As an elderly loved one gets older, everyday life can become more and more challenging. Walking around can become tiresome. Missing a medication can become disastrous. At times, going to the bathroom and cleaning the dishes can become too much. Thankfully, there is an industry that’s entirely devoted to making lives easy for your elderly loved ones—home care for seniors. Hiring an in-home caregiver gives your elderly loved ones the luxury to remain as independent as possible while getting all the help they need.
However, with so many options available and several factors to take into account, finding the right in-home caregiver can become overwhelming. Get your search for the right in-home caregiver off to a great start by keeping in mind the following:
Caregiving is not a one-size-fits-all service
Determine the exact tasks your elderly loved ones need help with. Seniors have diverse needs. For instance, some only need help with household chores like cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry. Others, on the other hand, might only need help with getting to appointments or running errands.
Is it also possible that your loved one may need assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) like bathing, getting dressed, or getting in and out of bed. It is also possible that your loved one only needs someone qualified to provide therapies, care for wounds, or administer medications.
Talk to your loved ones about hiring an in-home caregiver
Understandably, many seniors are not comfortable with the idea of having a stranger in their homes. In line with this, it would be a good idea to talk to your loved ones about it. Talking to them can give them time to warm up to the idea of having a new person at home helping them out.
Another way to put your loved one at ease is by checking with the new caregiver now and then or until such time that the caregiver is accustomed to the role and your loved one is comfortable having someone new around. It would also help if you can educate the in-home caregiver about tasks your loved ones want done in a specific way.
Figure out how to pay for in-home care
The cost of in-home care can depend on the help your loved one needs. If your loved one has a life insurance policy or savings, it might be enough to help cover the cost. Ideally, your elderly loved one should have some kind of long-term care insurance. If not, check if Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance policies will cover the cost of in-home care.
It would also be a good idea to figure out ahead of time if you can contribute a specific amount to pay for their in-home care. You can also check with other family members if they can and would be willing to pitch in.
Determine the caregiving schedule your loved one will require
Before starting your actual search, it is recommended that you identify the kind of caregiving schedule your loved one needs. You also need to factor in other crucial elements like your budget. Additionally, you also need to identify which days you would need someone to provide care.
If you figure out your loved one will only need help a few hours each day, you can easily determine those times. For instance, if your loved one needs help with just bathing or dressing, you might find it ideal to have someone who’s available in the mornings.
You can hire an in-home caregiver on your own or through an agency
While hiring an in-home caregiver through an agency can be a bit costly, it is also more convenient as the agency takes care of the paperwork, payroll, and taxes. However, if you want to hire someone independently, you can start your search by asking for recommendations from medical staff, friends, or local senior organizations.
You also need to ensure that you hire someone with the proper license and insurance. Performing a background check and asking for references is also considered ideal. You also need to figure out ahead if you want to hire the caregiver as an employee or a contractor. To ensure you are covering all the financial and legal bases, it is recommended that you consult a lawyer or an accountant.
Staying involved is crucial
Ensuring there is excellent communication between you and the in-home caregiver can help warrant your loved one’s needs are satisfactorily met. It will also help if you schedule regular meetings so all the parties concerned will have a venue where everyone can voice out their questions or share their concerns.
It is also recommended that you keep the in-home caregiver informed about any changes in your loved one’s condition and if there are changes in their responsibilities so adjustments are made when necessary. In the same manner, it is also crucial to check with your loved one about the caregiver’s performance so you’ll know if everything is going well.
If your elderly loved one is no longer capable of living an independent and safe lifestyle, hiring an in-home caregiver is one of the best options you can look into. As long as you have all the crucial factors covered, you can rest assured your loved ones can live comfortably and get all the assistance they need.
About the Author:
Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.
The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course empowers professionals with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, crime prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. This coveted 100% Commitment Award is only given to organizations that have demonstrated a system-wide commitment to obtaining the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification.
Age Safe® America is pleased to present their highest award for participation to the TruBlue Total House Care® franchise. And as part of their ongoing commitment, all new franchisees will be required to complete the Age Safe® America, Senior Home Safety Specialist™ training and certification as part of their onboarding training. Now TruBlue franchisees will not only be able to perform a comprehensive home safety assessment, but also be able complete the necessary modifications to ensure that homeowners remain safe and confident in their homes.
Aging is a natural part of life. As we grow older, we start to lose strength and mobility. Tasks that were once easy become increasingly more difficult. It’s important that a home is accommodating of these changes. TruBlue provides peace of mind for seniors and their families knowing that their loved ones and their homes are being cared for. “Whether it is assessing a home for aging-in-in-place modifications, handyman services, yardwork, cleaning or just light chores, families don’t have to worry about their loved ones doing too much or living in an unsafe environment,” said TruBlue President Sean Fitzgerald.
Over the last few months Age Safe America has seen an increase in organizations and franchise networks joining their Preferred Partner program and moving towards obtaining the 100% Commitment Award. The two main drivers are showing clients and prospective clients their team is committed to senior home safety, and gaining a differentiator in the marketplace. And as a trusted 3rd party, referrals from the Age Safe® Services Registry helps to build consumer confidence, validate credibility and position providers in a consultative selling position. “The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ designation is a valuable differentiator, proven revenue generator, and a doorway to the $7 Trillion Longevity Economy”, says Steven Bailey, Founder/Managing Director of Age Safe America, LLC.
READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE Dated December 1, 20202
Fires can occur when you least expect it, leaving little time to plan your escape, so the time to prepare for an emergency isn’t when your alarm sounds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only 32% of American households have actually developed and practiced an emergency escape plan. Make time to sit down with your family to plan and practice what you would do in case of a fire or carbon monoxide (CO) emergency.
Consider the following tips when helping to prepare yourself and your loved ones:
1. Map it out. Begin thinking about a home fire escape plan by first drawing a map of your home, making sure to label each window and door. Identify two ways out of each room and walk through your home to make sure the doors and windows you’ve chosen as exits open easily. If your family’s home has a second floor, consider having escape ladders in each room. You can find templates online to help you get started.
2. Choose a meeting spot. After you have mapped out all of the ways you can exit, pick an outside meeting spot a safe distance away from your home, such as across the street, at a mailbox or in front of the neighbor’s home. Be sure that your family knows that once they are outside, they need to call 911 and stay outside. Additionally, explain it is important that everyone knows never to re-enter the home for any reason and to let a firefighter know if someone is missing.
3. Help your loved ones. Assign someone in your family who can assist infants, seniors or pets during a fire. The responsible person should be in good health and be able to provide the assistance needed.
4. Check your smoke alarms. Having working smoke alarms on each level of the home and in every sleeping area is key to having a safe home. Check that you have alarms properly installed throughout your home and remember to test all of the alarms regularly and replace them at least every 10 years. If you have children, consider installing a First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with voice and location technology throughout your home, and especially in their bedroom. This alarm will notify your child of an emergency, distinguishing between a fire or carbon monoxide incident, in a human voice as opposed to a regular alarm. This is especially helpful if a fire strikes at night.
Studies have shown children may have an easier time waking up to the sound of a human voice rather than an alarm. Smoke alarms are designed to give early warning in case of fire, and making sure your home has properly installed and maintained alarms is the best defense against one, said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. As far as CO is concerned, the only way to detect this fatal gas is with a CO alarm, so have one installed on each level of the home and near every sleeping area.
5. Plan. Practice. Repeat. Once your escape plan is finalized, your job is not done. Gather your family together and put your plan in action. Practice this plan at least twice a year, so if disaster strikes, your family will feel confident in their ability to exit the home safely. To make the drills as realistic as possible, conduct them both during the day and at night. Planning ahead can save a life, added Wey. Talk with your family to make a plan that fits all of your needs. For more information about escape planning and fire safety tools, visit www.firstalert.com.
Whether they are coming for an afternoon or a week, taking some steps before your grandchildren arrive can help keep them safe during their visit. Adopt any of the following precautions from this grandparents guide to child-proofing that are appropriate for your young visitors’ ages and abilities.
- Gather essential telephone numbers ahead of time. These should include the numbers of the children’s parents, their pediatrician, and your area’s poison-control center.
- If you have a gun, make sure it’s not loaded. Keep it locked up and store the ammunition in a separate place.
- Keep small and sharp objects off the floor and out of reach.
- Put safety plugs in wall sockets.
- Don’t let electric cords dangle where children can reach them.
- Lock doors that go outside, to stairs or to garages.
- Don’t leave children alone in a room with a burning fireplace or plugged-in space heater.
- Make certain curtain and blind drawstrings are secured and out-of-reach.
- Use your stove’s back burners and keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove.
- Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edges of tables and counters.
- Don’t allow children under 10 to use a microwave oven.
- Don’t leave a baby alone in a highchair. Always use the safety straps.
- Don’t use tablecloths. Children can pull down plates, hot foods and liquids on themselves.
- Keep cleaning products, knives, matches, and plastic bags out of reach.
- Don’t leave children in the tub or shower. Small children can drown in two inches of water within seconds.
- Keep medicines, vitamins, and soap where they can’t be reached. Buy medicines with child-safety caps.
- Always check the bath-water temperature with your hand before putting children into the tub.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the best way to dispose of old medications. Do not toss them in the wastebasket.
- Don’t keep any medications, vitamins, or other medicines on or in your bedside table. Children often swallow pills because they look like candy. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, grandparents’ medications account for nearly 20 percent of drug ingestions by children.
A baby’s bedroom
- Keep the crib away from window blinds and drapery cords.
- Put the baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib with a flat, firm mattress with no soft bedding underneath. Doing so reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- In case of emergency, take the following steps if a grandchild swallows something dangerous or is burned or injured in any other way.
- Call 911 or your community’s emergency medical response number.
- Call the child’s parents.
- Call the child’s pediatrician.
Source: Stanford Children’s Health
Increased awareness can prevent clothes dryer fires in your home or senior community. The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them. It is important for everyone to know how to keep themselves safe from fire.
Fact is 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
Clothes dryer do’s
- Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
- Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
- Read manufacturers’ instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
- Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
- Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
- Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
- Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
- If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
Clothes dryer don’t’s
- Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
- Don’t overload the dryer.
- Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
- Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
- Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers’ instructions state “dry away from heat.”
- Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers’ instructions allow).
- Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
- Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
5 Warning Signs it’s Time to Clean Your Clothes Dryer Vent.
1. Drying time for clothes takes longer and longer.
When a dryer vent is clogged, the drying cycle can double or triple in time. You’ll notice that clothes are not completely dry at the end of a regular cycle. A dryer is designed to push out the hot moist air for clothing to dry. If your vent is blocked by lint, the air will stay in your dryer keeping your clothes hot and moist. And when it takes twice as long to dry clothes, your dryer runs longer, putting more wear and tear on it and therefore cutting the machine’s life in half.
2. Your clothing and the outside of the dryer are very hot.
Do you notice that your clothing is very hot at the end of a cycle or the dryer is hot to touch? This warning sign means the vent is not exhausting properly. If your system is clogged, it not only wastes energy, but can cause the heating element and blower in the dryer to wear out faster.
3. You notice a burning smell.
When you run your dryer do you smell a burning odor? Lint, which is very flammable, can build up in the exhaust tube, lint trap and even in the drum casing. If it gets too hot, it can catch on fire, causing a burning smell. (Remember to empty the lint trap often). Discontinue use of your dryer and have it inspected as soon as possible.
4. The vent hood flap doesn’t open properly.
Another visual red flag that you’re due for a cleaning: You can see lint or debris around the dryer hose or outside vent opening: or the duct hood flap does not open as it is designed to do. An outside vent that doesn’t open when the dryer is running means air flow has been restricted due to lint buildup.
5. It’s been longer than a year since your last inspection.
Dryer vent ducts should be inspected at least once a year to reduce the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you hire a professional to clean your vent, expect to pay between $75 to $150, depending on the length and location of the vent. If the exterior exhaust vent is easily accessible, you can try cleaning it yourself with a brush kit. Some of the DIY cleaning kits do not always properly clean the vent duct. One advantage to hiring an experienced professional is he or she has likely seen just about every make and model of dryer and has the appropriate brush and equipment to effectively do the job.
As the seasons of fall and winter progress, there are rituals and celebrations that dominate our lives. For the many aging in place professionals that we train, their clients have family members who will fuss over them, include them in dinners and outings, spend time in their homes and add joy to their lives. And for some, none of those experiences will happen.
Caregivers are often the family members all year long but find the work especially poignant this time of year. So what are some great ways to support your client or loved one through the winter season?
Keeping them safe and positioned to thrive is the best gift! We can suggest these helpful tips to family members looking to find the best way to help professional caregivers provide quality care.
Certainly, the gift of time and communication is always the most appreciated. Setting a regular time or day of the week for a phone call, Skype or Facetime visit for non-local family members can be invigorating and improve our overall wellbeing.
There are also some practical safety tips for your client or family member during this time of year. The first is home maintenance; cleaning gutters, clearing pathways of leaves, debris or snow, checking fireplaces, dryer vents and furnace filters – even de-cluttering, taking magazines and papers off the stairs, and checking batteries in motion-sensor or dusk to dawn lights. Doing these activities safely often involves the right equipment and tools. Getting help with these tasks for your client or loved one may be the most important gift this year!
Remember, too, that the changes from daylight savings time to standard time means we need to check the lighting inside the house because it is dark earlier.
We should also check the outside lighting, too. If solar lights are the primary path lights, check the batteries and the placement to ensure that the lights can collect as much sunlight as possible to work effectively.
The longer, darker hours can create a greater sense of isolation so plan for additional activities or again, this may be a good time to embrace the technology of communication to help your clients stay connected to others. We can wrap our care around clients and family members with a personal emergency response system (PERS) too. This will improve peace of mind for your client or loved one as the weather gets colder and more challenging. You can learn more about personal emergency response system here: https://agesafeamerica.com/medical-alert-products/ and you can fill out the form for more information or assistance.
For even more safety tips on these topics and more for clients, yourselves and your families, too, please go to AgeSafeAmerica.com.
Fritzi Gros-Daillon, MS, CSA, CAPS, UDCP, SHSS
Director of Education and Advocacy
Age Safe® Live Well.