Should Caregivers Wear Scrubs?

Caregiver scrubs as uniforms are clear indications of professionals on the job. Your elderly client can more easily identify you as a caregiver if you present yourself in a caregiver uniform. We think scrubs are ideal for the senior caregiver because they are comfortable, allow for a range of motion and are easily cleaned. And scrubs are a universal symbol identifying the wearer as a member of the healthcare profession.

CNAs and healthcare professionals are in the business of providing care. A set of stylish scrubs can also provide comfort for your senior client by distracting them from any unpleasantness by giving them something else to focus on.

Caregiverlist has partnered with Scrubs Magazine, the nurse’s guide to good living, to offer a Scrub of the Month as a Grand Prize in our Refer-A-Friend program. If you know someone who has what it takes to be a great caregiver (you know the type — good work ethic, reliable, and above all, empathetic), fill out the form and we'll be happy to set them on a career path that offers the ability to make a huge difference in someone's life.

This month’s scrubs are from Cherokee Uniforms. As you can see, they are smart, chic, comfortable, professional and FUN! They are easy to clean and they let the world know that you are skilled and ready to work. You could win the whole outfit — top, bottoms and shoes, when you refer a friend to Caregiverlist.

What do you think? Do you wear scrubs in your daily work as a senior caregiver? If you don’t, what is stopping you?

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 palm trees as a reminder for caregivers to take a moment to enjoy their sunny days. Thank you for caring for our seniors and 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.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Palm Trees

"Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning."

William A. Ward

Caregiver Hourly Pay Rates: Spring 2013

Caregiverlist breaks down the hourly pay rates, as reported by survey respondents from April, May and June.

Apply for a senior caregiving job today on Caregiverlist.com!

Refer-a-Friend for a senior caregiving job to enter to win $50 or a free t-shirt!

Already a senior caregiver? Enter to win $100, $50 or $25 Amazon gift cards by submitting your senior caregiving photo to the Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers.

Free T-shirts for ALL Contest Entries!

All Caregiver Photo Contest Entries Will Receive a Free T-shirt!

How do I submit a photo?

1) Submit your senior caregiving photo to the Careiverlist Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers. May be of yourself, the caregiver, or with the senior under your care.

2) Share your entry with friends and family to vote for you. You may share a direct link to your entry so friends and family can easily vote for you every day!

3) Vote daily for your picture until August 31st. 

Good luck!

Read more here

Enter here

Tips for Handling Seniors with Cognitive Impairment

Guest blogger Christian Wilson tackles the arduous task of caring for those with memory impairment with some very practical tips.

Caring for an individual with memory problems can be difficult and stressful. Even more stressful, however, is realizing a loved one—or yourself—may be beginning to show the signs of memory issues or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This can lead to both worry and denial, since MCI is considered a very early stage of dementia. It’s important to note that a person who has developed MCI won’t necessarily develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, though those who do develop MCI are at a much higher risk for further impairment.

What is mild cognitive impairment? It’s often classified a change in cognition, essentially the way a person thinks. Cognition includes memory and the ability to understand and comprehend one’s environment. Unfortunately, while it can be an ambiguous condition and there isn’t a consistent way to diagnose MCI, there are several recognizable symptoms to look for. These symptoms can include:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Difficulty forming short-term memories
  • Difficulty speaking or communicating complete thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mental fog

Diagnosing mild cognitive impairment. Because MCI is a more ambiguous condition, diagnosing it can be a challenge for doctors and health care providers and oftentimes won’t receive the proper response. Since much of the MCI diagnosis process is based around observation, it can take an extended period of time to come to a firm conclusion. Blood testing can be done, as well neurological tests, and brain imaging. Blood tests can determine vitamin B-12 deficiency and hypothyroidism, both which can produce symptoms of MCI. If these conditions are discovered, treatment can improve symptoms, and if symptoms improve then the individual isn’t likely afflicted with MCI.

Caring for patients. So, if you’re in the position of caring for someone diagnosed with MCI, what can you do?

Educate yourself. If you’re providing care for a person or loved one with MCI, the better educated you are about the condition, the better you’ll be able to provide positive care. It can be as simple as knowing and understanding the signs of MCI or preparing for the possibility of caring for a person with a worsening condition.

Monitor and assess. Observe the individual and look for signs of improvement, stability, or decline. Being aware of their current state of mind will determine how you care for them. If they improve, your role may eventually be reduced. If their condition declines, the quicker you will be able to respond, which will result in greater likelihood the patient will be able to receive proper treatment, especially if the MCI begins to be manifested as dementia.

Create a positive environment. Make sure the person has plenty to do. An active mind is a healthy mind and keeping their mind and body active is often the best thing a caregiver can do. This can include reading a book or playing games (both video and board), visiting a museum, as well as going for a walk or hike. Additionally, having patience will contribute to a more positive environment and reduced stress.

Diet and exercise. A change in diet can help to ease and reduce the signs of MCI. Develop a involving more fruits and vegetables, while decreasing the high fat and high sugar foods. Increase the person’s intake of omega-3 fatty acid supplements and vitamin B (particularly if a change in diet rich in these nutrients is not enough). Coupled with a healthy diet, regular exercise has been shown to have a very positive impact on the brain and cognitive function. Ensure the person participates in physical activity, such as gardening, swimming, or walking, on a daily basis.

Before embarking on any plan of action, it is imperative that you work with a doctor in order to help your senior, whether they be a family member or client, age well.

Christian Wilson currently works in the home care industry. He writes about issues facing the elderly and spends a lot of his work day answering questions regarding home care. When he’s not at work he enjoys traveling with his family and meeting new people.

Nursing Home Dental Care May Be Lacking Report Shows

Nursing homes care for senior residents who have a wide variety of care needs.  However, the level of staffing of Certified Nursing Aides to the number of senior residents they are caring for directly impacts the quality of care. You can review the C.N.A. to resident staffing levels in Caregiverlist's easy-to-use Nursing Home Star-Ratings directory.

Dental care for nursing home residents can impact their overall health.  This sort of makes sense, because everything needs more attention as we age and our new cells stop regenerating quickly to replace the old cells. And now we have a little research to back this up.

This means a new question to ask nursing homes when you are considering moving a senior into one for rehabilitation, should be:  "how often do you assist residents to brush their teeth?  And, "what do you do if they are resistance to dental care?"

A survey by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors says seven states have evaluated nursing home residents since 2011.  The findings show that there may be a growing epidemic in cavities, cracked teeth and gum disease in nursing home residents due to a lack of oral hygiene.

The association report gives the example of Kansas state, where nearly 30% of 540 older residents in 20 long-term-care facilities (that means nursing homes), had substantial oral debris on at least 2/3rds of their teeth and that regular oral care had become scarce.  

In Wisconsin, the report shows that about 31% of 1,100 nursing home residents from 24 different homes had teeth broken to the gums with visible roots, while about 35% had substantial oral debris.

Nursing home care includes dental care and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 requires brushing the teeth of nursing home residents who cannot do it themselves.  However, this is easier said than done.  As Certified Nursing Aides, or C.N.A.'s, know, if a senior is resistant to assistance, it can be very difficult to brush their teeth for them.  C.N.A.'s are required by law to be staffed at nursing homes to assist with the daily hands-on care.  

Seniors who have neglected their dental care for years prior to be admitted to a nursing home present an additional challenge.  Medicare does not pay for routine dental care.  Perhaps new technology can assist with finding a better way to assist C.N.A.'s to perform dental care in nursing homes.  The family members of seniors should be aware that they may have to step in to assist if the senior does not want to cooperate with the brushing of teeth and oral hygiene.

As assisting senior can be a challenging job, although always fulfilling, there is an ongoing demand for more Certified Nursing Aides - apply for a companion caregiving job in your area (Part-time and Full-time positions are available) and learn about becoming a C.N.A.

 

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 vibrant, yet calming sunset from a tropical place. Thank you for caring for our seniors and 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.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Vibrant Sunset

"Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening."

Mohandus K. Ghandi

Look Up Symptoms, Diseases and Medications Using the iTriage App: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Sometimes when seniors have a cough or other symptoms of a common cold, we fear that it may be an underlying factor of something more serious. Using the iTriage app, senior caregivers can search symptoms to figure out potential issues in health and schedule doctor's appointments appropriately. While searching symptoms and self-diagnosing doesn't replace the opinion of a healthcare professional, iTriage can help caregivers and their senior clients get an idea of what may be causing their symptoms so that they can approach their doctor's appointment with some background knowledge and have an informed conversation with their doctor. 

The app itself features a keyword search as well as a figure of the human body, allowing users to click on a problem area such as the stomach or the leg to search symptoms in that particular body part. Caregivers can click on "ankle pain," for example, and see common causes, such a "arthritis (joint swelling)." Once a cause is selected, the user sees a description of the condition, further symptoms, treatment options and the option to find medical help nearby. Medications are searchable in the same way, with lists of conditions that they treat and instructions on what to do in case of an overdose or a missed dose. 

The doctor search based on nearby locations allows caregivers to find medical attention most convenient for their senior clients and in the speciality area that they may need. 

The app is available for free for Android and Apple platforms.  

"Do you have symptom questions? Search for health answers with iTriage Health, Doctor, Symptom & Healthcare Search app. Find medications, diseases, and medical locations and instantly get answers to your questions on your iOS device. Created by two ER medical doctors, iTriage gives you quick access to a huge healthcare & medical database in your pocket."

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 to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Living and Aging Well at Home

Caregiverlist welcomes Dr. Doris Bersing, PhD. as our new Home Care Expert. Dr. Bersing is the founder and president of Living Well Assisted Living at Home, Dr. Bersing discusses how to successfully age in place at home. If you have any questions regarding the elderly aging at home, especially those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, feel free to post your questions here.

How to Have More Choices to Age Well at Home?

We all hope to age in a healthy way and most of us avoid thinking about frailty or problems before they arise. However, If we force ourselves to plan, we can make informed choices.

90% of people want to live in their own homes. This has been true for all of our history. Moving out of home to an “age segregated community” is a modern phenomenon. Maximize your choices by planning your estate, your home, your health, and your wellness.

To Maximize your Choices:

Do some planning: financial and legal

It’s no surprise that with age, seniors often experience increased limitations, the loss of certain abilities and require more assistance with the activities of daily living. It is equally unsurprising that one’s finances largely influence the types of services and long-term care available to that individual. An experienced financial planner and long term care specialist can provide you with invaluable advice on money issues and more, to help you find the appropriate solution to your particular situation.

Aging well at home usually involves not just healthcare but money and legal matters, as well. That might include estate planning, getting legal forms such as advance health care directives and power of attorney for finances in place, and understanding the coverage and policies -such as Medicare and Social Security benefits – available to you of the person in your care.

Look at your home

Is it safe? Can you make it more safe? Can you use new techologies to enhance your wellbeing. These technologies are improving everyday and offer real benefits. Look into Universal Design options. Can your home be made more suitable for your changing needs? Does it make sense to move to smaller home and use the extra money to pay for your support?

Be active

It matters less what you do, but that you do something that is meaningful to you and that uses your mind, spirit and body. No need to commit to one thing – change your mind as often as you want, and give any challenge a try!

Take charge of your health

Your Doctor may know best, but does she know and hear you. Do you have a system for understanding what you need to do to care for yourself and for learning about recommended procedures? Are your medical records and Powers of Attorney in a safe place? NOBODY should face serious medical decisions alone. We all need advocates. Medications are potent (that’s why they work). Learn about them and find ways to take them as prescribed.

Tackle your fears about memory changes

Learn about what things you need to worry about and what you can adapt to. Don’t panic! Don’t let others around you panic! – But don’t deny and pretend you are OK, if you are having problems. Changes to your environment and social support can make all the difference. Talk to your friends, doctors and family. Dementia is not a new problem – humans have been having memory loss for centuries – let’s learn from our predecessors.

Be open to smart technology

There are numerous studies, projects, and research aiming to use integrated information technology systems to support and enhance the health, safety and social connectedness of older people living in their own homes. Currently, there are many exciting technologies being developed to help seniors to stay independent and aging in place are many, some of these are: home-monitoring systems, telemedicine devices, tracking systems like GPS shoes and GPS watches, electronic walking aids, intelligent phones, and even robotic nurses.

Never give up your home without weighing all the choices

Is this the right time? Be curious about why you are making life changing decisions, weigh the consequences, think about your motivations, get input from trusted people. It’s rarely a good idea to make a life transition when grieving, adapting to a change in health status, or because you are appeasing anybody. It somebody tries to persuade you to make big changes during these times, question their motivation. The old choices of struggling alone at home or moving to an institution are being replaced by new ones. Stay on the cutting edge. Learn what the options are, participate in creating those options. Make your voice heard. 

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