Quality Home Health Care

Thank You From Jewish Family Services

thank you  letter

Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services sent this thank you note to Lisa Kaufman of Boca Home Care Services for sponsoring the very successful food drive for the Jacobson Family Food Pantry.

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What Are My Elder Care Service Options and Benefits

Elder Care Services

Elder Care Services

Elder care need has grown exponentially over the last few years as the boomers move to the next age bracket. Adam Smith would be proud that the free market economy has created so many options for the care of the elderly that there is something that suits every need. With so many options is it hard to know where to begin, here is a brief summary of some of the most common options.

In home health aide: This might be a trained person, or, a nurse and they come to the elders home for several hours a day and do a range of activities from bathing and dressing to shopping and cleaning. 

    • pro; the elder is still in their own home.
    • con; expensive and open to potential issues as there is a stranger with no direct oversight in the home.
    • best for; elders who are generally healthy, mentally capable but need some physical help.

Senior living: These are apartment groups with a minimum age requirement that eliminate the outside maintenance worries and offer a more social setting for seniors. Some communities offer more services than others.

    • pro; still an independent residence, and, easier to handle.
    • con; may not give any special services, may still require an additional aid.
    • best for; someone who is healthy but does not want the hassle of home maintenance, and, enjoys the social aspect of a group.

Assisted living: Private studio style apartments in a facility that has a large central dining and social area and 24 hour monitoring for emergency. These facilities almost all offer some personal assistance for the resident and most can accommodate a wide range of needs. There are some facilities that specialize in memory impaired individuals or low functioning seniors who are otherwise healthy but need more personal care.

    • pro; meals and aid included in the package. More social because of the central areas. Care can grow with needs. 
    • con; expensive and the lost of independent living can hit some seniors hard.
    • best for; people with daily care requirements who are unable to live independently, or, need 24 hour monitoring.

Skilled Care facility: Often abbreviated as SNF and the modern name for a Nursing home. Here the staff is more prepared for advanced medical needs such as IV antibiotics where most other facilities can not. Nurses staff these facilities and the state regulates for standard of care. Some enter a SNF to recover from a major illness and the staff goal is to restore health so they can move back to a more independent facility. Other SNF patients are long-term residents and the staff goal is to maintain health and comfort but there is no expectation of regaining a higher level of functioning.

    • pro; regulated nurses and medical care. 100% care.
    • con; most expensive and least independent.
    • best for; seniors who can not function without medical care.

There are many types of each facility described above but there is something to suit the needs of everyone. Finance, medical needs, and personality all play a part in selecting what is best. There are specialists called Elder Managers who can evaluate and recommend a course of action. Hopefully this overview gives you an idea of where to start, next, do your homework and find the best solution.

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Planning for your Aging Parent’s Financial Future

Services presents some tips on talking to your parents about financial topics. How to get started and what to learn about so that everyone can gain peace of mind about a senior loved one’s post retirement planning.

Along with the legal paperwork, such as Limited Power of Attorney, Medical Surrogate, or Advanced Directives, it is truly important for trusted family members to also discuss aspects of their finances with each other. Incomes, expenses, types of insurance they have and the like.

The future is coming; it may be now for some folks. Be prepared, share some information, discuss different plans, what your parent or parent’s wishes are should their health falter or they may not be able to remain at home for whatever reason. Here are some examples of questions to get the conversation started. Approach talking about financial matters when everyone is calm and not in a hurry.

The more forthcoming your parents are now; when they don’t need any or much help the easier it will be in the future when more assistance is needed.

 

*Do they have a financial planner, not just a broker or accountant?

*How have their investments performed?

*Can some holdings be consolidated?

*Do they have enough income and assets to cover their needs for a long retirement?

*Do they have insurance coverage, what kind? Will it cover home care needs? — Verify what is in the policy, what triggers care?

*What is their major health insurance? Medicare or an HMO?

*If they become incapacitated, short term or longer term for any reason, do they want to remain in the home, remain in Florida, move closer to the “kids”, and move into congregate living? What is their wish?

*What are their major bills or expenses? How are bills paid? Is there an easier way, electronically or auto debit? There could easily be an easier way for your senior mom or dad to manage their finances.

And if you are feeling lucky or your parents are very forthcoming, ask where important papers are kept, a list of the professionals in their life. Be prepared for resistance, be willing to share a little of your own information and ask for their advice. They were your age once and in your phase of life – take advantage of their experience.

 

 

 

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Identifying When Your Parent Needs Home Care

Learn some of the signs which will likely confirm your hunch that Mom or Dad needs help at home. Boca Home Care Services presents some ideas on how to move forward.

How do you know whether your parent needs help? Firstly, trust your gut. If you “have a feeling” when you get off the phone with your aging parent that something “isn’t quite right”, then there is very likely something to that.

Some adult sons and daughters see their elderly family members often and others, as is often the case here in South Florida, only see them once or twice a year. A lot can happen between visits.

You may see some subtle changes in your parent’s behaviour or mood. Little “red flags” that it is becoming harder for them to remain safe while they live independently at home. That doesn’t mean you get out a list of nearby Assisted Living Facilities. Most older adults can live in their homes for years with some modifications to their daily routines. The changes you notice may be caused by an illness, hospital and/or Rehab stay, decline in cognitive and memory faculties and some might just be do to normal aging of the body and mind.

Some changes are more blatant then others, a notice from the electic company of past due bills resulting in shutting off service is a big red flag about your loved ones memory and booking abilities. Recurring falls, moodiness, change of subject or reluctance to discuss your concerns all point to some change that needs to be addressed for their safety and your peace of mind.

Does your mother or father wear clothes with stains on them, mismatched outfits, do they look poorly groomed whereas they were always well put together? These are signs that the activities of daily living (ADLs) are becoming more difficult for them.

Step One – Assess Their Abilities

Follow your hunch and gut. Observe how they manage their ADLs  which include: bathing & grooming, dressing, transferring (getting up from bed or a chair), toileting and feeding. Health problems or balance problems, fear of falling, arthritis, spinal stenosis, or other health conditions, let alone memory impairment can affect their ability to care properly for their personal needs.

The example of the electric bill goes more to the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). These activities are essential for anyone living independently or alone. They include: cooking, shopping, driving or taking transportation, medication management, bookeeping, laundry, keeping appointments and other routine activities of maintaining the household and schedules.

Decreased abilities of both personal care and household tasks often go together as the cause is either a physical incapacity or cognitive (thinking, remembering) impairment. Besides direct observation and questioning, you may need to do some detective work to determine where your loved one is having difficulty and where help is needed. Speak to them, speak to their doctors, look at their medications – what are they for? If possible, check with other people in their lives, their friends, banker and so forth. Others will usually notice changes in your parent or family member.

Step Two – Take Action With a Care Plan

Usually if you are acting out of love and concern, your hunches are correct. Something has occurred or is happening which is causing your elderly parent to struggle with things that have always been routine.

*Speak them, share your observation and concerns in a caring way, not accusatory. Expect some push back as their defenses will build up.

*Speak with their doctors – find out what is happening medically.

*Build in safety features to the home – grab bars in shower,- anything for Fall Prevention! An Emergency Response button – should they fall.

*Enlist Medicare Home Health Services such as Physical Therapy.

*Hire a cleaning person.

*Arrange for a cook, shopper, driver or meals to be delivered.

*Hire A Geriatric Care Manager.

*** Hire a Home Health Aide/Caregiver from a Licensed company. An Aide can assist with both the ADLs and IADLs as needed.

Once you’ve determined that your aging mother or father is unable to manage either their own personal care and/or routine household chores then you have determined that they NEED HELP. Since most people’s wish is to remain independent at home, then help needs to be brought into their home for both SAFETY and Care needs.

Start off slowly, unless they really require several hours a help a day, everyday. Share your concerns. Enlist other family members help. Emphasize safety. Go with them to a Doctor’s appointment and all of you discuss it. Let the professional be the “heavy” and lay out the risks. Falling is very likely and many elderly who fall do not get to go home again. Think “defense”. If you have to, lay down the law so to speak, either they accept help in the house and remain as independent as their health allows or they have to move to where help is. Maybe not today but the clock is ticking. Help them to take control of their own destiny.

Very often, a little help goes a long way in keeping our seniors safe and independent in their own homes. Be caring, understanding and firm – their health and well being actually does depend upon it.

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Home Care or Communal Living – How to Know What is Best?

This is a difficult decision to make. Boca Home Care Services offers some suggestions and recommendation on how to make this decision with a loved one or for a spouse or parent. Best to look at what is best for the person and the primary caregiver. What can be gained, what is lost and how to strike a balance in your aging loved one’s favor.

Since most people prefer to remain in their own homes, this is usually the goal. If it is truly the best place for an elderly parent or spouse to be, then help is brought in to assist with personal care and/or household help – as needed. Safety and Care ought to be the guiding principles.

A plan can be put together to have a caregiver come into the home. A schedule worked out between family, friends and a hired aide.

If your elderly family member lives alone, is lonely, depressed, can’t really manage alone, needs more attention, help with medication and really a lot more supervision than hourly help, then a move to congregate living may actually be the best thing if live in care isn’t feasible.

Incontinence is usually the straw that changes the situation for family. It becomes more physically and emotionally draining for the family caregiver. Certainly if live in care is not an option but the level of need is that of someone requiring supervision, then it is time to look at and find a suitable living facility.

Any move to an Independent facility ought to have an Assisted side as well. Important to look down the road a bit. Nursing home care is for someone who needs 24 hour nursing care for either a physical problem or Alzheimer’s Dementia – at an advanced stage.

Group homes are a very nice alternative to be considered as it is an actual home with about 6-8 residents.

There are many professionals who can help with your assessment and search. A Geriatric Care Manager is one. A Pllacement professional is another.

First discern if it is best to stay at home and realistic with regard to costs and availability of help.

If the decision is to leave the home, is it more sensible to move closer to family or remain in the area currently lived in?  I always ask (here in Florida) is there a compelling reason to remain in Florida?  Weather is not a compelling reason.

Once the decision is made to make a move or it is clear that such a move will need to be made within the year, then start looking at places. Level of care is based on need. If need is for Dementia or Alzheimer’s care, then a dementia specific facility is most desirable.

Decide what area to look in and then set a few appointments. You don’t need to make a “sneak visit” the first time. You’ll want a tour, and time to ask questions.

How do you know? Trust your gut. It is like any other house or home hunting really. You want to see if it has a pleasant energy to the place, any smells, how the residents look and how they may interact with one another. If you have a visceral dislike of the place, cross it off your list.  Find out what staff ratios are, activities, what staff is on and at which shifts, medical supervision, field trips out to restaturants, events and shopping?

Once you’ve narrowed down the place or actually picked it, visit at different times of day, speak with residents, visit on weekends and speak with other family members if they are there. Then figure out the finances of what is possible, what to bring to the facility to make it homey and the basic details of a move. Plan to visit regularly at the beginning so your loved one isn’t “abandoned” and so that the facility sees an involved family.

If possible, do a trial move in – for at least a month. Don’t sell the apt. or home just yet in case it doesn’t work out.

Do your research,  hire a professional, trust your gut and move forward. If staying at home is the right choice, or for as long as possible, then hiring an aide is a solution. If moving to a more social environment or one that meets your health and safety needs, then that is more sensible. Either way, planning is crucial and should start a year or so in advance, if possible.  It is a family decision so include the primary family members.

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