Super Better Game Helps You Get and Stay Stronger

“I’m game”!  What thoughts go through your mind when someone says this?  If thoughts of excitement, exhilaration, challenge, friendship and the thrill of winning come to mind, then you are like the majority of people who enjoy playing a good game. All of these positive thoughts have now been studied and confirmed as truly brain changing. 


Jane McGonigal, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future has developed a game that assists anyone, including senior caregivers, to move into the gaming mindset to feel better and achieve goals in their daily life.  She has a new book, titled Super Better, along with a free SuperBetter App to allow everyone to step into the gaming mindset and enjoy the resulting benefits.

Jane visited Chicago this week to talk about her book, her research and the free Super Better App at her new office in Chicago (just a couple blocks from Caregiverlist, Inc. at the Chicago Merchandise Mart).

If you thought playing games was not a good use of your time, Jane’s research may surprise you. She now has research studies to back up her findings that your brain does change when you are in the gaming mindset.  Her current focus is on those recovering from traumatic brain injuries or experiencing mental illness such as depression or addiction.  Her own experience recovering from a concussion led her to build the Super Better game and the free Super Better App.  

You are stronger than you know.
You are surrounded by potential allies.
You are the hero of your own story.

By being gameful you can combat extreme stress and personal challenge and thrive and this is what both Jane's book and game will teach you how to do.

How does this work?

Have you ever helped lift heavy furniture from one room to the next? When doing so, you are thinking about how to leverage the furniture in conjunction with the other person assisting with the lifting and you communicate on how you will shift the piece of furniture without damaging it or the walls and floor and without hurting yourself or the other person. As you do this, your brains are "in synch". The same thing happens when you are playing a video game with someone else, or any game. However, this is most effective when playing a game with a friend or family member. The brain chemistry, so to speak, truly changes and delivers more positive emoticons, as we might say. The vagus nerve, for instance, connects the mind to many important organs in the body and mediates the relationship between emotions and physical health and is improved when you are immersed in a game.

The SuperBetter App presents a game that will result in the player being able to stay strong, motivated and optimistic, even in the face of difficult obstacles. Playing SuperBetter allows players to become capable of getting through any tough situation and more likely to achieve their goals. Results have been proven by playing for just 10 minutes a day. A nurse shared a story of assisting a patient who was battling depression. After being given a prescription for anti-depressants, the person returned for their check-up visit showing signs of improvement. However, it turned out they were unable to afford to buy the medications and instead played the free SuperBetter App game and said that this had helped them to step out of their depressed state.

McGonigal has organized the ways we think and act when we play games into 7 actions that contribute to post-traumatic and post-ecstatic growth when implemented:

  1. Adopt a Challenge Mindset

  2. Seek out Whatever Makes you Stronger and Happier

  3. Strive for Psychological Flexibility

  4. Take Committed Action

  5. Cultivate Connectedness

  6. Find the Heroic Story

  7. Learn the Skill of Benefit Finding


The 7 Rules to Live By from the SuperBetter Method:

  1. Challenge yourself

  2. Collect and activate power-ups

  3. Find and battle the bad guys

  4. Seek out and complete quests

  5. Recruit your allies

  6. Adopt a secret identity

  7. Go for an epic win


Studies also show that those who are caring for others who are experiencing mental illness also find benefits when playing SuperBetter.  As seniors can be at high risk for alcoholism and depression, senior caregivers can add game playing to their tool kit and now know that research backs up the benefits of being a game player.

Caregiver Pay Rates March 2015

The "Caregiverlist" caregivers submit their recent pay rate upon applying for professional jobs on Caregiverlist's Career Center.

March, 2015, survey results are in and the average caregiver pay rate continues to be $10 per hour.  Remember, all senior caregivers on Caregiverlist are professional caregivers employed with senior care companies paying all payroll taxes and benefits, as required by law.  Employers contribute from $2 to $4 per hour for a caregiver's payroll taxes in addition to providing training, care management and support for the caregiver and the families receiving senior care.

 

 

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7th: What You Should Know

Medicare, the health insurance program for America's seniors, makes sure everyone in the U.S.A. receives health care as they age.  Medicare does NOT pay for ongoing long-term care in a nursing home.  However, Medicare offers all seniors the peace of mind of health insurance coverage and provides a few options which can be changed each year.

As Medicare's open enrollment ends in just a few days, here are items you should consider.  You must be age 65 or above to enroll in Medicare health insurance.

First, Medicaid replaces Medicare for very low-income seniors. You may review the Medicaid financial requirements in your state on Caregiverlist's By-State directory.

October 15th through December 7th Medicare Open Enrollment allows all seniors with Medicare to change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2014.

Medicare has a separate plan for health insurance vs. drug coverage.

Medicare's website allows you to research the type of plan that will be the best fit for you plus they have added a feature that allows you to plug in the type of test or item you may need, such as diabetes test strips, to see if they are covered by your Medicare plan.

Visit: www.Medicare.gov

Or, you may actually call Medicare to receive help:  Call 1-800-MEDICARE

Plan ahead for any long-term care needs by researching ahead of time the nursing homes in your area and choosing the ones with the highest ratings and most appropriate costs for your budget.  Remember, Medicare may pay for a portion of nursing home care for up to 100 days and beyond this time period, you will need to privately pay for your senior care at a nursing home, assisted living community or with professional in-home senior care services.  Request a plan of care for your area to be prepared and visit your state's nursing home costs and ratings guide.

 

 

 

 

Certified Nursing Assistant or Aide Training Varies in Each State of the U.S.A.

Certified Nursing Aides assist seniors with the hands-on care needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle while coping with age-related issues and diseases.  As America's population continues to live longer, we are also requiring more years of caregiving services.  Hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, assisted living communities and senior home care agencies all hire nursing aides who have formally passed their state's C.N.A. exam and maintain a certificate in good-standing.

Federal law created the training requirement and designation for the nursing aide position, but each state implements their own nursing aide exam and may add additional requirements on top of the training required by the federal law.

Nursing Assistant hours vary from a minimum of 75 hours of course work to a maximum of 180 hours (Maine requires 180 hours of training for C.N.A.'s).  The most common number of hours required are 75 and 120 hours.  Review the hours of C.N.A. training required in your state and request information on C.N.A. classes in your area.

Caregiverlist's C.N.A. School Directory provides information on the costs and admission requirements to become a C.N.A.  Employment opportunities are many for anyone with C.N.A. training and a caring and kind personality.  Anyone looking for a fulfilling career could test the waters in the caregiving industry by starting out as a professional caregiver and applying with one job application in their area on Caregiverlist (multiple companies use Caregiverlist's hiring platform and often hire as many as 5 new caregivers and aides weekly).

Review an Insider's Guide to Becoming a C.N.A. and take a practice C.N.A. exam as you explore this career opportunity.  Caregiver certification training consists of 10 hours of online training and can also provide an introduction to working as a professional caregiver.

Chicken Salad for Autumn Days

Sweater weather, as we like to say, has arrived in many parts of the U.S.A.  While it may still not be cool enough to create an appetite for chicken pot pie, this chicken salad brings in a flavor of fall with the addition of healthy and colorful cranberries.  Senior caregivers looking for a new dish to serve their senior client can also use this recipe as a conversation starter.

Chicken Salad for Autumn Days 

Contributed by Caregiver Sherpa Samantha Franklin

4 cups diced poached chicken, recipe follows
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced or 1/4 cup sweet onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
2 teaspoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of cranberries 

In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, scallions and herbs. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the chicken and mix gently until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
 
 

Apple Sauce for a Crisp Fall Day

Keeping a healthy snack around can sometimes be a challenge, especially when dealing with the extra stress of caregiving.  And since an apple a day keeps many bad things away, apparently, why not spice your apples up with just a couple of simple ingredients to create healthy apple sauce.

Caregivers can also use cooking as a way to engage with their senior client.  As we are in the middle of apple season here in the Midwest, talking about memories that surround apples and autumn could lead to some interesting stories.  Did someone in your senior's family bake the best apple pie ever?  Do they still have the recipe?  Or did they instead make an apple crumble or cobbler?

One of my former senior clients told a story about her family farm in Virginia where all the heirs of the 8 children who grew up on the farm still get together every October to do a weekend of apple butter making.  They collect apples from the orchard on their farm and build a huge bonfire and cook the apples down all night long.  Family members sign up for shifts to stir the apples.  Then they go home with jars of apple butter made on their family farm.

Healthy and Easy Apple Sauce 

3 Ingredients:  Apples, Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice, Apple Juice

The amount of each of the ingredients varies based on how many apples you use and how much spice you like.  Use the below amounts as a starting point and then add more juice if you need a bit more moisture and more spice as needed to please your palate. No sugar needed!

4 Apples

1/4 cup Apple Juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and core apples and slice.  Add to sauce pan on stove top.  Pour in 1/4 cup of apple juice and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Cook on medium to medium low, stirring and mashing the apples with a wooden spoon until completely cooked down to sauce.

Cocktails and Movie for Los Angeles Area Caregivers October 1st

Caregivers in the Los Angeles, California, area are invited to a special evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, along with a movie viewing and fellowship with other caregivers on October 1st.  This event, honoring family and professional caregivers, is a special event sponsored by Clorox® as part of the debut of their new care kits.  This means you will also receive a FREE GOODY BAG - - - we always love goody bags and can tell you this one is a really good one!  Complimentary parking is included and a $5 donation will be made to the Beauty Bus, in the caregiver's honor, when a photo of the one they care for is shared at the event.
 
Caregiverlist's team attended the Chicago event and really enjoyed the documentary movie created by Ernesto Quintero, profiling his brother's journey with M.S.  Ernesto's mother and siblings provide care for his brother who now cannot walk, eat or breathe on his own.  Ernesto's Mom even went back to school for nurse's aide training and become a C.N.A. in order to properly care for both her husband and son.  Clorox has debuted a home care clean-up kit that contains products without bleach and also includes gloves and just the right items for caregivers:  hand sanitizer, stain remover, germicidal non-bleach spray and disinfecting and deodorizing spray.  Maintaining a sanitary environment for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are very important in caregiving and are part of the caregiver basic training required in many states.
 
Spread the word to other caregivers about this event as you will also enjoy a roundtable discussion with the film maker and others in the caregiving industry after the event.  Below you will find the invitation for this night where caregivers will be "caring for the caregiver".
 
Let Clorox CareConcepts take care of, celebrate and honor you for caregiving.  Join us for a “night off” to enjoy hors d'oeuvres, drinks and camaraderie with other caregivers. Enjoy pampering activities and a private screening of the documentary “A Sacred Journey” by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Ernesto Quintero that touches all of those who care for a loved one. A panel discussion (6:30 p.m. screening only) with experts and caregivers on "When Care Comes Home” will follow the screening, exploring the challenges and inspirational moments of caregiving.

Date: Wednesday, October 1
Time: 6:30 p.m. with panel discussion, 8:00 p.m. film only
Location: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Transportation: Complimentary valet parking

RSVP: TRSVP@pdcpr.net or 708.305.5075 noting 6:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. showtime

Donation in Your Honor: Submit a photo or keepsake representing the one you care for and Clorox® CareConceptsTM will donate $5 to the Beauty Bus Foundation

For More Information: Visit WhenCareComesHome.comDisplaying L.A. Caregiver Special Event 300P.jpg
 
 
 

Home Care Clean-up Kit for Senior Caregivers

Senior caregiving comes with many challenges, including the need to maintain a clean and healthy environment.  Keeping a clean living area is not as easy at it sounds when you must also consider health issues.  Especially if you are caring for a senior who may be confined to their bed or wheelchair, you have the added challenge of bathing them and assisting them with bathroom visits when they are not fully able to be mobile on their own.

One time, I assisted a senior with a transfer from their bed to their bedside bed-pan in order for them to have a successful toilet visit.  While I was very nervous about the transfer because the senior was a tall man, everything went smoothly.  All the lessons learned in nursing aide training paid off.  However, when I went to dump the bed pan, well, I missed the toilet some and had a bigger mess to clean-up.   

Now, Clorox has come to the rescue, marrying together multiple products needed for caregiving in a "Home Care Clean Up Kit".  Another challenge for caregivers is finding all of the right products in one place, which usually cannot be done.  Clorox has done the research and understands caregivers must protect themselves along with protecting the senior.  Remember, one of the positive aspects of the new healthcare law, which rarely is mentioned, is the fact that hospital readmissions were rather out of control because so many times a senior goes into the hospital only to come home with a new infection.  The new healthcare law will decrease the Medicare payments to hospitals who have poor performance for readmissions.  Maintaining a clean caregiving environment impacts the quality of the senior care.

Clorox's new caregiver product offering, called Care Concepts, offers non-latex exam gloves, hand sanitizer, stain remover, germicidal non-bleach spray, disinfecting and deodorizing spray.  And, the best part of the offering is that Clorox has packaged all of these much-needed items together in one package to allow seniors and their caregivers to easily have all the necessary tools for a clean caregiving environment.

"We've participated in numerous studies of caregivers, buy we are exceptionally pleased with this report because it re-enforces the hardships we often hear caregivers endure and it helps us to better understand the unique challenges and rewards of being a caregiver," said John Schnall, CEO of the Caregiver Action Network.

Resources for senior caregivers are always appreciated and these new cleaning products (without bleach) will help caregivers more easily do their jobs.  Proper cleaning of the caregiver's environment is part of the caregiver training for basic caregiver skills.

Clorox Clean-up Home Care Kit

California Caregivers: Must Know Risks Court Rules

Caregivers for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease must know the risks that come with the job, based on a ruling this month by the California Supreme Court. And knowing there are risks when caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, seniors no longer need to worry about being liable for injuries they may cause their paid in-home caregivers. The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the senior in the Carolyn Gregory, plaintiff and appellant, vs. Lorraine Cott, defendants and respondents, lawsuit. The decision ruled in favor of the senior, 5 - 2, verifying that the caregiver could not be compensated for damages.

 

This case and ruling provides all of us an opportunity to realize the advantages of working with a professionally licensed senior care company for senior care services.  And to understand the limitations for compensation for events we cannot control when this disease claims someone’s mind and body. Professional senior care companies maintain certain quality standards and provide benefits for caregivers legally hired as employees.

Here is the story:

In September, 2008, Carolyn Gregory, age 54, provided caregiving services for Lorraine Cott, age 88.  She was hired to assist Ms. Cott who had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Now for the tough part of this story - just want to warn you - while the caregiver was washing dishes, which included a knife, the elder Ms. Cott came up behind her and began reaching toward the sink.  The caregiver tried to restrain her and in the process, the large knife she was washing fell and sliced into her left hand.  This caused the caregiver, Ms. Gregory, to lose sensation in her thumb and two fingers and to experience considerable pain.

The caregiver, Ms. Gregory, sued the senior for compensation for the damages to her hand, even though she did have coverage for the injury through her employer’s worker’s compensation insurance.  She sued for additional money for negligence.  The good news is that the caregiver did work for a senior care agency and had worker’s compensation benefits.  She wanted more compensation and the California Supreme Court denied this because of a legal doctrine referred to as the “primary assumption of risk.” From the California Supreme Court, when announcing their decision:

 

We have noted that the duty to avoid injuring others ―normally extends to 

those engaged in hazardous work.‖ (Neighbarger, supra, 8 Cal.4th at p. 536.) 

―We have never held that the doctrine of assumption of risk relieves all persons of 

a duty of care to workers engaged in a hazardous occupation.‖ (Id. at p. 538.) 

However, the doctrine does apply in favor of those who hire workers to handle a 

dangerous situation, in both the public and the private sectors. Such a worker, ―as 

a matter of fairness, should not be heard to complain of the negligence that is the 

cause of his or her employment. 

Caring for a senior home care agency client who formerly worked in a bank, we discovered that sometimes, with no prior warning, she apparently thought she was back at the bank counter.  She would swing her arms out from side to side in front of her and we realized, after talking with her family, that this was her way of pretending to count out money.  We found a way to bring her some peace when these moments presented themselves - we gave her a large magazine and guided her to flip through the pages one-by-one until the urge fled away from her.

None of us know what path old age will lead us down.  The road may be smooth, with a sudden end, or bumpy with sharp curves and steep inclines. We just don’t know how our road ends.  But now we know if our mind becomes something we cannot control, we will not be responsible if our actions might hurt a caregiver.

In Alzheimer’s care, caregivers must know what they are confronting.  They must understand that this is a different type of memory loss which progresses at a different speed for each senior. Senior home care agencies, licensed by their state to provide senior care, do provide quality caregiver training and worker’s compensation insurance for caregivers.  This means if a caregiver should have an on-the-job injury, the worker’s compensation insurance provides for the medical care and recovery needs.  This is yet another reason why many states are requiring specific licensing and training requirements for senior home care agencies.

Caregivers working as employees for senior home care agencies receive active care management, training and support when caring for difficult clients.  Sometimes just having someone to vent to enables the caregiver to go back the next day with a fresh attitude and new tools to successfully assist the senior. Alzheimer’s disease delivers so many “moments’ for caregivers  - and remember, family members and professional caregivers often provide care for those with Alzheimer’s disease as it truly is the long goodbye.

I have shared previously that I had the gift of meeting former President Ronald Reagan, after he had Alzheimer’s disease.  He thought he knew me and I played along and winked at him.  I was having brunch at the “leftover tables off the breezeway” at a Santa Monica restaurant because I didn’t make reservations and had a former co-worker who was kind enough to give me a lift to the airport. However, she drove an old convertible car that didn’t have a big enough trunk for my suitcases.  Since we had already convinced the valet guy to just leave the car in the circle driveway, to keep an eye on it, we begged for a table and they told us they didn't normally seat people in this area but if we really wanted a table we could have it.

Funny how coincidences work out sometimes……..and then the former President came in and was seated with his nurse and two Secret Service agents, at the table next to us. I was so busy talking with my friend that I honestly did not notice them come in and sit down.  It was only after the waitress came in and served them a platter of fruit and said, in a really loud voice, while talking slowly, “here you go, enjoy your fruit”, that my friend said, she is talking to them like they are in an old folk’s home.

That is when I looked up and realized who he was, and apparently because of the surprise on my face, he thought he knew me.  He waved at me and then leaned over and told the nurse something and pointed at me.  That is when I winked to let them know I knew what was going on and everything was cool.  And I also held back tears.

We are all the same when it comes to old age.  A president was seated in the leftover area, with Ishtar and I, because we had no reservations, and an old car without a real trunk. His road to the end was 10 years long!  He was going for a walk on the beach each morning with his nurse and two Secret Service agents. And when it was time to go, just like my own grandfather, he did not want to get up and leave.  The agents (kind of cool to say that) told us that they never knew how long it would take before he would be ready. Even a former president would misbehave when it came to Alzheimer's disease and now in California, families and caregivers must be aware of the risks. President Reagan had senior caregivers for 10 years........a reminder for all of us to plan ahead for senior care.

 

Image result for ronald reagan photos\

Former President Ronald Reagan  

Care.com Lawsuits: Hiring Licensed Senior Home Care Agency Protects Both Seniors and Caregivers

Care.com lawsuits recently have surrounded the direct-hire website's offering of babysitters who did not demonstrate quality care while on the job.  You can read about the care.com lawsuits by parents in Nebraska and Wisconsin and there are additional incidents of hire-direct situations gone wrong.  Every company can have a bad employee and everyone can experience something in their personal life which impacts their job performance.  Good reporting involves just stating the facts but these care.com lawsuits provide an opportunity for us to highlight the advantages of only hiring a licensed senior home care agency.  

Remember, senior care is not at all like babysitting and you should make sure certain quality standards are always in place for senior care.  There are many advantages to only working with experienced senior caregiving companies and many states have even passed laws to make sure professionals only refer seniors to licensed senior home care agencies for senior care.  Let's discuss why senior care professionals advise to only hire a licensed senior caregiving professional agency. Unless you have a unique situation where the senior is living with their family members who are actively there each morning and night and actively trained to manage the caregiver, you should make sure you are only hiring a senior caregiver working for a professionally licensed senior care company.  I would question the advice and motivations of any person or website who pretends there is no difference in the two - there is a huge difference. And a huge difference in your ability to protect the senior, the caregiver and your family's assets.

First, remember that in senior care a parent is not there at the beginning and end of each day. Senior care can also be very emotional and caregivers require support and training in order to provide quality care.  As an employee, a senior caregiver receives benefits, required by law, which protect the caregiver and the senior.  There are grumpy old men (and women) and sometimes these situations can make a good caregiver go bad when they do not have the proper benefits and support. A professional senior home care agency will have an involved Care Manager to manage the family and the caregiver and restaff when necessary (and even train the family members).

Senior Home Care Agency benefits:

  • Caregivers Must Meet "Employee" Hiring Guidelines:  Be Legal to work in the U.S.A. (I-9 Form)
  • Caregivers Must Pass Criminal Background Check (Many States Require Finger-printing and Healthcare Worker Registry of the Caregiver)
  • Worker's Compensation Insurance (If the Caregiver hurts their back - it does happen - the insurance pays and the senior and their family are protected)
  • Fidelity Bond Insurance (Protects against theft which with active care management can be prevented with necessary systems put in place)
  • Professional Liability Insurance (Protects in the event a mistake is made)
  • Unemployment Insurance (Caregiver has security of knowing they can collect unemployment benefits while looking for their next job if senior dies or gets better)
  • Health Insurance
  • Performance Bonuses and Incentives
  • Ongoing Training
  • Company social events: picnics, holiday parties, open houses, etc.
  • Social Security (Caregiver pays payroll taxes and can collect social security benefits when they retire)

Note: Healthcare Worker Registries will also show if there is a negative report on the person or if they have been removed from the Registry according to each states' criteria. Registries were created to add an extra layer of accountability, identity validation and protection.  You can also see an example of basic caregiver training required in many states.

We know that grocery stores now try to sell us more than just food and Amazon went from books to becoming a toy store, electronics store and grocery store.  Be aware that especially in senior care there is much knowledge to be learned in order to do it properly.  The number one type of elder abuse, unfortunately, is financial.  Hire a quality licensed senior care agency to provide senior care for your relatives and loved ones.  And to make sure the professional caregiver is receiving benefits and support and back-ups when they need a day off.

Research your senior care options before you need them.  There is a reason large corporations and hospital groups are starting senior home care agencies - they too, know that quality senior care must include a custom care plan created by experienced and trained care professionals.  Medicare does not pay for long-term care in the home nor in a nursing home and Medicaid does pay for nursing home care in all states and usually has a Medicaid community home care benefit in most states. 

 

Log in