Five Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Elderly Loved One

Boy, did Punxsutawney Phil get it right or what? The snowy, wet weather the last few days hasn’t been much fun, but that’s ok. The bad weather has given us time to hunker down and prepare for an unforgettable Valentine’s day.

That’s right, the most romantic holiday of the year is just around the corner. Do you have a special valentine this year? If so, we hope you already have your plans and gifts ready for the 14th.

If Valentine’s day crept up on you like it did to us, then don’t worry, when we remembered it was going to be Valentine’s Day soon we got fast to work on brainstorming great Valentine’s Day gifts for the elderly loved one in your life.

Before we jump into the nitty gritty details, we thought it would be cool to share some fun facts about Valentine’s Day. Did you know that 54% of Americans will spend Valentine’s Day with a loved one this year?

Historically, Valentine’s Day has been a holiday for couples but recently that has shifted. In fact, one poll shows that “people also show their appreciation in the form of gifts for family members (59.4 percent), friends (21.7 percent), teachers (20.4 percent) and colleagues (12.1 percent).”

Studies also show that the most popular Valentine’s gifts are candy (53.2%), cards (51.2%), flowers (37.8%) and an evening out (37%).

Now don’t get us wrong, these are all great gifts and we would be more than happy to receive them from any of our loved ones. However, we think our loved ones deserve to receive above average gifts as our token of appreciation. The following gift ideas will show your loved ones just how much you think of them:

The Gift of Warmth and Fashion
Since we still have a month of Winter left, a thoughtful gift for your elderly loved one could be a nice new fleece wrap, heated car throw for cool winter travel, snazzy Valentine’s day socks, a new bed jacket, scarves or even a fancy new bath robe.

Help Set the Mood Safely
Perhaps your elderly loved one has a Valentine of their own they would like to impress. You could help them gather neat Valentine’s decorations, or even sit down with them and make them yourselves. The time spent together will be cherished. In addition, flameless candles are another great gift, that will help set the mood but keep them safe.

The Around-the-House Gift
Making your elderly loved one’s day-to-day life easier will show them that you truly care about their happiness and well-being. Some good around-the-house gifts include large font day clocks, amplified or photo phones, cooling or warming mattress pads, portable trays/bed trays, night lights, draft stoppers, oven rack guards or talking medication reminders.

The Sentimental Gift
We all know the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness”, well sometimes money can’t buy the best gift either. Making your elderly loved one a special gift will be fun and thoughtful. Maybe you could paint them a new mug or vase, or print out your favorite picture of you together and make them a homemade frame for it.

The Gift of Time
We saved the best for last. Honestly, what your elderly loved one probably wants more than anything else in the world, is to spend some time with you. Set aside an entire day to simply spend making memories with your loved one. You could have a board game marathon, watch their favorite movies, take them out to their favorite restaurant or simply get coffee and chat. They will love the company and getting out of their house.

If you would like help caring for, or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


8 Groundhog Day Fun Facts to Get You Through 6 More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil is one of the few animals worldwide that has an entire day nationally dedicated to him. In fact, Thursday was that day. What day you may ask. It is none-other than the nationally celebrated Groundhog Day. A day in which Punxsutawney Phil is crowned an honorary meteorologist.

Tradition goes, that if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole on Groundhog Day and sees his shadow, then there will be 6 more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow then there will be an early spring.

We were hoping that he didn’t see his shadow, but unfortunately he did and now we have to live with 6 more weeks of winter. To help cope with the thought of a longer winter, we thought it would be fun to share some history and facts about Groundhog Day for this week’s blog.

The History
First observed in 1887, Groundhog Day has its origins in ancient Christian Candlemas Day tradition. During Candlemas, clergy would bless and distribute candles for winter. The candles symbolized how long and cold winter would be.

According to, the Germans took the Candlemas concept and used the hedgehog instead of a candle. When German settlers moved to Pennsylvania they continued the tradition but switched to the Groundhog. Today, Groundhog Day is always nationally celebrated on Feb. 2, because it is exactly halfway between the Winter and Spring equinox.

Groundhog Fun Facts
Did you know….

  • Their diet consists of lots of greens, fruits and veggies
  • They drink very little water and the water they do get usually come from leaves
  • They whistle when they are feeling in danger and in the spring when they are courting
  • Groundhogs are clean animals that insects and germs leave alone. In fact, they are immune to many plagues that haunt animals.
  • They put themselves in a deep coma during the winter.
  • 2 months after birth, young groundhogs are ready to live on their own.
  • The groundhog’s normal lifespan is 6-8 years.
  • Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Philip

We hope you enjoyed learning about the history and fun facts about Groundhog Day as much as we did. Since Winter is sticking around for another 6 weeks, if you care for an elderly loved one, we urge you to read our Guide to Reducing Senior Falls in the Winter.

Finally, if you would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Bath Safety: These 15 Simple Tips Could Save Your Life

The month of January is not only host to several popular holidays including New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also some lesser known national celebrations such as National Bath Safety Month.

Celebrated annually, the goal of National Bath Safety month is to raise awareness of the potential dangers that could arise in the bathroom, and how to prevent bathroom injuries.

Many studies have found that nearly 1/3 of falls that occur in the house take place in the bathroom. This makes bathroom not only the most frequented room in a house, but also the most dangerous.

According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control each year, more than 235,000 people visit the emergency room due to injuries suffered in the bathroom, and more than 2/3 of these injuries take place in the bath or shower.

While studies and statistics both support the claim that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in a house, these types of accidents are oddly often overlooked as a cause for concern.

Fortunately, with the right safety precautions many of these bathroom injuries can be prevented. Keep reading this week’s blog to learn fifteen ways to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom.

  1. Install a non-slip strips or a mat in the bottom of your elderly loved one’s tub.
  2. Have reachable hand rails installed near the toilet, tub and sink.
  3. Keep the bathroom floor clean of laundry, towels and other clutter.
  4. Consider installing a toilet that is at the appropriate height for your loved one. A lot of falls happen getting on and off the toilet.
  5. You will also want to adjust the height of their sink and towel racks so they don’t have to reach or bend over too far.
  6. Move towel hooks closer to the shower to reduce water droplets on the floor.
  7. Many falls happen in the transition in and out of the shower or tub. Ideally, your loved one should have a walk-in tub or shower to reduce the risk of a fall. If you cannot afford one, you should look for a solution that has a low lip entrance.
  8. Consider placing a shower seat in the tub or shower.
  9. Dry up water as soon as it hits the floor.
  10. Consider installing a removable shower head that will allow your loved one to shower while seated.
  11. Keep the appropriate toiletries within reach of the sink, shower and toilet.
  12. Install nightlights in the bathroom and down the hallway entrance
  13. Utilize a scald prevention device to keep the water at safe temperature levels.
  14. Use door locks that can be unlocked from both sides in case of an emergency.
  15. Finally, keep a portable phone in the bathroom.

There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom. Through working together to raise awareness of bathroom safety, we can save the lives of hundreds of our loved ones.

As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Wiser Home Care Guide to Reducing Winter Falls

Right now, we are pretty jealous of the birds. How nice would it be if we could simply pick up and fly south for the winter? Seriously though, it hasn’t even been an entire month of Winter yet, and we are already ready for it to be over.

Unfortunately, it appears that the cold weather is here to stay for another couple of months. So, we may as well buckle down, make the best of it and make sure our elderly loved ones stay safe.

With all the snow and ice, we have been having lately, we thought it would be timely to write an article outlining several ways you can help prevent your loved one from experiencing a fall this winter.

Our elderly loved ones are at a high risk of experiencing falls in general, and when you add in the extra variables of snow and ice, the risk of a fall grows exponentially. In fact, throughout the course of a year, statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that 1.6 million Americans over the age of 65 go to the Emergency Room to be treated for fall-related injuries. Even more alarming is the fact that nearly 1/3 of these falls leads to a permanent disability, and on top of that, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in persons older than 75.

Luckily, many of these falls can be avoided with the proper safety and risk avoidance protocols. Keep reading to learn how you can help reduce your elderly loved one’s risk of experiencing a fall or fall-related injury this winter.

Watch What’s on Their Feet
Making sure your elderly loved one wears the right shoes is critical. Their shoes should fit correctly, provide good traction on the heel and sole and be appropriate for the weather. Some shoe manufacturers also provide shoes with special anti-skid soles to reduce the risk of a slip or fall.

Clear the Way
Many falls occur in transition zones throughout the house which is why having a clean and clear walkway between the front door and the car is important. If you do not live close to your elderly loved one, we suggest finding someone you can trust, and hiring them to shovel snow and ice off the sidewalk on a regular basis. They should also apply de-icing material to prevent ice from accumulating.

Lend a Helping Hand
When the weather is bad, we recommend that elderly loved one’s refrain from venturing out. A good way to make sure your loved one doesn’t have to venture out is to run errands for them. You’ll want to make sure they have plenty food and supplies including flashlights, batteries and blankets. In addition, having the mail or newspapers delivered right to the door will ensure your loved one doesn’t need to go outside unless absolutely necessary.

Watch Your Step
Even if a walkway is clear of snow and appears to be clear of ice, your elderly loved one should proceed with caution. Blacktop in parking lots is notorious for appearing just wet, but cold weather can create black ice in a matter of minutes. If your elderly loved one is out in inclement weather, try finding grass or gravel to walk on, as it is generally less slick than pavement.

Can We Fix it? Yes, You Should.
Falls often happen because of surfaces that are unstable or in disrepair. These types of falls are easily avoidable by checking all walkways, stair cases, stepping stones, sidewalks and hand rails. Fix or replace any that are loose, have cracks, raised edges, rotten boards or any other disorder.

Exercise and Eat Right
Keeping your loved one active and healthy will go a long way in helping reduce falls. Staying active will keep your loved one’s muscles limber and help them stay balanced. In addition, keeping a healthy diet will help keep muscles and bones strong to further help safeguard against broken bones in case of a fall.

Always Have a Back Up Plan
Despite all the precautionary measures you and your loved one take, sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a fall. It is important to have a backup plan in case your loved one experiences a fall. Whenever they travel, your elderly loved one should have a cell phone on their body. In addition, using the buddy system when traveling is critical. This will ensure that someone will be there for them when they fall.

Finally, remember to take your time. Rushing around is a good way to increase the risk of a fall. As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

7 Ways to Ensure Resolution Success

7 Ways to Ensure Resolution Success

With nearly a week of 2017 under our belts, we hope you are having success with your resolutions this year. Statistically speaking, the first week of the new year is the hardest on New Year’s Resolutions.

In fact, per the website, 25% of people who make a resolution, fail in the first week. After week 1 there is a steady decline in successful resolutions, and by June over 55% of people who make resolutions have failed to uphold them.

You see, making a New Year’s Resolution is the easy part. The difficulty lies in keeping and succeeding at your resolution. If you are having trouble keeping your resolution, don’t feel bad because you aren’t alone. Just keep reading our blog to find out what you can do to ensure you have resolution success all year long.

Pick One Resolution to Focus On
As caregivers, we know how easy it is to spread yourself thin and try to be a superhero. The problem with spreading yourself thin is that you’re only performing at a fraction of your best on each thing you do. The key is to pick one of your resolutions to focus on at a time. This will allow you to put all your effort to bettering yourself in that area. Once you have either successfully completed your resolution or have a good handle on it, then you can move on to the next one.

Break it Up
Many resolutions tend to be massive life changes. Instead of biting off too big of a chunk and getting overwhelmed, you should break your resolution into smaller pieces. For example, if your goal is to pay off debt, start with the card that has the least amount of debt then work your way to the bigger debts. Not only will this be more manageable, but the completion of each little goal is a tiny victory that motivates you to keep going.

Phone a Friend
Using the good ol’ buddy system is a great way to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon. Make sure you pick a friend that will keep you accountable rather than enable you to fail. In addition, you could invite your friend to make a similar resolution in their own life so that you can work together to reach your goals.

This is How You Remind Me
Many of us make resolutions because we are tired of things being the way they are. A good motivator to stay successful is to remind yourself of why you wanted to make the change in the first place. Many personal trainers do this to their clients by making clients workout with the extra weight they lost. For example, if a client loses 10lbs, the trainer makes them walk around with a 10lb weight to remind them of what it was like to be heavier.

Have a Plan for Setbacks and Temptation
Let’s face it, we aren’t perfect and there is bound to be some setbacks and temptations along the way. Just remember that these are normal and don’t let them get you down. Having a plan in place will help you keep moving forward despite a setback. This also ties into reminding yourself of why you wanted to change in the first place.

Make Time for Your Resolution
These changes aren’t going to happen overnight. Sometimes they take weeks, months or even years to successfully complete. The key is to stay consistent. In fact, science shows us that for a behavior to become a habit takes no less than 21 straight days.

Focus on the Journey
The old Proverb couldn’t ring more true: a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Celebrate the tiny victories by focusing on the journey rather than the destination. This often makes it easier to enjoy what you are working towards.

We hope these tips help you succeed in whatever resolution you made this year. As always, we are here to help.

Happy New Year from Wiser Home Care Services.

The Comprehensive Guide to Elderly New Year's Resolutions

The Comprehensive Guide to Elderly New Year’s Resolutions

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always an interesting one. Depending on your profession, it is either extremely busy or extremely slow. However, for many, the lull between Christmas festivities and New Year’s Eve parties presents just enough time to reflect on the past year.

It is in this time of reflection that many resolve to do things better in the upcoming year. In other words, a New Year’s Resolution is born. As you may already know, these resolutions often involve self-improvement or education, body weight, finances or relationships.

Per, the practice of making New Year’s resolutions dates back at least 4000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians were the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year, and subsequently are said to be the first to make New Year’s resolution.

Today, making a New Year’s Resolution is still widely popular. In fact, statistics estimate that nearly 45% of all Americans will make at least one resolution for the upcoming year.

We believe that you can teach an old dog new tricks, and it is never too late to better yourself. Holding true to our belief, we thought it would be fitting to blog about six possible New Year’s Resolutions your elderly loved one could make for 2017.

The Dietary Resolution
By far, one of the most popular resolutions people make, is to eat healthier in the new year. For our elderly loved ones, this means eating more fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. They should achieve this by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies with a variety of deep colors.

Make sure you also choose fiber rich grains like whole-grain bread, brown rice and whole grain pasta, less fatty meat such as fish, tuna and salmon, and hearty sources of calcium and Vitamin D such as milk, yogurt and cheese. For the healthy fats, try olive and canola oils instead of butter.

The Exercise Resolution
The next most popular resolution people make is to exercise more. Staying active as we age is of the utmost importance. Being active and exercising helps keep bones strong, prevents falls, reduces stress and helps stave of depression.

It is important to note that you don’t need to spend hours in a gym to stay active. Many malls have “Mall Walker” programs in which people get together to walk laps around the mall. Another great activity to stay active and help reduce your risk of a fall is practicing Tai Chi or yoga.

The Organization Resolution
The start of a new year, as you are packing up the Christmas decorations and finding homes for all your Christmas presents, is a great time to get organized. We’re not just talking about deep cleaning your house. Rather, take some time in the new year to collect and organize important documents such as your insurance, will, financial and medical information. This is a tedious task but it is worth it.

There is a fun side to the organization resolution. To break up the monotony of going through documents, you could also go through and organize old family photos and home videos. This will help make sure your family heritage is preserved for generations to come.

The Healthy Resolution
Wait a second, didn’t you just go over this in the dietary resolution? Well, sort of. However, there is a lot more to being healthy than just eating better. In the New Year, your elderly loved one should resolve to make healthier all-around choices. This includes considering a multi-vitamin, consuming less alcohol, quitting smoking and seeing their health provider on a regular basis.

In addition to the basics we just mentioned, your elderly loved one should make it a goal to be open with you or a friend when they feel depressed or anxious. This will help fight an alarmingly increasing trend of elderly depression.

The Falls Prevention Resolution
As you may know, falls are a leading cause of accidental death for our elderly loved ones. However, taking the right precautionary steps can greatly decrease the likelihood of a fall. These steps include maintaining safe walking spaces, keeping hallways and stairs clutter-free, installing strategically placed grab bars and fall protection mats or flooring.

In addition to home modifications, your elderly loved one can taking physical steps to reduce their risk of a fall such as exercising more, practicing balance exercises and having regular checkups.

The Friend-solution
Finally, in the new year your elderly loved one should make it a goal to make at least one new friend and reconnect with old ones. Many seniors report that having friends helps increase the happiness in their life.

We hope this lists helps your elderly loved one set some healthy, attainable goals for 2017. As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Elderly

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Elderly

The Christmas Countdown is ticking and now we are in the single digits!! Before we know it, we will wake up to find presents under the tree and be in the presence of our loved ones.  What a glorious morning it will be.

While the fact that Christmas is quickly closing in on us is exciting, it may also be stressful for those of us who have not finished Christmas shopping yet. Don’t fret though, we will help you find the perfect gift.

Since one of our favorite things about the holidays is picking out the perfect present for everyone on our list, we thought it would be fitting to share the holiday cheer by blogging about great gift ideas for caregivers and the elderly. Last week we covered gifts for caregivers, you can find that blog here.

If you have an elderly loved one on your list and you aren’t sure what to get them, you will want to keep reading. We have some great ideas!

For the Loved One that Enjoys Games
Games are always a great gift to get elderly loved ones. They help pass the time and create some great opportunities to bond and make memories with family and friends. Here are some of our favorite newer games:

  • Grandparent Talk- This deck of cards will help get the conversation rolling with several great questions to ask your elderly loved one.
  • Bananagrams- This scrabble-type word game is a blast to play. Race your loved one to see who can build the most words the fastest.
  • Card holder or Automatic shuffler- Unfortunately, as we age it can be tough to hold cards or shuffle. These gifts will help your elderly loved one play cards for years to come.
  • Game books- Crosswords, word searches, Sudoku, etc. These are all great gifts that help pass the time and keep your elderly loved one’s cognitive thinking strong.
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Adult coloring books

For the Loved One Who Is Living Independently
Maintaining independence and aging-in-place is an increasingly popular trend lately. If your loved one is living independently these gifts will be great for them:

  • Fall protection mats or flooring- If you fear your loved one may fall, these products could ultimately save their life.
  • Personal emergency response system- These wearable devices are like life-alert and will notify family members and professionals in case of emergency.
  • Medication Management systems- Thanks to technology there are automatic systems that allow you to fill your elderly loved one’s medications and dispense them through an online portal.
  • Talking clock- If your loved one has vision issues, a talking clock is a thoughtful gift.

For the Loved One Who Needs Help with Errands
Everyone loves having help with daily chores and errands. These gifts will help make your elderly loved one’s life a lot easier.

  • Smart Shopper Grocery List Organizer- This device allows your elderly loved one to make their shopping list by talking to it. The device will then categorize the items and print it off for your loved one.
  • A meal subscription- Always making yourself food can be a drag and difficult. Services like meals on wheels is a nice and thoughtful present.
  • A Roomba- This robotic vacuum automatically cleans rooms! Need we say more.

We hope this list helps you find the perfect gift for your elderly loved one. In the end, while things are nice, the best gift you can give your elderly loved one if your time.

Happy Holidays from Wiser Home Care Services.

The Ultimate Caregiver Holiday Gift Guide

The Ultimate Caregiver Holiday Gift Guide

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? We certainly are, and with all the cold weather and potential snow flurries in the forecast, it just might happen.

Here in Western Washington it is certainly a rare treat to have a white Christmas. In fact, since 1891 (the year weather began to be recorded in Seattle), there have only been 7 Christmas days that have had snow:

  1. 1909
  2. 1915
  3. 1944
  4. 1965
  5. 1990
  6. 2007
  7. 2008

Enough about the weather though. Have you finished your Christmas shopping? If no, we hope you have at least started since time is quickly running out. Chances are, you may have some people on your list that are difficult to find the perfect present for. If that is the case, we have you covered.

Since giving is the best part of the holiday season, we scoured the internet for the hottest, trending gifts this year. This week we will share some of our great gift ideas for the Caregiver on your Christmas shopping list. Finally, next week we will wrap up (pun intended) our holiday gift guide by discussing great gifts for your elderly loved one.

The Day Out
Caregivers have an extremely challenging and stressful job so anything that can help the caregiver on your list relax is a great idea. Here are some possible gift ideas in this category:

  • A gift card for a massage, manicure or pedicure
  • If the caregiver is a foodie, a gift card to a nice restaurant would certainly top the list
  • Tickets to a sporting event, comedy show, play or movie

A Helping Hand
Family caregivers spend every waking moment they have taking care of their sick or elderly loved one. Lending a helping hand for daily errands could give them a much-needed break. Here are some possible errands you could run:

  • Offer to grocery shop
  • Clean up the living space
  • Cook them a couple days’ worth of meals
  • Invest in a lunch or dinner delivery service for them
  • Do yard work
  • Run to the pharmacy
  • Offer to help care to ease the load
  • Invest in an evening of respite care services so they can go out

The Wrap-able Gift
Everyone loves getting a gift under the tree that they can unwrap on Christmas morning. Here are a couple gifts you can put under the tree for the caregiver on your list.

  • Their favorite magazine and a year subscription to it
  • A personalized coffee cup
  • A nice calendar
  • Bath and beauty products
  • A kindle or tablet with their favorite books and music on it
  • Puzzles
  • Sudoku, Crosswords, word searches and other mind puzzles
  • Caregiving books
  • Automatic pill dispenser
  • Framed photos
  • Candles
  • Gourmet coffee, chocolate, tea or wine
  • A bouquet of their favorite flowers
  • Craft supplies
  • Anything related to their favorite hobby

We hope this list helps you find the perfect gift for the caregiver in your life. In the end, while things are nice, the best gift you can give a caregiver is words of encouragement, an ear to listen and a shoulder of support.

Happy Holidays from Wiser Home Care Services.

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.