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Keeping Seniors Comfortable

Posted: January 28, 2008 7:12 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2008 2:02 a.m.

Myles McNamara, owner of Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, sits with staff. From left: Rosa Aguilar, care manager; Alison Ambrose, assistant care manager; Micki Nicol, director of care management; and Maureen Brown, care manager.

 
• Comfort Keepers In-Home Care helps seniors maintain their dignity.

Aging is inevitable. A lack of care for the aging should not be.
That is the belief of Myles McNamara. Since 2001, he has helped provide for the basic needs of many of the senior citizens in the Santa Clarita Valley.
McNamara, a former actor and current Valencia resident, operates one of the 550 Comfort Keepers around the world. Located on Lyons Avenue in Santa Clarita, his organization, including more than 100 caregivers out in the field, provides assistance to seniors and their families, offering anything from companionship to meal preparation, transportation to housekeeping.
His wife, Jane, is an elder law attorney in Valencia. She provides legal services to the senior citizens. Together, the McNamaras are the ultimate tag-team for local seniors.
"We have to be an advocate for them," McNamara said. "We really are the eyes and ears for the families and caregivers for the seniors."
Comfort Keepers In-Home Care is one of several senior care organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley. McNamara began operating the local franchise seven years ago, when he felt compelled to help seniors deal with the issues that arise with aging. Many seniors prefer to rely on Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, since the service allows them to stay in their own homes without burdening their adult children. It also helps seniors avoid living in senior-assisted or nursing homes.
"I just saw the need for this," McNamara said. "Our population is getting older and seniors want to stay in their own homes."
There are no typical days for McNamara's caregivers, as each senior citizen has a different need or expectation. While some seniors need personal assistance with activities such as bathing, others simply need help getting to a doctor's appointment. Whatever the need, McNamara and his staff ensure that the individual needs of each senior are met with a personal touch.
"It's routine to a certain level, but there are things that come up in their life that we have to attend to," McNamara added. "A lot of our clients have dementia and they don't always remember what their doctors will tell them."
While each day varies, the biggest challenge for the caregivers is helping seniors maintain a sense of dignity and independence.
"Many seniors are faced with losing their independence," added McNamara. "The challenge is to provide this service without taking their independence away from them - to enhance their independence. We are there to assist their lives and maintain their dignity."
"It's important to keep seniors in their homes," said McNamara. "But we also make sure their adult children don't have to worry."
Maintaining that balance between seniors and their adult children is essential to his company's service, yet, for McNamara himself, so is providing to the community at large.
He is a consistent contributor to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, among other local charitable organizations, and also is a co-chair, with Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, of the local Celebrity Waiter Dinner.
"It is important to give back to the community you serve," McNamara said.
Through Comfort Keepers In-Home care, McNamara does more than just give back to the community. By providing care to seniors and sharing in their experiences, he brings life to those who are most deserving. In return, he is taken to a world that many do not know exists.
"We've all got moms and dads, we all have grandparents," said McNamara. "Each has their own story and experiences. The best schoolroom in the world is through the eyes of a senior citizen. That generation loves to teach and share their experiences with the world."
By helping seniors maintain their dignity, while allowing them to share their personal experiences, McNamara knows he is doing a service, making his transition from a career in entertainment to caring for senior citizens rewarding.
"Seeing the smiles on the faces of the seniors and the adult children is the greatest feeling," he said.
For more information about senior services at Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, call the office at (661) 287-4200, or visit the Web site at www.comfortkeepers.com/caregivers/390/.


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