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A collection of resources to help you navigate the care continuum.

By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 24, 2014

When Caregivers Have Emergencies

If you’re a caregiver, it’s important for you to have an emergency plan for the unexpected regarding your own status – something serious could happen to you that makes you unable to provide care for a couple of hours, days, weeks or longer.

Most caregivers don’t set out to be, well, caregivers.  They usually ease into their roles, gradually spending more time and adding more responsibilities to take care of someone as that person’s needs increase. Before they know it, they’re helping out ‘round the clock. Caregivers tend to put the well-being of the person in their care ahead of their own, and it’s for this reason that most caregivers haven’t given a second thought to the fact that something might happen to them that puts them in the position of needing backup caregivers. But second thoughts should not be ignored.

If you’re a caregiver, it’s important for you to have an emergency plan for the unexpected regarding your own status – something serious could happen to you that makes you unable to provide care for a couple of hours, days, weeks or longer.

Above all, your emergency plan should include regularly meeting with your backup caregivers (you should have at least two backups) to review where everything is kept and any changes in medications or schedule for the person in your care.  Equally important is having your own caregiver hospital emergency kit that contains the same type of items for you as the hospital emergency kit you prepared for the person in your care.

If you’re in an accident or experience your own medical emergency, will first responders know that the person in your care also needs immediate attention? How will emergency personnel know how to contact someone to step in for you?

Fortunately, there’s an app for that! In Case of Emergency (ICE) apps are available for iPhones and Androids, and they are the easiest, most sure-fire way to alert responders to the fact that in addition to taking care of you, they need to get help to the person in your care. ICE apps offer flexibility for you to include as much pertinent information as you need, including a list of people to call (and they can be called directly from the ICE app, even if your phone is locked), contacts for physicians, allergies, medical conditions, medications and any other information you want to provide. Because you are able to include other information, you can add the fact that you are a caregiver and that the person in your care needs help ASAP.

If you don’t have a cell phone or one on you at the time, one piece of paper folded and prominently placed in your wallet in front of your driver’s license with the words, “In Case of Emergency” facing out should contain information for emergency personnel that will alert them that someone else needs help and how to contact your backups. This important piece of paper should direct first responders to look in the glove box for more complete information (which your backups should have at the ready as well).

Your phone could be destroyed in an accident, or you may have left it behind when you got in the car, so it is essential that you have a printed version of the instructions that you included in the ICE app. These papers should be placed on top of everything else in the glove box for easy access.

Because a medical emergency could take place at home, a printout should be taped to the refrigerator too.

Now that you have a backup emergency plan, perhaps it’s time for you to schedule some well-deserved days off to regroup and refresh!

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 17, 2014

Your Caregiver Emergency Plan - Part II

Food, water, blankets, pillows, a radio, batteries, a whistle, cash, medicines and copies of: insurance and social security cards, legal documents and prescriptions – these are just a few of the items you should have in your emergency kit.

Food, water, blankets, pillows, a radio, batteries, a whistle, cash, medicines and copies of: insurance and social security cards, legal documents and prescriptions – these are just a few of the items you should have in your emergency kit.

Here are some very informative websites to help you determine what you need in your caregiver emergency kit to help you carry out your caregiver emergency plan:

www.fema.gov

www.ready.gov

www.weatherchannel.com

www.osha.gov

It’s also helpful to see what information your county has on its website. Just looking at any one of these sites can be mind-boggling for anyone and can be especially overtaxing for a caregiver.

Break it down.

A straight-forward approach to creating an emergency plan is to break down tasks into less time-consuming steps that you can complete over time in between the acts of your day-to-day duties. It’s okay if you don’t complete your plan in one fell swoop – just so long as you complete it.

Perhaps without realizing it, you’ve already started! Your hospital stay emergency kit already includes many of the items you will need to have at the ready. And since it’s in a duffle bag or back pack, you can pop it into a larger container to take with you if you need to evacuate or hunker down.

Get help.

The most important aspect of a caregiver’s emergency plan is to know how you will help everyone get to a safe place. If you need assistance in transferring the person in your care to the car or down the stairs, ask your neighbors now, before any conceived emergency, to see who can help you. And it’s an even better idea to have more than one neighbor who is willing to help in case one of them isn’t at home when an emergency strikes.

Take inventory.

The number of items to be included in an emergency kit are too numerous to list here, and your first step should be to refer to any or all of the above websites and make a list to be sure you amass what you’ll need on hand in case of a weather-related or natural disaster emergency that may occur in your area.

Once you have created your list, your next step should be to conduct an inventory of everything you already have in and around the house. Next, you should gather what you have and put it in a designated area for easy access.

Prioritize.

You will then be able to determine what else you will need to purchase in order to complete your kit. Prioritize your list so that more important items are added to the kit in a timely manner. Purchasing just a few items at a time will make it easier on your wallet and easier on you to accomplish in many short time spans.

Replenish.

Be sure water, food, all medications (prescription & OTC) and batteries are easily accessible in your designated area because you will need to replace them. Check expiration dates on all of these items and add them to your reminders in plenty of time to use them before you would have to dispose of them and also in plenty of time to replenish them.

Here’s a tip about batteries: do not install them until you need them – they can leak and ruin your flashlight or radio.

Read in about 3 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 10, 2014

Your Caregiver Emergency Plan - Part I

As a caregiver, you could be overwhelmed just thinking about what you need to do to get prepared. To make matters even more difficult, as a caregiver you will actually need two emergency plans and two emergency kits – YIKES!

As you may have already learned, September 2014 is the 11th annual National Preparedness Month sponsored by FEMA. Across the internet you’ll find nagging reminders on the importance of getting things in order - including here! As a caregiver, you could be overwhelmed just thinking about what you need to do to get prepared. To make matters even more difficult, as a caregiver you will actually need two emergency plans and two emergency kits – YIKES!

But with some forethought and a little planning on how to develop your caregiver emergency plans and kits, you’ll be well on your way to resting easy that you’re ready for just about anything.

Through FEMA, local TV news, weather channels and county alert systems, we receive quite a bit of lead time and warning about impending weather emergencies and other disasters, and that lead time is very helpful to a caregiver in getting everyone to safety.

Yet one emergency that occurs with very little lead time is when you have to call 9-1-1 for non-weather caregiving emergencies. In these fast-paced situations while you’re waiting for the EMTs to arrive, there isn’t much opportunity to gather your emergency kit with everything you may need at the hospital – whether you are there for just a couple of hours or if you are staying overnight to be at the bedside.

Be sure to have everything you need in one place so that you can grab and go. A duffle bag works well for this purpose (and for weather-related emergencies, it can be easily added to that emergency kit). When creating your hospital stay emergency kit, think of items that you and your loved one will need.

For the person in your care:

  • Printed documents (including contact numbers of doctors/specialists, medical directive, medical history and current list of medications)
  • Insurance cards
  • Spare set of glasses (many times glasses are removed and left behind at home by the EMTs)
  • Lotion (a good massage can be a welcome comfort to someone waiting to hear about test results)

For you, the caregiver:

  • Spare set of house keys (you never know when you may be riding along in the ambulance)
  • Extra phone charger
  • Toiletries (you’ll be glad you have them if you spend the night)
  • Travel pillow and travel blanket (it can be very uncomfortable sleeping in that chair)
  • Socks (especially if you have run out of the house wearing sandals)
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Book (When was the last time you read something other than a prescription bottle? It also comes in handy to read out loud and pass the time.)
  • Crisp dollar bills for the vending machine


Do you have other grab-and-go items to add to our list? Hop on over to our Facebook page or caregiver LinkedIn page and tell us what we missed!

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: September 03, 2014

National Preparedness Month - What’s Your Caregiver Emergency Plan?

With so much to do every day when you’re a caregiver, preparing for the unexpected can be an overwhelming task that takes a lot of time away from your daily responsibilities. But as a caregiver, being ready and equipped for emergencies is just as important as your day-to-day duties – especially those trips to the hospital and anything nature throws at you.

Sponsored by FEMA, September 2014 marks the eleventh annual National Preparedness Month.  September is a time to educate and prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. Are you prepared? Do you have a caregiver emergency plan? 

With fall brings cooler weather, kids returning to school, football, and unfortunately even turbulent weather. This already busy season is the time to make sure you, as a caregiver, have everything you need.  Are you ready for possible turbulent weather, no power, a natural disaster? Have you thought about a plan for those in your care?  Are you prepared for an emergency trip to the hospital?

With so much to do every day when you’re a caregiver, preparing for the unexpected can be an overwhelming task that takes a lot of time away from your daily responsibilities. But as a caregiver, being ready and equipped for emergencies is just as important as your day-to-day duties – especially those trips to the hospital and anything nature throws at you.

Stay tuned. Over the next few weeks we’ll help you break it all down into doable segments and provide resources that will help you get prepared.  Here is a sneak peek of the topics to come:

Caregiver Emergency Kit – compile and maintain it;

Legal Documents – what you need and where to keep them safe; and

Caregiver Emergency Plan – develop it and keep everyone informed.

 

By the way, who is your caregiver backup?

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: July 21, 2014

4 Essential Factors When Deciding On Home Care

Today, Home Care and Home Healthcare offer viable economic options and high-quality care for senior citizens who want to maintain a level of independence while remaining in their own home.

With the continuing struggle towards economic recovery, many Americans have found themselves either delaying plans to enter a retirement community or cancelling those plans altogether. Today, Home Care and Home Healthcare offer viable economic options and high-quality care for senior citizens who want to maintain a level of independence while remaining in their own home. In-home care has shown additional benefits, as some studies have shown; the longer seniors stay independent from institutionalized care the better they feel, emotionally and physically.

Home Care, referred to in some states as Home Maker Companion Services or Personal Care Services, allows aging individuals to continue residing in their homes while an attendant assists them with many non-medical day-to-day tasks, such as grooming, bathing, housekeeping, and meal preparation. They may also offer services such as running errands or general companionship. Home Care can be scheduled daily or weekly. Services offered will vary from agency to agency, so it is best to shop around for a provider that best suits your needs.

Home Healthcare is the in-home skilled nursing alternative to Assisted Living. A registered health professional will come to your home to provide services ranging from physical therapy to prescription management and wound care. Unlike general Home Care or companion services, all Home Healthcare providers are required to be licensed and registered within their State. The services provided will vary based on needs, and attendants can be scheduled 24 hours a day.

Some things to consider when deciding on Home Care:

1. Medical condition and needs. Home Care may be adequate and affordable for an elder who needs help with physical therapy, monitoring a chronic health condition, exercise or help around the home (bathing and getting meals, for example). Unfortunately, in some situations a long term stay-at-home solution is not practical or cost effective. Weighing available options and factoring in future healthcare needs are crucial to making the decision whether to stay at home.

2. Cost. Home care is one of the most economical solutions for senior care, but costs can increase dramatically if certain factors aren’t considered - size of the home and services required, desired frequency of visits, even the location of the home can increase cost if it requires significant travel on the part of the caretaker or agency.

3. Support and access to medical Services. When deciding to stay at home, a practical assessment of distance to medical facilities should be considered. Does the Home Care agency provide transportation to medical appointments? How close are friends and family if transportation needs arise?

4. Availability. Home Care and Home Healthcare is a burgeoning category with over 70% growth predicted in the next decade by the Bureau of labor Statistics. Be sure you research the availability of advanced care and the quality of what is available in your area.


With the rapid growth of Home Care options, States are moving to regulate and monitor the quality of care to protect their elderly constituents. For additional information on Home Care options, check the current regulations and availability in your area. Reach out to your local Ombudsman or Area Agency on Aging. Home Care may not be the best fit for every situation, but with increased availability of services and rapid expansion, its practicality as an option will only increase.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 13, 2014

The Longest Day – Raising Alzheimer’s Awareness on the Summer Solstice

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. The Longest Day is a peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising campaign sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise money for care, support, research, awareness, and advocacy of the disease.

How are you going to spend the longest day of the year this year? The 21st of June falls on a Saturday so that makes it perfect for doing all kinds of things like hiking, gardening, cycling, playing games, cooking and eating, and it’s even more fun with friends.

The Longest Day is a peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising campaign sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise money for care, support, research, awareness, and advocacy of the disease. This is the third year of the creative charity event where participants are free to do whatever activity they want to do, from sunrise to sunset, and thereby raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year.  In the southern hemisphere it is celebrated as the first day of summer, which occurs in late December.  In the northern hemisphere, the longest day falls in late June. 

The Longest Day event challenges participants to raise at least $100 per hour during the day. While that may seem daunting for an individual to keep going for sixteen hours, teams can tackle the task by dividing the day into segments and having each team member cover a portion.

Once registered, the Alzheimer’s Association provides a kit of materials (t-shirt, purple glow stick, information, etc.) and access to a full suite of social media tools on a dedicated portal (thelongestday.org). The site lets users set up Web pages for themselves or their teams, offers content for email campaigns, posters to print, Facebook tools, and even suggested tweets.

The Longest Day is a great example of P2P fundraising, where the participant’s supporters are leveraged to raise money, increase awareness, and reach new networks of people for the cause. Using the Web portal, they create a central point to affect and control the social media messaging, and in so doing create a virtual community even though the participants are spread out geographically.

Today, 44 Million people worldwide live with dementia, with over 5 million of them Americans. Current predictions indicate that by 2030, 76 million people worldwide will suffer from dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: August 23, 2013

Elder Abuse: Signs & How to Report

Elder abuse has become a hot topic of conversation and many organizations have begun to spread messages about combating the problem. Many forms of elder abuse exist today, ranging from physical and mental to fraud and financial.

Elder abuse has become a hot topic of conversation and many organizations have begun to spread messages about combating the problem. Many forms of elder abuse exist today, ranging from physical and mental to fraud and financial.

In light of the widespread issue, the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) renewed a campaign back in June, National Elder Abuse Awareness Month, that focused on bringing attention to elder abuse and creating new initiatives to eradicate the problem.

What can you do about elder abuse? You may be part of a caregiving team within your own family or have an elderly neighbor you check in on regularly. Whatever your role, keep your eyes open for indications of elder abuse. Below are a few signs to look for:

Financial

  • Unpaid medical bills that a caregiver is responsible for handling
  • Checks “signed” by the patient when they cannot or should not sign checks of their own
  • Poor clothing and inadequate grooming for their income level
  • A Caregiver’s refusal to spend money on needed items or services

Physical

  • Unexplained injuries or physical trauma such as black eyes, ear injuries, broken bones, dislocations, bruising, etc.
  • Multiple emergency room visits
  • Internal injuries

Neglect

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Poor living conditions such as dirty clothes or poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Missed medical appointments

Estimates show between 2 million and 5 million people suffer annually from elder abuse. If you suspect someone is experiencing elder abuse, take the initiative and report the occurrence. Create a descriptive statement of the abuse situation and submit to the proper agency. You can use a national source like the National Center on Elder Abuse as a resource to determine who to contact when reporting elder abuse in your area.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: August 06, 2013

Regulation Changes; Medicare Fraud & Elder Abuse

As more Boomers enter care facilities, the need to be vigilant for Medicare fraud and signs of elder abuse will only increase.

Most of the Baby Boomer population has now reached age 65 and the current senior population, of 41.4 million, will rise even higher over the coming decade. As more Boomers enter care facilities, the need to be vigilant for Medicare fraud and signs of elder abuse will only increase. 

According to CMS, fraud is defined as making false statements or representations of material facts to obtain some benefit or payment for which no entitlement would otherwise exist. Elder abuse is defined by CDC as abuse and neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust. Elder abuse can take many forms. It isn’t always physical. Emotional abuse, abandonment, and financial abuse and exploitation are also prevalent. It is estimated that between 2 million and 5 million people suffer from elder abuse annually with millions more unreported, according to the Assisted Living Foundation of America (ALFA).

Fraud & Abuse

Reporting Reasonable Suspicion

Assisted Living Federation of America is also another source of helpful information and resources. Click Here to view a webinar held by ALFA during Elder Abuse Awareness Month. 

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