Caregiver Training for Private Duty Senior Caregivers

Senior caregivers are required to be trained and competent in specific skills now in many states in the U.S.A. California most recently passed legislation mandating a minimum of 10 hours of training for new caregivers followed by 5 hours of training each year. 

Caregiver training certification ensures the caregiver understands how to care for a senior and effectively manage age-related issues. Training for caregiving for a senior with Alzheimer's disease, for instance, will make a significant difference in the quality of the care. Even family members can benefit from training on how best to interact with a senior with memory loss.



Review the caregiver training requirements in your state and take the online basic caregiver training to meet the entry-level caregiving skill requirements.

Senior caregiving companies are constantly hiring part-time and full-time caregivers as few seniors plan ahead for senior care needs. Submit 1 job application to be considered for open caregiving jobs in your area by a licensed senior home care agency.

Join the Professional Association of Caregivers to receive a t-shirt and lapel pin with your online caregiver training course.

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:

Compassion & Choices Capitol Hill Briefing Thursday October 29th

Senior care involves assisting seniors with terminal illnesses.  While hospice care allows families to prepare better for the end, sometimes there is a need for a way to die with dignity when suffering from certain illnesses.  Anyone who has witnessed someone dying this way understands the movement that has gained momentum to help authorize medical aid in dying. Caregivers who have heard death rattles from a dying patient are changed forever by the experience and many are filled with compassion for how to better assist.

Compassion & Choices is the organization championing access to medical aid in dying. Oregon and West Virginia have passed legislation and bills are pending in another 25 states and the District of Columbia. California's governor recently signed a bill to also make this available in California. 

Caregivers who advocate for this right may call their U.S. Senator and Representative and ask them to attend Compassion & Choices' Capitol Hill Briefing:

Compassion & Choices Capitol Hill Briefing in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, October 29th at 2 p.m.

2226 Rayburn House Office Building

This briefing will include remarks from Dan Diaz, husband of Brittany Maynard, who recently spoke here in Chicago at Chicago Idea's Week.  He and his wife had to relocate to Oregon as her brain terminal progressed, in order to allow her the option of dying with dignity.  A move right before death is not something that most of us would welcome. Many medical doctors and registered nurses are champions for this legislation as they understand how both your body and personality can change with certain diseases as your organs are shutting down. The states that are passing these compassion laws do require individuals to be approved before receiving the medications.

Dr. David Grube, Compassion & Choices' national medical director and a few board members will also speak.

Seniors and caregivers who want to support this right to be available nationwide may contact their state Senator and their local Congressman to let them know they should attend too.

RSVP to Attend


Senior Caregiver Employee Need Will Keep Growing with America's Changing Social Demographics

Senior caregivers are in demand. Why? Because not only are we living longer lives but our social demographics have changed as our culture has advanced to give women more rights, beginning in the 1970's. This means we are just now entering an era where in addition to the fact that the Baby Boomer generation has a lot of people, the rights of women have changed the fabric of families and made them often unavailable to provide caregiving.  Technology has allowed us to stay in touch with family members from anywhere but we will always need a human caregiver to provide for the physical and emotional care.  We will always need real live humans to perform caregiving. And we need to prepare to find more people to be trained to work as senior caregivers.

Did you know that prior to 1974 women in the U.S.A. could not get a credit card?  They could not run the Boston Marathon until 1972. Prior to 1978 women could be fired just for being pregnant. The Equal Opportunity Act of 1974 gave women the right to apply for credit (and credit cards) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 allowed women to keep their jobs while they were "expecting" a child. 

Remember when nobody was pregnant, they were just "expecting"? I remember a family dinner one Sunday when my father mentioned a neighbor was "expecting" and my brother said "expecting what?".  Exactly. We can talk about it now. Our society's culture continues to evolve and this fact leads to one of the largest reasons for the need for more professional senior caregivers. The large number of Baby Boomers (10,000 turn age 65 each day) and advances in medicine are just part of the reason we need more caregivers.  We need to recognize these facts in order to attract more workers to the industry of senior care or we will be faced with a shortage of professional caregivers to work in our nursing homes, assisted living communities and for licensed senior home care agencies.

Caregiver job openings are a constant in metropolitan cities nationwide, as well as in rural communities. Senior care needs are emotional as well as physical.  Aging can be a tough journey. Caregivers are needed to make living longer, while living safely, possible. Nurses and care managers are also needed to manage the care and coordinate with family members and medical professionals.

Retired seniors may also want to consider working part-time as a paid caregiver as more and more paid caregivers will be needed to keep up with the changes in America's social demographics.

Americans are also marrying later in life as marriages have evolved to be less about economic necessities and more about a union of shared passions and shared incomes. This means adult children are also more likely to be able to assist with paying for senior care services, if required, in order to maintain quality care and limit family drama that can escalate with the stress of caregiving (no, the Kardashian's are not the only family with interesting dynamics).

And this need is only going to continue to increase because of another factor: sandwich generation parents.  Women are waiting until they are older to begin motherhood which means they are more likely to have young children or school age children to care for and are not available to care for their parents.

Caregiver jobs will continue to increase, based on these simple social demographic facts. This means that the generations following the Baby Boomer will also continue to need caregivers. Perhaps both college students and retirees will be recruited to work part-time as senior caregivers to assist us to keep up with the demand for trained nursing aides and professional home health aides to work as caregivers.

See below from our friends at Pew Research:

In the 1990's

13% of newborns were to Teenager Mothers

10% of newborns were to Women Age 35+ 

41% of New Mothers had Some College Education


In 2008

9% of newborns were to Teenager Mothers

14% of newborns were to Women Age 35+ 

54% of New Mothers had Some College Education

This means we must recruit more caring individuals to be professional senior caregivers.  The Caregiver Training University assists anyone to learn the basic caregiver training skills through an online caregiver training course. There are many techniques that can make caregiving a more enjoyable experience, from understanding how to safely transfer a senior from their bed to a chair to a toilet, for example, to learning activities that can be helpful for a senior experiencing memory loss.

We will always need senior caregivers, no matter how much technology advances. Senior caregivers may submit their job application on Caregiverlist to be considered by hiring companies in their area as senior care companies hire as many as 5 to 6 new caregivers each week, in order to keep up with demand.

And as today kick's off baseball's World Series, a salute to another thing that will never change - the sound of the "crack of the bat"! Good luck to the Kansas City Royal's and New York Met's. 







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.

MyRA App Allows Senior Clients to Track Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Living with rheumatoid arthritis means daily aches and pain. Senior caregivers can help their senior clients track their daily experiences with rheumatoid arthritis to recognize trends and share the information with the senior clients' physician. 

Tracking in the app falls into several different categories. The "Big Picture" section enables users to enter how they feel overall on any given day on a scale of 1- Very Good to 5- Very Bad. This area also contains a spot for a photograph if a senior caregiver feels there's something that needs to be included visually. The "Joint Pain" area displays a cartoon diagram of a person with small circles around the joints. Seniors can tap where they feel pain and indicate the intensity by tapping only once for green, light pain, twice for yellow, moderate pain or three times for red, intense pain.

The "Morning Stiffness" section asks a simple question- "How long did your morning stiffness last?" Other sections track daily fatigue, functionality and medications. The summary area shows data for the past 30 or 90 days of tracking, so the more often caregivers record data, the easier it becomes to find trends. The app has a reminder section where caregivers can ask for their phone to notify them to make entries at the same time every day. The resources section also provides more information on rheumatoid arthritis and organizations devoted to it. 

 

The MyRA app is available for free for Apple 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

Senior Housing Building Boom: Too Much Too Soon?

I am part of a very substantial population of the United States known as Baby Boomers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 76.4 million American children were born post-World War II, between the years 1945 and 1964, making up almost 40% of the American population. As much as we would love to age in place, the fact is that if we see 80+ years old, we will need some sort of help with Activities of Daily Living, and the cold, hard truth is that a lot of us will receive that help in some sort of assisted living community.

It’s no wonder that many real estate developers are banking on building for a significant niche market. Home and commercial real estate building in 2014 point to a post-recession recovery. However, are those developing housing for the elderly building too much too soon?

Analysts say that a glut in the supply of senior housing is destined to hurt hurt health-care real estate investment trusts (REITs). Bloomberg News reported that the jump in supply is forecast to cut growth in senior-housing net operating income to 1.8 percent in 2015 and 1.4 percent in 2016 from 3.3 percent this year, according to Green Street Advisors Inc. These projections have translated into a 17 percent fall in the Bloomberg health-care REIT index during the last 12 months.

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (BKD:US), is buying competitor Emeritus Corp. (ESC:US) for about $1.4 billion, Green Street Advisors told Bloomberg, making it the biggest owner of senior properties, with 1,161 senior care facilities in 46 states.

While the supply of senior care communities is increasing, the over-85 population is projected to increase to just 7 million by 2020. Senior housing won’t be in full swing for a few more years, when the nation’s “oldest old” could number as many as 31 million in 2050, although Jacob Gehl, managing director and founding partner of Blueprint Healthcare Real Estate Advisors, a brokerage and advisory firm in Chicago, told Bloomberg that peak demand is projected to be 15 to 20 years away.

It will be interesting to see how these new properties compete by way of staff, amenities, and senior housing costs. It will also be interesting to see if the trend in preferring to age at home with the assistance of quality home care continues. A lot can happen to the senior care landscape in 20 years.

Caregiverlist® would love to know about you and your family's projected needs. Where do you see yourself living when you are in need of assistance? Are you hoping your family will care for you? Do you see yourself moving into some sort of assisted living well before you absolutely need it?

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Senior Mom

The day my daughter was born — my firstborn — I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and fell deeply and unbelievable in love. Then I picked up the phone, called my mother, and apologized for every rotten thing I had ever done to her (especially during my teenage years.)

You certainly don’t need to be a mother to celebrate your mother. If you are lucky enough to have mom or a grandmother around to honor, we have a few suggestions that go beyond Chanel No. 5 (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Peace of Mind
If you mother lives alone (over 80% of American women outlive their male spouses), making sure she’s safe can be a great gift. Senior-proof the home to help prevent falls. Buy her a Medical Alert system. Technology is a beautiful thing and some systems come equipped with GPS tracking if your mother is a senior on the go.

Stay in Touch
The best cell phones for seniors have have large buttons that are easy to read and a high contrast LED screen. Look for amplified sound and, in some cases, urgent care monitoring, similar to the response she’d receive through an alert system. Two of the most popular cell phones especially made for seniors are Snapfon and Jitterbug with 5Star Urgent Response (which is running a Mother’s Day promotion for $20 off.)

I’ve recently set my mother up to Skype her family halfway around the world. At 83, she believes her flying days are over, but she is always delighted to speak with her brother in Poland face-to-face.

Preserve Memories
Remember when photos were printed on paper? Most seniors have boxes and albums full of memories, but they may be difficult to get to. Scan those photos and present them to her on a digital photo frame. She can watch her favorite memories play on a continuous loop.

A Little Help Here?
Many times we find our schedules so hectic, we forget that the elderly mom might need a little help with day-to-day activities. Perhaps she could use help with shopping, light housekeeping, or simple companionship. You can hire a fully vetted and bonded companion caregiver for just a few hour per week through a quality home care agency.

Time
Let’s face it — the best present you can give is your presence. Stuff is just stuff. If you can, spend a little time with your mother this holiday and show her what she means to you.

Cargiverlist® wishes all the mothers and grandmothers out there a happy Mothers Day. If you have some special gift suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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