Granny Nannies

Helping maintain one’s dignity

Helping maintain one’s dignity

One of the worst feelings a person can experience is loneliness. I hear from many clients and their families about the emotional pain experienced when a senior feels isolated, forgotten and not needed. Emotional struggles can take an otherwise healthy senior and suck the energy and joy of life right out of them. Loss of self-worth and dignity makes for misery. It doesn’t have to be this way! We all hear about people who his a professional trainer to regain their physical fitness. We offers companion caregivers who can help a senior get up and work on their physical, mental and emotional fitness!

What are some options? First, the status and condition of the individual client should be assessed. Some people have physical limitations that rule out a lot of motion-related exercise. Did you know the YMCA has branches throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties that offer a range of activities from Senior Strength and Golden Fitness, to water walking? Have you looked at the Silver Sneakers programs available in our local area? Many people qualify for Silver Sneakers health and wellness memberships through their Medicare programs and don’t know it. Silver Sneakers is a health and wellness program geared toward the needs of seniors. These are physical and social activities that promote wellness of body, mind and spirit. They refers caregivers who can work with seniors to integrate companionship at home together with outings to centers that offer these great programs. Our caregivers can help you connect with what’s going on around you and help get you there and back.

Here we’ve learned that the key factor to quality care for our clients is focus on the individual. We try to learn and understand what needs exist for that person and how can we best assist in satisfying those needs. When we succeed we help build and maintain that person’s self-worth and dignity. Whether it’s just one or two visits per week or a daily plan of care, see how we can help your loved one feel healthy and cared for! It’s affordable, just give us a call.

Granny Nannies

Caregivers need help, too!

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At the Fearless Caregivers Conference, April 24, 2015

 

In April I had the pleasure to attend and participate in the Fearless Caregivers conference in West Palm Beach. This conference is promoted in part by the Area Agency on Aging, and brings together many caregivers and experts from a wide variety of critical services, both in the public and private sectors. The purpose is to present and discuss the services available and to invite caregivers and people receiving care, to share knowledge, experience and heartfelt well-wishes and concerns. This was a marvelous event and I was pleased to be there together with my assistant, Wendy. I learned new things there that may be very valuable to not only seniors with home care needs, but everyone as they age and prepare for retirement and beyond. Here are some of my observations from the Fearless Caregivers conference:

– Homecare needs are expanding rapidly. We need to adapt our services to the clients, not the other way around. We also need to address the needs of primary caregivers. We offer flexible options for respite care. We do more than daylong and overnight care. In addition to shift duty we offer 1-hour and 2-hour client visits that help offload the primary caregivers when they need a rest. That may be at any time of day or evening and may include bathing and dressing, exercise, outdoor activities, or stimulating interactions including reading, singing, dancing, art or whatever gives the client some happiness and satisfaction and the primary caregiver some down time. I met some wonderful caregivers and didn’t find a single slacker at the entire event. Caregivers, you are great, but you need some rest, too. Let us help you!

– There are many services available for military veterans and their spouses that are not being fully utilized. If you are a senior veteran or a younger veteran in need of medical or home care assistance and you are not fully sure if you qualify, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to check it out:

Palm Beach County: http://www.westpalmbeach.va.gov/ Broward County: http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/facility.asp?ID=551

– Caregivers love to share their thoughts and ideas on how to better care for their loved ones! There is no single right way to care for an ailing loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart ailments, musculoskeletal ailments and many other problems. One thing for sure, there is nothing like getting your loved out there and still participating in life. We had many couples visit our table, the caregiver and ailing spouse, daughter and mother, nurse and patient, and in each case, the person giving care felt empowered by knowing they are not alone. And the people receiving care had great smiles and were happy to be out in a friendly, sharing environment. There really is strength in numbers and hope in options for more care!

I fully enjoyed being with the Fearless Caregivers and am working to put the great ideas I received, to work. Call me or a member of my team and see how we might help you or someone you love!

Granny Nannies

What makes a caregiver great?

New prospective clients often ask me and my team “how do you know the caregiver you send us is qualified?” This is the most fundamental and most important quality measure of a good home care agency. Qualification criteria such as verification of home health aide (HHA), certified nursing assistant (CNA) or RN’s licenses are relatively easy to verify, as are required health checkups and periodic certification renewals. Law enforcement background checks and reference checks are required, and those checks yield information about a person’s past, work experience and character, but those checks still don’t guarantee the caregiver will be the best fit for you or your loved one.

I think about the many clients we has served over these past 3 decades and review case files to continue learning from our experiences. Of course, the happiest clients are the ones who had “great” caregivers. We have received many letters and calls of thanks and commendation from clients, and the following are some of the most cited qualities our clients told us make for a ‘”great” caregiver.

  1. Ability to provide comfort – ‘…thank you for sending us an aide who made my mother so comfortable at her time of need”. Comfort is not only making sure the person has a clean bed and pillows, but also the calm assurance that the client is safe and her or his needs are fulfilled with kindness and warmth.
  2. Cleanliness – There is an old saying that cleanliness is next to Godliness. A great caregiver recognizes that a prime element in promoting the wellbeing and dignity of her client is to maintain cleanliness in their primary space. This is not the same as a housecleaning service. This cleanliness promotes hygiene in the bathroom, the bed, kitchen and floors. This is about making sure that the client is wearing clean clothes and has clean sheets and that stale food and dirty dishes aren’t piling up.
  3. Gentleness – Clients with progressive dementia or Alzheimer’s frequently forget to bathe and follow normal hygienic routines. A great caregiver patiently eases the client into a routine where bathing, brushing one’s hair, oral care and getting dressed is associated with soothing soft music or pleasant conversation. Alzheimer’s patients often are fearful or distrusting of someone touching or being close to them for personal tasks that are so private. Great caregivers instinctively know when and how to approach these delicate tasks and earn their client’s trust.
  4. Reliability – Reliability is a wide-ranging topic. This includes being on-time and dependable according to schedule. It also covers having an agency that is there to assist when schedules change and new or back-up caregivers are needed, or being sure to keep family members current and aware of changes in the client’s condition. Doing all the tasks without fail and meeting the needs of the client promotes peace of mind for the client and the client’s loved ones. Nothing is more important, especially for out of town family, than to have peace of mind that mom or dad in Florida is getting quality care with great caregivers.

We know that “qualified” does not always equate to “great” care. Contact us and let us refer a great caregiver for you or your loved one’s needs.

 

Granny Nannies

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson’s disease is a growing and more pervasive illness in the United States. At our agency, we have many clients who suffer from Parkinson’s. Of those clients, many are faced with other ailments of advanced age such as heart and lung disease, dementia or advanced Alzheimer’s. Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease is a difficult challenge, as it affects lives in many ways. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and there is important information to share about this illness and hopes for advancing quality of life and potential cures.

Last week, Parkinson’s expert Dr. Michael Okun was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change. Dr. Okun is the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson’s Foundation (NPF) and serves as a true leader in the efforts to advance Parkinson’s research and to improve the lives of Parkinson’s patients. Please read the attached link to Dr. Okun’s speech and let’s discuss some ways we may help your loved one with Parkinson’s.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/03/30/how-make-difference-parkinson-s-disease-patients-lives-today-and-everyday?utm_content=buffer5b47e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

As Dr. Okun states, one of the most common questions he gets from people is what can they do to make the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers better? We find and refer skilled caregivers who attend to their clients’ fundamental needs like preparing a fall-free environment, lending ambulatory assistance or gait supervision, and assisting with numerous tasks of daily life. We understand that working to promote the dignity and quality of life of our clients is of utmost importance in supplementing the medical advances that Dr. Okun and thousands of other experts are striving for every day. Here in South Florida, our senior population has a growing need for Parkinson’s care. Call us and let us assist you or your loved one with Parkinson’s to live a better life!

Granny Nannies

Don’t Wait for an Accident – Check for Warning Signs of Illness

In the dangerous world in which we live, we often hear the words ‘if you see something, say something’. This is in response to suspicious activities or observances we recognize as potential danger signs of crime, accidents or simply things that don’t look right. I was reminded of that last week when I read the story of a gentleman from Cape Coral who got lost and sadly drowned in a local canal. He had family and friends who loved him and were frantically looking for him just hours after he had last been seen. This 75 year old gentleman reportedly was being treated for Parkinson’s, heart conditions, and dementia.

It’s tough to see our parents and senior relatives and friends suffer the physical and mental effects of aging. We all want good health and to see our loved ones at their best and not think about the warning signs that signal caution, change, and urgency of action. Many seniors in South Florida are very vulnerable to accidental deaths. One reason is because no matter where you live, there seems to be a body of water. Whether natural or man-made, canals and lakes are beautiful to see, and help to cool the airs of our tropical environment. The December 2014 edition of Senior Health online magazine listed the Top 10 causes of death among people over the age of 65: http://seniorhealth.about.com/od/deathanddying/tp/cause_death.htm

Among the expected causes of Alzheimer’s and various diseases, Accidents rank seventh in the Top 10 list! We all know someone who is vulnerable to accidents, often caused by weakness, disorientation, heart related incidents or even diabetic reactions. I regularly talk to people who tell me of their worries for their home-alone loved ones. Many times there is an undiagnosed, suspected illness that one is fearful of acknowledging. Please urge them to get it checked! Then, we can help. We refer qualified, ready caregivers who can provide a wide range of assistance so that your loved one can stay independent, and worries can be reduced. We can refer you a qualified caregiver for as little as a few hours a week, to around the clock care. And we will work with you to find the right caregiver to fit your needs, at an affordable price. Take the steps to avoid the accidents we read about in the news every day. And contact us to find out how we can help your loved one stay safe!

Granny Nannies

Home Healthcare is the Affordable Option

Every day I speak to potential clients and their families about their concerns and needs for the care of their elderly loved ones. There are different options ranging from nursing home care, assisted living facilities (ALF), adult day care, to home healthcare. There are obviously different factors to evaluate including: physical and mental wellbeing, extent of illness, security, need for social interaction, and of course desire to stay at home. Of course, one of the biggest and most difficult issues involved in deciding on a plan of care is the cost. Costs can be difficult to firmly nail down, as the needs of the individual are affected by their living and social environments. Let’s address some important points to consider in planning for senior care.

First, the best plan of care may consist of a mix of more than one option. Many of our clients are nursing home and ALF residents. These living options may address some of the individuals’ needs such as safety and security and basic assistance with essentials such as food preparation or medicine reminders. Depending on the facility and the price, other important factors such as social interaction, getting out and making local trips for shopping, restaurants or visits with friends may not be adequately met. I often hear daughters and sons tell me that they are concerned about their parent being isolated or unattended for long periods of time – safe perhaps, but lacking in vital personal or social interaction. We can help your loved one by placing a caregiver just for them, to be the eyes and ears for the family members who need to know that their mom or dad or grandparent is well taken care of, wherever they may be. People are surprised at how affordable home healthcare services through us are, and the flexibility of how services can be offered.

Second, care at home is what most people want. Many clients may be in the midst of physical, mental or emotional challenges that make it very difficult to stay independent at home. Loved ones, especially out-of-towners always express concerns and worries about their elderly parents being at home for days and nights without someone there to assist them. Again, costs are a major concern. Is an ALF or nursing home affordable as opposed to the senior staying in their home or living with their adult children? Is adult day care an option for daytime care? Once again, with weighing the available options, people are usually surprised at how affordable caregiver services through us is. We can offer a variety of hourly services and even assist with providing a live-in caregiver. All you need is to tell us your needs and we can help find an affordable, quality option for you.

Finally, how can we back up what we say, that we are a very affordable option for senior care? Well, don’t trust us, check the figures! According to Genworth’s 2014 cost of care calculations, the cost of in-home care for a 40+ hour per week caregiver is highly comparable to the median cost of a single-occupancy ALF, and barely a third of the median cost of a nursing home (private room) https://www.genworth.com/dam/Americas/US/PDFs/Consumer/corporate/Florida-040114.pdf. As you weigh your options, contact us and let us help you!

Granny Nannies

Serve Your Elder Care Needs

Check In With John-

Whether you are looking for Home Health Care or a care giver looking to take care of the elderly, Boca Raton Administrator John Rodriquez has the insight you want and need.  Visit John’s weekly blog as he strives to help families in Palm Beach and Broward County find the right home elderly care for their loved ones.

John Rodriguez Granny NanniesI often hear from concerned daughters and sons and extended family members that their loved one is just ‘not right’. They can’t quite pinpoint the specific problems or risks, but the signs of physical and often mental deterioration are more evident. Anxieties grow as family must tend to their own families, work, personal needs and often the challenges of living far away from mom or dad. The elder parent does not want to burden their children and families and often downplay or hide the obvious signs of difficulties that come with trying to safely maintain independence at home. Getting started with elder care is often the most challenging aspect of providing quality care. The topic of ‘getting started’ is one of the areas I spend most time working with my staff to improve. Through the years we’ve operated, we’ve learned that this is one of the key factors in making the elder care experience a comforting and satisfying one for our clients and their families.

So, how do we ‘get started’? As we learn from the client or their family members about their situations, we need to consider not only their physical needs, but also their social needs. This is where we ask about what’s just ‘not right’ with mom or dad. US News and World Report Health Day reports this month that depression, apathy, sleeping difficulties and irritability may often be precursors of dementia or Alzheimer’s . This shows that signs of onset of illness can appear years in advance, and your loved one may need some help getting started with care.

Some of the elder care services we offers are geared toward Social Interaction. Sure, we refer caregivers to assist with cooking and light cleaning, but what about sitting down and having a friendly conversation, or reading, or playing music? We look for caregivers who offer not only assistance with tasks of daily living, but who can communicate with people clearly and with friendliness. Caregivers don’t have to look intimidating or out of place in your loved one’s home. She or he can be a kind person who is there to give them comfort and ease the strain of life’s challenges.

My office team and I really enjoy the opportunity to talk to our clients and their families and listen to what they need, and do the best we can to meet those needs. This means we listen, we follow up, and we constantly try to do better. We learn every day that elder care is about assisting people socially as well as physically with their life needs. If you feel something is just ‘not right’ about your senior loved one, give us a call and see how we may help them get started with compassionate care.

Granny Nannies

Home Healthcare Outlook for 2015 – John Rodriguez

John Rodriguez Granny NanniesCheck In With John-

Whether you are looking for Home Health Care or a care giver looking to take care of the elderly, Boca Raton Administrator John Rodriquez has the insight you want and need.  Visit John’s weekly blog as he strives to help families in Palm Beach and Broward County find the right home elderly care for their loved ones.

 

As we move forward into another new year, the home healthcare needs of our community continue to expand and evolve. Every week, we receives calls from daughters and sons of aging parents telling us they know their parents need assistance at home, but they’re afraid of losing their independence and self-sufficiency. Too often, help comes in only when serious injury or a debilitating illness force a senior to accept assistance. How do we help families to welcome a caregiver or helping hand to relieve some of the physical and mental burdens of aging?

After many years working with seniors and their families, I’ve learned that no two clients or families are the same. Oftentimes, the individual needing care is not the only one in the household or extended family needing care. How do we know what daily routines or tasks are most important or meaningful to our clients? How do we learn to anticipate and meet their needs proactively instead of reactively? The key factor is to communicate, listen and take action on our clients’ needs. This may sound obvious, but a major factor in our client’s satisfaction is how well we communicated, listened and fulfilled their wishes.

I recently had a client’s daughter-in-law from New York tell me, “John, thank you for listening to our needs and finding the right caregiver for my mother-in-law”. This client is happy that the caregiver understands her client’s habits and knows when to prepare her meals, when to go out for sunshine, and when to prepare her for rest. Listening means not assuming we know what’s best for your client, but letting the client tell us and regularly asking them how we are meeting their needs. It means constantly communicating with the clients and caregivers to understand, act, and strive for continuous, high-quality care.

Our service is not simply finding and referring caregivers. It is our job to really attend to the needs of our clients and their families. We work hard to earn your trust every day. As we begin 2015, it is my commitment to work harder to listening and meet our clients’ needs. Next week, we will talk more about specific services we offer that can improve you or your loved ones’ quality of life.

– John Rodriguez