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

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calendar icon 1 May, 2019

Aging in Place, Home Living Trends

As they continue to age, an optimal choice for seniors looking to optimize their quality of life is to age in place. In fact, a 2014 AARP survey revealed that 87 percent of adults over the age of 65 preferred this option. Although health and physical capability are two big factors associated with  aging at home, one factor that’s often forgotten is the livability of the home seniors are located in. Modern homes are not always equipped to accommodate aging citizens. It’s not an easy choice to relocate, nor achieve a complete home remodel, especially when costs are high. However, the environment can be adapted to suit the needs and caution of older citizens with minimal modifications. The emergence of different technologies has also allowed aging in place to be more secure, and enables seniors to stay connected to family, as well as maintain medicinal schedules and any other health habits. Here are some of the home living trends to better maximize a seniors ability to age at home.

Home Living Trends

Home Access

First thing’s first- is the entrance to the home well lit? Though not many would consider it, making sure the entrance to the home accommodates seniors is something to think about when aging in place. Good lighting is essential for when night falls, and any mats that could cause a stumble should be removed. Also, a threshold entrance could warrant falls, so modifying to a level entrance would be more beneficial to prevent any trips or stumbles.

Widen Doorways/ Hallways

In order to accommodate a scooter or wheelchair should the need arise, wider doors and hallways are essential for a home to fully accommodate seniors. Recommended hallway width is 48” and door width 36”.

Go Fall-Proof

One in four American seniors fall every year. Because falls are a leading cause in accidents for seniors, a fall-proof home will make for a happy aging in place with little worry. To do this, install slip-proof flooring and/or get rid of threshold bath/shower entry. Also, other small modifications include getting rid of area rugs or running cables on the floor that could lead to tripping.

Steps, Stairs, and Everything in Between

Steps and stairs in the home can trigger falls if not accommodated properly for older citizens. So if living in a two-story home, make sure the stairs are well lit by installing light switches on both ends. Also, replace any worn out carpeting and make sure no nails are sticking out of the stair steps. And the most beneficial step in modifying the home: make sure handrails are installed. This can be critical in preventing any falls!

Get Connected

As newer technologies emerge, there are now apps beneficial for folks looking to age in place. Some apps are useful for emergencies and medication woes. For instance, Medisafe Pill Reminder reminds seniors when to take their pills and when it’s time for a prescription to be refilled. This app is also useful to track weight, pulse, temperature, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure. Then there’s the Red Panic Button app, which lets seniors open the app and tap the red button that appears in the middle of the screen in case of a fall or other emergency. This immediately sends a text message and email with your GPS location in a Google Maps link to all of your emergency contacts.

In Conclusion

As seniors continue to age, many don’t see a reason to leave the comforts of their home and prefer to age in place. Modern advancements such as apps enable family members to stay close with these older citizens, and a few home modifications can ensure well-being and ease worry. Many seniors and their families are unsure where to start, or what programs are available to educate and support aging in place. Contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 to learn more today. Our care providers will be happy to assist.    
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calendar icon 8 April, 2019

Adjusting to 24-Hour Home Care: What Families & Seniors Need to Know

As the baby boomer population continues to age, more and more families are embracing 24-hour home care as an attractive option that allows seniors to age in place, rather than having to move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. In addition, 24-hour home care is seen as a more cost effective option that results in being happier and healthier. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that in the coming decades, home health care will become an increasingly popular choice for patients and family members.

Why 24-Hour Home Care   

Often, individuals start with home care on an as-needed basis. This may mean that your loved one receives physical therapy in their home following a surgery, or it may mean assistance with self-care, such as bathing and meals. This limited home care may be extremely effective for many seniors. However, as a disease or condition progresses, so will the need for more assistance to make remaining in the home a safe and realistic option, which leads us to 24-hour care.

Adjusting to 24-Hour Home Care: For Families and Seniors

Even though 24-hour home care is an amazing choice for seniors wanting to age in place, it can also be met with some resistance, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s normal for family members and seniors to have these questions:
  • How will I tell mom and/or dad that they now require around the clock care?
  • How can ensure that my loved one retains their dignity?
  • What does this service entail exactly?
  • What adjustments do I need to make to ensure that the caregiver is also comfortable?
  • What if the caregiver isn’t a good “fit” for my loved one?
The best way to lessen the resistance and uncertainty regarding 24-hour home care is to become informed. Therefore, we’ve come up with a few ways that you can use to strategically prepare for and adjust to 24-hour home care services.

The Caregiver Is There to Help

The first thing you’ll want to establish is that the caregiver is simply there to help. Having a very clear understanding of what the home care provider will or will not do before they even begin almost immediately brings a sense of relief. Home care providers can assist with everything from medication reminders and medical procedures to housekeeping and food preparation. Sometimes it’s as simple as companionship. However, no matter what their duties entail, it helps to know beforehand so expectations can be set. Also, remember that you’re doing this for a reason: to provide your loved one with good, quality care. Having an around-the-clock caregiver can limit the possibility of wandering, medication neglect, and loneliness. Let your loved one know that you’re doing what’s best for them and what’s been recommended by a medical professional.

Listen To Their Concerns

If your loved one has concerns about 24 hour-home care, then allow them to express their feelings. They’ll feel better knowing that their opinion has been heard. Plus, understanding their fears will allow you to ask the right questions and find the best fit.

Finding The Right Fit

Sharing a living space with anyone can be challenging, especially if your loved one has lived on their own for decades. Therefore, it is important that when hiring a home health care worker, you not only look for someone who is extremely well-qualified from a medical perspective but also for a person whose personality meshes with your loved one. Working with a home care agency can make this part of the process a lot easier. A home care agency will review the caregivers qualifications, run a thorough background check, and handle the details regarding employment laws and taxes. In addition, they’ll present to you caregivers that are the best fit for your situation. Lastly, you’ll likely have an opportunity to meet with the caregivers before they begin helping in the home. Having the opportunity to meet someone beforehand will bring ease to not only you, but you’re loved one too.

The Transition Takes Time To Get Used To

Like most things in life, adjusting to change can take a little getting used to. The same applies to around-the-clock caregiving. Understand that it can take several months to adjust to someone being constantly in the home, but communication and transparency go a long way. Start slowly. Consider beginning with part-time care to ease the transition.

Getting the Home Ready

If you plan to have a live-in caregiver, then there are some federal regulations that have to be adhered to. For example, a live-in caregiver must be provided with their own room. Therefore, you or your family members may have to make renovations or rearrangements to the home to make it comfortable for multiple people. In addition, live-in caregivers are allowed an 8 hour sleeping break. If scheduled caregivers come in for 8 to 12 hour shifts, then the home health aide is expected to remain awake throughout the shift and sleeping arrangements do not have to be made. In either situation, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to navigate the home and find items the aide may need for your loved one.  

Scheduling Changes May Occur

As they say, it’s much better to be proactive than reactive.This couldn’t be more true with scheduling. In the event that your loved ones assigned caregiver requires time off, then a temporary aide will be assigned. Let your loved one know that this could occur. In addition, consider having a log that includes helpful information about your loved one for caregivers. Information like their favorite foods, topics to avoid, and more could make transitions go over more smoothly.

In Conclusion

Home care can be an important service that allows your loved one to successfully age in place rather than having to transition to facilities that can be financially costly and emotionally challenging. 24-hour home care is extremely beneficial, but the process isn’t without hiccups. Often, going from living independently to having full-time home care can have its fair share of challenges, some of them emotional in nature. However, none of these challenges are insurmountable. With careful communication and planning, you and your loved one can embark on this journey prepared and informed. If you have a special senior in your life that needs companionship, we at Community Home Health Care can help. Our staff of highly trained in-home caregivers includes home health aides, personal care aides, and registered nurses. We are here to provide personal and medical assistance, but most importantly—friendship. Please visit our website, call us at (845) 425-6555, or drop by our facility and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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calendar icon 5 March, 2019

Organizational Tips for Caregivers

Being a caregiver to an elderly parent is an enormous responsibility. You’re in charge of nearly every little aspect of your parent’s life and daily activities. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, and possibly even frightening at times. However, early planning and organization can make caregiving a little easier and less stressful. Whether this is your first time as a caregiver or you’ve been doing it for some time, you need to be organized. It eliminates confusion, frustration, and wasted time. You may be reluctant at first because it’s just another thing to add on your “to do” list, but you’ll quickly find that it’s worth it. Here are a few tips to help you get better organized as a caregiver. Note that if you’re a hired caregiver for an elderly adult, you can still use many of these tips, perhaps in conjunction with the family (primary) caregiver.   Gather All Paperwork in One Location. Get an accordion folder or three-ring binder with sections and place your parent’s paperwork in it. Label each section and sort accordingly—hospital bills; list of doctors/specialists phone numbers; list of medications, dosage, and what they’re for; insurance, and so on. Keep this binder in an easily accessible location in the home, and clearly labeled. That way, anyone else caring for your elderly parent (relative, home health aide, etc.) can quickly refer to it if necessary. Maintain a “To-Do” List and Keep it Updated. Even if your elder parent’s schedule is relatively stable with few changes, it’s important to keep a “To-Do” list. Write down your caregiving responsibilities and activities, but also any family- or work- oriented tasks. You can use a physical paper daily/weekly organizer or an app on your digital device—whichever you feel most comfortable using. Keep a Small Notebook for Observations. One of your roles as caregiver is observing your elder’s physical and mental health. That way you can note if there’s a change in say, eating habits or mental faculties. Use a Large Wall Calendar for Appointments. In this day and age of smartphones and tablets, physical time management items seem old fashioned or unnecessary. In fact, having a large wall calendar displayed in a prominent location will help you stay more organized, because it’s always within view. You should still write down any appointments on your digital device as a backup. Furthermore, not only does a physical calendar benefit you, but anyone else caring for your elder and most importantly, your elder him/herself. It allows them to be involved in their own care. Don’t forget to include any of your own appointments, so that there are no surprises. If a hired caregiver shows up on Thursday morning because you have your own doctor’s appointment, your elder will be well aware and not feel anxious or upset. Utilize Other Help Services. As a family caregiver, it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. If you can afford it, consider hiring outside services to take care of smaller errands so you can focus on more important tasks. Hire a housekeeper to clean twice a month. Sign up for meal or grocery delivery. Find a local teenager to mow the lawn for a fee. If you’re really swamped, you may want to hire an outside caregiver. A second person can help share the load a few times a week and leave you free to tackle other responsibilities, or simply take some personal time off for yourself. Places like Community Home Health Care offer home health aides, personal care aides, and even registered nurses for hire. Find a Back-up Caregiver. What will happen if YOU get sick or are somehow incapacitated? Who will care for your parent? Ideally you’ll have a sibling who lives nearby, but not everyone is fortunate. Consider asking a neighbor or close friend to help if you’re not able to be there. Keep a List of Medical Supplies and Medications for Restocking. You don’t want to suddenly find yourself out of medication, bandages, or other important supplies. Keep an updated list and make sure that you always have everything you need. Don’t Let Responsibilities Pile Up. As a caregiver, it can be easy to let small tasks slide, but soon you’ll find yourself overwhelmed. Bills remain unopened; supplies are alarmingly low; dishes aren’t put away; your parent hasn’t done their physical therapy in days. Take care of each task as soon as you can and resist putting it off, or risk forgetting altogether. For example if a new bill arrives, open it immediately and pay it, then file in your folder with all the other paperwork. Find Senior-Friendly Gadgets and Accessories. Observe the senior in your care and look around his/her surroundings. Sometimes you may need to purchase a few simple items to make things easier for the both of you. For example, a large adult bib can mean doing far less loads of laundry. A grabbing tool can mean less time for you picking up items off the floor or on a shelf because your senior can grab them him/herself. Do an online search for commonly used products for seniors, and strange as it sounds, keep an eye out for “As Seen on TV!” informercials. Many of those products are aimed in bettering the lives of seniors. Put Everything in One Place. Spending ten minutes searching for the right medicine bottle can be stressful. Organize all important items and supplies so that they can be quickly found. Put all medicines in one spot, all physical therapy equipment in a basket, all feeding-related items together, etc. Don’t Forget Regular Household Tasks. Typical household duties such as paying the bills, doing taxes, walking the dog, even changing the air filter in the air conditioner can fall by the wayside when you’re caring for an elderly parent. Make sure to include these tasks in your “To-Do” list.   It takes a little time to get organized and significant effort to stay organized. However, you will find that you’re more prepared, relaxed, and confident in your role as caregiver if you do so. Keep in mind that you may encounter a “trial-and-error” situation, in that not everything may work smoothly right away. In fact, not all of these tips may work for you. For example, you may not be able to afford hiring outside services, or rely on a neighbor as a back-up caregiver. That’s okay; try it from a different angle, or just skip that tip and move on to another. Following some of the tips is better than not doing so at all.
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calendar icon 9 February, 2019

Aides of the Month – January

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calendar icon 31 January, 2019

The Importance of Companionship for Senior Mental Health

It’s inevitable that as people age, they also become more isolated. A 2016 Merck Manual study found that about 30% of 46 million seniors not living in a nursing home live alone. The consequences of isolation on senior mental health can be tragic, ranging from extreme loneliness to a further decline of health. It’s crucial then, for seniors to seek out companionship. However, the answer is not necessarily to move to a senior facility. In spite of the prospect of crippling loneliness, many seniors strongly hold on to their independence.  The Merck study also found that about 90% of those seniors who live alone insist on doing so. How can we then help these fiercely independent but also isolated seniors? There are several possible solutions.   Why are Seniors Alone? There are many reasons that lead seniors to spend their days alone. Adult children may move away or are simply too busy with their own families to visit often. Even seniors with family caregivers may feel alone if their family caregiver works during the day. There is also the sad fact that friends and spouses may have passed away. Deteriorating health is another factor, as it can mean losing the ability to drive or go for walks. Embarrassment is another consideration, as seniors with poorly functioning facilities (such as bladder control) may worry about experiencing an incident in public.   Consequences of Isolation Loneliness is obviously the biggest result of isolation, but this can, in turn, lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, or a risk of depression. There is also a decline in health and an increased rate of mortality for seniors who live alone. This may be due to unchecked symptoms and a lack of a social network that would advise medical attention. Seniors who live alone may also neglect or forget to take their medication, or have trouble with certain medical treatments. Social skills also deteriorate among seniors who are frequently alone. Many of us have heard of the “grumpy old man” stereotype. They have trouble interacting with people when given the opportunity, which in turn leads others to back away, causing more loneliness.   In-Home Caregivers as Companions As mentioned earlier, many seniors value their independence so much that they’re willing to endure isolation. Therefore, relocating them to a nursing facility is not the solution. As long as he or she is able to safely live alone (i.e. no chance of falling or passing out), seniors should ideally live at home where they feel comfortable and secure. A suitable compromise then would be to hire an in-home caregiver who can provide companionship (and if necessary, some medical assistance) to the senior. This will allow the senior to maintain his or her independence while not feeling lonely and isolated. In-home caregivers provide physical and mental benefits for seniors. They can help seniors with physical therapy, exercises, or simply taking walks with them. In-home caregivers can even take them on small field trips such to the movies, lunch, or to the mall. They can play mind-stimulating games with seniors such as chess or cards, or assist them with their hobbies. In-home caregivers can also monitor medication, doctor’s appointments, and the senior’s overall well-being. They can even cook for them, do light housework, and assist in personal care. And of course, in-home caregivers are simply someone to talk to. Even if your senior has a family caregiver, an in-home caregiver can be a helpful asset. Interacting with a different person is mentally stimulating and can alleviate boredom, for both the senior and family caregiver. An in-home caregiver is also beneficial for the primary caregiver because it allows him or her to take a break and do other things, like work full time, engage in personal outings, or tend to their families.   Additional Remedies for Isolation There are other ways for seniors to combat isolation. Be sure to take into consideration their physical or mental health, as some of these suggestions may not be ideal for someone with say, dementia or debilitating arthritis. Volunteer If the senior is still relatively able-bodied, he or she can take on a volunteer role. Even if it’s only once a week, volunteering for a certain cause gets him or her out of the house and interacting with others. Adopt a Pet Animals don’t talk, but they certainly provide companionship and unconditional love. Caring for a pet would also give a senior a sense of purpose and stimulate their minds. Just make sure not to get a pet that would be difficult to care for, such as a large dog. Schedule Regular Meetings with Friends It’s crucial for seniors who live alone to maintain contact with nearby friends. Encourage them to meet up for coffee or lunch at least once a week, or even visit each other’s homes. Meet Other People who Share Your Hobby Coloring, painting, knitting, playing board games, assembling puzzles—there are countless hobbies that seniors can enjoy with others. Local community centers may have clubs that cater to your senior’s hobby. Use Video Telephony to Keep in Touch Your senior can communicate with faraway loved ones via Skype, FaceTime, or some other form of video telephony. Seeing their loved ones on a screen can be more satisfying than simply speaking on the phone with them, and can help alleviate some loneliness. You may first need to teach your elderly loved one how to use the technology, so don’t use an overly complicated program. It may lead to frustration and reluctance to use it.   If you have a special senior in your life that needs companionship, we at Community Home Health Care can help. Our staff of highly trained in-home caregivers includes home health aides, personal care aides, and registered nurses. We are here to provide personal and medical assistance, but most importantly—friendship. Please visit our website, call us at (845) 425-6555, or drop by our facility and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.  
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calendar icon 1 January, 2019

Finding a Good Home Health Care Agency

  If your elderly loved one requires personal and medical assistance due to injury, illness, disability, or declining health, you may want to consider a home health care agency. Home health care agencies employ caregivers and specialists such as occupational therapists, companions, home health aides, and registered nurses. They tend to the patient at his or her own home. With many home health care agencies available, it can be difficult to find the right one for your elderly loved one’s needs. You’ll need to do a significant amount of research before making a decision. Here are some tips to facilitate that decision-making process. Note that there’s a difference between a home health care agency and a non-medical home agency. A non-medical home agency provides people who do basic housekeeping and personal care tasks. On the other hand, a home health care agency features specialists and caregivers who focus on more health and medical-related tasks such as administering medication, aiding in physical therapy, and monitoring medical equipment.   Why a Home Health Care Agency? For many elderly people, staying in an unfamiliar environment—even for a short time—can be frightening.  Additionally, the idea of losing one’s independence and personal space can be disconcerting. Remaining at home, where he or she is surrounded by their personal items, family photos, and furniture maintains security and comfort. Therefore, it’s best for an elderly loved one to stay home for as long as possible but still receive the care they need. In addition, hiring help from a home health care agency is cheaper than a hospital or nursing home bill. Another reason for using a home health care agency is that their specialists can supplement the current family caregiver. Many family caregivers are stretched thin, caring of their elderly loved ones while caring for their own families or working full-time jobs. Home health care agency caregivers can take over for a few hours a week (or even all day), allowing the family caregiver some rest and personal time, or maybe even giving up that role entirely. Expect Some Resistance Before you begin your search, discuss the situation with your elderly loved one. There’s a strong chance that he or she will object to a caregiver, which is understandable. Many people will feel uneasy, even afraid at the thought of letting a stranger in their homes. They may fear that they will be robbed, or worse. Explain to your loved one why hiring a caregiver is necessary, even if you are a family caregiver. If he or she is still resistant, offer a short trial of say, a week or two. If they are capable, consider inviting your elderly loved one to participate in the research and selection process. It may alleviate their worries. Perhaps he or she can even accompany you when you speak to potential caregivers once you’ve narrowed down a particular home health agency. Home Health Care Agency vs. Independent Caregivers Some families choose to eliminate the middle man of home health care agencies and hire an independent caregiver. It’s a tempting option, primarily because independent caregivers generally cost about 30-40% less than agency caregivers. However if you go this route, this means that you are the employer and are thus responsible for various employment laws and taxes. You will need to do the background and credit checks for potential caregivers. You also have fewer options during emergencies. What happens if the independent caregiver is sick? A home health care agency on the other hand, will be able to provide a substitute caregiver. It’s not surprising then, that many families opt for using a home health care agency to find the right caregiver for their elderly loved one. Talk to People The first step in finding a good home health care agency is to talk to friends, co-workers, family members, and doctors to get advice. Ask them what they look for in a home health care agency and which places they recommend. Your elderly loved one’s physician may even suggest what kinds of specialists are required. Financial Considerations The second step is to think about your budget. Particularly, consider the duration of the required services—how long will your elderly loved one need specialist help? A few weeks or months? Indefinitely? And how many hours per day? How many specialists will you need to hire? These factors will affect the costs. Additionally, some places take Medical or Medicare, so check if the facilities you’re interested in are covered. Initial Research When you have a better idea of your loved one’s needs and your budget, start that list of home health care agencies. Look for the following information when you visit their websites or call them: licensing, accreditation/certification, and insurance. See if they provide information on their employees, including screening and hiring procedures, background checks, training (medical, non-medical, and emergency situations), and whether or not they’re bonded. Reviews and References Look online for reviews of your potential home health care agencies. Major review sites such as Yelp and Consumer Reports will have some ratings. The Medicare website has a section  on home health care listings as well. Of course, don’t just rely on online reviews. Ask the potential agencies for references as well. Find the Right Caregiver for Your Elderly Loved One When it comes to matching the right caregiver with your loved one, you may have to look to factors in addition to their training and skills. This is a person who will spend lots of time with your family member, so it’s important that they get along. It helps if the caregiver has similarities or something in common with your loved one. Some people feel more comfortable with a caregiver who speaks the same language as them, or is the same gender or ethnicity. Others may like spending time with a caregiver of the same religion. Ask the home health care agency how caregivers are matched, and if they can accommodate special requests.   If you are looking for a home health care agency for your elderly loved one or have any questions, please fill out the form at the Community Home Health Care home page and one of our helpful staff will contact you as soon as possible.  
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calendar icon 3 December, 2018

Differences between Elderly Caregiver Roles

When we think of elderly caregivers, we often picture nurses working in hospitals or assisted living facilities. But the truth is that you don’t need a nursing degree to become an elderly caregiver. In fact, in some cases, all you need is a high school diploma and some training. Caring for the elderly is a rewarding, but challenging experience. It’s not a career choice one should decide upon a whim. Before you decide to go down the path of elderly caregiving, first ask yourself these questions.
  1. Do you like working with people?
  2. Are you willing to work with potentially difficult, combative, stubborn, and even abusive patients?
  3. Are you physically able to lift and carry a full-grown adult to and from various locations such as vehicles, wheelchairs, or beds?
  4. Can you handle long, physically and mentally exhausting days and possibly nights?
  5. Will you be comfortable helping patients with personal hygiene, bathing, and using the toilet? What if the patient was of the opposite sex?
  6. Can you maintain a professional yet friendly disposition regardless of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue?
  7. Will you be comfortable speaking with the patients’ families regarding difficult situations?
  8. Will you be able to keep a cool head in the event of a medical emergency?
  9. Will you be able to emotionally handle a patient’s death?
  10. Are you willing to do all these things for very little pay?
If this list of questions didn’t scare you off and you’re still interested, then congratulations! You’re on your way to a fulfilling career in elderly caregiving. However, before you start applying to hospitals and nursing homes, you first need to understand that there are actually several types of positions available. The differences lie in how much education or training is required, whether or not you need certification, and the type of medical-related duties involved.   Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Personal care assistants require the least amount of education, training, and medical expertise. Job Description: As the job title suggests, personal care assistants focus on the personal care of their patients, with very minimal medical-related responsibilities. Their duties include running errands, bathing, providing transportation, preparing meals, general hygiene care, and companionship.  Some personal care assistants work with current family caregivers to help with more difficult tasks such as moving the patient from a wheelchair to a bed. Minimum Required Level of Education: High school. Training: Not required unless you receive federal payment through Medicare or Medicaid. Certification: Only if you receive federal payment through Medicare or Medicaid, in which then you need a minimum of 75 hours of training to receive certification. Medical-Related Duties: Simple tasks such as taking temperature, reminding patients to take their medicine, or collecting lab specimens such as stool samples. Salary: About $25,000 a year (as of November 2018).   Home Health Aide (HHA) Home health aides are a step up from personal care assistants in terms of training, certification, and medical-related duties. Whereas training as a personal care assistant isn’t really necessary, becoming a home health aide requires training and certification. In fact, some HHAs are certified nursing assistants or even nurses. Job Description: Home health aides provide many of the same duties as personal care assistants related to a patient’s personal care. However, they also have the ability to perform more medical-related duties. Minimum Required Level of Education: High school. Training: Training for home health aides are usually on-the-job, provided by health professionals. However, similar to personal care assistants, home health aide training is required if you work for a federally funded program. You need a minimum of 75 hours of training, but most states require additional hours. Certification: Not required unless you work for a federally funded program. Medical-Related Duties: Monitoring a patient’s vital signs, writing observations in their patient’s journal, changing dressings and bandages, assisting in physical therapy or certain exercises, and possibly even administering medication. Salary: About $24,558 as of October 2018.   Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certified nursing assistants work under the supervision of registered nurses, and thus act as go-between patients and their supervisors. Although a patient is cared for by a nurse, it’s the CNA’s job to help that nurse juggle their many patients. Job Description: A certified nursing assistant does everything that a PCA and HHA does, but has more medically-related responsibilities. They’re closer to nurses than personal care assistants. Minimum Required Level of Education: High school. Training: Unlike PCAs and HHAs, training for certified nursing assistants is mandatory. In fact, in some cases, some CNAs go on to become RNs. Certification: After training, budding CNAs must complete assigned hours of supervised training at a clinical facility, followed by a certification exam. Medical-Related Duties: These include checking patients’ vital signs, maintaining medical equipment and machines, observing patients’ bodies for bleeding or bruising, and restocking medical supplies. Salary: A certified nursing assistant’s salary as of October 2018 is roughly $32,108.   Registered Nurse (RN) Becoming a registered nurse requires the most schooling, training, and certification. They are also entrusted with the greatest amount of medical-related responsibilities. Job Description: Unlike the other three roles, registered nurses do not normally tend to a patient’s personal care and general errands. Rather, their primary tasks are medical-related. Therefore, registered nurses often work with say, a home health aide or personal care assistant. The nurse would attend to medical-related duties for a few hours, but the remainder of care comes from the personal care assistant or home health aide. Minimum Required Level of Education: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Many registered nurses continue on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Training: Achieved while obtaining an ADN and/or BSN. Certification: Required. Medical-Related Duties: In addition to basic tasks that can be performed by CNAs, PCAs, and HHAs, registered nurses can insert and maintain catheters, admit and discharge patients, take care of wounds, perform life-saving techniques, and administer injections. Salary: Out of the four elderly caregiver roles featured in this article, registered nurses receive the highest average pay, with $73,550 a year (as of May 2018).   As the baby boomers continue to age, elderly caregivers become increasingly important in society. Not everyone is capable of caring for their parents full-time. Many need to hire professional caregivers to attend to their parents’ medical and daily needs. Becoming an elderly caregiver is no small feat. Although it requires completing a certain level of education and training and the ability to meet the standards mentioned on the list, the most important things about elderly caregivers are that they must have an immense amount of compassion, patience, and respect for their patients. If you want to start a career in elderly caregiving, or if you need to hire professional care for a loved one, please visit us at Community Home Health Care fill out the query on the home page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
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calendar icon 21 August, 2017

How Caregivers Can Communicate with Doctors and Nurses on Behalf of Seniors

Being a caregiver has many benefits and drawbacks. While caregiving can be a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational career, it’s also a very challenging job, and many caregivers find themselves frustrated with the difficulties of their positions. Of all of these challenges, though, few are more agonizing than the task of trying to figure out how best to communicate with doctors and nurses on behalf of a senior. For older adults, communicating effectively with care staff is often a difficult task. Thanks to cognitive decline or a simple unwillingness to speak up, seniors often don't effectively express their needs to doctors and nurses, and the responsibility to ensure the senior’s medical wellbeing falls to caregivers. While this can be a stressful experience for both parties, it doesn’t have to feel like a burden. Here are several tips for caregivers who want to learn how to communicate more efficiently with a senior’s care staff:

Communicating On Behalf of a Senior 101: 7 Tips to a More Open Dialogue

1. Develop a relationship with the senior’s doctors

Unless you have an ongoing relationship with a senior’s care professionals, communicating with them effectively can be a challenging task. Because of this, it’s essential to dedicate some time and energy to developing relationships with a senior’s doctors and nurses. The best way to do this is to attend as many appointments as possible with the senior you care for. In addition to allowing you to get a feel for each doctor or nurse’s care style, this will also enable you to spot certain dynamics or difficulties and prepare yourself for how best to deal with the professional and his or her unique style of care and communication. This is especially critical for caregivers working with seniors who see multiple doctors on a regular basis. Because each of these doctors’ care styles and treatment approaches may differ, it’s smart for caregivers to understand, as fully as possible, what makes each doctor tick and how best to communicate with each team to ensure the long-term care and well-being of the senior.

2. Gain inclusion in the HIPPA contract

HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) dictates that doctors, nurses, and other care professionals are not allowed to discuss a client’s personal medical information with anyone else unless the person is incapacitated and over the age of 18. While HIPAA rules are in place to protect patients, they can make it difficult for caregivers to access relevant health information about the elderly people they care for. Because of this, it’s essential that caregivers gain inclusion in the HIPAA contract before it becomes time to speak with medical professionals on behalf of a senior. This enables caregivers to help seniors make medical decisions and to protect the senior's overall health and wellbeing better. It also ensures that the caregiver will have all of the information needed should a major medical decision present itself.

3. Ask plenty of questions

Helping seniors understand and respond to medical conditions and care options can be difficult, and things like diagnoses and medical-speak are often far from easy to interpret. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to ask plenty of questions to fully understand a senior’s condition and what, if anything, can be done in some cases. This empowers the caregiver with relevant information and is an efficient way for caregivers to safeguard better the health and well-being of the seniors they care for. While many caregivers shy away from asking questions because they believe they’ll be perceived as stupid or incapable, it’s important to ask for clarification any time you don’t understand something. Knowledge is power, and clarifying confusing explanations and asking for more information allows seniors and their caregivers to work together as a unified team.

4. Avoid assuming the worst

Among caregivers, specifically family caregivers, there’s often an assumption that a senior’s medical staff doesn’t want to help the caregiver provide care. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to communicate efficiently and can have a drastic negative impact on the senior’s overall care and wellbeing. Instead of being combative with doctors or nurses, caregivers will do well to view them as skilled allies who actually want to help resolve problems and provide the best possible care for a loved-one. When caregivers take the time to develop this type of relationship with doctors and nurses, caregivers and medical staff can work together to provide outstanding care for seniors without excess frustration and missed opportunities for communication.

5. Write down your questions

Many caregivers think of questions when they’re not in a doctor’s office. By the time they make it to the next appointment, though, they’ve forgotten their questions. This makes it easy to bypass critical inquiries and neglect essential queries that can help safeguard a senior’s health and well-being. Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to write down their questions and bring them to the doctor’s office at every appointment. This ensures critical questions are being asked and prevents caregivers and seniors from suffering the fallout of forgotten information. 

6. Make additional appointments for additional concerns

Doctors and nurses are busy people, and they may not have time during a meeting to discuss, at length, all of your questions and concerns. While many caregivers take this as a sign that the doctor doesn’t care, this is seldom the case. To avoid frustration and ensure all questions are answered as thoroughly as possible, don’t hesitate to make an additional appointment. This can help facilitate more functional communication and avoid frustrations born from misunderstandings.

7. Encourage the senior to speak on his or her behalf

While caregivers must learn to communicate effectively on a senior’s behalf, it’s also important to encourage a senior to speak up wherever possible. Often, the message is a bit louder when it comes from the senior's mouth, and doctors may well understand things better from seniors than they do from caregivers. In some situations, it’s essential for caregivers to learn how to communicate with their seniors or on behalf of them. While this can be a confusing dynamic to learn, understanding different communication necessities and timeframes is critical for good ongoing communication.

Excellent Communication Starts Here

While learning to communicate on behalf of seniors can be difficult, it’s a critical skill for family caregivers and hired caregivers alike. By developing relationships with doctors and nurses, bringing lists of questions to every appointment, scheduling additional appointments for questions and concerns that will take more time, encouraging seniors to speak for themselves when and where appropriate, becoming included in a HIPAA contract, and holding off on assuming the worst, seniors and their caregivers can develop effective communication strategies that help ensure a good relationship with doctors and nurses and the best possible care. 
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calendar icon 14 August, 2017

How Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care for Older Patients

For caregivers, learning to provide care for patients is an ongoing process. Even after dozens of hours of training, caregiving is a fluid process, within which things are always changing and adapting. Different clients require different care, mental and emotional upset can rise and fall quickly, and confounding factors like dementia and cognitive decline can make it difficult to connect effectively with patients. As such, caregivers are always learning to provide better care for their older patients. It’s an ongoing process and, when caregivers dedicate themselves to it fully, it can overhaul the way they view their jobs and connect to their clients.

10 Ways Caregivers Can Learn to Provide Better Care

Providing better care is a process, and it requires learning new steps. Here are a few tips for caregivers who want to learn to provide better care:

1. Keep Yourself Healthy

The healthier and fitter you are, the better able you are to offer quality care. As such, it’s essential for caregivers to care for themselves. This means eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, staying active, and getting enough rest. When all these things are done, caregivers have the energy, stamina, and attention needed to care for aging patients.

2. Ask for Help

Sometimes, caregivers run into confounding care situations that can be very confusing. For example, what if an existing patient begins to develop Alzheimer’s? That changes the level of care the patient needs, and can be confusing for caregivers. In these situations, asking for help is one of the best things you can do. Many caregivers hold the position all their life, and can act as a wealth of knowledge for caregivers struggling to adapt to changing clients, or striving to ensure they’re offering the best possible care to the people they spend time with. While asking for help can feel intimidating, it’s one of the best ways for caregivers to learn more about their industry, and learn to provide the high-quality care their clients deserve.

3. Study Up

Reading can be a great way for caregivers to take in new information. If you’re struggling with a particularly difficult situation or making your way into a new facet of caregiving, read a book about it. Books like The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss can be comforting and illuminating for people caring for Alzheimer’s patients. In fact, there are well-written books available for people in virtually every facet of caregiving, if you’re looking for something that applies to your situation, do a quick Google search or ask your fellow caregivers what they’d recommend.

4. Take a Course

To continue your trajectory of study, look for free or low-cost courses in your local area. These courses can teach everything from caregiving techniques to self-care tactics that will quickly become instrumental in your caregiving approach. These courses are available through senior centers, caregiving support groups, and assisted living facilities.

5. Shadow Another Caregiver

One thing few caregivers think of doing is shadowing another caregiver. Ideal for any caregiver who wants to learn new skills, or is struggling to adapt to changing or more complex clients, shadowing a more experienced caregiver is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience and learn some new skills that can help inform and enhance your own caregiving tactics.

6. Reach out to Your Employer

If you’re a caregiver who works for a company, reach out to your employer for additional learning materials or educational courses. Most caregiving centers are happy to help educate their caregivers and will work hard to further learning in their workforce. From books to courses and beyond, it’s highly likely that your employer will have some resources to pass your way. Remember: being specific about what you want to learn and what you’re struggling with is the best way to ensure you get the education you need.

7. Branch Out

While many caregivers believe that the education they should pursue is limited to the field of caregiving, branching out into other industries can be incredibly helpful. For example, caregivers who are struggling to manage anxiety in their careers may benefit from learning about meditation or yoga, while people who are dealing with patients with Alzheimer’s may benefit from learning a bit more about the human brain, through a course in psychology or neuroscience. Caregivers are busy people, and many think learning about these topics is a waste of time. The truth is, though, that a broad education is incredibly valuable for caregivers, and provides the extensive information and resources required to succeed in the field.

8. Join a Support Group

Support groups can be instrumental for caregivers. In addition to providing the mental, emotional, and social support caregivers need to remain happy and relaxed in their careers, support groups are also a great place to pick up resources and education. By putting you in contact with other caregivers from different backgrounds and educations, a good support group can help you learn the tricks and tactics needed to provide better care, and to release stress and anxiety in the process.

9. Give Yourself Time to Rest

When you’re busy learning and working a demanding career, you need to give yourself time to rest and reflect. How you do this is up to you, but resources like respite care can be invaluable. Even if you can’t take a long vacation, ensure you’re making small pockets of time throughout the week to reflect on your recent learning, unplug, and get the rest you need for the new information to sink in and take hold.

10. Participate in Online Forums

If you’re looking to pick up some new information about caregiving, head to an online forum. Popular places for caregivers from around the world to gather, discuss topics related to the field, and problem-solve together, online forums can be great resources for anecdotal experience and hands-on expertise. A quick online search for “caregiving online forums” will reveal options from reputable sites across the U.S. To get started, try out AARP’s online caregiving community.

Better Caregiving Starts Here

There is no plateau point with caregiving. Instead, caregivers are always learning, adjusting their skills, and adapting to new information. While this may feel exhausting, it’s important to remember that the best caregivers are the ones who remain flexible and fluid, and that ongoing education is essential to providing great service. By exploring these ten avenues, caregivers can absorb pivotal new information and become more effective in their positions.
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