Chefs Make Housecalls for Seniors

One of the reasons a senior may finally choose to move into assisted living is for the meals. The elderly who live independently may decide that by the time groceries are bought, pots and pans are put on the stove, food is plated and plates are cleaned, it’s just too much trouble to cook for one. Many times seniors will microwave some high-fat, high-sodium, prepared and processed food. Not good for nutrition and certainly not good for the soul.

Chefs for Seniors out of Madison, Wisc. has been getting a lot of press lately, and with good reason. Their mission? They want seniors to stay independent a little longer by offering a service dedicated to improving seniors’ lives through food (emphasis theirs.) They’ve recently been featured on NPR and in Senior Housing News. The family-run company staffs vetted, licensed, professional chefs to come to shop and cook for seniors, right in their own homes.

Whole, healthy, homemade food is of course preferable to industrial, processed, mass-produced food stuffs. But taking a meal is so much more than the simple act of eating. Taking every meal alone, no matter how nutritious, delicious, and convenient it may be, can be a lonely proposition for those who are used to communal meals.

Perhaps with Chefs for Seniors, the community is had in the making. Owners Barrett and Lisa Allman, as well as their son Nathan, seem to understand that the relationship between a seniors and their caregiver (in this case, the person preparing their meals) is important and consistency is an issue. Outside of special circumstances, the company tries to maintain that unique client/chef relationship.

“Routine is important for seniors, so we try to keep the same chef coming to their home every week,” Allman told Home Health Care News’ Jason Oliva.

The chef can visit twice a week, weekly, or bi-weekly, based on the senior’s need and preference. After an initial consultation, a senior-specific menu is prepared, a chef is assigned, and then the culinary friendship is forged.

Like many senior care services, this one was born from family need. Allman told NPR that the inspiration for Chefs for Seniors was his wife's grandmother. She entered assisted living ten years ago, when she could no longer cook for herself. The family knew she could have stayed in her own home longer if she had access to nutritional and tasty meals.

But don’t give up on senior communities. Many assisted living facilities have also discarded the notion of industrial food for their residents. Chefs like Carol Koty at Lockwood Lodge at Masonicare at Newtown are providing restaurant-quality meals to the seniors for whom they cook. Caregiverlist recommends you thoroughly check into all your senior care options, from in-home care, specialty care (like Chefs for Seniors), independent and assisted living, and nursing homes for your specific eldercare needs.

Lemons in Provence: Stress Relief Photo

A market with a bounty of fresh produce is a feast for the senses. This week's photo of sweet lemons in bright sunshine was taken in Nice, France. Matisse spent a lot of time in Nice, and his painting was inspired by the beautiful light. Please enjoy and feel free to share the photo and inspirational quote with loved ones. At Caregiverliswe know the realities of caregiver stress. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. Have a great week. 
 

Japanese Seniors to Get 5 Million iPads

Apple and IBM are partnering with Japan Post to provide 1,000 seniors with free iPads for six months beginning in October. If successful, the program could increase senior users to five million by the year 2020. iPads will be equipped with IBM-produced apps specifically geared to the elderly such as reminding seniors to take their medication, help them keep in touch with family, and assist them in finding local senior services in an effort to improve the quality of life for Japan’s senior population.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Japan Post CEO Taizo Nishimuro (who is almost 80 years old) announced the program in New York on Thursday. Japan’s elderly make up 25 percent of entire population. That’s about 33 million seniors. That number is projected to grow to 40 percent over the next 4 decades.

Japan Post Group, a government-owned postal service, bank, and insurer will train 400,000 of its employees on the iPads. They in turn will deliver the devices to the elderly. Currently, Japan Post service workers make elderly wellness checks and reports back to the senior’s family. This “Watch Over” program costs families $1,000 yen, or $8, monthly. It is not known if the iPad program will increase those costs.

“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group in almost every country. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. The number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.


Mashable gave us a peek at the iPad interface which includes large buttons, an emergency call capability, and other senior-friendly and senior-empowering features.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

The proposed iPad program certainly can’t take the place of a one-on-one in-home senior care, but for millions of independent older people, especially with those whose families distance care, I think it will be a great care supplement.

Blue Sky and Blossoms

This is one of my favorite times of year. Spring blossoms burst forth and make everything look new and bright. This week's photo was taken in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, England. Caregiverlisinvites you to take a moment to enjoy the photo and inspirational quote and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors. Senior care training briefs help senior caregivers to understand various senior illnesses and keep up with the latest care techniques to relieve caregiving stress. We hope you can take some time to yourselves and have a great week.  

California Dreaming: Stress Relief Photo

A day at an amusement park is a great way to relieve some stress and bring out the kid in all of us. This week's photo was taken in Santa Monica, California. We invite you to take a moment to relax and enjoy the photo and inspirational quote and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. More caregivers are always needed as seniors in America are living longer. You can learn more about becoming a senior caregiver and apply for a job near you. Have a great week. 

5 Special Mother's Day Gifts for Family Caregivers

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and there may be people in your household deciding on a gift for mom — some are even treating their mothers early. If you are one of the many American woman who provide essential senior care for an aging parent, care for your own children, and work outside the home, now is the time to start dropping hints about what gifts would rock your May 10.

I’ll say it — I think those of us who spend the entire year caring for others deserve at least one day of some thoughtful appreciation. Numbers culled by the Family Caregiver Alliance  estimates 33.9 million adult caregivers, or 16 percent of American adults provide unpaid care to a recipient aged 50 and older. That informal care is valued between $148 billion and $188 billion annually and an estimated two-thirds of those family caregivers are female. Mother’s Day is the perfect time for some serious payback.

While flowers and jewelry are always appreciated, if asked, consider giving these suggestions for special Mother’s Day gifts.

Mommy's Day Out
About 75 percent of caregivers who report feeling stressed emotionally, physically, or financially are women. When you are making less at work and spending more at home, the last thing you have is expendable income for movies, plays, or concerts. Those important outings are food for the soul. Tickets or gift cards good for nights out (dinner and a movie? cocktails and the opera?) for two makes a great present.

Indulge Me
I know spa treatments are are pretty typical Mother’s Day gifts. But how about treatment for two? Mom and grandma can get a home visit from a mobile spas. It's especially decadent as they can bring massages, facials, and mani-pedis right to the home for no muss, no fuss pampering.

Help Around the House
Spring cleaning for family caregivers might mean cleaning two homes. What would make a great gift? How about a cleaning service, just once, for one or, what the heck? both places! Getting a break from my most tedious, back-breaking, time-consuming job would certainly make it to the best-of-the-best gifts list.

A Gift That Keeps Giving
Mother’s Day comes and goes and life gets back to it’s usual routine, but a “gift of the month” membership will make someone feel appreciated for 3, 6, and 12 months. The most popular of the gift clubs is the Wine of the Month Club, of course, but there is a Coffee of the Month Club, Cheese of the Month Club,  even a Hot Sauce of the Month Club. Gift of the Month Clubs let the recipient know their contributions are acknowledged for more than just one day.

Can Somebody Else Do This?
Respite care can be for a weekend, a day, or even an hour. Family, friends, or neighbors can certainly provide respite care, but a quality home care agency can provide a fully vetted professional caregiver to step in and relieve some of that caregiver stress and help prevent caregiver burnout by providing support for a senior's Activities of Daily Living.

We at Caregiverlist® wish all the mothers and grandmothers out there a happy Mother’s Day. If you have some special gift suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Home Care Workers Join Fight for $15

Tax day is April 15 and when many low-wage workers look at their year-end W-2 it’s easy to ask, like Rachel (who worked in a coffee shop) did on an early episode of Friends, “Who is FICA, and why is he getting all of my money?” It’s disheartening to open that weekly paycheck to see, after all you hard work, you have barely made enough money to survive.

That’s the impetus behind Fight for $15 — the global protest to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Organizers and protesters are using America’s tax day to highlight income inequality. Both union and non-union home health aides will join fast food workers, big box employees, adjunct teachers, non-union construction workers, airport workers and other low-wage earners in rallies and strikes to demand the nation join cities like Seattle and San Francisco in raising the minimum wage to $15/hr.

In New York, home health aides will rally at 4 p.m. at Central Park West near Columbus Circle, backed by George Gresham, head of the 1199 SEIU health care workers union. “Our sign for this march says ‘Invisible No More,’ Mr. Gresham told the NY Daily News. ” “We’re marching with union and nonunion health aides (because) so many of us rely on or are going to rely on the care these workers provide. We can’t ignore that they have needs, too.” He went on to say that many families are shocked to find out just how much their trusted home care aides make.

But unlike fast food workers, or the employees of Walmart, the employees of quality home care agencies don’t see their bosses on the list of the highest paid CEOs. In fact, most home care agency owners are franchisees, and while profitable, they don’t make the top 10 most profitable franchises — those are primarily fast food restaurants and personal service franchises like SuperCuts and Anytime Fitness.

Families primarily pay for homecare services out of pocket and are on already moderate or fixed incomes. High caregiver turnover means a disruption to senior care — care that is not a choice (like a hamburger), but a necessity. So what’s the answer to paying home healthcare aides like senior caregivers and CNAs more money without passing that cost on to the consumer? Many minimum wage workers supplement by utilizing public assistance in order to make ends meet. Can and should the government step in to supplement some of that hourly pay? We already know that senior home care is more cost-efficient than institutional care, like nursing home placement. The only way to keep great people in this demanding yet rewarding field is by paying them a living wage.

Caregiver pay is typically more than the nation’s minimum wage, with 30% earning more than $7.25 per hour. But is it enough? According to Fight for $15, the answer is no. The fact that so many American workers need public assistance while still working a 40 hour week means that the system needs a change. Income inequality is at the basis of this fight. And in the U.S., that disparity is the worst in the world. What do you think is the answer?

Buckets of Spring Cheer

Daffodils are a sure sign that spring is in the air, and their bright color is so cheerful after a long winter. This week's stress relief photo was taken in St. Ives, Cornwall, in England. Please enjoy and feel free to share it with loved ones. Caregivers provide companionship to seniors, as well as caregiving and caregivers must remember to "care for the caregiver." Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Have a great week.  
 

Sunrise in Florida

A beautiful morning to start another day is something to be appreciated. This week's photo was taken at Walt Disney World in Florida. Caregiverlisinvites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. At Caregiverlist we know the realities of caregiver stress. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.  We hope you have a great week.

Honor System Hopes to Marry In-Home Senior Care with Technology

In-home senior care is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. I know because I'm constantly looking at senior care industry trends. This week, there was a new name on the in-home senior care landscape: Honor.

Honor (www.joinhonor.com) recently received $20 million in funding to roll out it’s new service—a high tech way to connect seniors with senior caregivers. Honor is launching Contra Costa County, California this month and then plans to spread to the rest of the Bay Area. San Francisco is the fifth largest metro area for senior care employment.

Helping seniors age in place, at home, is at the core of CEO and co-founder Seth Sternberg’s mission. Like many of us, Mr. Sternberg was confronted with the challenge of long-distance care for his aging mother. He would fly into Connecticut, where his mother lives, hire a caregiver, and be clueless about the care his mother was receiving once he left for home. The idea behind Honor is that, not only could a senior (or their family) hire a caregiver Uber-fashion, but the app would help families monitor that care.

The Honor Frame is a device that sits in the senior’s home and allows a senior or their family to request a caregiver for as little as one hour per week, to help with the activities of daily living, including meal preparation, transportation, or simple companionship. Families can download the Honor app onto their smartphones in order to monitor the caregiver’s time, activities, and to provide feedback.

It will be interesting to watch how Honor approaches the challenges inherent to in-home senior care. We agree that technology can facilitate the connection between senior and caregiver, but building a team of caregivers is different than hiring in any other field because seniors who live alone are especially vulnerable to all sorts of elder abuse. The creators of Honor believe they can build a strong team of professional caregivers by offering them an hourly rate well above the industry standard—$15 per hour instead of the current average of $9.50.

In order to understand the challenges Honor is facing, perhaps we should take a look at just what an in-home care agency provides to a caregiver, their senior client and their family that a direct hire doesn’t necessarily offer. At Caregiverlist, we make sure our quality home care agencies:

  • posess a business license and required state licensure
  • fully vet all employees by performing a thorough criminal background check
  • offer and maintain training for caregivers
  • are responsible for paying all employee payroll taxes, as required by law. That includes unemployment insurance tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax and State and Federal withholdings
  • provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • carry Professional Liability Insurance and Fidelity Bond Insurance (aka “theft” insurance)
  • supply active management of the senior caregiver through a direct supervisor and a plan of care

As the population ages, their technology comfort level will increase. Until then, I’d love to take a look at Honor’s interface, knowing that seniors themselves will be using the software to request their caregiver.

We at Caregiverlist wish Honor the most success. We certainly believe in their philosophy, one that Sternberg recently told Forbes. “We do not honor care professionals in today’s world,” he said. “We should. And we should honor our parents.” We couldn’t agree more.

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