By Kristina Houck
When Patricia Berman went to see her doctor for her routine checkup in March, he told her she doesn’t look or act 90 years old.
“I don’t plan to act 90,” said Berman from her chair in her Oceanside house, a place she has called home for more than 20 years. “I want to keep doing things. I want to keep living.”
When Berman fell in August, she needed a compassionate caregiver who understood her desire to remain independent. That’s when she contacted Seniors Helping Seniors of San Diego North County, a Carlsbad-based non-medical, in-home care agency.
Founded in 1998 in Pennsylvania, Seniors Helping Seniors matches seniors who want to provide help with seniors who need help. The company now has about 230 locations throughout the U.S.
“When you get to be a certain age, you can understand maybe what that other senior is going through,” said 63-year-old Patty McCormac, one of Berman’s three caretakers. “I’m not saying a younger person couldn’t do it, but I think an older person has more empathy.”
From a couple of hours to 24-hour care, Seniors Helping Seniors offers companionship, housekeeping, cooking, shopping, transportation services and more. Seniors Helping Seniors of San Diego North County serves Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Oceanside and Vista.
After Berman fell, McCormac stayed with her full-time for five days. Now, she and two other caretakers from Seniors Helping Seniors take turns spending time with Berman Monday through Friday, driving her to her appointments, helping her clean her home, and more.
“If I don’t have anything for them to do, they leave,” said Berman. “I have free time and I’m alone, which I like. I don’t want to be hovered over. I don’t need it.”
A widow for 31 years, Berman said she enjoys spending time alone.
After she raised her children, Berman worked at a needlepoint store. Today she spends much of her time working on needlepoint projects and teaching a needlepoint class.
“I prefer my home. I prefer privacy,” she said. “My home is my sanctuary.”
While Seniors Helping Seniors provides essential services to senior clients, it also helps other senior citizens supplement their retirement incomes. Matching those two groups together is the mission of Seniors Helping Seniors.
“I was lucky to get Mrs. Berman,” said McCormac, who also lives in Oceanside. “I’ve got out of my rut, my circle of friends has widened and I genuinely love being with Mrs. Berman.
“I think this is the best program I’ve seen around here. Seniors are helping seniors. In a few more years, I might need a little help.”
Seniors Helping Seniors of San Diego North County is located at 701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite 300, Carlsbad.
For more information, call 760-591-7474, email info@SHSsandiego.com or visit www.seniorshelpingseniors.com/SanDiegoNorthCounty.
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