What to Expect When You’re Expecting

what-to-expect

I would bet that most moms have read this book.  Back when I was pregnant it seemed like this was the ‘go to’ book to prepare for what was yet to come.  Personally, I remember reading and highlighting the pages, trying to ready myself for this enormous change that was about to happen to my life. I loved that book because it prepared me for the unknown. By the time my baby arrived I was armed with information- I was ready (or so I thought!).

On the complete opposite end of the life spectrum it seems like we are less and less prepared for growing old. It’s almost as if aging sneaks up on us. Maybe it’s denial that it’s happening, or maybe it’s because we are so busy thinking about everything else- but it seems like we could use a “What to Expect When You Grow Old” book?

If I were to write such book, I’d include a chapter on what to expect when hiring homecare. Hiring help in the home can be a wonderful way to ‘age in place’. People can receive care similar to what they would get in an Assisted Living, but in the comfort of their own home. And as with any new thing, it’s helpful to know what to expect.

Below are my top 10 tips on – “what to expect when hiring homecare”.

  • 1.Expect a to have an assessment the homecare agent will spend a couple of hours asking questions and gathering information on what exactly the client is looking for. They need all of this info so that they can then write up a plan of care tailored to the particular client.  This is also a great opportunity for the client to get to know the homecare agency. They can ask questions and learn more about who they will be working with.

 

  • 2.Expect several days between the assessment and when care actually starts. Many people assume that caregivers are available at a moment’s notice, but this is unrealistic. In some emergency cases agencies will be able to provide a caregiver with little notice, but for most clients finding the right caregiver, who has the appropriate skill set and availability, may take time. We’ve had clients expect care immediately- and when we aren’t able to provide that they move on to another homecare agency- only to have the exact same situation. Be patient… we want to make the best possible match and that might take time- but it will be worth the wait.

   

  • 3.Expect communication– the homecare company should communicate with you on who will be caring for you or your loved one. They should also communicate to you any changes in scheduling or concerns the caregiver has about the client’s health or status. They should be available 24/7 to answer emergency calls.

 

  • 4.Expect trained caregivers who are certified nursing assistants. If you are receiving 24 hour, overnight or live in care- expect that there will be more than one caregiver caring for you. It is impossible for one person to work that many hours!

   

  • 5.Expect the agency to do all they can to provide consistency. Expect that sometimes the same caregiver might not be available (people do get sick or have emergencies), but expect the agency to have a back up caregiver to provide service.
  • 6.Expect that homecare is paid for privately- or with long term care insurance.  Unfortunately, it is not covered by Medicare.

 

  • 7.Expect that the caregiver might not look busy 100% of the time. Many people hire caregivers to assist them with their daily needs and help with light housekeeping or transportation- but there will be some down time when the housework is done and the client is asleep or comfortable. The caregiver may be reading a book or watching TV. They are there and ready to assist as needed- but know that they may not look busy all of the time.

   

  • 8.Expect to be able to make changes to the schedule– you decide how much care you want, when you want it. Most agencies have a 4 hour minimum- but otherwise it is up to you to decide how much care is necessary.  As a courtesy, if you are cancelling care- you should call at least 24 hours in advance avoid being charged.

 

  • 9.Expect that English may not be the first language of the caregiver. In our 9 years of providing care we have found that some of the best caregivers were born in different countries. However, it is always our goal to hire people who can communicate clearly.

 

  • 10.Most of all, expect compassion, professionalism and respect. Expect a relationship you can trust. 

Knowing what to expect when hiring homecare can help alleviate any concerns. Having a realistic view of what to expect makes the whole process much smoother. 

Please let us know how we can assist you or your loved one. Capability Homecare strives to be an industry leader in providing safe, compassionate care in the home.

Call us today 425 679 5770.  

People Are Talking…

whisper

People are talking about Capability Homecare– and we couldn’t be prouder! Here’s what they are saying…

“You matched my needs perfectly with choice of caregiver .”

“I was pleased with the quality of the caregiver. Most were able to step in and do anything that my husband needed. Some even helped with my tasks which I appreciated but did not expect. Caregivers were experienced and knew what to do when I didn’t. My husband was really struggling and this help was critical.”

“We were not expecting the excellent professionalism, energy and personality that our caregiver put out toward us. She contributed enormously to M’s dying in peace.”

“I appreciate the patience Mo and Laura had in finding the best person to care for my mom. I know it was challenging. I also appreciate the flexibility of care, it made it easier for me to be able to take mom to appointments.”

“Both caregivers were ever so gentle and efficient in caring for S. We highly recommend Capability Homecare and their caregivers to anyone in our situation.”

Capability Homecare was able to step in on short notice and the caregivers were fabulous with my aunt.”

“We mainly used one caregiver, K, who was always on time, cheerful, willing to help in any way she could, flexible and enjoyable.”

We love hearing from our clients- thank you for letting us know what we are doing right! If you need help keeping your loved one safe at home, give us a call 425 679  5770.

 

5 Ways to Prepare for Homecare

Once you’ve made the choice to provide in-home care for an elderly member there will be many things you need to take care of. At first, your decision may overwhelm you and create a lot of stress. But with a little knowledge and planning, some of this stress can be relieved. Here are some tips that will help you provide better and hopefully make the transition a pleasant experience for everyone involved:

Accept the Change

The very first step is to accept that there will be a change. Depending on the level of care there may be dramatic changes to your lifestyle, or negligible ones. Whatever the case may be, it is necessary that you accept and embrace the change that will soon be coming your way.

Keep Your Family Involved

Your decision to provide in-home care needs to be discussed with your family. The effects of ageing in an in-home care situation are very prominent, and will affect your family members in different ways. Take into account everyone’s opinions on the matter, so that you can prepare for any potential challenges. Make sure responsibility is divided equally so that no one person is stretched beyond their limits.

Eliminate Clutter

A messy environment in general makes it hard to get things done. This will become more of a hassle in an in-home care situation. Obstructed pathways and all round clutter pose challenges and risk the safety of your loved ones. Thus, a good way to prepare for in-home caregiving is to minimize clutter, and organize your surroundings. Having a neat space will make caregiving much easier for you, and will also be greatly appreciated by your elder family members.

Modify the Home

Sometimes, your home may need certain adjustments to make living more comfortable for your elder loved ones. Consider what modifications you may need, from installing a walk in-tub to investing in grab bars to promote stair safety.

Remember Yourself

Caregiving can take a toll on anyone. In the process of giving care, make sure not to neglect yourself. Caregiving is very demanding, even if you are helping your own family members. Neglecting oneself often happens subconsciously, but can have negative repercussions. As a care provider, it’s important to look after yourself so you are in the best condition to provide care for others. Remember to eat and sleep well, stay healthy, and take a break every now and then, giving yourself the attention and care you rightly deserve.

Keeping these things in mind will lessen the anxiety and stress that often accompanied in-home care giving in its initial stages. Ultimately, you will find that in-home care giving is a wonderfully fulfilling process – not only for your dearly loved elders, but also for you.

Written by Akshata Mehta, who has also written for Not Now Mom’s Busy, The Small FootPrint Family, Family Groove

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

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

Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors

treeIt’s the season of gift giving, so today I want to share my top 10 gift ideas for seniors.

  1. A Puzzle with large pieces – and the promise to work on it with them. If they don’t enjoy puzzles, what about a table top sudoko board?
  2. Restaurant gift certificate (even better if the restaurant delivers). A grocery store gift card would also be nice.
  3. Subscription to Audible (great for those who love reading, but have a hard time seeing. Take it one step further and show them how to download on their phone or mobile device)
  4. A mini table top tree- this is what Capability Homecare is giving all of our clients this year. It’s a simple, easy way to make a home festive, without all the mess and trouble of a big tree.
  5. Tickets to a holiday concert that you can go to together.
  6. Create a photo album using their old photos. Ask your loved one to tell you stories about the pictures- who is in them, what they were doing at the time.
  7. A DVD set of their favorite TV show from the olden days.
  8. Computer lessons- teach them how to use Facebook, email or Skype to stay connected.
  9. Consider a gift card for homecare services. Even just a few hours a week will allow you some respite from caregiving- and also gives your loved one the opportunity to socialize with a new person.
  10. Give something small and homemade. My daughter and I love making gifts each year. We have made coasters, pillow cases, ornaments, salt and pepper shakers… We use Pinterest to get inspired.  

What’s really important during the holiday season is spending time together as a family. Each of these gift ideas encourage time that you can spend with your loved one.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

 

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