Sneaky Home Allergens (are Nothing for Seniors to Sneeze At)

Sinus trouble, constant throat clearing, nasal congestion — these are symptoms seniors commonly present as the weather changes. The air gets drier and adequate hydration is always a challenge. Common allergens may affect the elderly more acutely and certain antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can cause anxiety and confusion in the elderly, and actually make the symptoms worse. What's even more frustrating is that alergens can be found in the home year-round.

Scrubs Magazine, the leading lifestyle nursing magazine, has identified 14 surprising places in the home where one can find irritants lurking. If you or your senior client or family member is sneezing, wheezing or otherwise showing signs of allergic reactions, check these culprits:

Sheets On Bed
Permanent press sheets can have formaldehyde. Choose untreated clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers when possible.

Flaking Paint
Homes and apartments built before 1978 have paint with high levels of lead. Clean paint chips immediately, repaint the surface, keep children from scratching, chewing, or touching painted surfaces, and have your home tested for lead.

Make the bedroom a ‘no pet’ zone. Run a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom. Be sure to groom your pet regularly.

Dry Cleaning
When bringing home fresh dry cleaning, be sure to remove it from its protective plastic bag and air it out outdoors for several hours, or until the chemical odor has completely dissipated.

Vacuum frequently and thoroughly – passing the vacuum four times over each area. Dust mite powder and flea control powder are also helpful in reducing allergens.

By law, most mattresses have flame retardant chemicals. Your best bet to avoid both chemicals and dust mites? Switch to a fire-retardant free solid memory foam mattress or latex mattress. Note: You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy one.

Opt for fragrance-free, organic and hypo-allergenic cosmetic brands. Be sure to replace makeup on a regular basis (application sponges each week, liquid makeup every three months, lipstick every six months, etc.), as old makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.

Avoid brands that contain fragrances, baking soda (if you have a nickel allergy), essential oils and biological additives, parabens, vitamin E, and lanolin. Opt for hypoallergenic brands and alternative deodorants such as crystal products.

and in the kitchen...

Fix leaky plumbing immediately. Thoroughly clean all surface molds. Dry water-damaged areas immediately.

Dirty Dishes
If you have a cockroach allergy, note that the highest concentration of cockroach allergens are in kitchens. Do not leave dirty dishes nor water in cups, glasses and bowls overnight.

Inadequate Ventilation
Install an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking. Improve air quality by installing an air conditioner or humidifier. Be sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly.

Certain ingredients in insecticides may trigger allergic reactions including acute asthma attacks. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Use organic, chemical-free produce spray, and watch for any insecticide in your pet shampoos.

Cleaning Solutions
Opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions with more natural ingredients and avoid those with harsh chemicals and odors. Note: If you are removing mold, you should use cleaner without ammonia and with at least 5% chlorine (which is irritating to skin and eyes).

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving health and safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.

The Alzheimer's Store Provides Quality Products for Families and Caregivers

Caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients or those with dementia or memory loss deal with a special set of caregiving needs. That’s something that our friends at The Alzheimer’s Store know all too well. They’ve made it their mission to bring to the senior care market a variety of products to make caring for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia easier and make the Alzheimer’s years just a little more safe and comfortable. Here, they discuss a popular product that makes life easier.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Celebrate Time with Loved Ones

Time is so precious. We often take it for granted. That at the fact that we’re naturally aware of the day and time or can easily find out at any given moment. It’s not so easy for Alzheimer’s patients. Caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s are very familiar with the questions: “What time is it?” and “What day is it?” It can be taxing on both you and them.

Since our goal at The Alzheimer’s Store (ALZSTORE.COM) is to help ease the stress in caring for loved ones, we feature a wall clock that is large enough for Alzheimer’s patients to see from all areas of the room. Knowing the day and time reassures the patient and puts them more at ease, which in turn relieves stress for both caregivers and family members.

This high quality precision clock displays the time, day of the week and date clearly and automatically. It has a sweeping hand, as Alzheimer’s patients do not recognize digital, and a large day date and month. Both at home and in facilities, those who struggle with Alzheimer’s can take pride and comfort in knowing the correct day and date with this excellent reminder.

Wall Clock with Day & Date

We know caring for someone you love with this disease can be a roller coaster of emotions. Alzheimer’s affects more than five million people worldwide and is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. In fact, my grandfather George was inspiration behind our dedication and commitment to helping others with Alzheimer’s. Nothing gives us more satisfaction that helping others care for loved ones; it helps us honor our grandfather’s memory.

We can’t say enough about the positive feedback we’ve been getting on this top-selling product. The Alzheimer's Store's continuously searches to offer quality products at the most affordable rate and we have not been able to find a more reliable timepiece. If you’ve purchased the clock or plan to, we’d love to hear your feedback! Email us and share your story at

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.

Senior Home Care Can Take a Village

At Caregiverlist, we believe in “Caring for the Caregiver.” But just who is that senior caregiver?

As seniors choose more to age-in-place, their team of caregivers may grow. It might “take a village” to provide comprehensive care, so here are the possible villagers:

Family Caregivers
These are the unsung (and unpaid) senior caregivers. They provide the bulk of care for elderly family members. According to AARP and the Family Caregiver Alliance, the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S., and the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000. Most family caregivers are women. About one-in-seven adults in their 40s and 50s provide financial support to both an aging parent and a child, not to mention emotional and physical support. That may be why the “Sandwich Generation” is helping to make senior home care such a thriving industry.

Professional Caregivers or Home Attendants
Senior home care agencies provide reliable, vetted, professional caregivers to assist seniors with the activities of daily living (ADLs). This can include assisting with light exercise. providing much-needed companionship, and assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming. Many home care agencies prefer certification and many states have minimum training requirements. You can obtain the skills for senior caregiving by taking the 10-hour line Caregiverlist Caregiver Certification training course.

Home Health Aides
Primarily, HHAs assist with bathing, dressing and other hygiene needs, in addition to preparing meals and helping patients eat. In some instances, they might provide some simple medical assistance, such as tracking medication and changing dressings. HHAs do not hold licenses but many employers prefer them to be certified. The certification process requires passing an exam after 75 hours of training and skills testing.

Certified Nursing Aide or Assistant (C.N.A.)
C.N.A.s provide more extensive health and personal support to seniors in the home. Many times they are responsible for “total client care”, which includes physical and emotional care as well as home safety, comfort, and security. A C.N.A.’s duties might include checking vital signs, assist with performing range of motion exercises, with lifting or transferring the patient to a chair or wheelchair. A C.N.A. has to be certified and licensed through the state Department of Health in which they work (sometimes states have reciprocity, or you can sometimes transfer your license to a new state.) Training involves both theory, or classroom work, and clinicals, the hands-on practice. Every state has established guidelines for training requirements and exams in order to become certified.

Occupational and Physical Therapists
Therapists may come to the home, on a doctor’s order, usually after a hospital or nursing home stay. They will work with patients to help them increase strength, balance and coordination. Therapy may help a senior regain the fine motor skills they need to function in day-to-day activities, such as dressing and bathing.

There are, of course, a variety of other home care support services, such as meal delivery and transportation services. Skilled home nursing (RNs and LPNs) who, when prescribed by a physician, can provide more intensive medical services to help a senior stay in their home and independent longer. Comprehensive senior care allowing the elderly to age-in-place is a team effort. If you are interested in becoming part of a family’s senior care village, consider applying for a job as a senior caregiver.

Scrub of the Month: Breast Cancer Awareness Scrubs

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it’s also time for a new Refer-a-Friend for a Scrub of the Month giveaway.

Fall is here — there’s a chill in the air and days are shorter, but here’s an opportunity to lighten things up and promote a worthy cause. Besides, who doesn’t look pretty in pink?

Scrubs Magazine has linked with Ford Warriors in Pink to provide these adorable scrubs from Cherokee Uniforms as a way to celebrate the survivors and show support for those who still fight the fight.

The pink V-neck top, features contrast stitch details along the neckline, front princess seams, two front pockets, a printed Warriors in Pink grosgrain ribbon edging the pockets and a Warriors in Pink screen print. The cute, flare leg pants have an elastic waist with a printed Warriors in Pink drawstring, front patch pockets and a cargo pocket featuring a Warriors in Pink screen print.

Caregiverlist is proud to have 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. And you might just win these great scrubs!

Bite Nite Deux is a Bite to Fight Lou Gehrig's Disease

Bite Nite Deux is the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter’s second annual event featuring superior dining, signature drinks and fine art.

Ten of Chicago’s top chefs come together to offer outstanding cuisine at tasting stations. Tito’s Vodka has created a signature drink called The Sunflower Sipper in a nod to the ALS National Symbol — the sunflower.

The event is hosted by Kim and David DeJesus (of the Chicago Cubs) and Master Artist Jesus Salguiero. It includes a silent auction of artwork donated by artists from around the world. Music is provided by DJ Opio and rat pack crooner, Michael Hutchins, who has lost several family members to ALS.

Bite Nite Deux will be held on Monday, October 21st, from 6:30-10:30 pm at Open Secret Studios. 401 N. Racine, in Chicago's River West neighborhood. Tickets are $75.00 per person or four for $200.00. Cost includes free on-site parking in a gated private lot at the venue.

All proceeds from Bite Nite Deux will support free home visits, a free equipment lending program, free clinic services at University of Illinois and University of Chicago clinics, and advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. For more information about this event contact Maryilene Blondell, Director of Development, 312.932.0000 or

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. Every 90 Minutes Someone is Diagnosed with ALS and Every 90 Minutes Someone Else Loses His or Her Battle. Support ALS’ mission to fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy. Help them empower people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. Purchase your tickets here.

8 C.N.A. Job Frustrations

Caregiverlist has always acknowledged that Certified Nursing Aides have one of the toughest (albeit most rewarding) jobs we know. Providing hands-on assistance to seniors in a variety of settings — nursing homes, assisted living facilities, private homes (through quality home care agencies) and hospitals — comes with a variety of challenges and rewards.

Our friends at Scrubs Magazine asked their C.N.A. Facebook fans to share some of the most uniquely frustrating aspects of their jobs. Here’s what they said:

8 frustrating things about being a CNA

1. “High patient ratios, feeling underappreciated, but most of all, nurses who won’t pay attention when you tell them something is up! As a CNA who is in nursing school, I have learned to recognize when something is not right, but too often the nurse shrugs me off and the patient suffers when it turns out that I was right in the long run.”
—Amelia Garner Shrader

2. “I have been a CNA for 16 years and I love my job! No, I do not want to be an RN or LPN! The most frustrating part of my job is the government telling our corporations how to staff their floors. Do they not understand that by giving us proper staffing, it would allow us to give our residents exceptional care? It would also minimize C.N.A. burnout, abuse (emotional and physical) and work injuries. Since when is the minimum-possible the best way to go?”
—Kim Cugini

3. “I would say the most frustrating part of my job is seeing extremely sick patients, totally paralyzed and living on ventilators, with no family ever around and being a full code. So unfair for those poor people.”
—Cassie Hagglund

4. “The most frustrating thing about being a CNA is working with other CNAs who are merely there for a paycheck…they show it by how they treat even the sweetest person. I understand and know some residents are tough, but some don’t understand what’s going on and some just can’t do a lot about the problem!”
—Melissa Beeman

5. “Trying to be in no less than three places at one time…STAT!”
—Liz Mellendorf Garascia

6. “I’m a CNA, and I am in my second semester of nursing school, so I know both ends. As a CNA, a very frustrating thing is being extremely busy and having a nurse tell you that a call light is going off. In the amount of time the light was going off, the nurse could have easily answered the light to see what the patient needed. So simple. I help everyone with their call lights; there is no reason to not help out because of the letters after your name! Also, being talked down to is a pet peeve.”
—Samantha Barclay

7. “The pay—22 years and $10.80 an hour. And there is no CNA to RN program…why?”
—Liz Johnston

8. “Feeling helpless that you can’t help every patient; getting emotional for the patients who never have family who visit them; when you work hard and try to do your best, but the other staff aren’t helpful and act like they don’t care for the patients or like you’re bothering them when you ask for help. You’re all they have, so that’s probably the hardest part. It is extremely rewarding, though, when you get patients who truly appreciate you—that makes it all worth it.”
—Nicole Martin Buss

How about you? What do you think are some of the more frustrating aspects of being a C.N.A.? And let’s balance it out — feel free to share what makes all the frustrations worth it.

Refer a Friend to Caregiverlist

 Refer-a-Friend for a Chance to Win Prizes!

Simply provide us with your friend's name and email address and you will be entered into a monthly and weekly giveaway.

Monthly Grand Prize Winner: Scrub of the Month (top, bottoms and pair of shoes), courtesy of Scrubs Magazine.

Weekly Winners: A Caregiverlist t-shirt, lapel pin and a 10-hour online caregiver training program as a member of the Professional Association of Caregivers.



How Do I Apply for a Senior Care Job? and Other Caregiver Job Questions

At Caregiverlist, we monitor the questions we get from our community of caregivers. One of the most frequently asked questions has to do with the application and hiring process for home caregivers through our site. Here’s our caregiver job FAQ:

I am interested in a job as a caregiver. Do you hire me directly?
No, we don’t hire caregivers directly. We work with quality home care agencies in your area who will have access to your application, resume and certification information. If you fit their needed caregiver criteria, they will contact you directly. They hire for part-time, full-time and live-in caregivers.

I’m unclear about how to apply for a senior care job on Caregiverlist. Can you walk me through the process?
Yes! Our application takes about 5 minutes to fill out and, once submitted, gets pushed out to all the home care agencies in your area with whom we work — one application, lots of potential employers! Watch the video below and see just how simple the application process is:

How can I stand out in a sea of applicants?
Good question! It’s true that senior caregivers are in great demand and the need for great caregivers growing. However, the best caregivers get the best jobs and we’ve made it our mission to help you in the process.

If you are new to the caregiver field, we recommend you start with our basic, online non-medical caregiver training. It satisfies many states’ minimum 10-hour training requirements. Some states require more, so be sure to check out your state’s requirements. Once you’ve passed training, you can indicate your certification on your application.

Next, we suggest you fill out a resume and attach it to your application. We’ve found that it really helps your application stand out.

Third, while it’s not absolutely necessary, you can purchase a background check to see what other employers will be seeing and what it says about you. There’s no getting it — anyone who works in the caregiving field will be subject to a thorough background check. Home care agencies agree that background checks are a vital part of the hiring process and if you walk in with your own, verifiable background check, it really shows your initiative.

Once you are on your way in the caregiving field, you may decide to go further and become a Certified Nursing Aide. We provide a free Sample Certified Nursing Aide Test to see if you have what it takes to become a C.N.A. If it’s something you are interested in pursuing, we can provide you with C.N.A. and C.H.H.A school directories. Caregiving is a challenging and fulfilling job. We at Caregiverlist are dedicated to help you get started on this important career path and make a difference in a senior’s life.

Caregiver Training and Certification

Caregiverlist's Samantha Franklin explains how  to become a Professional Senior Caregiver with 10-hour training course and certification from Caregiverlist.  Caregiverlist provides online training for professional senior caregivers. Once you complete the caregiver training, then apply for Caregiver, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Home Health Aide, and Companion job openings near you on




Discount Shopping for Caregivers

Nurses, C.N.A.s, C.H.H.A.s and caregivers alike can use a little love, with a little break in price.

Scrubs magazine announces the very first Code Happy Pop-up Shop: 25 Fabulous Finds! This special online store will be open only through 09/29. Use promo code CODEHAPPY2 at check out to save 15% off your total purchase.

Here are some of our favorites:

Personalized Thumbprint Jewelry
Even if you don't consider yourself a jewelry person, this thumbprint necklace is sure to convert you. Keep your child's, husband's or mother's thumbprint under your scrubs and close to your heart! And what a beautiful conversation piece to share with your patients. Each kit includes everything you need to make a fingerprint pendant, including practice clay that contains particles of precious metals that bind together to create the fingerprint. Instructions are included. ($75.99, Prairie Creations)

Daily Beauty Tea & Glass Tea Tumbler
How is this tea good for you? Well, the whole-leaf, antioxidant-rich Oolong + Pu-erh Tea has anti-inflammatory, skin and metabolism-enhancing herbs and spices such as cacao nibs, burdock, astragalus and cayenne. The tea supports liver detox, proper digestion, skin's natural functions and enhances your natural immunity (perfect for nurses who don't want to catch every bug that comes through the hospital!). It gives you energy with health and beauty benefits, and none of the jitters! Comes with 8-ounce Fair Trade glass tumbler. ($42.99, BijaBody)

Yantra Mat in Black
Addicted to yoga? We can't blame you (caregivers definitely need time to relax and de-stress!) and want to introduce you to the Yantra mat. Each one has 8,820 acupressure contact points arranged in 210 flower shapes. These are positioned on each mat to make sure that equal pressure is applied at all points. Each flower comprises 42 pressure points and is calibrated to give equal pressure, making the mat extremely comfortable to lie or sit on. The mat comes in a stylish carrying bag and is easily portable, so you can use it at home or at work, and it will pack easily for you to take on your travels. 60 X 70". ($49.99, Swedwerx)

Remember caregivers, these items are only available until 09/29. They make great gifts or a treat for yourself! Use promo code CODEHAPPY2 at check out to save 15% off your total purchase.

Caregiver Support a Future Concern

I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation that provides family caregiving to an aging parent. As such, I and my siblings provide much of my mother’s long term services and support (LTSS) which allows her, at 80, to comfortably age in place, at home. I have three siblings to share in that care. In my old age, family care will be split between two children. As Americans age and their families shrink, there is concern for the future supply of relatively inexpensive family support for elderly individuals.

A recent report released by the AARP Public Policy Institute indicates a rapid decline of family caregivers within the next 20 years. The drop in the caregiver support ratio, or the number of family caregivers (adult children) available to care for their elderly parents, prompts a call for policy action to find new solutions to finance LTSS.

 According to the report, "The departure of the boomers from the peak caregiving years will mean that the population aged 45 to 64 is projected to increase by only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, During the same period, the 80-plus population is projected to increase by a whopping 79 percent."

The shortage trend continues until 2050, when the population of parents to children is expected to balance again.

The call to action has been to federal and state Departments of Aging to provide more caregiver training and more affordable and quality nursing homes in order to fill the gap left by the decreasing number of family caregivers.

Right now, AARP projects these states to have the best and worst caregiver ratios in 2030:

District of Columbia: 6.4
Utah: 5.8
Alaska: 5.3
Illinois: 4.9
Georgia, New York and Texas: 4.8

Arizona: 2.6
Florida and Hawaii: 2.9
New Mexico: 3.2
Iowa: 3.3
Maine, Nevada, Vermont and West Virginia: 3.4

How about you? Do you provide family caregiving to a senior loved one? With how many people do you share in that care? How many people will you have to care for you in your old age?

Log in