Care Seeker Resources

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

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 06, 2017

Tech making an impact on home health care services

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings.

Home care aides have long been facilitators of independence and good health for seniors. From providing assistance for individuals who want to age in place to ensuring their clients remain active participants in their communities, it's crucial that care providers have the means to promote this self-sufficiency.

Thankfully, an assortment of emerging technological devices and internet platforms have arisen that ease the facilitation of this independence and health lifestyles for seniors.

Social media keeps everyone connected

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets have made the world more interconnected than ever before. While Facebook began solely as a means for college students to stay linked, it quickly transformed into a global network accessible to people of all ages. Increasingly, older adults are using the channel. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of online individuals ages 65 and older log in and use Facebook - a jump of 14 percentage points from the 48 percent of this cohort who reported using the site in 2015.

"Facebook keeps seniors connected with friends and families."

One of the great things about social media is that it allows seniors to interact with friends, families and even strangers - a key component to remaining independent and healthy. However, the service also provides a channel for seniors to keep everyone updated about health problems or other issues preventing them from living life to the fullest.

Wearable technology

As computers become smaller and more ubiquitous, innovative companies have been incorporating technology into just about everything. This has facilitated the advent and growth of wearable technology. And it's having an impact on the home health community for good reason. 

Each year, roughly 33 percent Americans ages 65 and older and half of people 85 and older, experience a life-changing fall, Live Science reported. These slips can cause severe injuries and prevent individuals from reaching their phone to contact an emergency service.

A medical alarm system that includes a pendant or device that senses a sudden fall and impact reduces the chances for long-term injuries or worse. These devices have become much more advanced in recent years, with internet connections and immediate contact methods if the wearer doesn't respond.

Increased access to wearable technology allows home care aides to stay informed of any potentially dangerous slips or falls that might occur to the seniors they assist.

 

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

Matching with the best care aides

Finding the right home care aide and matching him or her with the ideal person is crucial for maintaining solid relationships. 

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings. The information is then sent to Carelike’s network of Channel Partners who license and view the provider information in order to make referral recommendations to their patients.  This robust and comprehensive search technology connects the most ideal care provider candidate best suited to the care seeker’s needs. For a minimal fee, care providers can set up a detailed profile with a comprehensive list of qualifications and experiences. This enables the CareMatch technology to produce more accurate connections that allow for better relationships between care providers and care seekers. 

Read in about 3 minutes
By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: January 04, 2017

5 signs you have a great home health aide

There are some tried-and-true signs that you've hired a great home health aide no matter what kinds of conditions your loved one is struggling with.

Finding the right home health aide for your senior loved one, even after months of research into candidates, can still be a roll of the dice for many people. After all, this individual is responsible for meeting the care and treatment needs of a person you have loved for decades, so it's understandable that you want to ensure your home health aide is the right fit.

There are some tried-and-true signs that you've hired a great home health aide no matter what kinds of conditions your loved one is struggling with. Here are the top five you should look for:

1. Good communication skills

Although a home health aide knows how to take vitals to prevent and identify health issues, the bulk of his or her job is going to rest on proper communication with your loved one, and with you as well. This starts with the home health aide having a good attitude and an open mind when he or she is talking through a daily routine, especially if there are changes to doctor recommendations or treatments. Above all, your senior loved one should feel calm and comfortable while speaking to the home health aide, according to Aging Care.

 

Patience and empathy are essential for home health aides' success.

Patience and empathy are essential for home health aides' success.

2. Professionalism

Before a patient receives care from a home health aide, he or she should sit down with both you and your loved one to discuss job expectations and his or her approach to care. This is also a time when you and your loved one should discuss what to expect during the day and what kinds of tasks should be carried out.

3. Plenty of patience and empathy

As with any care professional setting, providers need to have patience to best serve their patients. This is especially true if your loved one is struggling with a cognitive issue like dementia or Alzheimer's. In care settings, there are times when providers may run into frustrations, but during these times they need to remain calm and focus on the job at hand. Although this often results in extra time and empathy on their end, for providers, these two traits are absolutely essential to success.

4. A balanced schedule

There is a good chance that your home health aide is caring for several patients. This means you need to be respectful of his or her schedule and hours, and vice versa. Many home health aides today rely on apps and shared calendars to find a balance in the schedule. However, he or she should also be in communication with you when times or dates are rearranged just so all of the bases are covered when it comes to your loved one's care.

5. Experience with all types of care

Just like a doctor or nurse, successful home health aides have seen and been through it all, and that's a good thing. You want your home health aide to know what to do in a variety of medical situations, large and small. That's why every care seeker much look to the experience this individual has encountered over his or her years in the health care industry to see if he or she is the right fit for your loved one's health needs. 

Read in about 3 minutes
By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 13, 2016

Qualities to look for in postoperative care

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care.

As a care seeker, there are a lot of things you will need to consider for postoperative care. Going through surgery or a procedure is only the beginning: Postoperative care is incredibly important as you heal from an operation, as the right care can lessen health complications and also bolster your recovery from a condition.

Basic postoperative needs
A lot of families prefer a caregiver be with their senior loved one consistently following an operation. There are a lot of reasons behind this: For instance, if a medical issue were to arise, such as an infection at the surgical site, a trained professional will he on-hand to give the best advice and ease worries. This is especially true for older patients, as their immune systems are weaker and response time to these medical events is critical.

Recovery is also every bit as important as the surgery itself. From dietary changes to physical activity to pain management, postoperative care requires a schedule and system that is best implemented by a medical provider who is trained in this field. Here are a few things you should look for in postoperative care:

 If you're recovering from surgery, postoperative care is crucial.

1. Caregiving 101: For recovery after most surgeries, your caregiver will need to understand some basic nursing credentials, such as checking vital signs, helping your loved one get dressed, administering medications and changing bandages. If the doctor recommends physical therapy, you might want to specifically look for a caregiver that also has a background in this field.

2. A focus on mobility: Many senior loved ones require home health services because they are recovering from an invasive surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement. For these types of operations, it is crucial that the patient is up and moving as soon as he or she is able to. Although every patient recovers differently from an operation, the main goal is to get your loved one back to normal, and that requires mobility.

3. Transparency about medical costs: Some recovery services and equipment might be covered by Medicare, while others require additional insurance or cost. According to the New York Times, most insurance companies will only pay for skilled care on a temporary basis if you are homebound. However, a good postoperative caregiving agency will be upfront ahead of time about what you need to get healthy as well as what is and is not covered so that you can make the right financial decisions for you and your family.

4. Care coordination: Part of caregiving requires care coordination. Depending on the operation, your loved one might require some tests after surgery to see if the surgery was successful. Your postoperative caregiver will be aware of these updates and implement the care techniques instructed from your physician.

The care you or your loved one receives after surgery is critical for long-term health. Be sure that you know the basics about postoperative care so that you can make the most informed decisions about your family's health and recovery.

Read in 2 minutes
By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: October 06, 2016

Is your home healthcare covered by Medicare

Seniors over 65 may be wondering what kinds of home health care benefits are covered under Medicare.

If you're a senior who struggles with maintaining your health and well-being on your own, you might be considering the help of a home health aide. Seniors over 65 may also be wondering what kinds of home health care benefits are covered under Medicare. Below we will break down who is eligible for Medicare coverage of home health services and actions you can take to get the care you need.

Eligibility, Medicare and home health
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, home health services have become increasingly popular for Medicare recipients, as they typically cost less and offer the same high level of care. Many home health services focus on preventative care to also reduce acute care costs and help seniors become more independent.

Medicare does cover some types of home health services.

Medicare does cover some types of home health services.

As a result, Medicare does allow seniors to attain home health coverage, but you have to be eligible to receive these services. Here are a few requirements you'll need to receive home health care, according to CMS:

  • The home health care plan must be reviewed and established regularly by your doctor.
  • A doctor must verify that you require one or more of the following: intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology or occupational therapy.
  • The agency you choose must be Medicare-certified.
  • A doctor must confirm that you are homebound, meaning it is not recommended you leave your home due to a condition (this excludes infrequent absences from home, such as attending religious services once a week or adult day care).


What exactly is covered under Medicare's home health policy?
If you meet these requirements, you will not be expected to pay for home health care services per Medicare's policy, according to CMS. Additionally, Medicare will cover 20 percent of the amount approved from Medicare to be put toward durable medical equipment used while at home. Regardless of your home health needs, each agency should explain in full detail what is and what's not covered under these policies based on your condition, also known and the "Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice."

Skilled nursing care is also covered when administered on a part-time or intermittent basis. Skilled nurses are defined as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Some of the treatments you may expect from these medical professionals include changing dressings, informing you about your prescriptions or diabetes treatments, administering IV drugs or shots, as well as tube feedings, if necessary.

Skilled nursing care is covered under Medicare if on a part-time or intermittent basis.

What isn't covered under Medicare's home health policy?
CMS also stated that the home health policies under Medicare only direct revenue to the services you need from your chosen agency. However, doctor visits and other routine appointments are generally already covered by existing Medicare benefits. Meals, 24-hour care, housekeeping services like cleaning, shopping, and personal care like bathing and dressing, generally are not paid for under Medicare policies.

You have the right to appeal
CMS also indicated that once covered home health plans come to an end, Medicare recipients have the right to a fast appeal. During this process, a quality improvement organization (QIO) will review your treatment plan and determine if you still require home health services. Under Medicare policy, the home health agency will send you a written notice at least two days before your home health treatment is scheduled to end, and it will also give you a breakdown of how you can appeal.

Home health services are a part of your care plan as a senior if you need them, so it's important to understand what is and is not covered under your Medicare plan. If you need more information about home health services and Medicare, be sure to contact your doctor or home health agency.

Read in 3 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: September 07, 2016

The benefits of aging in place

Do you move your aging mother to an assisted living community, or do you hire a home health aide so she can stay at home? Discover the benefits of aging in place.

We only want what's best for our senior loved ones, but all too often, we are just unsure of what that really entails. Do you move your aging mother to an assisted living community, or do you hire a home health aide so she can stay at home?

The latter option, called aging in place, is often the preferred choice. According to a 2011 survey from AARP, about 90 percent of adults age 65 and older said they want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Plus, this long-term care route has plenty of advantages:

It's more affordable
While the price tag shouldn't be the only factor swaying your long-term care decision, it's important to consider what options you have within your budget. According to 2010 data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, using home health aide services costs $21 per hour on average. Meanwhile, the mean monthly payment for an assisted community is $3,292.

You would need home health aide services for 40 hours per week to come close to that price. Depending on your loved one's health status, you may only require this type of care a few hours per day or when you're not around. Additionally, this reduction in cost has extended benefits, the executive director of the National Aging in Place Council, Marty Bell, told The Nation's Health.

"There are a lot of people who argue … that if enough people could be taught to age in place, and it's available to them, that it can really bolster the sustainability and strength of the Medicaid and Medicare program," Bell said. "So it's kind of a win-win for the individuals and the society as a whole."

 

Senior woman with dogs.

Aging in place allows seniors to enjoy all the comforts their familiar home has to offer.

Aging in place provides a sense of community
Your aging parent has spent a lifetime building family relationships and likely years bonding with neighbors. Removing older adults from their long-time homes can make them feel like those connections have weakened. According to research published in The Gerontologist, the majority of seniors want to age in place because of the attachment and familiarity they feel with their home and communities. While moving to an assisted living community provides opportunities to make new friends, older adults may rather maintain already-existing relationships.

It fights isolation
That sense of community provided through aging in place does more than make seniors feel comfortable. It is also integral for fighting feelings of isolation, a dangerous trend among seniors. Researchers from the University of Chicago found a link between loneliness and high blood pressure in older adults. The study authors noted that feelings of loneliness can occur even when a senior is surrounded by people - such as at an assisted living community. This further demonstrates the importance of the familiarity and sense of community provided through aging in place.

This is not to say that assisted living communities aren't a great option for long-term care. It all depends on your senior loved one's personality and needs. Have an open discussion about long-term care options so everyone's voice is heard.

CATEGORIES

Read in 2 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: July 26, 2016

4 qualities to look for in a home health provider

Hiring a home health provider for your senior loved one can be an intimidating experience.

Hiring a home health provider for your senior loved one can be an intimidating experience. You want to ensure that you have the best person for the job, which means they need to meet certain qualifications. Beyond having the right credentials - that is, the appropriate education and certifications - they should also have the necessary skills and personality traits. Here are a few to look for during the hiring process:

Good communicator
How well does the candidate convey his or her ideas? If you find you're more confused after asking a question to the home health aide than you were beforehand, he or she may not be the best at effectively communicating. Don't overlook this detail - the home health aide may have to relay information to you or your loved one's doctor. Doing so in an effective manner can ensure the senior gets the best care possible.

For example, imagine if the home health aide didn't speak up about a concern regarding the senior's lack of appetite. You could go for far too long without realizing there was a problem!

Compassionate
You no doubt want the senior in your family to spend time with someone who shows empathy and emotional support, so don't hire a cynical home health aide! Consider the candidate's demeanor during your initial conversation. Does the individual smile and shake your hand? Did you two make small talk before diving into the interview? Those interpersonal skills are crucial for making the home health care experience positive for everyone involved.

 

Senior holding hands of home health aide.

Hire a home health aide who shows compassion.

Trustworthy
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, integrity is an important trait among home health providers. After all, these individuals are helping the senior with personal activities like dressing and bathing, and you want your loved one to feel comfortable during this process. Plus, you want peace of mind knowing you're leaving older adult with someone who will always be honest.

This trait can be hard to spot - everyone will say they're trustworthy, after all. To really evaluate whether candidates are the right fit, ask them to describe a situation in which they came to an ethical dilemma. How did they overcome the situation?

Able to work under pressure
While most shifts spent caring for your senior loved one may involve leisurely afternoons at the park or helping with daily living activities, others might not be as smooth sailing. Be sure that the home health aide you hire can work well under pressure so he or she will be ready to act in an emergency. Always ask what steps the individual would take if your loved one falls or becomes seriously ill. This will give you a more realistic picture.

As long as the home health provider's resume checks out and he or she has these traits, you should be in good shape!

Read in 2 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type:  |  On: July 13, 2016

3 summer safety tips for seniors

For older adults and their caretakers, safety should be top-of-mind during summer.

Summer is here, which means it's time for fun in the sun and some much-needed relaxation. For older adults and their caretakers, safety should be top-of-mind as well. After all, depending on where you live, you could see temperatures skyrocket to well over 100 degrees!

According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors are especially prone to hyperthermia, which occurs when the body can't adequately respond to increases in temperature. This can result in conditions like heat exhaustion, fatigue and stroke. To ensure the season is enjoyable for folks of all ages, stay cool with these following tips:

1. Dress up in cool clothes
Many home health providers have to help their senior clients with getting dressed each day - an especially important task in the summer months. After all, an older adult who is not prepared to perform this daily task may end up in a sweater and coat when it's sweltering outside.

While tanks and capris are great for cooling off, they won't protect the senior from the sun. Ensure the individual is wearing sunscreen when you head outdoors, and consider having him or her wear a hat. The head wear will create a little bit of shade to help shield the body from harmful UV rays. Also, if it's cool in the morning, opt for layers so the senior can remove them throughout the day.

Senior woman wearing sun hat.A hat can help protect the senior's skin from the sun.

2. Take water everywhere
Always have a cold bottle of water on hand, and keep track of how much fluid the senior consumes and with what frequency. This will help stave off dehydration, which can lead to anything from a minor headache to decreased blood pressure. The latter symptom should be considered a medical emergency, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it's best to avoid getting to that point altogether.

If the older adult is reluctant to sip on plain water, flavor the beverage with pieces of fruit. Just be sure to avoid alcoholic beverages, as this can increase the risk for dehydration.

3. Find fun indoor activities
The best way to beat the heat is to not go out at all. While caretakers should still spend time outdoors with the seniors during summer, indoor activities might be better on especially hot days. For example, check out the latest movie at the theater for a morning matinee. Otherwise, arrange a day to scrapbook and look through old pictures!

As a home health provider, it is important to keep your senior clients safe this summer. With these tips, you can help the client avoid heat-related illness while still enjoying the season.

Read in 2 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 26, 2016

Cost of common home health services

It is important to understand home health care cost so you and your family can budget accordingly.

Many people benefit from home health services. This method of care allows seniors to spend their retirement years at home and for those facing disabilities to live a higher quality lifestyle. However, home health services come at a price, and it's important to understand cost so you and your family can budget accurately.

Generally speaking, this avenue of care is less expensive than long-term services from a medical facility. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one month of care in an assisted living community would cost about $3,293 for a one-bedroom unit. Meanwhile, rates for home health services fall far below that. Learn more about prices to determine which route is right for you:

"Patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide."

Home health aide services
Home health aide services involve a caretaker coming to your home to help with a variety of daily living activities. As AARP explained, while these individuals haven't gone through medical school, they must have training and pass a competency test to serve in this position. As such, they can help with basic needs like administering medication and checking vital signs.

According to the HHS, patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide, though this varies depending on the organization, where you live and the services required. Even if you used this service for four hours each day with the aforementioned rate, the monthly cost would still be less than that for assisted living. Additionally, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare may cover the cost of home health aides who provide intermittent or part-time services.

Hospice
Hospice provides end-of-life care for individuals who have six or less months to live, focusing on symptom and pain management. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Health Affairs, this home service has a high price - costing more than $10,000 a month. However, under original Medicare, individuals pay nothing for this service, except for co-pays for prescription drugs.

Homemaker services
In some regards, homemaker services that involve laundry, cooking and cleaning are related to a person's health and well-being. For instance, people with disabilities or arthritis may not be able to tackle these chores on their own. However, even under a doctor's recommendation, Medicare won't cover homemaker services. According to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, customers pay $19 per hour.

These rates reflect averages, and what you pay depends on many factors. Thoroughly research your provider to ensure you get the best service at an optimal price.

Read in 2 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 17, 2016

What to expect when helping a loved one through home care

Does your senior parent need a home health aide? Here's what you can expect.

Many seniors are choosing  to "age in place," or live at home during their retirement years. This popular option allows folks to remain involved in their communities and enjoy the comforts of their own homes. However, for some older adults, living independently has its challenges, so they often solicit home health services. If your parent is entertaining the idea of hiring a home health aide, here's what you can expect:

Overview of services
As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explained, you need a doctor's approval to start home health services, so be sure you communicate with your parent's physicians about long-term care options. It's also important to have a thorough understanding of the type of services home health care staff provides. According to CMS, these professionals perform the following duties:

  • Examine the home to ensure it's safe for living. 
  • Educate clients on care to promote independence.
  • Check vital signs like blood pressure and breathing.
  • Administer medications.
  • Review the client's overall well-being, including pain levels and proper diet.

That said, the services provided vary depending on the client's needs. For instance, an older adult with limited mobility may receive help bathing and dressing. Meanwhile, home health aides may also assist with meal preparation and grocery shopping.

"Home health services vary depending on the client's needs."

The selection process
Once you, your parent and the overseeing physician have determined that home health services are the right fit, you'll need to select the right home health organization or aide. The doctor should provide a list of local home health services, but it's important to do some research of your own to find the best team or person possible.

Once you've narrowed down your selection, you and your parent should go through an interview process. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice advised care seekers read any literature about the organizations and their services, such as the providers' "Patient Bill of Rights," before conducting interviews. When you do have a sit-down with potential care takers, ask about rules on the family's involvement in decision-making, employee training, financing the service, what documentation aides take and emergency protocol.

An adjustment period
Bringing in a home health aide is a major transition. All of a sudden, your parent has a stranger in his or her home, helping the individual dress, bathe and eat. Ensuring you use the same home health aide each day will make the transition easier. It will also help the client and provider build that necessary trust for an effective relationship. Of course, this isn't always possible - home health aides may need time off - but you can voice your concerns about remaining consistent.

Listen to the senior's concerns and feedback to evaluate whether the caregiver is the right fit. Just keep in mind that it may take only a few days or as long as several weeks for your loved one to become comfortable with the home health aide.

Read in 2 minutes
By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Article  |  On: May 13, 2016

What to expect when your senior parent has Alzheimer’s disease

Learn more about what you can expect if your senior parent was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Having older parents means your family's life is full of changes. From shifting dynamics of responsibility to relocating homes, transition simply comes with time, and health is no exception. Alzheimer's disease, a condition marked by memory and thinking impairments, predominantly affects seniors. According to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, approximately 5.1 million Americans have this disease, and a person's risk increases with age. If a doctor has diagnosed your loved one with Alzheimer's disease, here's what you can expect:

You'll see more changes down the road
As the Alzheimer's Association explained, this condition is progressive, meaning it gets worse with time. How quickly this occurs varies on an individual basis. Post-diagnosis life spans range anywhere from four to 20 years, which creates a lot of uncertainty. Your parent's doctor can provide more insight into his or her unique condition.

Your parent's memory won't be what it once was
According to the Mayo Clinic, those with mild dementia as a result of Alzheimer's disease often forget things they just learned. For example, your loved one may repeat questions because he or she forgot your original answer. Memory gaps may also cause the senior to lose things - you may spend a few extra minutes looking for his or her wallet before leaving the house, or you'll find the TV remote in another room.

You know how frustrating it is to misplace something, so it's important to remain patient and help the senior search for lost items. Additionally, when it's especially important they remember information - like details from a doctor - ask if you can accompany your parent to the appointment so that you can take notes.

 

Senior man with dementia on blue background.Help your senior parent by showing love and support.

Home management will become more challenging
In addition to memory loss, dementia can also lead to poor decision making. As Reader's Digest explained, the cognitive decline can make it difficult for your parent to manage his or her finances and pay bills. You certainly wouldn't want to see your loved one's water or electricity turned off because of a missed payment, so consider lending a hand with these tasks.

Day-to-day duties may also become more difficult. For instance, your parent may select a winter coat to wear when it's 80 degrees outsides. In these cases, you may benefit from hiring a home health aide to assist with responsibilities like dressing and running errands. Even if the senior can still care for him or herself with eating and bathing, for instance, you can hire someone to drive your parent places, pick up groceries or let the dog out, among other tasks.

Seniors may forget to pick up milk at the grocery store or to return your phone call, but serious memory problems are not a normal part of aging. If you suspect your older loved one has dementia, speak with his or her doctor. Additionally, remember that an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis is an adjustment for everyone. Your parent is likely going through an array of emotions knowing he or she has this condition, and it's important to show love and support.

Read in 2 minutes
Page 1 of 2 pages Next Page