Meals on Wheels Delivering Senior Meals and Celebrity Chefs

Meals on Wheels are a life saver for many seniors, as senior caregivers know.  As some seniors have challenges with walking, memory loss and are unable to drive, knowing a meal will be delivered to the home makes it possible for them to continue to live at home longer.  An added value, in addition to a nutritious meal being delivered, is having someone check on the senior in person while dropping off the meals.  Meals on Wheels has a hotline to social services if a senior does not answer or seems to have a new health issue that is not being addressed.

Learn more about Meals on Wheels services in your area and support the upcoming fund raising event for Chicago's Meals on Wheels at their Celebrity Ball on October, 14th at Macy's downtown.

Event tickets are $125 and volunteers are also still needed. 

Click here for more information on Chicago Meals on Wheels Celebrity Ball.


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Senior Communities Emerge on University Campuses

Not content with the retirement lifestyle of their parents’ generation, aging baby boomers are finding a viable alternative lifestyle on a variety of college campuses. Seniors are taking college courses, attending campus cultural and sports events, making use of college fitness facilities and university health services and enjoying inter-generational social interaction by going back to school in their retirement years.

Campus Continuum works with developers and universities in constructing mutually-advantageous university-branded communities, on or near college campuses. The mission is to help provide residences that foster life-long learning.

While most of these campus communities are categorized as Independent Living for active seniors, some, like Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, offer Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing as well.

Two miles from Duke University in North Carolina lies The Forest at Duke, a continuing care retirement community. Their website describes the synergy between Duke and The Forest: “Cutting edge health care and the strong and diverse cultural arts and educational opportunities so close to us have profoundly shaped The Forest's culture.”

University Commons of Ann Arbor , a 92-unit condominium community near the University of Michigan campus, was founded by faculty members and built on land made available by the University.

Research shows that “healthy aging” has many components, but certainly keeping mentally active and enriched provides positive health benefits. This relatively new senior residence model is perfect for the baby-boomer generation who, as they age, still retain their intellectual curiosity, wish to pursue new interests or revisit forgotten avocations.

If you have questions regarding assisted living options, feel free to drop a line to Caregiverlist’s Assisted Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon.

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Senior Caregiver Training: 10-Hour Certification

Caregivers for seniors must be able to demonstrate many skills in order to deliver quality care, from understanding how to manage and assist the senior with daily activities of living to managing other health care professionals and family members.

Technology now allows quality training skills to be shared with everyone online.  Caregiverlist's 10-hour online caregiver certification program enables senior caregivers to take the courses at their own pace and upon passing, receive certification as a non-medical caregiver.  This means the caregiver has learned the professional caregiving skills and can demonstrate competence by passing the exam.

Senior caregiving is very different from caring for a child, as those of us who were former babysitters and then became senior caregivers well know.  Children are suppose to obey their parents and their babysitter.  Seniors may not be accepting of care and may want to even make sure they disobey their caregiver, especially if they are in denial of their care needs or of memory loss.

Review the caregiving training and learn more about purchasing the course online.  You may also apply for a senior caregiving job in your area to gain more experience as a companion caregiver or to work as a Certified Nursing Aide.

Duties of a Caregiver

Learn the basic scope of a caregiver's job including how to preserve your clients' safety and integrity, help with mobility and independence, and how to work within the rules and regulations that govern your job.

Communicating with Others

This 2 credit hour course will help you understand how to communicate with impaired clients, individuals with Alzheimer's or memory loss, agitated people and others in your work.

Observation, Reporting and Recording

As a caregiver your skills of observation, reporting and recording are vital to helping the rest of the care team provide the best care possible to your clients. Sharpen those skills with this class.

Providing Personal Care

Learn to capably assist a client with personal care tasks like bathing, dressing and grooming, as well as oral care, foot care and even how to give a client a gentle massage.

Promoting and Maintaining Good Mobility

Helping clients with mobility includes learning skills to safely assist with transferring, walking, range of motion and more. The goal is to keep your clients moving, while keeping them - and you - safe. This course is worth 2 credit hours.

Elimination and Toileting

This course will help the caregiver understand the entire digestive process and know what to watch for in clients to ensure good bowel and bladder function, as well as good toileting and incontinence care.

Infection Control

Good infection control starts with proper hand washing, but continues through many steps the caregiver can take. Understanding this topic will help you keep your clients - and yourself and others - as healthy as possible.

Environmental Hazards and Safety

In this course you will learn how to help create a safe, comforting environment, and how to keep it free from hazards. Creating and maintaining a safe environment is important for both you and your clients.

Basic First Aid

In this course you will learn basic first aid including, burns and poisons, heat attack and shock, chocking and falls, stoke and wounds, and other sudden emergencies.

  • Burns and Poisons
  • Heart Attack and Shock
  • Choking and Falls
  • Stroke and Wounds
  • Other Sudden Emergencies

Understanding Elder Abuse

Abuse is more than just physical. It can also be emotional, financial and sexual. Learn how to recognize and report all types of abuse and neglect, as well as how to protect yourself so that you never abuse a client in your care.

Caregiverlist's Career Center provides information on working as a senior caregiver and additional training tools.

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Give Forward: Paying for Senior Care

Paying for senior care can be a challenge for seniors and their family members.  When seniors turn age 65 in the USA, they go onto the government health insurance program called Medicare.  Very low income seniors who have less than $2,000 in assets may qualify for Medicaid instead of Medicare, which provides a few more benefits, such as prescription drug coverage and ongoing care in a nursing home for as long as needed.  Each state regulates the qualifications for Medicaid and you can find the financial qualifications in Caregiverlist's by-state section.

Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care needs in a nursing home nor in the home.  Medicare will cover short-term nursing home stays after a major medical incident and hospitalization - usually up to 100 days only, with a medical doctor's preapproval.

This means a senior and their family members must pay for caregiving needs for those on Medicare insurance.  We should all plan on needing at least 2 years of caregiving services, according to insurance actuaries, as medical technology has enabled Americans to live longer.

Nursing homes cost from $170 to $400 a day, depending on which part of the country you live in and the services provided and may include additional costs for activities, hair cuts and personal care items.  You may research the cost of nursing homes in your area to understand the daily rates and services.  The costs are more for a private room, for instance, than a shared room.

Senior home care agencies provide care services by professional caregivers in the home, actively managed by a Care Manager.  The cost is between $16 and $25 per hour, depending on the level of care needs and which part of the country you live in, as cost of living is higher in cities than rural areas, for instance.  Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes with part-time caregiving services.  You may request rates and service information of senior home care agencies in your area to plan ahead for home care needs.

Give Forward is a website that allows anyone to set-up a profile page and receive donations for their caregiving needs.  Give Forward makes it easy to refer friends and family members to one place to make a contribution.  The fundraising online website has helped raise millions of dollars for children and adults who needed additional money to pay for their medical care.

You may visit Give Forward to make donations or to organize a way for others to donate to a senior or loved one who needs assistance paying for senior care.  Many times medical insurance does not cover all of the health care needs and there are additional travel expenses for visiting speciality hospitals and doctors.  Give Forward provides an efficient solution for others to help out.






Siblings Caring for Aging Parents

When my mother brought my brother home from the hospital for the first time, she joked that she had had another child so I wouldn’t be alone in taking care of her in her "old age". Now that she needs the assistance, I am grateful for a sibling who shares the responsibility of caring for our elderly mother.

Not all families are so lucky. Simple geography might determine which sibling is best able to provide face-time with the senior parent. Long-time family dynamics can be challenging when siblings revert to old childhood roles. Some may find the stress of juggling work, raising children or caring for spouses limits their ability to help with parental support, so the family member with the fewest perceived obligations winds up providing the lion’s share of care. Some siblings may feel they are doing too much while others feel they do too little.

Feelings of frustration, anger, guilt and resentment do nothing to help with caring for an elderly parent.

In her book and her blog, They’re Your Parents, Too!, author Francine Russo explores and helps navigate the oftentimes tumultuous landscape of sibling tensions when dealing with eldercare. She covers topics ranging from acknowledging and accepting your parents’ aging, family decision-making and sustaining the family connection into the future.

Ms. Russo recently appeared in a video segment on the ABC News Special Series on Eldercare with Diane Sawyer. In it, she acknowledges that “the (families) who got along best accepted that they all had different relationships (with their parents), but they were in it together.”

And when the family caregiver needs a break, consider utilizing the services of a quality senior home care agency for respite eldercare.

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Chicago Memory Walk: Remembering President Reagan

Chicago hosts the Alzheimer's Memory Walk today, raising money and awareness for the disease.  The Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's began in 1989 and is the nation's largest event to bring attention to Alzheimer's care, support and research initiatives.

The nation's 6th leading cause of death, Alzheimer's disease also can take a financial toll on families.  Read about "My Breakfast with President Ronald Reagan" to learn more about the impact of memory loss and the caregiving support that is needed.

Both planning for care services and the ability to pay for care services are important steps when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  Learn about nursing home ratings and costs and the costs of care.

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Viral Video: Sweet Elderly Couple Using WebCam for First Time

Caregivers for seniors know the challenges when introducing new schedules, routines and medical equipment.

Enjoy this video, which has become the most viewed YouTube video of the day, of an elderly couple trying to use a Webcam for the first time.



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FREE Webinar: Incontinence Care Training

Caregiving involves many duties, including caring for incontinence.  A medical doctor told me once that any woman who has given birth can expect to have some issues with, well, leakage, at some point.  As he said, the muscles have a lot going on down there and they eventually experience aging just like the rest of our body.


Providing effective care includes knowing how to talk about and manage incontinence issues.


Join incontinence expert Michelle Mongillo, RN, MSN, for a free webinar to understand how to care for this issue:  The Best Practices: Incontinence Care Webinar


Date:  October 5th, 2011


Time:  2:30 p.m. Eastern time.


What attendees to this complimentary webinar will learn:

  • Techniques for managing incontinence at home
  • Navigating the options to find what works for your family
  • How to reduce the frequency of incontinence episodes  
  • How you can get a better night’s sleep
  • Tips for dealing with incontinence and dementia 

Sign-up and learn how to be a qualified caregiver for incontinent seniors (and know what to expect for yourself as you age)!

Professional caregivers may also find a 10-hour online training course for senior caregivers, to become a certified caregiver.

Senior Safety: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

The elderly driver who recently struck Reese Witherspoon with her car will not face criminal charges, but police have ordered her to retake her driver's test to see if she shows signs of diminished driving capabilities.

The 84-year-old Santa Monica resident will most likely need to take a written test, have an eye and hearing examination, and submit to a practical, behind-the-wheel evaluation. She may also need to supply the Department of Motor Vehicles with a list of medication she's taking.

The discussion of revoking driving privileges for the elderly is a sensitive one. Not all elder drivers pose a risk (in fact, some studies show that mature drivers have better driving records than younger drivers,) but once the driver reaches the age of 80 and older, crash rates increase. And of course, as the population ages, it is anticipated that the number of drivers age 85 and over in 2030 will be four times greater than today.

Safety concerns should prevail, for both the senior driver and potential accident victim. And although driving means more independence and autonomy for the elder, aging may indeed affect safe driving abilities. By the same token, however, elderly driving skills vary and uniformly revoking drivers licenses based on age alone is unfair.

AAA offers a Senior Driver Portal to help measure the driving skills and needs of the elderly driver. Caregivers need to evaluate the senior driver's competence and if safety is an issue, steps need to be taken.

Guest blogger and Geriatric Care Manager Charlotte Bishop discusses  "The Talk" about giving up the car keys in her most recent blog post. She gives some solid suggestions about how best to broach this potentially awkward subject with the elders in your life.

If you still find resistance, remember that each state's DMV has its own Senior Drivers License Laws. And if your elder can no longer drive, you can certainly hire a qualified caregiver to chauffeur and run errands if you are unable.

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New Washington State Law Will Regulate Eldercare Referral Companies

Finding proper senior care is not as easy as finding someone to clean your carpet or babysit or Saturday night.  Yet some of the services that provide handyman and babysitters seem to think it is the same.

Senior care professionals know the many dynamics involved with senior care, from emotional and physical needs to medical care requirements and ongoing planning for financial capabilities.  Does the senior want to stay at home and if so, is their home appropriate?  Would they enjoy life more if they moved to a senior living community?  Will they eventually need to find nursing home or hospice care? What does Medicare cover and would they be in a postion at some point to qualify for Medicaid?

Proper senior care requires learning a complete industry with a unique language (ADL's?) and many licensing and training regulations and provider variations in each state.  It requires professionals with experience.

The state of Washington passed a law that was signed by the governor in May, 2011, regulating senior care referral placement agencies, to make sure referrals are made by qualified senior care advisors and to quality senior living communities.  The Seattle Times has a series of investigative reports and found some referral agencies, such as A Place for Mom, did not have advisors with senior care experience and certifications and referrals were made to facilities that were in violation of Washington's licensing requirements.  The new law will make sure the referral agencies check the state database to make sure a facility is not in violation and require the senior care advisor to create a customized care plan and maintain records about the senior and the referral.  Other eldercare referral agencies do take the senior on in-person tours and hire advisors who are certified senior advisors or geriatric care managers and Registered Nurses with experience in senior care.  You can follow Washington state's guidelines for any eldercare referral agency you hire.

Learn about senior care options review nursing home ratings and costs and if you will need to move to a senior living community, it makes sense to use a quality referral agency.  Review quality standards for eldercare referral agencies and the Washington state eldercare referral law.

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