Caregiver Tales: Happy Easter!

Chicago caregivers may run into this bunny car, parked in downtown Chicago, this weekend.  Enjoy the holiday weekend, whatever your religion may be.  Sending wishes of Spring to all caregivers!  One of the best parts of being a caregiver is sharing in all the different ways of celebrating Springtime for Americans and a cute bunny springs eternal!  Remember that caregiver stress is real, so take time for a smile and if you would like to share your caregiving story with others, please do so, as we welcome more individuals to become professional senior caregivers and apply for a caregiving job as more caregivers are needed!

 

 

Minimum Wage Increase by $3 Proposed in New Legislation

Minimum wage in the U.S.A. is currently $7.25 per hour.  State laws passed to increase minimum wage in a state does trump the national minimum wage law as does city municipalities with special legislation passed, such as the cities of San Francisco and San Jose who have both increased minimum wage for workers in their cities.  Caregiverlist provides the minimum wage in each state.

Caregivers working for professional senior care companies have an average pay nationwide of $10 per hour, higher than the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Payroll taxes are also paid on top of the hourly rate, providing for unemployment benefits (seniors who need care will eventually get better and no longer need care or pass away and so having the safety net of knowing unemployment insurance will be provided while a caregiver finds a new job is an important benefit for caregivers).  Worker's compensation insurance and Social Security benefits are also paid for on top of the caregiver salary.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, the name of the proposed legislation, would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers which currently stands at $2.13 per hour.  This would be the first raise for this group of workers in more than 20 years........I was a waitress to pay my way through college and I remember the $2 dollars and change was just enough to pay a bit towards the taxes.  The proposed increase would make the tipped worker wage 70% of the minimum wage.  

As senior caregivers are needed for new positions at senior care companies nationwide, passing a higher federal minimum wage will only help promote quality pay for quality care for America's seniors.

State minimum wage laws vary, with many states requiring $8 or more per hour already.  Review state minimum wage laws.

Caregivers earn more than minimum wage, even with no formal caregiving experience.  Apply for a senior caregiver job, either part-time or full-time, in your area and refer-a-friend to be a caregiver as more caregivers are always needed to keep up with the growing caregiving needs as our senior population increases.  Caregivers can obtain online caregiver training to become a professional certified senior caregiver through the Professional Association of Caregivers.

 

 

 

Seniors Saving Billions a Year on Prescription Drugs Thanks to Affordable Care Act

Doughnut holes are for pastry shops, right?  Wrong.  Not when it comes to our friendly Congress passing legislation that makes no sense.  A doughnut hole was actually included in the previous prescription drug benefit for seniors and recently corrected in the new healthcare law - it was a hole in payouts for benefits.  And when this type of legislation happens, it does spark the thought that lobbying can be very successful.  The prescription drug companies have spent millions lobbying Congress and as Open Secrets publishes, the drug company's lobbying dollars match when the legislation gets passed.

So this silly doughnut hole was labeled as such because as a senior you would have a benefit to pay for your prescription drug until you took a big enough bite and hit the "hole" and then there was no benefit paid until you got to the other side of the hole and then it would pay again.  Meanwhile, for whatever your health condition is, you need this medication so seniors were very stressed about how they would pay for it while in the "doughnut hole".

I was invited to serve on a research panel, which the government paid for just to make sure that seniors really were confused by their prescription drug plan and that everyone thought the doughnut hole was silly.  As I told them, what private paid healthcare plan would ever sell any such thing?  They wouldn't, because nobody would buy it.  


However, the good news is this:  
the new healthcare law - nicknamed "Obama Care", has saved seniors $6 billion dollars in prescription drug benefits because it eliminated this doughnut hole.  Here is the Health and Human Services news release on the announcement.

 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced this week that more than 6.3 million people with Medicare saved over $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the new health care law.

“By making prescription drugs more affordable, the Affordable Care Act is improving and promoting the best care for people with Medicare,” Secretary Sebelius said.

The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage where beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket. This gap is known as the donut hole.

People with Medicare in the doughnut hole now receive discounts when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase.  The Affordable Care Act gave those who reached the donut hole in 2010 a one-time $250 check, then began phasing in discounts and coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs beginning in 2011.  The law will provide additional savings each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

In 2013, the health care law increases the discounts and savings to 52.5 percent of the cost of most brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of covered generic drugs.

Also under the Affordable Care Act, those who choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage and Part D now have access to a wider range of high-quality plan choices, with more four- and five-star plans than were previously available.  The Affordable Care Act continues to make Medicare more secure, with new tools and enhanced authority to crack down on criminals who cheat the program.

Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act closes the doughnut hole.

Review state-by-state information on savings in the doughnut hole.

Learn about senior care costs for long-term care and find nursing homes in your area as you plan for all your senior care needs.

Caregivers Needed: Caregiver Jobs Continue to Grow Nationwide

Senior caregivers are needed, so much so that U.S. News & World Report outlines the need for immigration reform in order to provide enough professional senior caregivers, home health aides and nursing aides for the growing U.S. senior population.

Senior caregiving jobs continue to grow in all cities and towns nationwide as many seniors choose to age-in-place in their own home.  

Part-time, full-time and live-in positions are available - - remember, live-in caregivers do not actually move in to live with the senior but instead stay over-night at the senior's homes for 2 to 3 days in a row and then go back to their own home.  Live-in caregivers earn a full week's pay in a few days.

Part-time senior caregiver jobs often involve simply assisting a senior with meals and medication reminders and companionship.

Apply for a senior caregiver job in your area as no experience is required for beginning caregiver positions as senior care companies will provide you with training.

Caregiver training for basic professional senior caregiving skills can be found through the Professional Association of Caregivers 10-hour online training course.

Refer-a-Friend to a senior caregiver job position and be entered to win $50 and meet our previous Refer-a-Friend winners.

Caregivers enjoy the fulfillment they receive by assisting a senior to enjoy a day by knowing they have assistance for the activities they no longer can easily do on their own.  Caregiving just may be the most fulfiling job you will ever find, knowing you are appreciated by not only the senior you are helping, but their entire family and their friends.  As the need for more caregivers is needed, spread the word to others. You may learn more about employment as a professional senior caregiver on the Caregiverlist Career Center.

Midwest Caregivers Challenged by March Snowstorm

Caregiving presents so many challenges - both emotionally and physically - and today throughout the Midwest, just when everyone thought winter weather was behind us, a blizzard has hit Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and is on the way to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Caregiverlist wishes safe travels to all the caregivers and if you are safely at home, you can read the latest senior care news, take an online caregiver certification course and research Certified Nursing Aide schools in your area or just refer-a-friend to be a senior caregiver as employment opportunities in caregiving continue to grow and more caregivers and C.N.A.'s are needed.  And especially in a snow storm, when long-distance family members need assistance in checking in on their senior loved ones.

You may also find information on how to contact your local Area Agency on Aging for senior care services, should you have a senior loved one who needs additional care services or find a senior home care agency.

 

 

Alzheimer's and Dementia Responsible for 1 in 3 Senior Deaths, Report Shows

A new Alzheimer’s Association report, 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures, released yesterday, indicates that the disease is now the sixth leading cause of death, taking the lives of 1 in 3 seniors.

And while death from other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke decline, Alzheimer's deaths continue to rise, increasing 68% from 2000-2010. The reason? According to the report, it is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.

The mortality rate for Alzheimer’s and dementia, while certainly increasing as the population ages, isn’t a new phenomenon. However, the reporting of death from dementia and Alzheimer’s may have been previously under-reported, according to  Susan Mitchell, a professor of medicine at Harvard and a scientist at Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research.

Alzheimer's patients tend to have other health problems as well, she says. Alzheimer’s and dementia lead to the death of nerve cells. In the beginning stages of the disease, the cells damaged mostly affect memory and behavior. As the disease progresses, the brain cells damaged control body functions. For example, a person suffering from dementia may lose their ability to swallow correctly. Food goes down the wrong way, resulting in lung damage and finally pneumonia. And it is that pneumonia which has been listed as the cause of death, and not the underlying dementia from which it stemmed.

From a caregiving standpoint, almost 15% of those caregiving for loved ones are doing it long-distance — living an hour or more away and they pay nearly twice as much out-of-pocket for care as their onsite counterparts. However, the emotional toll is understandably greater for those who must deal with caregiving on their own. “More than 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; more than one-third report symptoms of depression.” These are the family caregivers who desperately need help in the form of respite caregivers.

Caregiving for Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires a special skill set and the need for skilled caregivers is only going to increase. State training requirements vary, but Caregiverlist, along with Terra Nova Films, presents training videos to assist you with understanding how to care for special needs of older adults suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

If you are a certified nursing aide, home health aide, companion caregiver or family caregiver, these videos will help you improve upon your current skills and learn about the latest approaches for successful caregiving.

And read Norm McNamara’s Caregiverlist Diary to gain a better understanding of the daily challenges faced by those living with Alzheimer’s.

Miami Caregiving Jobs: Miami Herald Profiles Need for More Caregivers as Baby Boomers Age

More seniors are choosing to stay at home as they age, a trend called "aging-in-place" which includes the need for professional senior caregiving services for usually at least 2 years of the senior's life.  However, another trend that is also arising is more years living as the "oldest old" which means more and more Americans will live past the age of 80.  What comes with living longer is a higher chance of developing memory loss and other age-related diseases which then means needing professional senior caregiving services.

Caregiving jobs are growing - and growing at a fast clip as the huge Baby Boomer generation will more than triple the number of seniors.

The Miami Herald profiles the need for more senior caregivers along with Caregiverlist's job service connecting part-time, full-time and live-in senior caregivers with professional job openings in their area.

Apply for a professional senior caregiving job and refer-a-friend to a caregiving job positions in this growing industry which delivers many rewards beyond a paycheck.

 

Companion Over-time Exemption Protection Act: Senate Bill 3280 Update

Live-in senior caregivers are exempt from over-time pay and this works well for both seniors and caregivers as it sort of doesn't make sense to pay someone over-time pay for sleeping at night.  Live-in caregivers are paid a daily stipend and receive additional benefits such as food and are given down-time in the evening and must be able to sleep 8 hours at night.

An exception was made to over-time pay to allow for the daily stipend instead of hourly pay which would mandate over-time pay after 40 hours in a week.  Most professional caregivers do not work more than 40 hours a week if they work as an hourly caregiver, as they definitely need to recharge their batteries and receive adequate time off.  In addition, a senior could not afford to pay for hourly care for 24-hour care which is live-in care.  If a caregiver is required to be awake constantly while with the senior, then 2 different caregivers are rotated on 12-hour shifts, with one caregiver working days and another working nights.  This type of care obviously is rarely needed although it does happen for end-of-life care and then is short-term.

This exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act would possibly end if a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor is implemented.  However, because the exemption from overtime pay for third party employers delivers advantages for seniors who choose to age-in-place in their own home, Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns introduced a bill which would preserve the companionship services exemption.  An additional 13 senators have co-sponsored the bill and the House of Representatives have a similar bill labeled H.R. 3066 which was introduced in September of 2012.

Status update on S. 3280:

Latest Major Action:  June 7, 2012:  referred to Senate Committee. Status:  Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Caregivers interested in supporting the bill may contact their Congressman or Senator.

 

Live-in Caregiver Jobs Do Not Require "Moving-in" with the Senior: Earn a Full Week's Pay in a Few Days

Live-in Caregivers are in demand and the job position will continue to grow as seniors choose to age-in-place in their own homes.  However, while "live-in caregiver' is a common senior care industry term, it can be confusing for everyone else to understand.  As more and more live-in senior caregivers will be needed, we thought we would share a few fast facts about live-in positions for professional senior caregivers.  You may apply for a professional caregiving job, including live-in positions, in your area, on Caregiverlist.

Live-in Caregiver FAQ's"

What is the job description for a live-in senior caregiver?  

Live-in senior caregivers assist seniors with all activities of daily living, including with meal preparation and clean-up, household tasks such as laundry, managing medical appointments and medication reminders in addition to basic caregiving duties.  Seniors with memory loss or who need assistance with mobility will often require full-time live-in caregiving services.  Learn about senior caregiver job duties for professional caregivers.

What schedule does a Live-in Caregiver work?

A live-in caregiver will go to a senior client's home in the morning to begin their shift and stay for a few days at a time, always working solid 24-hour blocks of time.  The caregiver does sleep at night and also receives a couple of hours of down-time each evening.  Most senior care companies rotate 2 professional senior caregivers, with one caregiver working Monday through Thursday, for example, and the second caregiver working Thursday through Monday morning.  Usually the caregiver team will fill-in for each other if one needs to change their schedule to accommodate personal needs.

What are the advantages of working as a Live-in Caregiver?

Caregivers who have been working in facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes often find that live-in caregiving delivers the advantage of managing care for one client and the added benefit of only needing to commute to the senior client's home once per week.  The elimination of multiple managers and co-workers can be welcoming to many.  In addition, the live-in caregiver has the additional rewards of being able to socialize with the senior and participate in activities which they may find enjoyable.  For instance, maybe a senior usually goes to lunch at a certain restaurant each week.  The live-in caregiver will accompany them and join in for lunch.  Sometimes there will be family functions and even trips which the caregiver will escort the senior on.  One live-in caregiver flew to Australia with their senior client for a family vacation.  Some live-in caregivers will drive the senior in the senior's car.  The benefit of sharing the senior's lifetime of wisdom and experiences can be both fun and fulfilling for the caregiver.

How much are Live-in Caregivers paid?

Live-in senior caregivers receive a daily stipend which usually is between $90 and $160 per day, with all payroll taxes and insurances paid for in addition to this (allowing professional senior caregivers to be able to collect Social Security benefits for their own retirement).  In addition, meals are provided for and additional activities required by the senior are also provided.  The caregiver will receive their own bedroom and usually be able to choose their own food for meals.  The caregiver may go grocery shopping with the senior or for the senior and have a separate budget for their own food.  Other times the caregiver will be able to order food through Peapod or another service or create the meal plan for the food they will prepare and share with the senior.  Usually a routine will be created for the senior and this will also include a schedule for meals.  Many times senior caregivers will take pride in sharing their cooking skills - everyone has at least one great meal they can prepare, right?  Or has a family recipe that everyone loves.  The caregiver can showcase their cooking skills to the senior and know they are being appreciated.  As the owner of a senior home care agency, I can share that oftentimes the live-in caregivers would both want to prepare their own Thanksgiving meal for the senior, separate from any family celebrations.  We would work with the caregivers to make sure their schedules would allow for this and the senior and caregiver would get to have 2 Thanksgivings or Christmas dinners.  This also provides a peek into how enjoyable live-in caregiving can be - - true relationships form as you share the retirement years with a senior.  In addition, many times seniors will live in homes that have a great view or offer other amenities that you may have seen on HGTV or in magazines but never experienced, from gardens to decks to pools to beautiful yards and you are able to enjoy this lifestyle while working as a live-in caregiver.

What training is required to work as a Live-in Caregiver?  Anyone with a caring personality and the availability to stay overnight at a senior's home can work as a live-in caregiver.  Training is provided for each client's care plan and sometimes the most important training required involves understanding medical requirements for a special diet or medication monitoring. Basic senior caregiving skills can be learned through a 10-hour online training course and most senior home care agencies will also provide their own customized training.

Apply for a live-in senior caregiving position in your area on Caregiverlist or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job for the chance to win $50.  Live-in caregiving services will continue to increase as the Baby Boomer population ages-in-place.  Build a caregiving resume and enjoy the experience of not only obtaining pay for assisting a senior but also receiving the fulfillment of making their senior years more enjoyable as they are able to stay in their home.

 

 

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