Meet The Team | Senior Helpers of San Diego
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Serving San Diego and surrounding areas.
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Serving San Diego and surrounding areas.
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Meet the San Diego office

More than 90% of seniors want to age in their own home with dignity but getting the right type of care can seem daunting.  At Senior Helpers San Diego we believe that getting the best care for your loved ones should not be complicated.  David Wallace opened the Senior Helpers San Diego office in 2008 because of his passion for helping others and his interest in the growing need for in-home care services.  David is committed to delivering the best possible in-home care to seniors in the San Diego community.

We take in-home care seriously and make it a priority to provide the highest level of client service possible.  Over the past 11 years we have built an exceptional team of care professionals, each committed to remaining at the forefront of the in-home care industry through our proprietary ongoing training and education programs.

Our History

Our History

Senior Helpers was founded in 2002 by Tony Bonacuse with the help of Peter Ross after their firsthand experience in caring for their respective family members. Tony and Peter identified a need that was not being filled properly by the other companies.  They realized most seniors would prefer to age in their own home rather than move into an unfamiliar institution. Unfortunately, the options available to most seniors were very limited. Most seniors did not have access to well-trained, dependable and affordable in-home care. This was the mission-driven spark that started Senior Helpers.

The first office opened in Baltimore, and quickly developed a reputation for delivering excellent in-home senior care with their well-trained staff of professional caregivers. Based on the success of the Baltimore location, the company began to expand.  Over the past 13 years, the Senior Helpers family has grown to include a network of more than 300 locally owned and operated franchises across the United States.

Senior Helpers of San Diego was proud to join the system in 2008.  Like every other owner, we too are fully-committed to the original goal of providing dependable and affordable in-home care with well-trained caregivers. Nothing is more important to us than being the best available resource for seniors and families in our community.  

David Wallace started Senior Helpers after seeing how a professional caregiver brought joy and peace of mind to his late grandmother – and to David’s entire family.

We have been lucky to serve hundreds of seniors in our community over the years, and we are committed to continuing to provide uncompromising levels of care to all our families.

Our process

Our process

The first step in the process is a complimentary, initial in-home care assessment with a Senior Helpers consultant.  This assessment can help you understand the true needs of your loved one, and your options. Together we can discuss their needs, our senior care services and determine what’s best for your entire family.

We will cover:

  • Your family's specific goals
  • Your loved one's daily plan design and schedule
  • Pricing and payment methods
  •  Implementation process
  • Ongoing communication and follow-up plan

Meet the San Diego Team

David Wallace

David Wallace

CEO and Franchise Owner


David is a 30-year resident of San Diego and has been the owner of Senior Helpers since 2008.

David started Senior Helpers after seeing how a professional caregiver brought joy and peace of mind to his late grandmother – and to David’s entire family.

He was also influenced profoundly by his personal experience of being a caregiver – during his early teens – for his late father, who struggled with Multiple Sclerosis. Later in his life, all four of his grandparents developed dementia or other forms of memory impairment.

“Caring for a loved-one is sacred and heroic work. I’ve experienced it myself, and I’ve seen my grandparents, my mother, my aunts and uncles, as they bravely took on the challenge of caregiving. If I can use those experiences to make life even a little bit better for our clients and their families, then all those years will have a meaning that’s much greater than I ever could’ve imagined.”

As a committed advocate to San Diego’s seniors – including veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces – and their families, David is very active in our community.

David is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers (, a non-profit provider of day programs in a family-like setting for adults affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and forms of memory impairment, as well as support for people who care for those with memory impairment.

He facilitates a support group that serves spouses and other family caregivers, which is held on the campus of the Paradise Village retirement community in National City.

In addition, David also has had the distinct honor of serving - in his role as a board member of the Senior Affairs Advisory Board - as a public policy advisor to San Diego's Mayor and City Council, on issues related to aging in "America's Finest City."

He has been a frequent participant in professional panels, a public speaker, and a frequent contributor to San Diego news TV programs, where he has discussed a wide range of topics in the area of aging and caregiving.

David graduated cum laude with a B. A. degree in Economics from Brandeis University.


Claudia Hensel, BSW

Claudia Hensel, BSW

Care Manager

Claudia’s primary professional goal is to keep seniors where most of them want to be – in the comfort of their own home.

A social worker who has focused her career on the well-being of seniors, Claudia is an experienced clinical professional. She provides guidance, support and assistance to seniors and their families, helping establish and implement a comprehensive care plan that best fits the individual.

Assessment, Guidance, Support:

Claudia’s assistance begins with a thorough assessment of the individual’s needs through observation and interviews with significant others. This evaluation is essential in determining your loved-one’s exact needs. Beyond the initial assessment, Claudia and our team offer ongoing assistance and oversight to help ensure continued well-being for your loved-one and peace of mind for your family.

From the initial assessment and care planning to caregiver selections and introductions on the first day of service, everything is done to have a smooth start to what can be a stressful event: allowing a caregiver into the home, often after a lifetime of managing without outside help.

Claudia’s work as Care Manager doesn’t end after the beginning of services. She visits clients on a regular basis to assess the quality of services as well as their satisfaction. Clients who have a stay in the hospital or skilled nursing / rehab center can look forward to seeing Claudia - both as a friendly visitor and as the professional who oversees any changes that will affect our client’s care at home. Claudia spends much of her time working with discharge planners, social workers, case managers, physicians and other professionals, acting as the client’s advocate to ensure our client experiences a safe discharge and enjoys life at home.

Of course, a client’s needs tend to change over time - sometimes unexpectedly and rapidly. On a regular basis, Claudia will arrange for a re-assessment visit, to make our care plan and the level of care are appropriate for the current situation. And clients or their families can always request an earlier visit, if they need to brainstorm an issue they are grappling with.

Before joining Senior Helpers in 2016, Claudia worked with several other agencies focused on the well-being of seniors. At these agencies, and now with Senior Helpers, Claudia spends much of her time supporting people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, depression, and other illnesses.

Claudia is originally from Berlin, Germany, where she was a social worker for 12 years and helped people with substance abuse and mental illness. She met her husband while on vacation in San Diego, and decided to move here. All of a sudden, her own aging family was a very long way away - which gives Claudia a first-hand knowledge of the anxieties of out-of-town family members, and works diligently to give them as much peace of mind as possible.

Claudia has a Master’s Degree in Gerontology from San Diego State University.

“From my personal as well as my professional experience, what seniors most want is to remain in their homes, and what families most want is their loved-one to be safe. Sometimes, those two wishes are at odds which each other. It can be a balancing act to give the senior a feeling of maximum independence while assuring the family has peace of mind.”


Deanne "Dee" Purnell

HR Manager & Home Care Supervisor

Dee is a long-time resident of San Diego County, and has been working in the field of Human Resources for more than 20 years.

As our HR Manager and Home Care Supervisor, Dee is responsible – first and foremost – for ensuring we hire only professionals who have the right experience, skills, personality, temperament and integrity to perform the critical work our profession requires. Dee’s ability to relate to a wide variety of people, and act as a problem-solver, allow her to be an excellent link between our clients and caregivers.

In addition to her HR responsibilities, Dee oversees our training programs, which helps ensure our caregivers meet not only our high standards, but also meet all the requirements mandated by the State of California.

Before joining Senior Helpers, Dee worked in Oklahoma City for about 10 years in the HR Department of a major hospital and a large medical center. Although she was responsible for supporting 250 employees, Dee always took the opportunity to talk with patients and their families so they could be sure to see a friendly face amidst the hustle-and-bustle of the hospital.

Prior to that, Dee was Office Manager for The Arc of San Diego, one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of services to children and adults with disabilities in San Diego County.

“Why do I love doing this work so much? It’s because the greatest man on earth to me – my father, who had developed dementia – passed away in 2013. I was his caregiver, and I know how much he relied on me, and there were things that only I could do for him. So to me – knowing how much of an impact a great caregiver can have on the family – there is NO better place for me to work.”

Neisha Munz

Neisha Munz

Community Liason

Neisha represents Senior Helpers in the community, working with hospitals, skilled nursing and rehab facilities, home health and hospice agencies, physicians and other providers of services to seniors around San Diego County.

Neisha is also responsible for supporting and expanding the Company’s professional education efforts. She develops materials for meetings, presentations, training workshops, and support groups.

Neisha brings to Senior Helpers a deep knowledge of senior care – especially the specialized care needs of someone with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Prior to joining Senior Helpers in 2016, Neisha was Assisted Living Coordinator for a prominent memory care facility in the South Bay, where she was responsible for hiring, staff management, resident assessments, creating and maintaining detailed resident care plans, and building family relationships.

Before that, Neisha was Memory Programs Coordinator for another prominent memory care facility in North County, where she managed all memory care operations including hiring, staff management, resident assessments, creating monthly activity calendars, facilitating monthly dementia training for all staff members, and building and maintaining positive family relationships.

Neisha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gerontology from San Diego State University.

Linette Massey

Linette Massey

Caregiver & Scheduling Coordinator

Linette is a native of the South, and has been in the healthcare field since 1995.

As our Caregiver & Scheduling Coordinator, Linette helps our phenomenal employees by assigning them work with our client families. She helps select, schedule and coordinate caregiver(s) who are the best match for our clients, based on the initial assessment meeting and feedback from our Client Services Manager (Mary) and our Franchise Owner (David). Linette is responsible for managing the schedules of all our employees, and helps ensure that clients who need to change their schedule or level of care have as much consistency and continuity as possible.

Linette provides reassurance, understanding and a sense of calm, to our clients and family members who call the office with questions about scheduling and concerns about changes in their care needs.

Linette is also frequently the first contact for caregivers who want to join our team. She works closely with these candidates to make sure they meet all of our stringent requirements, and handles the initial interview and administers our pre-employment behavioral assessments. From there, she recommends only the best candidates for further consideration by our management team.

Prior to joining our team in this role, Linette worked in our company as a caregiver. In that position, she not only provided outstanding care, but she also served as a role model for her co-workers and a shining example of the excellence we value so much at Senior Helpers.

“What I love about Senior Helpers, is that our clients show hospitality, openness and a willingness to trust us as we come into their homes to provide care. I also love that while we’re providing excellent care for our clients, I’m responsible for helping care of our employees – giving them the best opportunity to excel. Every day, I get the chance to help our clients have the best possible care at home, while offering meaningful work to our employees.”

Before joining Senior Helpers, Linette had an extensive career in other healthcare settings, both as a Certified Nursing Assistant and as a Medical Assistant. In addition, she had the opportunity to care both for her own late mother, as well as her late grandmother who passed away at the age of 102.

Areas We Serve

Senior Helpers San Diego provides a full range of senior home care services for you or your loved one—from companionship and housework help, to more complex care services, including disease management, Live-In and 24-hour care services.

Senior Helpers San Diego serves the cities and towns of:

  • San Diego
  • Chula Vista
  • Hillcrest
  • Point Loma