Happy Mother's Day to Our Caregivers and Today's Babies Who Will Live to be age 110+

Today we celebrate Mother's Day and those caregivers who are finding themselves caring for their Mothers and dealing with the transition of perhaps now playing the role of Mother to their own Mom.  Happy Mother's Day to you, however you may have entered into the position!

Motherhood will continue to evolve as the latest news shows a baby born today will have a very good chance of living to be 110-years-old and more than half will surpass age 100.  Living for a century will no longer be rare.  Scientists at the University of California are studying how to prolong life and crossing the bridge into this new territory that ignites emotions and moral questions.

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder, is one Venture Capitalist financing the research into how to prolong life.  He sees death as a problem we may be able to solve.  However, this type of scientific research is still considered on the fringe of science and includes growing new organs for human stem cells, creating body parts and using gene therapy to treat hereditary diseases.

Mothers may soon be able to know that they can easily give birth later in life......we are already accepting of surrogates for women who are unable to carry a baby and so it may not be too far off to accept a surrogate simply because a women in her 50's decides she is ready to be a Mother.  If you are going to live to be 150, which of those 18 years do you want to stay homebound while rearing a child? Do you want wisdom or physical energy for Motherhood?

There will be much to debate as our society confronts a longer lifespan. If my great-grandmother lived to be 101-years-old and was born before there were airplanes and automobiles, it is natural to accept that soon grandparents will be living past 110. We know how to eat a healthy diet and keep our minds and bodies active to enjoy healthy aging.  We have medications and surgeries such as hip-replacements to replace our worn out parts.  I could live to be 110 and so could all of my friends.  Which also means more years living in Assisted Living communities, most likely, and more years needing a senior caregiver.  

Back in the year 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years.  Now the average lifespan is around age 80.  And that is "average".  More and more of our mothers will definitely be living past the 100-year mark.

One researcher has organized the realities of living longer in this book, "100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith," by Sonia Arrison.  She shares that some babies born today may be able to live to be 150 years old.

Enjoy your time being a caregiver to your Mom today, or to someone who is like a mother to you. 

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease Author Online Chat May 16th

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Alzheimer's disease care know the unique aspects of this disease.  Confusing person, time and place can create an added challenge.  A caregiver may arrive one day to discover the senior with Alzheimer's disease thinks the caregiver is their wife or sister or mother.  "Meet them where they are" is a common mantra used when caring for seniors with Alzheimer's.

A popular book for families and caregivers is "The 36-Hour Day", co-written by Dr. Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.  As a member of the AARP Caregiving Advisory Panel, Dr. Rabins will offer an online chat to answer questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia and discuss ways the caregiver can also care for themselves.

Creating a custom care plan for seniors with Alzheimer's disease is important along with understanding the emotional toll the caregiving can take on the caregivers, both professional caregivers and family caregivers.

My own grandfather suffered from the disease and would read the Wall Street Journal upside down and often confuse all of his family members with other people.  These are the extra heart-breaking aspects of the disease for caregivers.

Join Dr. Rabins on Thursday, May 16th from 2pm to 3pm Eastern Time for an interactive chat session.

Online Chat with Dr. Rabins, Co-Author of "The 36-Hour Day:  A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease".

Date:  May 16, 2013

Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Senior caregivers may also find online caregiver training and apply for a senior caregiving job near them, as more companion caregivers are always needed to assist seniors with memory loss.


Power Wheelchairs for Seniors: Scooter Store's Pursuit of Medicare Benefit Opens Door to Fraud ($19 Million+)

Taxes should be less, not more, right? It seems like most people, as we approach April 15th, especially, agree with this.  It would also make sense that we would always want to save the government money on any programs, to help make our tax dollars go further.  But as we know, there are those who are looking to profit handsomely from any government program that will allow them to do so. The new healthcare law has been effective in cracking down on Medicare fraud and now it seems The Scooter Store could be the next company to go away, after selling seniors wheelchairs they could not use, did not want or need. So much for trying to save the government money, right? And they took advantage to the tune of $100 million in overcharges. Medicare reimbursements for power wheelchairs increased by more than 350% after The Scooter Store came along.  Scooter Store employees are now sharing stories of how the company color-coded doctors to indicate which doctors would approve of a "power wheelchair" for medical need, paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.

Medicare reimburses seniors for the purchase of a "power wheelchair" when a medical doctor has approved the need for the power wheelchair.  The reimbursement to medical supply companies was generous - so much so that some medical supply companies would call the home care agency I owned for 7 years and offer us $200 for each power wheelchair referral.  They received upwards of $2,000 for the sale of each power wheelchair from Medicare.

However, in 2011, Medicare finally changed the power wheelchair reimbursement to match the payment format for regular non-power wheelchairs which was a monthly rental fee.

A funny thing then happened at The Scooter Store when they were faced with "normal" profit margins.  Cash flow became tight, layoffs began and the push to gain medical doctor "approval" by going from doctor to doctor to doctor began. Former employees say they were urged to go to another more "friendly" doctor and to reach out to as many as 3 doctors if the first medical doctor declined approval for the wheelchairs.

This is why The Scooter Store would purchase television advertisements and announce to seniors that they could keep their wheelchair if it turns out they did not meet Medicare approval.  The Scooter Store scooted off to find wheelchair manufacturers who would go to China to produce wheelchairs for a very low cost and then of course they also helped facilitate the medical doctor "approval" of the wheelchairs.  A whistle-blower at the company took advantage of the government's whistle-blower protection program and shared that The Scooter Store sort of had their own medical doctor network who would approve of the need for the wheelchair. 

Here is the good and bad news.  If you truly do need a power wheelchair, for sure both you and your doctor know this.  It is simple.  You have difficulty with mobility and walking.  If a company needs to buy advertisements on television to convince you that you need a "scooter", which by the way, they can get for you for free from Medicare, well, there is probably "all kinds of wrong" with this, as my Grandmother would say.  A private company is trying to take advantage of a government program and profit at a much higher percentage than they would if truly operating as a private company with out a juicy government payment.  The fact that The Scooter Store could not operate a profitable company once Medicare reimbursements changed in 2011 speaks for itself.  Many, many other power wheelchair companies operate fairly and are profitable and were not impacted by the change in reimbursement from a lump sum to a monthly payment as it also is profitable reimbursement level.

The reality of needing a power wheelchair also comes with the fact that you will need assistance in customizing the wheelchair to fit your height, weight and arm and hand movement capabilities.  What if you also have arthritis?  This means that the medical equipment company fitting you for the wheelchair truly has some work to do to make sure the wheelchair is customized to fit both you and your home.  Then they also need to train you on how to properly use the wheelchair safely.  This is worth having Medicare pay them a fair price for their labor and is why the reimbursements may sound a bit generous to those who don't understand all the customization that is necessary.

A quality medical equipment company will also come to the home as much as is necessary in order to make sure the senior's wheelchair fits them properly and that all the necessary adjustments have been made.

Ordering a wheelchair that is really a "scooter" from a television ad takes away the customization.  In addition, promoting taking advantage of the power wheelchair benefit for use as a "scooter" just because you might want to get around a bit quicker is taking advantage of a program that was set-up to benefit those who truly cannot walk easily.  Used golf-carts might be a better solution for the senior who just wants a scooter to tool around the neighborhood in.

Medicare changed the definition of power wheelchairs precisely because of The Scooter Store.  Even if The Scooter Store's wheelchairs were high quality, it still cost taxpayers a huge amount of money by pocketing the profits from a program that was meant for seniors who truly needed a power wheelchair.

The Scooter Store settled with the government after the whistle-blower case for around $4 million and you may review this case with the Department of Justice here.

And now it seems The Scooter Store has been excluded from a list of 800 companies awarded contracts to supply medical equipment to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries beginning July 1, 2013.  In February, 2013, law enforcement officers raided The Scooter Store's Texas headquarters as part of an investigation in alleged fraud.  The Scooter Store founder, Doug Harrison, did step down from his role as CEO in 2011 and while many of us are trying to save the government money, he has in the past been a bit bummed out that the government was being more efficient about reimbursements, as you can see in this news release, when he complained that the government would no longer reimburse for wheelchairs at 6x's their wholesale price.............most retailers, by the way, are happy with 100% mark-ups.

Timothy Menke with the Office of the Inspector General says the investigation involves his agency, plus the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Texas attorney general's Medicaid fraud unit, according to The Associated Press.  

In 2012, an independent auditor determined that the company over-billed Medicare between $46.8 million and $87.7 million, the Express-News reported. The company agreed to repay $19.5 million after the Office of the Inspector General threatened to exclude it from federal health care programs.

We wonder if the U.S. Government will take one more step and hold accountable Mr. Harrison, the founder of The Scooter Store, as well.  Just as the Enron executives were held accountable for their actions.

The U.S. government had to create specific definitions about how a power wheelchair is not a scooter because of The Scooter Store trying to capitalize on the power wheelchair reimbursement from Medicare:

"By representing to physicians that their patients wanted and needed power wheelchairs, The SCOOTER Store obtained thousands of “Certificates of Medical Necessity” from physicians who did not know about the company’s fraudulent practices. The SCOOTER Store then billed government and private health care insurers for power wheelchairs, which were far more costly than power scooters, and collected millions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

The SCOOTER Store received $5,000 to $7,000 in reimbursement for each power wheelchair it sold, more than twice the amount for a scooter, which sold for around $1,500 to $2,000. Many beneficiaries had no idea what kind of equipment they were getting, until it was delivered by The SCOOTER Store.

The government’s lawsuit also alleged that The SCOOTER Store knowingly sold used power mobility equipment to beneficiaries and billed Medicare as if the equipment were new, in violation of Medicare regulations. In addition, the U.S. alleged that The SCOOTER Store charged Medicare millions for unnecessary power mobility accessories."

 Note:  The Scooter Store spent $1 million + lobbying Congress to maintain the previous Medicare reimbursements for wheelchairs.


Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers that care for the elderly know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers, professional caregivers and certified nursing assistants to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote.  We would like to thank you for caring for our seniors. Remember senior caregivers are needed, 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 of the week

"The heart is the toughest part of the body. Tenderness is in the hands."

Carolyn Forche

Caregiver Tales: Happy Easter!

Chicago caregivers may run into this bunny car, parked in downtown Chicago, this weekend.  Enjoy the holiday weekend, whatever your religion may be.  Sending wishes of Spring to all caregivers!  One of the best parts of being a caregiver is sharing in all the different ways of celebrating Springtime for Americans and a cute bunny springs eternal!  Remember that caregiver stress is real, so take time for a smile and if you would like to share your caregiving story with others, please do so, as we welcome more individuals to become professional senior caregivers and apply for a caregiving job as more caregivers are needed!



CNBC Reports Growth in Senior Home Care Today with Caregiverlist Interview

CNBC's Jane Wells highlights the 40% growth in senior home care since 2008 (even during the recent recession, the senior home care industry has continued to grow exponentially).

Senior home care agencies in southern California are interviewed along with Caregiverlist's CEO.

Tune in at 10:50 and 1:40 Eastern Time

Senior caregivers are in demand as the industry meets the challenges of fast-growth.  Anyone with a caring personality can be trained to be a companion caregiver.  Apply for a senior caregiver job in your area (companies hire from 3 to 6 new caregivers each week) and refer-a-friend to a caregiving job to be entered to win $50, t-shirts, online caregiver training and more.

Instagram Grandma? Superhero Grandma Reminder of Wisdom (+ Fun) of Aging & Caregiving

Senior caregiving as a profession delivers fulfillment way beyond a paycheck, in addition to paying well above minimum wage.  However, sometimes when dealing with the challenges of caregiving and the reality of changing senior clients and positions because of the reality that aging comes with dying eventually.  But let's move on to the positive side and a recent book profiling a Grandmother as a Superhero highlights the positive sides of aging.

Working as a professional caregiver also means getting to know a senior and as the industry is growing (companies must hire from 3 to 6 caregivers each week just to keep up with caregiver staffing demands), anyone with a caring personality, valid references, clean criminal background check and a willingness to learn can become a professional senior caregiver….and enjoy the wisdom seniors share.

Superhero Grandma dresses up in full costume and is profiled in a photography book by her grandson called:  "Mamika:  My Mighty Little Grandmother".  This is a reminder of the fun that can be had with a senior client and the fearlessness that can come with aging for some seniors.  Aging well, remember, includes maintaining social connections and physical and mental exercise.  Congratulations to Mamika for enjoying her 90's by experiencing new adventures.

Wisdom, something gained only by living life with a willingness to learn from mistakes, can be shared with others to perhaps help them have a smoother path.  The older we live, the more experiences (and mistakes) we have to share.  It is rather enjoyable to cross that line of aging where you have been there and done that and can already read between the lines.  And it is fun for seniors to share these lessons learned with those younger than them, including caregivers. 

Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist and author, profiled in one of his recent books, Outliers, how successful people achieved their success.  One of the sustaining factors for success was being near other key players and having an environment where you would naturally learn more.  The genius from the rural Midwest perhaps does not naturally learn some things about achievement in business that the same genius in downtown New York City learns.  Senior caregivers will provide care for college professors, retired lawyers and doctors and CEO's and mothers and fathers who have raised children and grandchildren.  It is a gift to be able to spend time in the company of these wise seniors.

Senior caregiving as a profession delivers a huge benefit to caregivers in that it allows the caregiver to interact with a senior who has experienced life.  Caregivers who are able to connect with their senior clients share their stories of learning so much about life and how to perhaps avoid having regrets when they reach their retirement years.  Likewise, when caring for a senior who is perhaps grumpy and unhappy, a caregiver may be able to learn just why the senior is this way.

As the owner of a senior home care agency which served hundreds of seniors, I would often develop relationships with certain clients and then end up going the extra mile for them.  I just couldn’t help it – there was something about them which inspired me to do more.

One senior gentleman who lived in an Assisted Living community had 7 children and his one daughter in downtown Chicago managed his care.  I found him to be extremely fun to be around.  He was a retired lawyer and also had a fun sense of humor.  He did have difficulty with mobility and needed full caregiving services.  I would always jump at the chance to fill in as Care Manager to introduce a new caregiver just because I enjoyed seeing him.  I could also ask him one question about a business or life issue and he would always have some fresh wisdom to pour around it.

One day I realized that really none of his children came to visit him or seemed to have much contact with him.  It seemed very odd to me since he was such an interesting person. So I asked his daughter why her brothers and sisters did not seem to check in with their father.

She told me that he was not a nice person all of his life.  He had worked the majority of the time and when he was around his family he was simply not nice.  She said a lot of things happened over the years and if I knew about them that I would understand why none of the family engaged with him anymore.

As this senior gentleman’s memory loss progressed, his personality did change.  This does happen.  Seniors who were outgoing their entire lives may become more withdrawn when memory loss develops and then the opposite will happen and seniors who are quite will then become outgoing and talkative.  The brain’s functionality simply changes when memory loss occurs.

Senior caregivers are hired every week by senior care companies.  There is a need for more professional caregivers in the industry.

Part-time, full-time and weekend and weekday positions are available as seniors may need a variety of schedules to fill-in for when family members cannot be there or when family members live far away or simply are not able to perform the more advanced professional caregiving skills.

Companion caregiving positions only require a caring personality and nursing assistant positions require official certification which can be obtained by attending a C.N.A. program which is usually around 2 to 3 months and then passing the state C.N.A. exam.

Learn more in Caregiverlist’s Career Center and apply to a senior caregiving job near you or Refer-a-Friend and win $50.  And maybe you can even photography your own senior caregiving scrapbook of adventures enjoyed as a senior caregiver.






Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs: Begin a Career in Caregiving

Certified Nursing Assistant jobs are plentiful and will continue to grow. This is because facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living, who provide nursing care for seniors, must maintain a minimum staffing level of Certified Nursing Assistants (also called Certified Nursing Aides, or C.N.A.'s, for short).   Health inspectors will drop by to make sure the faciltiies are maintaining the staffing levels and this is so important that many senior care companies hire an extra staffing firm to be on deck to staff when a C.N.A. calls in sick.

Certified Nursing Assistants assist with the "hands-on" care for seniors.  This includes assisting with bathing, feeding, bathroom visits, exercises, transfers and really all aspects of care, including maintaining proper care notes.

Certified Nursing Aide schools provide training, which meets the state guidelines in each state.  The C.N.A. student must complete field work where they will actually work at a facility for training and then must pass the state C.N.A. exam.

Certified Nursing Aide employment may be with a senior home care agency (assisting a senior in their home), a nursing home or assisted living community or hospice.  Hospice care can be in a hospital setting or in the home.

Certified Nursing Aide schools may offer scholoarships and some employers will reimburse tuition.  The course usually lasts from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on if it is a part-time or full-time nursing aide training program.  Some employers, such as nursing homes, also provide their own C.N.A. classes only for nursing aides they will be hiring.

Caregiverlist's Certified Nursing Aide school directory provides the admission requirements and tuition costs at schools nationwide.  Usually students must have a high school dipoloma or the equivalent in order to be admitted.

Caregivers who are interested in studying to be a C.N.A. may take a free sample C.N.A. test or an official C.N.A. practice test to learn about the skills taught.  Once a certificate has been earned, a C.N.A. must meet state requirements to renew it, usually every 2 years.

Professional caregivers may begin their career in caregiving by working for a senior home care agency as a companion caregiver and may also obtain a caregiver certification to provide professional caregiving services through a 10-hour online caregiver certification course.



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Find Senior Care Jobs: Certified Nursing Aides and Professional Caregivers

Senior caregiving jobs continue to be available as the large baby boomer population grows.  Senior care companies in major cities hire 5 to 10 new professional senior caregivers each week in order to keep up with staffing demands.

Certified Nursing Aides (C.N.A.'s) and professional caregivers can apply for a job to gain a part-time or full-time or live-in caregiving position.

Beginning a career in senior caregiving will deliver fulfillment beyond a paycheck and offer the ability to have a job position with a flexible schedule.  Positions are available in senior's homes, assisted living communities and nursing homes and include benefits through working for professional senior care companies.

Training programs are also available to keep caregivers updated on the latest approaches to caring for seniors with age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.  Online training is also available to gain certification as a professional caregiver.

Learn about caregiving job descriptions and apply for a senior caregiving position near you.

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