Getting Paid To Take Care Of Elderly Parents

getting paid to take care of elderly parents

Are you losing money in an effort to provide “free” care for elderly parents or family members? In an effort to save money, many children of senior parents wind up losing money as the result of unpaid time off work or having to quit their jobs altogether. 

Fortunately, there are programs available that pay children to take care of their aging parents. The amount varies depending on your situation and rarely replaces a full-time salary. However, the financial boost may be just what you need to make it possible to take time off or minimize work hours to take care of the ones you love. 

Programs That Pay Children To Take Care Of Elderly Parents 

There are no programs out there that will fully compensate you for the countless hours you’ll spend caring for your aging parents. That said, the income derived from the following programs may help ends meet, or alleviate financial stress, along the way. 

MediCal/Medicaid In-Home Support Services (IHSS) 

Medicaid services in all 50 of the United States provide some level of compensation to qualified individuals to manage their own, long-term care plan – as opposed to paying an agency to do so. In California, this can include hiring qualified children to provide care for senior parents.  

In fact, California has one of the more generous versions of this program because it also pays qualifying spouses, siblings, and extended family members. Those who provide care for qualifying individuals can get paid for everything from direct patient care to housekeeping and errand running, depending on the circumstances. 

This program is largely dependent on the income/asset value of the person requiring care. You can contact the MediCal Member Helpline to learn more about qualifications and how to apply. 

Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver 

Have you just received a diagnosis, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, that will require a long-term care plan? If so, now is the time to apply for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers. These are designed for people who get Medicaid but didn’t qualify for IHSS.  

It can allow you to care for a parent at home, rather than having to transfer him/her to an assisted living or another type of care facility if that goes against your parent’s wishes.  

If you’re trying to decide which makes more sense, home care or assisted living facility, we recommend reading, The Cost of Senior Care: Home Care vs Assisted Living, to compare the two. 

Examples of the various waivers, all of which are applied through via MediCal using the link provided above, include: 

  • Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) 
  • Veteran Directed Care (VD-HCBS) – more on veteran’s care below 
  • Multi-Purpose Senior Services Waiver (MSSP) 
  • Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD) 

These programs almost always have waiting lists, which is why time is of the essence. 

Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program 

The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). It was created to support veterans who are struggling to pay for home care services or care costs at other residential facilities. 

In addition to being the recipient of a veteran pension, the basic qualifying criteria for the extra Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension include: 

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or 
  • You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness, or 
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or 
  • Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less) 

You can Click Here to read more about the program and to determine whether or not your parent is eligible. 

Long-Term Care Insurance 

Sometimes, seniors forget about the funds they set aside or planned for when they need it most. Ask your parent whether s/he ever paid for a long-term care insurance plan. If s/he is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s worth a trip through the file cabinet or safe to search for paperwork. We also recommend checking in with his/her estate attorney or reviewing any will or trust to see if a long-term care insurance plan is accounted for in any of their estate documents. 

Paid Family Leave Act 

The state of California offers the Paid Family Leave Act (PFL). This legislature ensures employees have the ability to take paid time off work to care for a family member. It requires certification from your parent’s medical care provider, and you can earn 60% to 70% of your wages to do so. 

The caveat is that the plan is short-term, only allowing up to eight weeks off work. That said, a combination of your siblings, children, or adult grandchildren may make it possible to provide a long-term family home care plan, interspersing shifts with professionals as needed. 

Direct Payment From Family To Care For Elderly Parents 

Many families find that a family payment pool is the best and most affordable way to ensure their senior loved one is cared for by a family member, without causing financial stress or demise for the caregiver.  

If you go this route, it is wise to consult with an attorney or paralegal who specializes in elder care and estate planning to draw up documentation that is professional, thorough, outlines potential scenarios, and that everyone can sign. 

The combination of paying a family member, paying professional caregivers in-between times, and taking advantage of senior care resources in the Bay Area is a wise, comprehensive solution. 

A Reverse Mortgage 

Depending on the situation, your family may decide it’s beneficial to apply for a reverse mortgage. The Bay Area real estate market has only gone up in the past two to four decades, and that equity is far better used to provide high-quality, loving care at home than saved to disperse to beneficiaries after your parent(s) pass on. 

Even a very small equity line of credit, that doesn’t dramatically reduce the home’s total equity, may be exactly enough to pay for family caregivers for the time, energy, and emotional investment required when taking care of elderly parents. 

Always consult with a financial advisor or tax attorney before making any major decisions like this, and having a family meeting to gain a consensus so the decision feels equitable to all. 

Would you like to learn more about how to integrate paid family caregiving that allows you to take care of elderly parents, while also having access to professional home care providers for respite care or to fill in the shift gaps? Contact HomeAid Home Care and schedule a free assessment. 

Stress Relief For Caregivers

stress relief for caregivers

Caregiver burnout is no small thing. No matter how much you love the patient, the physical, emotional, and mental challenges demanded of you by daily caregiving take their toll. This is why it’s so important to make stress relief and self-care a regular part of your caregiving routine. In fact, we believe it should be part of every caregiver’s job description. 

First, Let’s Define Self-Care 

Somehow, the term “self-care” has become synonymous with mani/pedi and massages. Those are absolutely wonderful things and should absolutely become a part of your self-care regimen if possible. However, self-care means so much more than that. It starts with the basics and then reaches out into the less tangible realms.  

For example, self-care refers to: 

  • Eating well to nourish your body and mind 
  • Establishing healthy sleep habits 
  • Getting daily exercise (preferably via some time spent outdoors) 
  • Practicing stress management (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, deep breathing, stretching, etc.) 
  • Learning to say, “no,” to give yourself extra time 
  • Recognizing the signs of caregiver fatigue/burnout so you can honor them 
  • Asking for the help you need 
  • Getting emotional/mental/spiritual support from professionals or others 
  • Practicing gratitude 

We could go on and on, but this list represents a foundation for true, nourishing self-care. From there, you can expand with whatever other wonderful treatments, healing modalities, or luxuries time and money permits. 

Make a healthy diet a priority for some stress relief 

If you don’t nourish your body with the right foods, you’ll be running on empty – and that’s not good for you or your client. Make healthy meals and snacks a priority. There are so many ways to make that happen, including with your client or loved one.  

We’ve written multiple posts pertaining to meal planning, nutrition, and so on. We are a homecare provider in the Bay Area, so our posts are geared towards seniors. However, when it comes to food, nutrition, and meal planning – the tenets are universal. Feel free to read any of the following: 

Practice healthy sleep habits 

Your body needs to rest well, and habitually, to restore energy, maintain hormone balance, and to keep your immune system healthy. If you are not getting the rest you need, it will take its toll on your overall health. 

Visit AARP’s post, 4 Tips For Better Sleep While Caregiving. Also, plenty of natural daylight by day and then a lights-out sleeping environment help the body’s natural circadian rhythm – one more reason why exercising outdoors is a good idea. We also invite you to our post about aromatherapy and how it can support relaxation, good sleep, and daytime energy. 

Make sure you’re exercising 

Exercise is about far more than weight management or cardio, it’s about clearing the mind, detoxing, getting rid of unhealthy stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, etc.), burning excess anxious/worried energy, and just making you plain feel good.  

Getting outside into Mother Nature while you do it is a win-win, but indoor exercise is most certainly better than no exercise.  

Actively practicing stress management 

From a yoga or meditation class or morning time spent in deep prayer to gadget-based mindfulness apps that can be used with headphones – there are so many ways to practice stress management. 

We have caregivers who set alarms hourly, or three times a day, to remind them to take deep breaths and center. You can make a conscious effort to get outside during the day – or night – to basque in the wonders of mother nature and let anxious thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Perhaps you join a mindfulness group, or you find that gardening is the way to stress relief for you.  

It doesn’t matter how – what matters is that you are actively becoming aware of your stress levels and finding the tools to reduce them.  

Learning to say, “NO” to avoid caregiver fatigue and burnout 

We have yet to meet a caregiver who has solid boundaries from the start, especially when they are spouse/family-based caregivers. However, learning to say, “no,” is one of the best and healthiest gifts you’ll ever give to yourself and your client/loved one. Overextending yourself is always a recipe for burnout. Period. If you want to be the best caregiver you can, then you must honor your own body/needs first (remember the oxygen mask analogy?).  

It can be hard to say, “no” or to cancel plans involving something you love or “want” to do – but if your body or inner-resistor is asking you to say, “no” or bow out – please listen to and honor that wise voice. It’s your own, inner-caregiver trying desperately to do his/her job of taking care of you

Ask for the help you need 

Micromanagement is another very common facet of a caregiver. Even if you weren’t a micromanager before, it is a tendency to believe that your way is the best (and only) way and that without you the world will crumble. Even if the world doesn’t run as perfectly or neatly as you’d like, you can’t do it all without compromising yourself. 

Ask for the help you need and accept the help that is offered to you. This might include: 

  • Arranging respite care or regular breaks from caregiving 
  • Utilizing adult daycare centers in your area 
  • Asking family, church, friends, etc. to start a meal train for you (certain days? One day a week? Every day?) 
  • Hire a housekeeper or cleaner to keep up on chores 
  • Start a GoFundMe for family/friends to contribute to your cause 
  • Working with professional caregivers to take on some of the harder tasks for you 
  • Finding someone to take on night shifts for you so you can get a good night’s sleep 

Seek mental/emotional support 

Finally, we find that all caregivers benefit from intentional mental and emotional support. You are doing incredible work and only other caregivers truly understand the effects that work has on your body, mind, and spirit. 

We highly recommend that you find a way to share your experience with others, which can be immensely empowering and restorative. Examples include: 

  • Working with a regular therapist who has experience serving overworked caregivers 
  • Looking for caregiver support groups online or in your area (there is so much wisdom and compassion to be found there) 
  • Keep your feelers out and connect with others who are in the role of caregiver in your neighborhood, religious community/church, or extracurricular organizations. Even a weekly or bi-monthly Zoom or FaceTime Coffee/tea talk can provide such solace.  
  • Try connecting with your local senior center to see if they offer a support group to have caregiver connections in your neighborhood. 

Let Us Bring In Some Stress Relief

Could you benefit from some serious stress relief for caregivers? The caring and experienced staff at HomeAide Home Care Inc. are here to help. Our qualified caregivers can provide welcome respite care relief as well as weekly or monthly support to make sure you are getting much-deserved rest and time off. Contact Us to learn more at 510-247-1200.

Parents Caregiving For Parents: Support For The Sandwich Generation

parents caregiving for parents support for the sandwich generation

Are you a member of The Sandwich Generation? If so, you are probably working full time, taking care of aging parents, and still serving in the role of mom or dad to children who still live at home. That’s a tough order.  

To put it in perspective, the American Psychological Association (APA) has reported that women in the Sandwich Generation feel more stress than any other group due to their exponential caregiver expectations. 

Adults taking care of their children and aging parents often feel pulled in two different directions: 

  • Do you answer the call from your aging parent or do you relax and enjoy the rest of your child’s recital? 
  • Should you reschedule your own doctor’s appointment again to honor a specialist appointment for your parents? 
  • Is it okay to leave a mom or dad with early-stage Alzheimer’s home alone for an hour or two to get the errands run as quickly as possible? Or will that end up in disaster? 

If you aren’t careful, you can burn out quickly, which has a negative impact on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.  

The Sandwich Generation Needs All The Support It Can Get! 

Unfortunately, most caregivers prioritize everyone’s needs but their own, and this is the exact opposite of how it should be. When you aren’t healthy, happy, and taking care of yourself, you are simply not able to provide quality care to the ones you love.  

Don’t ever consider “taking care of yourself” to be a selfish act. It is a gift that keeps on giving to those who depend on you.  

So, in deep appreciation for all that you do to care for your parents and your children, we’ve compiled a list of ways to support yourself as a noble member of the Sandwich Generation. 

Implement a regular schedule of respite care 

Respite care means that you are free to take some hours, a day, or even multiple days off so you can honor your personal calendar appointments. At the very minimum, we recommend booking respite care once a week or, at the very least, once per month.  

If you have other family members or family friends interested in providing respite care, you can set up a SignUp Genius for free and have a regular rotation. Professional respite care is also available from licensed home care agencies in your area. 

Consider adult day care options 

Adult day care centers operate similarly to child day care centers. They provide a safe, fun, and interactive space for seniors to get together. Some even specialize in memory care, making them a safe place for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.   

Read the AARP’s article, Adult Day Care: What Family Caregivers Need to Know, which provides a wonderful explanation of the service as well as how to find qualified adult day care options in your area. 

Join an in-person or online support group 

As this post goes to press, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing ordinance. As a result, in-person support groups may not be an option for you. However, there are plenty of online support group options available. 

Our clients repeatedly comment on how much it has helped them to communicate with others who understand exactly what they’re going through. It makes you feel less alone. Plus, support groups give you the chance to get creative, expert, and “I’ve been there” ideas from people who are on the same journey as you. 

Click Here to view a long list of caregiver support groups to find one near you, including support groups for the LGBTQ caregiving community, or to join an online group. Professional therapists can also be a wonderful resource, helping you to manage stress and cultivate self-care tools as you navigate the hurdles along the caregiving way. 

If you’re part of the sandwich generation make time for the basic tenets of a healthy, active lifestyle 

Skipping meals, substituting healthy food for quick-and-dirty snacks, and putting off your daily exercise plan is the absolute worst thing you can do to support yourself. And, the same is true for your children and your parent(s). 

Here are some ideas our clients use to honor their health in addition to their caregiving duties: 

  • Have mom/dad over for a weekend afternoon and spend time making multiple, easy-to-store, and reheat meals for the week. Some can go home with your parent(s) and the rest remain in your fridge for easy dinners. 
  • Don’t have time to make food? Meal delivery services abound, so take advantage of them. You can have takeout delivered from your favorite restaurants via DoorDash or from meal boxes, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron
  • Exercise together using any one of a number of YouTube videos from famous instructors. Your parent(s) can do senior-centric exercises such as chair yoga or exercises with the walker, while you search for exercise programs designed for your interest and abilities. 
  • Take time each day to get outside and take a walk, look at the sky or the trees, spend some time in the garden, or simply sit on the porch sipping a cup to tea. 
  • Convert from readable to audible. If you’re an avid reader, utilize platforms such as Audible.com, so you can listen to the books while driving, cleaning, running errands, etc., that you don’t have time to sit down and read anymore.  

Make sure everyone is pulling their weight 

Remember when you put your five year old’s rain boots on, only to realize s/he had been able to put them on him/herself for two full years already? It may be time to take stock of who is capable of doing what to help out. 

  • Could a licensed teen/20-something take a turn taking his/her grandparent to the doctor? Or do the grocery shopping? Help out with dinner? 
  • Might your out-of-town/state family members take on the meal delivery coordination for your parents, which can easily be organized and paid for online? 
  • Are there extra household chores the kids can pick up to lighten your load now that you’re more actively involved in caring for their grandparents? 
  • Can other family members split or take over the adult day care or respite care bills to do their share since you do the majority of the physical, day-to-day, and logistical caregiving? 
  • Are you able to afford housekeeping help so you can spend more time relaxing at home? Even bi-monthly visits can yield extra free time for you. 
  • Have you considered using a part-time, senior caregiving service, with the costs split between your parents, yourself, and any sibling(s)?  

Learning to ask for help – or demand a fair share of help – is often essential to getting your support needs met.  

When You’re Ready For A Break

Are you looking for licensed respite care, home care, or other senior services provided by compassionate seniors in the comfort of your home – or your parent’s home? Schedule a free, in-home assessment with HomeAide Home Care

Compassion Fatigue vs Caregiver Burnout

compassion fatigue vs caregiver burnout

Caregiving can become a one-way, energetic street. This means the majority of the caregiver’s emotional and energetic resources funnel to their clients, without any chance for the caregiver to restore and recharge her/himself.  

In the beginning phases, this is referred to as compassion fatigue. Over time, if caregivers aren’t given the breaks they need to recharge their own batteries, it morphs into caregiver burnout – and that’s a dangerous destination. 

Enlisting the support of qualified respite care is the single best thing caregivers and their families can do to prevent fatigue or burnout.  

Compassion (Caregiver) Fatigue: Are you at risk?

Seniorlink.com defines caregiver fatigue as occurring: 

“…when the caregiver feels physically, emotionally, and physically exhausted, often leading to a change in attitude. Negative feelings toward the job and the care recipient often accompany the mind state, sometimes causing feelings of resentment.” 

Anyone who serves as a caregiver is at risk for compassion, or caregiver, fatigue. Parents of minor children often “suffer” from compassion fatigue at a certain level because so much of their energetic resources are poured into their families. In fact, those who find themselves in “the sandwich generation,” caring for children at home and aging parents, are, particularly at risk. 

Caregiving for someone who is chronically/terminally ill or a senior loved one/relative puts you at heightened risk for caregiver fatigue. Eventually, if you don’t find a way to meet your own needs, caregiver fatigue leads to burnout (more on that below).  

IMPORTANT NOTE: Caregivers are often the last to notice they’re experiencing caregiver fatigue because it can creep up on you. Read this article with your spouse, partner, and loved ones. If they recognize the signs of fatigue and potential caregiver burnout, they can help you get the support you need. 

Signs of Caregiver or Compassion Fatigue 

The most common signs of caregiver fatigue are: 

  • Constant feeling of exhaustion or lack of energy 
  • Difficulty focusing 
  • Trouble sleeping or falling asleep (the brain keeps racing) 
  • Missing or forgetting your personal or family appointments, obligations, extracurricular activities, etc. 
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, or activities you use to enjoy 
  • Unexpressed (repressed) feelings of anger, resentment, frustration 
  • Being short or terse with the ones you love (family, friends, and even the loved one you take care of my say, “You don’t seem like yourself…” 
  • A feeling that you are the only one who can do this job so you just need to buck up and do it (micromanaging/control/my way is the best way) 

That final bullet point is key. The truth is that while you may certainly be “the best” at taking care of the one you love, you are not the only one who can care for them. Letting go and allowing others to help is one of the best things you can do to prevent caregiver fatigue from becoming complete burnout. 

Caregiver Burnout: The end of the road 

Caregiver burnout is similar to fatigue in how it initially expresses itself, but everything is magnified. More specifically, the anger and resentment you feel towards the person requiring your care, and/or the people you feel should be helping out but aren’t. 

Signs of more severe burnout include: 

  • Complete insomnia 
  • Lack of interest in activities or people you used to enjoy 
  • Uncontrolled depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. 
  • Rage, anger, resentment that comes out at those around you 
  • Headaches and stomach ailments 
  • Exacerbated health issues 
  • Feelings of complete suicide 
  • A desire to harm the person your taking care of and/or yourself 

Sadly, senior neglect and abuse are far more likely to occur if a caregiver is overwhelmed, depleted, and burned out.  

Self-Care Tips for Caregivers 

There are so many things you can do, both large and small, to nourish yourself and prevent fatigue and burnout.  

Create a caregiving schedule to help with compassion fatigue

Don’t start out being a full-time caregiver without a schedule that accommodates some days/times off. These allow you to rest, recharge, attend personal appointments/social engagements, etc. These days/times off are called “respite care shifts” and respite care is available in many forms: 

Nourish yourself in the day-to-day 

People see or hear the words, “self-care” and they immediately imagine massages, mani/pedis, or a weekend retreat. All of those are lovely, but the average spouse/parent/caregiver can’t take advantage of those luxuries on a regular basis.  

What you can do is take care of yourself on a daily basis via nourishing, healthy foods, deep breaths, gentle stretches (Click Here to “take” a FREE, 30-minute, restorative yoga class at home), taking a walkout in nature, etc. Make these non-negotiables in your routine and it will help to keep your body recharged and restored. 

Avoid stimulants 

It may be tempting to drink more coffee or caffeinated tea to give you energy on those slow, sluggish, or exhausting days. In fact, drinking caffeine or using other stimulants can prevent you from getting the rest and sleep you need. Plus, it fuels a higher heart rate and can exacerbate feelings of anxiety or an inability to focus. 

Sleep when your client/loved one sleeps 

When at all possible, nap when your client naps. Or, if you can’t sleep, at least lay or sit quietly while your mind and body relax and recharge. If you are taking care of someone with dementia/Alzheimer’s or demanding needs that make it impossible to catch up on house chores, explore options and have chores done by someone else so you can be attentive when the individual is awake and can rest easy when they’re sleeping – without the feeling that there are things you need to get done around the house. 

Take A Load Off And Give Us A Call

HomeAide Home Care is a licensed, Bay Area senior care agency that understands how important respite care is to the wellbeing of primary caregivers. Contact us to explore your options so we can help you prevent caregiver fatigue and burnout. Our in-home assessments are always free.

Home Care Agency vs Independent Caregiver

home care agency vs independent caregiver

Meta: Home care agencies offer benefits independent caregivers don’t, such as education/training, workman’s comp, flexibility, and qualified replacements time off. 

Once you notice the signs a parent or senior loved one needs more support; the hunt for the right caregiver is a logical next step. If you are bringing in a caregiver from outside the family network- either as the primary caregiver or to supplement family caregivers, you’ll have two options: hiring an independently advertised caregiver from a registry or hiring one from a licensed home care agency

There is a big difference between the two. And, while we understand that cost is one of the most significant factors determining who you hire, know there are always hidden costs associated with hiring an independent caregiver from a registry. 

Hiring From A Registry vs Hiring A Home Care Agency 

First, it’s crucial to establish the difference between the hiring processes themselves. 

Hiring from an online registry 

Searching for a caregiver from a registry takes multiple forms, including: 

  • Craigslist or “Help Wanted/Needed” adds 
  • Temp agency 
  • Professional staffing agency 
  • Referrals of private caregivers (or family members looking for work) from your social network 
  • Independent contracting agencies 
  • Private duty registry 

For safety and security purposes, we advise against hiring anyone via a Craigslist or other online format that offers no form of quality control. Seniors are vulnerable, far more prone to scams and fraud than other populations, so a high-level vetting process is essential before you let anyone into your home or your loved one’s life. 

While staffing agencies may do a basic check of a candidate’s employment history and referrals, they aren’t senior care experts. Also, they don’t typically run complete criminal background checks, DMV checks, etc., nor do they typically focus on candidates’ job history and references (who knows whether that “job reference” you called to verify was just their Uncle Bob, posing as a former boss?) 

Hiring a licensed home care agency 

When you contract with a licensed caregiving agency, you aren’t actually hiring anyone. You’re contracting with an agency, becoming a client, rather than a direct employer of their staff. 

In addition to working with caregivers who have a gift for working with seniors, you also benefit from the ability to work with Medicare-approved caregivers and to verify business licensing, Better Business Bureau ratings and reports, and other resources proving you’re working with high-quality care providers. 

We can’t emphasize enough the benefits of working with a Medicare-approved caregiving agency. That stamp of approval can become invaluable if/when your parents require care related to medical events or diagnoses, which may be covered by Medicare and private insurance coverage. 

Here are some of the other considerations when hiring independently or from a registry compared with working with an agency. 

Employer vs. Client 

As an employer, you’re beholden to regional, state, and federal employment laws. You simply can’t hire anyone “under-the-table” anymore, without facing potentially serious fines, penalties, and litigation. 

When hiring caregivers independently, you’ll need to think about: 

  • Taxes 
  • Social security payments 
  • Workers Comp/disability insurance 
  • Paid sick days, vacations, time off 
  • Health insurance, retirement, and other benefits 
  • Who will show up to fill in/takeover if the hired caregiver(s) don’t turn up, call in at the last minute, or quit in the middle of a shift? 

When you hire from an agency, you’re the agency’s client and they employ the caregivers. So, while their costs may seem higher at the outset, they’re typically far less than when you add a private caregiver’s independent wages with the additional taxes and benefits costs required of you. 

Not to mention, the business/logistics of being an employer is a lot to take on when you’re also managing aging parents’ needs with your own and your family’s needs. 

Safety and Security 

The caregivers working with qualified agencies are vetted via complete criminal background checks, employment verification, and thorough check-ins with references. Plus, because they work for agencies specializing in senior and memory care, they attend ongoing education, training, conferences, seminars, and skills reinforcement around home care, senior health, nutrition, etc. 

Not only are most independent caregivers devoid of those qualifications (never accept a candidate-provided credit or background check!), you are responsible for their continuing education and training so they can keep up with the senior’s changing needs with knowledge, expertise, and professional etiquette. 

The level of education, training, and care available from an agency cannot be compared with the large majority of private or independent registry offerings. 

Costs & Out-of-Pocket Payment 

We spoke above that the costs associated with private caregivers often winds up being much higher, and for lower-quality care. As payingforseniorcare.com states, “Aging Americans are struggling to pay for assisted living, home care and other forms of long term care.” 

Keeping the long-term view of the costs associated with senior care is important. For example, there are multiple ways to cover these costs, including VA benefits, liquidating properties or assets that aren’t in use, Medicare coverage, or working with a financial advisor to use retirement or reverse mortgage options to subsidize at-home care. 

Supervision & Monitoring 

As an employer, you’re responsible for the supervision and monitoring of your caregiver employee. Assigning tasks, creating systems to monitor and evaluate they’re doing what they were hired to do, and you’re also responsible for discipline when job performance is sub-par or worse. 

Agency caregivers are monitored by their employers, and software and apps ensure there is a digital track record of tasks assigned/completed, communication between you the client/ caregiver-agency, any red flags, as well as caregiver’s assessment of how services/offerings can best be tailored to the senior’s evolving needs. 

If/when a caregiver requires discipline, requires removal from an assignment, fails to show up for work, etc., the agency automatically sends a qualified and situation-appropriate caregiving replacement to immediately step in until a permanent replacement is found. That’s a much harder scenario to handle if you hire a caregiver on your own. 

If you’re searching for qualified senior caregivers to support a senior loved one’s independence, consider scheduling assessments with at least three, separate agencies in your area to learn more about what’s available, their qualifications, and to feel out which one feels best-suited for the senior client. 

We’re Here For You

Interested in learning more about the benefits of using a licensed home care agency? Contact us here at HomeAide Home Care, Inc. and schedule a free, in-home assessment. There is no obligation and we’ll answer all of your questions, and provide valuable information, about how to age at home with grace, safety, and dignity

The Benefits Of Spending Time With Grandparents

the benefits of spending time with grandparents

One of the reasons we initially started a senior home care agency in the Bay Area was because we love seniors, and we know how important human engagement is for their health and wellbeing. Not surprisingly, it turns out that spending time with grandparents is just as beneficial for the third- and fourth generations. 

Until relatively recently in western culture, spending time with grandparents was a given because families either lived in multigenerational households or grandparents lived close by. Now, in a time when grandparents may live on another coast – or another country – our children miss out on crucial opportunities to develop their intelligence in all capacities and to build essential bonds with their elders. 

Spending Time With Grandparents

Here are nine sweet reasons why your children benefit from spending quality time with their grandparents. 

It builds more emotional intelligence  

Single-working parent households were largely the norm, or one parent was able to bring work into the house, keeping children with them outside of school schedules. Today, increasing numbers of children spend their first several years in daycare facilities. Regardless of how wonderful they are, a daycare provider can never fill the space that a parent or grandparent occupies in a child’s life. 

So, it makes sense that studies show children who spend more time with their grandparents have fewer emotional/behavioral problems and score higher on emotional intelligence assessments. 

They smile and laugh more often 

It’s a given that the grandparent role is a special one. In the best-case scenarios, grandparents get to serve as an unconditionally loving family member who has just slightly looser ties on the child than his/her parents. Grandparents are often retired or only work full time, have more time on their hands and are eager to share focused time and energy with their grandchildren. 

As a result, grandparents have that magical ability to make children laugh, smile, and be more silly – more often. That leads to a happier and more joy-filled child. That same interaction also makes for happier, healthier seniors. 

Encourages more positive social behavior 

A recent study evaluated 10 – to 14-year-olds from both single- and two-parent households. The number of parents didn’t seem to affect social and academic performance as much as the researchers expected it to. However, children who had more regular interactions with their grandparents were more empathetic and compassionate in social settings, and they were generally more engaged in school.  

They are less likely to become depressed 

Worried your child, tween, or teen is having a hard time socially or could be battling depression? It might be time to schedule an evening, weekend, or holiday visit with grandma and/or grandpa. Children who report having a close relationship with their grandparents are less likely to experience symptoms of depression.  

Among other things, children may feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, or being comforted by their grandparents. And, because seniors are prone to loneliness and depression, they are able to sympathize and express their understanding of where the children are coming from, which helps children feel more seen and heard. 

Children forge a deeper connection with their family history and culture 

Grandparents have long been considered the story keepers in any family line. The more time a child spends with his/her grandparents or great grandparents, the more likely s/he is to see photos and albums, watch old family movies, and to hear stories that connect them to their lineage. This is particularly important for second- and third-generation immigrants who may have a less direct connection to their cultural ties. 

It can help children have a stronger bond with their parents 

Having a hard time with your adolescent? A visit with the grandparents is a great idea. In addition to giving you and your child a break, odds are s/he’ll hear lots of stories about how you were growing up – many of which you may not remember or don’t have the “parent’s perspective” about.  

Hearing about your funny, silly, surprising, or similar escapades may benefit you, too, because your child will return with a greater understanding (and bond) with your past. 

Spending time with grandparents boosts oxytocin levels (the love hormone) with cuddles 

Oxytocin is one of the “love hormones,” facilitating feelings of emotional warmth, comfort, relaxation, and connectedness. Known as a bonding hormone, oxytocin is released when we hug, cuddle, and share affectionate touch. Since grandparents are likely to have more time to snuggle on the couch, read a book, or reach out and give a gentle, long hug, your child will experience boosts in oxytocin – and all of its physical and emotional benefits. 

They can grow their skill sets 

Feel like your kids are spending way too much time on their phones, gadgets, or in front of screens – and not enough time developing their skills? Odds are one or more of your parents, step-parents or in-laws have skills they are eager to pass down. And, your child is more likely to say yes to learning woodworking, handwork, yard work, and gardening, etc., when it’s offered up by Nana or gramps. 

Ample, unconditional love 

Everyone benefits from unconditional love, and the more of it, the better. While parents are typically the go-to providers of unconditional love, experiencing it from grandparents and extended senior family members give children the opportunity to learn multidimensional examples of what unconditional love really is.  

These are just some of the many benefits of spending time with grandparents. If possible, try to find a way to connect your children with their grandparent(s), and vice versa. It’s a win-win in every way. 

We’re Here To Help

Have a parent with mobility issues or a diagnosis that makes it harder for them to spend time with their grandchildren without help? Contact us here at HomeAide Home Care and we can connect you with just the right companion, driver, or helper to facilitate their precious bonding time.

Outing Ideas For Seniors And Their Caregivers

outing ideas for seniors and their caregivers

Tired of being cooped up in the house all day? So is your senior client. And, let’s face it, even the same series of weekly errands and appointments get boring after a while. Let us help you with some simple but fun outing ideas.

5 Outing Ideas To Break Up The Day

The following ideas will help shake you both out of the routine rut and bring a little spring back into your steps.

Join an exercise class

Between yoga and Pilates classes, gyms and the recreation centers in your area, there are plenty of senior-specific exercise classes available. Exercise has a myriad of benefits for seniors, including improving appetites and sleep habits, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases and elevating moods.

Most senior-centric exercise classes offer modifications for chair-bound seniors, but you can always call ahead to verify. As long as you’re at it, you might as well join in or attend a class in the same location so you’re on the workout path together.

Hit the movies

In an effort to garner more business during the slower times of the day, many theaters offer specific senior day discounts that go beyond the normal matinee pricing. In addition to showing box office hits, they may also re-show some of those classics your client loved back when they were young adults.

Here is a link to Cinemark’s Senior Day Discounts – just type in your zip code to find participating theaters near you. If you aren’t a Cinemark moviegoer, check in with your favorite local theater next time you’re there to see if they have special senior offerings.

Get involved with animals

Animals provide a wonderful way for seniors to express their love and feel that love returned. While owning an easy-to-care-for pet is certainly an option, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the human-animal connection if pet ownership isn’t possible.

Examples include:

  • Visiting a local bird sanctuary or an easy-access spot at a local nature reserve or park to picnic and observe nature
  • Volunteer together at a local animal shelter or SPCA
  • Put up ads to walk a neighborhood dog for free at a certain day/time each week (perhaps for a new mom or a busy single parent who can’t afford a dog walker)
  • Get something hot or cold to drink and sit at the local dog park to watch the dogs romp
  • Find the best pet store in town and browse their animal collections
  • Head to a local zoo and enjoy their senior discounts

Let’s face it; animals are entertaining and heartwarming, so it’s hard to be anything other than happy in their presence.

Visit your local senior center and community event’s website

Most Bay Area senior centers are bustling centers of organized activities. Whether you choose to attend one of their events, or check-in about the most senior-friendly events and venues this time of year, odds are you’ll learn about compelling opportunities you weren’t aware of before.

For example, Alameda’s Mastick Senior Center is incredible. Membership is free (but required to attend/participate in events) and the activities they offer seem endless. Workout rooms, bocce ball courts, arts and crafts classes, sewing/handwork sessions, and off-site day trips and excursions are all available. It’s a wonderful way to get out and connect with other seniors and caregivers in the area.

Similarly, most communities, towns and/or cities have event websites advertising all the great goings-on from month-to-month. For example, here’s the Special Events page for Alameda; perusing it each month with your clients allows you to learn more about their interests – letting them guide the way to the events, shows, fairs and activities you both attend.

Treat yourselves to delicious foods via Farmer’s Markets and Food Trucks

Phase One of adding support often begins via in-home aides that offer driving services and/or meal preparation services. Both are important, but since seniors are so prone to malnutrition, the latter is a top priority.

Farmer’s Markets can be instrumental in not only getting seniors out and about once in a while but also allowing them the sumptuous experience of eating fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are much more flavorful than their grocery store counterparts. Food trucks (have a food truck park nearby?) are another fun alternative to restaurant dining and often involve creative, artisanal foods and drinks that aren’t your average chain restaurant fare.

We Can Help With Outing Ideas

Wish your senior loved one could get out and about more often? Licensed caregivers, in the form of companions, can be hired as minimally as once a week or as much as needed, and often pave the way for experienced, compassionate home care services as seniors need it along the way.

Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. today to learn more about how to ensure your senior loved one can get out and about more often – with the assistance of our outing ideas and heartfelt caregivers who provide personalized assistance tailored to our clients’ needs and interests.

The Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Home Care Agency

the benefits of hiring a licensed home care agency

Home care comes in a variety of forms – from spouses and family members, to friends or acquaintances looking for a way to make extra money, to both a unlicensed and licensed home care agency.

When your loved one requires home care, outside the realm of spouse and immediate family circle – whether that be for respite care, or on a more regular or day-to-day basis – it is always in your best interest to work with licensed home care providers.

What Does Licensed Home Care Agency Mean?

As a means of ensuring education, training and experience – as well as protecting clients from elder abuse – the state of California has created licensing and/or certification boards that govern the home care industry. The Home Care Bureau of California is one such example of this. Working with agencies registered with third-party, industry-recognized entities helps to validate that:

  • Home care providers are licensed
  • The individual caregivers are current in their education, training and industry best practices
  • That caregivers have been screened and passed complete background checks and DMV clearance
  • The any disputes against the agency have been investigated and settled
  • That you are protected and have a means of following through if care is negligible or lacking in any way
  • The agency and caregivers are subject to unannounced visits to ensure the environment they create and the care they provide meet or exceed state standards

When scheduling a consultation with a particular home care provider – whether private or working with an agency – ask for their license number and check it with the governing agency to verify it is both legitimate and current.

The Benefits of Working With a Licensed Home Care Agency

Above and beyond safety, professionalism and accountability – there are other benefits to working with a licensed home care agency:

Education paired with experience

The home care industry is attuned to the latest research and innovations when it comes to seniors and memory care. As a result, licensed agencies are more likely to keep on the latest research by attending and/or sending their employees to classes, conferences and training sessions to keep abreast of the latest-and-greatest caregiving techniques and information. This benefits clients and helps your loved one to receive the best, most relevant care for his/her situation.

You won’t be left in the lurch

If you hire a single, private home caregiver, you can wind up left in the lurch if s/he is sick, a child is sick or a family emergency arises. A  licensed home care agency has access to multiple, licensed care providers so you’ll never be left with an appointment to cancel, having to take additional time off work or with the stress that a long-distance parent or loved one is left without care.

Costs are more likely to be absorbed by Medicare and/or health insurance carriers

Did you know many aspects of home health care are covered by insurance companies, including Medicare, MediCal and/or the Veterans Affairs Administration, depending on the client’s diagnosis and prognosis?

If a client is unable to attend appointments or tend to their own care as a result of being home- or bed-bound – you may find certain aspects of their home care is partially- or fully subsidized. However, these insurance carriers almost always require care be provided by a licensed home care provider or agency.

Employee taxes, benefits and insurance are taken care of

Odds are your caregiver pays taxes and is interested in healthcare insurance, social security and/or some other type of retirement benefit. This can add several dollars per hour to the amount you pay each shift. A reputable licensed home care agency will build these benefits into their payroll so they take on these responsibilities without you having to worry about it. We have access to more affordable, shared-cost benefit options for small- and medium business owners that an individual hiring a caregiver would not have the ability to tap into.

Caregivers are available on short notice

Optimally, we prefer to meet for a full, in-home assessment and consultation before contracting with an individual client. However, life doesn’t always pan out “optimally.” Just as you’ll never be without care if your normal care provider isn’t available, a licensed home care agency has caregivers available on short-term notice if/when you find yourself needing a break or have another emergency that will take you away from your loved one for a day, a night, or even extended periods of time.

HomeAide Home Care, Inc. is a licensed home care agency servicing Alameda County and the surrounding Bay Area. Our team of licensed, experienced and compassionate caregivers have decades of experience and view their work as a joy and a calling. Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation. We believe, “there’s no place like home,” and feel confident our loving caregivers are second to none.

What is the Home Care Bureau of California?

what is the home care bureau of california

It’s not easy to choose the best home care provider for your loved one. There are many factors to consider, including cost, experience, the services required and – of course – the legitimacy of the care provided. The Home Care Services Bureau of California is a state-run agency, dedicated to ensuring professional home care agencies and providers are educated, trained and qualified to provide care. The bureau operates under the umbrella of CA’s Department of Social Services.

We recommend using their search registry to verify the licensing of any home care aide working on behalf of yourself or a senior loved one.

What does the Home Care Bureau of California Do?

In addition to verifying the qualifications and credentials of professional home health care aides, the Home Care Bureau of California:

  • Processes applications and administers licenses to home care agencies and caregivers.
  • Maintains the state’s home care aide registry.
  • Ensures licensees have completed the criminal background check process administered by the California Department of Social Services.
  • Requires re-registering every two years to ensure licensing and criminal background information is current.
  • Receives and responds to complaints from clients or other members of the public about home care aides and/or agencies.
  • Performs unannounced visits to ensure an agency and/or caregiver is in compliance with state codes and regulations.
  • Maintains records regarding complaints and violations for up to five years.

Use the Home Care Bureau’s Search Function to Verify the Legitimacy of Home Care Aides (HCA)

Before meeting with any home health care agency or home care aide for a consultation, we recommend getting his or her:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Personnel Identification Number

This information is required to access the Home Care Aid Registry Search Function. There is no use spending time interviewing, getting into contract with or creating a relationship with caregivers who do not meet the state’s criteria.

The Home Care Bureau Also Provides Resources and Support for both Caregivers, Clients and Family

In addition to promoting the professionalism, integrity and quality of home health care, the Home Care Bureau also provides a wealth of information, resources and support for both caregivers, their clients and/or client family members.

The Home Care Bureau of California offers links to:

  • Search the home care registry. As mentioned above, this search will let you know whether prospective caregiver(s) is licensed. It only costs $25 to apply to the registry, which shouldn’t prohibit any qualified representatives from becoming members of the registry. In most cases, legitimate home care agencies cover these costs for employees who pass their screening requirements.
  • Find licensed community care facilities. For seniors who require adult day care or memory care, community care facilities and home care organizations are lifesavers. These services are significantly more affordable than the costs associated with traditional assisted living or nursing home facilities.For example: Click Here to search for a home care organization in your area. Then search via county or zip code. To find HomeAide Home Care, you can simply select “Alameda” from the dropdown county list, and then click the “Search” tab. There you’ll find us – in alphabetical order – located on page 3. You can then click, “View” to the right of the organization for more information.In our case, you’ll see that we have zero citations and zero complaints – something we are very proud of.
  • The ability to contact a social services agency if needed. In most cases, this wouldn’t be necessary unless you are need to file a complaint or reporting suspected elder or client abuse. Just as the Child Protective Services investigates complaints of child abuse or neglect, the Adult Protective Services investigates cases where adult abuse and/or neglect is suspected.

Schedule a Consultation with an Agency Licensed with the Home Care Bureau of California

Are you interested in learning more about home care services for someone you love? Contact HomeAide Home Care to schedule a free, in home consultation and assessment. These are no-obligation visits, giving us a chance to speak with you about your concerns and how we can be of service. We are fully licensed and all of our caregivers have been thoroughly vetted via complete criminal background checks and DMV reports. We offer part-time, full-time and respite care services, and our compassionate touch can be a welcome augmentation to existing skilled nursing care.

We’re also happy to advise you as to lifestyle changes and basic home reorganization that will make your loved one’s living space safer and more accessible.

Senior Craft Projects For Fun With The Elderly

 

senior craft projects for fun with the elderly

You are never too old to enjoy making art and craft projects. Senior craft projects, art, and other activities can be very beneficial to seniors. The creativity stimulates their minds, improves their concentration and prevents depression. Working on crafts is also a great way to improve their cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. You can plan a fun afternoon with your loved one by checking out the following craft projects for the elderly.

  • Create a Photo Collage: Putting together a photo collage is the perfect way to get their creative juices flowing. You are going to need magazines, glue sticks and construction paper or cardboard for this senior craft project. Your loved one may want to use a theme for their collage, such as their favorite animals or holidays. You can also provide copies of personal photographs to make a collage of their favorite memories.
  • Wooden Clothespin Snowman Ornament: You are going to need supplies such as wooden doll pins, acrylic paint, felt, ribbon and a Sharpie for this project. The first step is to paint the peg white. Once it dries, you can decorate it with more paint, the Sharpie and felt. You are going use a thin ribbon to tie on the hat, and you can use thicker ribbon or string to hang it up.
  • Painted Clay Flower Pots: This is a great craft project for seniors who enjoy gardening or want to dress their room up. Your loved one can start by painting the flower pot in their favorite color. Once the paint is dry, they can add their name, favorite pattern or quote to the pot. Paint pens are perfect for seniors who are only looking to paint certain areas of their pot.
  • Popsicle Stick Tree Ornament: Your loved one is going to start by painting three Popsicle sticks green. Once they are dry, they can use hot glue to create a triangle. Your loved one can use buttons as ornaments, yellow textured cardstock as the star and brown cardstock and chipboard as the trunk. Use a glue stick or hot glue to attach the pieces to the Popsicle stick tree. Your loved one can hang it up by hot gluing a hook to the back of the ornament.
  • Decorative Tin Cans: Tin cans are great for storing small items such as writing utensils, buttons, and spare change. Your loved one can start by wrapping the tin can in colorful yarn and using a bit of glue to hold the yarn in place. They can also glue colorful buttons to the yarn to create a fun vibe. Another option is to paint the tin can just as they would paint the clay flower pot.
  • Glass Gem Suncatchers: Your loved one can use glass gems, plastic lids, and clear glue to create their own beautiful suncatchers. The best part is they can come up with their own pattern using their favorite colors. Use fishing wire to hang the suncatchers in their window.
  • Tea Light Candle Holder: You are going to need empty, clean baby food jars or small jars for this project. Senior craft projects can include glass paint or glass paint markers to decorate the jar with a fun design. Place a flameless tea light candle inside the finished product, and your loved one can decorate with a homemade candle holder.

There are plenty of easy and fun senior craft projects for the elderly. Your loved one may need help with one or two steps, but it is important to let them do as much as possible. Working on crafts is good for their mental and physical health, and it is sure to put a smile on their face!