Advanced Style: Celebrating Over-Sixty Chic

I’ll admit it — I’ve been known to occasionally fall down the rabbit hole of online fashion sites. I’ll start at LE CATCH, drift over to FashionIndie, then lose a few hours on The Sartorialist. But because the nature of my job is to acquaint myself with all things senior and elder-related, I’ve always held a very soft spot in my heart for Ari Seth Cohen and his amazing New York street-style blog, Advanced Style.

The Advanced Style blog documents older women (and men) who dare to express themselves in fashion. Mr. Cohen began the blog in 2008 after moving to New York City, where he roams the streets looking to document the fashionable over-60 set — both male and female. As he states on his site, “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest."

The international popularity of the blog has translated into a book, and even a coloring book. Now Mr. Cohen brings seven stylish ladies, aged 63 to 95, to the big screen in his affectionate and inspiring documentary, Advanced Style. Advanced Style had its U.S. premier at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey on May 3. Below is the long trailer of this fantastic film featuring some of the world’s most stylish seniors. Directed by Lina Plioplyte and produced by Ari Seth Cohen, I’m hoping the documentary finds wider distribution here in the U.S.

 As the American Baby Boomer generation ages, coming into one’s own style is just one aspect of aging well. Since we’re all living longer, it just makes sense to do it on your own terms. Or as Jean, of Valerie & Jean, the duo behind Idiosyncratic Fashionistas puts it, “I dress for myself. If someone doesn’t like what I’m wearing, I don’t give a sh*t.”

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. For this week's photo we travel to the island of Santorini, in Greece. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  Feel free to share this photo with your loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides 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. Have a great week. 

 

“Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching,

 and live like its heaven on earth.” Mark Twain

CNA Doesn't Always Mean Certified Nursing Assistant

This one is on me.

I am always scanning the internet for C.N.A. news, and the following caught my eye: FCB Brasil, CNA Launch 'Speaking Exchange' (thanks Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls!)

FCB Brasil implemented a program with CNA (which I ALWAYS read as Certified Nursing Assistants) in a program to connect young Brazilians who want to learn to speak English with senior citizens living in a retirement community. The senior retirement for this pilot program is the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago. Can you understand my confusion when I learned that CNA is a language school and has nothing to do with Certified Nursing Assistants?

In any case, the senior/youth connection is a brilliant one and a win-win for all involved. The webchat exchanges between the kids perfecting their English skills and the seniors who are happy to converse with them are uploaded to YouTube where instructors can assess their progress. But let’s face it, there’s a whole lot more than language learning going on here. Says Max Geraldo, FCB Brazil's executive director in an interview with Adweek: "The beauty of this project is in CNA's belief that we develop better students when we develop better people."

Watch the following video and see just how remarkable this project is. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope this idea sparks many copycats.

If you are a senior caregiver interested in taking the next step in your career, consider becoming a C.N.A. (and this time I mean a Certified Nursing Assistant.) Caregiverlist® provides a free sample C.N.A. test to see how well you might do. Or if you are already trained as a C.N.A., fill out the Caregiverlist® 5-minute job application to reach multiple employers hiring in your area.

Caregiver Pay Rates April 2014

Professional caregivers continue to earn more than minimum wage, thank goodness, for providing senior caregiving and nursing aide services. As senior care needs will continue to increase, As the senior care industry continues to grow, so does the rate of pay for senior caregivers, along with the need for quality caregivers.  In April, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 6.7% to 6.3%.  However, there continues to be a high demand for professional senior caregivers who can work both part-time and full-time to fill senior caregiver jobs.

 

 

Caregiver Pay Rates for 2013 Above Minimum Wage

Senior caregivers assist seniors as companion caregivers and nursing aides working in nursing homes, assisted living communities and senior home care agencies.  Hospitals also hire certified nursing aides.  The pay rate for companion caregivers and nursing aides for 2013 have continued to rise and remain above minimum wage for all professional senior caregivers.

The Caregiverlist® pay survey results records the pay rates of 34,959 professional senior caregivers.  Senior caregivers who work for a senior home care agency provide one-on-one caregiving services while nursing aides working for nursing homes and hospitals usually care for anywhere from 10 to 15 residents or patients.  C.N.A. staffing ratios of nursing homes are reported in the health inspection reports conducted every 15 months and can be found in the Caregiverlist® Nursing Home Directory.  More senior caregivers are needed and anyone with a caring personality may apply to a senior care job in their area on the Caregiverlist® Career Center.

 

My Health Care Wishes App Provides Quick Information in Medical Emergency: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

No matter how careful and prepared a senior may think they are for a medical emergency by having their health care wishes laid out, that information may not be readily available depending on where the emergency occurs. Senior caregivers can help their senior clients load their information into the My Health Care Wishes app to have handy on their smartphone in event of an emergency.

By creating a space for the advance directive documents to live on a smartphone, senior clients medical information is always with them. It also establishes a senior's primary and secondary proxy so there's no room for confusion in time of emergency. The PDF version of a user's health care wishes can be quickly pulled up on the screen, or sent via text or e-mail to a health care professional or family member instead of sitting in the senior's place of residence.  

If a senior fell and needed to go to the hospital, the medical personnel could look at the app on their smartphone to call the senior's designated emergency contact. The lite version of the app allows information on the user's primary care physician as well. The layout of the app makes set up and navigation easy so that seniors, caregivers and their families are prepared. Recommended Advance Care Plan Documents for storage in the app include as Advance Medical Directive/Living Will and/or Proxy, a DNR Order signed by physician, a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment signed by a physician and an Anatomical Gift decision.

 

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

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

-Paige Krzysko

What Makes a Good Nursing Home?

Let’s face it, few go happily and willingly to a nursing home. While the majority of seniors prefer to age in place, at home, sometimes circumstances make it impossible to do so. Sometimes nursing home rehabilitation is necessary post-hospital stay. Perhaps a nursing home is needed when a senior needs 24/7 care and senior care costs are too high to hire at-home care.

So how do you choose a nursing home? If you’ve looked at all other long-term care options and have decided that a nursing home is the best choice for you or your loved one, you need to do a little homework to make sure the nursing home provides great care. You certainly don’t want to find that your selected nursing home administers less than ideal assistance. The obvious place to start would be geographically. The nursing home should be in an area that makes family visits possible.

After you have a list of nursing homes in your area, you’ll want to check the quality of care that nursing home provides.

Caregiverlist’s Nursing Home Star Ratings is a good place to start. Ratings from 1 to 5 stars are awarded based on criteria from the nursing homes health inspection report. But because nursing home inspections are only conducted once every 12 to 15 months, we recommend this only as a starting point. The overall Caregiverlist Nursing Home Star Ratings are calculated by taking into account the nursing home’s Medicare Rating (Overall Medicare Star Rating: 20%), Bed Sore Rating (Percent of Short-stay Residents with Bed Sores: 20%), C.N.A. Staff (Certified Nursing Aide Hours per Resident per Day: 40%), and ADL's (Percent of Long-term Residents whose Need for Help with Daily Activities has Increased: 20%). You can then compare the costs of the best possible nursing homes in your chosen area.

Once you have an initial list to work with, it’s a good idea to visit the nursing home. There are judgements you can make only if you see the facility with your own eyes.

Nursing home safety is a primary concern. Is there enough staff to assist those with special needs? Staff-to-patient ratio is extremely important. Do the facilities look safe? Frayed rugs can cause falls. Is the nursing home clean? There should be no odors of urine or feces. Are the residents clean and well-groomed?

What activities are available to residents? Are there social physical and educational activities available? Does the nursing home offer additional meals and snacks? Are there visits from community groups and outside excursions possible?

Is there high staff turnover? That can be a warning sign that staff is dissatisfied, which could translate into poor care.

Are family visits allowed any time (within reason)? No one should have to “schedule” a visit. An open visitation policy means the nursing home has nothing to hide.

Talk to the residents and ask them about the staff, the meals, the activities. Consider what special care needs may be required, such as care for memory loss, and if the nursing home provides these specialized services. Finally, if you see something troubling on any of your visits, your state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman is the primary advocate for a nursing home resident’s quality of life.

While the thought of moving to a nursing home can be stressful for the entire family, with a little due diligence, you are sure to find a safe and comfortable environment for long term care.

View of Dawn 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 was taken at dawn in St. Ives, Cornwall, England, a place known for its beautiful light. Feel free to share this photo with your loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides 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. Have a great week. 

 

"For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature's finest balm."

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Senior Mom

The day my daughter was born — my firstborn — I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and fell deeply and unbelievable in love. Then I picked up the phone, called my mother, and apologized for every rotten thing I had ever done to her (especially during my teenage years.)

You certainly don’t need to be a mother to celebrate your mother. If you are lucky enough to have mom or a grandmother around to honor, we have a few suggestions that go beyond Chanel No. 5 (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Peace of Mind
If you mother lives alone (over 80% of American women outlive their male spouses), making sure she’s safe can be a great gift. Senior-proof the home to help prevent falls. Buy her a Medical Alert system. Technology is a beautiful thing and some systems come equipped with GPS tracking if your mother is a senior on the go.

Stay in Touch
The best cell phones for seniors have have large buttons that are easy to read and a high contrast LED screen. Look for amplified sound and, in some cases, urgent care monitoring, similar to the response she’d receive through an alert system. Two of the most popular cell phones especially made for seniors are Snapfon and Jitterbug with 5Star Urgent Response (which is running a Mother’s Day promotion for $20 off.)

I’ve recently set my mother up to Skype her family halfway around the world. At 83, she believes her flying days are over, but she is always delighted to speak with her brother in Poland face-to-face.

Preserve Memories
Remember when photos were printed on paper? Most seniors have boxes and albums full of memories, but they may be difficult to get to. Scan those photos and present them to her on a digital photo frame. She can watch her favorite memories play on a continuous loop.

A Little Help Here?
Many times we find our schedules so hectic, we forget that the elderly mom might need a little help with day-to-day activities. Perhaps she could use help with shopping, light housekeeping, or simple companionship. You can hire a fully vetted and bonded companion caregiver for just a few hour per week through a quality home care agency.

Time
Let’s face it — the best present you can give is your presence. Stuff is just stuff. If you can, spend a little time with your mother this holiday and show her what she means to you.

Cargiverlist® wishes all the mothers and grandmothers out there a happy Mothers Day. If you have some special gift suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Waze Traffic App Eases Stress of Driving: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

The commute to work or driving a senior client to a doctor's appointment can become stressful if you hit unexpected traffic. Senior caregivers can use the Waze app to plan their driving routes before they start the car and minimize their time spent in traffic by picking the best route as displayed on the app in real time. 

The Waze app allows drivers to type in their start and end points and receive directions in the same style as a GPS, but it also shows other users in the area on the map who are in transit and how fast they're traveling. Simply by turning the app on and entering a destination, users share information about their speed and travel time with the app. Using this data, the app determines where the heaviest traffic lies so that it can prepare an accurate estimated time of arrival and the fastest route of travel for users. As seniors must take a new driver's test in some states, once they reach a certain age, this service can be helpful as they prepare for their driving test. Caregiverlist provides a listing of state requirements for senior's driving tests.

Drivers also have the ability to report a traffic jam, an accident, a hazard or a closure at specific spots on the interactive map so caregivers can be prepared for what lies on their route and the directions can offer them an alternate route if necessary. Although the app asks drivers to report these in specific areas when they encounter them, remember to practice safe driving. Make a note of where you encountered the traffic jam or the closure and report it on the map once you arrive at your destination.

For senior caregivers, the Waze app provides an opportunity to avoid extra stress while commuting or while driving with a senior client by more effectively planning a drive before getting behind the wheel. If there's unavoidable heavy traffic, the app will predict how long travel time will be so caregivers can get on the road ten minutes earlier and eliminate stress about being late. 

 

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

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

-Paige Krzysko

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