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By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Bringing Care Into the Home

 

February 8, 2018

SEELEY LAKE – Kristin Mason never thought when she started her career working with young children that she would end up working with the elderly. After more than 10 years working in geriatrics specializing in memory care, nutrition, diabetes care and medication management, Mason is excited to offer Mason's Direct Care, an in home care service in Seeley Lake. She hopes this will allow residents of the area to not only maintain their independence and remain in their home but also continue to live in their community.

Mason started her career working as a Head Start teacher and then worked with children with disabilities. After moving to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, she switched to working with adults with disabilities. She worked at a memory care facility as an activities coordinator for elderly in the early stages of dementia and alzheimer's patients.

"I stumbled into it and it has just snowballed from there," said Mason who has now been in the field for more than 10 years.

Mason got her Certified Nurse Assistant certification and was certified to handle medications. She worked for various agencies in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls, Idaho including an assisted care living facility. After moving to Liberty Lake, Wash. she started doing in-home care with an agency.

"The clients are so appreciative that we go into the home and do what we do for them," said Mason. "There is just a deep felt gratification."

As hard as it was to leave her clients, one whom she had worked with for three years, Mason decided to leave Washington and move to Seeley Lake with her boyfriend Loy this past December. Loy is originally from Florence and Seeley Lake was where he used to recreate. Mason has two elementary school-age children so it was really important for them to find a community to "dig our heels into and a great place to raise my kids. We have fallen in love with this place."

Mason quickly learned that services for in-home care for older adults is limited outside of Missoula. She said many elderly or disabled adults are at risk of falling or have developed new health problems, some do not have family close by or the family that is close is unable to take care of their needs. She ventured out on her own opening Mason's Direct Care In-Home Care Service.

"I offer the ability [for my clients] to stay home for as long as possible in their own environment," said Mason who added it can also give family who is not in the area the peace of mind that their loved one is being cared for. "In most cases, as long as there are no safety issues involved, I believe that is the best situation for them."

Mason tailors her services to her clients' needs. She offers a free assessment that creates a customized plan that works for the individual.

Diabetes and memory care, nutrition and medication administration and management are Mason's specialties. Services she offers include: transportation around the community and to Missoula for medical related appointments; essential shopping and errands; meal prep, planning and nutrition tracking; medication reminders; health monitoring within her scope of practice including weight gain or loss and blood sugar levels; activities of daily living including bathing and essential housekeeping to maintain safety and sanitation in the home.

"I can do anything that you would do for your parents if you went into their home and helped them," said Mason.

Mason offers temporary, long-term or respite care for all ages with a specialty in geriatrics. Respite care includes emergency care for someone whose primary caregiver is temporarily unavailable. She can also work with families, within the HIPPA guidelines, to provide care for their family member.

Mason is insured. She accepts most insurance companies and private pay. If services are outside of Mason's scope of practice, she said she loves connecting people with the right services. She looks forward to some day finishing her bachelor's degree in social work and become a case manager for elderly within their homes.

In her free time, Mason enjoys snowmobiling in the winter and four-wheeling in the summer. She has joined the Driftriders Snowmobile Club and enjoys going to local sporting events with her family. She looks forward to getting her children involved in school activities.

Mason's Direct Care is available in Seeley Lake and the surrounding areas Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with other hours considered. For more information or to schedule a free in-home assessment call Mason at 509-499-8168 or email masonsdirectcare@gmail.com. Her business card can also be found in the Pathfinder's Professional & Health Directory.

 

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