Sailing at Sunset: Caregiver Stress Relief

As we are deep in winter's chill, this week's photo should bring warm thoughts to mind. 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. This week's stress relief photo was taken from a ship, sailing away from Miami, Florida. Please enjoy and feel free to share the photo and inspirational quote with loved ones. We hope you have a great week.


"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."  -African Proverb

Alzheimer's Disease Treatment has had Little Progress since Dr. Alzheimer Identified Brain Plaques in 1906

Congress recently passed a budget bill in December, giving a few hundred million towards the research of Alzheimer's disease. 

While we are able to identify the existence of the same brain plaques Dr. Alzheimer found back in the early 1900's, we still are not sure why some people develop these plaques while others do not. 

Researcher Sam Cohen shares some of the facts around Alzheimer's disease research.  One reason Congress included research for finding a cure for Alzheimer's is because of the huge costs associated with full-time senior care for those with memory loss. Medicare does not currently pay for ongoing senior care needs but Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does.




RAISE Family Caregivers Act Passed by U.S. Senate -

The U.S. Senate passed the RAISE Family Caregivers Act this week (and this bill is actually supported by both Democrats and Republicans), which will require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill goes to the House next for consideration. The Department of Health and Human Services would be required to develop, maintain and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. Federal departments would also be required to share any data that can assist with creating a national caregiving strategy.

Advocates are hoping this will help make senior care a national agenda item in the upcoming presidential election. Currently, only candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who cared for her own mother at home, has called for more support for family caregivers. 

This summer, New Mexico Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham reintroduced a bill to create a national Care Corps program, modeled after the Peace Corps, in which volunteers would help family caregivers. New York state's Representative Nita M. Lowey also introduced legislation that would give caregivers a Social Security earnings credit when they take unpaid time off from their jobs to provide care.

Advocates behind RAISE hope that increasing awareness will eventually spark political action.

Why?

Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care and nursing home costs can easily be from $150 to $350 per day. About 40 million Americans care for family members, which works out to an unpaid workforce worth around $470 billion per year. They typical caregivers is the oldest adult daughter or another relative. 

A congressional caucus was formed to focus on the needs of family caregivers earlier this year, with the backing of AARP. RAISE would specifically require the development, maintenance and updating of an integrated national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. More caregivers and more programs to support caregivers will be needed to support our nation's growing senior population.

Senior caregivers are already in demand, as seniors rarely plan ahead for care and will be quickly discharged from a hospital to a nursing home or to their home while still needing assistance with activities of daily living. Anyone with a caring personality may become a senior caregiver by taking a basic caregiver training course and applying to a part-time or full-time caregiving job in their area.

AARP Offers this hotline to call your U.S. Congress Representative to urge them to support the bipartisan RAISE bill in the House at 844-453-9952 (Toll Free).  Remember, this legislation simply begins the process for a strategy to be developed around family caregiving.

Personal Care Aide Senior Home Care Training

Personal Care Aides are the name given to caregivers in some states, such as New Hampshire and Minnesota.  Personal Care Aides assist seniors with activities of daily living and are employed by senior care providers.

By learning the basic caregiving skills, personal care aides can deliver caregiving services more safely, while having the knowledge needed to complete each tasks.

PCA Skills include:

  • Care Plan Implementation and Notes
  • Communication Skills
  • Safe Transfers
  • Abuse and Neglect Identification and Reporting
  • Memory Loss (and Alzheimer's) Care
  • HIPAA (Privacy and Confidentiality Policies)
  • Infection Control
  • Personal Care

Review Personal Care Aide training and take an online PCA training course to become certified as a PCA and apply for a professional caregiving job in your area (senior care companies are constantly hiring).



French Alpine Splendor: Caregiver Stress Relief

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. This week's stress relief photo was taken in Chamonix, France near Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak. The Alps give us breathtaking scenery at every turn. Please enjoy the photo and the quote and feel free to share them with loved ones. Have a great week.


"Hope is the dream of a man awake."  -French Proverb

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.



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. 







California Senior Home Care Agency Training Requirement Regulation Begins in January 2016

Senior Home Care Agencies in California will be required to document the training they provide for professional senior caregivers based on the state of California's Assembly Bill 1217 which requires a minimum of 5 hours of entry-level training prior to presence with a client and 5 hours of training annually.

As more seniors are choosing to age-in-place in their own home, more states are establishing rules and regulations to insure both the seniors and the caregivers are protected and receive the insurance benefits and payroll taxes, as required by law. One of the benefits for caregivers working for senior home care agencies includes the payment of their Social Security, Unemployment and Worker's Compensation insurances.  This way senior caregivers are protected should the client pass away or get better and in the event they were to have an injury on the job. In addition, senior caregivers employed by senior home care agencies know that they are paying into all payroll taxes, including Social Security benefits and will be able to collect on this benefit for their own retirement.

California senior home care agencies can easily comply with this training mandate by providing an online training program. Caregiver Training University provides training meeting the state department of health requirements nationwide.  Individual caregivers may also purchase training and be added to the caregiver certification registry on Caregiverlist.  

Private duty senior home care agencies may request a sample caregiver training and a demo by contacting: susan@caregiverlist.com or calling 312-669-8821.



Nursing Home Senior Care Costs

Many seniors and their family members do not realize that nursing homes care is not covered for ongoing stays by Medicare. This confusion arises because many times a senior will know another senior who is receiving a long-term stay in a nursing home through Medicaid, the program for low-income seniors with few assets.  Medicaid will pay for nursing home stays when a senior qualifies for this level of care. 

However, perhaps the senior receiving Medicaid benefits is someone who you know had plenty of savings and would not be considered low-income.  Here is what happens:  seniors can quickly "spend down" to qualify for Medicaid because of the high daily cost of a nursing home stay.

Seniors should plan ahead to understand the costs and ratings of nursing homes in their area to be prepared should a major medical incident occur as many times hospitals will discharge the senior directly to a nursing home for rehabilitation.  Below are some examples of the average daily nursing home costs in some states. As you can see, with the daily cost of a nursing home being as much as $300 per day, a senior can quickly burn through their assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits.

Nursing Home Average Daily Costs

Alaska:  $666

Arizona:  $184

California:  $203

Illinois:  $158

Louisiana:  $133

Massachusetts: $299

Texas:  $115

Wisconsin:  $197

As these are just an example of the average cost, it is easy to see how a senior can spend-down to qualify for Medicaid, with a monthly stay at a nursing home in California costing $6,090 per month and if a senior lives in Alaska, well, perhaps they can consider moving South as there are less than 10 nursing homes in Alaska and the average cost results in $19,980 per month.

Seniors and their family members may reserach nursing home costs and ratings in the Caregiverlist Nursing Home Directory, the only resource with this trademarked information. As many times hospitals will discharge a senior directly to a nursing home for rehabilitation, families should plan ahead to choose the nursing home they would prefer.  

Some seniors prefer to stay at home to receive professional senior care services and pay an hourly rate for senior home care which can range from $18 to $26 per hour, depending on the location, and includes all the necessary liability and worker's compensation insurance protections and includes payroll taxes as required by law. Seniors may request a care plan to find senior home care agency options in their area and learn about the costs for senior care.









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