Kira Anthofer stands taller than others in the elder care industry

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Kira Anthofer.jpg

Standing at 6’4”, Kira Anthofer turns heads when she walks into a room. The owner and president of Centinela Senior Solutions in La Mesa uses her height to others’ advantage. People want to talk with her, and she in turn listens carefully to them, especially the elderly.

Standing at 6’4”, Kira Anthofer turns heads when she walks into a room. The owner and president of Centinela Senior Solutions in La Mesa uses her height to others’ advantage. People want to talk with her, and she in turn listens carefully to them, especially the elderly.

The former Miss Tall International 1995, Anthofer has always felt at home with the elderly, starting when she was a small child.          A first generation American of Russian and Austrian parents, Kira was born and raised in New York City and became at home with people of many different cultures and languages “in the hood.

“All the adults, young and old, watched out for all the children on the block,” said Anthofer, who works with the elderly to create a pro-active care plan.

“I was raised in a single parent household. So when my mother was working, my great-grandmother was my sitter. She was already in her 70s when I was born. So I always had a love for the elderly,” she said.   

Anthofer has been working with the elderly since 2003 when she became an Executive Director of her first Assisted Living and Dementia residential care community.   

“My experience has shown me that just because someone over the age of 80 does not mean that there is not a 45-year-old adult inside. But we forget this and I’ve witnessed where the elder us treated more like a child than an adult. This does not go well with one’s self esteem,” she said.

When Anthofer left the corporate environment to start Centinela Senior Solutions, her goal was to make a more impactful difference in the lives of individual families.

“Too often when I would ask prospective families, “What brings you to our assisted living community?” I would hear, “My father-in-law cannot come home from the hospital,” or “My mom was found wandering in the neighborhood,”” Anthofer explained.

“I felt there needed to be a change.   No one should be rushed and no one should feel like they are being “put” somewhere against their will.  

The mission of Centinela is to advocate for the older adult when others are seeing them as old, frail and useless. The agency works directly with families and older seniors to create a pro-active plan called Peace of Mind Formula. This regards future care needs for the older senior.

Its plan can include staying at home or looking into professional residential care.   Going through a transition in any stage of life can cause upset, uncertainty and vulnerability. 

“With our Peace of Mind Formula, the senior is inclusive of the planning process. Every member of the family is part of the process no matter how much they can be involved,” she said.

Her experience over the years has shown Anthofer that the elderly want to feel useful. And one of the most important ways they can do that is to tell their stories, either through writing them from memory or telling someone the stories and having them write it all down.

“I was just aware that everyone has a story. People will talk if you ask them to share a story,” said Anthofer, adding that she had learned this when she first entered the assisted living career field.

Working on a life story for the elderly is important for several factors, Anthofer said. First, it revisits stories from the past and rekindles interests and passions they had in younger years. Second, it creates a document to pas onto family members or share with the doctor and support team. Third, it helps the elderly get in touch with their current wants, needs and wishes. Finally, the elderly have the time and voice to advocate who they are.

“Do not allow others to define you as a diagnosis first and then by your first name,” Anthofer said.

In her experience of talking and working with the elderly, Anthofer has learned that people value more the emotional assets in values, lessons, wisdom and affections of their loved ones.

“Ninety percent of family members say they would prefer a loving letter versus a financial inheritance if one of their parents were to pass away,” she said.

A member of the San Diego County Council of Aging and several other agencies on aging, Anthofer is available for public speaking events on topics such as “Life’s Journey – How to Write Your Own Life Story,” “Sacred Promise, Sacred Space” and “Having the Conversation with Family Members.”

For more information, go to CentinelaSeniorSolutions.com.

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