Loving Care in the Comfort of Home
Loving Care in the Comfort of Home
New regulations requiring payment of overtime wages for homecare aides, while well intentioned, will likely have some unintended, negative consequences for elderly clients.
Without a doubt, nursing assistants, charged with caring for elderly clients at home, work hard and shoulder heavy responsibilities. Caregivers deserve to receive fair wages for the essential care they provide. The issue at hand involves payment of overtime for caregivers working on a "Live-In" basis for seniors. The term "Live-In" applies to caregivers who go to an elderly client's home and stay for a number of days at a time. This arrangement greatly benefits many seniors who prefer the security of having someone with them at night for urgent needs. Seniors with dementia or impaired memory function typically need Live-In care to insure safety and prevent falls. "Live-In" care is only offered to clients who sleep well through the night and typically do not require assistance during night time hours. Clients who have frequent needs during the night are required to have care billed on an hourly basis so that the caregiver can also be compensated appropriately. If 24 hr care is provided on an hourly basis, several caregivers are required to cover the shifts; (2) 12 hour shifts per day. While technically, present in the client's home for at least 24 hours, A "Live-In" caregiver is able to sleep 8 hours at night and has some downtime in the evening hours. These caregivers are paid a flat, daily rate for this service. Historically, they have been exempt from overtime pay due to the fact that they have rest time and are not actively working at all times.
Clients receiving In-Home Care services will definitely take a hit in their pocket books. The former companionship exemption was a significant factor in helping to keep senior home care affordable. With overtime pay now required for hours in excess of 40, clients will pay significantly more or get used to having numerous caregivers rotating in and out of their homes. For most seniors and their families, continuity of care is considered critical. A continuous stream of different caregivers can be confusing for an elderly client and possibly elevate anxiety levels. Communication regarding a client's changing needs is more challenging when multiple caregivers are involved. Faced with these negatives, many families may decide to hire their own, private caregivers to care for their seniors. Private caregivers may not have the training and credentials of those retained through an agency. Hiring home care workers under the table could expose some seniors to abuse, fraud or substandard care since supervision and agency oversight is lost. What is a senior to do when a private caregiver gets sick or doesn't show up for work? In all likelihood, the elderly client will be left to fend for himself unless family or friends are available to step in.
Due to expense or hassle, many families may turn away from in-home care altogether and turn to assisted living or nursing care institutions instead. Research data indicates that given a choice an overwhelming majority of seniors would prefer to remain at home with assistance. Loss of independence and control combined with less personal attention make institutional living less appealing to the senior population.
What about the truly wonderful people who have been earning their incomes as Live-In caregivers through In-Home Care agencies? Will they actually benefit from the new overtime provision? Probably not. The overall demand for Live-In assistance will likely decline sharply as costs increase significantly. These caregivers will likely be forced into "underground" or private hire situations to find assignments without the numerous protections offered by reputable agencies.
Who will really benefit from removing the overtime exemption for home care workers? Its unclear but quite possibly the only benefactor will turn out to be SEIU, the largest and fastest growing member of the AFL-CIO. Politics as usual? Let's hope not; the lives of seniors, the disabled and chronically ill will be impacted.
There's no question that evaluating 24 Hour Caregiver options for a loved one can be quite overwhelming, not to mention costly. You might be surprised to learn that 24 Hour Caregiver service options can be among the most affordable and best values in senior care.
24 Hour Caregiver Service refers to a caregiver that lives with the care recipient for a specified period of time (usually 3-4 days), providing 24 hour coverage. Typically when 24/7 service is set up 3 caregivers are selected to work with a specific client so that familiarity and continuity can be established between the client and the care team. The selected are team will rotate days providing what is typically called "Live-In" care. 24 Hour "Live-In" care is billed at a flat, daily fee with rates ranging from $175 to $185 per 24 hour period. 24 Hour Caregiver Service rates are considerably less expensive on a per hour basis than standard hourly care. In order to meet the qualifications for 24 Hour care, one of the requirements is that the client must sleep on average 7-8 hours per night without needing assistance. If regular sleep is not possible for the caregiver, one solution is that an additional Aide can be brought in to provide nighttime coverage, on an hourly basis so that the 24 hour caregiver can get the rest needed to perform the duties during the day. Even by brining in an additional caregiver at night the total cost for care is normally much lower than hourly around-the-clock rates.
Before you dismiss 24 Hour care as too costly, consider how comprehensive the care is for the money. Besides "hands on", personal care services such as bathing, dressing, mobility assistance and companionship, caregivers serve as Household Managers. Consider the tasks listed below that are rolled into the job of a "Live-in" caregiver:
Household cleaning & laundry services--- a $540 per month ($135 per week) value
Personal Meal Planning/Shopping/Preparation Services--- a $450 per month value (30 home cooked, nutritious meals)
Pet Care (feeding/walking)---a $270 per month ($9 per day) value
Errand & Transportation Service---a $320 per month value (2 local outings per week)
These extra services, of course, are in addition to the priceless benefit of one-on-one personal care and companionship in one's own home. 24 Hour care is especially economical for couples or those requiring significant levels of personal care.
As a word of caution---some might be tempted to search for 24 Hour Caregiver Service on their own. "A friend of a friend" may sound like an attractive option. This person may be someone that you believe you would be comfortable around. After all, concern about having a stranger in the home is a major hurdle for most. You should question the motivation of people who claim they will move in on a permanent basis to care for all of the needs of an elderly person. Professional Caregivers are real people with families, homes and their own interests. A professional, skilled caregiver will NOT be willing to move in permanently and give up their own lives without a break. He or she should possess the credentials/experience necessary to work with the elderly. Be skeptical of those who are willing to accept room/board and tiny salaries in exchange for a loved one's total care. Many seniors have fallen prey to dishonest "caregivers" who take advantage of the situation.
Instead, consider retaining the services of a professional In-Home Care agency. Agency personnel will handle the screening and make certain that the caregiver sent to care for your loved one is skilled, professional and has a solid track record. Agencies also guarantee coverage if your primary caregiver must miss work. Agency caregivers receive regular breaks so that when they return to care for your loved one; they are refreshed.
If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed. Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own? What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution? We understand, in fact, we have been there.
Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.
Finally, a real solution. At last, peace of mind. Call us at 770-442-8664.
I am sure that you never imagined that you would one day become the primary caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer's Disease. Your days are jam packed with doctor's appointments and personal care tasks. You've found that taking a parent with Alzheimer's on an outing can be challenging; perhaps you've given up. You've both become a little lonely and isolated. This bleak scenario doesn't have to be your reality. A fun, innovative outlet for alzheimer's patients and their caregivers is popping up all over the country (& world!)...The Alzheimer's Cafe.
The Alzheimer's Cafe movement started in the Netherlands in 1997 and has quickly been gaining popularity in Europe, the US and Canada. Today, more than 200 cafes exist across Europe. The first US cafe event was held in 2008 at the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Elsewhere, the cafes thrive in museums, adult day care centers, worship centers, and hospitals throughout many states, including California, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.
What is the Alzheimer's Cafe?
Essentially, its a support group and social event combined. In one sense, they serve to bring people together with similar circumstances to share, support and lessen the stigma of the disease. The cafes have improved upon the traditional support group by incorporating recreation and entertainment. Similar to what you might find at a regular cafe, these gatherings are upbeat and leisurely where participants can relax, enjoy some music and share experiences over a cup of coffee or tea.
Some cafes have set themes with guest speakers, presentations or entertainment for each gathering. Others are more flexible and loosely organized with arts & crafts activities, tea time, singing and poetry depending on the interests of the group. Some groups even welcome guest artists and musicians who invite participants to join in and learn the art form.
Unfortunately, the cafes have not yet arrived on the Atlanta scene. However, a great alternative is the "Arts 4 Alzheimers" program. Geriatric experts believe that art is a great activity to tap into the imagination of Alzheimer's patients. Even with the loss of memory, the capacity for imagination still exists. The program gives people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia fun, creative and stimulating ways to communicate and express their feelings, and enables them to feel less lonely and isolated. "Arts 4 Alzheimer's" is ideal for people with early-stage memory loss. Trained artists/educators facilitate the classes in a variety of mediums (such as painting, pottery, collage, music, and photography). Best of all, classes are free of charge. Classes are held at the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody. Please contact Tania Becker at 404-492-6181 to learn more.
Another function geared to Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers is the "Rendevous" at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. The group meets the 2nd Monday of each month and is free with advanced registration. During the group's meeting time, the museum is closed to the general public, allowing participants to experience the art in a very relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Specially trained tour guides lead visitors and their primary caregivers through the galleries and facilitate an interactive art activity. Contact the Booth Western Art Museum for program specifics at 770-387-3849.
Joining a "Forget Me Nots" group is another great way to get a break from the daily challenges of caregiving. "Forget Me Nots" is a social support Lunch Group for early stage Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. Groups meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at various restaurants across Atlanta. Contact the Alzheimer's Association at 1-800-272-3900 for specific locations and dates.
Getting ready to go home from hospital and rehab after suffering from a stroke, requires preparation and planning. The knowledge of how the brain recovers after suffering a stroke is very limited. Some brain cells may only be temporarily damaged and not destroyed and may resume functioning. In some cases the brain compensates for the damaged cells and re-organizes the functioning.
Recovery will vary with each individual. Many will make a complete recovery and others may be left with disabilities or difficulties. The more severe the stroke generally the longer is will take for recovery. Recovering from a stroke is a gradual process that takes the brain time to heal and this begins the rehabilitation process.
Once you are home bound you may need help with the following activities:
Common Physical Problems Following a Stroke:
Due to the brain damage caused by the stroke, eating and drinking may be difficult, as the muscles of chewing and swallowing may be weakened especially in the early stages. It is common to have a feeding tube in the early stages, to provide proper nutrition, fluids and medication. Generally the Speech Therapist will provide special swallowing therapy and advice to help with eating and drinking safely.
Some people may completely lose the ability to speak, but can still understand what is being said to them. The ability to read and spell and write may also be affected. When a person has problems understanding and using words and sentences which affect their ability to communicate this is called aphasia. Some of the common issues with aphasia are:
Two of the most common psychological conditions found in people after a stroke are:
Many may experience difficulty controlling their bladder or bowel commonly known as incontinence. For many this control will come back over time.
Dealing with the daily activities:
Getting the support and help that you need:
After your stroke, you may need to get extra help around the house or with personal care. In-Home Care is a perfect solution to having as little or as much help as you need. Most people find that they need around the clock live-in care assistance and as they begin to recover and are able to do more for themselves they reduce the care to shorter hourly assistance.
Easy Living Services will send the appropriate skilled caregiver to provide exactly what you need help with. Our caregivers can help with bathing, dressing, grooming, assistance with toilet needs, meal preparation, grocery shopping, assistance to and from Doctor appointment and errands, medication reminders, light housekeeping, watering the plants, feeding and walking the family pet and so much more depending on each individual needs.
Today’s families have very busy lifestyles so many times family members what to help and in many cases try to help but generally it is only a matter of time before it all becomes overwhelming trying to juggle too many tasks at one time. For most just knowing that companies like ours are here when you need support and an extra set of caring hands make the recovery and rehabilitation process less stressful and smooth.
Should you or a loved one need help, call us today 770-442-8664!