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
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.
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
Overcoming the Most Common Objections to Getting Help from a Home Health Caregiver
EasyLiving Home Care is often your first step to entering the world of long term care. We make the process as easy as possible.
How do you know when EasyLiving home care makes sense?
- Multiple hospitalizations and/or your loved one still needs help after Medicare Home Health stops services.
- Your loved one experiences poor eating habits and feels the consequences of poor nutrition.
- Day to day activities are a struggle. One of the first routines to go is the ability to change the bed sheets (stretching the bottom sheet to fit the bed takes significant strength and coordination).
- Medications are getting confused or worse yet, not being taken properly and leading to health issues.
- Multiple doctors’ appointments and the inability to communicate issues succinctly and hesitation about revealing how tough the day-to-day activities really are.
EasyLiving has found the #1 objection by a loved one to accepting help is concern over how they will entertain the caregiver while he/she is in the home. The duty of graciousness and politeness is ingrained into many of our clients – a wonderful trait!
At EasyLiving Home Care we have solved this issue by developing a comprehensive care plan outlining step-by-step instructions and tasks for the caregiver to accomplish while in the home. The care plan is very specific – from identifying how the client wants household chores completed to how many sugars they want in their coffee. This working care plan limits the client’s need to provide specific instruction and worry about what the caregiver is going to do with their time. It is a win- win for both the client and caregiver while providing a metric to measure the success of the visit.
The #2 objection to home care is the concern of having a stranger in in the home.
At EasyLiving Home Care we work closely with the client and family to ensure the caregiver we introduce to them is the right caregiver for them. We reinforce to the client and family that if it isn’t a fit for them, let us know, and we will be able to find a great caregiver they will enjoy. Our Client Care and Safety Coordinator also does in-home visits to supervise and coach the caregivers and spot any potential areas for improvement; ensuring quality of care, a good match and removing the burden from the client to point out concerns. Read more about our unique home health quality assurance measures here.
The 3rd most common objection to home care is the fear they cannot afford the care. The average cost of caregivers through an accredited, fully insured, bonded and licensed private duty company like EasyLiving Home Care is $22.00/hour. EasyLiving Home Care is proud to state we have maintained our hourly rate of $20/hour since the day we opened our doors in 2005. Our advanced technologies have enabled us to develop incredible service and training, while maintaining our reasonable price.
What are some ideas to overcome the fear of the cost of home care?
- Introduce your loved one to 3 hours a week of home care to assist with the basics of cleaning, laundry, changing the bed sheets, and a home cooked meal.
- Supplement family caregiving from time to time so that respite care becomes easier, provides some new socialization for your loved one and gives the full-time caregiver some downtime.
- Personal hygiene is a tough activity for any of us to need help with, especially having our son or daughter see us naked and all the related dignity issues. Introduce a professional EasyLiving caregiver, much like hospital care, to assist with bathing, hair washing, and other personal grooming that will enable the client to feel better about themselves.
- At EasyLiving Home Care we are very successful in putting your long term care insurance to work for you. We will help you understand the elimination period, level of care required, and help you negotiate obtaining the coverage you need.
We’ve also done the math for you: check out our article The True Costs of Home Caregivers for a better understanding of cost comparisons, ways to save money and how to pay for care.
Our Senior Care Consultant provides a free needs analysis to help you talk through these concerns and identify if and when EasyLiving Home Care is right for you. Contact EasyLiving online or at 727-447-5845.
Monday, August 4th, 2014
This week is Simplify Your Life Week and we are celebrating with a tip/day over on our Facebook page. Please join us for ideas and inspiration, and share your tips too!
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” –Confucius
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” –Leo Tolstoy
Thoreau’s quotes below probably best encapsulates why simplicity is so vital (imagine if he could see the lives we lead today). We felt it was important to focus on this message this week (and leading up to it) as it can help to improve quality of life for all of us (and caregivers especially).
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ” –Henry David Thoreau
Caregivers, especially, with all that they manage, benefit from simplification. If you are caring for a senior loved one, we highly recommend checking out our Aging Wisely blog for “Caregiver Life Hacks“, creative tips and ideas to make life easier. We have listed a number of articles and resources below that will help you as a caregiver and simplify your caregiving tasks. Reaching out for help and not trying to do it all alone is our #1 piece of advice for caregivers…but finding that help can be complicated.
A big goal of our blog (and our daily work) is to simplify the information available, provide what is useful and correct, and help you filter through the information overload. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:
The Mini Downsize (the benefits of eliminating clutter and how to easily reduce over time)
How to Spend Less Time on Paperwork (including links to great online caregiver tools/how to evaluate systems and an important documents list)
Senior Care Resources (distilling the www down to the top links you need, along with free downloads on key eldercare topics)
Respite Care (how to take a break as a caregiver or balance tasks, simple respite prep checklist and how to be prepared for emergencies)
Need help? Make one simple call to get access to almost anything you might need. Our Senior Care Consultant helps you find answers!
Call 727-447-5845 or contact our Senior Care Consultant online!
Monday, July 28th, 2014
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect many families across the world. Our team is focusing extra attention on Alzheimer’s awareness and fundraising leading up to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. Here’s an update on the EasyLiving team’s upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness events and how you can get involved!
In July, we raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association with a 50/50 drawing. In August, we’ll have two wine tasting events to raise funds and awareness. The wine tastings will be on Thursday, August 21 and Tuesday, August 26 at our offices. Contact Laura Ashford, Director of Marketing, at 727-447-5845 for more information. We’d love to see you there!
Coming up in August, we’ll have another visit from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Mobile. The Florida Gulf Coast chapter’s Memory Mobile “is the only mobile support, prevention and education service delivery vehicle in the country. The Memory Mobile provides outreach education, care consultations, memory screenings and caregiver education targeting targeting low income, rural, isolated and/or inner city people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.”
Come by and visit on August 13th from 11:00am to 2:30pm at 1180 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 701, Clearwater, FL.
Wish you had answers to your Alzheimer’s questions? We’ll be offering some special Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia classes this fall.
Extras: Get free informational handout plus 2 CEU credits for professionals
These classes are state approved training with our Alzheimer’s and Related Disorder’s Certified Trainer, RN Marilyn Fratello. This is an amazing opportunity for Q&A with a nurse who has years of both professional AND personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Space is limited! Call 727-447-5845 now to reserve your spot!
Don’t forget, EasyLiving is here to help with your Alzheimer’s disease questions, concerns and care! Our specially-trained caregivers offer memory care and support in the comfort of your own home, to maintain a sense of routine and calm for your loved one. With an individualized careplan, they can support the client, offer activities to stay engaged, and help your loved one remain safe and healthy at home. If your loved one has anxiety or behavioral issues, it is vital that you work with trained caregivers and a team that understands the disease. We can also provide one-on-one care at a retirement community, assisted living, nursing home or hospital.
Contact our home healthcare team online or at 727-447-5845 for help, advice and resources.
Recent Blog Posts
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- June 2010
- March 2010
- November 2009
Need senior care help?
Want to learn more about how you or a loved one can stay healthy and independent?