Palliative Care and Hospice Care

palliative care and hospice care

The terms palliative care and hospice care are often used interchangeably to describe end-of-life comfort care. This is a mistake. While there are similarities between the two, they are slightly different. Both describe a style of “whole patient” care, that uses a team of specialists that can extend beyond their physicians and specialists, to provide comfort in the face of a serious diagnosis.

The difference is that palliative care can also end up curing or significantly extending the life of the patient – and can be seen as a potential treatment. While, on the flip side, hospice is only provided when a patient has decided to stop actively treating the disease, preferring to accept an end-of-life diagnosis and receive hospice care to enjoy the highest level of comfort and quality of life as possible until the patient dies.

Palliative care and hospice care don’t provide full-time caregivers

Here is an important thing to note: neither palliative care and hospice care provide full-time care providers. These services include regular check-ins from licensed nurses and specialty care providers, advice, and recommendations, 24-hour support lines, access to certain prescriptions and refills as needed, etc. However, neither is a substitute for personal, part- or full-time caregivers.

Caregiver support is expected to come from partners, family members and/or professional in-home caregivers. Otherwise, the patient may require admission to an assisted living community or some other type of residential care. Contact a local in-home care provider to learn more about the way licensed care providers can be put in place to facilitate in-home palliative or hospice care.

What is palliative care?

First, let’s examine a precise definition of palliative care, courtesy of medlineplus.gov:

The goal of palliative care is to help people with serious illnesses feel better. It prevents or treats symptoms and side effects of disease and treatment. Palliative care also treats emotional, social, practical, and spiritual problems that illnesses can bring up. When the person feels better in these areas, they have an improved quality of life.

Palliative care can be given at the same time as treatments meant to cure or treat the disease. Palliative care may be given when the illness is diagnosed, throughout treatment, during follow-up, and at the end of life.

Like hospice care, palliative care provides comfort care for those diagnosed with a serious illness or progressive disease. If at some point down the line, the patient’s treatment is unsuccessful and/or the condition progresses, palliative care can continue until the end of their life.

The palliative care team will typically consist of the patient’s main health care providers and specialists, along with additional palliative care team members, like clergy, social workers, therapists, masseuses, etc.

What is hospice care?

For a detailed description, read our post titled, What is Hospice Care? to learn more about your options, payment, etc. Medlineplus.gov defines hospice care as:

Hospice care is end-of-life care. A team of health care professionals and volunteers provides it. They give medical, psychological, and spiritual support. The goal of the care is to help people who are dying have peace, comfort, and dignity. The caregivers try to control pain and other symptoms so a person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support a patient’s family. Usually, a hospice patient is expected to live 6 months or less.

So, while comfort and quality of life are goals of both palliative and hospice care, the former is administered even amidst a patient’s treatment and curative prescriptions, while hospice care is only administered when a person ceases curative treatments and is at the end of their life.

Like palliative care, hospice provides support and resources for the family and caregiving team in addition to the patient, and these resources include spiritual counselors, therapists, and masseuses as well as musical and other therapeutic options.

How do I know which one is best for myself, a senior or a loved one?

Most simply put, if you, a senior or a loved one in your life is facing a serious medical diagnosis, and plan to pursue treatment for that condition, a palliative care team will be set in place. If the patient has a diagnosis that is so serious there is no cure, the treatment side-effects are more debilitating than the condition itself and/or a patient simply decides they’re not interested in treatment options, hospice is the best route to go.

If you are in doubt, your primary care provider or the medical facility’s social worker can assist you in figuring out which quality care plan is right for your particular situation. The good news is that both palliative care and hospice care are covered by most health insurance plans as well as MediCal and MediCare.

The Benefits of Aging in Place

the benefits of aging in place

When parents and/or grandparents begin to show signs of aging, it’s smart to evaluate which changes – if any –need to take place so that aging in place can be done as safely and gracefully as possible. While retirement community brochures may depict the post-retirement years as a “dream come true,” many seniors find that this era brings the most physically and emotionally challenging years of their lives.

These include physical changes, like diminishing eyesight and hearing or increased difficulty getting around. It can include mental changes, like the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s’. Sometimes aging is harder on one partner than another, which turns a former life mate into a full-time caregiver. Seniors are more prone to experiencing the death of their life partner as well as the passing on of their peers, which can make them feel isolated and lonely.

For all of these reasons and more, aging-in-place can bring a tremendous amount of comfort and stability at a time when changes are entirely outside of an individual’s control.

The NIH Says There’s No Place Like Home…For Growing Old

The NIH’s National Institute on Aging has an entire PDF with strategies aimed at helping seniors age in place. From serious cost savings to the comfort and security of a familiar environment, remaining in place by providing loving and experienced caregivers into the home is often the most beneficial plan for seniors and their families.

Here are some of the reasons why it makes sense to accommodate aging in place for yourself or senior loved ones.

Greater Financial Security

Financial stability is key as seniors age, providing the resources they need to pay for additional services like shopping, meal preparation, bathing and dressing, memory care, medical care, driving and so on. What many people don’t realize is that the costs of in-home care services are typically much cheaper than the monthly cost of living in a retirement community. According to HudUser.gov, “From 2004 to 2007, in 2009 dollars, the median monthly payment for non-institutional long-term care was $928 compared with $5,243 for nursing homes.” That’s a huge difference. Especially when you consider that those cost savings are paired with other benefits, like familiarity, security, comfort and greater independence.

Even so, the same website observes that “…examining how to reduce costs are focusing on the wrong area; instead, they should be emphasizing the emotional, social, and health benefits of HCBS and aging in place.” We agree. The care providers at HomeAide Home Care witness over and over again how seniors with adequate in-home care fare significantly better in terms of emotional well-being than their facility-bound counterparts.

The Independence That Comes With Aging In Place

Seniors who are aging in place have an easier time maintaining their independence. The familiarity and comforts of home can help to minimize the impacts of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. By making the home senior-friendly, seniors have the ability to get around easier, access their own belongings and possessions, and they enjoy the luxury of maintaining ownership of their pets. Seniors can remain an active part of their neighborhood and community, and they still exercise control over household decisions to the best of their ability.

Preserving Valuable Multi-Generational Relationships

There is a certain romance and novelty to going to grandma and grandpa’s house. Even if one of the grandparents is no longer alive, their memories live longer and stronger in their home furnished with their furniture, photos and signature belongings. The fact of the matter is that visiting a room at a nursing home or retirement facility simply isn’t as comfortable and doesn’t have the same, homey feel as the traditional home environment. By allowing seniors to age in place, they retain a sense of elevated family status. They experience the joy of having family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – visit, stay over or participate with them in favorite past times such as gardening or taking daily walks, not to mention holidays and other traditional family occasions.

Are you in the process of determining whether a residential or in-home plan is best for yourself or a loved one? Contact us here at HomeAide Home Care. We provide free, in-home consultations to create the best plan of action for today as well as the future. (510) 247-1200.

Helping Independent Elderly Loved Ones Stay Independent

 

helping independent elderly loved ones stay independent

While our culture celebrates the wisdom of our elders, their wisdom is often negated when they wind up feeling more like a child as the result of physical deficiencies or the loss of their independence. This loss of mobility, ability, friends and loved ones and a sense of autonomy often leads to depression, loneliness, and anxiety. And, who wants their independent elderly loved ones to feel that?

Independent Elderly Loved Ones Are Happier

So, the trick becomes coming up with health and safety-oriented changes that continue to foster a sense of autonomy and empowerment.

Here are five ways to help your independent elderly loved ones remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible:

  1. Let them stay at home. Unless the senior is voluntarily moving to a retirement or assisted living facility, trying to force their hand is a dangerous game. Take into consideration that the National Institute on Aging states, There is No Place Like Home – For Growing Old. Facilitating a safe way for seniors to age in place is one of the most cost-effective and emotionally rewarding things you can do for parents, grandparents and other seniors. According to Financial Advisor Magazine home-based care is more affordable than both nursing home and assisted living facility options.
  2. Create a safe living environment. Fall prevention is essential for a healthy senior life. Diminished vision, brittle bones and lack of balance are a recipe for trip-and-fall disasters, many of which lead to expensive and debilitating surgeries. If seniors live in a multi-story home, move their bedroom to the first floor so their life revolves around a safe, single level.
  3. Keep them mobile. As we age, balance becomes more of an issue. Eyesight and hearing start to diminish along with muscle mass and bone density. Regular exercise is instrumental in keeping seniors fit, active and as physically strong as possible. Studies also show that it is good for overall mental and emotional well-being. Senior centers, yoga studios and local gyms offer fitness programs and classes tailored to seniors. Visit these places with your loved one to find the right fit. Also, research and invest in the right mobility aid(s) before they are absolutely essential. The more familiar and comfortable a senior is with a cane, walker or another form of aid, the easier it will be to implement it into their life when needed.
  4. Invest in pre-made meals. Preparing and cooking food is no easy feat and the lack of good meals takes a disastrous toll on a senior’s physical and cognitive health. There are several options for seniors who no longer want to cook. Meal delivery services, like Schwans, offer door to door service, providing a wide range of tasty foods, meals, and desserts that are flash frozen and easily prepared. You can order food online to be delivered anywhere in the county. Meals on Wheels is another option, which delivers prepared foods once a day to the senior’s door. In-home care providers often offer meal preparation as a part of their service menu and this is a good way to have a homecare provider get their foot in the door – providing meals, light cleaning, transportation and so on, setting the stage for when more regular care and assistance might be required.
  5. Provide transportation. One of the greatest losses of independence occurs when a senior can no longer drive. For many, this is the beginning of a home-bound life that shouldn’t be! From transportation offered by local senior centers to public buses and dial-a-ride services, there are plenty of options. Again, many in-home care providers offer transportation as a service and a friendly caregiver can be scheduled as many times a week as senior clients like, ensuring they don’t miss out on favorite games, hobbies, movies, church services, restaurants and other social events.

Is it time to make a few changes that will establish a greater sense of independence in your elderly loved one’s life? Schedule a FREE in-home assessment with HomeAide Home Care. We’ve provided all manner of in-home caregiving services for independent elderly loved ones in the Bay Area for almost two decades.

Preventing Bedsores

preventing bedsores

Whether your senior loved one has recently experienced a trip and fall injury, is recovering from a lingering illness or has become more sedentary, preventing bedsores should be a top priority.

When seniors live on their own, without access to a caregiver or home healthcare provider, they are more at risk of developing bedsores that go unnoticed. Once established, these seemingly harmless sores can become quite serious and can lead to death.

Understanding what bedsores are and learning now to prevent and treat them is one of the best things you can do to keep your senior healthy and comfortable.

Know What To Look For: Preventing Bedsores And Treating Them

Many people are under the false assumption that bed sores, also called pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are only a threat for those who are bedridden. This is not the case. Anyone spending the majority of their time in a seated, reclined or prone position is at risk for developing bedsores.

Lack of mobility, depression, malnourishment, dehydration – all are common side effects of growing old, and all can lead to the sedentary lifestyle that eventually causes bedsores.

These pressure sores are caused when hidden pressure points – the base of the tailbone, spinal column, “sitting bones”, hips, ankles, and shoulders – make contact with a chair or bed. A caregiver can be oblivious to these ulcerations, even when they visit every day because bedsores are often covered by clothing, robes or dressing gowns.

Here are some facts you may not know about bedsores:

  • They are not a side effect of a hospital or nursing home stay. Bedsores can happen just as easily at home.
  • You don’t have to be completely bedbound- or chair-ridden to develop bedsores. Occasional mobility, even multiple trips to go to the bathroom or shower, is not enough to prevent their development.
  • Bedsores develop quickly. Regular checks are imperative to catch potential offenders as soon as possible.
  • In most cases, bedsores are NOT an indicator of negligent or abusive caregiving. If you notice bedsores on your watch, it’s a sign that you are doing your job.

A complaint about physical discomfort is often the first sign of bedsores. However, once bedsores are established, they damage nerve tissue and will no longer be felt.

When preventing bedsores make sure:

  • Seating and resting areas are well-padded.
  • If a senior is bedridden, use pressure relief mattresses or pads that protect pressure points from the continuous pressure that leads to bedsores.
  • Seniors change position on a regular basis and assist them if necessary.
  • Reduce the friction created during position changes.
  • They are wearing soft clothing and soft bedding
  • Seniors are eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water

There are four stages to bedsore development:

Stage 1. The area will feel sore and may appear pink or red. When you press the area, it will not lighten or blanch. Skin is still intact. At this stage, it’s important to relieve pressure entirely and keep a close watch. If it doesn’t improve in 24 to 48 hours, call a doctor.

Stage 2. The area may look blistered or skin may be missing or broken. Seek medical attention immediately.

Stage 3: By now, an ulcer has formed. It may look like a crater. You may notice yellow skin at the bottom and fatty tissue may be exposed. Seek medical attention immediately!

Stage 4. Dark tissue may be visible and sometimes bone and connective tissues are exposed. Seek medical attention immediately!

The cure for uninfected bedsores is as simple as position changes every 15-minutes while they heal. In more serious cases, you may need to clean them, provide fresh dressings and administer antibiotics. Of course, your senior loved one’s comfort and well-being is the top priority. If you are able to keep bedsores under control, you may want to work with a home healthcare provider and their doctor for further pain prevention and tips for keeping your loved one comfortable.

Hospice Care and Caregivers

hospice care and caregivers

Do you have a loved one who is about to go on Hospice Care? If so, it can raise many questions as to how your day-to-day life will progress. One of the most regular questions from caregivers is, “what do I do now?”. The best answers to this question will unfold once Hospice Care is in place and you see how things progress. Caregivers still provide a vital role in their family member’s or client’s lives.

What to Know About Hospice Care and Caregiving

Hospice Care is NOT a substitute for a caregiver.

Many people mistakenly believe that once Hospice Care is initiated, there is no longer a role for the caregiver. Not only is this untrue, Hospice Care will not commence until the family has established that some form of caregiving service will be available 24-hours a day. Hospice is an amazing end-of-life service and will involve a network of people, including healthcare professionals, grief counselors, spiritual advisers, a social worker, etc. But these individuals come in, do their jobs and leave. A caregiver is still required to assist with the normal day-to-day chores and caregiving needs. These services can be provided by a spouse, family members, professional caregivers, or a combination of them all.

Hospice does not provide 24-hour medical care.

In most cases, a home health nurse will be checking in daily once an individual is placed on Hospice. However, the nurse will train family members to take care of any daily medical tasks, certain injections, dressing changes, geriatric massage, etc., that may be required throughout the day or night. Hospice can also train family members on how to help your loved one turn over in bed, move from the bed to a chair or wheelchair, bathe, etc. If any of these tasks are too physically demanding, Hospice requires you to have a caregiver on hand who can help you with these tasks.

Caregiving tasks can be many and varied.

Many of the services provided by caregivers during Hospice are dedicated to companionship, errand running, housekeeping, meal preparation and other tasks that may be too difficult for family members to tend to around their other family and work responsibilities. Hiring a professional caregiver, even if it is only a few days a week, allows loved ones to spend as much quality time as possible with each other, without having to divide themselves between the patient and mundane daily tasks.

You may decide caregiving services are required at night.

Often, our clients have family members who take turns in shifts during the day and use caregiving services for the later evening and nighttime hours. This can be of benefit for patients who require medications at night, or who suffer from insomnia and want to have company or be read to without disturbing their sleeping partners or family members. Overnight home care services can be invaluable because it allows you and other caregivers to get the rest you need without having to worry about the well-being of your loved one.

Respite caregiving services can be a lifesaver.

Respite care services are one of the most underused services available from professional home care services. You can hire a caregiver to fill in for an hour, a day, a week or a month. This allows the regular caregivers to have time off to tend to their own needs, take a vacation, or to attend appointments and social gatherings.

Interested in learning more about how Hospice Care affects caregiving? Contact HomeAid Home Care.

7 Misconceptions About Home Care

7 misconceptions about home care

There are many misconceptions about home care, but here we will cover the seven main misconceptions that seem to come up consistently with most new potential clients and their family.

The Many Misconceptions About Home Care

Home care is only for the sick.

While it is partially true that residential care is for a sickly or recovering individual, it is not always the case. There are four types of home care: home health care (provided by a licensed medical professional), non-medical care such as homemaker, personal care or companion. Home health care may be needed for such extremes as post-operation rehab, skilled assessments, teaching, speech therapy and other assistance. Non-medical care would involve daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing.

It’s permanent.

Most individuals that need residential care usually assume that it is permanent and that they will lose their independence. A professional home care giver is responsible for being the individuals extra eyes and ears around the home. This helps prevent accidents such as falls, slips and spills that lead to serious injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of injury-related death is due to imbalance in individuals over the age of 65.

It’s costly.

It is thought that home care isn’t affordable when in fact it is the most affordable option because of the flexible hourly service. In 2010, a survey showed that 22 percent of the networks employ home care service for only hours or less a week. Furthermore, 49 percent of family home caregivers overestimate the cost of non-medical related care but approximately $6.00 an hour.

No control over who comes to my home.

For the most part, each home caregiver is matched with a client that has similar interests. A company’s home caregivers should always be screened, insured, trained and bonded. A reputable company should always offer background checks at the time of the meeting set up. They should also offer steady and reliable backups or replacements for emergency purposes.

Caregivers don’t care about their clients.

A good residential care associate will take time to understand the client’s needs, listen thoroughly, establish a rapport and overall, make them feel at ease. To make it official, the agency should analyze the client’s needs to make sure that they are being placed correctly. If a client should feel that they are not being treated properly, the family needs to contact the agency immediately.

Only old people need home care.

Again, individuals with chronic illness, recovering from surgery or rehabilitation are welcome to and encouraged to rely on this kind of help. Even though home care is recognized but individuals over the age of 65, it is important that anyone in need of care should be able to get these services.

Basic hygiene clean up doesn’t qualify.

Whatever you may need that will be of help to you, you should be able to receive. Whether it is bathing or making the bed, it is best to find an agency that provides full service for all and any of your needs.

Should you need more information regarding misconceptions about home care or anything else home care related then contact us and we’ll help clear everything up.

What is Senior Hospice Care?

what is senior hospice care

Senior hospice care is a bit of a mystery to many, but it is an underused – and undervalued – part of our healthcare system. It is not a place where people go, rather, it is a service that combines a multitude of different forms of care. In the case of senior hospice care, the overarching goal of hospice is to provide the highest level of comfort, basic medical care, and support as a loved one passes from life into death, allowing him/her to live their remaining days with as much dignity as possible.

Senior Hospice Care

In this blog, we will discuss some of the common questions and concerns surrounding hospice care for seniors.

What qualifies a senior for hospice care and how is it paid for?

In most cases, a doctor must certify that a patient has an end-of-life diagnosis and the prognosis is usually 6-months or less. When patients meet the qualifying criteria, hospice is covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and most private health insurance policies. Once hospice care begins, the services run indefinitely, or until a doctor no longer feels the situation is terminal. If you or a loved one is considering enrolling in a hospice care program, contact your insurance providers to discuss the financial details so there are no surprises.

Please note: Hospice does not provide full-time care. It does provide daily check-ins from a medical professional and access to 24/7 hotlines. However, the bulk of the caregiving is expected to come from a spouse, family members or professional caregivers. In some cases, hospice programs will not enroll a patient without proof of full-time care provision.

Isn’t hospice care a death sentence, or a form of giving up?

No and no. Firstly, hospice care isn’t the cause of death. The conditions leading up to the end of one’s life can be very simple or very complex, ranging from an acute illness or a slow decline from Alzheimer’s disease. There is a multitude of treatments, medications, procedures, and machines that can prolong an individual’s life, but there comes a point where the individual and/or family members must determine that the quality of life is now more valuable than the number of days remaining.

As soon as this point is reached, hospice is a wonderful option because it alleviates much of the stress of the clinical medical world, and prioritizes the comfort and desires of the patient. Although hospice usually is considered a form of palliative (end of life) care, there are situations where patients improve so much with hospice care that they are removed from hospice. However, this is less common in the case of senior hospice care.

Is hospice care always provided at home?

Hospice care is most commonly provided at home, as this is usually the patient’s preferred place to be. Seniors usually want to be surrounded by the ones they love, in the home they know,  with their favorite belongings, scenery and their beloved pets. However, senior hospice care can also be provided in a nursing home, retirement community, or the hospital.

What types of services does hospice provide?

Hospice care is provided by a team of professionals including:

  • Your primary physicians and medical specialists
  • Family, friends, and volunteer caregivers
  • Professional caregivers
  • Social worker
  • Spiritual/religious counsel
  • Bereavement counselors
  • Palliative care specialists
  • Physical therapists

Together, they form a strong support network for both the patient and the patient’s immediate family.

One of the largest complaints we hear from seniors and their families is that they didn’t enroll in hospice care soon enough. Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. to learn more about our home care services.

The Dangers of the Elderly Living Alone

the dangers of the elderly living alone

You know the familiar expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” The same can be true of the way we view the people who are closest to us. Sometimes, the aging process happens so quickly that children and grandchildren don’t realize how vulnerable their aging parents and grandparents really are.Don’t let a tragic incident, or unnecessary injury, take place before you acknowledge the dangers of the elderly living alone. The more proactive you can be to allow your loved ones to age safely in their home or move them to the appropriate facility, the better quality of life they will have.

Why The Elderly Living Alone Is A Bad Idea

Falls.  The greatest danger of elders living alone is their susceptibility to falls. Balance begins to decline throughout the aging process. Poor vision and weakening muscles and bones decrease balance even further. What might have been a small stumble before, resulting in a bruise or a bump on the head, can result in a major injury for the elderly.

Here are some alarming facts and statistics:

  • The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house for senior citizens.
  • Adults who are 75 years and over account for the largest percentage of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) that result in hospitalization and death.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in adults 65-years and older.
  • Senior citizens are more susceptible to hospital-, surgery-, and anesthesia-related delirium that can last for weeks. This has been linked to other complications and higher mortality rates.

If your aging loved ones have refused to be moved into an assisted living or retirement facility, make sure their home has been adapted for safety. Contact a professional home health care provider who can help make the necessary adaptations, and who can provide health care and/or companion services as needed.

Depression.  The dangers of elderly living alone aren’t always visible on the physical level. When seniors live alone, they are much more likely to become lonely, disinterested in normal day-to-day activities, and depressed. This is a very real concern because depression has been linked to more rapid onset and/or progression of other age-related mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

If you have family members who insist on living alone, make sure you know how to recognize senior depression. You may need to be equally insistent that they join a local senior center, participate in a local retirement facility’s day care program, or hire a companion who can visit them weekly, or daily if you aren’t able to do so yourself. Not only will s/he have access to activities, entertainment, and exercise classes specifically designed for seniors, s/he will be a part of a community, which can help to keep depression and loneliness at bay.

General Health And Well-being.  Even without the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, seniors are prone to be forgetful. One of the dangers of elders living alone is they can forget to take important medicines or can overtake them. Meals, exercise, and basic day-to-day hygiene routines can begin to slip. A home health caregiver is one way to ensure your loved one is taken care of. House cleaning, basic hygiene care, meal preparation, and medication reminders are all well within the scope of a well-trained home health aide. This will allow your aging loved one to remain in his/her home without you having to worry about their day-to-day care.

Not sure if your senior relative(s) should be living alone? Read this article on “What’s Right for You” to determine the right level of care for your loved one and ensure they age as safely as possible.

What’s Right For You: Home Care or Assisted Living?

Choosing between a caregiver in your own home or moving to an assisted living apartment can seem like a confusing choice. One moment you’re walking the dog daily, preparing your own meals, and enjoying regular social engagements with friends or groups. The next thing you know, your sweet dog hasn’t been walked in months, you don’t have the energy to navigate grocery stores, and you notice you’re beginning to feel lonely and/or depressed. Does this mean you can’t take care of yourself? At what point do you know it’s time to begin looking into hiring a caregiver or putting in your application(s) to local assisted living apartments?

Consider the following questions and answers to determine which type of care would be best for you or an aging loved one.
assisted living
Do you need serious medical attention on a regular basis?

In most cases, excluding Hospice, home caregivers are not trained, licensed, or able to care for, or administer regular medical treatments to, seniors who are seriously ill. If you require routine medical care, an assisted living facility may be your best bet. On the other hand, in-home care providers are able to assist with day-to-day living tasks. This includes bathing and grooming, medication and/or insulin reminders, meal preparation, physical therapy and exercises, etc. If you prefer to remain in your home but aren’t sure if a caregiver can provide the type of care you need, contact a local licensed caregiver service. They will schedule a free consultation and can make a recommendation based on your needs.

Are you able to take care of the basics, but need help running errands, driving, getting around, etc?

If you are relatively healthy, but can no longer drive, tire easily, or need help getting around, a caregiver might be the perfect choice. Assisted living facilities are a huge investment and remove you from your comfortable and familiar surroundings. In-home care providers can schedule a caregiver for a few hours a week, a few hours a day, or provide companionship around the clock. You can create a schedule that meets your needs, provides personable and sociable companionship, and allows you to take a well deserved break while someone else does the errands for a change. This includes cleaning your house, shopping, organizing, mail sorting, walking the dog, etc.

Do you love living at home, but find you get a little lonely from time to time?

In addition to physical limitations, aging brings other unwanted consequences, like saying goodbye to beloved friends and older family members. Even if you have family close by, busy schedules may not allow them to visit you as often as you’d like. A caregiver can serve as a companion. When you consult with your prospective home care provider, they will discuss your interests, likes/dislikes, personality type, etc. and match you with a caregiver who can visit with you as often as you like, keep you company doing the things you enjoy, and can even cook meals for you every once in a while. However, if you feel your house is too big or you are ready to move to a new space, assisted living facilities can meet both your social and physical needs.

Today’s seniors and their families are fortunate to have such a variety of elder care options. Making the right choice now can help to provide the platform for a longer and more quality life. In many cases, at-home caregivers provide the perfect stepping stone for seniors who are not ready to make the leap to an assisted living facility, but would like a little help and companionship from time to time.

Background Checking Your Home Care Provider for Safety

home care providerHiring a home care provider can be a blessing for families caring for their elder relatives. It can bring much needed respite and peace of mind that your loved ones are safe. In order to ensure their safety, it is important to background check your provider, before they are allowed in the home.

There are many reasons to background check home care providers including; prior financial or physical abuse issues, theft, neglect and many others. References are not enough, since any person could be listed as a reference and tell a very good story. The only secure ways to know the truth about the person you are hiring is a detailed background check that is both criminal and employer based.

Another thing to consider is the number of years that the background check covers. Most checks cover seven years of history on a person. Some convictions may have taken place as long as ten to fifteen years prior, so it is important to check back far enough to know things in a person’s distant past. After all, your home care provider is caring for your loved one, and you need to ensure their safety.

There are a few different ways to do a background check on a home care provider. One of the most recently popular methods is an Internet search. These can provide valuable details at a relatively lost cost and cover up to twenty years of history on a person.

The one downfall using internet search as your only information source, is some searches do a name match and records can be misplaced or added, so they are not as accurate. They are based on utility accounts at an address and public court records. Internet searches are a good way to start your background check and if anything appears on the records, make sure you may phone calls to verify what you found.

You can also ask for previous addresses and check the courts in the areas that your provider lived. This is the most accurate way and court records are open to the public. Another way is to request a DMV printout with a copy of the driver’s license. This only reveals criminal driving records, but another good start checking your provider. And to verify any information with addresses or financial responsibility, a credit report is necessary and can help verify addresses.

Make sure that employers listed for references are verifiable employers such as; companies, agencies, or truly people that have used this persons services. References can be easy to fabricate and should not be used as sole background checking information.

Background checking a home care provider for safety will save you headaches in the future. Knowing that you have hired someone trustworthy and dependable will ensure that your aging loved one is truly safe and well cared for.