Quality Home Health Care

Boca Home Care Services CEO Honored at Florida Atlantic University

Joseph Bensmihen, began as a social worker and as he built his Home Care business on a social work model. Divisions of United Elder Care Services include: Boca Home Care Services, Boca Home Care (Medicare), Florida Guardianship Corp. and Miami Jewish Home Care. 

Congratulations Joseph Bensmihen,MSW

Congratulations Joseph Bensmihen,MSW

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“Tender Moments & Memories” – Musings by a Devoted Daughter/A.K.A. Caregiver

BHCS LOGO WITH TAG LINWAs with most families, the primary caregiver is likely to be the spouse, daughter or son. One of our newer clients is 103 years old and is down here for the winter with his daughter. Other adult children also come and go giving some respite time.

This daughter, J. happens to be a wonderful writer. She added me to her email list about her musings about her dad, L. and has given permission to share it with all of you other Caregiver daughters.

As a Geriatric Care Manager who has worked with countless families, being the Caregiver Daughter means you know first hand what it means to care for an aging father – like no one else can. The managing,  coordinating, waiting, being availble, remembering, hands on care with the man who raised you into the world…..

When things settle down into a routine, I will figure out when I can take time for me.

 I always have my writing and emails from friends who love me.  I tend to be dedicated and responsible to my tasks and “Daddy Duties.”  He does come first.  Its the one thing my sisters are worried about with me is burning out.  I did that when my Mom was dying.  We worked together and we had a strained relationship.  It got pretty crazy then.  I have more internal resources now.

 I will miss birding with my friends and going to the beach with the “circle,” I must say.  But I can’t ask some aide to be here at o dark thirty so I can be gone all day or hang with Dad while I bask in the sun and yak.  I know what I have to do as J’s daughter.  It will be worth the sacrifice.  

 There is always vodka and chocolate!!  I know I am not alone…. if only in spirit.   I have been eating a lot lately and not all of it good foods. Stress is like that.

 Okay.  Gotta grab the last load of laundry, take a shower and fall into bed.

 Glad all was done properly.  Paper work is not my strong suit!  I’m better, much better, with a microphone standing in front of a jazz combo!

 By the way, we really like P, the aide.  My Dad likes her and so do  my sister, L. and me.  She maybe a perfect choice for us.  Her Brother recently passed and we understand that kind of loss.  Our beloved Brother, D, was killed in a car accident 15 years ago.

 I really liked M, a nurse, who saw Dad today.  I hope we can keep him, so to speak.  The physical therapy scheduler finally called me and we set up an appointment for next Thursday.

 All these people coming and going are a bit confusing for Dad.  Me, too, but this is the way things are.  Times like these are stressful in the first place.

 Sincerely and good Holiday to you, J.

—–

Everyone who has met Dad has been amazed and impressed by L.  If only by his longevity.  Those of you that have met him know this to be true.  He is amazing and impressive.  We are still getting things in place to care for him but we have been lucky to now have one caring aide, P.  She has shown herself to be a good fit. She knows her stuff about care taking and is teaching me.  I will do as she says.  It is clear to me that she cares.

 Dad has had a couple of good days in a row.  For all the indignities thrown at him the past week, his hospital stay, all the poking and prodding and questions, meeting so many new people, he remains good natured and hopeful.  He loves life. Its who is is.  Who he always has been.  He has so much inner dignity that it would take a lot more than this to ruffle him. His self composure is still so evident and I am humbled by him.

 As I gently helped him to bed this evening, taking out his hearing aids, removing his glasses, and guiding him to his room, I couldn’t have been filled with more love for him.  He thanks me every day for my efforts and is grateful.  It is me who is grateful for all he did for me, showed me through his living and all his sacrifice.  I feel blessed beyond telling. E, W. and I have indeed been well Fathered.  It is one of the reasons we are such an extraordinary Family.    XO,

——

As I have been helping Dad with the most basic of things, in and out of bed, dressing, teeth brushing and shaving, I am moved by these tender moments of taking care of him.  He was brushing up and shaving this morning, I remembered a moment from childhood where he scared the hell out of W. when he walked into her room with a face full of shaving cream. I remember his sorrow for having scared her and how he comforted her.  I am thinking its a reserve ratio, how he cared for me when I was a baby.  I have this brown birth mark on one of my cheeks… and I don’t mean my face…. that he always tried to scrub off!  The dynamic is quite different now but its the reverse ratio situation now.  I never raised a child, being the single child-free daughter, but I imagine that this is very similar.  The tenderness of caring for someone who is vulnerable can be a lonely and forlorn experience on one hand and deeply rewarding on the other.

 I am not unaware of the pain he might be feeling.  Dad, rightfully so, is a very proud man and this place where he is right now must be a wound to his ego and soul.  Yet he remains, on the whole, good natured and accepting.

 There have been moments of darkness for me and then in the next moment, there is clarity and beauty.  It is a storm I must weather and I will be richer for it.

 Meanwhile the Universe is giving me distractions and pissing me off.  I am in the on-going refrigerator battles. The old one broke down on Christmas Eve night and I wasn’t able to get one a new until Wednesday, delivered Thursday.  The salesman pushed it through for me.  Now the new one doesn’t work and I am getting a new-new one on Wednesday.  I had to get coolers and ice everyday to keep the food I had from spoiling and distribute all the frozen foods to my condo buds for safe keeping. It was a small ordeal dealing with multiple phone calls to BrandsMart, repair people and Frigidaire.  We were promised a transport wheel chair and it still has to appear, so I am chasing.  There are prescriptions to fill, doctors to call and arrangements to make for the visiting nurse and physical therapist.  Plus the lights here are flickering.  I have an electrician coming also on Wednesday. 

 Thankfully, my sister, E. returns on Wednesday to help with everything and give me a small break.  I would like to get out birding for a little bit with P. and attend a 50th anniversary dinner for beloved Beach Bums, R. and N.

 It has been hard for me to remember and believe that the Universe has my back. It has been my mantra lately.

 So, I greet the New Year neck deep in care taking and feelings.  I usually send a New Year’s message with a picture of me in a bathing suit on the beach.  Perhaps another year then.  I hope that all of you are well and happy.  Happy New Year.  May you all find the love and care taking you need.  Hug and kiss all the ones you love because life is short, even if one is almost 104!  XOXO,

Read more about hiring Home Care  for Your Loved One, so you can share the load.

 

 

 

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Is 100 the new 80?

Starting out in Social Work in the mid-1980’s found seniors to be folks in their late seventies or early eighties. 86 and up was really old. Now it seems like 86 is almost a starting point.

 Here at Boca Home Care Services we have two clients who are 103 years old. One woman and one man. He will be 104 in mid January.

Both are cognitively intact and strong. They have stopped driving and have minor impairments of vision, hearing and one uses a walker. BHCS provides transportation, shopping, cooking, laundry and companion services for safety which allows both to remain in their own home. Otherwise, their ability and interests do not belie their age. 

 So, is 100 the new 80?

Research supports that seniors who are overall in good health and hearty into their nineties will continue to be so – for the most part.  It is routine to meet new clients in their early nineties now. They do seem to share some things in common. Although they may live alone, we are seeing more couples who are both in their nineties – that is something special – and married 5 years plus.

For those living alone, there is typically involved family or neighbors. Once home care is invited in it is usually for driving and housework more so than for personal care. These aging seniors also tend to have interests and are involved either in hobbies or going to a group activity. Many come from families where one of their parents also made it into old, old age – so they take it in stride. Others, whose parents or siblings didn’t get into advanced age groups are themselves marveling at their own age and the relatively good shape they are in. Few, (very few) smoke – or quit decades earlier. They tend to keep regular doctor appointments. They also tend to take a reasonable amount of medication but nothing exorbenant.

We are at a point in human aging which we haven’t been at ever before. It is left to the scientists, doctors and researchers to study these ever larger groups of super seniors. It will be fascinating to see documented information about any trends they share. As the boomers are now retiring, it will be interesting to say how far they can push to longevity envelope. Will we be looking at folks 109, 111 or beyond? Will Centenarians become common?

Dr. Nir Barzilai at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute for Aging Research (NY) has been studying longevity and healthy centenarians. Apparently longevity with good health runs in families. HE also found that they have unusually high HDL  levels  (good cholesterol). Both  show a likely genetic predisposition to a healthy old, old age. Dr. Barzilai also found that these people seem to have genes which show a resistance to diseases like Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and type 2 Diabetes. (www.superagers.com).

His studies could lead to the development of new medications or therapies which could mimic the “longevity genes”. And what if you don’t have these genes, but rather genetic predispositions to some of the aforementioned diseases associated with the elderly? There are many studies which point to life choices as also having an impact on how we age. It isn’t ALL about good DNA.

Research shows that how we perceive aging and having a positive rather than a depressing attitude towards aging can have measurable positive effects on our health.  Additionally, it seems to go back to eating properly,  keeping weight off, not smoking and some form of exercise which combined lead to better outcomes. We need to take care of our minds and bodies. This includes doing the things you enjoy, staying engaged in things and with people and keeping busy. We all need to have and maintain a sense of purpose in the world and in our lives.

 

 

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Knowing the Values Behind Your Home Care Choice

  Yeshiva University /Alumni News

‘Where Others See Obstacles, Joseph Bensmihen ’91YC, ’95W Sees Opportunities’

 

The Charitable Arm of Boca Home Care

Joseph Bensmihen ’91YC, ’95W, the newest member of the Yeshiva College Board of Overseers, has long believed in the power of education. “My father’s motto was ‘Education is freedom’, and it was something he emphasized to me every day,” says Bensmihen, who is known to most of his family and friends as simply “JB”.

A native of Montreal, JB was born with spastic cerebral palsy, and doctors told his parents that their son would never walk. Fortunately, his parents never told that to JB, and never indicated that he couldn’t do anything because of his disability. “In addition to emphasizing the power of education, my dad told me I was the best every night before I went to sleep,” said JB, “and because of him, I believe it to this day.” Not only did JB walk, but the confidence his father instilled in him has carried him through his life and been instrumental in his success.

JB is a successful social worker and businessman in Florida who, with his wife Lisa, is co-owner and CEO of Boca Home Care Services, a private duty home healthcare agency. He is also the founder, in 2005, of Boca Home Care, a Medicare-certified home health agency. Both companies serve seniors and their families in South Florida. He is a former president of Boca Raton Synagogue; has four wonderful children, the eldest of whom will have his bar mitzvah this October; and is a kind, extremely funny, and engaging person. JB also administers the David Bensmihen Charitable Foundation, named in memory of his father, which provides scholarships for deserving students.

His accomplishments started early in life. At seven years old, JB was told he had to attend a special education school, instead of the local public school, in accordance with Canadian law at the time. “I hated going to that school, which had children of all ages and with various kinds and levels of disabilities, such as deafness and being wheelchair-bound,” said JB. “I just wanted to go to the regular school my sister was attending. I knew I could keep up, and thought the law was really stupid.” Thanks to his unwavering determination and confidence, the very young JB decided to tell the Prime Minister of Canada, then Pierre Elliot Trudeau, that the law should be changed, and so he had his father drive him to Trudeau’s office in Ottawa. “I learned then that if you walk like you know where you’re going and act like you belong, nobody’s going to bother you,” he said. He got all the way to the main office before a security guard even noticed the young visitor and tried to prevent him from entering. Hearing a commotion, the Prime Minister emerged to see what was going on, and when he was told what was happening, he declared, “If this young man got all the way to my office, I want to hear what he has to say.” JB promptly told him his law was “stupid”. “I was just as bold and confident at seven as I am today,” says JB.

In just a few years, after much petitioning and struggling with government officials, he and his father succeeded in changing the law so JB could attend the mainstream school with his sister. Such ambition and determination has marked JB’s path through life. In the sixth grade, he said, he simply knew he was going to be the valedictorian of his high school class, which he saw come to fruition upon graduating Hebrew Academy of Montreal. He always knew he would attend Yeshiva University, as he grew up with a strong foundation in Torah Umadda and was further impressed when several Yeshiva College (YC) students – among them, Moshe Kranzler, current director of undergraduate admissions – came to spend a few days learning and chatting with the high school students in a retreat.

At YU, JB took advantage of every opportunity that came his way. “I was involved in many extracurricular activities, like writing for the YC Commentator and acting with the YC Dramatics Society,” he recalls. JB’s roommate at the time and close friend to this day, Andrew Goldsmith (who also happens to be YU’s director of institutional advancement for RIETS and the Center for the Jewish Future), says the following of his inspirational one-time roommate: “Where others see obstacles, JB sees opportunities.”

After graduating YU with a degree in political science and working at a Montreal bank, JB befriended Jerry Lifschitz, a”h, who headed Canadian Friends of Yeshiva University. Lifschitz thought JB would make a great social worker, and insisted he attend Wurzweiler School of Social Work, with a scholarship fully funded by Canadian Friends. JB excelled at Wurzweiler, completing an advanced internship in his first year of studies, though he balked when the dean of the school suggested that he become a clinical social worker because he could most likely empathize with a struggling patient due to his own circumstances living with a disability.

“I sometimes say I don’t really care about helping or protecting people, that I just care about providing the resources to make sure that people can protect themselves,” says JB, who, in his job as CEO of Boca Home Care and court-appointed guardian for those who are vulnerable, clearly does help people every single day.

As for how he has maintained ties to YU over the years, JB says, “I have always been plugged into YU since I graduated, keeping in touch with Andy and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, who used to be the rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue. I have supported YU over the years and when asked to become a Board member, I naturally said yes.” In his new official YU capacity, JB is most excited to reach out to alumni and the greater Jewish community, articulating the mission of YU and letting everyone know its recent accomplishments. “People take it for granted that YU exists, thinking it was always here and always will be, but that’s not necessarily true – we need to cultivate pride in and support for YU, ensuring that everyone knows YU is improved and keeps getting better every day,” he declares. “I understand the mission of YU intimately, and am one of YU’s biggest fans – I know I can communicate the University’s importance to others who may have doubt. Eight of ten times, when I speak with a high school student who has arguments for not attending YU, I change their minds and they end up going to YU and loving it.” Speaking to YU students today, JB emphasizes, “[Being a student at Yeshiva] is the best job you will ever have – you’re in a risk-free environment! Try anything and everything. For instance, I don’t know why students have ‘undecided’ as their major; you can change your major numerous times, so why not try a few different things and see what you like? You’re not going to get fired or lose a big investment from trying out the different courses, activities, and opportunities that exist at YU. Don’t be ‘undecided’.”

“JB always viewed those who wanted to exclude him as having the real disability, and that’s been the driving force of his impressive accomplishment in the business, personal and communal worlds,” declared Goldsmith. JB may walk with a cane, but he navigates his way through his personal and professional life better than most people, and will surely be a wonderful ambassador for Yeshiva University for many years to come.

Read More:  http://blogs.yu.edu/alumni-news/2011/10/07/%E2%80%98where-others-see-obstacles-joseph-bensmihen-%E2%80%9991yc-%E2%80%9995w-sees-opportunities%E2%80%99/ and in YU Today- Oct. 2011

This entry was posted on Friday, October 7th, 2011 at 1:37 pm and is filed under Alumni Profiles.

 

 

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Home For the Holidays With Elderly Parents – Don’t Be a Turkey

 

Yes, it is that time of year again, planning for fun holidays or dreading the stress – Boca Home Care Services offers tips on how to enjoy the holidays with the whole family, accommodating where you can and planning ahead.

Tradition! Family rejoicing around the festive table for a holiday get together… of course not every family has that type of holiday experience. But there are ways to reduce the stress that holiday family reunions may pose.

Planning, Patience and understanding go along way this time of year. For our aging or elderly parents, loved ones of theirs may have passed and aren’t around the table. A nod to those who aren’t with us is a nice way to validate the feeling of loss and of missing a loved one.

Not being as spry on their feet as they used to be, you may need to have extra space for a walker or wheelchair. Seniors tend to eat earlier so have a plate of foods ready for them i the late afternoon, or plan your feast earlier in the day rather than at night.

All the activity is stimulating for everyone, even more so for many elderly. If you have a parent in a congregate living arrangement but home for the holiday dinner, it may be even more overwhelming for them out of their routine. For someone with a Dementia or cognitive/memeory impairment it is important to show compassion for them where they are in time. No need to challenge or correct their version of what is occuring. It is easier and more helpful to enter their reality with them.

It is an opportunity for you, whether visiting your parents or having them to your home to observe how they are doing.  Take in what has changed from the last time you spent time with them, if you don’t see them regularly.

How are they walking, seeing, hearing, following the conversation. It isn’t the time to address any of these observations. Keep things light and remember the purpose is to have the family together, share time, stories and a huge meal. Just take note of what you are observing and take it up with them at a later time or with them and their doctor.

Look around the home and get them to tell stories about different heirlooms. You may even want to make it into a game of who will inherit that vase? This recommendation is only for folks with that type of dark humor.

If travel is involved by your older family members, you’ll need to plan the entire trip out. The dates, mode of travel, how to get to the airport or train station, if meal are involved, attention to special diets, sleeping arrangements, any medical equipment to be ordered. You may want to ask them about their usual routines, sleep times, meal times etc. Remind them about having enough medication to last throughout the visit and first few days back home.

Hiring an aide or companion may solve a lot of challenges posed by elder travel around the holidays. If they have an aide up north, perhaps the aide will travel to the family get together. Or you can hire an aide here to help your parent during their stay. Plan ahead if you choose this route.

If you are like thousands of other families, you may not have the warm relationship with your parents or siblings that is the stuff of fantasies. Know who and what pushes your buttons so you can be aware of it and avoid it or them. Don’t take the bait, and break the old patterns. Have some compassion for someone who is alone, ill, perhaps grieving or just knows that they are losing their powers and aren’t graceful about it. Past isn’t always past but it doens’t have to intrude and take over.

You are not the same person you were either, you are older too.

If you cannot get together, do your parents use SKYPE? Make a date to speak with each other. Send pictures as soon as possible. Find ways of sharing the holiday even if you aren’t together.

Remember the spirit of Thanksgiving. It is a time to come together and be thankful for the good in our life, our relationships, health, interests and family.

 

 

 

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