Are You Taking Advantage Of Respite Care?

are you taking advantage of respite care

Caregiving takes its toll. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, how much you feel they deserve, or the strength of your conviction that nobody can take care of him/her like you can – caregiver burnout is absolutely inevitable unless you take care of the big picture. 

If you are a caregiver or are planning to take over caregiving duties for an aging parent or senior loved one, make sure to read our post, How to Recognize and Prevent Caregiver Burnout.  

Big Picture Planning: Respite Care Is An Essential Part Of Caregiving

Respite care should automatically be included in any long-term home care plan. Period.  

When you hire a full-time professional caregiving agency, this is automatically taken care of because our employees are only allowed to work a specific number of hours per shift, and per week. In the spouse/immediate caregiver plan – things get murkier. 

What Is Respite Care? 

Respite care is a way to provide a break for primary caregivers while ensuring your loved one has expert and compassionate care in the caregiver’s absence. If your niece or sister offers to come and stay with your parent for a day or overnight, they are offering respite care. Friends or volunteers from your spiritual community may also provide occasional relief from the rigors of caregiving.  

When a care plan includes regular respite care or long-term respite care, it’s a good idea to meet with a licensed caregiving agency – especially if the senior loved one has a progressive condition.  

Professional home care providers are educated, trained, and experienced at providing care for seniors in all stages of the aging process – from those who need a bit of help getting around and preparing meals to seniors who are completely bed-bound, which demands a different level of care and attention. 

While respite care shifts typically have a minimum billing window, typically three to four hours, they can be used as intermittently as you like. Respite care can be used to help caregivers: 

  • Attend their own health and wellness appointments 
  • Resume regular religious/spiritual services and events 
  • Participate in special family events, ceremonies, and gatherings 
  • Take days, weekends, or weeks off for the sake of time off, and not because you’re having to accommodate yours or someone else’s need(s) 
  • Have the freedom to take “sick days” when they or family members are ill or experiencing an emergency and need to “take care of business” 
  • Get together with friends for weekly lunches, self-care, or whatever else you need to fill your cup and nourish your dedicated, hardworking spirit 

In addition to preventing caregiver burnout and supporting caregivers by providing regular breaks, respite care also establishes a rapport between the client and other caregivers. This can come in handy in the event of a sick day or emergency because the client already feels comfortable with the caregiver replacement. 

Make Respite Care Part Of The Plan When… 

Here are some signs that you and your family should take advantage of respite care as part the home care plan from the very start: 

There are only one or two family caregivers 

The reality is that it is impossible for one or two caregivers to provide quality, patient, compassionate, and attentive full-time care, 24/7. You will become depleted and that depletion will take its toll on your ability to care for your loved one, not to mention the negative toll it can take on your health and wellbeing. 

If your loved one requires care around the clock or more than just a few hours each day, you will either need to assemble a team of caregivers to observe regular shifts or you will need to ensure you have adequate respite care each week to give you a break. 

Your loved one has Alzheimer’s/dementia or other “progressive” diagnosis 

The care required at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s/dementia or other “progressive” medical conditions, like Parkinson’s, is 180-degrees from the constantly increasing levels of care required as the disease progresses. Enlisting the support of respite care providers and building them into the care plan from the beginning, makes it easier to get the support you will need when things get more intense. 

You are working and/or still have children at home 

In the realm of senior care, we refer to you as “The Sandwich Generation” because you are sandwiched in between your children/work and your aging parents. It is absolutely consuming and completely depleting. Respite care is an affordable way to buoy you up as you work to meet everyone’s needs while still fulfilling your work obligations, family fun, children’s extracurricular activities, etc.  

Visit Parents Caregiving for Parents: Support for the Sandwich Generation, to learn more about that topic. 

Your family takes an annual vacation, holiday(s), etc. 

If you have to miss one family vacation or a string of traditional holiday gatherings for a single year, that is one thing. However, a decline from Alzheimer’s or dementia, chronic illnesses, or general aging decline can last for years. 

If your loved one isn’t on hospice or in the last weeks or months of his/her life, you are going to need respite care so you have the ability to balance your life while simultaneously caring for the needs of your loved one. 

You need respite care if you have children living at home 

If you have children living at home you absolutely must find a way to have stand-in caregivers at the ready. Your senior loved one enjoyed a rich, full life and s/he almost undoubtedly wishes the same for you and your family. Childhood is fleeting and so it’s imperative that in the midst of honoring your senior loved one that you also honor your children’s milestones and important events. 

Respite care is the way to make sure you can be at the game, attend the school pageant, volunteer in the classroom, or chaperone field trips.  

Would you like to learn more about how you can take advantage of respite care when creating a long-term senior home care plan? Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. and schedule a free assessment and consultation.

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. 

Top 10 Blogs For Seniors

top 10 blogs for seniors

It’s always a challenge to keep homebound seniors socially engaged. And, we also know that social engagement and the human-to-human connection is invaluable to the mental, emotional, and physical health of our senior loved ones. Blogs for seniors are one more piece of the connectivity puzzle. These blogs are mostly by seniors and for seniors, which helps to send the message that, “you are not alone!” 

Bookmark These 10 Blogs For Seniors And Start Reading 

Not only are these blogs helpful (and entertaining) for seniors to read, we also recommend that caregivers and close family members read some of your loved one’s favorite blogs as well.  

Firstly, you may find that reading about another senior’s experiences and insights provides a better picture or more compassionate insight into your parent/grandparent’s day to day life and experiences. Secondly, reading the same blogs is like being part of a book club. The posts can provide mutual conversation ground that is not just about medical issues, ailments, or caregiving.  

To that end, here are 10 senior blogs worth recommending for your senior to bookmark on his/her gadget of choice. Just getting your loved one on board with tech, read How to Support Seniors with Technology. 

Senior Planet 

We’ve intentionally put Senior Planet (seniorplanet.org) towards the top because it is a resource and go-to support for seniors who are using technology to remain connected. Senior Planet is about much more than just the latest gadgets and apps and websites. Those gadgets and apps and websites are just means to an end: enabling older adults and people of all ages to come together and find ways to learn, work, create, and thrive in today’s digital age. 

In addition to that, the website offers all kinds of fun ways for seniors to engage with one another, from joining book clubs and online tech classes to support groups and chat features. 

Elder Chicks 

The Elder Chicks (elderchicks.com) website and blogs were started by senior “chicks,” Dr. Thelma Reese (now 88 years old) and Dr. Barbara Fleisher (age not stated). Click Here to watch their video about their blog and their goal to “master the art of senior life,” which has become the fun, witty, and intelligent theme across their blogging spectrum. One of our favorite aspects of The Elder Chicks’ mission is that they promote the hand-in-hand pairing of senior life/retirement and volunteerism.  

Feisty Side of 50 (geared towards females) 

Tired of all the social and cultural messages that say “aging is bad,” and that our goal should be to remain “forever young?” We are too! Not only is aging inevitable, but it is also a process that can forge ever-deeper and more meaningful connections to our wisdom, inner-strength, heart, soul, and the absolutely essential need for humor and joy. The Feisty Side of 50 is run by Mary Eileen Williams, M.A., N.C.C.C. You can also listen to her Feisty Side of 50 radio show and podcast. 

Her personal mission is to, “…reach as many of my gender and generation as possible to celebrate our remarkable history, our awe-inspiring futures, and just plain hoot and holler as only the menopausal can. We gals have overcome some pretty formidable challenges and we’re not going to let a few wrinkles stop us now. We’re bringing a whole new look and spirited style to the aging process. In fact, our next major revolution will be nothing short of astounding. So, here’s to us, the incredible, incomparable, fabulous, female boomers and to embracing life fully on the feisty side of fifty!” 

Grey Fox 

This senior blog, on the other hand, is geared towards senior men. Did your senior dad or grandfather lead a dashing and dapper life? Then he’ll love reading Grey Fox, which focuses on fashion trends for men 40 years and older, with a penchant for brands that target the older, affluent demographic. Because the website host, David Evans, is from the UK, he targets UK brands.  

Sage (dedicated to the LGBTQ community) 

There is no denying that the senior LGBTQ community is largely ignored – and that’s saying something when you consider our senior home care agency is located in California’s Bay Area! While the LGBTQ community is well-represented in the Millennial realm, LGBTQ seniors can feel very alone, and studies show members of this sociodemographic have a much higher risk of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Read, Inclusive Care for LGBT Seniors, to learn more about how you can help. 

Another boost for your LGBTQ senior loved one’s spirit will be connecting with the Sage USA blog. The blog and organizational mission are to, “…make aging better for LGBT people nationwide. How? We show up and speak out for the issues that matter to us. We teach. We answer your calls. We connect—generations, each other, allies. We win. And together, we celebrate.” 

Sage is a phenomenal resource and they also promote a myriad of LGBT resources. We feel regular perusal of their posts will support, inspire, inform, and connect LGBT seniors and their families. 

The Senior Nomads 

Whether your senior loved one is fond of travel, or would enjoy living vicariously with other travelers, The Senior Nomads blog is centered around the travels of Seattle-based seniors Debbie & Michael Campbell.  

While they slowed down at the beginning of the pandemic, these passionate nomads revamped the way they move from place-to-place and have resumed their travels. That means their blog is chock full of informative (as well as entertaining) tidbits about their travels, experiences, and other “senior moments.” 

Viva Fifty! 

This bilingual blog serves both the English- and Spanish-speaking senior communities. The Viva Fifty! Blog is published by Lorraine C. Ladish. The posts are divided into five main categories: Mind (culture, books, mind, empowerment, money), Grace (style, hair, skincare, beauty), Body (health, nutrition, fitness, and yoga), Soul (relationships, family, dating, inspiration), and Escape (travel, leisure, dining, tech, and shopping).  

The site features a diverse group of guest posters, and we feel this one is another ideal “blog club” candidate for you and your senior loved one to share. 

The Upside to Aging 

Remember we mentioned that some of these blogs are worth the caregiver’s read? The Upside to Aging is one of those. Hosted by longtime caregiver, Molly Wisniewski (LeGrand), the blog balances the upsides (and the challenges) faced by seniors and their caregivers. Molly specializes in in-home care for clients with dementia and other memory issues, so there are plenty of posts dedicated to that realm.  

The National Council on Aging 

As professional senior home care providers, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is one of our favorite resources for the latest studies, research, and information on aging and how to provide the best care possible for our clients. The NCOA blog can be that same resource for you, your family’s caregivers, and then seniors you care for as you navigate this next chapter of his/her life. 

Their blogs for seniors serve as an approachable, digestible synopsis of that aforementioned resource, and also keeps seniors informed about medical, legislative, and social/cultural topics particular to their demographic. 

The HomeAide Home Care Blog 

Yep, we’re biased, but we work hard to create monthly blog topics that are timely, relevant, and that provide support, insight, and informative tidbits about senior care topics. We also try to balance the equation and include plenty of posts geared towards family and private caregivers who work so tirelessly hard for the ones they love. Bookmark to the HomeAide Home Care blog and be part of a wider network of people who understand exactly what you’re going through. 

Do you suspect it’s time to bring licensed, compassionate homecare professionals to support your family’s journey through senior care? Schedule a free home assessment with HomeAide Home Care.

The Cost Of Senior Care: Home Care vs. Assisted Living

the cost of senior care home care vs assisted living

It’s inevitable that questions of the cost of home care vs assisted living enter the mix, no matter how much you love, care for, and want the best for senior loved ones. Each option has its own positives and negatives and deciding which makes the most sense for your aging senior depends on a variety of personal and practical considerations. 

We like to remind families that in addition to financial costs, there are also social/emotional costs when comparing home care and assisted living or nursing home facilities. The best way to make a sound decision is to start long-term planning conversations as early as possible. Ideally, these conversations would begin before or immediately after you notice signs a senior needs support.  

Meetings should include the most important family, partner, or close-friend players, to come up with a mindful plan that accommodates all of the big picture needs – taking all of the financial and emotional costs into consideration. 

Comparing The Financial Cost Of Senior Care

Finances must be carefully considered. Many of the conditions that affect aging seniors, from regular age-related decline to Alzheimer’s or dementia, can require years or even decades of caregiving support. The two most common solutions are home care or assisted living. 

We use the reliable, research-based statistics from the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program as our guide to the money-based cost comparisons. According to their calculations, the average, annual cost of home care vs. senior care are: 

  • Home Care (5 days/week, 6 hours/day): $37,440 
  • Assisted Living Community: $57,600 
  • Nursing Home (semi-private room): $92,710 

There is no doubt that paying caregivers to provide care in the home is the most affordable senior care option by tens of thousands of dollars. 

Beware too-good-to-be-true monthly quotes for assisted living or nursing homes when comparing the cost of senior care 

One thing to know about assisted living facilities is that they often provide low-ball, “monthly rates,” to entice prospects. However, it is essential that you ask about “add-ons.” Services like laundry, accompanied mobility to meals or events, off-site trips, visits to the onsite barber or beauty shop, etc., can all add up quickly.  

If assisted living communities are your first choice, we understand (more on that below), but we highly recommend AgingCare’s post, The Hidden Costs of Assisted Living, so you are well-informed and know what questions to ask when you take tours or speak with their staff. 

Weighing The Social And Emotional Costs 

Of course, financial costs aren’t the only costs you should weigh when taking the steps to care for an aging senior. And, while we are a homecare services provider, we are also very transparent that home care isn’t for everyone. It is imperative that seniors not feel isolated, which can lead to depression, anxiety, failure to thrive, or exacerbate dementia and other health conditions. 

There are social and emotional costs for both home and assisted living care, and many of these decisions depend on the family structure, accessibility to peers and favorite locations/activities, relationship with the home or neighborhood, etc. 

Would the senior prefer to age-in-place, or live in a larger retirement community? 

Statistics say that the majority of seniors choose to age in place if they have the choice, but that only represents the majority. Many seniors aren’t interested in bringing people into their homes to help them. They would rather move to a new place, get situated in their room or small apartment, and begin taking advantage of the “amenities in one place” lifestyle. 

It’s a personal choice and only a good conversation can establish which version is best. 

Is there an active family and friend network at play? 

The family structure matters a great deal. If there is a healthy family, friend, and neighbor network available, bringing care into the home makes the most sense. Seniors get to age-in-place, in the comfort of their own home, and they can still have lots of social interaction with family, friends, or neighbors. The same holds true if s/he is an active member of local clubs, spiritual groups, volunteer organizations, etc. 

If seniors have sacrificed their keys and can no longer drive, home care agencies can provide a caregiver a few times a week to act as a driver and then help out with other errands, shopping, or activities that are harder for your loved one to handle on his/her own, eventually increasing care services as wanted or needed over time. 

Is the senior more introverted by nature? 

If your loved one is more of an introvert, preferring to spend most time quiet and alone by choice – rather than necessity – moving into an assisted living community may be traumatic. Innate introverts and homebodies typically fare much better when family caregivers minimize transitions and keep visitors and activities focused on the familiar. 

What Are The Projected Memory Care Needs? 

If you are interested in memory care for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can go either way. Memory care facilities (much different from assisted living communities that have “memory care” services or wings, are exceptional at providing care that aligns with the foremost research pertaining to dementia care and treatment.  

That said, memory care centers cost notably more than the average assisted living communities because every resident eventually requires acute care and assistance. Most cost closer to that $90K+ price tag listed for nursing home facilities. 

If your loved one isn’t interested in moving to a memory care facility in the early to mid stages of the disease, look for home care providers who specialize in memory care, including mid to late stage dementia care, and who also offer live-in care services in case those are necessary. 

We’re Here WhenYou’re Ready

Would you like to learn more about the cost of home care services and the types of services available to Bay Area seniors in their homes? Contact us at HomeAide Home Care and schedule a free, in-home assessment.

Hello world! We’ve Got a Blog!

Home Care BlogWelcome to the brand new blog of HomeAide Home Care! Thanks for taking a look!

Our goal here is to create a channel for our clients and friends to get closer to us as a company, to understand more about us, and share with everyone lessons learned and helpful information we’ve collected over the years as one of the foremost independent home care services in the East Bay.

Please feel free to comment on any of the stories we post, we’d love to hear from you!

Jan Scott

“…We have been deeply appreciative of your caring support since beginning with your agency last May. It has been a real comfort to me to know that we were consistently covered regarding Dick’s care.” – Jan Scott

Pam & John Eaves

“…It’s hard to find words to express our thanks for the excellent, loving, patient, personal care Lorraine received from everyone you sent to her home…We’re forever grateful!” – Pam & John Eaves

Jane

“…I’m not fancy with words, but I can’t tell you how important all of you have been to me the last 3+ years. I couldn’t have done it without you, your patience, kind words, and support…” – Jane

Melinda Buerger

“Thank you so much for all of your help over these past several months. I have appreciated your flexibility and responsiveness in dealing with my mother and I. She enjoyed the companionship of your caregivers.” – Melinda Buerger

Susan Bailey

“Thank you for your wonderful care giving for my mother. I always felt at ease when I knew you had some great people taking care of her.” – Susan Bailey