7 Different Ways You Can Work as A Caregiver

If you’re considering working as a caregiver, there are dozens of different ways to do it. While many people assume working as a caregiver means working for a home care agency, this isn’t always the case. In fact, you can work for anyone from a private employer to your own family member! To learn more about all the options you have for working as a caregiver, read on:

7 Different Options for Working as a Caregiver

Whether you’re a new caregiver looking to enter the industry or an experienced professional wondering about your options for lateral movement, these are the top ways to work as a caregiver.

1. Work for An Agency

Working for an agency is one of the most popular methods of working as a caregiver. Designed to cater to the various needs of seniors in the in-home environment, home-care agencies partner qualified caregivers with home care jobs across the country and throughout the states.

Agencies act as a third-party between the caregiver and the patient, and make life easier for caregivers by finding clients for them, handling payroll and offering structure. Caregivers who work for home-care agencies may be required to have one or several certifications, although this depends largely on the state in which they live.

While states like Alabama have no licensing requirements, Arizona requires basic caregiver training for home care professionals, and 6 hours of training for Caregivers for Medicaid. You can look up your state’s training requirements on caregiverlist.com.

2. Work for Family

Thanks to a popular consumer-directed program known as CDPAP, it’s now possible for family caregivers to work as employees for the loved ones they care for.

Designed to take some of the burden off both caregivers and patients, CDPAP makes it easy for caregivers to offer and orchestrate payment while also ensuring that the honorable duty of caregiving doesn’t create a financial burden for family caregivers.

Under CDPAP, caregivers can hire family members or loved ones to provide their in-home care, and CDPAP will handle payroll issuing, training, and more. Throughout it all, the caregiver is responsible for hiring, managing, and terminating caregivers, and maintaining payroll reports.

This system provides for a safer and more comfortable care environment for seniors, and a more financially viable way to care for loved-ones for caregivers.

3. Work for Friends or Neighbors

CDPAP also allows patients to hire friends or neighbors to provide their in-home care. An extension of the consumer-directed program that allows patients to choose their own caregivers, hiring friends and neighbors has become popular among people who want to take control of their caregiving but already know someone with whom they would trust their care.

Like working for a family member, working for a friend or neighbor allows for a more comfortable and satisfying experience for both the caregiver and patient. While the patient feels in control of his or her care, the caregiver can enjoy a better patient caregiver relationship and more predictability thanks to the arrangement with the friend or neighbor.

Like working for family members, the patient in this satiation would be required to handle all the training and payroll information while the caregiver may or may not be required to obtain any official training beforehand.

4. Private Pay Caregiving

Private Pay caregivers are caregivers who are hired “under the table.” These caregivers are typically hired by patients who want to work directly with their caregivers, without the structure or requirements of a home care agency or CDPAP. Private pay caregivers aren’t always friends or family members of the patient, although they can be.

While private pay caregiving may seem simple, it’s important to remember different states have different laws surrounding hiring caregivers, and that both patients and caregivers may be responsible for taxes and withholdings if the two of you decide to enter such an agreement.

5. Through Insurance

Securing caregiver pay through an insurance company can be tricky, but it is possible. In some cases, long-term care insurance and other such policies afford some coverage for in-home care providers, and it’s possible to get paid by these companies.

Be aware, though, that there are specifications and that you may need training or certification that you wouldn’t need to be a private pay caregiver or to work for a friend, neighbor, or family member.

Sometimes, insurance companies will not pay providers who are not certified and employed by a health care agency. Before you pursue this route, talk with your would-be patient about their insurance coverage and whether it would cover you.

6. Medicare

As a general rule, Medicare benefits don’t cover the expenses of home care aides, unless the person hiring the aide needs skilled care, like nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language care.

There are many restrictions surrounding these circumstances, and it’s wise for patients and caregivers to evaluate the bounds of coverage completely before making the decision to press forward.

7. Medicaid

Medicaid provides sponsored programs meant to cover the funding for long-term care for elderly people. These programs may cover things such as meal delivery, in-home healthcare, personal care services, adult day care, transportation, and more.

To qualify for payment through these programs, caregivers need to work with their patients to ensure the household is eligible for Medicaid programs and that the caregiver’s training is enough to qualify for the program.

Getting Paid as a Caregiver

While many caregivers believe working an unpaid position is their only option, the times are changing and there are many ways to get paid as a caregiver today.

Simple options, like direct payment, and more recent options like working for family members, friends, or neighbors are all fantastic ways for caregivers to secure payment for their services and to succeed in making a living from their dedication and devotion to caregiving.

While it may take some back-and-forth to find a caregiving approach that works for you and your patient, it’s well worth it in the long run.

10 Healthy Outlets to Relieve the Caregiver Burden

Being a caregiver can be an exhausting pursuit. While it’s important work, many caregivers feel burned-out and tired because of their caregiving duties. What’s more, many aren’t sure how to cope with the stress and anxiety their professions create.

Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to have healthy outlets to relieve stress, get in touch with themselves and friends, and live happy, centered lives. Luckily finding a healthy outlet is easier than you might think! Here are our top ten suggestions.

10 Healthy Outlets for Caregivers

Whether you work as a family caregiver or a caregiver for an in-home agency, having an outlet is more critical than you might think. Stress, a major factor in virtually every chronic disease, weighs heavily on caregivers, and a good outlet is essential to blow off steam and cope well with the stresses of caregiving life. These ten outlets are great places to start:

1. Writing

Writing has been shown to calm the mind, relieve stress, alleviate anxiety and heal trauma, promote good communication skills and increase your memory capacity. Luckily, you don’t need to be Hemingway to do it.

If you’ve never written before, there are many ways to get started. Consider joining a local writing class or taking a writing course online. These guided formats are attractive for people with no experience in writing who want to get started in a group setting.

If you’d prefer to do it yourself, you can just purchase a notebook and some pens and jot down your feelings at the end of each day. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write until it goes off. Don’t try to structure yourself or edit yourself as you go – just write!

While many people are intimidated by writing, it can be a fantastic outlet for people in high-stress environments.  Simply getting your brain out on paper can work wonders to reduce your stress and provide an outlet at the end of a hard day.

2. Ceramics

There’s no underestimating the importance of learning to do something with your hands. If you’ve never been a crafty person, ceramics is a great place to start. In addition to the fact that ceramics classes are available at most community colleges, universities, and local arts studios, ceramics is also a great way to create some lovely keepsakes for you, your family, and your patients.

You may also find that, over time, you enjoy ceramics enough that you want to pursue it as a hobby for years to come.

3. Exercise

Exercise has been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals at treating anxiety and depression. If you feel stressed-out and overworked by your caregiving position, blow off some steam with exercise.

A good 30-minute run, brisk hike, long yoga class, or walk with your dog is a great way to get the feel-good energy flowing, and to manage stress caused by your work. What’s more, exercise also keeps your heart healthy, fights weight gain, and helps you sleep better at night.

Not sure where to start with exercise? Don’t go it alone. Partner with an active friend or join a gym, most of which offer a few personal training sessions with new memberships. This will help you learn to work out safely and correctly.  

4. Therapy

Therapy can be invaluable for people struggling to manage the stress of their caregiving positions. For best results, seek out a therapist with experience working with caregivers.

While many people believe that therapy won’t help them, it can be a fantastic way to handle the stress and difficulties of caregiving and find healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions like grief and sadness.

5. Support Groups

Like therapy, support groups provide an important bouncing-off point for people who work in stressful professions like caregiving. In a support group, you’ll find a dedicated group of like-minded individuals who understand your struggles and can work with you to help alleviate them.

What’s more, support groups can work with you to turn you on to helpful resources and give you the tools you need to navigate difficult caregiving situations.

6. Dance

Dance is a great way to get your body moving and dump stress all at once. Never been a dancer? No problem! Sign up for a fun local dance class in your community or join a local play to get moving.

Designed to incorporate fun, discipline, and exercise all into one movement, dance is a great way to cope with the stresses of being a caregiver.

7. Meditation

Having trouble staying in the moment? Meditation might be able to help. Designed to offer the help you need calming down, getting rid of obsessive or difficult thoughts, and maintaining your center throughout the day, meditation is a great outlet for busy or stressed-out caregivers who need help coping.

Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation is effective at resolving anxiety, which is a bonus for caregivers.

8. Yoga

Yoga combines breath and movement for a truly calming experience that’s also good for your body. Clear up kinks in your back with downward dog while breathing your way through a stressful day or a difficult situation.

9. Reading

Reading is one of the best ways to escape from reality and infuse yourself into a new and exciting world! Pick up a novel you love to escape the day-to-day and get busy imagining new and exciting worlds. It’s also a great way to combat stress and cut down on anxiety.

10. Meeting with Friends

Laughter is the best medicine and meeting with friends is a great way to blow off steam and help yourself recover from busy caregiving days. Make tie in your schedule to get together with the friends you love and cherish.

Not only will you feel happier and less stressed because of it, but you’ll also maintain your connection to the outside world and keep your finger on the pulse of the things that keep you inspired and exited outside of caregiving.

Healthier Outlets Start Here

There’s no question about it: being a caregiver can be difficult. Finding healthy outlets is key to coping with those difficulties, though. Luckily, activities like dancing, reading, yoga, and writing can help you work through difficult emotions and find healthy methods of expression.

Home Health Aide 101 – What is an HHA?

Home health care has now become a popular option for the aging population as it is being touted as a cost-effective solution to increasing medical costs and hospital admissions. As a result, home health aides are now more in demand than ever. According to projections, there won’t be a shortage of jobs for home health aides in the near future so employment in this area is ideal for people looking to have a career in the healthcare industry but don’t have the money nor the time to invest in lengthy school education.

What is a home health aide?

A home health aide assists with tasks, such as bathing and dressing, keeping homes clean and safe, arranging leisure activities and organizing transportation for patients so they can be engaged in their communities. Some states allow home health aides to administer medication or check the patient’s vital signs with the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Most home health aides (HHAs) take care of a single patient at a time but others could visit up to five patients a day. The patients don’t always reside in private homes. Some of them live in retirement communities, group homes, transitional housing, or assisted living facilities. Case length may vary from a few weeks to several years.

What are the qualifications to become a home health aide?

Becoming a home health aide is not difficult. If you’ve taken care of a sick or an elderly family member competently, chances are that you’ll be a good candidate to become an aide.

Education, training, and certification

At present, there is no standardized educational requirement for home health aides. The requirements that the aides need to meet depend on the state where they live.

what is a home health aide42 CFR 484.30 is a Federal legislation that requires Medicare-certified home health agencies to employ home health aides who are trained and evaluated through training programs by their state. According to federal regulations, these training programs should consist of at least 75 training hours, which includes at least 16 hours of supervised practical or clinical training and 12 hours of continuing education every 12-month period.

As of 2014, 34 states and the District of Columbia do not require more than the minimum federal standard of 75 hours. Sixteen states exceed the federal minimum for the number of training hours, but only six of those meet the standard of 120 hours suggested by the Institute of Medicine or the IOM. Fourteen states require more than the minimum 16 hours of clinical training, with the required clinical hours reaching 80 hours.

Eleven states, including Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington require home health aides to be Certified Nursing Aides and have completed the CAN training and competency evaluation. In California, Kansas, Montana, and Wyoming, Certified Nurse Aides may be dual-certified as Home Health Aides with additional training.

There are states that don’t require even a high school diploma or its equivalent while in other states, home health aides are only required to take preparation classes, which are usually offered at community colleges or vocational or technical schools before they begin working.

Home health aide certificate programs often take a year or less to complete. These programs teach basic patient care skills, which includes life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). After completing the course, the graduates can assist nurses and other health care professionals, and they are ready to earn a certification if required by their state.

In general, home health aides are trained by other aides, healthcare professionals, or the patient’s family members. Because of the complexity of every case and because each patient has unique needs, aides may have to train for a few hours or a few days.

Government-certified home care agencies and similar employers often provide training classes and obligate home health aides to pass a test before beginning their first assignment.

Requirements to be a good home health aide

Due to the nature of the job, it is ideal for home health aides to be physically fit and in good health since the job requires them to assist their wards in activities in and out of the home.

There are also other qualities that will allow aides to perform their jobs well but these traits are difficult to measure because of their intangible nature. Here are examples of those characteristics:

Passion

Being passionate is important in any profession but more so in the healthcare industry. Having passion for the job and genuine concern for the patients allow home health aides to go beyond their expected duties and do everything that needs to be done for the overall well-being of their patients.

Good interpersonal skills

Home health aides need to maintain good relationships with their patients, family members, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Because they deal with different types of people in their profession, it’s important for aides to have good interpersonal skills to facilitate the flow of communication to and from the various parties. Having this skill also means being able to handle delicate situations accordingly and tactfully.

Dependability

Patients and their family members need home health aides that they can depend on, especially since most of the patients are unable to take care of themselves. Knowing that they can depend on their aide will give patients and their family peace of mind that no amount of money can buy. Being dependable could be as simple as staying beyond the appointed hours if the other aides or family members have not arrived yet.

Patience

Patients come in different forms. Some of them are only physically challenged but others also struggle with mental issues that most people, even family members, would find difficult to handle. It’s not easy to take care of someone who has the tendency to be violent but even mundane chores, such as housekeeping can become a drag if you do them often enough. This is why patience is an important trait in home health aides.

What are the responsibilities of a home health aide?

The responsibilities of a home health aide vary depending on the needs of the patient, but their typical duties include the following:

  • hha responsibilitiesProvide basic health care services, such as checking the patient’s vital signs or administering prescribed medicines at appointed times.
  • Help patients in the performance of personal tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed.
  • Shop for groceries and prepare meals according to the patient’s dietary requirements.
  • Assist with eating.
  • Perform light housekeeping.
  • Organize the patient’s schedule and plan appointments.
  • Arrange transport to doctor’s offices or other kinds of appointments.
  • Observe and record the patient’s condition, appearance, or behavior and report any changes to the supervising medical professional or case manager.
  • Work with therapists and other medical staff as required by the patient’s condition.
  • Help with simple exercises as prescribed by a professional healthcare provider.
  • Enforce common precautions against infections.
  • Change simple bandages or dressing, help with prosthetic and orthodontic devices, or give massages, if necessary.
  • Provide companionship.

Other responsibilities could be required of the home health aide depending on the state where he or she works in.

 

Work as a home health aide can be physically and emotionally demanding. Compared to the national average, home health aides have a higher rate of illnesses and injuries. Aides should be especially wary of back injuries since they often assist patients in and out of bed, or help them stand or move.

Mental and emotional conditioning is also necessary because home health aides often work with patients who have mental health issues who may exhibit difficult or violent behaviors. Aides can also face threats and risk contracting communicable diseases, which could be avoided by following proper procedures.

How much does a home health aide make?

As of 2015, home health aides typically earn $8.10 – $14.34 per hour. While the salary of aides is lower than those of others in the healthcare industry, many home health aides consider their job as a stepping stone in the career ladder. Through additional education and training, home health aides can become medical assistants or nurses. Skilled and experienced aides could also teach and supervise new home care assistants and even students.

Employment of home health aides is considered to be a growing industry. In fact, it is projected to grow 48 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average compared to other occupations.

This positive growth could be attributed to the following reasons:

  • The demand for aides who could provide assistance and companionship will continue to increase as the elderly population grows.
  • Home care is a less expensive alternative to nursing homes, hospitals, and other similar institutions.
  • Most patients prefer to be cared for in their own homes where they usually feel safer and more comfortable.
  • Studies have shown that home care is usually more effective than care received in a nursing home or hospital.

Home health aides do more than perform chores for patients who are unable to execute the tasks by themselves. They also thoroughly administer care from helping their patients walk to monitoring their vital signs. In many cases, these aides become almost like family members to their patients because of the amount of time they spend with them and the care they provide.

 

Why Dignity is a Crucial Element in the Best Dementia Care

Getting older: it’s something many people fear.

Often perceived as a lonely, painful, and vulnerable time in the human lifespan, the realities of aging are unpleasant, and the fact of the matter is that dignity can be difficult to maintain.

Luckily, a handful of world-class dementia care services are changing that.

While nobody can stop the aging process, care professionals who understand that dignity can and must be maintained during dementia care are going a long way toward improving the face of dementia care for everyone who accesses it. Read on to learn more.

Why Maintaining Dignity is Crucial to Clients and Patients Alike

Dementia is a challenging disease, and when a friend or loved one is suffering from dementia, many people find that they have an incredibly hard time accepting the change in the person they used to know so well. In many cases, dementia causes a woman who has been gentle and soft-spoken all of her life to lash out in angry outbursts or a man who has always treasured his family as his most valuable asset to forget his son or daughter’s face. These things can be heartbreaking for family members.

While there is no real way to alleviate the difficulties of dementia, or to make the disease simply “go away,” friends and relatives of affected people often find the condition easier to deal with if a level of dignity is maintained throughout. In addition to helping loved ones remember that even a person with severe Alzheimer’s is an adult, maintaining dignity can also assist in overall acceptance and coping.

While maintaining dignity is essential for friends and family members, it’s critical for the senior suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. While many people mistakenly believe that people suffering from dementia are not “in there,” many are very sensitive and can easily have their feelings hurt by being undermined, condescended, or talked over. Because of this, organizations that want to streamline a more manageable dementia experience do everything in their power to maintain dignity for both the senior and his or her family members and friends.

How to Help a Senior Maintain his or her Dignity

While there are many ways to help a person affected by dementia maintain his or her dignity, the following approaches are commonly used by dementia care facilities for whom dignity is paramount:

Avoid condescension:

Again, seniors affected by dementia are adults, and they are very sensitive to being treated as anything less than such. Because of this, it’s critical for all caregivers to understand how damaging condescension can be, and how best to avoid it. This typically involves referring to things like diapers and toilets by more dignified names (underwear rather than diaper, for instance). Avoiding condescension with seniors can also mean avoiding the adoption of a parental tone and ensuring that, as much as is possible, you’re speaking to the senior the way you would have talked to him or her before dementia took hold.

Help the senior succeed:

People affected by dementia often know that they’re not the same as they used to be. They may struggle for words, work to remember a familiar person’s name or face, or lose their train of thought in the middle of a story or sentence. In these situations, one of the best and most humane things you can do is help the senior succeed by asking leading questions and ensuring that you’re prepared to fill in important details that the senior may miss. An example may include saying something like, “Mom, say hi to Linda, Charlie’s wife. You met her at the family reunion last year,” when company arrives rather than, “Mom, Linda is here.”

Don’t be afraid to tell white lies:

While we’re told all of our lives that we shouldn’t lie, sometimes dementia and Alzheimer’s necessitate the occasional use of a half-truth or a white lie. In some situations, it is vastly better (for both the senior and the caregiver) to tell a half-truth than it is to tell the truth and wound the senior’s feelings or sense of dignity.

Treat the senior as normally as possible:

In many cases, a senior who is affected by dementia quickly becomes a shut-in because friends and family are no longer sure how to deal with the person’s new way of being without making themselves or others uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this only wounds the senior in the long run and makes it harder to deal with the dementia adequately. With this in mind, caregivers must be sure to continue efforts to get the senior out and about and enjoy occasional get-togethers. Keep in mind that, while seniors affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s do have special needs and requirements (Take care to ensure any outing you attend will not overwhelm the senior, for example, and that all other parties on the outing are prepared for the increased needs of the senior), people who plan accordingly for social outings and gatherings can help the affected senior maintain a sense of dignity and engagement despite a dementia diagnosis.

How a Lack of Dignity Affects Seniors

While it’s understandable that many people are confused about how best to deal with dementia and its related symptoms, caregivers who miss the mark and cost a senior his or her dignity are ultimately harming the senior’s health and well-being. While pride may seem like a surface-level thing, it has profound and lasting repercussions on a senior’s health, wellbeing, and happiness.

In many cases, a senior who has lost his or her sense of dignity and autonomy will also suffer from decreased self-esteem and confidence, and declining relationships with loved ones. In some cases, this may lead to deep periods of depression, and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Because of this, it’s essential that caregivers do everything in their power to help seniors maintain their dignity in the face of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In addition to benefiting the senior in the short-term, this approach also helps to ensure that the senior will remain happy, healthy, and fulfilled as he or she navigates the complicated waters of dementia.

Dignity is Possible in Dementia Care

While many people assume that dementia necessitates a loss of dignity, this does not have to be the case. In many situations, people affected by dementia find that the upkeep of dignity is possible, just so long as they have skilled caregivers to help facilitate it.

As an adult ages and slips into the grips of dementia, figuring out how to maintain that person’s dignity can be difficult. Luckily, though, it’s far from impossible. By ensuring family and professional caregivers never condescend the person, that charitable white lies are used generously, that the senior is set up for success as much as possible, and that outings and social gatherings don’t stop just because of a dementia diagnosis, it’s easy for caregivers to help their loved ones survive and thrive in the midst of a dementia diagnosis.

10 Ways Caregivers Can Stay Motivated in Providing Great Care

Staying motivated as a caregiver can be tough. In addition to the fact that you work long hours, being a caregiver is a difficult job.

Fortunately, most caregivers love their jobs and want to find ways to excel at them. That’s where these motivational tips come in. Ideal for helping caregivers get excited about work each day, this simple checklist can make it easier to love your job and avoid burnout, both now and in the long-term. Whether you’re a new caregiver or an old veteran looking for ways to stay involved, these ten tips can help: 

1. Remember why you’re doing it

Remembering why you chose to work as a caregiver is one of the biggest motivating tricks you can access. While working as a caregiver can be difficult, coming back to the reasons you chose to start the job can help make it more enjoyable. Any time you get stressed or overwhelmed, make a list of the reasons you started caregiving.

For example, maybe you began caring for elderly patients to help them enjoy their independence or maybe you did it because you wanted to see people smile. No matter what your reasons may be, checking back in with them can help you enjoy your position and navigate the hard days with ease.

2. Reach out to friends or family

When you feel stressed or unmotivated, reach out to your friends or family. They’ll be able to help you remember what you love about caregiving and make it easier for you to keep your head in the game. Even a short phone call with a close friend can make you happy and provide the touchpoint you need to keep serving your clients and fulfilling your duties. 

3. Connect With Support Groups

If you feel stuck in a rut in your career, reach out to caregiver support groups. Available through your local hospital, online, or through local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, caregiving support groups make it easier to connect with like-minded peers and find productive and intelligent ways to navigate the stress of the job and stay motivated to care for your patients.

They can also be a fantastic resource when you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused about how to move forward with your career. If you find that you drift in and out of support groups, that’s okay. While some people show up to them faithfully, others use them to fall back when times get tough. Either approach is just fine. 

4. Exercise

While many caregivers feel that they’re too busy to hit the gym, finding a way to fit it in is essential. Exercise helps you stay lean and healthy, and can be an excellent way to blow off steam and clear your head.

Regardless of whether you had a tough day with a patient or things are going well, be sure that you’re making time to be physically active. The more space you create for this pursuit, the better you’ll feel and the more efficient you’ll be at your job.

5. Start Each Day Rested

Good sleep translates to an increased ability to do your job. To make the most of your days and ensure you’re serving your patients well, get some rest. Things, like developing a consistent nighttime schedule, practicing good sleep hygiene, avoiding artificial light in the 60 minutes before bed, and prioritizing sleep, are essential.

Most caregivers work between 40-50 hours a week, and, without enough rest, this schedule is impossible to maintain. With this in mind, enjoy your sleep and make it a priority, since it will help you stay motivated for the task at hand.

If you didn’t sleep well the night before, try your best to fit in a power nap somewhere during the day. Even 20 minutes of slumber can make all the difference in your attitude and outlook. 

6. Brainstorm New Approaches

Have a difficult patient you can’t figure out how to “crack?” Don’t get discouraged. Instead, get proactive. Taking the time to brainstorm new approaches is an excellent way to make the most of the client/patient relationship and ensure that you’re serving each patient as well as you can.

If you’re having a difficult time making headway, or you feel stuck in a rut, talk with your fellow caregivers or head to an online forum. The more proactive you can be in addressing these problems, the more motivated you’ll be to excel at your job.

7. Develop a Morning Routine

Rushing through your morning and starting work stressed and frazzled is a terrible way to start the day. Instead, develop a morning routine that allows you space and time to cater to yourself before you dive into a day spent catering to other people. Wake up early enough to drink your morning beverage, read for a bit, go for a walk, and get cleaned up before you go to work.

This morning routine, combined with a nice healthy breakfast, will make all the difference when it comes to your daily motivation.

8. Set Goals

Goals are a great way to stay motivated in your daily life. No matter if your goals are big or small, setting them can help you hold yourself accountable. For example, you can set a goal to be more interactive with your patients, to stress less during the workday, or to eliminate time-wasters that make you feel frantic and hurried at work.

No matter what you do, setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve them!

9. Take Breaks

According to recent research, taking regular breaks can help you feel more motivated and focused at work. While it’s true that finding time to take breaks can be difficult as a caregiver, it can be as simple as a 20-minute break during the day or hiring respite care to allow for longer breaks throughout the year. No matter what you do, find a way to make it work for you since downtime is essential for caregivers who want to perform as well as possible. 

10. Take a Deep Breath

While it’s easy to find yourself feeling flustered, off-task, or distracted in your daily work, take a deep breath and re-center yourself. Although you can’t do away with stressors completely, you can change how you react to them. 

A Great Caregiver is a Motivated Caregiver

Caregiving is a challenging profession, and learning how to stay motivated will help you achieve better results with your patients and yourself. From taking care of your mind and your body to setting goals for your attention and interaction with your patients, these ten tips will allow you to be a more efficient, motivated, active caregiver – every single day. 

Fall Prevention: 12 Steps to Prevent Falls | & what to do if you or someone else does fall

For seniors, one of the biggest dangers in daily life is simple: falling.

While falling may sound like it’s no big deal, it can be disastrous or even deadly for seniors.

Today, 1 out of every four seniors falls at least once a year, but few tell their doctors or loved ones. It gets even worse than that, though.

Each year, 2.8 million people over the age of 65 are treated in emergency rooms around the country for injuries stemming from falls and more than 800,000 seniors are hospitalized each year because of a fall-related injury. Falls currently rank as the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in older adults and cost upward of $31 billion annually.

These are shocking statistics, and they make it clear that falling is a dangerous reality that affects thousands of seniors in the place they should be the safest: their own homes.

Luckily, there are proactive steps seniors, caregivers, and family members can take to prevent falls, and address them properly if they do happen.

Read on and learn some proven methods to ensure fall prevention.

12 Simple Ways to Prevent Falls in Seniors

Fall prevention is simple, and it can go a long way toward protecting the health and well-being of seniors everywhere. Get started with these 12 easy steps:

1. Make a doctor’s appointment

While falling has many causes, ranging from loss of balance and vision to weakness, falling can also be caused by medications, especially sedatives or antidepressants. With this in mind, the first step to preventing falls is to see your doctor about the medications you’re taking and the potential side effects of each drug.

In many cases, the doctor will be able to prescribe a medication with a lower fall risk or one that is less likely to interact with the other medications you currently take.

2. Get active on a daily basis

Balance and strength are both a “use it or lose it” thing, and seniors who give up physical activity often don’t have the stability or muscle definition to keep themselves from falling. Unfortunately, many seniors assume that staying active is impossible as an older person, and they give up things like walking, running, or yoga because of it.

Luckily, the activity you choose doesn’t have to be high-impact to unleash its benefits. Tai chi is a great option for activity, as is swimming. In fact, it doesn’t matter what you do, just so long as you do something every day to improve your coordination, strength, balance, and flexibility.

3. Wear sturdy, balanced footwear daily  

Certain types of shoes, like flimsy flip-flops or high heels, increase the risk of falling. With this in mind, ensure that the shoes you choose to wear are going to help your balance rather than harm it. For the best possible stability, choose sturdy, well-fitted shoes with non-skid soles.

4. Remove tripping hazards from your home

Sometimes, things in the home can increase the risk of falling and injuring yourself. Things like extension cords, plant stands, and loose rugs can trip you when you least expect it, while spilled liquids can create a dangerous situation.

With this in mind, remove tripping hazards from your home and remain vigilant about identifying and removing things that increase your fall risk in the future.

5. Keep your living space light and bright

Most of us have had the experience of stubbing our toe while getting out of bed in the dark, and it turns out that a dark or dimly lit environment can create a fall hazard for seniors, as well. Because of this, it’s critical to keep all living spaces well-lit. This allows you to spot fall hazards before they trip you up.

For some simple fixes around your home, add a nightlight to bedrooms and other key areas, and add lamps to dark or dim corners of the home.

6. Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet

Diet affects virtually everything we do, and getting around is no different. To ensure that you’re as healthy and balanced as possible, be sure that your diet contains adequate levels of nutrients.

While this may seem unrelated to falling, people who eat healthy diets are stronger and more able to complete everyday activities.

7. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can cause dizziness and fatigue, both of which increase your fall risk. With this in mind, ensure that you’re drinking adequate water every day, and pay attention to your hydration levels and how you’re feeling.

If you notice you’re thirsty, drink up! It will help you stay healthier, and decrease your fall risk, as well.

8. Consider using an assistive device

If you’re recovering from an injury, struggling with balance, or simply not as strong as you once were, an assistive device like a walker or a cane can work wonders in helping you get around. In addition to helping you balance, these simple tools can also help you navigate uneven terrain safely.

9. Install railings around the home

In areas where falls are common, like stairs and bathrooms, it’s smart to install railings to help you keep or regain your balance. These railings are especially useful in unideal circumstances, such as when the bathroom floor is wet, or the exterior steps are coated in ice.

10. Keep ice and snow at bay

Winter creates an environment that’s ripe for falls. Between the ice and the snow of the colder months, there are dozens of dangers that face seniors during the chilliest days of the year. To keep these things at bay, ensure that you’re taking proactive steps, like sprinkling de-icer on dangerous patches and keeping all walks clear of snow.

11. Always tie your shoelaces

While it sounds simple, one common cause of household falls is untied shoes. It doesn’t matter if you’re just walking to the dresser or the mailbox – you should always tie your shoelaces. A simple way to prevent falls, this tiny step can help you stay safe and upright.

12. Arrange the home to allow a clear pathway for movement

You’re more likely to fall if you’re navigating around furniture and accessories in the home, so it’s in your best interest to remove these things to create clear, uncluttered pathways.

What to do if you Fall

Even if you take all of the above steps, it’s impossible to guarantee that you won’t ever fall. With that in mind, here are some steps you should take if you do happen to suffer a fall:

  • Get up properly

If you fall, get up the right way by lying on your side, bending your top leg, and propping yourself up on an elbow. From there, use your upper body to pull yourself to the closest sturdy object (a dining table or banister, for example) and use this to help pull yourself up. Stand slowly, turn and sit down, and take a moment to rest before you stand up again.

  • Call for help

If you fall and you cannot get up, call for help. If you can reach a phone, dial 9-1-1. If you cannot reach a phone, call for help verbally, or make noise to attract a passerby’s attention.

  • See a doctor

Any time you fall, you should see a doctor. Even if the fall seemed minor, complications like fractures can fly under the radar for quite some time, and it’s important to consult your healthcare professional to make sure everything is okay.

While falling is a scary prospect, these 12 preventative steps can help you avoid it as much as possible, to stay healthy, safe, and strong throughout your senior years. 

 

20 Signs Your Parent Might Need Home Care

For most people, knowing when it’s time to think about hiring home care for an aging parent is a painful thought. In most cases, our parents age slowly, going from the joyful, attentive caregivers we’ve enjoyed all our lives to distracted, forgetful people we don’t fully understand.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your mom has begun to tell you the same stories over and over again, or that your dad frequently leaves the stove on. Maybe you have a parent who’s started to get lost, or who is having a hard time dressing, eating, or cooking on their own.

Whatever the case may be, watching your parents age can be difficult, and worrying about their care be gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, it’s critical to face these realities to ensure that your parent is getting the care he or she needs to age gracefully, with dignity, and with support, and recognizing the signs that indicate your parent needs in-home care is the first step.

20 Reliable Signs That Your Parent Needs In-Home Care

No matter how old your parent may be, or whether he or she has been ill up until this point, these 20 signs are a sure-fire indicator that the time to hire in-home care has arrived.

1. Your Parent Has Begun To Miss Meetings, Appointments, And Obligations

Forgetfulness is a dangerous sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and parents who have started to miss important social events may be exhibiting the early signs of memory loss. Even if your parent’s memory is still sharp as a tack, missing scheduled appointments can indicate embarrassment about a difficulty or inability to get dressed, or challenges driving, navigating public transit, or walking, all of which indicate a need for additional support.

2. Difficulty Standing on His or Her Own

If you’ve noticed that your parent is having a hard time standing up out of his or her favorite chair, it’s time to hire in-home help. While this may seem like a small symptom that can be attributed to arthritis or stiff joints, it’s important to remember that, without help, your parent could easily be stuck for hours or days if they can’t get up on their own.

3. Bruising or Wounds on Your Parent’s Body

When seniors start to have trouble walking, dressing, or cleaning on their own, it tends to show up as unexplained bruises or wounds on the person’s body. Evidence of falls, slips, or accidents in the home, these unexplained injuries can be alarming to family members.

Although your parent may play them off as nothing, it’s your job to know that any parent who is being injured in his or her own home needs some level of in-home care and assistance.

4. Poor Home or Personal Hygiene

Maybe you notice that the trash hasn’t been taken out in days or that your mom’s refrigerator is full of rotting, spoiled food. Perhaps you’ve begun to notice that your father isn’t showering or shaving anymore.

While symptoms like this may seem like simple forgetfulness, it’s important to remember that rotten food in the refrigerator may indicate that your parent isn’t eating and that poor personal hygiene can put your parent at risk of infections and other unpleasant symptoms.

5. Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. When a parent starts forgetting critical things, like whether or not they’ve taken vital medication or how to turn off the stove, the condition can quickly become dangerous.

6. Confusion

Parents who get lost, frustrated, or angry are displaying confusion. An early sign of Alzheimer’s and dementia, this symptom warrants home care and additional assistance.

7. Evidence of Bathroom Accidents

Soiled pants or underwear, messed bathrooms, and an unpleasant body odor are all signs that your parent is having difficulty using the bathroom on his or her own, and needs compassionate assistance to maintain their dignity and quality of life.

8. Decline in Housekeeping

If your mom has always kept a neat home, but now the sink is piled high with dishes, and the unopened mail is spilling throughout the entryway, she’s likely having trouble managing her housework, and could use additional assistance.

9. Signs of Financial Trouble

Financial trouble is one thing that frequently befalls seniors without their friends and family noticing. If your parent has begun to bounce checks or get many late payment notices, forgetfulness may be playing a part in making the finances harder to manage.

10. Seclusion

Seclusion is a dangerous thing for seniors. In addition to increasing a senior’s risk of mortality, isolation can have a negative impact on a senior’s health and contribute to the development of dementia and cognitive decline. If your elderly parent has begun to isolate him or herself, hiring in-home help can prevent the situation from worsening.

11. Weight Loss Or Gain

Extreme and sudden weight loss or gain can be a sign that your parent is having trouble feeding him or herself, forgetting whether they’ve eaten, or eating for emotional comfort.

12. Extreme Moodiness

Severe mood swings or moodiness can be a sign that your parent is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or depression. Hiring an in-home caregiver can ensure that your parent has someone around to monitor the symptoms, and sound the alarm if they get worse or change drastically.

13. Car Accidents

For seniors, losing their right to drive can be a devastating occurrence. Unfortunately, many seniors continue to drive past the point where it’s medically advisable, and they put themselves and others at risk as a result. If you notice dents or scratches in your parent’s care, he or she may need additional assistance to ensure their safety and well-being.

14. Poor Medication Management

According to MdMag, most older adults in the U.S. fill between 9-13 prescriptions on an annual basis. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that these medications can become difficult or impossible to manage as age and forgetfulness set in. Fortunately, an in-home caregiver can help seniors manage their medication correctly, and ensure that they’re not duplicating doses or taking the improper amount of any given medication.

15. Depression

It’s not uncommon for seniors to suffer from depression as they age, especially when their spouse has passed away, and they’re alone. In these cases, an in-home caregiver can help by providing companionship and support.

16. Wandering

If your parent has begun to wander out of the house and get lost, in-home help is critical, both for the senior’s safety and your peace of mind.

17. Boredom

In some cases, in-home assistance can help elderly parents who are just bored and in need of more consistent companionship. In addition to performing household duties, in-home caregivers can also play games with seniors, accompany them to social events and appointments, and help them learn new things.

18. Difficulty With Mobility

It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience difficulty with mobility as they age, and an in-home caregiver can make it easier for your parent to get around and maintain his or her freedom.

19. Dangerous Behavior

If your parent has begun to exhibit dangerous behavior or suicidal tendencies, hiring in-home help can give them the support they need to be happier and more fulfilled.

20. Poor Personal Care

Personal care is critical not only for your parent’s well-being but also for their outlook and sense of self-worth. With this in mind, hiring an in-home caregiver to help your parent uphold their personal care routine can be critical. 

In-Home Care: The First Step to the Rest of Your Parent’s Life

While the decision to hire in-home care for an aging parent can be difficult, taking the first step is typically the smartest way to ensure your parent ages gracefully, with all the care, support, and assistance he or she needs to be happy and healthy throughout.

How You Can Get Paid Taking Care Of Your Loved Ones

While many people want to care for their loved ones when they need it, financial concerns often get in the way. Depending on a loved one’s required levels of care, it can quickly become a full-time job that limits a caregiver’s ability to work and care for their other family members.

According to AARP, there are more than 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the country, all of whom dedicate a significant portion of their time, energy, effort, and personal resources to caring for their ill or ailing loved ones. In fact, each caregiver spends an average of $6,954 each year on the out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving. This represents 20% of the average caregiver’s annual income.  Long-distance caregivers spend even more: $11,923.

It goes without saying that this is a huge portion of a caregiver’s income and that dedicating that much unpaid care to family members can easily create lots of hardship in a caregiver’s life. Fortunately, things are beginning to change.

Thanks to a recent push by the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, it’s now possible for caregivers to get paid for taking care of their loved ones. While there will undoubtedly still be thousands of unpaid caregivers working tirelessly to care for their family members, CDPAP represents a ray of hope that can make this noble effort easier and more accessible for thousands more.

What is CDPAP?

CDPAP is a New York-based care program that allows Medicaid-eligible patients to take control of their in-home care. Under CDPAP, qualifying patients have the power to hire, monitor, and let go of their home caregivers, rather than trusting an outside agency to manage the effort for them. This allows elderly or ill patients to select a caregiver with whom they’re comfortable, and make their own decisions about their in-home care.

How CDAP Allows Family Members to Be Paid for In-Home Care

One of the most unique aspects of CDPAP is that it allows home care patients to hire people who already care for them, such as a loved one, sibling, child, friend, relative, previous aide, or neighbor. 

This is critical on two levels. On the one hand, this flexibility allows the patient to take a real stand in his or her care, and select the person he or she feels most comfortable and at ease with. This is worlds different than traditional care programs, which match patients with caregivers without much thought to the patient’s preferences or comfort. 

Beyond that, however, CDPAP is also a virtual miracle for the thousands of unpaid family caregivers who provide a collective $470 billion in unpaid care annually. When these caregivers work out arrangements with their loved ones, they can be paid under CDPAP, thus limiting the financial burden they must take on to provide care, and making caregiving more realistic and feasible for caregivers who also have family or other dependents. 

How the CDPAP Process Works

For families who want to access paid, in-home care, under New York’s CDPAP, these are the steps you’ll need to follow: 

1. Check With Your Medicaid Provider 

The first step is to ask your Medicaid provider about your eligibility for CDPAP. Different plans cover different numbers of paid care hours each week and knowing where your program stands will give you the foundational information you need to arrange your in-home care accordingly. You can also reach out to agencies like CDPAdirect which provide services ranging from free consultations all the way to getting both the caregiver and patient signed up.

2. Select Your In-Home Care Provider 

Next comes the portion of CDPAP where you appoint your in-home care assistant. Again, because CDPAP allows this person to be a friend, family member, or neighbor, you can designate a family caregiver if that’s who’s already been providing your care, or if that’s who you would feel most comfortable receiving care from.

If you’re interested in hiring someone who doesn’t have any previous experience with in-home care, CDPAP will work with you to design a plan to train, monitor, and retain quality in-home care with the person of your choice. Remember that you’re always in control of your care under CDPAP, so you can make changes to your aide, shift schedules, and alter your care as you see fit. 

3. Enjoy Quality Care 

Once you’ve designated your in-home care assistant, CDPAP will set you up with the tools, systems, and functions you need to create a symbiotic home care relationship. From helping you manage payroll (and enrolling the caregiver in the CDPAP payroll system) to helping you provide training when and where it’s necessary, CDPAP works with your Medicaid provider to create a caring environment that’s financially stable for your care assistant, and comfortable for you. 

Finding Out More About CDPAP

If you’d like to learn more about CDPAP, visit www.cdpapdirect.com. They will assist you with any questions you may have about your specific case, and whether or not you qualify for CDPAP. By calling the number or filling out the form you’ll be able to speak to a CDPAP specialist to help you get started.

Whatever you choose to do, learning more about CDPAP is the first step in receiving quality care, and ensuring your hardworking family caregiver is compensated properly for it. 

CDPAP: A Ray of Hope for Family Caregivers and Their Loved Ones 

Family caregivers are some of the hardest-working individuals under the sun. Frequently saddled with the stressors of financial hardship, the pain of watching a loved one become ill, and the time and resource constraints of caring for their own families as well, these compassionate people do their share (and then some) to care for the people around them.

Fortunately, the Consumer Directed Personal Care Assistance Program is out to change that. By providing payment for people who care for Medicaid-eligible seniors in their homes, CDPAP makes in-home care easier and more accessible for family caregivers, and safer, more enjoyable, and more comfortable for patients from all walks of life.

Learn more about CDPAP today, and find out if it can make your in-home caregiving more sustainable for everyone involved.

 

12 Tips to Help Protect Seniors from Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S.

Right now, more than 15 million U.S. residents have their identities stolen each year, with losses exceeding a total of $50 billion annually.

While it’s true that identity theft can (And does) affect anyone, seniors are at increased risk. Today, senior identity theft is growing rapidly, and people ages 50 or older are frequently the target of scams and fraudulent activity.

While various factors make seniors especially vulnerable to identity theft, deceased spouses, dementia and cognitive decline, a failure to check credit reports regularly, and often substantial saving or checking account balance are some of the primary draws for identity thieves.

Luckily, there are many ways that friends and loved ones can help protect seniors from the burden of identity theft.

Read on to learn more.

Why are Seniors Vulnerable to Identity Theft? 

While many factors influence seniors’ vulnerability to identity theft, including the ones mentioned above, the issue is complex and multi-faceted. Even seniors who aren’t affected by dementia or cognitive decline are frequently the target of identity theft, but why?

On one hand, the answer may be generational. As a general rule, seniors grew up during a period when people were quick to trust one another, and credit card and banking scams were not as prevalent as they are today.

Alternately, seniors are often concerned about not seeming dependent or overly needy, so they may not ask for help or verification from a friend or family member when something seems fishy, or when they receive an odd phone call asking for personal information.

Finally, seniors may be at increased risk of identity theft because the human brain changes with age. According to a 2012 study conducted by psychologists at UCLA, senior citizens quite literally process risk differently than their younger companions. When presented with mildly risky or dangerous situations, the older people in the study displayed less activity in the portions of the brain responsible for responding to danger, which suggests that they may not recognize or respond to risk the same way as their younger counterparts. 

To help protect seniors from identity theft, it’s critical to understand the various factors that place them at increased risk.

12 Ways to Help Protect Seniors from Identity Theft

 

1. Find trustworthy caregivers

While it may sound shocking, some of the main culprits in senior identity theft are the senior’s caregivers. Because these people have access to the senior’s personal documentation, credit cards, and checking account numbers, it’s easy for an unsavory caregiver to create fake accounts in the senior’s name or wreak havoc on checking and savings account balances.

With this in mind, vet all caregivers thoroughly and consider conducting background searches and checking references. While this may seem paranoid, it’s the first (and arguably most critical) step in ensuring a senior’s identity remains safe and sound.

2. Help the senior be aware of common scams

It’s reasonable for a senior to get excited about a phone call or email stating they’ve won a million dollars and, if nobody bothers to tell them about common scams and frauds, it may not occur to the senior that these types of interactions aren’t legitimate. With this in mind, seek to be informed about common frauds and scams and pass the information along to the senior citizen.

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force operates a website called StopFraud.gov, which offers a wealth of information on common scams and how you can protect yourself and others. Check it regularly and keep your senior informed of what you learn. Better yet, turn the senior him or herself onto the website and have them check it frequently.

3. Monitor a senior’s financial activity

One of the most efficient ways to keep a senior out of identity theft troubles is to monitor their financial activity carefully. Since many common scams come in the form of credit card or email scams, monitoring credit card and bank statements can be a useful way to catch fraudulent activity before it blows up.

4. Check in often

While it may seem nosy, checking in often can help keep seniors safe from identity theft. Don’t hesitate to ask your senior friend or relative if they’ve received any suspicious calls or emails lately. While some seniors may get frustrated by these questions (believing they couldn’t possibly be the victims of identity theft), it’s worth it to ask.

While it may cause a small tiff, the tough conversation is ultimately worth it if it protects the senior from financial or personal hardship. Soften the conversation by reminding the senior that identity scammers are excellent at what they do and that the scams may not even seem like scams.

5. Enroll the senior in identity theft protection

There are various credit monitoring services designed to monitor personal and financial information for any red flags. Plans are affordable and can be a crucial tool in the ongoing battle for keeping seniors out of the clutches of identity theft.

6. Shred unneeded personal documents

Old personal documents that contain sensitive information like the senior’s birth date, social security numbers or banking information should be shredded or burned. This prevents them from falling into the wrong hands (in many cities and states, it’s common for identity thieves to comb through trash on public streets in search of such documents) and causing havoc.

7. Verify the validity of any “Free” services gated with personal information

Seniors are often targeted by scammers offering free or highly discounted medical services in return for personal information. While these proposals may seem outstanding, they’re often fraudulent. If the senior in your life receives any such offer, check the company with the Better Business Bureau before proceeding.

8. Encourage the senior to check credit reports often

Since seniors are typically not applying for mortgages or other large loans, they may not check their credit reports as often as younger people. Unfortunately, this is how so much fraudulent activity goes unnoticed for so long.

To be on the safe side, encourage the senior to check his or her credit report at least once a year. This can help keep tabs on financial and personal information and ensure it’s not being used incorrectly.

9. Help the senior understand link scams

Many scammers masquerade as reputable companies and use fraudulent links to gain personal information. Help the senior understand how these scams work and how to stay safe: instead of supplying personal information via a questionable link, go directly to the company’s website and complete an application or sign-up process there.

10. Maintain open communication about phone scams

Many identity scams use callers pretending to be court representatives or medical establishments, claiming outstanding balances for past bills. Instead of giving personal information to these callers, help the senior understand the need to call the company directly instead, and resolve the issue there.

11. Consider hiring an attendant

In the grips of dementia or Alzheimer’s, many seniors begin to make risky financial decisions and become intensely vulnerable to scammers. If this is the case with your loved one, consider hiring a professional caregiver to keep the senior out of financial trouble and away from the clutches of scammers.

12. Get the senior a secure mailbox

With a traditional, street-side mailbox, it’s easy for anyone to steal a senior’s sensitive mail. To protect your loved one, opt for a secure mailbox option like a post office or locking box.

Senior Identity Theft Stops Here

Seniors are a vulnerable population when it comes to identity theft. Luckily, you can help your loved ones stay secure with these twelve helpful tips. In addition to protecting a senior’s personal and financial information, these steps also go a long way toward ensuring healthy, happy, secure golden years for the senior in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Creative Ways to Pay for in-Home Care

In-home care: while it’s one of the most helpful types of care available, it can also be a financial stressor. More than a few people have had the experience of waking suddenly in the middle of the night, panicked about how they’ll pay for their in-home care and what will happen if they can’t manage it.

For people who are injured, ill, or aging, and can’t manage all of the tasks of daily living on their own anymore, in-home care can be a lifesaver. In addition to taking the burden of caring for an aging loved one off friends and family members, in-home care also serves to enhance the quality of life and provide critical medical assistance in the place where a person is most comfortable – his or her home. 

If you’re starting to think about how you’ll pay for in-home care, or you’re already struggling to make ends meet, here are ten creative ideas to cover the cost. Read on.

First Things First – Is In-Home Care Expensive?

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating the cost of in-home care. Prices vary widely depending on where you live, what type of care you need, and the skill level of the person you’d like to hire. According to Caring.com, home health aides made an average of $16-$29 hourly in 2011, and home healthcare costs are only rising by an average of 1.15% annually.

Depending on your level of need and your financial circumstances, in-home care may be a simple thing to afford. On the other hand, though, it may be a financial stressor, and you may be looking for ways to make it work more easily for your family.  

10 Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of In-Home Care

Regardless of what your needs may be, these ten simple tips can help you cover the cost of in-home care and get the attention you deserve.

1. Get long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is insurance that is designed to cover the cost of things like long-term nursing, admittance to an assisted living facility, ongoing medication, and more. While not all long-term care policies cover in-home care, some do, and it’s an avenue that’s well worth exploring. 

The only negative factor about long-term care is that most policies have a disqualifying age, after which you cannot purchase the insurance. Because of this, you must plan to purchase long-term care insurance while you’re still healthy. This will allow you to take advantage of the policy when you eventually need it to cover in-home care. 

2. Use annuities to your advantage

Annuities are one thing that few people think of to pay for in-home care, but they can be instrumental in helping make the cost more manageable. A hybrid between a personal investment account and an ongoing insurance plan, annuities represent money that a senior has invested and earns interest for. After the money has matured for a given period, the senior can begin making withdrawals.

In addition to helping seniors grow their money, annuities are designed to help cover the costs of living as a senior ages, since they pay a consistent income stream for a set number of years, or until the senior dies. 

Annuities sums aren’t viewed as assets when a senior applies for Medicaid, and the income earned from them is often enough to cover the cost of in-home care and more.

3. Apply for Medicaid and use its benefits to pay for in-home care

Medicaid is a program designed to help low-income seniors cover their health needs. While Medicaid coverage laws vary depending on the state you live in, all Medicaid plans are designed to cover in-home care for at least a short period. 

In some cases, Medicaid may even cover long-term in-home care, if the person utilizing it would otherwise be in a nursing home. 

4. Consider applying for a reverse mortgage

While few people know this, reverse mortgages were developed to help seniors stay at home for as long as possible. Here’s how a reverse mortgage works: once a senior has paid a significant amount of equity into his or her home, he or she can start taking some of that equity out, in the form of lump-sum or ongoing payments. 

While reverse mortgages can be ideal for some seniors, they do have parameters that can rule some people out. Here’s what they require:

  • The senior must be 62 or older
  • The senior must own his or her home, either free-and-clear or with little money left on the loan
  • The bank that issues the reverse mortgage appraises the home and determines payment values based on a loved one’s age and payout requirements

5. Look into using veteran’s benefits

If you were an armed forces members, you might be able to use military benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. The only downside of this approach is that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is notoriously difficult to navigate, and you may find yourself working very hard to get the benefits you’re owed. While you’ll have to contact a representative to understand your individual eligibility, here are the policyholder parameters for veteran’s benefits:

  • You must have served at least 90 days of active duty
  • One of those days must have been during wartime
  • You must have been honorably discharged

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible to receive disability payments that can help you cover the cost of your in-home care.

6. Look over your life insurance policy

If you have life insurance, you may find that it can be used to cover your in-home care. If you don’t have dependents that will rely on the life insurance, consider dipping into your policy and using “accelerated” benefits to cover the cost of your in-home care. 

Accelerated benefits are features of certain life insurance policies that allow the policy holder to take advantage of the insurance benefits within their policy before death. Ideal for paying for in-home care, these benefits are typically reserved only for those who need ongoing in-home care or have been disabled by chronic conditions. 

If you have a life insurance policy and no dependents relying on it, consider this option. As a rule, insurance policies will allow holders to pull out between 25%-100% of their death benefit as an accelerated benefit.

7. See if Medicare is right for you

While it’s tough to get Medicare coverage to provide for your in-home care, it is possible, and it’s worth evaluating. Medicare is issued when a person leaves a hospital or long-term-care facility. In some cases, those benefits can extend to covering the cost of in-home care as a form of rehabilitative therapy. 

Keep in mind, though, that these benefits can be limited and may not be right for everyone.

8. Pool resources within the family to cover the cost of in-home care

If none of the above options appeal to you, you can consider pooling resources within your family. Things like collective sibling agreements and personal savings can go a long way toward covering the cost of in-home care and are some of the most common options people take when considering how to offset the expense.  

9. Develop an in-home care savings fund

Many people have savings funds for medical emergencies, vacations, and more, so why not establish one to cover the cost of in-home care. While this takes some planning and dedication, it can be a straightforward and stress-free way to cover the cost of in-home care down the line.

10. Sell off assets

For some seniors who don’t have dependents or people relying on inheriting assets, selling assets can be a functional way to get the extra funds required to cover the cost of in-home care. Of course, this approach depends entirely on the senior’s unique circumstances, and won’t be right for everyone. 

The Case for In-Home Care

For seniors who can no longer care for themselves alone, in-home care can be a wonderful way to enhance quality of life and ensure safety and happiness for years to come. It can be expensive, though, and these ten tips can help offset the cost and make it easier for you and your family members to cover the expenses associated with in-home care.