Monthly Archives: November 2016

6 Tips for Hiring the Right Home Care Agency

6 Tips for Hiring the Right Home Care Agency

With all the traveling, shopping and baking, the holiday season can quickly become overwhelming. We certainly know the feeling. That is why we want to take some time out of this busy month and say thank you to all the hospice and home care workers.

Before Thanksgiving, we started our blog series discussing National Family Caregivers Month, this week we are exploring the history and importance behind National Home Care and Hospice Month.

National Home Care and Hospice month, founded by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), is a nationally celebrated month dedicated to raising awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illness.

According to statistics reported by the NAHC, nearly 1.6 million people with a life limiting illness receive care from hospice and palliative care providers in the United States each year. In 2014, these services were provided by roughly 12,400 home health care agencies. That means each agency helped an average of roughly 400 patients each year.

That may not seem like a lot, but when you consider all the time it takes to provide quality care and training, it truly is amazing.

To help in raising awareness of these amazing services that Wiser Home Care and many other Home Care agencies provide, we have gathered 6 tips for finding and hiring the home care agency that best fits you and your loved one’s needs.

Know What Your Needs Are
Each home care agency is unique and offers unique services. Before you even begin your search, it will be helpful to know exactly what type of care you will need. This will help narrow down your search.

Here at Wiser Home Care, we offer:

  • Companion Care
  • Personal Care
  • Disease and Dementia Care
  • Respite Care
  • End of Life Care

Work with an Agency
We know it can be tempting to hire a home caregiver directly, instead of going through an agency, but it can be dangerous. While hiring them directly may save you money, you will be tasked with all the responsibilities of an employer, i.e. hiring, firing, background checks, certification checks, oversight and more. The last thing you need when you are faced with having to hire home care services is more work.

When you work with an agency, the agency will cover finding a qualified caregiver that is a good match for your needs and they will have backup care in case something happens. It protects you and your loved one.

Do Your Research
Even if you hire a caregiver through an agency, it is your right and duty to request that the agency provides background and certification check guarantees. This will provide you peace of mind that your loved one is getting the best care.

Another great question to ask a potential agency, is about what kind of continuing education and training they provide their caregivers. After all, you can’t provide the best care unless you stay sharp.

Meet and Greet
Before you come to a final caregiver decision, you should ask the agency to introduce you and your loved one to the caregiver. Sometimes they seem great on paper, but face-to-face it could prove to be a bad match. If it is a bad match, don’t worry, the agency will find another caregiver for you. Once you find a caregiver that is a good match, ask for their references.

Have the Money Talk
Before you agree to an agency or caregiver, make sure you discuss billing procedures and get it all squared away. Private medical insurance and Medicaid often only cover certain types of care so it is better to be aware of that before you have any billing surprises.

Develop a Care Plan
Every step in this process is critical, but quite possibly the most important step is developing a comprehensive care plan with the agency and caregiver you decide to hire. This plan will outline all the tasks the caregiver is expected to complete as well as how the agency will track the progress and completion of each care step and make sure that nothing is overlooked.

We know that hiring a caregiver/ home care agency is extremely stressful. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will answer any questions you have and be more than happy to guide you through each step of the process.

7 Ways for Family Caregivers to Recharge

7 Ways for Family Caregivers to Recharge

Two weeks in and it has already been an unforgettable November with Donald Trump being named the President Elect. Host to Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving, November is often the kickoff of the holiday season. For caregivers, the busy-ness of November doesn’t stop there though. In fact, November is host to National Family Caregivers Month, National Home Care and Hospice Month and National Long Term Care Month.

As you may have guessed, caregivers and caregiving hold a special place in our heart, so in the next few weeks we will be blogging on the history and importance of each of these Nationwide celebrations and awareness campaigns starting with National Family Caregivers Month.

The History
To raise awareness of and thank Family Caregivers, on Oct. 31 of this year, President Obama made the official proclamation of November being National Family Caregivers month.

In a press release announcing his decision, President Obama praised caregivers for their unselfish work and reaffirmed our nationwide “support for those who give of themselves to be there for their family, friends, and neighbors in challenging times, and we pledge to carry forward the progress we have made in our health care system and workplaces to give caregivers the resources and flexibility they need.”

The Numbers
Per statistics, more than 65 million Americans provide care for a friend or loved one. On top of normal responsibilities and jobs, this care consumes on average an additional 20 hours per week. As you can imagine, this added responsibility puts a strain on finances. In fact, family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty and 5 times more likely to receive supplemental security income.

Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control reports that over 35% of caregivers find it difficult to find time for themselves and 29% of caregivers have trouble balancing physical and emotional stress. In addition, the prolonged stress of caregiving has caused nearly 23% of caregivers to report poor health for at least 5 years after taking care of a loved one.

The statistics don’t lie. There is nothing easy about caregiving. It is often a long, difficult journey but the reward of taking care of our loved ones is why we do it. That is why raising awareness and support for Family Caregivers is so important.

The theme for this year’s National Family Caregivers month is “Take Care to Give Care,” because, to be effective caregivers, we must first take care of ourselves.

To help you take care of yourself, we have compiled a list of 7 self-care tips you can do to prevent caregiver burnout and provide your loved one with the best care.

Stress Management
From doctor’s appointments to cooking, cleaning and physical care, caring for a loved one is undoubtedly extremely stressful. Making sure you are managing your stress in a healthy manner will help you take better care of your loved one. Exercise, sleep, quiet time, soothing music and breathing exercises are all great ways to reduce stress.

Make Yourself a Priority
When caring for a loved one it is natural to put all your effort in their care. In fact, many family caregivers get burned out because they operate under the false assumption that caring for themselves would be selfish. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Having some “you-time” is another way you can ensure that you are replenished enough to care for your loved one. Remember: you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Don’t Fall Behind in Your Own Work
Many family caregivers also have part- or full-time jobs to help pay the bills at home or for the loved one. It is important to stay up with your own work so that you don’t risk losing your job. If finances do become an issue, there are several assistance services available to help shoulder the load.

Go Out with Friends
Maintaining outside friendships is important to keeping your sanity as a caregiver. Maybe have a set friend date once a week or every other week. Having someone to vent to and share your stress with will go a long way in increasing the quality of your care.

Do Something Fun Everyday
Read a funny blog, go see a movie or go out to do something. Make sure you are taking time every day to do something fun to break up the monotony of being a family caregiver.

Know Your Limits and Ask for Help
We all have our limits, when we go beyond them is when we are asking for trouble. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help whenever you need it. In the end of the day, if you ask for help, it will be better for both you and your loved one.

Wiser Home Care Can Help
Whether you need a couple hours out of the house or a full night of sleep, our Respite Care Service will be there for you so that you can recharge.

Our respite care services give you a chance to leave home knowing that your loved one is with a professional, well-trained caregiver. Setting up respite care is easy, it can be a few hours a week to run errands, or 24-hour care so you can take a vacation or go on a business trip.

Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you set up a comprehensive care plan for your loved one and answer any questions you may have.

8 Elderly Election Day Tips

8 Elderly Election Day Tips

It only happens once every 4 years, and the moment that has been building in anticipation over the last year is almost here. That’s right, it is almost the United States Election Day. This election season, the official presidential election day is on Tuesday November 8.

Considering the increasing popularity of social media and the unique candidates, this election season has certainly been an interesting one. There have been hundreds of thousands of posts and blogs written on this subject.

We thought it would be appropriate to explore election day tips for our elderly loved ones. Even though they have partaken in a number of elections in the past, a refresher course on election day tips can help ensure the voting process goes smoothly.

Your Vote Counts
We live in an amazing country where we enjoy many freedoms, including that of voting. Sure, you may think that a single vote may not help, but it does.

According to a survey conducted by the United States Election Project, nearly 55% of all eligible US Citizens over the age of 65 will be voting in the 2016 Election Season. While this is the highest voter turnout for any age demographic, we can’t stress enough how important it is to cast your vote.

Make Sure You’re Registered
To ensure you have a chance to vote, make sure you are registered. This website provides a list of state election officials. If you are unsure you are registered to vote, simply contact the official and they will let you know.

Marco Polo Election Edition
Do you know where to vote? If you haven’t already mailed in your ballot, make sure you know where you can vote locally before election day. Click this link and Google can help you find the closest place, based on where you are registered to vote.

Leave Your Party Pin and Shirt at Home
Many voting stations do not allow you to wear campaign clothes to vote. So make sure you dress neutrally on election day. In addition, make sure your elderly loved one is dressed appropriately for the weather and possibly long waits.

Bring a Valid ID
In order to vote, many states require you to have a non-expired photo id with your name on it. If you are unsure of what is an accepted form of ID in your elderly loved one’s state, you can check here.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to your local voting agency. Take into account traffic, agency hours and high voter turnout times. Many voting experts recommend voting in the mid-morning and early afternoon if you want to avoid a bunch of other voters.

Report Issues
If you are suspicious of voter fraud or potential tampering, make sure you report your suspicions to the Election Protection agency. Their number is 866.OUR.VOTE.

Be Courteous
Finally, be courteous to loved ones and others who may be voting for your opposing candidate. Democracy is one of the many things that makes America a great place to live.

If you have an elderly loved one who needs help getting to a voting agency, Wiser Home Care Services can help. Please do not hesitate to contact us.