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

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

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Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness.

Diagnosing Glaucoma Early Can Help Preserve Sight.  Usually there are no early warning signs of glaucoma.  Many people are unaware they already have glaucoma and become aware of a problem suddenly when the side or peripheral vision becomes shaded. 

It affects people of ALL age groups but usually people age 60 or older are affected and even more so over age 80, especially those of Hispanic or Latino origin.  African Americans are at a higher risk and often as early as age 40. 

Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease may increase an individual’s risk for glaucoma.

With early detection, vision loss may be lessened or halted.  Everyone over age 40 should have regular eye checkups including a dilated exam.  A glaucoma test is covered for Medicare beneficiaries under Medicare Part B.  Treatments as simple as specialized eye drops that reduce the pressure building up inside the eye may make a difference in reducing vision loss.

We encourage everyone to have regular eye checkups.  Capability Homecare caregivers with Nurse Delegation may administer Glaucoma Eye Drops when needed along with our exceptional care.

               Additional information about glaucoma is available at https://nei.nih.gov/education.

When Ho, Ho, Ho feels More Like Ho Hum

This is the time of year when it seems like everyone is full of cheer- but truth be told, not everyone you see is feeling joyful. In fact, depression is actually quite common during the holidays- especially among the elderly.

Sadly,  the elderly population ranks 2nd in the nation for the highest suicide rate.*

During this holiday season, if you notice things that make you concerned about a loved one, there are a few signs to look for if you fear they may be suffering from depression:

  1. Mental exhaustion
  2. Loss of interest in normal activities
  3. Recurrent thoughts of death
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Loss of energy
  6. Socially withdrawn
  7. Insomnia
  8. Lack of personal hygiene

If you notice that they exhibit more than one of these signs, it is suggested you seek professional help.

Some of the risk factors for suicide and depression include**:

  1. Alcohol or substance abuse
  2. Current use of a medication associated with a high risk of depression
  3. Hearing or vision impairment severe enough to affect function
  4. History of attempted suicide
  5. History of psychiatric hospitalization
  6. Medical diagnosis or diagnoses associated with a high risk of depression
  7. New admission or change in environment
  8. New stressful losses, including loss of autonomy, loss of privacy, loss of functional status, loss of body part, or loss of family member or friend
  9. Personal or family history of depression or mood disorder

If you are concerned about a loved one, it is important that you talk to them and get them to their primary care doctor for PH2Q evaluation.

The good news is that depression can be treated in a variety of ways. Including Psychotherapy, Pharmacotherapy, and in some cases ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy).

For those who have minor depression- helping them find purpose and meaning in their life can often be beneficial. Brookdale Communities offer an Optimum Life program that focuses on all aspects of one’s life, including physical, emotional, social and intellectual stimulation.

Eating a healthy diet can also help increase mood. Encourage your loved one to eat foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats and get plenty of vitamin D. Often seniors who live alone rely on frozen foods to get by, hiring a Capability Caregiver to prepare healthy, nutritious meals can make a huge difference. Even just having a companion to eat meals with can help alleviate loneliness.

If you are worried about your loved one, have faith, patience and seek help.  With the proper care- depression can be treated and you can turn ho hum into ho, ho, ho!

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Walking in the Park

*http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

** http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=32668

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.

Hospice

  • 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. 
*https://www.genworth.com/corporate/about-genworth/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html

Why Hiring Help Could actually save you Money

photo credit: istockphoto.com

photo credit: istockphoto.com

The growing number of Americans caring for their aging loved ones often face financial strain along with their daily caregiving responsibilities. A survey this year of 1,345 family caregivers by Caring.com found that 46 percent of caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year on related expenses. Those costs include medications, medical bills and in-home care. One-third of respondents said they spend 30-plus hours a week on caregiving and half said they had to change their work schedule to make room for those responsibilities.

“All across the country, adult children are paying for this just at the time when they should be saving for their own retirement,” says Andy Cohen, founder of Caring.com. He started the site after being a caregiver for his mother, who passed away from cancer in 2006. He says his family made many financial mistakes, including hiring an in-home care agency that wasn’t covered under his mother’s long-term insurance policy; not having necessary financial documents, like one that designates a health care agent in place; and paying for care out of his own savings rather than his mother’s assets, which is not optimal from a tax or Medicaid eligibility standpoint.

Cohen urges families engaged in caregiving to set up a family meeting to talk through the financial ramifications and how to handle them. If one person is serving as the primary caregiver, then other siblings might want to contribute more financially, for example, he says. “It’s becoming more common to pay the family member who is the caregiver,” he says, especially because that person often has to cut back on his or her work hours or even quit a job altogether.

Cohen also notes that despite the fact that 43 million people in the country are now caring for someone over age 50, caregivers often feel very lonely. He urges them to seek support through websites like his own. Caregiving experts also offered these five strategies for minimizing the financial stress of taking care of an older adult:

1. Leverage community help. This approach won’t work for everybody, but those who live in close-knit communities might find some relief by sharing duties with neighbors or enlisting a local scout troop to handle yard work or read to the older adult. Paula Spencer Scott, author of “Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers,” shares the story of two neighbors who both lived with their mothers and took turns handling caregiving duties for both women. She adds that local meal programs or adult day care services might be available at low or no cost.

2. Hire help for yourself. Scott says that for a relatively low cost, caregivers can hire help in the form of a personal organizer or personal ​concierge to run errands or handle yard work, which can free up time and energy for caregiving or other work or life responsibilities. Similarly, automating as many tasks as possible, such as grocery delivery and bill pay, can also free up time. And giving the caregiver a break is important: “You have to spend a little on respite time for yourself, even if it’s a few hours a week to get a massage or a haircut. That’s an expense many caregivers aren’t willing to make, but they’ll pay a bigger price for it later,” Scott says.

3. Try to avoid quitting your job. Nell Lake​, author of “The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love,” says it can make more sense to hire help if it enables you to maintain your career as well as health insurance and other benefits. She points out that 1 in 10 caregivers quits a  jobs to provide full-time care to an elderly family member, which on average costs more than $300,000 in lifetime wages, Social Security and pension income.

4. Check up on public benefits. Veterans (and spouses)​ might qualify for certain benefits, and other government programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicare Part D Extra Help Program and Medicaid, are also available to those over age 65 or under the federal poverty limit. Lake recommends the website BenefitsCheckUp.org as a resource.

5. Investigate long-term care options. Lake points out that long-term care can be complicated, and people with accumulated assets often must spend them first before qualifying for Medicaid coverage of nursing home or in-home care. An elder law attorney can often help caregivers better understand the current and future expenses and how to minimize them in the long run, she says.

Planning ahead as much as possible, even more​ after the potential caregiving needs are known, can also help caregivers and their loved ones prepare to handle the financial cost of what’s to come. “The more we all think about and plan for our own and our loved ones’ possible long-term care needs, the more prepared and less stressed we’ll be,” Lake says.

Editor’s note: Kimberly Palmer wrote this article through a Journalists in Aging Fellowship, a collaboration of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America, with support from AARP.

National Physical Therapy Month

Physical Therapists Perform Important Roll in Aging Well

Capability Homecare is proud to recognize the impact that Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives during National Physical Therapy Month.

Physical Therapist’s Guide to Balance Problems

Balance problems make it difficult for people to maintain stable and upright positions when standing, walking, and even sitting. Older people are at a higher risk of having balance problems; 75% of Americans older than 70 years are diagnosed as having “abnormal” balance. Older women are more likely than older men to develop balance problems, although the difference between the genders is small. Balance problems increase by almost 30% in people aged 80 years or more. Physical therapists develop individualized physical activity plans to help improve the strength, stability, and mobility of people with balance problems.

  • Balance problems occur when 1 or more of 4 systems in the body are not working properly:

o    Vision

o    Inner ear

o    Muscular system

o    Awareness of one’s own body position (called “proprioception”)

Poor vision can result from age, eye tracking problems, or eye diseases. Inner ear problems, also called vestibular problems, can develop from trauma, aging, poor nutrition, or disease. Body-position sense can become abnormal as a result of trauma or a disease, such as diabetes. Muscle strength and flexibility can decline due to lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, or disease.

The brain coordinates impulses from the eye, inner ear, and body-position senses, and sends signals to the muscular system to move or make adjustments to maintain balance. If one or more of the senses is not sending correct signals to the brain, or if the muscular system cannot carry out the necessary movements, a person may not be able to maintain or correct their balance.

  • How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Physical therapists offer numerous options for treating balance problems, based on each person’s needs. They are trained to evaluate multiple systems of the body, including the muscles, joints, inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation, and position awareness in the joints (proprioception). Physical therapists are experts in prescribing active movement techniques and physical exercise to improve these systems, including strengthening, stretching, proprioception exercises, visual tracking, and inner ear retraining.

Your physical therapist can help treat your balance problems by identifying their causes, and designing an individual treatment program to address your specific needs, including exercises you can do at home with your caregiver.

                 For more information about our trusted physical therapist partners, please call Capability Homecare.                                    

Additional information about balance is available at the following link:

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=1bb9c784-a874-43b1-976f-d0de03c19f99#.ViSBKYeFPVI