image image


Access valuable information for care that's more informed and compassionate.

blog post image
calendar icon 4 June, 2020

5+ Factors to Consider: Private Caregiver vs Home Care Agency

As our loved ones age, it can be challenging to balance our lives and their well-being at all times. This is especially true when you're raising kids, working full-time, and going to school. Before long, you realize you have to make a choice. If you continue doing it all, inevitably something will go wrong. You don't want to feel like you're giving more importance to one thing over the other. When people get to this point, they realize that the best option is to hire someone else to help care for their parents. Often, this is the only way for us to go about our normal day to day necessities or routines.  If you plan on keeping your parents in the home, it only comes down to two options. You could hire a private caregiver or seek the help of a home care agency. If you've never done either, it can be challenging to know which option you should go with. Here, we'll address what you should know about hiring a private caregiver. In addition, we'll cover the benefits of choosing a home care agency. 

Hiring a Private Caregiver 

If you're thinking about entrusting your loved ones in the care of a private caregiver, consider the following:

Background Checks 

It may seem enticing to forgo background checks when hiring a private caregiver, but don't do it. While conducting a background check is time-consuming and costly, the cost of not doing so is even greater. Background checks reveal essential details, such as if the person is qualified to be caring for your loved one. An interview alone should not be the sole judge of character. 

Liability and Insurance

Because this caregiver is working independently for you, rarely do they have their own insurance. If a caregiver gets injured while working for you, you might get stuck paying medical bills and lost wages. This can take a toll on your expenses. Therefore, it's important to consider the what-ifs of the possible costs that may arise with hiring a private caregiver. 


One thing that a lot of people forget about when hiring a private caregiver is a contract. In circumstances like this, a contract is needed to demonstrate that there's a full understanding of the business relationship. For instance, do you mind if they have guests over at the home? What about if they can receive gifts from your loved one without your permission? These are all things you'd need to consider before hiring a private caregiver. 

Effective Management and Communication

Another thing people don't consider is that a private caregiver will require effective management and communication. Every family has its own set of terms and demands they'd like a caregiver to follow. However, how do you ensure that you effectively got your message across? This is especially true if you've never really had to manage anyone before. Having a third party, like a home care agency, can make this a lot easier.  When working with an agency, you are laying your demands outright so that the agency can match you with the best caregiver. When you communicate your requirements and terms to them, they'll relay that message to the best-fit caregiver assigned to your case. Plus, if one caregiver isn't a great match, a home care agency can find another one for you. 

Working with a Home Care Agency 

Now that you know what goes into hiring a private caregiver, we'll explore the other option. Here are some of the benefits of working with a home care agency to meet your caregiving needs: 

Verifying Information

When you work with a reputable home care agency, you can expect that each employee has had a background check. They also take the time to verify each reference and review their past employment history. The latter is important as it helps agencies determine who would be the best caregiver for you. Lastly, home care agencies will stay up-to-date on their employees’ certifications. 

Replacing Caregivers if Needed

Imagine that you're about to walk into work. You look at your phone and see a text from your caregiver, letting you know they will be unable to make it to their shift with about five minutes to spare. If you hired a private caregiver, you are suddenly faced with the need to skip work. If this isn't feasible, you might have to find a caregiver in a short timespan that may be less qualified.  Now here's another scenario. What if the private caregiver you hired is turning out not to be a good fit for the job? Maybe they forget certain instructions or use methods you don't agree with. If you let them go, you'll then have the task of finding another qualified caregiver, which is time-consuming.  One of the most significant benefits of working with a home care agency is that they will usually send in a substitute caregiver. This saves you in situations where you'd otherwise have to call off work or look for another caregiver. In addition, the substitute your home care agency recommends will likely be just as qualified. 


When working with a home care agency, you do not have to worry about maintaining payment duties, taxes, and so on. The agency takes care of monetary compensation for its caregivers, along with all the necessary tax preparations and withholdings. All you have to do is ensure that your loved one is getting the proper care while you're away!

Select a Quality Home Care Agency

We all want the best care for our loved ones while carrying on with life's obligations and necessities. However, deciding on what exactly is the best home care option is challenging. Though it may seem appealing to hire a private caregiver, the benefits of a home care agency are far greater. A home care agency gives you more reassurance of the caregivers' certifications and background. You will feel better knowing that a home care agency will always have a trusting caregiver available to give you peace of mind while away! If you’re looking for a home care agency with all of the qualities we’ve mentioned above, look no further than Community Home Health Care.  Contact Community Home Health Care to request a compassionate caregiver today.
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 20 May, 2020

How to Keep Aging Loved Ones Safe and Comforted During COVID-19

Times have drastically changed. Things we didn't even think twice about, such as going to watch a movie or eating at a restaurant with family and friends, is now being considered a thing of the past. The emergence of the COVID-19 virus has altered our usual ways of life. In its current state, we are left wondering how to navigate a new normal, which is additionally challenging if you have aging loved ones. You likely wonder, how can I keep them safe and comforted during COVID-19?  

Keeping Your Aging Loved Ones Safe

The idea of not being able to see our older family members and friends is not something we ever thought would become a choice in our lives. However, with the idea of keeping our loved ones safe and healthy, it is an idea we will have to get used to for the time being. Although there are many uncertainties, we still can do things for ourselves and our aging loved ones.  Here are some key steps that you can take to make sure your loved ones are safe and comforted, even if you aren't physically present to give that reassurance yourself. 

What To Do During COVID-19

  1.  Communicate via Phone or Video
Something so simple can mean the world to our loved ones right now. Whether it's a phone call or a video call, there is always something comforting in letting our loved ones know that we are thinking of them in times like these. A distracting conversation can make a huge difference.  In addition, you can remind them about any medications they need to take throughout the day. One popular method of family group conversations is Zoom calls. You can use it with other apps like Skype as well. Getting the whole family together for one massive video call, can be distracting and good for the soul.  2.   Drop Off a Favorite Treat of Theirs Whether it's cookies or their favorite candle, dropping off something for your loved one lets them know that you are thinking of them. Feel free to get crafty and do your own DIY treats.  Right now, withholding contact is the safest way to drop something off, so porch drop-offs are recommended. If you don't have anything to give, that's okay too. Just giving your loved ones a quick wave from their window can make their day! Ask if They Need Anything This can go hand in hand with the above options, but simply reaching out and saying, "Hi, are you good on the essentials?" is a great way to keep your aging loved ones safe. This also takes the stress off of them if they're thinking about how they have to venture out to the grocery store or another public place to pick up some essential items. Let your loved ones know that you are available to provide help if they need anything.  3.   Watch Their Favorite Films with Them If you reside with your aging loved one, consider having movie nights with their favorite films. This can be nostalgic and fun for them, as well as a treat for you. Films can be a great gateway to another time. Many people watch their favorite movies and TV shows as a way to soothe any anxieties or stress. 4.   Have An Elaborate Dinner Cooking a warm and delicious meal can provide extra comfort during these times. If you live with your aging loved one, try new and old recipes together. Sitting around the dining table and having a relaxed conversation can distract and relieve anxiety.  If you don't live together, consider preparing a meal at home and dropping it off.  5.   Connect Them with Faraway Relatives Does your aging loved one ever mention a favorite cousin they miss talking to? If so, try arranging a phone or video call with their favorite cousin who lives in another country, or family that lives in another state. Right now, it is safe to say everyone as a collective craves communication. Socialization is actually considered a tool for happiness and longevity

What Not to Do During COVID-19:

Ignore Them

It seems like common sense, but don't go too long without communicating with your aging loved one. You don't want them to feel left out. During this time, a lack of communication could also cause them to worry about you. 

Scare Them

Another mistake would be to fill them with even more fear and anxiety than they already might be. Times do feel uncertain. However, you don't want to reach out to loved ones and sound scared or hopeless about the current situation.  If you are worried about their health or their safety, just remember to kindly remind them of the new steps they have to take to protect their health.

Make Them Feel Bad

This current situation is not only affecting them but everyone else as well. It is not just their safety that matters, but yours as well. Do not try and make them feel bad, or like you have to take extra precautions because of them. Yes, we want our aging loved ones to be around as long as they can, and we are willing to make the sacrifices for that to happen. However, this is no reason to blame or guilt-trip them because of the preventative measures we need to take. 

We're All in this Together

By following the steps above, you can help your loved ones stay safe and healthy. Right now, we all need a little extra comfort and reassurance. Therefore, whenever you can, reach out to your aging loved ones and let them know you are thinking of them. These hardships won't last forever, and we're all in this together.  Lastly, we know you can't do it all. If you need help during this time to check on your aging loved ones, consider a home health aide. They can provide personal assistance, home chores, and companionship when you're unable to. Contact Community Health Care to request a compassionate caregiver today.
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 2 April, 2020

Caregivers and Seniors: How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency

Caregivers and Seniors: How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency Seniors or people with physical disabilities are more likely to experience some kind of accident or medical emergency. That's why it's important for seniors and their caregivers to have a plan in place to deal with an emergency when it happens. Let's review some steps you can take to prepare for a medical emergency and to ensure that you react calmly and purposefully when a crisis occurs. Preparation and Prevention You may have heard the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The phrase simply means that being careful and methodical in your daily routine can often forestall unfortunate incidents, like a medical emergency or accident. Preparing in advance for the possibility of a medical emergency is just as important as reacting to the incident. Have a List of Emergency Contacts First of all, make a list of anyone you may need to contact in an emergency. Since you are caregiving for a senior citizen, this would include any children or adult grandchildren who may need to know about the situation. It might also include a specialist or therapist, as well as friends or neighbors. The emergency contact list will look different for each person. If your client has memory issues, consider including the 911 number at the top of the list in case he or she forgets those important digits. Know Your Client's Allergies If your client has allergies to shellfish, peanuts, medications, or anything else, you need to know those risk factors right upfront. You may even want to keep a posted list of the allergies in the home and in your client's personal belongings, perhaps in their purse or wallet. If the allergies are so severe that they would require an EpiPen, make sure you have one on each level of the home if there are multiple stories. Carry one with you if you and your client go out anywhere. Practice Your Life-Saving Techniques As a caregiver, you have probably been trained in life-saving techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, CPR, and the like. It's important to maintain these skills by watching training videos again periodically, and by practicing on a dummy. Also, if your care recipient has heart problems, familiarize yourself with the emergency measures you could take to preserve their life through a heart attack or other heart failure incident, including chest compressions or administering life-saving medication or injections. Establish Meeting Points What if the medical emergency also involves a crisis event like a tornado, fire, earthquake, or flood? Plan ahead and identify safe spots to shelter in place from events like an earthquake or tornado. Map out safe exit paths to escape a fire and appoint a meeting place outside the home, such as the end of the driveway or a neighbor's front porch. In the event of a severe crisis event, identify a spot where you could meet up with your care recipient's family members, and communicate that plan to them. Have a "Go Bag" Ready It's a good idea to have a "go bag" or "bug out bag" ready, in case emergency forces you and your care recipient to evacuate. A small rolling suitcase is excellent for this since you or the senior in your care can easily roll it along when you leave. In it, you can stow a 3-day or one-week supply of medications, bottled water, nonperishable food, contacts or glasses, and medical devices with extra batteries. You can also include travel-sized cosmetic and hygiene supplies, as well as spare cell phone chargers. Every three months, review and update the contents of the "go bag." The emergency kit can also include copies of important documents sealed into a waterproof bag. And don't forget first aid items as well! Write Down the Emergency Plan Every part of your emergency plan, whether for a natural disaster or a medical emergency, needs to be written down. Some parts of it may also need to be posted throughout the home, perhaps in the kitchen, in the bathroom, or beside the front door. Seniors often struggle with memory issues and with remembering a series of instructions or a particular sequence of events, so it helps them to have a written record of any emergency plans you have designed together. Be sure to share the emergency plans with your care recipient's family as well, so you can all be on the same page in case of an emergency. These are just a few of the steps you can take to be prepared for a medical emergency. Other precautions and preparedness measures will be unique to your situation as a caregiver, and to the specific health struggles that your client has. Action and Implementation So you've prepared and planned, and you've posted the emergency contacts, allergies, and steps to follow in an accessible place. What if a medical emergency actually happens? What can you do to move through it safely, with the best possible result for your care recipient? Keep Calm It's really tough to stay calm when you're faced with a serious medical emergency. However, yielding to panic will not help anyone, so it's important to stay as calm as you can. Take a second to breathe deeply, and then act. Use your common sense and follow the emergency plan you have laid out. Help Others Remain Calm Even if you manage to calm yourself, those around you may not be able to control their emotions in the situation. Speak in a calm, even tone and gently but firmly direct anyone who isn't emotionally ready to help the situation. Ask them to sit down, or give them a simple task to do. Do Not Move an Injured Person If your care recipient has fallen, unless the individual is in immediate danger from something in the vicinity, do not move them. Call 911 or another medical emergency number and wait for trained medical professionals to evaluate your client's condition and determine if it's safe to move them. Remain with Your Care Recipient If possible, avoid leaving the care recipient alone. If you need to step out of the room to grab a phone to call 911, that's acceptable, but otherwise, try to stay right beside your care recipient until professional medical help arrives. Having you nearby, providing whatever care you can and speaking in calm tones, will help the senior in your care to stay calmer and wait more patiently for the help that's coming. Collect Necessary Items If you and the senior in your care need to leave the home or residence to go to a hospital, or if you need to evacuate due to a flood, hurricane, or other critical events, be sure to grab the emergency kit and important documents bag that you prepared. In case of fire or an immediate threat, you can leave those items behind, but if you have a few moments before an evacuation or before departing for the hospital, take that time to collect any essential items and medications for the person in your care. Sometimes, the items that seem least essential can bring the most comfort to someone going through a medical emergency or some other crisis. Whether you're heading for a hospital or evacuating for another reason, try to bring along comfort items that will help your charge feel more at peace, such as framed family photos, small heirloom items, a soft sweater, or a favorite pillow. If you're looking for a caregiver for a beloved senior in your life, consider getting in touch with Community Home Health Care. We have an experienced, caring staff of trained in-home caregivers, including registered nurses, personal care aides, and home health aides. On our website, you can fill out the online form and we'll send you additional information about the assistance we offer to seniors. And feel free to visit in person or call (845) 425-6555 so we can answer all your questions.   
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 3 March, 2020

Mental Health for Seniors: How to Identify Problems and Get Proper Care

Have you noticed that an older adult in your life is sleeping more than usual, seems angry and irritable, or is having suicidal thoughts? Did you know that these could be signs of a mental health problem? According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four older adults—about 7 million—are living with a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety. By 2030, NCOA expects the number to double to 15 million. The sad fact is that two-thirds of older adults with mental disorders do not receive treatment for their conditions. Untreated mental disorders can lead to poor overall health, higher health care costs, disability or impairment, compromised quality of life, increased caregiver stress, a higher risk of suicide, and death. For these reasons, it’s important to recognize the warning signs and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety—and know how to get treatment for your aging loved one. Depression in Seniors The most prevalent mental disorder among seniors is depression, according to a brief released by the Healthy Aging Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). Depression in seniors can lead to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the condition can make it difficult for the sufferer to seek treatment. Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Depression in Seniors As a caregiver, it’s important to know the signs and risk factors of depression to ensure that the senior in your life receives treatment as quickly as possible. As with most mental health disorders, depression has numerous symptoms. Some seniors may only experience a few symptoms, while others may show signs of several. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the most common warning signs of depression in seniors as:
  • Persistent Sad, Anxious, or “Empty” Mood
  • Feelings of Hopelessness or Pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of Guilt, Worthlessness, or Helplessness
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Hobbies and Activities
  • Decreased Energy or Fatigue
  • Moving or Talking More Slowly
  • Feeling Restless or Having Trouble Sitting Still
  • Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering, or Making Decisions
  • Difficulty Sleeping, Waking Early in the Morning, or Oversleeping
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Changes in Weight
  • Thoughts of Death or Suicide
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Aches or Pains, Headaches, Cramps, or Digestive problems—Without a Distinct Physical Cause
Do you think an older adult in your life for is suffering from depression? If they have experienced any of these symptoms for a majority of the days over a two-week period, their health care provider should screen them for depression. In addition to the warning signs, there are a few risk factors associated with depression in seniors. These include:
  • A Personal or Family History of Depression
  • Major Life Changes, Stress, or Trauma
  • Certain Physical Illnesses and Medications
Anxiety in Seniors Anxiety is another prevalent mental health condition for seniors, and it often is associated with depression. In fact, nearly half of older adults who are diagnosed with depression also experience anxiety, according to the CDC and NACDD brief. Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Anxiety in Seniors Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety. Seniors with GAD are typically over-anxious and worrisome for a majority of days for at least six months. From personal health and everyday routines to work and socialization, GAD can affect nearly every aspect of a senior’s life. Like depression, there are numerous warning signs when it comes to anxiety. According to the NIMH, caregivers should be aware of the following signs and symptoms of GAD in seniors:
  • Feeling Restless, Overly Excited, or On-Edge
  • Being Easily Fatigued
  • Having Difficulty Concentrating
  • Mind Going Blank
  • Irritability
  • Experiencing Muscle Tension
  • Difficulty Controlling Feelings of Worry
  • Having Sleep Problems (Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep, Restlessness, or Unsatisfying Sleep)
Besides these signs and symptoms, chronic health problems such as thyroid conditions or heart arrhythmias can lead to or increase anxiety symptoms. Drinking caffeinated beverages, substance abuse, and certain medications can also cause anxiety. According to the NIMH, research has shown that genetics and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing anxiety. A few of the common risk factors associated with anxiety disorders are:
  • Shyness During Childhood
  • Exposure to Stressful or Negative Life or Environmental Events
  • A Family History of Anxiety or Other Mental Illnesses
Treating Depression and Anxiety in Seniors The typical treatments for both depression and anxiety in seniors include medication and psychotherapy—or a combination of both. Caregivers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of each condition since treatments are generally more effective when they begin during the early stage of either condition. Whether you’re a caregiver in a long-term care facility, assisted living facility, or a home health care provider, several activities can help promote the mental health and wellbeing of seniors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends enhancing your caregiving routine with the following types of activities:
  • Healthy Activities: Walking, exercise classes, interactive games, gardening, relaxation classes, yoga, Quigong, or Tai Chi.
  • Intellectual Activities: Reading books, discussing current events, crossword puzzles, card games, chess, or strategy games.
  • Artistic Activities: Arts and crafts, creative writing, music, drama, and dance.
  • Skill-Building Activities: Classes to learn about computers, cooking, sewing, carpentry, gardening, finances, or grandparenting.
  • Spiritual Activities: Attending religious services or prayer groups, celebrating religious holidays, or meditation classes.
  • Volunteer and Mentoring Activities: Intergenerational activities with children, teens, and young adults.
  • Coping Activities: Classes on loss and bereavement, caring for a spouse, problem-solving, or socialization.
If you’re an older adult living with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, there are a number of things you can do to while you’re being treated for your condition to help improve your quality of life:
  • Be Active and Exercise Regularly
  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Spend Time with Friends or Family
  • Don’t Isolate Yourself—Reach Out for Help
  • Know That Your Mood Will Improve Over Time—Not Right Away
  • Postpone Major Life Changes (Getting Married or Divorced, Changings Jobs, Etc.)
  • Discuss Major Decisions with a Trusted Relative, Friend, or Your Caregiver
  • Educate Yourself About Your Condition
Do you have a loved one that is living with a mental health disorder? Community Home Health Care has a dedicated staff of experienced and trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. To learn more about our services, visit our website and fill out our simple online form. You can also visit us in person or call (845) 425-6555 to speak with a caring representative today. Whether you need medical assistance, personal care, or friendship, we’re here to help!  
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 29 January, 2020

How to Overcome Isolation When You Are a Caregiver

Being a caregiver is sometimes a lonely job. You may feel confined, restricted, shut away from the activities, the people, and the mental stimulation that you enjoy. As the companion for someone with unique challenges and needs, you may not see friends and other family members for long periods of time; and as a result, your own mental health may suffer. It's important to recognize the dangers of isolation and to take steps to provide yourself with an outlet and some relief, so you can continue to live a full, satisfied, and happy life. Discover how to overcome isolation when you are a caregiver. Find a Support Group Sometimes, just talking about the caregiving experience can be a relief. You need some people around you who understand exactly what you're going through, who have been there too or are currently living the same experience. Check online to find a local support group for caregivers, and try to attend meetings in person if those are offered. If not, connecting with other caregivers in an online support group can be just as helpful. Reconnect with Relatives and Friends When you first began your role as a caregiver, you may have been so overwhelmed with the new reality that you let other relationships slip. Now that you've gotten used to the tasks of caregiving, try to reestablish some of those relationships. If you've drifted away from certain friends or relatives and you want to reconnect, try reaching out with a text, a phone call, or an email. You may be able to find time to meet for coffee or lunch. If you can't leave the house due to caregiving responsibilities, see if the person would be willing to come over for a visit. Skype, video calls, and social media provide ways for you to stay in touch with loved ones even if they're far away or unavailable to meet in person. Develop a Hobby Hobbies can be expensive, and some caregivers are struggling with a lack of funds as well as a feeling of isolation. However, there are a number of hobbies you can pursue that don't involve a lot of upfront cost. Writing can be an outlet for a variety of emotions and experiences. You may find it therapeutic to journal, jot down some poetry, or begin crafting a novel. Whether you do it just for fun or treat it as a more serious creative effort, writing is an excellent way to keep your mind active and engaged during long, isolated hours in the home. You can also find writers' groups, both local and online, to provide extra social interaction. If you'd rather read than write, seek out a local book club. Crafting, knitting, or sewing are other hands-on hobbies that provide tangible results without too much up-front cost. You can find supplies at thrift stores or dollar stores, and if you practice enough, you may even be able to sell some of your work on websites like Etsy to make a bit of extra income. You may even find local art fairs where you can enjoy some social interaction and sell a few items. The best part is, you can easily set aside your crafting work to return to caregiving duties, and then pick it up again later when you have more time. Painting, model-building, wood-carving, jewelry-making, music, reading, calligraphy, origami, photography, cooking, crocheting, and leather-crafting are all hobbies you can do from home. Experiment with a hobby you enjoy as a way to give yourself a mental outlet and connect with others who share the same interest. Attend Local Events If you have a bit of disposable income, and you're able to get away from the house now and then, try to find some interesting events to attend. Does your city have a community theater? You can probably find fun plays, musicals, and other performances to enjoy at a reasonable cost, and you just might meet a delightful new friend. Many cities and towns have local spots where you can enjoy live music, good food, and a few laughs with friends, old or new. Karaoke nights, poetry slams, and local band performances are all fun ways to interact with others and meet new people. If you or the person you care for has a dog, you can find ways to become part of your local pet owners' community. Parks, boardwalks, doggie play zones, obedience classes, and pet competitions all provide outlets for connection and activity. Participate in a Faith Community Some caregivers find comfort in being part of a religious community. You can participate in services, interfaith gatherings, and church potlucks or barbecues. Just being around people who share your faith or worldview may give you the emotional boost you need to continue caregiving throughout the rest of the week. Exercise Regularly Did you know that exercising regularly boosts your mood and energy levels? When you're weary from caregiving, you may not feel like exercising—but trust the research, because once you begin a regular exercise regimen, you'll actually gain more energy instead of feeling wiped out. Your mood may improve, and you may notice that you're sleeping better. Plus, your heart and lungs will benefit. Exercise doesn't have to be boring! In fact, you can make it interactive or entertaining for you and the person you're caring for. Put on some peppy music or a dance video and dance around the room! Play an engaging exercise video or try a YouTube yoga channel. If there's a treadmill or exercise bike available in the home, watch a favorite TV show while running or riding. Even something as simple as going up and down the steps a few extra times or taking a walk can be healthy, releasing tension and relieving a little of the sadness or lethargy you might feel as a caregiver. Take Time to Celebrate You As a caregiver, it's easy to make it all about the person you're caring for. Selfless, kind-hearted caregivers are rock stars in our book, and we believe that it's healthy to celebrate yourself occasionally for the difficult, important work you're doing. When family or friends praise you, accept those compliments. Celebrate daily moments of success. Identify milestones in your caregiving experience and assign a celebratory activity or personal reward to those achievements. You deserve recognition for the hard work you're doing every day. Find Reliable Respite Care For many of the out-of-the-house activities, you may need to find someone to take over your duties for a couple of hours so you can take a break and get some much-needed socialization. Finding respite care can be difficult for many at-home caregivers, due to cost, availability, and other concerns. However, it's important to remember that prioritizing your own mental health and happiness is well worth a bit of extra investment. If you need a break as a caregiver, it's okay to hire someone to take over the responsibilities for a while. At Community Home Health Care we have an experienced, caring staff of highly trained in-home caregivers. Our registered nurses and home health aides are happy to provide medical assistance, along with kind-hearted personal care. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about our services, or call (845) 425-6555 and we'll be glad to answer any questions you may have.  
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 6 January, 2020

How to Have a Successful First Day with a New In-Home Caregiver

Hiring a caregiver to help with your loved one can be an immense relief in the long run; but at first, you may find it slightly stressful. Introducing someone new into your life is a stretching experience, and an adjustment phase is normal and expected. With a little time, communication, and patience, you'll find that your in-home caregiver becomes a welcome support and relief for your family. If you're hiring help for a loved one, whether it's an elderly parent, a child, a disabled partner, or a recovering relative, it's important to start things out right. Explore our tips for how to have a successful first day with a new in-home caregiver. Discuss the Caregiver's Arrival Before your caregiver arrives, speak with the person in your home who will be receiving care. Depending on their level of cognitive understanding or their memory capabilities, you may have to simplify your explanation or repeat it a few times. Talk about the person who will be coming over. Express excitement about their arrival and explain how helpful they will be. Describe each task that the caregiver will be performing so that the person receiving care knows what to expect. You may also want to clarify what the caregiver is not responsible for. It's important to begin the new caregiving relationship with open communication about responsibilities and boundaries. Give a Tour of the Home Your caregiver should have visited the home before, but if for some reason that hasn't happened, take a few minutes to familiarize them with the layout of the home. Explain any quirks your home may have, such as hot water and cold water knobs reversed, or a fan that doesn't work, or similar challenges. If you don't anticipate having enough time to give the full tour before you leave, write out the instructions or information on sticky notes. You can place these on cabinets, the fridge, the sink, or other areas where the caregiver may have problems or questions. Talk about Family Preferences You'll also need to review house rules or habits that you may or may not have covered in a previous meeting. These items that aren't necessarily directly related to the care plan—they're more like preferences. Ideally, your caregiver should be eager to learn your family customs so he or she can make everyone more comfortable within the care plan. Some in-home care experts suggest beginning with a basic list of top five preferences for the caregiver, and then once those become familiar, you can continue on from there. For example, if you want people to sanitize their hands or remove their shoes when entering the home, let the caregiver know. If you want the blinds left closed or open, verbalize that preference. Keep in mind that your caregiver won't know or remember all the details and habits of your home right away. It could take a few weeks for your caregiver to become accustomed to the way your family does things, and that's all right. After all, the caregiver's primary responsibility is to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of your loved one. The other elements of function within the home are important, but not as vital as that primary goal. Try to Stay Flexible On that note, remember to allow for some flexibility. The care plan you've developed is a guide, but as the new caregiver evaluates your loved one's needs from a fresh perspective, the plan may need to change a little. If small alterations smooth out the process and enable a better bond between caregiver and receiver, allow those changes if at all possible. The new caregiver may not relate to your loved one the same way you do; and while this can be jarring at first, it can also be a wonderful thing. Sometimes the introduction of a new person into your loved one's life can be rejuvenating and refreshing. Other times, it may be an exhausting experience for your loved one until they adjust and accept the new presence as normal. Your loved one may need extra rest and additional reassurances of love during or after the first few shifts with a new caregiver. Showcase Your Loved One's Personality The new caregiver doesn't know all the aspects of your loved one's personality like you do. Maybe your elderly parent accomplished wonderful things throughout their life, won awards, built companies, or pursued interesting hobbies. Feel free to share those details with your in-home caregiver! Getting that full, colorful picture of your loved one is so valuable to a caregiver who's working on developing a bond with a patient. With those details and facts in mind, the caregiver will be better able to engage with your loved one. They'll have more conversation topics to explore, and who knows—maybe they will discover a whole range of shared interests that they can discuss! A good caregiver recognizes that the people in his or her care have full lives, rich personalities, and intrinsic value. They are worthy of joy, health, love, and empathy, and part of the caregiver's role is to enable those beautiful things. No disability or age limitation can define who a person is! The right caregiver will take a holistic approach to your loved one's needs, going beyond the basics of physical care and ensuring a better quality of life overall. Express Concerns Clearly and Kindly If you notice an issue with the method of care, or if you've perceived a conflict or miscommunication occurring, sit down and chat with the caregiver. In most cases, such little bumps are easily navigated with clear, open communication and a positive attitude of partnership. Don't feel obliged to keep quiet out of reserve or politeness! Your caregiver welcomes feedback and wants to know how to improve the caregiving process and customize it to your family. Most caregivers will want to do a debriefing of sorts after the first shift, to get your opinion on how things went. If the caregiver doesn't suggest a brief review of the day, feel free to mention it so you can dialogue honestly about any struggles or issues that may have come up. Review the Care Plan Following that first day, the care plan may need to be tweaked; and as the weeks or months go on, further adjustments may be necessary. It's important to tell the caregiver if you'd like changes to be made. If your caregiver approaches you with suggestions, listen and consider the ideas. Sometimes, rather than rejecting the changes immediately, you may want to think them over for a while. A day or two of consideration may help you understand why the caregiver is suggesting that change. On the first day with a new caregiver, clarity and kindness are vital. Respect your new caregiver's expertise while being honest about your own needs and preferences, as well as those of your loved one. With a mutual sense of respect and openness in place, the way is clear for a healthy bond to grow between the caregiver and your loved one. And you'll find that you feel a stronger sense of partnership and support as you and the in-home caregiver work together to ensure a wonderful quality of life for those you love. Do you have someone in your life who needs care and companionship? Community Home Health Care features an experienced, caring staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can also visit in person or call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you may have, and we'll be happy to help.
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 5 December, 2019

Winter Safety Tips for Seniors & Caregivers

Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold, ice, and electrical issues. Luckily, with just a little bit of planning and caution, you can make sure that the seniors in your life are prepared to handle anything the winter throws at them—and your elderly loved ones can know the right steps to take to stay safe and healthy all season. 6 Quick Tips for Keeping Seniors Winter-Safe Prevent falls and slips. Yikes, those icy patches can be tricky for everyone. But for seniors, any slip or stumble can lead to serious injury, from hip and wrist fractures to head trauma, lacerations, or even bad bruising that limits mobility. Luckily, you don’t need to stay inside to prevent a slip (but if the weather is very bad, an evening at home can be a good idea!). To handle ice and sleet safely, make sure your loved one has winter shoes with good traction and non-slip soles and, if they use a cane, replace the cane tip for best use. Once you’ve come inside, make sure both you and your loved ones leave any wet or icy shoes at the door to prevent slippery surfaces on hardwood or linoleum floors. Prepare for outages and storms. Snowstorm blackouts may be exciting for the kids, but lack of electricity or downed power lines can lead to harmful situations for seniors. Prepare for limited travel ability or black-outs by creating a disaster kit of needed supplies and food to keep on hand. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water for several days, as well as a manual or battery-operated can opener, and battery-powered flashlight, radio, and extra batteries. And don’t forget the medicine! Make sure you have extras of your loved ones’ necessary medications and first aid essentials. Watch your heating appliances. Space heaters, electric blankets, and other heat sources may be cozy and warm in cold climates, but they must be handled safely. Before using any device, check that there are no signs of damage, age, or fraying to the material or power cords. When in use, make sure that avoid covering the device and keep any heat source away from flammable materials. If you’re snuggling by a fireplace or warming up with gas heaters, prevent dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping an updated, working carbon monoxide detector nearby. Stay covered and warm. Cold temperatures can be a risk of easily preventable frostbite and hypothermia—-especially for those over age 65. And since we can’t stay indoors all winter long, make facing the cold a little easier by taking note of a few important cold weather steps: Don’t skimp on the heating bills — keep your senior’s indoor space at a comfortable temperature, Don’t forget to check on heating appliances, boilers, and utility bill payments to avoid being left in the cold! Don’t skip bundling up with layers: socks, heavy coats, gloves, scarf, and a hat can keep everyone cozy and warm all winter long. Don’t forget to stay warm indoors too—remind your loved ones to dress warmly if the house has drafts, chilly bathrooms, or cold floors. Fight the winter blues. Feeling gloomy under the grey skies? That’s pretty common! Cold winters, with the lack of sun and limited social outings, can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression for everyone. To help your elderly loved one or patient beat the winter blues, make sure to maintain a regular schedule of visitors or phone calls—or consider setting up a home companion or adult daycare schedule. A daily check-in not only keeps loneliness at bay, but also ensures there’s always someone to notice any health or environment changes that may be worrisome. Keep a healthy diet. In the colder months, dehydration and poor nutrition are common causes of poor health for seniors. Limited time outdoors, lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin D. And since it’s chilly outside, it’s easy to forget a daily water intake---which can lead to dehydration. Focus on maintaining sufficient fluid intake and a fortified, balanced diet to keep healthy and fight off the sniffles, all year long. Staying safe and healthy all winter can be a challenge. But the right home care can help. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 10 November, 2019

Balancing Elder Care With Other Relationships

Without a doubt, becoming a family caregiver can have an impact on all of your other relationships. Whether you took on the caregiver role gradually or suddenly, that role becomes the main priority in your life. Before you know it, almost all of your personal obligations become secondary, but you tell yourself, “this is only for a little while”. However, it’s easy for a little while to become weeks, months, and eventually years. You don’t want to look up one day and find that all of your other relationships are suffering. After all, socialization is a part of self-care and not taking care of yourself can impact your role as caregiver. Here are a few suggestions to help maintain your other relationships. 

Maintaining Your Marriage as a Caregiver

The relationship you have with your significant other is one that always has to be poured into. And it’s not just for them, but you too. Studies show that full-time caregivers are at an increased risk for substance abuse, health issues, and depression and anxiety. Fortunately, self-care and balance can reduce such risks. Some ways to stay present with your partner is:
  • Keeping the lines of communication open and judgment-free
  • Doing simple acts such as complimenting them 
  • Setting aside time for a date-night, even if it’s just snuggling up watching movies in the living room
  • Actively listening to your partner
These few acts can help alleviate feelings of resentment and neglect in your relationship. Overall, you’ll need to be a team and be realistic about the changes that need to take place. A supportive partner can make it easier to get through it all. 

Maintaining Your Relationship With Your Children

If you happen to take care of both your parents and your children, then you are in what’s called “the sandwich generation”. Those who take on this role are not only providing financial and care support to their parents and children, but emotional support. It’s easy to always feel like your shortchanging one when you’re providing support and care to the other. However, there’s a way to help both generations and also help yourself!  The best thing you can do for your children is to explain that their elders will need help sometimes. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that they want to help, which can ease the burden on you. For instance, if your parents like to play card or board games and your children are old enough to play, then let them play together. Your children will feel helpful and your parents will feel good knowing that they taught them something new.  While not every family dynamic will work that way, the best thing you can do is to clearly communicate and set boundaries. 

Maintaining your Friendships as a Caregiver

When you’re caring for an aging parent, it’s easy to cancel on a friend, not respond to a phone call or text message, and forego almost all social festivities. You may find that even though you want to maintain your friendships, you just don’t have the energy to do so. On top of that, you may feel guilty if you choose your friends over your parents.  As we stated about other relationships, you must clearly communicate about what’s going on. Your friends may be going through the same thing too! You’ll need your friends to occasionally vent, workout together, and just let your guard down. 

Overall, You Don’t Have to do it Alone

Everyone on this list is considered a part of your support system. You need them and they need you. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries to refill your own cup. Be clear about your priorities so you don’t enter a downward spiral of broken relationships and ongoing burnout.  Also, don’t forget that there are professionals out there that can give your parents the quality care they need on the days you need to refresh. At Community Home Health Care, we have Personal Care Aides, Trained Companions, and Home Health Aides, who are ready to provide part-time and full-time assistance. You owe it to yourself and it’ll improve not only your quality of life but everyone else in your circle too. Contact us today to learn how we can best help your situation.   
Read More
blog post image
calendar icon 2 October, 2019

Feeling at Peace: How to Lose the “Caregiver Guilt”

If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention.  There are many forms of caregiver guilt, depending on the caregiver’s life circumstances. For many, the guilt is a result of our sense of responsibility for things we feel we could’ve changed for the better—even if the events or choices were outside our control.  And when the complicated challenges of caring for an elderly loved one may not go as planned, our guilt makes us shoulder the disappointment and self-blame in how things turned out.  If you’re feeling caregiver guilt, the following statements may sound familiar: 
  • We feel guilty we don’t spend enough time without loved ones, or that we spend too much time with them at the expense of others.
  • We feel guilty for moving our loved ones into a senior facility or assisted living, or that we’re hurting them and others by keeping them in their own home or moving them into our family’s home. 
  • We feel guilty for own feelings: for resenting the burden of caregiving, for frustration at our parent’s limits, and for being selfish if we do prioritize our own needs.  
Caregiver guilt is almost unavoidable. Our care and desire to make the best choices for our loved ones means that we can hold ourselves to high standards of behavior—and blame ourselves when the stress of caregiving shows on our careers, family life, or mental health.  But there are steps you can take to mitigate your unwarranted feelings of guilt. Relying on others, taking time for self-care, and focusing on the positive helps you balance your emotions. And a happier, healthier caregiver can provide better care.  Tip 1: Accept Help The first step to alleviating guilt is to rid yourself of the expectation that you need to handle everything on your own. Reach out to other family members, or even consider hiring a caretaker to provide care and companionship when you can’t. If those options aren’t available, think about which errands in your personal life can be delegated or hired out. While paying for supermarket delivery or extra cleaning help may seem selfish, the benefits of your ease of mind will go a long way.  Tip 2: Remove the “Should” As a caregiver, your to-do list is full of “shoulds” for every minute of the day, but it may be time to renovate that list. Make a chart of “shoulds” and “needs,” and categorize all your tasks honestly. You may find that some of your most difficult or time-consuming tasks are “shoulds”, such as taking Mom for her doctor appointments, that can be delegated or given up to make way for the most important needs without compromising on your caregiving.  Tip 3: Focus on the Positive  Guilt has a way of keeping you focused on the things you haven’t done right, but you can keep negative feelings at bay with mindfulness and self-reflection. Keep in mind, your goal is to keep your loved ones safe and provided for—and no one can truly “do it all”. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, to give yourself positive reinforcement, and to reassure yourself that the caregiving role is a challenging one for anyone—and your efforts go a long way to keeping your loved one happy and healthy.  Tip 4: Do For Yourself, Too. There’s no quicker way to drain your emotional health than denying yourself the habits that keep you happy, healthy, and upbeat. When your schedule is full, it's tempting to sideline your gym hours, social life, or even just some “me time”. But going for too long without any space for yourself will only leave you angrier, stressed, and unable to stretch yourself further. Put your self-care on your to-do list to keep it a priority, and focus on getting in your personal time—even if that means removing other tasks from the list (takeout is fine for dinner, sometimes!)  Tip 5: Find Support  Believe it or not, there are plenty of people in the same boat as you—or ready to offer an understanding ear. Search online for support groups in your area, or ask friends and family if they know a fellow caregiver. Speaking to others lets you share stories, tips, or even just enjoy the company of someone facing the same challenges with positivity and a healthy mindset. Caregiving can be overwhelming. But when it comes to making the right decisions for your loved one, finding trusted home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.   
Read More