Professional Association of Caregivers Provides Tools for Senior Caregivers

Caregivers working for senior care companies sometimes find themselves suddenly looking for a new job because their senior client has passed away or their condition has improved and they no longer need caregiving services. It can be frustrating to need to start over again to share your experiences and skills with a new senior care company.

The Professional Association of Caregivers understands these challenges and helps to support the senior caregiver by providing basic training and certification to show the caregiver has passed the course, along with membership recognition through a lapel pin and t-shirt and showing an agreement to follow the code of ethics.

Senior caregiver jobs are plentiful and will only continue to increase as the number of seniors increases by 10,000 daily. There were only 3.1 million seniors age 65 or older back in 1900. Today, more than 40.3 million Americans are age 65 or older. Our new social demographics show that as families are having children at an older age (age 30 and above) and both women and men are able to enjoy fulfilling careers, more than 50% of the time seniors do not live in the same town as their children.

Become a professional senior caregiver and apply to a caregiving job to be hired for part-time and full-time jobs in senior care. Caregiving brings fulfillment beyond a paycheck and as more senior caregivers are needed, you may want to refer any friends who are looking for fulfilling work to become a professional caregiver. P.A.C. membership includes online caregiver training to learn basic caregiver skills such as how to communicate effectively, safe transfers, taking care plan notes, activities for seniors with memory loss, infection control, environmental safety, HIPAA privacy guidelines, elder abuse reporting an dmore.


 

Alzheimer's Disease Strikes Chris Graham at Age 39

A rare form of Alzheimer's disease is passed on via a faulty gene, which strikes much before retirement years. Chris Graham's father died when he was just 42 years old and his aunt passed away at age 38. His brother now lives in a nursing home, at the age of 43. Now, Chris knows he is carrying the faulty gene too and will develop Alzheimer's disease.

Chris has decided to make the most of his life now, and has began a 16,000 mile bike ride across the U.S.A. and Canada to fund raise for dementia research. He started the bike ride in April, 2015, after discovering he had the faulty gene in 2010. He has lost four relatives from this disease, all passing away in their 40's.

One of four kids, he knew he had a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene. He and his brother did inherit the gene while his two sisters did not. You read Chris Graham's blog posts on Alzheimer's Research UK.

As the number of seniors with memory loss continues to increase, as more seniors are living longer, having more professional senior caregivers has become a concern. Learn about how you can become a part-time or full-time caregiver or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job.


Giving a Loved One the Tools to Stay

Home With In-Home Care

Aging impacts an individual's life in unexpected ways. An aging parent or family member might not have the physical ability to continue cooking meals, paying bills or keeping a home clean, but that does not mean he or she feels ready to move from home. By using in home care in Scottsdale,

Arizona and working with professionals, a family can help a loved one stay home longer and still enjoy a healthy lifestyle.





Determining What Aging Loved Ones Need

A loved one's needs will depend on the situation and his or her health. In some cases, a loved one only needs assistance with basic cleaning and cooking due to the physical aspects of the tasks. In other cases, a loved one needs more comprehensive in home health care due to a physical or emotional ailment that impacts his or her health and wellbeing.

Find out if a loved one has a physical diagnosis of any health concerns. In home care works around a loved one's needs by providing services based on any medical conditions and health concerns. A professional helps with the basic necessities and makes recommendations for meals and nutrition that focuses on a loved one's current situation. 

Stay up-to-date with any changes so that a professional can address the situation. A loved one's needs will change as he or she ages and shows signs of potential challenges.




Providing Personal Assistance

Personal assistance from a family member or friend allows a loved one to feel comfortable while gaining the tools he or she needs to stay at home. A loved one's quality of life depends on his or her situation and environment while he or she ages. Personal assistance takes many forms, including simple companionship and enjoying meals as a family.

Give a loved one the assistance he or she needs after hiring professionals to handle the medical aspects of his or her lifestyle. For example, help a loved one keep bills paid by organizing the mail and paperwork on a desk. Remind a loved one about the bills and help with the cleaning to reduce to the risk of slip and fall accidents.


Make Use of Technological Advances

Technology changes constantly and some technology helps an aging loved one stay at home longer, particularly when compared with in home health care and professional services. Make use of devices that specifically assist a loved one with mobility, cleaning or even just monitoring his or her health and wellbeing. 

Advances in technology allow individuals to help a loved one connect with emergency personnel when problems arise, even if they cannot reach a phone or other tools. It also helps improve comfort in the home when a loved one might feel more aches, pains and general discomforts due to aging and old injuries. For example, putting in a tub or shower that has a low risk of slip and fall accidents will allow a loved one to stay home longer without taking unnecessary risks with his or her health.

Combine technology with in-home care in so that a loved one has companionship and appropriate tools to handle any emergencies or challenges. The technology provides peace of mind when an aging loved one stays home, even when he or she does not require significant health services due to a healthy and active lifestyle. The in home care allows a loved one to stay consistent and identify potential problems early while the technology handles unexpected emergencies or challenges.

Helping a loved one maintain a healthy body and mind requires the right tools and services. By working with in home care professionals, a family feels confident that an aging parent or loved one has the assistance and companionship he or she needs to stay at home and enjoy a high quality of life. The combination of appropriate tools, professional services and personal assistance gives a loved one the freedom and flexibility to stay home longer.



Brain Health Index Score Helps Seniors and Caregivers Manage their Minds

Brain health may soon be proved to be the most important component of healthy living and aging, as our brains connect to all the other functions in our bodies. The human operating system is turning out to be greatly impacted by our state of mind. Researchers now say our brains are the most important organ, creating memories, driving emotions and controlling every movement in our bodies. Now you can be proactive about managing your brain health with an online brain check-up tool.

One of our favorite authors, Deepak Chopra, and his pal Dr. Rudi Tanzi, also have a new book coming out called "Super Genes, Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being", as a follow-up to their book "Super Brain" and you can pre-order it. This book discusses how 95% of disease-related gene mutations are fully deterministic and influenced by diet, behavior and other environmental conditions.

Cleveland Clinic's Six Pillars of Brain Health can help us preserve our memory and lower our risk for brain disease. The recent suicide of actor Robin Williams, who was suffering from Lewy Body dementia, we now know, reminds us how vital it is to be able to properly diagnose our health issues. However, some types of dementia are difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Especially when there is an early onset of Alzheimer's disease, it can be mistaken for schizophrenia, drug abuse and all kinds of ailments that add even more stress to the situation.

Keep Memory Alive is a non-profit organization created to increase awareness and raise funds for the research, management and treatment of brain disorders (they are located in Las Vegas and receive sponsorship money from Caesar's - it's good to know there are gambling dollars going towards something positive). The Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is supported by Keep Memory Alive and treats patients with:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Fronto-temporal Dementia 
  • Multiple Sclerosis
The Healthy Brains free brain check-up will help you manage your brain health and to be "mindful" of how to best care for your brain. When you take the Cleveland Clinic's free online brain check-up, you can also join their healthy brains research registry which also connects you to a community of people who are willing to participate in clinical research as we work to better understand how to treat illnesses impacting the brain.

6 Pillars for Brain Health
  1. Physical Exercise
  2. Mental Fitness
  3. Food & Nutrition
  4. Sleep & Relaxation
  5. Social Interaction
  6. Medical Health
Clinical trials are necessary to study better ways to treat memory loss. Right now, more than 70,000 volunteer participants are needed for more than 150,000 Alzheimer's Disease and dementia clinical trials. Participants are needed who are both healthy as well as those who already have a diagnosis of memory loss. Find clinical trial openings at Cleveland Clinic. Plan ahead for senior care needs or those of a loved one by learning about what Medicare and Medicaid cover and available care options near you.

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Louisiana Direct Service Worker Caregiver Training

Louisiana caregivers are called "Direct Service Workers" and receive this designation when working for senior care companies or as caregivers for the disabled. 

The definition by the state of Louisiana of a Direct Service Worker is:

An unlicensed person who provides personal care or other services and supports to persons with disabilities or to the elderly to enhance their well-being. The caregiver is involved in face-to-face direct contact with the person and is compensated through state or federal funds. Functions performed may include, but are not limited to, assistance and training activities of daily living, personal care services and job-related supports. from LAC 48:1 Chapter 92 Sub-Chapter A 9201.

Louisiana private pay senior home care agencies will also hire caregivers who are trained as Direct Service Workers.

Senior caregivers may take an online caregiver training course to obtain the Louisiana DSW training.

Direct Service Worker training includes these topics:

  • Abuse, Neglect, Misappropriation of Property
  • Staff Ethics for Direct Service Workers
  • Human and Civil Rights
  • Confidentiality and HIPAA
  • Person-Centered Planning, Personal Outcomes and Self-Determination Philosophy
  • Incident Documentation and Reporting
  • Documentation of Services
  • Environmental Emergency Procedures
  • Infection Control and Universal Precautions

Louisiana caregivers may take this online DSW Caregiver training and apply for a caregiving job in their area on Caregiverlist.

Lewey Body Dementia Found in Robin Williams' Autopsy

Memory loss has many forms and there are several types of memory loss and dementia. Seniors and their family members should visit a geriatric medical doctor in order to have a proper diagnosis of the type of memory loss in order for it to be treated in the most effective way.

Alzheimer's disease is just one type of memory loss, although it receives the most attention. I have always said that Lewey Body Dementia was the most difficult to care for, when I organized care for a senior home care agency. It would be especially difficult to live with Lewey Body dementia when you do not know this is what is causing the changes in your brain and behavior.

Late actor Robin Williams

One of the seniors we cared for when I worked at a senior home care agency had Lewey Body dementia and he would sometimes think he was somewhere other than in his living room. If the news on the television was reporting on a robbery, for instance, he might think he was at the scene of the crime and become violent. Out of caring for more than 500 seniors, he was one of the most difficult to safely care for and to staff a trained caregiver who could handle the changes in his personality.

Visual hallucinations and delusions are part of Lewey Body dementia.

Caregivers for seniors should always advocate for diagnosis for the type of dementia the senior is experiencing and this diagnosis should be by an experienced and trained professional - not just the family doctor the senior has been visiting for 30 years, unless they have been trained in testing and diagnosis of memory loss. 

Robin Williams death is a reminder to us that it can make a difference to know which type of memory loss a senior suffers from as then everyone can better make sense of the behavior changes. Family caregivers can also take caregiver training courses to learn how to care for a senior as even in senior care there are many skills to learn that can make the aging experience better for everyone.

Senior Care Services Evolving as we Begin Accepting "Being Mortal"

America's "Oldest Old' are increasing. This term refers to those who are age 80 or older. Media attention recently has focused on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Medicare benefit program and how when it was developed in 1965, the lifespan for an American senior was age 75. This is why Medicare benefits begin at age 65. But today age 75 seems rather young.

Our retirement years are going through an evolution as we realize we are more likely to live to be 100 than just age 75. This requires more money to be saved and for a game plan for a fulfilling lifestyle. But a reality of aging is also the fact that the human body was not built to last forever.

Aging is a natural process, for those of us who will be fortunate enough to experience it.

Doctor Atul Gawande, who has written books such as "The Checklist Manifesto", now has written "Being Mortal" to start a conversation on how accepting the aging process and planning ahead for how you would like for your senior care to be, should become as common as creating an estate plan. While Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care, Medicaid, for low-income seniors with few assets, does pay for an ongoing stay in a nursing home for seniors who qualify for this level of care. Understanding the costs of senior care are as important as choosing the type of senior care you would like, since the government program most of us will be on (Medicare) does not pay for long-term care.

Americans currently do not plan ahead for senior care, a fact all caregivers know.

Read "Being Mortal" and share it with those you care for to begin the conversation about how you would like to grow old, while also addressing the realities of changes that will be a natural part of aging. Think about how seasoned travelers prepare for a vacation: a carry-on bag has a change-of-clothes should our bags be delayed, a copy of our passport is in our wallet....

Dr. Gawande is a gifted writer and his book is an enjoyable read, even though it deals with tough topics. Begin the conversation with your loved ones and with yourself about how you picture your screenplay for growing old. Then you and your caregivers will know where the extra change of clothes are located - and if we even want to bother with them.


National Memory Screening Week November 1st through 7th

Memory loss can be both a concern and fear for everyone. Especially for senior caregivers who have witnessed someone experience memory loss. I had the opportunity to meet former President Ronald Reagan after his memory loss had progressed (he thought he knew me, but for sure we had never met). It was a reminder to me that we are all the same when it comes to aging.

This week, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) has launched a National Memory Screening Program

National Screening Week is November 1 - 7 of this year.

The AFA is providing free, confidential memory screenings for people that have concerns about their memories. When necessary, individuals will be encouraged to have a follow-up exam by a qualified health care provider and may be directed to appropriate social services and community resources in their area.

The AFA is working toward eliminating the stigma and fears associated with dementia, and providing education for the public about memory problems and how to age successfully. The organization also hopes to alleviate fears for the people who do participate in the memory screening who are not currently showing any signs of memory problems.

Screening sites in your area can be located below.

National Memory Screening Locations 

Memory loss has many forms and Alzheimer's Disease is just one type of memory loss. Now that we know late actor Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body dementia, we can better understand how difficult the changes he was dealing with in his mind were during his last year of life.

Other types of memory loss include:

  • Vascular Dementia
  • Lewy Body 
  • Frontal Love Dementia (FLD)
  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Pick's Disease
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Subdural Hematomas
  • Brain Tumors

By identifying the type of memory loss, the senior can then be treated correctly. The progression for some types of memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease, can be slowed when treated with medications. Many clinical trials are in progress now, to study ways to better prevent Alzheimer's Disease. 

Meditation is proving to be an effective way to change the structure of the brain and Deepak Chopra and Rudi Tanzi, both medical doctors, are researching how meditation may be able to prevent or slow down memory loss. The doctors co-authored the book Super Brain where they discuss new ways of using our brains to help exercise it more and create new pathways, which, research is showing, just might be a way to prevent memory loss.






Sample Caregiver Training Quiz for Senior Caregivers

Senior caregiving requires many skills. So many care needs surround the process of caring for a senior as they age. Not only are age-related illnesses advancing, but a senior has friends and loved ones who are passing away along with their own health issues. 

This is why caregivers for seniors can greatly benefit from caregiver training.  Family caregivers can also benefit from caregiver training.  Simple tasks can become difficult when caring for a senior, such as assisting with toileting and repositioning from bed to chair. States are beginning to pass regulations to be sure professional caregivers are trained on HIPAA and elder abuse and are taught emergency safety skills and environmental safety skills. Learning effective communication skills are also a technique caregivers can be taught (and is valuable at any age).

Basic online caregiver training teaches senior caregiving skills and provides a convenient way for caregivers working with seniors in their homes to become trained. As more caregivers will be needed as America's population ages, anyone who may be interested in part-time work can take an online course to become a senior caregiver and apply for a caregiving job in their area.




Q1: Natural Disasters include:

Q2: HIPAA means:

Q3: Personal protective equipment such as face masks and aprons

 should be worn:

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