Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another wonderful client review...

Thanks to Gerri Beth Borga for this wonderful review...

Wow!! I am so, so, so happy to have found this wonderful place with it's outstanding people! Everyone goes above and beyond for the care, safety, health and happiness of the clients. Not only do we have their caregivers going to my parents home, my dad attends the memory center!! I have accompanied him on several occasions and it is a blast!! The clients are engaged, happy, active and safe!! A really wonderful program.

Honey bear is a beautiful white standard poodle who keeps the clients company as well. All in all, a well rounded, outstanding program!!
Thank you for all you do for my parents....and me!!

Laura some how always has the energy and finds the time to make that personal connection and check in with clients and family members. Not sure how she does it, but very, very much appreciated!! I am already looking forward to volunteering again!!!  Gerri Beth Borga, daughter of client

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Client Review - Tricia L (we work with her mom--our caregiver is amazing!)

In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She already lived with us and was able to care for herself during the day while my husband and I were at work.  We noticed mid way through 2012 that the disease was causing her to decline and she was becoming unable to initiate daily living tasks (bathing, eating, picking up after herself).  We made daytime as easy as possible with easy premade food items that could just be taken out of the fridge and consumed, which she still found difficult to do.  We started to engage mom in discussions to get some help for her during the day while we were away.  The discussions did not go well and she did NOT want a "stranger" to help her during the day. I finally had to realize that I was now in the parental role and that I needed to start acting on what needed to be done for her health and safety and stop asking for permission.  My husband actually found AltaGolden online by searching for in home assistance for seniors.  We had the difficult discussion with mom that we had engaged AltaGolden and they would be coming to the house to meet us and discuss our needs.

Both Laura and Nancy came to the house and it didn't take more than 10 minutes for us to realize we made the right decision to engage them.  They were both incredibly warm and friendly and immediately put all of us at ease with the process.  Even mom was excited! It was immediately obvious that this isn't just a business to them, they genuinely care about helping seniors live life to the fullest and to insure that they are able to stay in their homes as long as possible with kind, loving, skilled care.  I loved the fact that unlike other similar businesses, they didn't just have a pool of people ready to be "assigned."  I was very honest with them about my expectations of the type of individual I wanted them to try to find and they absolutely understood. It took them only a few days before they contacted us with their excitement regarding the individual they found.  They wanted to arrange a meeting so both mom and we could meet her and see if we felt she would be a good fit.  The meeting could not have gone any better than it did and we immediately felt comfortable with their choice.  I think the importance of this is that I have heard horror stories from people about companies who just have people that they "dispatch."  May not be the same person every day and it is a job to these individuals.   Alta Golden makes sure that they provide a caregiver that becomes part of your family and someone who truly has the best interest of the senior at heart.

Needless to say we started the service immediately and a little over two years later we cannot express how happy we have been with every aspect of AltaGolden.  They make a personal visit once a month and send notes regarding any changes to mom's environment that they feel may be needed.  They email articles they feel might be of interest to us.  They provide memory games that they swap out monthly so mom has some fun games to play with "her Vickie."  Yes mom refers to her caregiver as "her Vickie" and several times a week she will comment how she loves her dearly.  Vickie helps with appointments, they do light housekeeping, she makes mom lunch every day, they share stories about their families, look at pictures and of course I love receiving the "selfies" they send to me at work.  If laughter is the best medicine than I know mom is getting some healthy doses each day.  Her demeanor when Vickie is there will warm your heart.

If you are reading this review because you are starting your own journey to find the best care for your aging parents or other relatives, I would strongly encourage you to let AltaGolden into your lives to provide this care.  You will not regret your decision and you will know without a doubt that you made the right decision once you meet Laura and her staff.  If I could rate AltaGolden more than five stars, I would.

Client Review - Eric H (we supported his dad)

The Short Version ~
Without hesitation I recommend Laura and Alta Golden for anything to do with adult care.  They did an amazing job with and for my dad.

The Gory Details ~
We have endured the loss of 3 family members over the last 18 months.  In August of 2013 we lost our sister to a bad driver.  Then, in July of 2014, we lost our dad's 2nd love-of-his-life after their 15-year relationship.  Dad had just returned from a month-long ordeal in a local, highly rated, skilled nursing facility (SNF - sniff).  That facility for dad was a "less-than" experience.  He came home completely bedridden, having gone in with the ability to walk with a cane.

We interviewed several in-home service providers and settled on Laura and her team.  They would be responsible for all of dad's daily care, maintenance, doctor visits, medications, meals, re-ambulation ~ everything.

At our insistence, they set-up 5 rotating in-home 24/7 caregivers; with the primary goal of re-ambulating him ASAP.  We knew his recovery/rehab was going to take a few months.  Dad had a vibrant and amazing mind - we did not want him to get bored with the same stories from the same person too quickly; or have a possible personality clash he would have to endure for a long period.

I spent quite a bit of time with dad and the AltaGolden team starting at the end of July, learning from, watching, and interacting with all of them.  The care and caring were evident; it was not just a show for me, it was clearly their modus operandi.

Dad had no loss of mental faculties - so he and I discussed his likes and dislikes about his situation and the individual caregivers.  He did state often that none of them could cook like mom or his 2nd life-partner - but, he respected them and appreciated what they did for him.

In late November, he had recovered a good portion of his ability to ambulate with a walker.  Thanks in large-part to AltaGolden -- and his drive to be self-sufficient again.  We gave the caregiver that weekend off.  He and I were headed out to dinner one evening and while getting in the car, I was not attentive enough, or close enough to catch him ~ he fell; breaking his hip.  The story of his health and efforts to recover again ended on January 21st, 2015, when he passed with me sitting by his side.

Throughout his decline after the fall and ongoing hospitalization, Laura and her team continued to help, be supportive, and present without requesting compensation of any kind.

Bottom Line ~
I consider Laura and members of her team extended family - they provided quality care to dad and peace of mind to our family; we trusted them in caring for dad and would do so again without hesitation.

Client Review - Christina K (support for aunt and uncle)

Another happy client...

My family contracted AltaGolden to provide services for my 82 year old aunt who has COPD.  She and my 83 year old uncle wanted to live independently as long as possible, but needed help with light housework, dealing with repairmen, driving to doctor's appointments, setting up their meds, etc. The caretaker that AltaGolden sent to help them was very personable and compassionate and took very good care of them both.  She soon came to be a trustworthy friend to them, which was very important later on as they became less independent.  My aunt and uncle were much more accepting of receiving additional help when it was coming from a caregiver that they knew and trusted to care for them.  After my aunt passed away, we continued to utilize AltaGolden's services with a caregiver to help my uncle with his everyday needs as well as provide him companionship when family members couldn't be there.  This helped him with his loneliness and grief in the loss of my aunt.

AltaGolden's services took a major load off of our family, since we all have busy lives and many important responsibilities.  We were comforted to know that our aunt and uncle were being well taken care of when we couldn't be there.  My uncle looks forward to his caregiver's arrival so much that we have increased her visits to everyday.  We are so fortunate and pleased to have found AltaGolden and we highly recommend them to anyone who needs elder care.

Client Review - Lisa C (her dad comes to the Memory Center and is an in-home client)

Another wonderful AltaGolden review that was removed by Yelp.

AltaGolden's "Family" has been a God Send to myself and my siblings, but mostly my father.  My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, in 2013 with the begining stages of dementia .  My frustration was,  I needed a place for my Dad, that had programs designed to help him with his short term memory and keep him engaged.  I tried other Elderly "Day Cares", but they were noisy, crowded and the staff did nothing to help him with his memory nor assist him in activities.

Alta Golden Memory Center is staffed with people who greet him with a smile and hug every time we arrive.  They assist him with puzzles, games, exercises, music, art projects and even for a while helped him remember how to use a cell phone, all in a quiet relaxed atmosphere.  He feels safe here.

I also use their in home care several times a week.  This service has been invaluable for me as I also care for my own home and family.  For my father, it allows him to remain "independent" in his own home.  He has the same two care givers, whom he adores and looks forward to their "visits".  They work with him on word games, prepare his dinner, clean up, encourage him to take walks, listen to music together, and even do an occasional load of laundry.  If there is ever a question on what needs to be done they contact me.  I have tried other in home services, but the care givers sat and watched TV and snacked on my father's food.  Never engaging him or stimulating his mind.

If you are looking for a welcoming, safe and stimulating center and/or in-home care for your loved one with any type of memory disorder, this is the place.  You won't be sorry, you'll be as grateful as I am.

Client Review - Anna S. (lives in a multi-level senior community)

This is a client review from someone we've worked with for several years.

I don't know what's wrong with Yelp. I wrote a review and they removed it so I'm writing one again. Hopefully they won't delete this one!!!

My name is Tilda and I'm an epidemiologist. I have both a Masters degree and PhD from Johns Hopkins.  The reason I'm telling you this is because I know what it means to be professional and do great work. I've been using AltaGolden for 5 years.  I believe they are the reason I am still alive.  Two years ago I had an internal bleed and almost died. The surgeon couldn't fix the bleed and I was put on hospice. Miraculously I survived but was told the recovery would be long and difficult. I was despondent and lost all will to live. I asked AltaGolden to provide me with caregivers to help me as I felt my only recourse was to let go.

AltaGolden provided me with exactly the help I wanted and needed--no more and no less.  Their caregivers were professional and caring. They provided me with support and companionship.  They helped ensure that I was surrounded by friends, that I always had soft music playing, and they massaged my arms and legs and encouraged me to live.  The result of all of this incredible support is that I chose to try to get better.  I signed myself off hospice, started back with physical therapy, regained my strength, and then moved back to my apartment.  Without their incredible support I would not be alive today.  Every step of the way they were kind, conscientious, professional, and caring.  I can't imaging a better company to have in my corner. My family and I are all extremely grateful for the efforts of this great company and their wonderful caregivers.  Since my recovery I have gone to London to watch my grandson be nominated for BAFTA awards, I went to New York to watch another grandson graduate from Medical School, and I went to Sacramento for a family reunion with all of my children and grandchildren.

None of this would have been possible without AltaGolden.

Client Review - Rick Y. (parents in their 90's living independently at home)

Yelp has pulled so many of our postings that I am going to put them here.  The next several posts are ones that are on Yelp.  This is one of several that Yelp has determined are "not recommended".

My family hired Alta Golden about a year and a half ago to provide care for my parents in their home for a few hours daily. Both my parents and us, their 2 sons, are extremely pleased with the choice we made. Our father is 96, blind, and, has Parkinson's.  Our mother is 93, has fibromyalgia, mild dementia and, is only partially mobile.  They were both fiercely   opposed to having anyone in the house to help them. After considerable prodding by us they finally relented to having help three to four hours a day.    That is when Alta Golden came into the picture. The owner, Laura Barish, is very caring and knowledgeable. She has sent two highly qualified people to care for my parents.  They shop, prepare meals and clean up, do laundry and light housework and keep an extremely careful watch on the medications taken by our parents.  They also take them to all their doctor's appointments and make certain that our parents follow the doctor's instructions to the letter. Laura, herself, will drop in and visit our folks to see how they are doing.  Through her, they have found a doctor willing to make house visits, making their life much easier, as getting out is traumatic for both of them.  They have had a few medical emergencies between them and Laura accompanied them to the hospital and followed up on them, advocating for them in the hospital when the doctors seemed slow to respond to their needs. In another case, the care giver went with them to the hospital and when back in the house stayed for two evenings to ensure their safety. All along, my brother and I were informed and consulted with by Laura and her staff about each step needed.  Most importantly, my parents are very satisfied with the attentive care they are given. All of us consider ourselves very fortunate for having found this gem.

Problems with Yelp

Greetings all.  It's been quite a while since I've written and hopefully my schedule will allow me to share more with you.

Today I want to discuss issues with online media.  My note today is about Yelp.  I have had a very interesting experience with Yelp lately--they have removed 50% of my five-star ratings.  Yelp has an algorithm that automatically scans all listings and it decides which listings should remain and which should be removed from ready view.  For AltaGolden this means that we've had multiple 5-star reviews moved into an area called "other reviews that are not currently recommended".

I personally think this is wrong on multiple levels.  First, when my appreciative clients have spent the time to go online to post their review, only to have Yelp remove it, it disincentivizes people from posting.  Second, it does not allow consumers who are coming to my site to see all of the wonderful reviews that have been posted.  And lastly, it does not give an accurate aggregate rating when half of the ratings have been arbitrarily removed.

When I saw this happening I started to investigate Yelp.  I learned from other small business owners that their wonderful reviews are also being removed.  I then looked at the Better Business Bureau site and learned that Yelp is not an accredited business; they have over 1500 complaints against them; and there are many many complaints listed on the BBB site with exactly the same complaints.

Yelp has had one federal investigation against them for collecting data about minors and there have been two law suits brought about the same advertising practices that I mention above.  In addition, they have no rating on the BBB site.  I don't understand why this is because you don't need to be an accredited business to have a rating on the BBB.  Most businesses listed on the BBB that have the numbers of complaints that Yelp has are given an "F" rating. 

So, my request of all business and consumers is to not use Yelp.  Don't read their reviews, don't buy their marketing products, don't click to their site until they fix their disreputable business practices.  Yelp claims to be an unbiased venue for consumers to post their opinions.  The problem is that they cannot truly be unbiased when they are removing reviews; and they do not give businesses the ability to speak with a customer support person when there is a problem.  I have their sales staff contact me on a regular basis trying to get me to pay for advertising.  They will not, however, let me speak to a live customer service person.  When I sent an email to their help line I received back a canned note and no follow up.

Yelp is not a credible business.  Please use other sources for the information you are seeking about a business in which you have an interest.  In my opinion, Yelp should not be given your consideration.