Leeza Gibbons Invests in Senior Helpers

Leeza Gibbons is an Emmy Award winner and a longtime champion for Alzheimer's care. After losing both her mother and grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease, she began her campaign to spotlight memory disease and help families and caregivers find the tools and information they need to best support those in their care.

Now Ms. Gibbons and her husband have decided to invest in and become franchise owners of one of the nation's largest in-home senior care companies, Senior Helpers.

Choosing a senior caregiver is, as she puts it, “a delicate decision” because they become like family. There is a great deal of trust that is placed in the hands of those caring for the elderly, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Senior Helpers provides trusted and dependable care and encouragement to seniors and families facing devastating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Leeza Gibbons on the Senior Helpers website. “This is the precise type of care I wish my family and I had when my mother and grandmother were suffering from Alzheimer’s. That is why I am proud to invest in Senior Helpers franchised business, to ensure that the best in-home care is available to support, empower and uplift seniors and their families.”

Many senior care agency owners began their careers caring for senior loved ones. Seth Zamek Owner, Senior Helpers, Fort Mill, SC and one of our Senior Home Care Agency Experts decided to start his business in senior home care after both he and his wife and were caregivers for his mother-in-law during her battle with cancer, Caregiverlist’s own founder and CEO, Julie Northcutt, owned a senior care agency prior to establishing Caregiverlist.com

“This is just an opportunity that’s getting bigger and bigger,” says Ms. Gibbons. “It’s here and we all have to get on board and figure out how to deal with it.

Ms. Gibbons is also seeking to  convert a landmark home in Lexington County, South Carolina into a caregiver assistance facility. With area philanthropist Michael Mungo, Ms. Gibbons is planning to provide a center aiding people caring for others with major diseases and wants the center to offer free services for those coping with the stress of caring for someone with chronic or terminal illness.

More information about Ms. Gibbons and her decision is in this Entrepreneur article.

Apple Sauce for a Crisp Fall Day

Keeping a healthy snack around can sometimes be a challenge, especially when dealing with the extra stress of caregiving.  And since an apple a day keeps many bad things away, apparently, why not spice your apples up with just a couple of simple ingredients to create healthy apple sauce.

Caregivers can also use cooking as a way to engage with their senior client.  As we are in the middle of apple season here in the Midwest, talking about memories that surround apples and autumn could lead to some interesting stories.  Did someone in your senior's family bake the best apple pie ever?  Do they still have the recipe?  Or did they instead make an apple crumble or cobbler?

One of my former senior clients told a story about her family farm in Virginia where all the heirs of the 8 children who grew up on the farm still get together every October to do a weekend of apple butter making.  They collect apples from the orchard on their farm and build a huge bonfire and cook the apples down all night long.  Family members sign up for shifts to stir the apples.  Then they go home with jars of apple butter made on their family farm.

Healthy and Easy Apple Sauce 

3 Ingredients:  Apples, Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice, Apple Juice

The amount of each of the ingredients varies based on how many apples you use and how much spice you like.  Use the below amounts as a starting point and then add more juice if you need a bit more moisture and more spice as needed to please your palate. No sugar needed!

4 Apples

1/4 cup Apple Juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and core apples and slice.  Add to sauce pan on stove top.  Pour in 1/4 cup of apple juice and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Cook on medium to medium low, stirring and mashing the apples with a wooden spoon until completely cooked down to sauce.

Autumn Colors in New England: Stress Relief Photo

Nature provides us with so much beauty, no matter the season. This week's photo takes us to Connecticut in bright autumn sunshine. Caregiverlisinvites you to take a moment to relax and enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. At Caregiverliswe understand the realities of caregiver stress. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. We hope you can take some time to yourselves and have a great week. 
 

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." -Albert Camus

Caregiver Minimum Wage, Overtime Delayed

Home care workers who were looking to receive minimum wage and overtime protection may have to wait a little longer, as the Obama administration announced Tuesday that  it would delay enforcing the rule for the nation’s two million personal-care aides, home-health aides, and certified nursing assistants.

The rule is effective as of Jan. 1, 2015, but the Labor Department won't enforce it until June 30, 2015. After that and until December 31, 2015, it will be at the discretion of the department to take action against employers who don’t show a good will effort to implement reforms. The rule states that home-care workers would have to receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and time and a half when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Some senior home care agencies, along with Medicaid officials among others, have put pressure on the feds to delay minimum wage and overtime pay for home care workers, concerned that higher wages would translate into higher costs for the care recipient. The fear is that if home care costs increase, seniors and the disabled might be forced into institutional (nursing home) care. They also predict that smaller companies will be forced to hire workers part-time rather than full-time because of costs, in effect, causing wage loss among home caregivers.

Nonsense, say home caregiver advocates. Some states such as California and New York have already begun to implement changes, and they have the nation’s two largest Medicaid home programs. Twenty two states extend minimum wage to at least some in-home care workers, and 12 states have a minimum wage that is higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Many home care agencies pay more than minimum wage, as well as overtime to its workers, even if it means seeing a smaller profit margin than their competitors who don’t. Those home care agencies believe that paying a higher wage results in a more professional and better trained workforce.

Home care workers have been excluded from protection since 1974, when the Department of Labor extended minimum-wage, overtime-pay to workers who perform "domestic service." At that time, caregivers for the elderly were, in the eyes of the law, providing “companionship services” and thus exempt from the wage protection — just like babysitters. Of course, as the population has aged, home care workers provide much more than simple companionship. The field has evolved to include other types of duties such as providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). These duties can include tube feeding, physical therapy, taking the correct medication and getting cleaned and dressed.

Senior caregivers are quite different from childcare workers, but the minimum wage affects both equally. Have you seen this Kristen Bell Mary Poppins parody? She doesn’t get those birds for free!


Caregiverlist believes that home care workers help the elderly age in place, at home, which is where most seniors prefer to age. We think that all senior caregivers deserve to be paid a fair living wage.

Do you have an issue you'd like to see tackled on this blog? Connect with Renata on Google+

Find Hardware for Senior Accessibility at Home in App

Accessibility needs can change as seniors age. Perhaps a senior needs extra support holds in the bathroom or a seat in the shower to help prevent falls. The HEWI app is dedicated solely to helping senior caregivers and their clients find the right hardware to make their home accessible. 

Accessibility hardware categories in the app include Sit, Support, Grip, Washbasins / Mirrors, Accessories and Door Lever Fittings. In addition to making the bathroom accessible, senior caregivers can also help their clients by putting grips wherever they frequently stand down and sit down if they struggle with that. Putting new hardware in the house is no reason for a senior to feel shame over mobility. The new hardware will give seniors the ability to move around their home with more freedom and independence and prevent any accident that can occur from losing balance. 

The app also features a checklist for all of the areas of the home that can be made more accessible, such as the toilet area. More specifically, it drills down to every part of the bathroom, such as checking that the toilet paper is within reach for a senior while they're sitting on the toilet. The app suggests scenarios that you may not realize are a struggle for someone with limited mobility. Take a read through the checklist with your senior client and determine what they could use extra help with accessibility wise. Once you've done that, you can go through the hardware and pick out the products that suit your needs. 

 

The HEWI Quickfinder app is free for Apple products. 

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

Chicken Tortilla Soup: Caregiverlist Recipe of the Week

A chilly fall afternoon calls for a nice warm cup of soup. Some store bought canned soup can be surprisingly high in both sodium and fat content, but homemade soup allows senior caregivers the ability to control all of the ingredients. Our Chicken Tortilla Soup comes together in a medley of several types of vegetables, low sodium chicken broth and black beans for a delicious but surprisingly nutritious dinner. 

Ingredients
1 fresh tomato
1 fresh green pepper
1 fresh red pepper
1 small white onion
1 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 limes
1 single use packet taco seasoning
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 avocado
Low fat shredded Mexican cheese mix
Low fat sour cream
Tortilla chips or strips, optional

Directions
Chop the tomato, red pepper, green pepper and onion into small pieces. Spread one tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of your pot and add the vegetable medley. Sauté until the vegetables are cooked. Add chicken broth and taco seasoning mix to the pot and stir. Bring the broth to a boil then drop uncooked chicken breasts into the pot, cover and simmer. Allow the chicken breasts half an hour to cook then pull them carefully out of the soup. Place the cooked chicken breasts on a plate and shred using two forks pulling in opposite directions. Add shredded chicken breast back to the pot then squeeze the lime juice into the soup. Stir then serve. Garnish with low fat sour cream, low fat Mexican cheese mix and chopped avocado to taste. Eat with tortilla chips or add tortilla strips to the soup if desired.  

Caregivers and their senior clients can customize the recipe based on their personal tastes. Almost any favorite taco topping can be incorporated. Add brown rice if you'd like more fiber full carbohydrates, substitute kidney beans instead of black beans or add garlic and jalapenos for a stronger flavor. The result is a dish with a much lower sodium count than canned soup with fresher ingredients and low fat dairy products keeping the overall unsaturated fat content low. 

Best (and Worst) Places to Grow Old

How do you envision growing old? I dream of living in a lake (or oceanside) house, growing my own food, within walking distance of a town with a vibrant cultural community, with family or friends nearby who I can count on if I’m in trouble. I am near transportation that allows me quick travel to a world-class city like New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Tokyo (or a myriad of others around the world—and if we’re dreaming, I also have a flat there) and access to an airport for occasional national and international travel.

For that dream to come true, I will need a few things. First, I will need an enabling environment. That means the place in which I live should have socioeconomic and political policies and programs in place to help me age with safety and dignity, and give me access to the best resources I need to age well.

I’d like to surround myself with vital members of the community, the educated (and, dare I say, employed.)

I will need some money, of course. The society in which I live should provide a little bit of a financial net. Some call it a pension, in the U.S. we call it Social Security.

Finally, you have nothing if you don’t have your health. The ideal spot to grow old will give me access to a clean environment and good medical care. Life expectancy should be high and I should live those years in good health and feel that my life has meaning.

How does one find such a spot?

HelpAge International's Global AgeWatch Index brings together data on health, income security, employment and education, social connections, safety and transportation into one number and ranks countries from 1 to 96 (with 1 ranking highest). The index represents nine out of ten people over 60 years old, all across the world.

Norway tops the list of overall global rankings. It earns first place in both income security and capability (employment and education). It comes in at number 4 in the enabling environment domain (social connections, safety, civic freedom, and transportation)—Switzerland wins here, and 16th in Health Status (Japan takes the number 1 spot.)

Overall, the U.S. ranks 8th, behind (in order), the aforementioned Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Iceland. Better in some measures than others, I was surprised to learn that we as a nation rank 25th in Health Status, just behind Malta.

The worst places to grow old, according to the index are Afghanistan (96), Mozambique (95), West Bank and Gaza (94) and Malawi (93). But all around the world, life expectancy is on the rise.

The entire index is a fascinating interactive website with more data points than I can list. In addition to rankings by geographic area, the report includes emerging pension policies to help create basic regular income for the poorest of populations. Peru, Mexico, and Tanzania are among the countries highlighted for their new non-contributory “social pensions” as safety nets.

In a statement released by Help Age International, Professor Sir Richard Jolly, advisor to the Index as well as architect of the UNDP Human Development Index said, “People do not stop developing when they reach sixty or seventy or eighty. Our older years should be as much a time to expand our horizons as our earlier years.”

If you want to make a difference and make your aging voice heard, join Help Age International’s campaign Age Demands Action that is calling for a UN convention to protect older people's rights by law.

A Peaceful Autumn Garden: Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Autumn brings cooler days and longer nights, but also many beautiful colors. There are still flowers to be enjoyed that are in their glory, and this week's stress relief photo takes us back to Pembrokeshire in Wales. Caregiverlisinvites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers, for all you do. More caregivers are always needed as seniors in America are living longer. You can learn more about becoming a senior caregiver and apply for a job near you. Have a great week. 

"All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within."  -Horace Friess

Heart Healthy Tacos: Caregiverlist Recipe of the Week

Tacos make a fairly easy go-to dinner for any group because they're totally customizable. Try our version of the classic taco with some substitutions for heart health. Share them with a senior client, a friend or just enjoy them yourself.  

Using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, greek yogurt instead of sour cream and low fat cheese significantly decreases the amount of saturated fat in the dish. Adding avocado brings in some monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Avocados also have a high nutrient count and contain fiber to keep you feeling full for longer. 

For caregivers or senior clients who may be allergic to gluten, corn tortillas make a great substitute to still be able to enjoy this dish. Likewise, for those who are simply trying to eat healthier, using a whole wheat tortilla will get more fiber which can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol for heart health. 

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 head romaine lettuce
1 tomato
1 avocado
1 8oz container plain greek yogurt
1 package low fat shredded mexican cheese mix
1 package tortillas of choice (flour, wheat, corn)

Directions
Brown ground turkey in pan until completely cooked. Drain excess fat then return to pan and season with taco seasoning packet. Chop the lettuce, tomato and avocado as desired. Assemble ingredients on tortilla and enjoy. 

Other ingredients to try in your tacos include green or red bell peppers, brown rice or black beans for extra protein. If you'd like to serve with a side, try a small salad with low fat dressing or a side of beans and brown rice. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

No one is immune to breast cancer—it is an equal opportunity disease. However, we know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and women between the ages of 75 and 79 have the highest incidence rate. The chance that a woman will get breast cancer increases from 1-in-233 for a woman in her thirties, to a 1-in-8 chance for a woman in her eighties. The good news is that the death rate for breast cancer in women has decreased since 1990. This is due primarily to early detection and treatment.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to create an Early Detection Plan. The National Breast Cancer foundation has created and made available an application to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule mammograms based on your age and health history.

The Mayo Clinic lists these primary risk factors:

  • Age
  • Chest radiation as a child
  • Menstruation before the age of 12
  • Adolescent weight gain
  • No pregnancy or late pregnancy (after 30)
  • Lengthy use of oral contraceptives
  • Post-menopausal weight gain
  • Late menopause (after age of 50)
  • Increased breast tissue density

I had my own breast cancer scare a few years back. My annual screening mammogram showed an abnormality, so I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram. That was the longest week of my life. At the time, I had two small children and was beyond worried. I also had a lot of questions. I went to the website BeyondTheShock for answers and to prepare myself for my possible journey. What I found there was an incredible community full of support. Luckily for me and my family, my lesion was benign and there was no cancer. But the survivor stores I found at BeyondTheSchock, had I not been so lucky, would have been an inspiration.

When detected and treated early enough, your chances of surviving breast cancer are better than ever. Do it today. Make an appointment for that all-important screening, especially if you are a woman over 40. Remember, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but when breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.

Caregiverlist wants to remind seniors and senior caregivers alike to use National Breast Cancer Awareness month as a reminder to schedule your annual mammogram.

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