled woman with episodes of weakness seeking a home health aide to live with her and provide care. Seeking a sweet, kind, quiet, clean, and considerate female. Care would include meal prep and clean up, light house cleaning, laundry, groceries, and some personal care.

    Living space is a medium size clean and bright furnished bedroom with a shared bathroom and kitchen in Berkeley.

    Hello, There are many agencies that have trained and bonded/DOJ-cleared caregivers.  I would go with an agency just because it could be hard for a person to choose a caregiver properly.


    Apr 2, 2017

    Dear Berkeley Parents- My sister and I would like some recommendations for elder care for our father. He has parkinson's and currently lives at home. Any recommendations greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    He might want to check out Ashby Village -- it is a group of older people working together to stay in their homes. It goes as far north as El Cerrito. They have monthly living room get-togethers for potential members. I have an older friend who has found it helpful.

  • Seeking a trustworthy, reliable, responsible and excellent, safe driver for about 5-7 hours/week (specifics TBD) to help my lovely 82 year old Mom who will need to give up driving in the near future. Ideal person will be patient, experienced, have lots of common sense, know the area (North Berkeley primarily) and have a pristine driving record and insurance. French speaking would be a big plus. Use of her late model car may be an option.  Our initial thinking is that someone would be able to meet her 2-3 times a week to help her run errands and have occasional outings, etc.-- some flexibility as we perfect this would be appreciated. 

    I started out looking for part-time help for my folks and found my wonderful caregivers on You set the parameters for what you need and look for someone who fits your needs.  There are lots of people out there, so be sure you interview them, run the background & DMV checks (provided through the site), get references and find the right fit (can you tell I work in HR?).  Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions: Finding a Helper for a Senior Questions: Finding Work as a Senior Helper Related Pages

Finding a Helper for a Senior

Companion/driver for mom in skilled nursing facility

Oct 2011

Hi there, My mother resides in a skilled nusing facility. They are very nice and helpful. We definately feel good about the facility, however my mother, who is basically wheel chair bound, is getting 'bored'. She doesn't seem to really be drawn to the activities at the facility. I would love to find a person or organization who is equipped to take my mother out once or twice a week for a fee. Are there people or organizations equipped to do this?

I've worked for the company called Engage as You Age, which carefully matches its employees to older people who are seeking to learn a new skill, get out to interesting places, or otherwise 'engage' more. Find them at: and talk to their director, Ben Lewis, who really cares about the people they serve. I hope this helps!
Hi - I am a health advocate/care manager. You don't say where the SNF is located so it's more difficult to identify services. However, here are a few suggestions: 1. If you haven't already, talk with facility staff about your concerns. 2. Silver Ride, is a transportation company especially for older adults. You may learn more about them here: 3. Engage As You Age -- pairs a smart, empathic Specialist with your mom, who shares her interests and passions. An incredible service! Those are the resources that come to mind right now. Feel free to email me if you are looking for something else or have additional questions. Take care Dana

Live-in elder care needed (Rossmoor Walnut Creek)

Oct 2011

My 82 year old mother needs live-in care to help with basic needs like dressing, getting up from a chair or bed, getting food, transport to appointments, running errands,... Some days she fine to do these tasks on her own, other days she's too weak. Her mind is fully there; it's her body wearing out. She is living on her own now with people stopping in to help, but she is in need of more care. Want somebody with experience/references and who is kind, bright, an early riser, and not too chatty.

Hi - I am a private health advocate/care manager. It's terrific you're being proactive regarding your mom's needs/care. I would recommend hiring a live- in caregiver from a non-medical, full service, in-home care agency, for the following reasons: 1. the caregiver is employed by the agency (but works for you) and therefore the agency pays taxes, provides worker's comp and will get someone else if the person is sick or injured etc. and you are not liable. 2. the caregivers are back ground checked, screened, and have experience and training 3. the agency is available 24/7 and supervise the caregivers Hiring someone privately might be less expensive but as the consumer, you must assume all of the responsibilities of an employer. There are also referral agencies which place caregivers with consumers -- you would want to know their training, screening processes etc -- some collect a placement fee or some charge an hourly rate, but they often don't pay employer/employee taxes or worker's comp, so again, you assume the responsibilities of an employer. I would recommend contacting the following full service agencies to get more information: BrightStar: Jen Williams, 925.785.0734 Comfort Keepers: Jamie Thorpe, 925.808.8372. Take care, Dana
I recommend you contact Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services in Walnut Creek. 925-946-1869. In addition to doing Meals on Wheels, this nonprofit agency operates a number of other services for seniors and their families, including a matching service that helps seniors find screened in-home help, and a free social work service that can help with a myriad of issues. They serve most of Contra Costa county, including Rossmoor. I work at this agency and can attest that it is staffed by caring folks. Good luck! Anne
I recently heard from a friend about Inclusive Community Resources, LLC ( I have no direct experience with them, but you might want to check them out. Parent

Care taker for elderly mother-in-law

Jan 2011

I need someone to take care of my elderly mother in-law. She is on a wheelchair, her husband will have surgery and she can't stay alone. I would like someone with good references, patience and very caring. A.

There's a homecare company in Hayward that sends caregivers to your house at an hourly rate to look after people (like cooking, laundry, bathing). My sister in law hired them for her mother, and they seemed to do a good job. HomeAide Homecare 510-247-1200. RDT

Editor: also recommended: Board-and-Care Facilities

Help with Forgetful Elderly Parent's Meds

April 2010

My mother-in-law has Parkinson's disease and seems to be developing Parkinson's dementia. She has a rather complicated medication regimen (having to take pills 7 or 8 times per day; having to wait 30 minutes after eating before she takes a pill, etc) and is no longer able to follow it on her own. Her husband is trying to help but he is not with her all day long and the result is that her medications are not being managed well. We have tried pill cases with alarms on them and setting timers but it's not really working. I'm not really sure where to look for help or what kind of help she needs. I'm not sure we can afford to hire someone to be with her all day long and I know she would hate that anyway, as she is still able to function in a number of areas.

Has anyone else dealt with something similar? I feel like we need a social worker or case manager to help us figure out a care plan but I'm not sure where I would find someone like that. Any ideas would be appreciated. concerned daughter

Hi, I totally understand your parents' situation and my heart goes out to you. I highly recommend you talk to Susan Grant - president of Senior Helpers in Berkeley. They provide professional, warm and compassionate care that enables seniors to live independently in the comfort of their own home. She is a wonderful person and truly has a heart for seniors. They have a lot of experience and good reputation serving seniors in the East Bay. Give her a call to discuss your situation, I am sure she will have a solution for you. Her number is 510-524-6700 or email: sgrant [at] Good luck Lan
My mother-in-law also takes a pharmacy full of medication and has had a hard time keeping it straight. My sister-in-law lives nearby but can't go by MIL's house 5 x a day. They solved the problem by getting this machine which dispenses the medication. Once a week my sis-in-law loads all the meds into the timer/dispenser. I wish I knew what it was called but perhaps a pharmacist or MD could tell you. It takes about 1/2 hr. to load, but then it's good for about a week. The pills are dispensed at the appropriate time and it even says ''Time for your medication'' (which my MIL hates ... sort of reminds me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.) If the meds aren't retrieved from the machine, a signal is sent via the phone lines to a switchboard and they call my sister-in-law. My MIL is very low income, and gets public assistance from some county agency; this is where the med-dispenser came from. They live in Ohio so not sure if any CA social services agency would provide it. But I'm sure the unit is for sale here. Good luck! anon
Perhaps a caregiver service for seniors could spend some time with her each day (when your father isn't available). I worked for a company called Home Instead for a few years and it sounds like it might do the trick for your family. Caregivers spend time with the client (companionship), do light housekeeping, run errands, whatever the family/client needs. They are not allowed to administer medication, but they can provide the necessary reminders to the client. Home Instead is a national franchise; their local office is in Oakland ( Good luck. Anon

My 84 year old mother needs in-home attendant

Jan 2010

I am looking for help, or advice on how to best find help, for my 84 year old mother who needs in-home attendant(s) due to her physical limitations. She is a very pleasant, easy-going 84-year-old with cancer and arthritis who lives at home in North Berkeley. I need help 3-4 nights from 8:30 pm to 8:30 a.m. Right now, Thursday-Sunday nights are preferable, but this is negotiable. There is a spare bedroom to sleep in; infrequently she needs help getting to the commode during the night. Tasks are usually simple: snack preparation, dressing for bed, and helping her get in bed. Process includes some personal care, like monitoring pill-taking and putting on skin lotion. Generally, she sleeps through the night. Thanks

Berkeley Jewish Family and Children's Services has geriatric care managers, and LCSWs who can mediate family conflicts, and offer solid advice on how to help your folks. They are near Solano Ave, and their number is 558- 7800. Several of my friends have had help from them with their mom, and mom and dad in their 80s and really felt it was a valuable service..good luck. anon

Home care options for aging/ailing in-laws

June 2009

My in-laws are in SF, and my MIL has become very ill and frail lately, including falling several times at home and unable to get up. She has been hospitalized twice in the past month, but continues to be released as soon as the presenting issue (the latest was pneumonia) is treated.

Neither of my in-laws wishes to move from their lovely home, and they have excellent health insurance (private + MediCare), so they are able to pay for some good care providers. They are completely and utterly overwhelmed with this situation. They are truly unable to stay at home as the two of them. They currently have a house cleaner once per week, and a woman who comes to make a few meals for them weekly as well--but we need 24/7 care for my MIL, possibly permanently.

I know that there are home health care attendants, but I have no clue as to how to find them, screen them, etc. I am hoping that someone has experience with an agency or individual to get us started. We are able to do the majority of the screening for them, if need be (thanks to Paid Family Leave laws!), but need some clues about where to start. Also, if anyone knows how the billing works for MediCare, help would be so appreciated on where to start with that as well.

Moving in with them is not an option, but any other options other than moving would be welcomed also. Fallen into the gap...generation

An option that you may not have heard of is called San Francisco Village. The ''village'' model is an exciting new type of organization that is popping up all over the country for seniors. The SF Village just launched this year. Its basically a member organization for seniors who want to age in their own homes. For a small a fee a year, it provides sort of a ''concierge'' service where you can call for any type of service your parents need. For example, if you called them and said you needed a home care provider, they would have specific agencies or providers that they know and trust, and often provide discounts to their members. They have lists of vetted, guaranteed service providers like plumbers, contractors experienced in home modification, and anything else your parents could possibly need. It also provides lots of access to other more social things like lectures for members, transportation to shopping, or even to the opera.

This is their website:

A ''village'' like this is in development in Berkeley as well. The one in Berkeley is called Ashby Village that is planning to launch in Jan. Carrie Graham clgraham [at]

My Mom was widowed 5 years prior to being unable to live alone (Alzheimer's), so I didn't have the problem ''times 2'', as you do, but you'll need to get them some nice ladies to be ''companions / caregivers'' for them - more than 1, because no one can do it by themselves, 24/7 (trust me on this). Contact an elder-care agency (like Janet Brush's Senior Alternatives: ) to help you. I went the route of taking my Mom into my own home, and caring for her myself; when I was in NY, I had a helper 8-9 hrs per day, but when I moved here, I had to start from scratch w/the CA system, and was paying out-of-pocket til she died (less than 1 week after getting the approved paperwork granting help, etc. - ah, well). Be prepared to go through a few, before finding ones you like (competent, compassionate, intelligent) - kind of like looking for a nanny, (deja vu all over again?) Best of luck, it's a hard row to hoe, but keep in mind that it's only a ''phase'', and (sadly?) won't last forever... --Former Sandwich Gen Mom
Ah, I've been down that road. Agencies charge an exorbitant amount and hire sub-par people at minimum or slightly above minimum wage. None of this is covered by Medicare or any run-of- the-mill insurance plan. Your best bet is hiring someone yourself at a good hourly rate; ideally someone who would live in the house and have two days off that family members would have to cover. anon
Definitely contact the Caregivers Alliance, they have a wealth of information and support. As for specific home health agencies, I am using Irish Help at Home for my mother, and have also heard good things about them in the past. Good luck... mm
We took my parents in when my mom could no longer care for my dad with Parkinson's Disease.

Caregivers can be found through any senior network. Try They serve the SF bay area and it would be a good place to start. Finding a caregiver is similar to finding a nanny or a daycare for your children.

Medicare does not pay for assisted living or home care, only skilled nursing. The skilled nursing is for 100 days at a time. Home care is expensive (about $25 per hour) and unless your MIL has long term home health insurance, then it comes out of pocket. My mom's policy provides $700/week to pay out to an authorized caregiver. But it is my DAD who is ill and because of his parkinson's, he could not get LTHH insurance.

Recently, dad had a mild heart attack and was hospitalized for 4 days. Medicare and AARP paid 100%. I was able to arrange for him to spend some time in the hospital rehab to build up his strength before he came home. He did physical and occupational therapy plus he had a complete dietary makeover. This was all paid for as if he were in the hospital.

He was doing so well with regular exercise and a good diet, that when he left the hospital, I found a skilled nursing center where medicare and AARP paid 100% for 100 days. He also received therapy and learned how to move so he wouldn't fall. They worked with him so he would stop being impulsive and getting up and turning without thinking, etc. I insisted he stay there until these things became a habit.

He came home permanently this past Sunday. Medicare pays for the Visiting Nurses to come by for about a month to bathe him, monitor his medical needs, and provide therapy--both physical and occupational.

If you have the financial resources, you should have no problem finding someone who wants to live in.

You may contact me via e-mail if you want to share resources. diane

Two excellent resources in San Francisco:

Self Help for the Elderly

and Family Caregiver Alliance LK

Hi, There are a number of agencies in SF you could use to help you hire caregivers for your parents. One thing to consider is hiring a private ''care manager'' who could take over the hiring/screening/firing, or provide you with advice. Check out:

While I don't know about this particular program within Institute on Aging (IOA), they are a highly reputable, excellent nonprofit. You can also google care manager in SF, but I would start with IOA. Also, in the longer term, you might call California Advocates for Nursing Home REform ( who have estate planning referrals, and lots of good info about staying in one's home rather than going to a nursing home. elizabeth

How to find someone to help my elderly parent

May 2009

Can anyone recommend a good person to come and help my mother (she is in her late 80s) at home. She needs some help with taking medicine and general assistance during the day. She is in Berkeley. Thanks so much. Anon

I cared for my Alzheimer'd Mom in my home for 5 yrs, until her death. I found WONDERFUL help through BPN's Childcare digest - think about it: many of the qualities one hopes for/requires in a babysitter, are equally valuable in an elder caregiver... Careful interviewing, plus reference checking will find you the help you need - just like when you were choosing someone for your kids. Patience & perseverance, and you'll find someone.-Good luck Been there
My recommendation is to contact Senior Helpers in Berkeley on Solano. They help seniors who wish to remain in their homes but need help of one sort or another. You can get the most minimal to extensive care from a caregiver who has been thoroughly checked out. The number is 524 6700. Talk with Bruce Ingraham. Sydney Metrick
If she is receiving Medi-Cal she is most likely eligible for Alameda County IHSS. You can call the intake line at 510-577-1900. They will be able to determine if she is eligible for in-home care paid for by the county. Tina
Hello, I highly recommend you call Susan Grant, she is the president of Senior Helpers located in Berkeley. Her company has great reputatation in providing dependable professional in-home care services. Her phone# is 510-524-6700 or email: sgrant [at] Lan
I know you only asked for home care, but there are some wonderful services out there to help your mom and offer you peace of mind. For home care, I would highly recommend LivHome - they provide non-medical in-home care. They're based in Walnut Creek and serve Alameda County. The number is 925-296-0406 and their website is If your mom is in need of an in-home safety assessment and home safety modifications such as installing grab bars, stair railings, hand held shower, ramps etc, so that she can safely be at home, maintain independence and prevent the likelihood of a fall, you can call Home Safety Services at 650.571.7774 and check out their services at They are both licensed and bonded contractors and certified aging-in-place specialists. If you find yourself trying to juggle too much and need some support and connection to services in managing all the aspects in play when trying to help your loved one, you might want to check out A GoldenHand at or call 925-820-1190. Finally, another wonderful service is Engage As You Age - linking seniors with highly skilled people whose interests mesh with your mom's. You can learn more about their unique services at or contact them at 415.690.6944. If these services aren't a good fit and/or you are in need of services for lower cost, please don't hesitate to contact me at danawiltsek [at] All the best to you, Dana
Go on google check out Edler care in your ciity. We have had good luck with them for our elderly inlaws. They also have a website. Sharyl

Finding a helper for aging aunt

Nov 2008

Hello, Our senior aunt, who is very physically fit, is unfortunately beginning to lose her memory, to the point of concerning us...especially when it comes to taking the proper medication, in the proper dose and at the proper time.

I've seen the recent posts on recommendations regarding assisted living, but after visiting a couple of places, it doesn't seem that she needs/wants that level of care yet.

We think that hiring a part-time person to help her is the best answer right now. Ideally, they would supervise the taking of medications, and help her manage the daily things of life such as: drive her to the grocery store, cook, etc.

Anyone have ideas on how to go about finding such a person and what to ask in the interview to properly vet such a person? Obviously, the person will need to be extremely trustworthy.

All ideas, suggestions are welcome!

If your aunt is local, then the Jewish Family and Children's Services in Albany can offer you exactly this kind of help. I believe they have a list of caregivers/companions they recommend often -- and if you don't find someone who fits your aunt's needs on their list, they can help place an ad and vet respondents on your behalf. Good luck!
My dad has dementia. I recently had to put him in a care facility in another state. Fortunately, I began researching facilities a couple of years ago and also, slowly began to convince him to sign both medical and financial power of attorney forms so when we had a crisis I was able to deal with it. I only attended one meeting of an Alzheimer's support group but it was really helpful in guiding me. If your aunt has some kind of crisis (this happened with my father) or illness it can really accelerate the disease process. Now is the time to get informed and prepared. anonymous
Contact Family Caregiving Alliance for advice and a list of questions. Good Luck

Taking care of very ill grandfather at home

April 2008

My grandfather is currently at Kaiser recovering from a cardiac arrest, pneumonia, & possible stroke. He was 100% healthy and active pre-hospitalization. He's been in the hospital for 6 wks & is just now starting to speak & move a little. He is on a feeding tube. W/ his medical condition ''stabilizing'', he will soon be discharged. Due to the cardiac arrest, he will eventually (maybe in 1 mo or so) get an angiogram & possible heart surgery. The docs say he is not strong enough to get the surgery now and must be discharged first, go to a nursing facility or home to recover for a while, ''get stronger'', & then come back for any needed heart procedures.

Initially, the docs wanted to send him to the Kaiser Vallejo Rehab center but they ''rejected'' him based on his heart output not being strong enough. Thus, the docs are now suggesting a nursing home facility. My mom has visited some of these facilities in our area (he/we live in N.Berkeley) & the facilities so far, seem horrendous: conditions are sub-par, nurses are overworked, understaffed, the environment is quite depressing, patients are only visited by a doctor once/month, & only receive physical therapy 1hr/day. Also, the call button in the rooms is of no help since he can't move his arms yet! No visitors are allowed past 8PM at any of these facilities, nor are overnight guests allowed. So there is really minimal family involvement/help permitted.

My family has decided that it might be a nicer option for my grandpa to go home to live with my parents & their kids (his grandchildren, where he resided up until 6 wks upon admittance to Kaiser. My parents would have a phys therapist & nurse visit the home. Our questions are: does anyone have experience taking this on? Are there resources in Berkeley for people taking care of an older parent (he's 77) or can give guidance on what my parents need to do to prepare for his discharge (i.e. renting special beds, supplies, finding a good nurse and phys therapist, figuring out which if any of these services/supplies are covered by insurance). There are so many components in getting this right and we could really use any guidance or advice at this point. P.S. My mom is a SAHM (which is helpful)

There are many agencies and many resources. Kaiser should have assigned a social worker to your case, who can assist you with tapping into those resources. Your parents will probably need a home visit from an OT and PT to determine what your grandfather will need; I suspect that Kaiser will cover those visits and a lot else besides, if you ask. You should also take a look at the following website: It's a wonderful group with a lot of information. Ann

How to find trustworthy person to help in-laws in home?

July 2007

My father-in-law, 86, is entering the middle phase of alzheimer's and is being looked after primarily by my mother-in-law, 81, who has some health issues. Both have been in and out of the hospital recently. My mother-in-law does not want her husband moved into an assisted living facility until it is absoluely necessary.

The family thinks that having someone come to the house to help out with daily living, cooking, shopping, etc. as well as give my mother-in-law some down time is a good intermediary step.

However, we are very concerned with theft. My sister-in-law, who has done some in home nursing care, says that theft is a huge problem and that basically you can't trust anyone.

I'm not comfortable picking an agency/caretaker blind so to speak. The social worker at the hospital gave me a list of agencies, but I'm not sure how to evaluate, interview and select a caregiver, or how to secure their possessions; they have a really nice house with lots of nice things, jewelry, etc.

(For complicated family reasons, I will set this up, not the sister-in-law nurse.)

Thanks in advance for advice. concerned daughter-in-law

I cared for my Alzheimer'd Mom in my home for 5 years, until her death at age 90 last Nov. Janet Brush at Senior Alternatives is an ''elder advisor'', and can help you organize ANYTHING related to your parents needs. See the website: ( ) for more info. Good luck, I know what you're dealing with... Carol

In-home care for seniors and/or terminally ill

Sept 2006

My aging parents are currently independent, walk everywhere, but that could change soon. I am going to look into Redwood Gardens - based on current BPW listings. My current plan/strategy is to keep them in their own apartment, then maybe move them in with me (I am a single mom with a 3.5 year old daughter) and then - if need be - move them into a partial- or full-care facility. If they are with me or in their own apartment, I would want to have in-home care. Ideally the person(s) would speak English perfectly, be skilled with seniors, and make for intelligent companions. No TV addicts. I am thinking that this approach would be nicer for my parents and friendly for our limited budgets (am I wrong?). I also have a terminally ill brother (cancer) - in San Francisco - with an acute need for in-home care. If anyone would like to recommend agencies or individuals for either of these situations, I would be very grateful. General advice is also welcome.

Sorry to hear about your situations. I can't speak to the live in help question, but I can highly recommend certain hospice organizations in SF for your brother. Try Hospice by the Bay or Zen Hospice in Marin. Hospice organizations typically provide in home help, with both visits from nurses and personal care assistants. Its covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal and most private insurance companies.

When choosing a hospice organization, make sure it is one that is not for profit and also one that has a large foundation (meaning they get a lot of charitable gifts) I wish you luck. anon

I realize this is not really what you're looking for at the moment, but it sounds like you may be interested in the future. A friend of mine (who is also on BPN) has a home care facility for seniors. It's basically a really pleasant home with private or semi-private rooms and a beautiful yard in Concord. They have someone who cooks all the meals, and they are regularly their with their daughter. I think it would be a good choice over a standard senior facility, since it's still a home (though it is not a hospital). I think they have about 5 residents right now. You can check it out at
If you're looking for in-home care, I would recommend Jewish Family & Children's Services in Berkeley, (510) 704-7475. They have lists of people who are looking for work as home aides and they can also help you and your parents decide what would be the best solution for everyone. I used their services 7 years ago and was very grateful for their support during a difficult time. I couldn't get my father in there to talk to them but I did get their help over the phone. You do not have to be Jewish to use their services and they will help anyone who's struggling with this issue.

Caregiver to help my father with errands, appointments

May 2006

My father lives in Rossmoor (Walnut Creek) and needs a caregiver to help him transfer from bed to walker, take him to medical appointments, run errands and do basic housekeeping. It could either be a split shift or live-in. Does anybody have someone to recommend or way of finding somebody? I would rather not use an agency because of the expense. Thanks. Linda

Contra Costa County Aging & Adult Services is a one stop shop for information and assistance when it comes to Elders. 1-800- 510-2020. They should be able to send you in the right direction. Julie

Help at home for father in law with dementia

Dec 2004

My father in law has both physical and mental (dementia) problems, but is still at home being taken care of my mother in law. Needless to say this is quite wearing on her and we would like to find some help for her, perhaps three times a week, 6 hour shifts. He needs someone to help him bathe, keep him clean, and be able to give him medication. They live in San Leandro. Does any one know of a caring compassionate individual, or where I could start a search for a caregiver? Thanks emily

My grandmother recently ended up in the hospital and needed some help when she got home. A social worker at the hospital had a list of elder assistance agencies she had heard good things about. This was in San Francisco. Maybe contact a local hospital and they might have a similar list. Or check with the County. There is a Department of Adult & Aging Services. Or here's a link to the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Finding Work as a Senior Helper

I'd like to provide home service for seniors

Nov 2010

I have recently been taking care of my elderly grandmother who lives alone and although she is not so incapable of taking care of herself that she needs to go to a nursing home, she does need some extra help with the housework and cooking and I think that having a bit of company is also very good for her, as she is a widow and the rest of her family do not live nearby. It made me think about all the other elderly people who might be in a similar position and I was wondering about setting up some kind of effort to provide a service whereby I could visit elderly people in their homes and help them out with housekeeping/gardening/running errands etc and thought this might be a useful service for kids of elderly parents who don't have time to do this but would be more comfortable knowing that someone was dropping in to see their parents on a regular basis and was keeping things ticking over in the home. However, I have no idea how I would go about starting this - whether I would need more actual qualifications, whether people would be interested in this, whether it could be something I could do as a job or if it would only work as a voluntary effort... I'd love your feedback! seeking suggestions

Your inspiration is timely! My first suggestion is to connect with an org that exists. The East Bay is developing two communities - that I know of: Ashby Village and Piedmont _____ (not sure of full name). They are based on Beacon Village in Mass - a group of neighbors gathering together to: Do the things they can't - pet walking, shopping, driving to appts And to maintain life at home as long as possible.

If you contact Jewish Family Children's Services Center for Older Adults and ask for Lisa Yordy - she will be a great contact.

Second - as to qualifications, there are many organizations such as National Assn of Professional Geriatric Care Mangers. you needn't join them, but could offer services along with one. Google the org and you will find a bunch in the East Bay.

I am a former intern at JFCS and have been a member of the NAPGCM. We need more people with such hearts. Elders can save the world

I hired someone like this recently for my dad who lives out of state. I found her through the local hospital when my dad was being discharged after minor surgery and needed someone to drive and check up on him for a while. They had a list of private caregivers. They didn't endorse anyone on the list, but had compiled it somehow and gave it out to people who asked. You might check with hospitals here and see if they keep lists like that? Another possibility is to talk to churches - they tend to have big elderly populations, and might need appreciate having a recommendation to give.
Hi - I think it's a good idea, and your issues would be around safety and bonding people (like housecleaners and so on are bonded). There are probably businesses like this, and there are certainly lots of people who do this independently - see Craigslist, domestic gigs. Easier to set up as a nonprofit, but I think it could be a perfectly viable business as long as you have an attorney advise you on legal issues and create contracts that limit your liability. Perhaps to test out whether you'd really like to do this, you'd like to do a trial run with some nice elderly people in need of errands, company and local driving ... like my parents who live in Marin?
Try for an idea of a company that provides the sort of service you are describing (they are nationwide). Might give you some ideas of how it could be set up. I worked for a Home Instead franchise in NY for a few years and really enjoyed it. My main thought about doing the same work on my own would be concerns about not always being available when you are needed. Working for a company with other employees meant that days off (e.g. holidays, when my kids were off from school, vacations) were never a problem. That might be more challenging if you are the only person and someone elderly is counting on you. Anon
San Francisco Village ( a community-based membership organization that empowers adults to live in their own homes as they age. They offer a network of resources, services, programs, and activities that revolve around members' daily living needs, their social, cultural and educational desires, their ongoing health and wellness, and member-to-member volunteer support. The Village movement has spread to other cities, for example Ashby Village in Berkeley ( Rather than creating your own network, you may want to check with them about hiring you.

You didn't mention your age, but another organization, Coming of Age (, works with adults 50 and over to help them figure out their goals for the next stage of life and helps them find volunteer (or sometimes paid) work. (They also work with organizations looking for volunteers). If you're over 50 they could help you in your job quest. Good luck.

How to find a job as a helper to a senior citizen

Nov 2009

Hello, My friend is looking for a job as a helper to a senior citizen. Looking for an advice about where she can post her candidacy as well as any agency you could recommend that deals with those kinds of positions. (except Town and Country). Thanks so much! Paula.

I am a former social worker who worked mostly in geriatrics and medical social work. I also worked in hospice and that might be a good place to get some experience. She might want to google bay area hospices (i.e. Hospice of the East Bay, Hope Hospice, Kaiser, VNA, etc), as it might be a bit better than working for a homecare agency. She might also wan to go to hospital websites to look at CNA like positions (i.e. Sutter, Kaiser, Alta Bates, UCSF, etc). In hospitals she wouldn't just work w/the elderly, but also with the adult population. Lastly, she might want to try looking into Center for Elder's Independence (CEI), as they are a program that works to keep elderly 'aging in place' in their homes. She could also try various skilled nursing won't be such great work, but a place to start. Just some thoughts....good luck anon