Melanie Delgado says her new El Cajon business, Right at Home offers in-home, non-medical care services for people in need throughout East County.
“We will come in and clean homes, run errands, do cooking, help with activities of daily living, help clients with showering and dressing, serve as a stabilizing hand for those who have lost their sense of balance,” Delgado said.
She established her business in part because of personal experience.
“My nana had her leg amputated due to diabetes complications. All of her physical independence was taken but she was 100% cognizant and trying to help an 80-year old to get around after something like that was incredibly challenging. Being a caregiver is hard, it really does take a toll on the family unit,” Delgado said.
Delgado, 47, says she had established a wonderful career in corporate America over about 25 years and had a sense of pride in her work but hit a personal wall where she found herself soul searching and realized she wanted to make a difference in the community.
“I kept returning to the memory of taking care with my grandmother and being able to take care of her in her time of need. I realized I would wake up every day and feel good about myself if I could help families in the community. So, I took my 40K, took everything I saved for retirement and started this business. Now I’m crossing my fingers!” Delgado said.
She says she considered working with several large companies before deciding to franchise with Right at Home because she believes they attempt to match caregiver’s skill sets with individual families. She recalls her own experience trying to obtain help for her wheelchair-bound grandmother and says bad care can be worse than no care and she wants to be a help to entire families, not just the person directly in need of care.
“I remember what a struggle it was when we realized as a family that we couldn’t do it anymore with my nana. It is hard to accept you need a stranger to come help you and in our situation, we kept receiving help from people who didn’t understand how to take care of someone who is entirely wheelchair bound. When you’re depending on that stranger and they don’t do a good job, the whole family feels that stress,” Delgado said.
Although the outbreak of COVID-19 postponed her storefront opening by a couple of months, Delgado says it was a blessing of sorts because she spent the past two months working at other offices within the Right at Home franchise, one in Kearny Mesa and one in Temecula, learning how they approached the business.
“Staff at both offices had offered to show me how they function and I probably would not have taken them up on the offer as much as I did had COVID not happened. Walking away from corporate America comes with nerves and the unknown; going into their office gave me confidence. They gave me a sense of how to put policies and procedures in place in my own office,” Delgado said.
The business owner says everything in life happens for a reason and believes the delay in opening has left her in a good position to hire local employees after so many have suffered layoffs due to the pandemic. I have a licensed CNA who will train new employees on safe transfer and all of our staff is CPR and first aid certified. We do not administer medication or serve as medical providers but I make sure everyone is trained to recognize an emergency situation and can stabilize the client after calling 911 for medical help,” Delgado said.
She also says working out of the other Right At Home offices gave her a chance to see first-hand how many patients are leaving hospitals COVID-free but are not in a condition to go home and continue living as they did before.
“Alpine is my community and now with working out of a base in El Cajon, I want people to know that even if we’re not the right service for them, we want to understand their needs and help them find their required resources. It is important to be an advocate for seniors, not just a business owner,” Delgado said.
The Right at Home office is located at 525 W. Bradley Ave.