Background Checks: How to Perform Your Own Background Check to Protect Your Identity

Senior caregivers working for professional senior care companies must pass a criminal background check in order to be hired.  Individuals seeking to become professional caregivers or a certified nursing aide may enjoy a guarantee of employment as long as they can pass a criminal background check. This means proper identity information is crucial for a senior caregiver’s background check to return accurate information in order to obtain employment. Caregivers need to understand how to protect their identity and understand the information included on a criminal background check.   Senior care companies conducting criminal background checks on employees include:

  • Licensed Senior Home Care Agencies
  • Long-term Care Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living Communities
  • Hospitals

How do you protect your identity as a professional caregiver?  Especially knowing you will change care companies multiple times throughout your career?  We live in a digital information age making it even more important to protect your personal identity information both offline and online. 5 Background Check Identity Protection Tips:

1) Purchase Your Own Background Check Annually:  once a year buy a background check on yourself to see the information that is on your criminal record and to confirm the names and addresses attached to your Social Security number.  Research to be sure you understand the right type of quality criminal background check to purchase.

2) Maintain and update online passwords: pick passwords that are unique. Be sure you have anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer. Use encryption software to safeguard your online transactions.  Never respond to an email requesting a password reset unless you asked for this yourself on the company’s website. Look for the “lock” on your browser’s status bar which you will see when you are using an online bank’s website.  

3) Review your mailbox, even the junk mail:  if you begin receiving mail in another name at your address, call the sender to investigate.  Be mindful if you stop receiving monthly bills or if your name should change in anyway on your usual subscriptions.

4) Monitor credit card statements:  even if a small amount appears that may not have the exact name of a company you are familiar with purchasing from, call to investigate the transaction.  Some credit card number thiefs will first do a small $10 transaction before making additional charges.

5) Limit credit cards used:  try to limit the number of credit cards you make purchases with to also limit the number of companies that have your information and who are running credit reports on you.  When the friendly department store clerk asks if you would like an additional discount on your purchase by opening up a charge card, just say “no”.

Act quickly if you do discover improper names and addresses associated with your name.  The background check companies do have formal dispute investigation systems in place (you will need to fill out a form to start the ball rolling) and the credit reporting bureaus also will work with you to clear up misinformation.  However, it is a time-consuming process.  The best way to insure a proper criminal background check is to make sure you do not engage in criminal behavior (don’t break the law).  Then be mindful of your spending behaviors to protect your identity.  Check your own background once a year in order to be able to immediately correct mistaken identity information. Review the by-state background check laws to see if employers can review your criminal history beyond just 7 years and purchase a quality background check. Then apply for a professional caregiving job or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job as more caregivers are needed to keep up with the care needs for America's growing senior population.

Finding a Caregiver: Why This Is So Often a Last-Minute Task

Finding a senior caregiver is often an "immediate" need.  People who have not experienced the need for senior care for a family member usually do not understand why senior care is so often very quickly needed.

Senior care, like many things in life, is something most people just hope they will never need.  And because of this, people do not plan ahead.  Even those families who save money to be able to pay for senior care during their retirement years, usually do not think about the type of care they would like and where they will have the care.

A fiend of mine was visiting Chicago from Texas this week and her story highlights why senior care is very often a challenge.  She and her husband live in another state and have two children under the age of 5.  Her father-in-law was a no-show for a Mother's Day brunch.  One of the brothers went to his house to find that he was in a diabetic coma which the doctor's think may have happened a couple days earlier.  The father-in-law had to have a leg amputated and they also discovered he has dementia.

He is recovering in a nursing home but Medicare will only pay for a nursing home for up to 100 days after a major medical incident and even during that time Medicare will usually not cover everything (personal items, etc.).

My friend and her husband must return to Texas for their jobs and their children's activities.  Decisions must be made quickly regarding the father-in-law's care once Medicare will not continue to pay for the nursing home.  He cannot live alone in his home.  Is it time for him to move to an assisted living community or will he stay in his home with caregiving services?  And how much does everything cost?

Research senior care options and costs in your area before you need them - then you will at least understand the options and the realities of what Medicare does and does not cover.  You will also have one less stressful item to deal with when a medical emergency happens to a senior loved one.  Review nursing home costs and ratings before you need a nursing home for rehabilitation.

Remember that senior home care agencies are licensed and regulated in most states and deliver the security of professionally managed care in the home.  Assisted Living communities vary in the services they provide - some specialize in care for memory loss and have more advanced care services, such as nursing home care.  Other Assisted Living communities focus on providing a home to active seniors only.

Senior caregivers are needed nationwide.  Anyone with a caring personality may apply to a part-time or full-time companion caregiving position in their area or refer-a-friend to work as a senior caregiver and be entered to win weekly and monthly prizes.

Caregiver Careers: More Primary Care Medical Doctors Needed

Senior caregivers assisting as family caregivers or working as professional caregivers know the challenges of senior care.  The work can be difficult and the while the pay is above minimum wage and there are some moments of down-time.....the real pay is in the fulfillment of the work, not the paycheck.

Caregivers who truly love the industry may now consider entering into senior care as a full-time profession as the opportunities are many.

A study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services announced this week that less than 25% of new doctors go into this field, instead preferring a specialty, even though there is currently a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S.A.

Dr. Candice Chen, an assistant research professor and the lead study author also said that 4.8% of the new primary care physicians open an office in a rural area.

"If residency programs do not ramp up the training of these physicians the shortage in primary care, especially in remote areas, will get worse," Chen said in a statement. "The study's findings raise questions about whether federally funded graduate medical education institutions are meeting the nation's need for more primary care physicians."

As someone who did grow up in a rural area, I can both remember and appreciate the ability to just "walk-in" to the doctor's office to have him check an ailment and to even telephone on a weekend or evening.  Dr. Porter was the local doctor in my hometown of 19,000 people.  He specialized in assisting athletes and eventually the town named the high school stadium after him.

But Doc Porter was there when you needed him.  You could just walk in and talk to his office manager or give him a call and he would meet you there, even on weekends and evenings.  Now that we have instant contact services with all types of technology advances, it seems research universities could figure out a way to make rural medical practices more efficient.  

Maybe 50,000 people do not live in one town to provide enough clients for a doctor but maybe with technology such as email and text messaging and digital care plans a medical doctor could live in a rural area and enjoy the country living while still serving hundreds of clients efficiently.  Rural living can be cheaper and more enjoyable, too.

There is also technology being tested for virtual doctor's visits, an expansion upon Skype where the doctor can see you and you can see him and he can then diagnose your problem and even monitor the progress by checking body functions such as blood pressure.

Chen's concern is that taxpayer dollars are supporting the schools that are training the medical doctors, yet these institutions are not focusing on how to use the federal money to make sure we have enough of the right doctors.

  • Studied Career Paths of 8,977 Physicians
  • Physicians Graduated from 759 Medical Residency Sites
  • Timeline of Study:  2006-2008
  • 3 to 5 Years After Residency Ended:  25.2 percent of the physicians worked as primary care doctors (with some working as hospitalists which means this is actually an over-estimate of the number of primary care doctors)
  • 198 out of 759 institutions produced 0 rural physicians during the study period.

Currently, the United States is producing primary care physicians at rates that are "abysmally low," Chen said.

As medical care continues to evolve, it is important that we remember the human aspect that goes beyond a computer.  People who become medical doctors do so because they care and systems must be created for them to deliver the care in rural areas as well as big cities and to practice as a primary care physician.  

Caregivers for seniors should be aware that the senior care industry has been predicted to be the top industry for jobs in the coming decade which guarantees employment.  More caregivers are needed today and you may apply for a senior caregiving job in your area or refer-a-friend for a caregiving job and be entered for a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes.

More Than 1/3rd of Parkinson's Disease Patients Suffer From Dementia.

Parkinson's disease impacts many seniors in their later years, although some people are diagnosed with the disease when they are younger, such as actor Michael J. Fox.  This week, as 3,000 experts in neurology gathered for the annual European Neurological Society (ENS) meeting in Barcelona, Dr. Heinz Reichmann shared study results involving 1,331 German Parkinson's disease patients.

The Neurology Study Found:

  • 15% of Parkson's pateints suffer collaterally from dementia
  • 11% suffer from both dementia and depression
  • 9% suffer from dementia and psychosis
  • 40% to 50% suffer from depression

Nearly all Parkinson's sufferers are affected by dementia if they live long enough.  Research reveals that cognitive decline and depression often worsen the quality of life more than the movement disorder itself and may inhibit the positive results of other therapies.

Depression is mainly caused by the dismantling of those systems which release the monoamine neurotransmitters and the malfunctioning of the frontal lobe and the cerebral cortex.  

Motor impairments in Parkinson's are often associated with an incorrect concentration of dopamine in the blood plasma.

The neurology doctors are continuing to explore and research effective treatments which include psychosocial support, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, drug therapy as well as electroconvulsive therapy.

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Parkinson's disease may consider continued caregiver training to keep up with the age-related illnesses.  

The European Societies for Neurology also announced a merger this week during the Barcelona meeting. Going forward the European Neurological Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies are merging to be called the European Academy of Neurology.





Criminal Background Checks Conducted by 92% of Employers and 100% of Senior Care Companies

Caregivers applying to job positions by senior care companies must pass a criminal background check.  Many individuals have concerns about what information may be on their background check but with technology advancing, it is easier than ever to both monitor the information on your background check and to purchase a background check on yourself.

The Society of Human Resource Management reports that 92% of employers use criminal-background checks for some or all job openings, according to their 2010 survey.

Learn more about criminal background checks which must follow the guidelines of the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and limit a review of information going back for only 7 years.  However, some states have passed legislation which does allow employers to review information for more than 7 years if the potential employee will be working with seniors or children.

Background check quality varies - be aware that it is important to purchase a quality background check that includes more than just a social security number to name match.

Quality background checks must include the criminal courthouse record check and verify the identity of the person.

Review the background check laws in your state and purchase a quality caregiver background check.  Senior caregivers are hired weekly by professional senior care companies accessing Caregiverlist's job applicant service - apply to a part-time or full-time caregiving position in your area or refer-a-friend.


Family Caregiver Survey Participants Needed: Win a $50 Gift Card

The family caregiver role commands various roles: walking assistance, preparing meals, taking out garbage and more.  Every caregiver has different experiences depending on the senior’s needs.  Caregivers of older adult relatives—spouse, parent, sibling, partner, or other close person—may fill out a survey and be entered to win a $50 Wal-Mart gift card. Caregivers must also provide transportation for this person, such as going to medical appointments, buying groceries, going to church and so on.

The College of Nursing and Department of Gerontology of The University of Missouri—St. Louis seek to examine the impact of providing transportation for family caregivers through a new instrument that will measure this level of impact. Byrant Price, doctoral student, and Dr. Jean Bachman, faculty advisor, organized the study.

Caregivers who complete the survey do not receive any direct benefits, but participants will help Price and Dr. Bachman gain a better understanding of the experience of being a caregiver. Caregivers who participate may choose to be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card for completion of the survey of which ten (10) winners will be selected when the survey ends.  Participants can simply select "Yes" at the end of this survey and to provide their personal information for the raffle. 

Approximately 270-460 participants are being sought for this study so odds of winning the optional raffle are approximately 1 in 27-46. 

Caregivers seeking community can submit their stories on Share your story and read others for inspiration. 



Senior Fall Prevention in a Video Game

How many seniors fall each year? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency rooms in 2010, and the direct medical costs of falls was more than $28.0 billion. The death rates from falls among elderly men and women continue to rise.

Blue Marble Game Company’s Zoezi Park is a game developed by the Los Angeles company that uses cameras and sensors to create an onscreen avatar that mimics the player’s movements. The game then provides exercises and activities that improve balance, coordination and physical strength. The data can be accessed by a healthcare professional online. Zoezi Park can be used anywhere there is an internet connection — senior centers, rehab facilities or in the privacy and comfort of a senior’s own home.

Blue Marble’s goal is to merge cutting-edge technology with the fun of gesture-based video gaming to positively impact the health and wellbeing of those older adults at risk of or rehabilitating from a fall.

The Zoezi Park project was previously supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, but since budget cuts, that funding is no longer available. The company, in conjunction with the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Three Two One Productions is using crowdfunding to raise their goal of $30,000 by July 13, 2013.

The following statistics are from the Zoezi Park Crowdfunding page at When You Wish:

  • 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day with 1 in 3 of them experiencing a fall each year.
  • Each fall costs $48,000 on average.
  • The leading cause of injury related death in people over 65 is falls.
  • Falls are a public health problem.

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Professional caregivers are taught the basic safety skills for transferring a senior and assisting with walking when they begin working for a senior care company. Those who would like to work as a professional caregiver should remember that Companion Caregivers only require personal experience (as often seniors with memory loss may require ongoing caregiving just to keep medications and daily activities on track). 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 take a trip to botanical gardens full of colorful butterflies, to relax and  to breath in fresh air. Thank you for caring for our seniors  and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on and visit our career center for additional career tools. 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Pretty Butterfly

"A habit is a shirt made of iron."

Harold Helfer

Caregiver Job Interviews: Study Shows 81% of People Lie in Job Interviews

Interviewing job candidates for any position is never easy.  Job candidates perhaps don't mean to lie, but the fact is that most do embellish something about themselves to appear more qualified for the job.  In some cases the lies may be acceptable - saying you have 2 years of experience instead of 1 year but other lies can be dangerous, especially in senior care.

Have you used a gait belt before?  If you say you have when you have not (or if you do not even know what a gait belt is) then you could be putting both yourself and the senior in danger if you are trying to wing-it when using a gait belt for the first time. Same thing with assisting with toileting, bathing and feeding.

Have you had training in dealing with seniors who have memory loss?  Senior caregivers who have not had memory loss senior care training will not know some of the simple strategies to use to keep the day going smoothly and to respond correctly to the senior.

Finding the right caregivers for senior care takes talent and experience.  This is why senior home care agencies are vital as providers of senior care and this is also why senior care is nothing at all like babysitting. Proper training for senior caregiving is required in order for the caregiving to be both safe and effective to assist in healthy aging.

Those of us who hire people regularly already know that people lie a bit in job interviews.  But we have systems in place to flesh out the facts.

Senior caregiving agencies also have systems in place to properly qualify a caregiver's skill level and then provide training which the caregiver is tested on for retention.  Care Managers also introduce and train each caregiver for their new client assignments and provide ongoing management.  What does the caregiver do when Sue won't take her medications?  Call the office and a Care Manager will assist.  Very often a third-party person to help manage the care makes all the difference as the senior just wants and needs confirmation from a couple of people to keep their tasks moving throughout their day.

And just to confirm that the system used by licensed senior home care agencies is vital which includes an interview, a follow-up interview, reference checks, training and then a quiz to confirm the training was absorbed.......Brent Weiss and Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts are profiled in the Harvard Business Review, explaining their study which found 81% of people lied about themselves in a job interview.  When the job requirement is more technical, deception increased.  Participants in the study told an average of 2.19 lies per 15-minute interview.

Seniors deserve quality caregivers who can show they have been trained and can perform the necessary skills.  As more and more states pass new legislation (California currently has 2 bills pending which would both require mandatory training requirements for senior caregivers), the quality of care will only improve.  Caregivers should all have basic caregiver training which can be obtained online, meeting industry standards.

Caregivers may learn more about developing the right caregiver interview skills in Caregiverlist's Career Center.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder abuse happens—about 2.1 million seniors are victims.  Additionally, for every case reported, an estimated 5 elder abuse cases go unreported.

The senior population continues to grow, with seniors living longer lives while needing senior caregiving services for some of those years.  By 2050, this age demographic will be the largest. With this in mind, we should acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day approaching on June 15th

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day recognizes seniors going through abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This day serves as a time for people to understand the cultural, social, economic and demographic process that lead to ill treatment, negligence and manipulation.

The Administration on Aging provides helpful information on warning signs of elder abuse, how one can protect themselves from abuse, and other information to create awareness.  Building an understanding of this problem purposes this day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been an annually recognized since 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the WHO and the UN. The United Nations recognizes elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

The caregiving job has never been a light one. There are many responsibilities—planning and preparing meals, providing medication reminders, assisting with hygiene, running errands, and so many more—that make up the job description. Even though much accountability comes with this job, caregivers gain companionship.

Caregiver companion stories help other caregivers get through their day. builds a community for caregivers through one of their many resources, such as the Caregiver Experience Sharing. The submissions share caregiver’s stories of their senior companion—a small, but thoughtful token of appreciation.

With the growing senior population, the need for caregivers grows in the job market.  People seeking to become caregivers can apply for a job on Refer-a-Friend provides and opportunity for people to refer their friends to a caregiving job and a chance to enter to win $50 or a free t-shirt!

Log in