Caregiverlist Featured on Chicago Tribune's Blue Sky Innovation

Senior care and the need for quality caregivers has made eldercare one of the fastest growing industries in America. It is projected that by 2050 the senior population will reach 88.5 million, or 20% of the entire United States. As a result, the burden of care will continue to shift from family caregiving to professional senior care, through in-home health care services, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Julie Northcutt, CEO and founder of Caregiverlist, discusses her vision and mission to provide online resources for seniors and professional caregivers through on Chicago Tribune’s new small business entrepenuer spotlight, Blue Sky Innovation.

In his Letter from the Editor, Gerould Kern, Senior Vice President and Editor of Chicago Tribune writes, “Blue Sky Innovation will carry news about Chicago’s emerging business development landscape — startups, technology, innovative new products, services and entrepreneurial best practices.”

Personal and Home Care Aides and Home Health Aides are projected to be the second and third fastest-growing occupations in the country between 2006 (the year of Caregiverlist’s inception) and 2016 — increasing by 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. In addressing that market need, Caregiverlist’s mission is one of connecting seniors with quality care choices with the assistance of innovative technology.

“Almost nobody plans ahead for senior care,” says Julie. “You’re encouraged to save money for retirement, and they always show you sailboats and going on cruise ships, but the reality is you may need that money to pay for caregiving services.”

Caregiverlist works with quality home care agencies to provide the most economical senior care by keeping seniors in their own homes longer. Caregiverlist also called 18,000 nursing homes to provide information on daily costs nationwide in its Nursing Home Star Rating tool.

Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Training University (CTU) announced the launch of Caregiverlist Basic Training earlier this year, providing training that meets industry standards for professional competency. The digital training platform allows caregivers to take the training course from their laptop, desktop or smartphone.

Caregiverlist is constantly striving to provide the most ground-breaking tools to serve this burgeoning industry. You can watch Julie Northcutt discuss Caregiverlist on Blue Sky Innovation here.


Retirement Community Casts Seniors in Classic Movie Stills

Nursing homes and retirement communities are successful if they offer something more than a “last stop” refuge for their elderly residents.

We at Caregiverlist have always championed unique and fun experiences that nursing homes have to offer — from the special music video produced at Waverly Mansion, London, Ontario, to the gala opera concert of fictional Beecham House in the movie Quartet — proving that “late in life” does not equal “end of fun”.

The Contilia Retirement Group in Essen, Germany recreated iconic Hollywood movie stills for its 2014 Calendar, starring 10 of its senior residents. Professional photographers and stylists reinterpreted scenes from classics such as Giant, Easy Rider, and The Seven Year Itch along with more contemporary movies like Titanic and The Blues Brothers. About 5,000 calendars were printed and distributed to residents, staff and family members. The oldest senior participant is 98 years old, the youngest, 75.

What began as a whimsical gift for the Contilia Retirement family has had remarkable international coverage, with over 100 media requests from around the world. “The surprise is we have succeeded," said Heinz-Jürgen Heiske, Managing Director at Contilia. "As a Board, we are always happy when we succeed in everyday life for the residents and for the staff to be something special.”
James Bond
Wilhelm Buiting, 89
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Marianne Brunsbach, 86
Erna Rütt, 86, and Alfred Kelbch, 81

Easy Rider

Walter Loeser (left), 98, und Kurt Neuhaus, 90


Erwin J. von der Heiden, 80

Mary Poppins

Erna Schenk, 78

The Seven Year Itch

Ingeborg Giolbass, 84, and Erich Endlein, 88

Blues Brothers

Lothar Wischnewski (left), 76, and Margarete Schmidt, 77


Martha Bajohr, 77


Joanna Trachenberg, 81, and Horst Krischat, 78

Saturday Night Fever

Irmgard Alt, 79, and Siegfried Gallasch, 87

Dirty Dancing

Johann Liedtke, 92 and Marianne Pape, 79

Senior care costs continue to rise, so make sure you get the most benefit for your buck. While there is no guarantee of Hollywood-style photo shoots or operatic galas, Caregiverlist’s Nursing Home Star-Ratings take the top criteria from the government inspection reports to help you choose the right and best nursing home for you or your loved one.

You can see the entire calendar here.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman - Advocate for Quality of Life

What does a Nursing Home Ombudsman do? It’s a question we get a lot here at Caregiverlist.

Ombudsman comes from the Swedish word meaning, literally, representative. It’s the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s responsibility to advocate for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care facilities. They investigate citizen complaints, report findings, and suggest solutions. They are also advocates for on a legislative level to improve the quality of care for seniors.

Senior care costs, especially within institutional settings, are spiraling. With approximately 1.6 million Americans over the age of 65 living in institutions such as nursing homes, it is vital that residents and their families are getting the best service for the money they are paying. Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are at the front line, investigating nursing home violations and ensuring that quality care is provided.

The Ombudsman Program began in 1972 as a Public Health Service demonstration project in seven states, responding to the problems of nursing home residents and operated under the authorization of the Older Americans Act. The program was transferred to the Area on Aging in 1974 and in 1978, Congress amended the OAA to include a requirement that each state develop a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

There are 53 state ombudsmen (50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam). Each Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is headed by a director who oversees thousands of local ombudsman staff and volunteers. The services of the office are free and confidential. In 2011 (the most recent annual report to Congress), Ombudsmen nationwide completed resolution work on 204,044 complaints and resolved or partially resolved 73 percent of these complaints to the satisfaction of the resident or complainant.

Simply put, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s role is to preserve the Residents' Rights Guarantee Quality of Life.

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law protects the following rights of nursing home residents:

  • Right to Be Fully Informed of available services, facility rules, survey reports and the like, and in a language they understand.
  • Right to Complain without fear of reprisal.
  • Right to Participate in One's Own Care including the right to be informed of their medical condition, participate in their care-planning, and also the right to refuse medication and treatment.
  • Right to Privacy and Confidentiality regarding medical, personal, or financial affairs.
  • Rights During Transfers and Discharges.
  • Right to Dignity, Respect, and Freedom from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraint.
  • Right to Visits by a resident’s personal physician, relatives, friends, and anyone of the resident’s choosing. A resident also has the right to refuse visitors.
  • Right to Make Independent Choices both inside and outside the nursing home.

If you or a senior you know has need of a Long-Term Care or Nursing Home Ombudsman, you can find yours in Caregiverlist’s By-State information. They are there to resolve nursing home complaints, request better care and for feedback when choosing a nursing home.

Golden Globe Winners 2015: The Year of the Nursing Home Sitcom?

The Golden Globes 2014 are done — Bye Tina Fey! So long Amy Poehler! See you next year! — and I’m sure networks are already thinking about which shows and stars might make it to the red carpet in 2015.

This year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and its star, Andy Samberg took home Golden Globes for Best TV Comedy and Best Actor in a TV Comedy, respectively. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show and watch it whenever I can but really, hasn’t the old “detective precinct” comedy been done before? (I’m looking at you, Barney Miller.)

If you want an original workplace comedy, well, place, I’d like to present a couple of comedies I’ve discovered recently.

Approximately 1.6 million Americans over the age of 65 live in institutions such as nursing homes. 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and they can expect to live to 84 years old. This means that chances are, someone you know, or you yourself, may wind up in a nursing home or extended care facility. An aging population will increase demand, but costs and limited funding will make it difficult to provide the needed level of care. Now, doesn’t that just scream comedic situations?

The Netflix Original Series Derek stars Ricky Gervais in a “comedy-drama about a loyal nursing home caretaker who sees only the good in his quirky co-workers as they struggle against prejudice and shrinking budgets to care for their elderly residents.” Derek is a simple, sweet man who loves his job at Broad Hill nursing home, along with its residents. His best friends are his co-workers, including the nursing home manager. “Best of all is Hannah (Kerry Godliman),” says Derek. “She’s the manager here and she’s the nicest person in the world. She cares for everyone.” Hannah is a model senior caregiver. “People think care means 3 meals a day and a bed. But it means caring. And if you don’t care, you shouldn’t be in the job.” According to Derek, no one in his life treats him as well as the elderly in his charge. Even as he cuts their toenails or helps them manage through traffic, he considers himself the luckiest man in the world. Mr. Gervais is all but unrecognizable from his role as the abrasive David Brent in the UK’s The Office. Although filmed in the same mockumentary style, Derek has a broad sweetness that The Office certainly didn’t have.

In Derek, “Kindness is Magic”, but this trailer is NSFW.

HBO’s Getting On, is based on the British sitcom of the same name. The creators of Big Love present this new comedy set in The Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit of a fictional Long Beach hospital where many of the female patients suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Chicago veteran stage actress and Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) is beleaguered Dr. Jenna James, Alex Borstein is eager-to-please nurse Dawn Forchette, and Niecy Nash is Denise “Didi” Ortley, the elderly caregiver I’d like to hire for myself, right now.

More than anything, this show gives a great and honest glimpse into the duties and responsibilities of a caregiver a long term care setting, dealing with red tape and always in fear of losing its Medicare reimbursement. In a hilariously literal game of “telephone”, nurses try to translate an elderly woman’s Cambodian with the translation department. Nurses are overworked and underappreciated and have to fill out the proper paperwork before simply doing what is needed.

“They say extended care is boring, which it is not. It is totally where the action is,” Dawn tells Didi, while bemoaning the lack of testosterone in the department. This is a sitcom that doesn’t shirk away from showing all the difficulties inherent in the eldercare industry, from the job of toileting to the responsibility of delivering news of the death of an 87 year old “baby sister”.

Check out this trailer. It too is NSFW.

Both are worth a watch for a true look at the life of caregivers and the elderly who rely upon them.

Have you seen either of these shows? Do you think they are realistic looks at caregivers and the caregiving industry?

Cartoonist Scott Adams: I Hope My Father Dies Soon

Dilbert cartoon followers know the humor the cartoon strip writer Scott Adams uses to entertain us with the happenings of daily office life.  The cartoon can always spark a life for those of us who show up for work at an office each day.  Now Mr. Adams has opened up to share the challenges of caring for an aging parent with his blog post titled:  "I Hope My Father Dies Soon".  

Mr. Adam's father, age 86, is bed-ridden and as Mr. Adams says, if his father were a cat, he would have been put to sleep long ago and nobody would have ever looked back.  It would have been the right answer for someone who has lost 98% of their mind and has lost their physical capabilities.  Instead, he pays $8,000 a month to stay in a state of perpetual suffering.  Mr Adams has a way with words and I encourage you to read his blog post on why he hopes his father will die soon.  

Senior care services can easily cost $8,000 a month for round-the-clock care.  And right now, Medicare and Medicaid really provide all or nothing senior care services when it comes to long-term care.  Medicaid, a service provided in conjunction with state and federal funds, provides ongoing nursing home care until someone dies but unfortunately that care usually must be provided only in a nursing home.  And a senior must qualify for this level of total care.  

Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care.  This means most of us will be in the same situation as the Dilbert cartoonist's father - we will have to privately pay for the senior care services and if we have not invested in long-term care insurance, these costs could become as high as $8,000 per month and burn through our life-savings.

The hope is that most seniors will only need part-time senior care to maintain their daily activities of living.  But insurance analysts suggest that everyone plan for 2 years of senior care services.

As the nation's baby boomer population continues to live longer and will increase by as much as 70% in the coming decade, the ethical issues around keeping seniors alive when there is no longer any quality of life will become one of the areas of concern for everyone.  Especially as we must tackle how to pay for senior care for both those who can privately pay and through our tax dollars for those who cannot privately pay for senior care and are on Medicaid care.

Mr. Adams shares that he feels doctor-assisted suicide should be an option, as none of us should be forced to die a long, slow painful death when it has already been confirmed we are at the end of our road.

How much does senior care cost?:

Nursing home care gives the best view into the real costs of full nursing care for seniors.  Here are some of the costs of nursing homes:

  • Alden Estates of Barrington in Barrington, Illinois costs $263 to $362 per day for nursing home care
  • Brighton Place in Spring Valley, California costs $165 per day for nursing home care
  • Mount Vernon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Alexandria, Virginia costs $236 to $270 per day for nursing home care

Learn about nursing home care costs in the Caregiverlist Nursing Home Directory and share with us your comments on end-of-life care.








Tips for a Successful Hospital Stay and Discharge

Hospital stays are an unfortunate aspect of getting older. Many times, those stays are unexpected, such as those resulting from an injury incurred during a fall. These are the times when a senior caregiver really needs to step up and take charge understanding and coordinating care while in the hospital and preparing for the hospital discharge.

John Boden, founder of The Life Ledger, an online geriatric care management system, discusses the caregiver’s role when their elder is admitted to the hospital.

I recently had a minor problem, now resolved, that required a hospital admission via the ER. The experience was a rude awaking. I have lots of experience with handling the various aspects of a hospitalization, yet I found my own stay very challenging and was reminded that an elder would be confused about what was happening.

When an elder in your life goes to the hospital, you need to be ready to help. Being on site is difficult and a huge intrusion into your own life, but it is very important in helping to get the best care. Scheduling of tests, doctor’s visits, therapy, ordering meals etc., is done at the staff’s convenience because of the view that the patient is always available and ready for them. In fact it may seem that just when you have stepped out to go to the cafeteria, the doctor will show up.

So now that you have dropped everything to come to the rescue and are filling your caregiver role, what should you do? Bring a notebook so you can keep your own record of the names of the various doctors, nurses, aides and therapists, what the therapy procedures are to be, and what tests have been taken and what the results are. Make note of what medications were administered. When you have this information you can help to see that there is proper coordination among the many different people providing care as the shifts change and the doctor’s associates show up.

After you have survived the stay, you will meet the challenges of the discharge. I suggest you start planning for discharge as soon as possible. If rehabilitation or homemaker assistance will be needed, you can investigate what facilities or agencies are available and which one you prefer. You will need to get the medication list and be sure there are no omissions or conflicts and see that both the new medications as well as those that were part of the past regime will be available as soon as they are needed. Therapy, diet, follow-up appointments and much more will also be part of the discharge orders. The main goal to keep in mind for any hospital admission is getting out as soon as possible with no new problems such as infections.

Nursing homes have become an extension of hospital care for seniors, providing rehabilitation services, ongoing care for age-related illnesses and hospice care. Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home, which means many seniors will transfer to a nursing home after a hospital stay. You can research Daily Prices of Nursing Homes Nationwide and Ratings on Most Important Criteria with Caregiverlist’s easy-to-use Nursing Home Star Rating tool.

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 blue skies and interesting landscape. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo of the Week

"Well done is better than well said."

Benjamin Franklin

Adult Caregivers: The Sandwich Generation on the Rise

Adulthood continues to change from generation to generation. Expectations and reality differ from what our grandparents and parents experienced. And now, 39% of middle aged American population find themselves as a part of the Sandwich Generation—adults in their 40s or 50s who either take care of their parent 65 years and older and/or take care of their grown child.  This population increased 9% since 2010.

Caregivers who find themselves in this situation have more interest in seeking health information.  According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, caregivers, as opposed to non-caregivers, have more concern for consulting online reviews of drugs, getting information or support from others with the same condition, going online for a diagnosis, participating in online social activity related to health in the past year, getting information or support from friends and family and gathering health information online.

Technology proves to be a helpful tool in caregiving and managing juggling lives of the Sandwich Generation.  According to the Pew study, 59% of caregivers who use Internet access found the online resources to help them in caregiving.  Additionally, with technology advancing, Internet access becomes available virtually on almost all devices.  37% of the caregivers who own a cellphone report that they use their phone to look up health information online.  Having Internet on demand via cell phone helps seek out medical information whenever the caregiver needs it.  

The Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals caregivers, as opposed to other Internet users, as the majority of information seekers on all health topics in the study.  For example, 71% of online caregivers look online for information about a specific disease or medical problem, as opposed to 44%. Not surprisingly, 25% of online caregivers seek out information on caring of an again relative or friend as opposed to 7% of other Internet users. Caregivers using the Internet search for information on certain medical treatments or procedures, health insurance, food and drug safety and recalls, advertised drugs, medical test results and more.

Young caregivers find more value in Internet use than adult caregivers, naturally.  70% of young caregivers find online resources more helpful, compared to only 51% of older caregivers. Again, with technology evolving, caregiving will become easier, especially for those caring for their children and parents.

Caregiving demands time, emotional and physical strength and motivation.  The Sandwich Generation may find caregiving very difficult to manage in their lifestyle since most of these people are still in the workforce.  Finding Mom and Dad care can help alleviate the struggles of supporting two generations.  

Find senior care at Caregiverlist.  Seniors will be matched to their needs depending on what type of care they need, monthly budget, and, if applicable, special and unique needs.    


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Elder abuse happens—about 2.1 million seniors are victims.  Additionally, for every case reported, an estimated 5 elder abuse cases go unreported.

The senior population continues to grow, with seniors living longer lives while needing senior caregiving services for some of those years.  By 2050, this age demographic will be the largest. With this in mind, we should acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day approaching on June 15th

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day recognizes seniors going through abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This day serves as a time for people to understand the cultural, social, economic and demographic process that lead to ill treatment, negligence and manipulation.

The Administration on Aging provides helpful information on warning signs of elder abuse, how one can protect themselves from abuse, and other information to create awareness.  Building an understanding of this problem purposes this day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been an annually recognized since 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the WHO and the UN. The United Nations recognizes elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.

The caregiving job has never been a light one. There are many responsibilities—planning and preparing meals, providing medication reminders, assisting with hygiene, running errands, and so many more—that make up the job description. Even though much accountability comes with this job, caregivers gain companionship.

Caregiver companion stories help other caregivers get through their day. builds a community for caregivers through one of their many resources, such as the Caregiver Experience Sharing. The submissions share caregiver’s stories of their senior companion—a small, but thoughtful token of appreciation.

With the growing senior population, the need for caregivers grows in the job market.  People seeking to become caregivers can apply for a job on Refer-a-Friend provides and opportunity for people to refer their friends to a caregiving job and a chance to enter to win $50 or a free t-shirt!

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