Coordinate Senior Care Using Institute on Aging App

Senior caregivers need to keep track of a lot for their senior clients and communicate progress or issues back to their senior clients' families. Throughout the day it might seem easy to make a mental note, but it can be difficult to remember specific details later. Using the Senior Care Manager app from the Institute of Aging gives senior caregivers a place to record specific information and share it with the families of senior clients at the tap of a finger. 

When caregivers first create an account, they also need to create a "CareZone" profile for each of their senior clients who they would like to use the app to assist. Each CareZone profile has its own permissions attached to it. As such, caregivers can share one profile with the loved ones of their first senior client and a second profile with a different group of people without either group being able to access the other's private information. 

The basic profile for each senior client asks for contact information plus some additional medical and lifestyle information that can be helpful, such as blood type, allergies and faith. After the profile has been created, caregivers will see on the main screen that there's an icon of two people in the upper right hand corner. This designated area allows caregivers to Invite Others to use the app and access this profile. Once an invitation has been accepted, the other users have collaborative access to edit and update the information in the app as well as see everything that the caregiver posts throughout the day. 


The first two categories in the app offer News & Offers as well as Resources for senior caregivers. The News and Offers section pulls articles into the feed based on interests that users can select from a list such as Alzheimer's Disease, General Health, Migraines, etc. The Resources section focuses on the opportunity to e-mail an expert at the Institute on Aging for advice on a specific home care issue or to get information on services they offer for in-home services to financial matters. 

The rest of the categories offer collaborative care options for senior caregivers and the loved ones in their senior clients' lives. Caregivers can track medication history by taking a photo of the pharmacy label on the medicine or typing in instructions on dosage and frequency. They can set a reminder for when the medication should be taken as well as a refill reminder. This makes for easy coordination between different groups of people who might be spending time with a senior client on different days to stay on the same schedule. 

Other care documenting options include the Journal feature to record any important notes throughout the day, the calendar feature to share important appointments and the To Do area with tasks that need to be completed by a certain day. The Photos & Files area gives caregivers a place to share insurance numbers, instructions and any other pertinent information. Lastly, the Broadcast area allows caregivers to share audio clips for their senior clients loved ones to hear a little message through the app. 

The Senior Care Manager app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

See Interruptions to a Senior's Daily Routine Through App

For senior caregivers and families of senior clients, the peace of mind that comes with knowing a senior living independently isn't having any problems isn't easy to come by. 24/7 reassurance that nothing unusual or alarming is happening doesn't come naturally. The new Lively technology places sensors on items in the home connected to a watch that seniors wear to allow caregivers and loved ones check in on their daily routine electronically. 

Lively technology centers around a watch for seniors to wear at all times. Whenever a senior using Lively opens a refrigerator door, tilts their pill box or takes a step, the sensors on their watch or on the items pick up and record the movement. The watch transmits the data it receives back to an app and a website that loved ones or senior caregivers can log into and review.

The tracking helps establish a sense of a senior's daily pattern so that if it abruptly changes, someone knows to check in if a few meals are missed or there's a significant decrease in the number of steps taken in a day. Family members or caregivers can also get alerts from the app or via text for notifications on change in behavior.

The app also provides reminder notifications to seniors to take their medication, and displays an icon of a pill and the word "missed" if a senior forgets a dosage. Caregivers or loved ones can log in and see a quick overview of location, steps taken, status of activities, etc. for a snapshot of how the senior's day is going.  

Another feature of the watch and the connected app allows seniors to push a button for emergency response if they fall or otherwise need immediate attention. A live operator responds to the call via telephone and also reaches out to up to three emergency contacts for the senior as well as dispatching emergency services, if needed. 

Another fun feature of the app gives loved ones the opportunity to log in and share a photo with a caption for the senior to see. The senior doesn't need to be incredibly tech savvy to find it though; photos uploaded into the app are sent via regular mail to the senior once a month. It provides a quick and easy way to share life updates and moments with senior loved ones. 

The Lively watch and app are provided on a monthly subscription basis. The base price starts at $49.45 for equipment and then includes various billing options for $35.95 or less per month. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Senior Home Care Franchises Make Best Business (Dollars and) Sense

The verdict is in — senior in-home care is big business and four senior care franchises have snagged spots in Franchise Business Review’s “Top Emerging Franchises”. FBR surveyed more than 1,500 young franchise brands (operating for five years or less)  and asked them to rank their companies based on financial opportunity, training and support, leadership, operations and product development, core values (e.g., honesty and integrity of franchisor), general satisfaction, and the franchisee community.

Qualicare Family Homecare, FirstLight HomeCare, Amada Senior Care, and CareBuilders at Home were all represented on the list of top franchises. Amada Senior Care took fifth place, FirstLight landed third, and Qualicare Family Homecare walked away with the coveted first place spot of all top emerging franchises.

With no wonder. Senior care (especially in-home care) franchise opportunities have exploded in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the home health-care sector is currently the fastest growing industry sector in America. In 2012, there were just under 1.2 million jobs in home health care. In 2022 it is estimated that there will be about 1.91 million jobs in the home care field. That’s an unprecedented increase of over 715,000 jobs. That translates to a compounded annual growth rate of 4.8 percent.

But besides providing jobs and having employment security, there are other, more personal reasons people find themselves in the senior care industry. Most come to the field after being a family caregiver to the elderly or disabled in their own households. For many, the satisfaction of knowing they are doing the great and important work in helping seniors age at home, with dignity, trumps the profit margins.

Teresa Yoder, Amada Senior Care, Santa Clarita, CA franchise owner tells FBR why she was attracted to her franchise:
My beliefs were in line with the business practices of Amada Senior Care, as it pertained to complete concern and attention to family and senior needs, and what was best for THEM, not necessarily just profit driven.

There are nearly 11,000 senior care agencies in the United States: 1,000 new agencies opened in 2012 alone. Recently, I wrote about Leeza Gibbons and her husband deciding to open a Senior Helpers franchise; it not only made financial sense, but they saw it as an opportunity to “provide trusted and dependable care and encouragement to seniors and families facing devastating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

If you believe you have what it takes to run a Senior Home Care Agency, we suggest you do your due diligence and request information from top senior homecare franchises. You can learn about their operating models and marketing approaches, as well as the minimum cash required to open your own franchise.

Dementia Prevention Through Brain Fitness

Keeping the brain fit as seniors age plays a large part in prevention of the onset of dementia. As senior caregivers work with their clients, finding little ways to keep their minds active can help avoid memory loss. The Fit Brains app gives seniors a series of games intended to improve memory, speed and overall functionality of the brain.

New users to the app are first asked to identify functions of the brain they would like to work on improving the most, such as problem solving or thinking speed. Seniors can choose from any of the listed categories as all of the games within the app will accomplish the goal of exercising the brain on a regular basis.

Once the user has completed their profile set up, the app takes them to the first games to work on the targeted areas identified by the initial questions. The games feature simple concepts, such as matching two of the same symbols from a group of different shapes and colors or sorting fruits as quickly as possible into their matching categories (I.e. bananas on the left, cherries on the right).

Once time runs out on a game, the app brings up a score summary. As users play the same game over time, they can see all of their scores and compare to see how their brain activity in a certain area like speed has improved as they've completed the exercise more times. The app also features some information on brain fitness and how specifically the games in the app challenge the brain in the right way to keep all areas of the brain engaged.

The Fit Brains app is available for free for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Find Hardware for Senior Accessibility at Home in App

Accessibility needs can change as seniors age. Perhaps a senior needs extra support holds in the bathroom or a seat in the shower to help prevent falls. The HEWI app is dedicated solely to helping senior caregivers and their clients find the right hardware to make their home accessible. 

Accessibility hardware categories in the app include Sit, Support, Grip, Washbasins / Mirrors, Accessories and Door Lever Fittings. In addition to making the bathroom accessible, senior caregivers can also help their clients by putting grips wherever they frequently stand down and sit down if they struggle with that. Putting new hardware in the house is no reason for a senior to feel shame over mobility. The new hardware will give seniors the ability to move around their home with more freedom and independence and prevent any accident that can occur from losing balance. 

The app also features a checklist for all of the areas of the home that can be made more accessible, such as the toilet area. More specifically, it drills down to every part of the bathroom, such as checking that the toilet paper is within reach for a senior while they're sitting on the toilet. The app suggests scenarios that you may not realize are a struggle for someone with limited mobility. Take a read through the checklist with your senior client and determine what they could use extra help with accessibility wise. Once you've done that, you can go through the hardware and pick out the products that suit your needs. 

 

The HEWI Quickfinder app is free for Apple products. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Brain Game App Keeps Mind Active for Alzheimer's Prevention: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Exercising the mind contributes to healthy aging just as much as regular physical activity. Senior caregivers can help their clients keep their minds sharp by picking up a new habit or hobby that engages the mind. Something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle or playing a basic game helps keep the brain active. The smartphone app Binaural Brain Game combines brain exercise for Alzheimer's prevention with the need to relieve stress and relax. 

The games feature an icon that the user moves around the surface of the screen to collect crystals whilst avoiding spinning colored wheels. The motions in the game help keep the mind sharp whilst doing something seemingly almost mindless.  Once the user collects their first 1,000 crystals in the first game, they can unlock the second game in the app. There are five different games total that the user can unlock by gathering more crystals in a lower level. Mental stimulation is key in Alzheimer's prevention, along with physical diet, exercise and social connections, as outlined by the Alzheimer's Association

Senior caregivers can benefit from the app as well as it plays tranquil music during games to help calm and soothe the user. After a long day as a caregiver, come home and play the game for a few minutes to clear your head from the day and put you in a good headspace to relax for the rest of the night. 

 

The app is available for free for Apple users. There is also a paid version free of advertisements. 

Name: Binaural Brain Game: Relaxation Therapy for Stress, Insomnia & Alzheimer's 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

App Developed by Florida Hospitals Promotes "Healthy 100 Habits" for Aging: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers often work with clients to allow them to age in place with some outside support. Florida Hospitals developed a website and an accompanying smartphone app to support healthy aging among seniors by encouraging living to a "Healthy 100" years old. The website boasts 8 secrets to healthy aging, starting with making a choice to improve your health and including looking at how your environment, activity, nutrition, relationships, etc. affect health. A longevity calculator section asks basic questions about your health and family health history, nutritional habits, stress, etc. along with age, activity level and stress level to estimate how old you will live to be with your current habits. It provides personal recommendations to improve quality of life for healthy aging. 

The app is intended to be used in conjunction with the website to track new habits you decide to create based on the results of your longevity calculator test. Taking into consideration how stressful caregiving can be as a profession, one new habit for caregivers might be to "use stress relieving techniques 3 times per week." Stress relief takes various forms for different people, but some suggestions include stretching, going for a casual walk or focusing on relaxing images. The app contains 100 suggestions for new habits, but users can easily make up their own custom habits as well.

Caregivers can create new goals and log when they actively work towards completing existing goals in the app. As an added bonus, the Healthy 100 website offers the chance for Florida residents to get a free rewards card for special deals with local businesses to help support their health goals. 

 

The app is free for Apple and Android platforms. 

"Over 40% of the decisions we make each day are based on habit. Without a plan, it is difficult to create lasting change to live to a Healthy 100 years of age. The Healthy 100 Habits app provides the structure to hold yourself accountable so you can create the life you desire."

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Caregiving Jobs: A Career Path

Caregivers are a special breed. The work is hard, the hours are long, and the pay is usually minimum wage. The job is demanding and can be underappreciated. However, no one questions that the job of the caregiver is vital and the industry is growing at an exponential rate. The need for quality caregivers grows every day.

In-home caregivers directly affect the well being of others like few other professions. The bond between a senior and caregiver is akin to a familial relationship. This relationship is a growing trend as our population ages and the elderly look more to aging at home as opposed to a nursing home.

Many senior caregivers come to the profession by way of family caregiving. Some start their caregiving career as home companions, Personal Care Aides and  and Home Care Aides. The best way to get started on a professional caregiving career path is to work with a quality Senior Home Care Agency;  great agencies will provide additional training, support and benefits.

A lot of caregivers move on to become Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) and work with Home Health Agencies. Certification requirements vary from state to state, but the federal government requires 75 hours of training, as well as a competency evaluation.

Some elder care workers go on to open their own Home Care Agency, as Caregiverlist’s own CEO Julie Northcutt did. There are choices to make: will you open a medical or non-medical homecare agency? Does it make sense to purchase an existing franchise or start an agency of your own? Of course, you will need to file for licenses and permits with your state’s governing agency. Many can send you a packet of information on how to get the process started. Of course, if you want to become a quality Senior Home Care Agency, Caregiverlist provides a very specific checklist outlining standards for safety and consistency in care.

Our recent Senior Caregiver Pay blog post received a lot of comments, most of them decrying the state of wages caregivers receive. We hear you. Rest assured that we are committed to caregiver advocacy and are hard at work developing affordable online caregiver training and certification that you can take at your own pace to make you a more attractive employment candidate to Home Care Agencies. Hopefully, Caregiverlist Certification will broaden your skill set and enable you to command a higher hourly rate.

The senior citizen population is on the rise and caregiving as a profession, need and concern is not going away anytime soon. Finding and properly compensating quality in-home caregivers is finally getting the national attention it deserves.  

Senior-Proofing the Home

Aging in place is an option more in the senior population want to pursue. There’s no place quite so comfortable as one’s own home and community. However, according to AARP, nearly one-third of all Americans over 65 experiences a fall in the home. There are other safety issues that make staying in the home a challenge and the initial accident prevention costs might be off-putting. But in the long run, the costs can be far less to stay home and renovate than to move into Assisted Living.

Senior-proofing the home is much like childproofing the home. Both encourage you to do a room-by-room assessment of potential and hidden hazards. Both take into account the physical limitations their subjects may encounter. And in both instances, safety in independence is key. But do everyone a favor and, for the senior crowd, don’t lock the toilet seat.

Elder home-proofing suggestions abound on the internet, but the most thorough and comprehensive guide to home safety I’ve found comes to us from our friends at AARP. Their AARP Home Fit Guide goes into great depth discussing home livability, home safety and home maintenance to help keep the estimated 83% of seniors who would like to, age at home.

Fall prevention is a huge concern when it comes to seniors living alone. Getting rid of scatter or throw rugs throughout the home, lighting dim passageways, installing shower and toilet grab bars, keeping passageways clear of clutter and wiring, all contribute to fall prevention in the home.  If your home needs renovation, contact your state’s Department on Aging for information on available senior home modification services.

Senior safety is addressed outside the home as well as in. Make sure medication dosages are kept current. Visit the eye doctor to gauge general as well as peripheral vision.

Owning a good Medical Alert System, as we’ve written before, is vital. In addition to providing real help in case of an accident or fall, simply possessing such a device can contribute to peace of mind for older adults who live alone.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) can be brought to the home to conduct a full assessment to help maximize an accessible living environment. Also, look for a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders to help with recommending home modifications to help age in place.

Taking preventative steps such as these, along with the help of a family or professional caregiver, can go a long way to help an independent lifestyle a viable senior option.

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