November is National Caregiver Month

Senior caregivers, whether they be Certified Nursing Aides, Home Health Aides, professional and family caregivers, or the community at large, are vital to the care and keep of our aging American population.

November is National Caregiver Month, and is the perfect opportunity to thank those who have made it a priority to provide home and health related services to the elderly, including physical and emotional support and assistance with activities of daily living.

Family (or informal) caregivers provided services valued at $450 billion per year in 2012, according the the AARP Public Institute. In the United States, 65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, and 50% have full-time employment outside the home.

Family caregivers cannot always fulfill all the needs of their senior loved ones. Future numbers are staggering — the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million (in 2000). That explains the incredible surge of senior care industry and the need for qualified professional caregivers.

The number of Senior Home Care Agencies has grown by 40% since 2008, according to a recent Caregiverlist employment index infographic. Caregiver jobs are filled at a rate of three to six hires per week, making professional senior care one of the hottest employment sectors in the United States.

The Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, works to ensure that older Americans can stay independent in their communities. Here are some of their suggested action ideas to show your appreciation for the caregiver in your life, in November and throughout the year:

Action Ideas to Celebrate Caregivers in November

  • Recognize caregivers in your community, in your organization and in your family. Host a get-together to honor caregivers in your family and/or community.
  • Locate a community care center or community space and organize a Caregivers Count awareness event.
  • Attend local town hall meetings and ask your representative what s/he is going to do to promote legislation that will help businesses develop more family-friendly caregiver policies.
  • Send an e-card to a caregiver. AoA offers free e-cards for caregivers.

  • Post on Facebook that November is National Caregivers Month and encourage your network to acknowledge caregivers in their families and communities.
  • Tweet about the importance of caregivers and resources available to caregivers.

We depend on professional and family caregivers. Give a shout-out to the caregivers in your life in the comments below.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features an artist painting a fountain in the park. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Painter in the Park

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude."

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Words With Friends Encourages Mental Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Finding new and fun ways to keep your senior clients using their brains can be difficult. Mental engagement in day to day activity is crucial for preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as dementia. The Words With Friends app offers a simple way for caregivers and their senior clients to play a game to exercise their minds. 

Words With Friends reflects the board game Scrabble in that players are provided with letter tiles that they must combine to create words to place on the board. Each word placed on the board must connect with another previously played word by using at least one of the same letters. There are various point values assigned to the letters based on how difficult it is to place them in a word. The player with the most points when the letters run out at the end of the game wins. 

The app features many different play options, which makes it ideal for any situation. Users can find their real life friends on the app and challenge them to a game. The app notifies you of when your opponent has made a move so that you can view the outcome and make your next move. There is also an option to play a random opponent if none of your friends are interested in a game, or the option to "pass and play" which is perfect for senior caregivers and their clients to use and play against one another. The first player makes their move and then hands the device off to the second player to make their move, and this continues back and forth until the conclusion of the game. 

For seniors, unscrambling and rearranging the letters in the game to create the words engages the mind to help keep it sharp as they age. Try playing a game or two with your senior clients, either against one another or as a team coming up with words to play against an outside opponent. 

 

The Words With Friends app is available 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

October is 'Protecting Older Americans from Fraud' Month

Senior citizens are easy prey for scam artists. From the Spring Break Grandparent Scam to the Medical Alert Scam and a host of others, the elderly are especially vulnerable to fraud schemes.

October is “Protecting Older Americans from Fraud” month, and the Better Business Bureau, in partnership with other agencies, suggest that families discuss with their senior family members how best to prevent their loss of money and security.

The BBB recommends these immediate steps:

  • Help put the senior's phone number on the Do Not Call registry.
  • Advise older Americans to never place outgoing bills in unsecured mailboxes.
  • Urge them to tell suspicious callers that they are going to check with the BBB before agreeing to anything and do so.
  • Tell unwanted solicitors to place the senior on the organization’s own do not call list, not to sell or share the senior’s information, and then hang up.

Senior identity theft, especially medical identity theft targeting the elderly, is nation's fastest-growing crime according to FBI statistics. Seniors living alone at home are not the only victims. Senior identity theft in long-term care, including nursing homes, assisted living, and in-home care are at risk of identity theft because their personal information is readily accessible by numerous individuals.

In addition to the action steps outlined above, the Better Business Bureau suggests you discuss the following common-sense practices with the senior in your life:

Mail

  • Never pay money to win a prize or sweepstakes.
  • Read all pages before considering the offer.
  • Contact the BBB BEFORE responding to a product/service offer or charity appeal.

Telephone

  • Never give out credit card or bank account numbers to unknown callers.
  • Ask for information in writing from charities.
  • Be skeptical of high pressure or emotional requests and hang up.
  • Never wire money to strangers.
  • Report all questionable calls to the BBB BEFORE responding to the offer.

In-Home

  • Never hire someone who just shows up at your door.
  • Get three estimates in writing.
  • Make sure the company is licensed and insured.
  • Contact the BBB BEFORE admitting an unknown person into your home or signing anything.

Email

  • Only give your personal email address to people you trust.
  • Instead of clicking a link in an email, type the address into your browser.
  • Visit the BBB’s website www.bosbbb.org to learn more about email “phishing”.

Caregiverlist previously blogged about senior scams during the holidays and the same advice holds true for all questionable dealings. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a scam or fraud, report it to your local police department and Department on Aging. You may help prevent others from becoming victims as well. And always perform a background check when hiring someone close to home.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features small waterfalls in the middle of a desert, somewhere in Israel. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Waterfalls

"I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she will make the same effort, and have the same hope and faith."

Mahatma Gandhi

Sneaky Home Allergens (are Nothing for Seniors to Sneeze At)

Sinus trouble, constant throat clearing, nasal congestion — these are symptoms seniors commonly present as the weather changes. The air gets drier and adequate hydration is always a challenge. Common allergens may affect the elderly more acutely and certain antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can cause anxiety and confusion in the elderly, and actually make the symptoms worse. What's even more frustrating is that alergens can be found in the home year-round.

Scrubs Magazine, the leading lifestyle nursing magazine, has identified 14 surprising places in the home where one can find irritants lurking. If you or your senior client or family member is sneezing, wheezing or otherwise showing signs of allergic reactions, check these culprits:

Sheets On Bed
Permanent press sheets can have formaldehyde. Choose untreated clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers when possible.

Flaking Paint
Homes and apartments built before 1978 have paint with high levels of lead. Clean paint chips immediately, repaint the surface, keep children from scratching, chewing, or touching painted surfaces, and have your home tested for lead.

Dog/Cat
Make the bedroom a ‘no pet’ zone. Run a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom. Be sure to groom your pet regularly.

Dry Cleaning
When bringing home fresh dry cleaning, be sure to remove it from its protective plastic bag and air it out outdoors for several hours, or until the chemical odor has completely dissipated.

Carpet
Vacuum frequently and thoroughly – passing the vacuum four times over each area. Dust mite powder and flea control powder are also helpful in reducing allergens.

Mattress
By law, most mattresses have flame retardant chemicals. Your best bet to avoid both chemicals and dust mites? Switch to a fire-retardant free solid memory foam mattress or latex mattress. Note: You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy one.

Cosmetics
Opt for fragrance-free, organic and hypo-allergenic cosmetic brands. Be sure to replace makeup on a regular basis (application sponges each week, liquid makeup every three months, lipstick every six months, etc.), as old makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.

Deodorant
Avoid brands that contain fragrances, baking soda (if you have a nickel allergy), essential oils and biological additives, parabens, vitamin E, and lanolin. Opt for hypoallergenic brands and alternative deodorants such as crystal products.

and in the kitchen...

Mold
Fix leaky plumbing immediately. Thoroughly clean all surface molds. Dry water-damaged areas immediately.

Dirty Dishes
If you have a cockroach allergy, note that the highest concentration of cockroach allergens are in kitchens. Do not leave dirty dishes nor water in cups, glasses and bowls overnight.

Inadequate Ventilation
Install an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking. Improve air quality by installing an air conditioner or humidifier. Be sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly.

Insecticides
Certain ingredients in insecticides may trigger allergic reactions including acute asthma attacks. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Use organic, chemical-free produce spray, and watch for any insecticide in your pet shampoos.

Cleaning Solutions
Opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions with more natural ingredients and avoid those with harsh chemicals and odors. Note: If you are removing mold, you should use cleaner without ammonia and with at least 5% chlorine (which is irritating to skin and eyes).

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving health and safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features a palm tree somewhere warm and sunny . Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo Palm Tree

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us."

Flora Edwards

Senior Home Care Can Take a Village

At Caregiverlist, we believe in “Caring for the Caregiver.” But just who is that senior caregiver?

As seniors choose more to age-in-place, their team of caregivers may grow. It might “take a village” to provide comprehensive care, so here are the possible villagers:

Family Caregivers
These are the unsung (and unpaid) senior caregivers. They provide the bulk of care for elderly family members. According to AARP and the Family Caregiver Alliance, the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S., and the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000. Most family caregivers are women. About one-in-seven adults in their 40s and 50s provide financial support to both an aging parent and a child, not to mention emotional and physical support. That may be why the “Sandwich Generation” is helping to make senior home care such a thriving industry.

Professional Caregivers or Home Attendants
Senior home care agencies provide reliable, vetted, professional caregivers to assist seniors with the activities of daily living (ADLs). This can include assisting with light exercise. providing much-needed companionship, and assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming. Many home care agencies prefer certification and many states have minimum training requirements. You can obtain the skills for senior caregiving by taking the 10-hour line Caregiverlist Caregiver Certification training course.

Home Health Aides
Primarily, HHAs assist with bathing, dressing and other hygiene needs, in addition to preparing meals and helping patients eat. In some instances, they might provide some simple medical assistance, such as tracking medication and changing dressings. HHAs do not hold licenses but many employers prefer them to be certified. The certification process requires passing an exam after 75 hours of training and skills testing.

Certified Nursing Aide or Assistant (C.N.A.)
C.N.A.s provide more extensive health and personal support to seniors in the home. Many times they are responsible for “total client care”, which includes physical and emotional care as well as home safety, comfort, and security. A C.N.A.’s duties might include checking vital signs, assist with performing range of motion exercises, with lifting or transferring the patient to a chair or wheelchair. A C.N.A. has to be certified and licensed through the state Department of Health in which they work (sometimes states have reciprocity, or you can sometimes transfer your license to a new state.) Training involves both theory, or classroom work, and clinicals, the hands-on practice. Every state has established guidelines for training requirements and exams in order to become certified.

Occupational and Physical Therapists
Therapists may come to the home, on a doctor’s order, usually after a hospital or nursing home stay. They will work with patients to help them increase strength, balance and coordination. Therapy may help a senior regain the fine motor skills they need to function in day-to-day activities, such as dressing and bathing.

There are, of course, a variety of other home care support services, such as meal delivery and transportation services. Skilled home nursing (RNs and LPNs) who, when prescribed by a physician, can provide more intensive medical services to help a senior stay in their home and independent longer. Comprehensive senior care allowing the elderly to age-in-place is a team effort. If you are interested in becoming part of a family’s senior care village, consider applying for a job as a senior caregiver.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features fall bouquet perfect for the autumn days of October . Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Fall Flowers

"You are richer today if you have laughed, given, comforted, healed or forgiven."

Unknown

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features amber sunset. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Amber Sunset

"Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see." 

Mark Twain

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