Top 10 Did You Know?

Homecare services can be confusing sometimes, so today I want to share with you 10 things that you may not know about Capability Homecare.

  1. Did you know that if you have an elderly parent that you take care of- and you need to go out of town- Capability Homecare can provide caregivers to stay with them to ensure they are safe and well cared for in your absence?
  2. Did you know that almost 1/3 of our clients are on hospice care? Capability Homecare can be with the patient 24/7 to help support the hospice team and provide care during those critical times?
  3. Did you know that if your elderly parent is recovering from a surgery or procedure (hip replacement, knee replacement, mastectomy, back surgery…) and need help for those first few weeks, Capability Homecare provides caregivers to assist through the recovery process?
  4. Did you know Capability Homecare provides live in caregivers? Caregivers stay overnight in your loved one’s home and are there 24/7 to assist with whatever they need. This is a great alternative to moving into an Assisted Living and perfect for couples who want to stay together.
  5. Did you know that Capability Homecare offers Nurse Delegation? This is a much more affordable way to have skilled services!
  6. Did you know that Capability Homecare provides help for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s? If couple wants to stay together (instead of one moving to memory care) we have experienced caregivers who can assist with the day to day needs.
  7. Did you know Capability Homecare offers FREE online training for families who are caring for a loved one? It’s so easy- just log in and learn.
  8. Did you know that Capability Homecare helps with tasks such as light housekeeping and grocery shopping? We even can make meals to last all week!
  9. Did you know we pride ourselves on having a diverse office staff that can truly relate to our clients? Our internal staff have over 60 years of combined experience! We aim to always provide exceptional caregivers that enrich the lives of our clients.
  10. Did you know Capability Homecare is locally owned and operated- and not part of a franchise? We’ve been in business for over 8 years and are proud of the excellent reputation we have built!

Call us today to find out how we can help you! 425 679 5770


How Much Does Senior Care Really Cost?

As far as senior care goes, when it comes down to it- one thing people really care about is how much does it cost?
So today I want to share what senior care actually costs. All figures are averages– and depending on circumstances (level of acuity), cost can increase significantly. Rates were based on Genworth’s Annual Care Costs report.*

Homecare– (this is what Capability Homecare  provides)

  • Caregivers are assigned to a specific client and assist with medication, mobility, personal care (assist with toilet, catheter & ostomy care), bathing, meals & nutritiion, housekeeping, transportation, skin care, and ADL’s.
  • For 8 hours a day of service- it can cost around $240 a day (average cost is around $30 per hour, most agencies have a 4 hour per week minimum). Care can be short term or long term. Care is usually paid for privately or with LTC Insurance.

Assisted Living

  • Facilities that provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs); coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Meals, housekeeping and care are provided. Caregivers assist residents, but are not assigned one on one.
  • Depending on how much care is needed- costs can range from $6000 a month to upwards of $7000+. Memory care is often more expensive. AL is paid for privately or with LTC Insurance.

Adult Family Home

  • Homes that have been configured to provide housing, meals and care for between 2- 6 senior residents. They are often for people with dementia, but each home is very different and specialize in their own specific care.
  • Because there are so many homes in the Greater Seattle area, we recommend using a Placement Specialist to find the best fit for your specific needs.
  • Most homes have a home doctor/ or nurse practioner who regulary visit the residents (billing Medicare)
  • Cost can be around $6000- $7000 a month.

Skilled Nursing Facility

  • This is more of a hospital type setting. Often seniors will share a room with another person. There is a MD on staff as well as nurses, caregivers, social workers and rehab staff.
  • If there has been a hospital stay (with 3 midnights) Medicare will pay for services- for a limited time. Sometimes, after Medicare stops paying, people chose to continue on at a SNF and live in the Long Term Care wing. The average daily cost for private pay in a SNF is $320 (semi private) and $420 (private) a day.

Adult Day Care

  • Drop off daycare where seniors can socialize with other seniors, enjoy a meal and participate in an activity or outing. Seniors enjoy the companionship of other seniors and have access to staff.
  • Average cost of Adult Day Care is around $100 a day.

Home Health

  • Services include Wound Care, PT, OT, Speech therapy, Social Work and sometimes a bath visit. Clinician comes to the client’s home to provide services on a short term basis.
  • This is generally covered by Medicare- and must be received under doctor’s orders and meet certain requirements (patient must be considered homebound). Different than Homecare- but the two services complement one another and often get confused.


  • Must be determined by MD and meet certain criteria. Nurses and caregivers provide comfort care for terminally ill patients.
  • Medicare benefit.

Long Term Care Insurance

  • Often a great way to pay for many of these services. It does require advance planning (usually around 10 years), but can be a lifesaver if needed. Be sure to buy from a trusted agent and do your homework!

Elder Care Attorney

  • Speak to an Elder Care attorney who can help protect your assets and do long term planning for your estate.
For more information about any of these options, please call Capability Homecare. We have many trusted partners that we would be happy to refer you to. 

Questions About Homecare

Q. Who uses homecare services?

A. Our clients are seniors who chose to live at home (age in place) but need assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, helping with getting in and out of bed, meals, housekeeping, transportation). We assist clients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia- or any other debilitating illness. We help people who are recovering from a major surgery. We work with hospice providing end of life care. Some clients are in a skilled nursing facility (or assisted living) but need extra care and will use our services.

We provide:

Q. How much do you charge?

A. It all depends on what services you need. Typically, prices range from $26-$28 per hour, depending on your level of need and if Nurse Delegation is required.

Q. I’ve heard other agencies don’t assign caregivers, what does this mean?

A. At Capability Homecare, we are experts in recruiting and staffing and we take great pride in matching caregivers to our clients so that a trusting relationships will be formed.

Some agencies simply send out whatever caregiver is available that day- so the client never knows who will be showing up and a trusting relationship is never formed.

Q. Couldn’t I just hire someone privately? Wouldn’t this be less expensive?

A. Hiring privately is always an option. However,  Capability Homecare performs extensive background checks (both national and local), reference checks and interviews- screening out anyone who might take advantage or abuse a senior.

Furthermore, if you hire privately, you would  be considered the employer and responsible for paying taxes and insurance. You would also be required to handle all scheduling- and in a crisis or emergency, you might be left without care. At Capability Homecare, if a caregiver has an emergency, or is ill, we are able to replace them and make sure you have the help you need.

Q. What if I only need care 1 day a week?

A. We will provide care for a minimum of 4 hours. Sometimes all you need is someone to come in to your home, clean your house, grocery shop and prepare meals and that’s it. We will cater our scheduling to match your specific wishes. Each person’s care plan is designed for their needs, and all plans are constantly reviewed and revised by our director- who is a Certified Senior Advisor.

Q. What qualities do you look for in a caregiver?

A. Our company is based on core values of honesty, trust and hard work. We look for those values as well as experience, empathy, and people who truly love seniors. We look for people who speak English clearly and communicate well. We have extremely high standards and only hire approx 10% of applicants.  We take great pride in offering the best caregivers in the industry.

Q. How are caregivers trained?

A. Our caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants or have their Fundamentals in Caregiving certification. Many have additional certifications in specific areas such as dementia training. We require that they have hands on experience working with seniors.

Q. What sort of background checks do you do?

A. We do the following checks to ensure our clients are safe:

Washington State Patrol search
National Background checks that include State Courts, Dept of Corrections, Sex Offender Registries, Traffic Courts and County Criminal Courts
Motor Vehicle Reports
Washington State Dept. of Health credential verification
Employment verification and reference checks
Social Security number and work authorization verification

Q. Who pays for Homecare?

A. Homecare services are traditionally paid for privately. Because Homecare is considered non-medical is it private pay.  Some LTC policies cover it as well. For the most part, homecare is largely uncovered by Medicare.

Q. What sort of supervision/ oversight do you have for caregivers?

A. Communication is essential in building a relationship you can trust! Our caregivers are supervised by a Certified Senior Advisor- who regularly assesses and communicates with both the caregiver and the person receiving care (and/ or their family).  Once assigned a new client the caregiver undergoes orientation to learn about their specific needs and the care plan is carefully discussed. In addition, a notebook is placed in every client’s home that includes the care plan as well as a place to leave Care Notes after each shift. These notes are monitored by both the family as well as Capability staff. Furthermore, we have a telephonic system where the caregiver (or family) can leave messages with concerns or questions about the client. These messages are monitored and addressed daily. Our Director of Operations does unplanned home visits to check to make sure things are going smoothly- and to visit with our clients.

Q. What is Nurse Delegation?

A. Essentially, Nurse Delegation is when a RN delegates her skills (trains a caregiver to perform a designated task) to a caregiver (CNA) so that the caregiver can provide the services needed- for a much lower cost. See click here to learn more.

It is a cost effective option because instead of paying an RN’s hourly rate, the client can pay the caregiver rate and receive the same services. It is often used for administering medication, checking insulin levels, giving eye or ear drops, applying ointments, tube feeding, simple wound care or colostomy care as ordered by a physician.

In order to comply with State regulations, anyone needing Nurse Delegation does have to pay for an assessment by the RN before services can begin.

Q. What about Alzheimer’s Care?

A. Capability Homecare is passionate about working with clients with Alzheimer’s. Both our owner and our Director of Operations have personal experience with Alzheimer’s. Our caregivers are experienced and trained to work with clients who are suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Our goal is to keep seniors safe and in their homes as long as possible.

Q. What about Live In? What does this mean?

A. Many clients find that hiring a caregiver to actually live in their home is a better option than hourly care. Traditionally, 2 caregivers will work for the client- one will work 3 days on and the other will work 4 days. The client is able to stay home and age in place and someone is in their home at all times- providing care and companionship as needed. If someone is a fall risk, this is often the best way to ensure they are safe.

Q. I’m going on vacation and just want someone to stay with my mom for 1 week, is this possible?

A. Absolutely! That is what we are here for. Just call us in advance to give us time to find the best person to match your mom’s personality and needs.

Call us today at 425 679-5770, or check out our website for more information.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

imagesA few weeks ago I read in the Seattle Times about the new Aegis Living at Marymoor and their Memory Care Courtyard and it brought back so many of my own memories that I was inspired to write. They describe the courtyard as follows: “Take a trip back in time as you step into our vintage campground in the courtyard. We have recreated the memory of your favorite family camping trip- complete with an Airstream trailer, camp chairs and all of the makings for s’mores. “

I immediately thought of my grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, and how that would have been absolutely perfect for her. One of her favorite things to do was to go camping. She and my grandfather owned a lot at Clearwood and every summer we would spend a week surrounded by the gorgeous pine trees, lovely lakes and endless trails. We would sleep in the RV- but most of our time was spent outdoors- hiking, swimming, exploring and making s’more by the fire. These were really happy times- and as I reflect back on them I realize how blessed we were to have had those experiences.

I also realize that as my grandmother’s memory slipped away- reminiscing about those days of camping would have probably brought her lots of joy. It would have sparked memories of happy times we had as a family, like the time we found the rock that looked like a baked potato and we put it on my grandpa’s plate that night at dinner! He, with a twinkle in his eye, went along with the joke and pretended to try to eat it. As children we were delighted with this silly prank- yet it had slipped to the back of our minds and was forgotten.

The visual cues of the camping scene at Aegis Living at Marymoor would undoubtedly bring out these memories- and many more. Knowing that my grandmother could have enjoyed the comfort and safety of the gated back yard while reminiscing about a very special time in her life makes me smile. Knowing there are communities like this makes me glad that there are so many more options for people with Alzheimer’s than there were 10 years ago.

If you need exceptional care for a senior in the privacy of your own home- then Capability Homecare is here for you, but if an Assisted Living Community is a better fit, than know that there are lots of wonderful options for you.

Walk of Life

IMG_1064A friend of mine recently went down to Florida to help her dad move out of his home and move into an Assisted Living*. While living in his own home he had become anti social- staying indoors most of the time.

Before the move, my friend wanted to go see a tree that she had planted several years ago in memory of her mother- and asked her dad to take her there. He reluctantly agreed to go and proceeded to climb in the car. Since the tree was only about 75 feet away, my friend insisted he get out of the car and they could walk. After a little resistance, eventually he gave in and together they walked down the road- and this is where an amazing thing happened.

As they slowly walked they started running into people he knew. People he hadn’t seen in months.

They stopped to talk, to laugh, to socialize. They shared stories, caught up on news and saw old friends.

All of a sudden- after months of feeling lonely and depressed- he felt alive, connected and loved. Just this simple task of getting outside and going for a short stroll opened up his world and brought him joy.

When my friend shared this story with me I knew it was something I wanted to share here because it is something so simple- and yet so rewarding. So I encourage you- if you have been cooped up in your home for too long- get outside. Go for a walk. Even if it’s a short one, being in the fresh air will re-invigorate you. Seeing other people will re-connect you and getting exercise will re-energize you.

There is no rush, take your time and take it slow. Just get out there and see the world. We’ve been waiting for you…

*Capability Homecare is a premiere homecare agency in the Greater Seattle area. We provide in home care for seniors for short or long term stays.

Hiring Caregivers, The Best of the Best!

Caregiver selection is the most important thing we do at Capability Homecare. If you think about it, in some regards our caregivers are our ‘product’ and we work hard to have the best possible ‘product’ on the market.

To do this we go through a very extensive hiring process- of which I thought I would share with you today.

  • Each candidate goes through several interviews before they are considered

  • Our in depth questioning helps determine if the candidate has the personality traits we are looking for

  • We conduct National Background checks (with fingerprinting)

  • In addition to checking personal references, we require 2 professional references

  • All caregivers are either CNA’s (certified nursing assistants), NAR’s (registered nursing assistant) or have completed 75 hours of training

  • Understanding how important communication is, we look for candidates who are proficient in English

  • We verify credentials through the Washington State Dept. of Health

We consider hiring great caregivers to be of such importance that we have two full time recruiters who spend every single day working to find the very best caregivers in the industry.  In addition to making sure our caregivers have the necessary skills and training, we ensure they meet Capability Homecare’s core values:

  • Honesty

  • Compassion

  • Empathy

  • Trustworthy

With over 18 years experience in the field of recruiting- Capability Homecare’s owner has developed a successful method of finding great employees.

We are extremely proud of our reputation of having the best caregivers of any homecare agency in the Great Seattle/ Bellevue area- and we can attribute that success to our standard of  ‘if we won’t hire this person to care for our own parents, then we won’t hire them to care for yours!’.  

To read more about our caregiver selection process, click here!

Geriatric Care Management

According to the website, a Geriatric Care Manager is defined as  “… a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide, advocate, and resource for families caring for older relatives and persons with disabilities.”

But what does this really mean? For many of us who have never had to navigate the confusing world of senior care, hiring a Geriatric Care Manager is like using an experienced travel agent when touring to a foreign land. A GCM is an expert in the field of all public and private services for seniors. They are able to provide consultation, assessment, and care coordination.

As with a travel agent, you will want someone who is well educated, someone who knows and understands the ‘lay of the land’ and someone who you can trust to lead you in the right direction. Most Geriatric Care Managers have a background in social work, nursing, psychology,  family counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or gerontology.

One unique factor of Geriatric Case Manager is that they follow a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice- that ensures clients they are being served by someone who is professional and will respect their privacy and honor their values and wishes. They are accountable, ethical and well educated in their field.

Some of the benefits of using one are (from

  • Personalized and compassionate service — focusing on the individual’s wants and needs.
  • Accessibility — care is typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Continuity of care management – communications are coordinated between family members, doctors and other professionals, and service providers.
  • Cost containment — inappropriate placements, duplication of services, and unnecessary hospitalizations are avoided.
  • Quality control – care management services follow NAPGCM’S Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

One local GCM is Jan Pitzer, of Aging Network Resources (206-935-3020). She has been in the industry for over 20 years.  Originally, a social worker in nursing homes, she soon discovered there was a growing need for private consultation services to guide seniors through this confusing process.

With her existing relationship with trust officers in local banks, she was able to build a solid practice providing services for seniors in the Seattle/ King county area. Jan says that through building relationships in the industry and by meeting regularly with other care managers, she is able to maintain her expert knowledge in the field.

Another local expert is Liz Taylor. She was an award winning columnist for the Seattle Times and “one of Washington State’s first geriatric care managers, she consults one-on-one with families and individuals, guiding them in making wise decisions in all the many ways to take control as they age — aging deliberately.”. Check out her website.

Hiring a resource specialist for seniors AND their families, especially those who live far away and aren’t able to help locally, is extremely helpful.