Our Clearwater home health agency mission is to create an environment where we set our team members up for success empowering them to provide the best in home care to the community.
EasyLiving Home Health Services Blog
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
“Everything (was most helpful). I came for an overview and found all information extremely useful.”–EasyLiving Alzheimer’s Workshop attendee
EasyLiving/Aging Wisely held its first Free Alzheimer’s Workshop on Friday, September 12, 2014 with Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Certified Trainer, RN Marilyn Fratello. The class focused on the skills needed to understand Alzheimer’s and differentiate it symptoms from normal aging, how to communicate effectively with persons with Alzheimer’s and answered questions from those who attended.
If you didn’t have the chance to attend, here are a few facts you might not know about Alzheimer’s and memory loss:
- Significant changes in memory and cognitive functioning are not a normal part of aging. If you notice more than an occasional memory slip, it is a good idea to get screened for possible memory disorders (and other reversible causes such as medication side effects, underlying infection and more).
- Alzheimer’s risk increases with age, but younger people do get Alzheimer’s disease. There are an estimated 200,000 people in the U.S. under age 65 with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
- There is no guaranteed prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, since it seems a variety of risk factors are involved. It is wise to practice good “brain health” though: being physically active; eating healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and fish; keeping your brain challenged; reducing stress, keeping an eye on your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels; avoiding traumatic brain injury; and keeping socially active. Most of these lifestyle choices are also great for other areas of your health. Many different things have been pinpointed as possible causes, from aluminum to aspartame and flu shots, but nothing has proven conclusive. The same goes for supplements and herbs for prevention.
For a quick guide to Alzheimer’s, download Aging Wisely’s free memory loss fact sheet. It offers concise terminology definitions and a list of symptoms (contrasted with normal aging).
Feedback from attendees at the Alzheimer’s workshop was excellent. They appreciated that the informative workshop (including handouts and with two available CEU credits) at no cost. EasyLiving will again be offering this Free Alzheimer’s Workshop on Friday, November 14, 2014. Be sure to call us at 727-447-5845 to reserve your seat. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
Next Alzheimer’s Workshop:
Date: Friday, November 14, 2014
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Location: Training Classroom
1180 Ponce De Leon, #701
Clearwater, Fl 33756
CEUs: 2 credits (certificate given at end of class)
On October 25th our team will be gathering for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Pinellas County. We encourage you to consider participating and supporting this important cause! You can contact us for more information or check out the website for more details.
If you or a loved one is facing concerns about memory loss, our Senior Care Consultant is always here to help! Call us any time at 727-447-5845!
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
This post offers some answers and advice for some of the more common questions we get about problems adult children face when coordinating a parent’s in-home care. We hope these help you and your family!
My parent doesn’t think there is anything for the home caregiver to do. He often dismisses her early when there are plenty of tasks that could be done. I’m also afraid he isn’t going to think this is worth it and cancel services since he doesn’t think there’s anything for her to do. What can I do?
One of the biggest reasons elders resist (or have a hard time getting used to) having help in the home is that they feel pressure to entertain the person. Their graciousness makes it hard for them to relax while the person is there or they may not be used to giving instructions/tasks. First, your home care provider should work with you on creating a care plan and listing possible tasks for the caregiver to do. The caregiver can then be proactive with these tasks.
Before bringing in caregivers or in your initial meeting with the company, brainstorm with your parent about possible tasks (our “50 Ways Home Care Can Help” handout is full of ideas). It might be good to have a conversation with your home care provider…in some cases the caregiver needs to be more assertive in carrying out tasks and creating a routine.
Mom doesn’t like the home caregiver who was assigned to her. What can we do?
Talk to your home care provider if things aren’t working out. Some people just aren’t a good match. A good employer understands that this happens from time to time and it doesn’t necessarily reflect negatively on the person (unless there are specific problems). Can you or your parent pinpoint what it was about the person that was not a good fit? This can help the company find someone who is a better match, or make changes to ensure things work out better (maybe the caregiver needs more specific instructions or information on the way a client likes things done).
I know my Dad is very prejudiced, so I’m worried he won’t accept caregivers of certain races. I don’t support this attitude but I don’t know what to do?
An EasyLiving client’s daughter was kind enough to share how they dealt with overcoming Mom’s prejudices to have a good home care experience so that others might benefit. We typically suggest that we send out the caregivers we feel would be the best match for the job, disregarding these personal prejudices, which may allow your parent to get past preconceived ideas. Often, an aging parent has experienced great care in a hospital or rehab. center from people of different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and genders, and it may help to mention this and remind your parent that your goal is to get them the best possible person to help.
Mom is talking about hiring a lady who helped her neighbor. She comes highly recommended. Are there any issues we should consider about hiring her?
We caution you to carefully consider the possible repercussions of privately hiring. We don’t just say this because we’re in the home health business, but because we have seen the negative consequences in our many years as elder advocates. While the caregiver may come highly recommended, remember that you/your loved one are now becoming the employer with all the related responsibilities and liabilities. Our article about “live-in care” outlines the areas you should consider in such arrangements (most of the information is applicable even if the caregiver will not live in the home).
You can talk to the caregiver about whether she would be willing to work through an agency to work with your Mom. Some caregivers do both private and agency work, or may be willing to make arrangements to afford you the extra protections and backup care you should have.
For personalized answers to all your eldercare and home health questions, contact our Senior Care Consultant. Call us any time at 727-448-0900 to set up a complimentary home visit!
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
We recently offered some comparisons between Assisted Living and In-Home Care for eldercare. One of the best things about home care is the flexibility it offers. It allows a client and family to be proactive and have some control over what happens in the aging process.
By bringing in assistance in some key areas, elders can stay healthy and safe and prolong the need for more intensive care (and thus save money too). Unfortunately, this happens less often than it could, so today we offer help with some frequently asked questions about eldercare options:
How do you know if the time might have arrived to bring in some help? What services can home care offer for healthy aging-in-place? And, how can I convince an aging parent that this will be helpful (and rather than a loss of independence, the chance to have some control)?
If you notice any of the following, your loved one could benefit from eldercare assistance:
- The home is not kept up/needs repairs or the person becomes injured while trying to do repairs, the home is not as clean as usual, the person falls victim to home repair scams, etc.
- Meals mainly consist of convenience foods or junk food, pantry/fridge has expired/moldy food, your loved one has difficulty cooking or getting out to shop for ingredients.
- Your loved one takes several medications and/or sees several specialists for multiple health conditions.
- Your loved one takes a fall, or has unexplained injuries.
- Mom has begun limiting her activities (no longer taking her favorite walk or attending her bridge game; changing her routine).
- Dad decides to stop driving, or your family discusses the possibility that he should “give up the car keys”.
- You notice signs of withdrawal and/or depression.
- You notice changes in appearance and grooming habits (Mom’s clothes are disheveled or she stays in her nightgown, Dad does not appear to be bathing or shaving often).
For more signs and information, you might want to download the “Aging Parent Warning Signs” checklist put together by our Aging Wisely care managers.
Home care services can help someone stay safe and healthy in their own home longer by:
- Ensuring good nutrition by shopping for healthy ingredients and preparing home-cooked meals.
- Supervising proper medication management.
- Helping ensure care continuity with appointment reminders and transportation to doctor’s appointments.
- Keeping your loved one active and engaged with in-home activities, companionship and outings.
- Assisting with maintaining a clean and healthy environment: light housekeeping, organizing projects, reducing clutter.
- Offering dignified assistance with grooming (relieving the embarrassment/strain of having an adult child help with personal matters and helping the person feel good about him/herself again).
- Being “eyes and ears” for safety support, noticing changes or concerns.
For more details about many things a home caregiver can do, check out our 50 Ways Home Care Can Help.
When it is time to approach a loved one about your concerns, think about your approach and be prepared for resistance (here are some of the common reasons behind this resistance). Check out our 10 Ways to Convince Aging Parents to Get Home Care Assistance.One of the best techniques is to start small, maybe with a caregiver to do shopping or light housekeeping. Talk to potential home care companies about their quality control, how they pick their caregivers and match one to your needs and their ideas for approaching the situation.
With a little help, your aging parent can have a better quality of life and better their chances of being able to stay at home longer. Contact us today for a free consultation with our Senior Care Consultant!
Monday, August 25th, 2014
Almost all elders desire to remain in their own homes as they age (90%+ according to various surveys). However, caring families struggle with worries about loved ones’ safety and well-being when they’re living alone. Home care is a perfect solution to bridge the desires of the elder with the peace of mind for the family.
Often as an elder faces health problems or has some difficulties keeping up with household or self-care, families consider the option of an Assisted Living Facility. Sometimes this feels like the answer to all their worries and the most logical choice, but it’s typically not what the older person wants. Knowing what home caregivers can do and having a better understanding of options can help everyone come to the best decision.
To help you, today we will share some comparisons between Assisted Living and Home Care. Look for upcoming blog posts on different considerations, pros and cons and when to consider getting help.
Assisted Living $41,000
Home health aide $29,000
*From John Hancock’s Cost of Care 2013 Survey, average nationwide cost for a year of care.
Assisted Living 60-500 square feet
**Florida ALF regulations: Private resident units are required to have a minimum of 80 square feet of floor space (multiple-occupancy resident rooms must have at least 60 square feet per resident). An additional minimum of 35 square feet of living and dining space per resident is required. Resident bedrooms used for multiple occupancy (in facilities newly licensed or renovated six months after October 17, 1999) shall have a maximum occupancy of two people. Shared bathrooms are permitted and there must be one toilet and sink per six residents, and one bathing unit per eight residents. Average size for a one-bedroom apartment in an ALF (nationwide) is 500 square feet.
Home 2392 square feet
**average home size in the U.S. from 2010 census
Care ratios (staff: client)
Assisted Living 1:17
**minimum requirements are figured in care hours/resident, but this is the minimal requirement for having one staff awake for facilities over 17 residents (smaller facilities don’t have this requirement); see link for education/experience requirements for staff
Home care 1:1 (or possibly 1:2 for couples’ care)
**C.N.A. or Home Health Aide certified, additional requirements for tasks such as helping with medications (at EasyLiving, must score about 90% on skills test and complete continuing education); RN available for medication management; Safety and Care Coordinator provided (free of charge) for home visits, supervision and caregiver coaching
In the state of Florida, a resident must be capable of performing day to day living activities with supervision or assistance, not require 24-hour nursing supervision, be free of stage II, III, or IV pressure sores, be able to participate in most social and leisure activities, be ambulatory, and not display violent behavior in order to be admitted into an Assisted Living Facility. A resident must be discharged if he or she is no longer able to meet this criteria, or is bedridden for more than seven days.
Different levels of care/providers can be brought in to manage various needs (pressure sores, bedridden, etc.), including and up to hospice care at the end of life.
Meals usually served in a dining room, can typically be adjusted to special diet such as low sodium but are not customized to each resident. ALFs and retirement communities usually charge an additional fee if the person requires a meal delivered to his/her room.
Meals are customized to the person for special diets and preferences, including the possibility of recreating favorite family recipes and catering to likes/dislikes. The meal is served in the home and the caregiver can provide mealtime companionship. There is also the option of having a caregiver prepare meals ahead-of-time for the week or someone to come in primarily to shop and prepare meals. Caregivers can also take clients out to restaurants.
ALFs usually provide a range of group activities (smaller ALFs or Adult Family Care Homes usually don’t have activities staff so will not have many organized activities), including occasional outings. Activities are not one:one and if a resident wants to go to a specific outside activity or place, this may need to be arranged privately.
Activities can be designed in to the careplan and as caregivers get to know clients, they can customize different activities to the client’s preferences. This can include outings and activities at home. For those who don’t like group activities, this can be especially good. On the other hand, if the client could benefit from more group interaction, trips to a local senior center or other group activities can be arranged.
Monday, August 18th, 2014
Concerns for Senior Home Caregivers Working with Alzheimer’s Clients: Training and Preparation, Dangers and Liability
A recent California Supreme Court decision determined that clients with Alzheimer’s disease are not liable for injuries they cause to paid in-home caregivers.
This case involves a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease and her husband, who hired a caregiver through an agency to care for the client at home through 2005. The caregiver had a history of working with patients with this diagnosis. The caregiver was told that the client was prone to biting, kicking, and scratching.
Three years after the caregiver began providing services to her, the client bumped against her from behind while she was washing a large knife and reached into the kitchen sink, which caused the knife to cut the caregiver’s wrist. The caregiver lost sensation in several fingers and her thumb, and had persistent pain in her hand and wrist. The caregiver received workers’ compensation benefits, but also sued for negligence and battery. The husband and wife are now deceased, but the insurance company that provided their homeowner’s insurance has been defending against the caregiver’s claims.
The basis for the Court’s decision is that in-home caregivers who work with clients with Alzheimer’s disease should know that the disease commonly causes physical aggression and agitation, especially in its advanced stages. According to the Court, it is, therefore, inappropriate to allow caregivers who suffer injuries to sue their employers. With regard to this point, the Court stated that “it is a settled principle that those hired to manage a hazardous condition may not sue their clients for injuries caused by the very risks they were retained to confront.”
Other courts deciding on similar situations in institutional settings had already come to similar conclusions. This does not preclude future lawsuits by caregivers who aren’t warned in advance that clients may be violent or when injuries are unrelated to common symptoms of dementia. This was a California decision, but likely to inform courts in other states as similar cases come before them.
Regardless of the legalities, no family wants to see their loved one harm someone and caregivers obviously wish to avoid injury.
Tips for families of a loved one with dementia:
- Be honest with caregivers/agencies about your loved one’s status, needs and possible concerns.
- Explain possible triggers and solutions that have worked for you.
- Get a thorough assessment with recommendations for the type of care and support needed.
- Keep the lines of communication open: share information if you notice changes in your loved one, talk to their doctors about concerns, ask the agency or your geriatric care manager to communicate regularly with you and give a summary of care.
- Make sure any home care agency or other care provider prepares an individualized care plan. Ask about the training the agency provides, the experience of the caregivers and how the agency supports and helps the caregivers deal with difficult situations.
- Use licensed home care agencies that provide worker’s compensation insurance for employees.
Tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers:
- Seek extra training and information about Alzheimer’s disease.
- Get to know the client: ask the family and your agency to provide information on the client’s habits and preferences, things that tend to trigger behaviors and coping techniques that have worked.
- Share your knowledge and ideas with the care team. For individuals with dementia, especially those who act out, a consistent care team is important. Having a set of caregivers with personal knowledge of the client provides consistency, keeps caregivers from burning out and potentially offers different perspectives/solutions.
- Learn behavior-management techniques such as redirection and calming activities. Be sure to maintain routine, ensure the client gets sufficient rest and food/drink, medicines are given properly and the client is comfortable (unusual acting out may be a sign of pain or infection, so contact your agency if you notice changes so that the family and/or care manager can get possible causes assessed).
- No matter your experience/expertise, it is important to have an agency that supports you. Do they provide a detailed careplan? Who can you count on for support/talk to about concerns? Does the agency have someone who will make a home visit with you and offer ideas for problem-solving?
Call EasyLiving at 727-447-5845 for experienced caregivers to provide memory care/dementia support. If you are a caregiver who would like to work for a super supportive agency, check out our home care careers page!
*Thanks to Elizabeth Hogue, from whom we excerpted the information about this case. ©2014 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.
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