Homecare Makes Caring For Elderly Parents Convenient and Affordable

Many adult children find caring for elderly parents to be a challenging, worrisome, and often exhausting experience. They wonder if their elderly parents are able to maintain their personal hygiene, whether they’re taking their medications properly, and if they’re safe in their homes.

Homecare agencies can remove the anxiety and burden of caring for elderly parents from afar. Homecare enables seniors to continue to live independently in their homes by receiving assistance with their basic needs. This can include help with:
• Eating, bathing, getting dressed, and going to the bathroom
• Getting to the pharmacy, the doctor’s office, and other appointments
• Shopping and household chores
• Making home modifications like installing grab bars in the bathroom
• Identifying opportunities to socialize with other seniors

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, between five and seven million Americans are caring for elderly parents from afar (defined as living at least one hour away from an older relative). This trend will continue to grow as more and more of the baby-boomer generation gets older and opts for homecare instead of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

For people living in our area, homecare services from reputable homecare agencies promote independence, provide dignity, and encourage peer interaction (which is proven to improve brain function). Caring for elderly parents does require you to make some important decisions. You shouldn’t hire a company to care for your elderly loved one from afar until you know what they offer and why they’re the best agency to care for your elderly loved one.

Make sure to ask the following questions when you meet with homecare agencies:

• Who is the employer? It may sound like a strange question to ask, but homecare agencies come in all shapes and sizes. From a safety and liability perspective, you want to hire a company that manages everything from payroll to taxes to worker’s compensation insurance. If you don’t, you will be considered the employer and will ultimately be responsible for handling the many legal and financial issues involved with homecare.

• What is their experience? It may go without saying, but experience matters. How long has the homecare agency been in business? Has the agency provided similar services to other clients in the past? What do its past and current clients have to say about the quality of the services?

• Do they offer a free consultation? Most reputable homecare agencies offer a free consultation to provide a comprehensive assessment of your elderly parent’s needs.

• Do they have a rigorous employee screening process? It’s important that the Orange County homecare agency conduct thorough background checks on all employees. Checking criminal, professional, and personal references is critical to make sure your loved one is being cared for by a qualified caregiver.

• What is the plan of care? Developing a plan for caring for elderly parents is important because it enables you to clarify expectations about what and how much care is going to be provided. From personal care to cooking meals to attending doctor visits, everyone is involved in determining the best course of homecare.

• How accessible are they? How easy or difficult will it be to reach the people in charge? This is especially important on nights and weekends. Will you be able to speak with a person when you call the agency or will you reach an answering machine if you call after normal business hours?

Homecare Companions

A homecare companion is someone who visits a disabled or elderly person in his or her home. Many of these homecare companions work for various health care companies but there are some who volunteer their time. There are many ways in which a homecare companion can help them with their daily activities.

• They can take their client on outings, doctor appointments, or grocery store
• Preparing meals and snacks
• Basic home maintenance
• Running errands
• Minor housekeeping skills
• Helping them with their bathing and other basic living skills
• Sharing meals with them
• Giving companionship such as reading to them, playing games, watching movies, taking with them, etc
• Assisting with feeding

One thing that a homecare companion does not do is provide medical care except for basic first aid. Most will have set hours that they will visit the client, which can vary, from an hour to several hours. It depends on what services they are providing to their client that particular day. With some senior care companions they will work an eight shift that may include working nights and weekends. This may be their shift or they may do it on a rotating basis. When working overnight the person may help them get ready for bed and get them dressed the next day. This type of homecare is often referred to as 24/7 live in home care.

The reason that many children hire elder homecare companions for their elderly parents is so their parents can remain in their home as long as possible instead of going into a nursing home. It also gives the children peace of mine knowing that their elderly parents are being taken care of safely, are eating right, and getting to their doctor visits when their children are not able to do so.

When hiring senior care companions for several hours a day or for 24/7 live in home care the agency sending out the homecare companion will do a pre-interview. This pre-interview will help the agency know what the elderly or disable needs are in regards to bathing, feeding, doctor visits, etc. Once they have that information they can plan a schedule for the homecare companion. It may be every day or just a few days a week. If the homecare companion will be living with the elderly or disabled person twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week a room and board amount will be taken from their paycheck.

What to Expect With Assisted Living Homecare

An assisted living homecare is a place with a goal to allow seniors have the greatest levels of independence they can, while receiving assistance in daily tasks. It is like a place created for seniors to age in comfortably, one without too much dependency, but enough help to do what they can no longer do on their own. Each assisted living homecare have services that are customizable to each resident’s needs.

An assisted living community typically houses from 40 to 120 residents, depending on the size of the community. A resident’s room can be made out of a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartments which they would own their own set of keys for. This allows them the freedom to go around as they like. The meals are usually set like a restaurant’s dining room, encouraging the residents to socialize with one another while being able to choose from a variety of food. Other things offered by the community would be like libraries, fitness or activity rooms, hair salon, theatre, and cafe. When a visitor comes to visit, they will need to check-in as a security measure for their residents.

Before moving in, a resident will need to be assessed by a licensed nurse to make sure that all the services they had chosen are suitable for them and is according to the community’s state licensing. The cost of their services is determined by what they will need, and would typically be charged monthly for basic things like accommodation, housekeeping, maintenance, activities and transportation. Other services can include medication management, assistance with bathing, getting dressed, grooming, toilet, or even being transferred like from bed to wheelchair, or being escorted to meals.

Of course, it is important to acquire the appropriate services you will need. This way, you will be able to maximize your own capabilities while increasing your overall wellness.

A Homecare Provider Helps Seniors Age Independently

As our population ages, medical advances are enabling many seniors to live longer, fuller lives than ever before. Exciting travel, new hobbies, making friends-your golden years can be your chance to experience all those things you’ve been saving up for.

And with new medical advances, it can be difficult when you realize that a family member is no longer quite as independent as before. People rarely change overnight from complete self-sufficiency to needing round-the-clock care. There is a transition that can last years when a senior may only need help for a few hours a day or a few days a week.

Homecare services can help you bridge this transition. Hiring a licensed homecare provider can keep your family member in her home for longer and for less money than nursing home placement would cost.

The Benefits of Homecare Services

There are many advantages to hiring a homecare provider to help your loved one age independently:

• Familiar surroundings. In some cases, as a person ages, change can become difficult or confusing. A home that has been lived in for years can provide a much needed touchstone and anchor.

• The comforts of home. Whether your family member has an active social life and is always on the go, or whether she is a homebody who enjoys puttering around the garden, living in her home brings with it an added level of freedom and privacy.

• Self-determination. Nursing homes determine the schedules, menus, and staffing for their residents. But in her own home, your family member will have control over her own schedule, her own meals, and who she chooses to work with from the homecare provider.

• Better socialization. A personal home is just more welcoming than a nursing home. Hosting family dinners or afternoon teas for friends is easier in your own house.

• Personalized care. In a nursing home, the staff members’ attention is divided between many different people at the same time. But with homecare services, your family member receives one-on-one assistance.

One Client, One Homecare Provider

Every senior’s needs are different. Some may be suffering from an illness such as dementia or Alzheimers. Some may have a physical disability that limits movement. And some may simply need physical assistance with chores and getting around town. A homecare provider can provide you with an in-house aide who is a specialist in your family member’s condition, and will treat her with respect and caring.

Additionally, when there are only one or two persons providing care to your family member, communication is easier and mistakes in treatment are rarer. Your homecare aide isn’t looking at a chart; they are looking at your family member and will be more alert to any changes in her condition.

Recovery and Short-Term Care

Homecare services are also available for short-term care, such as during a convalescence after surgery or other hospital procedure. Caring for your family member in her own home can be significantly less expensive than the cost of keeping her in the hospital to recover, especially since Medicaid does cover many licensed homecare providers.

What Are Your Homecare Options in Today’s Society?

There are many different options for care in the home today. It used to be, that anyone unable to care for themselves, would have to be placed in a residential hospital or facility, for daily care to be available to them around the clock. Nowadays, there are several Homecare options to choose from.

For those that do not need medical attention and care around the clock, a part-time homecare option is ideal. With this option, a caregiver is hired to visit for a few hours each morning, assist with daily chores and grooming. The benefit to this homecare option is that the caregiver takes care of what needs to be done, then leaves the patient to his own routine and privacy for the remainder of the day. This allows the patient to feel more independent and free to go about his own daily routines without constant assistance or input from anyone else.

For those who are less independent and need more extensive care throughout the day, there are homecare options where nurses are hired to work fulltime days. These caregivers are for those requiring more constant care and assistance throughout the day. They may need periodic dosages of medication, vital checks, transportation and/or help with ambulation and other daily routine tasks. With this homecare option, the nurse would leave for the night and return the next morning, leaving the patient his evenings and nights to himself. This option allows the patient to live in his own home and even still get a few hours of alone-time in the evenings, nights and early mornings, something they would not have privy to in a residential facility.

For patients that are completely dependent on their caregivers, the best homecare option would be a 24 Hour Homecare and/or Live-in Nurse Companion. These nurses reside within their patient’s home, and are there around the clock to assist with all of their needs, medical and otherwise. This option still carries the advantage of allowing the patient to remain at his own residence, which is really the deal breaker when needing around the clock care, and the most important privilege to maintain.

Today, homecare options are many. This is so beneficial, not only for the patients who require some type of assistance with their everyday living, but to the families who now do not have to make the difficult, but sometimes necessary decision to place a loved one in a residential facility. That is a decision that so many people struggle with as their loved ones lose their independence and require some assistance with their daily living routines and activities. What causes the most heartache about making that inevitable decision is having the loved one removed from their beloved home and the loss of their privacy and freedom. By having the homecare options we have today, those are no longer concerns.

Due to the abundance of homecare options today, our elderly, ailing and/or handicapped loved ones can now remain in their own treasured homes, where they are most comfortable, feel the most secure, and can be surrounded by everything dear and familiar to them. These homecare options alleviate the need for individuals to make that dreaded and difficult decision of placing our loved ones in a nursing facility when they can no longer care for themselves independently. With that being one of the most trying decisions for families to make in their lifetimes, we are all so grateful to these caregivers for their services, expertise and willingness to care for those we love the most.

Homecare Agencies – How to Work With Or For a Healthcare Provider

There is a growing demand for in-home health care services for seniors in the United States. Full-service homecare agencies provide the necessary structure to connect private nurses and caregivers with individuals or families who need a little extra help at home. Understanding how these agencies work opens doors for nurses and specialists interested in a successful career in private homecare, and also generates a straightforward avenue for seniors or their loved ones to locate and hire reliable professionals.

Relying on Full-Service Homecare Agencies

If you find yourself in a situation where you need help caring for an aging parent, a homecare agency can help you make some important decisions. A few aspects you will need to consider are: affordability, level of family involvement, caregiver reputation, and professionalism.

Paying for specialized homecare is not cheap. Some seniors are fortunate enough to have saved the necessary funds to cover their medical tests, continued care, and supplies, but this is not always the case. Determine what your budget is, and talk to a representative at a homecare agency to find a solution that meets your needs. You may find that weekly visits are sufficient for a few years and that you can provide the remaining care for your loved ones, but as time progresses, you will need more and more help from specialized individuals with medical training that exceeds the routine care you could provide on your own.

How involved can your family be? Are all the adults in your family working full-time, or can someone be around to assist the elderly family members during the day? Are your aging parents still mobile? Can they be left unsupervised for 8-to-10 hours at a time? Perhaps a high-school aged grandchild can commit to checking in after school, preparing meals, or supervising medication schedules. The more time and attention that your family can provide, the less you will need to rely on an outside employee.

Finally, the greatest benefit of hiring a caregiver through a homecare agency is that strict screening and background checks guarantee that you are hiring a high-quality professional. These employees are likely to have lots of experience and a long-standing reputation within the industry.

Seeking Employment with a Homecare Agency

Full-service homecare agencies are a two-way street. The ultimate success of these providers depends on having a reliable database of experienced nurses and homecare practitioners. If you are a nursing school student, or already hold a position as a nursing staff, you may consider the personal rewards and benefits that come with working in the private health care sector.

You will have more scheduling flexibility when you pursue a job in senior homecare services. Most seniors need only limited help around the house as they age, and jobs are available that amount to only a few afternoons a week. As your clients put in the effort to retain their independence, you will work on the sidelines to provide the necessary support. The beauty is that you will develop strong professional relationships that can lead to long-term positions with these clients. You can increase the frequency with which you visit these individuals and modify your services to reflect any changes in their activity levels and health needs. Helping these seniors to age gracefully while maintaining a high quality of life is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in the healthcare profession.

How Private Assisted Living Homecare Can Help an Aging Parent

As technology advances, so do medicine and health awareness. With that, the population of the elderly are becoming more, and that also means that the number of assisted living homecare is becoming more abundant. While many might feel that they can do well on their own, it is good to know what this alternative can offer you.

Most of the time, a person might seek the services for assisted living due to several reasons. They might feel stressed with their daily tasks, or have difficulty living on their own. But what does homecare actually do to lessen that burden? First of all, you will need to understand that in assisted living, the goal is to help a person to function independently, which is done by forming a thoroughly thought care plan which the staff would assist the person with so that they can eventually gain a certain degree of independence. Furthermore, unlike nursing homes, it actually cultivates independence through their environment that has little restrictions. The resident of the assisted living homecare can actually go about living how they like there, only with some help to do things they have trouble with.

In private assisted living homecare, there are a number of services that the home would actually offer. The home can help out by doing light housecleaning for the resident’s unit, like sweeping the floor or doing up the bed which may be a little difficult for seniors to do at their age. Nutritious meals are also provided for the residents so they do not need to cook, although a kitchenette is usually available so that residents who love to cook or prefer eating food beyond what is offered at the home can actually feel independent enough to be allowed to cook. The staff there can also remind the residents to take their medications, considering that old age would affect one’s memory to do such simple tasks. Apart from that, there is shuttle bus services provided as well. Seniors may have difficulty driving on their own, so this allows them to be able to go about for their appointments of meetings with friends, without actually feeling confined to the house as a patient.

One of the best things about private assisted living homecare is that there will be all sorts of recreational activities or wellness programs available for the residents, which they may not get the chance to do if they lived alone. This opens doors for them as well as gives them the opportunity to socialize. And for those with limited mobility, there are services where the staff can help with bathing or dressing them up. All in all, assisted living gives seniors the opportunity do things they cannot when they live alone.

Unlocking the Potential of the Senior Homecare Franchise This 2012

The senior homecare industry is expected by many to boom this 2012 and in the coming years, creating many rewarding opportunities for prospective entrepreneurs. Given that they choose the right company, dedicated entrepreneurs will find that a homecare franchise can be a worthy investment.

At present, the senior population (particularly adults aged 65 and above) constitutes roughly 12 percent of the total U.S. population, with about 7,000 people turning 65 everyday. Research shows that this demographic will double its present number and reach approximately 70 million by 2030, and about 87 million by 2050. Senior care is already a $55 billion industry in the U.S., and this figure is expected to swell in the coming years, given the growing market and the improvement of senior care services.

A homecare franchise or business offers either medical or non-medical assistance, or in some cases, both. The former involves medical services as prescribed by a medical professional. The latter includes medication oversight, accompaniment to doctor’s appointments, even dementia or Alzheimer’s care, as well as the basic services such as bathing, grooming, meal preparation, and basic housekeeping.

The success of the homecare industry – and its potential for growth – can be credited to various factors. First is the fact that more and more seniors wish to remain at home for as long as possible – an estimated 89 percent, in fact. Staying at home gives seniors more independence and mobility, and many find being in a familiar environment gives seniors comfort and peace of mind. Homecare is made even more possible by advancements in technology and medicine, which means that seniors do not need to receive care in a nursing home or similar facility.

The second factor is cost. Homecare is a less expensive alternative to staying at a nursing home or senior living facility. This is true not just for seniors and their families, but from the government programs’, insurance companies’, and PPOs’ standpoint as well.

While there are many things working in their favor, prospective entrepreneurs still need to take great care in deciding which homecare franchise to invest in. Many smaller companies are entering the scene, making it all the more important for entrepreneurs to invest in a franchise with a tried and tested business model. This allows them to benefit from the franchisor’s best practices, comprehensive training, and even ongoing support while running and growing the business.

More than that, however, entrepreneurs interested in starting a homecare franchise will also need to have the passion and dedication to provide a better life for the seniors and families they serve.

Family Caregivers – Get Reimbursed For Providing Your Homecare Services!

Many of us will gladly take Mom to her doctor’s appointments, administer medications, and check in if the need arises without a second thought. But with millions of loyal children caring for aging parents out of their own pockets, a little financial relief is welcome. Few family caregivers are aware that you can get paid – however small the amount may be – to care for Mom and provide homecare services. Due to the long working hours, however, some adult children caregivers have been forced to leave their full-time jobs or even scale back their hours spent on the clock, leading to a significantly reduced cash flow. Fortunately, if being a caregiver is causing a noticeable financial strain, there are homecare reimbursement programs that can help alleviate some of the burden. Keep in mind, however, that you must practice patience when applying for these programs – make sure that your application is up-to-date and all the necessary attachments are included before you send it so that delays aren’t any longer than necessary.

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI)

Long-term care insurance, which functions as an indemnity program, only pays the insured the amount that was contracted at the outset, and regardless of homecare services that are received, will only pay that specified amount.

LTCI, which covers nursing home, home health care, adult day care services, assisted living facilities, and hospice care, offers payments to in-home family caregivers, though the insurance must include in-home care and/or homecare services coverage. In certain instances, LTCI requires that family caregivers complete a basic training program on homecare services and/or caregiving for elderly patients. Though almost all LTCI contracts include skilled, intermediate, and custodial long-term homecare services, don’t rely on this type of insurance to be your only fall-back when it comes to paying for in-home health care. Though for clarification, you should contact your LTCI company directly for details on its family caregiver reimbursement policies as well as what is needed to qualify.

Medicaid Cash and Counseling Program

A state-administered program, Medicaid is only available to low-income individuals and families who meet certain federal and state law eligibility requirements. In other words, if you have limited income and resources, applying for Medicaid relief is advisable; however, you must be able to meet specific eligibility criteria. Persons over the age of 65 with limited income and resources immediately become eligible as well as those who are terminally ill or live in a nursing home.

Fortunately, if the person you’re caring for is either eligible for or is currently using Medicaid, you may be able to receive direct payments from its Cash and Counseling program, though it is available only to family caregivers in select states, such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. In some cases, the person you’re caring for may have too high an income, excluding him or her from the Medicaid program; some states, such as Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Oregon, have accounted for this oversight and offer similar programs to family caregivers (Source: National Governor’s Association).

Medicaid, aware that family caregivers are often the best care providers for Mom or Dad, will send a check directly to the recipient to reimburse for homecare services rendered, though this amount depends upon various assessments of overall needs and the average cost of in-home health care for that particular state. This money can also be used by family caregivers to purchase supplies, medical equipment, or even to pay for ADLs (activities of daily living). To find out if your loved one is eligible or for more information on the Cash and Counseling program, please call the National Program Office at 617-552-2809.

Making the Arrangement with Mom Official

Since money is involved, it’s recommended that family caregivers draw up some sort of short, typewritten contract that outlines the terms of the caregiving situation in depth, including the pay rate and frequency, job description and homecare services that will be provided, and how various expenses will be reimbursed (if applicable). Hiring an attorney or other legal professional will help all family caregivers involved create a legal document that prevents sticky situations from arising.

It’s also important to remember that this payment is viewed as income by the government, so all family caregivers must report their earnings each year as taxable income. Though the money received for providing homecare services is negligible, it will help to offset many of the costs associated with providing Mom (or Dad) with a loving, stable, and comfortable home.

Jill Gilbert is the President and CEO of Gilbert Guide, a comprehensive website helping seniors and their loved ones find a senior care provider along with extensive tools and resources to solve the challenges of aging. She is the author of “Leading by Example,” a monthly column in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the chief industry publication for long-term care providers. Jill has been interviewed for a CBS News special, was a key presenter at the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association’s annual conference, and was recently interviewed on San Francisco TalkBack. Gilbert Guide was founded on the concept that quality matters, and its primary goal is to educate consumers on a breadth of senior wellness and care issues. Visit http://www.GilbertGuide.com for a comprehensive provider database, expert advice, and quality assessment tools that help consumers conduct their own “expert” evaluations of providers.

Nursing Agency Jobs Available

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