Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions.
Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry
Stephanie F. Jackson
Tele: (404) 250-8370
ATLANTA, GA. (November 15, 2016) -- As many Americans (especially baby boomers) are discovering, finding the perfect care service for a senior loved one is challenging. Per data from a 2015 AARP report, approximately 43.5 million adults provided unpaid elder care, mainly to relatives. This number only stands to grow as baby boomers age, and Carelike has come up with a solution.
With most senior-placement companies, care seekers use online or call-in services to find an assisted living community or home health aide for their loved one. However, they only get information from a small, select number of providers who have a contract to be listed on that referral company's website. This means care seekers miss out on many providers who might more closely fit their needs, have more esteemed credentials or elicited better patient reviews.
The senior care referral industry has been around for years, and so has Carelike (previously SNAPforSeniors). The organization is well-connected and has the experience and expertise required to drive a much-needed change to the industry. Their business model has always put the care-seeker first. Everyone who is a licensed senior care professional - not just those who "pay to play" - shows up in Carelike's comprehensive database of providers. This is because Carelike pulls from 400 different sources to gather data on senior and post-acute care providers. The organization then goes to great lengths to clean, filter and augment the data to give care seekers the most up-to-date and accurate picture of each provider.
This methodology has made Carelike the preferred partner for organizations who help consumers find care, which include renowned health organizations, health insurance companies, care management companies, EAPs and patient advocacy groups, including the Alzheimer's Association.
If you haven't heard of Carelike, it may be because the company has always worked behind the scenes providing well-known, reputable organizations with data. Now that this company aims to appeal to consumer care seekers, Carelike will share providers' information with not only organizations who license the data but with family members looking for senior services through their new consumer search site.
Carelike is the only online senior listing company that provides that type of exposure for providers - to both consumers and professional care-seekers at organizations who license the data. Meanwhile, Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions. Discover the possibilities for yourself at CareLike.com.Read in 2 minutes
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."
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.
CATEGORIESRead in 2 minutes
There may never be one defining event that alerts you to schedule a tour of an assisted living community, but there are often more subtle signs that can let you know you're heading in that direction.
In life, there really is no "ideal" time for what matters most. Whether you're trying to find the perfect moment to get married, have kids, relocate or switch jobs, there won't be some ringing alarm clock letting you know when to make your move.
The same concept applies to determining when to move a senior parent to assisted living. There may never be one defining event that alerts you to schedule a tour of the surrounding senior communities, but there are signs that can let you know you're heading in that direction. Here are a few to watch out for:
1. Your senior parent needs assistance with daily activities
If you've gone to your parent's house and realized he or she is still wearing pajamas at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, this is an indication that the senior needs help with daily living activities. As the National Institutes of Health explained, assisted living communities help residents with tasks like dressing, eating and bathing. However, the seniors still maintain some level of independence.
While wearing the same outfit twice in row isn't the end of the world, this habit has implications for the senior's hygiene and overall well-being. You want to ensure your parent has fresh clothes and bathes regularly to remain healthy. Additionally, being provided with monitored meals may allow your parent to eat more nutritional foods. According to the NIH, a well-balanced diet can help seniors stave off conditions like Type 2 diabetes, anemia, heart disease and bone loss.
"Falling is the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries in seniors."
2. Your loved one has fallen
When kids fall, they may end up with scraped knees, but they can usually hop right back up. Older adults can't recovery quite as quickly, and taking a tumble comes with serious risks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a serious injury, like head trauma, will occur in 1 in 5 senior falls. In fact, falling is the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries in adults age 65 and older.
Falling doesn't only cause problems for a senior's well-being; it can also inhibit his or her lifestyle. As the CDC noted, older adults may be afraid to fall again, so they avoid remaining active, which can lead to further health decline.
Assisted living communities are built with seniors in mind. That means there will be less of a risk for tripping over clutter in the hallway, and bathrooms are often equipped with railings. Not only might this help prevent the issue from recurring, but it can also offer peace of mind. You certainly don't want your parent sitting inside all day out of fear of getting injured.
3. You've noticed the older adult may need memory care
Many assisted living communities offer memory care, which can be beneficial for seniors experiencing cognitive decline. Remember, serious forgetfulness is not a normal part of aging. That is, leaving their phone at home while running to the grocery might not be cause for concern for older adults, but repeatedly asking the same questions or inability to focus generally raise red flags.
Assisted living communities are beneficial because they can prevent the dangerous repercussions of some of dementia's side effects. For example, those with this condition may wander. The Alzheimer's Association advised families of at-risk individuals to keep a close eye on the senior or put devices on the doors that alert you when they are opened. Assisted living communities can provide both supervision and security.
4. The older adult wants more social opportunities
One of the greatest perks for residents of assisted living communities is the opportunity to socialize. Often, seniors at home are limited to whom they can interact with - perhaps a few friendly neighbors if they're lucky. Assisted living communities, on the other hand, organize exercise classes, outings and community events in addition to supplying a space for residents to hang out.
Spending time with friends and participating in fun activities don't just enhance a senior's quality of life but can also protect their well-being. According to the University of Rochester Medical School, staying social may reduce older adults' risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers.
5. You've become stressed as the caregiver
Your well-being is important, and being a stressed-out caregiver isn't doing your loved one any favors. You might have hesitations about putting your parent in an assisted living community. However, it's important to look at the big picture of the situation. Consider all the benefits your loved one gains by moving and how your family dynamic will change for the better.
You love your parent and want the best for him or her, and keeping all your options open will help you do just that. Assisted living communities provide the perfect balance of care and independence.Read in 4 minutes
Whether you're making plans for your aging parent or another senior loved one, you're now tasked with transitioning the individual into hospice care.
Caring for an older family member involves any number of major transitions. If you're reading this, you've likely already moved from the home to assisted living to skilled nursing. Now, whether you're making plans for your aging parent or another senior loved one, you're tasked with transitioning the individual into hospice care. Navigating these shifts can be challenging in terms of knowing what next steps to take and simply handling all the emotions they come with.
Every end-of-life care experience is unique, but there are common steps people take when acquiring hospice services for their senior loved ones. Here are a few you may encounter:
Deciding whether end-of-life care is right for the older adult
Before you help your senior loved one through this transition, you'll have to decide whether using hospice care is the best move. Many families are hesitant to say yes to hospice because they may view sending mom or dad to end-of-life care as giving up on the person. This is far from the truth. In fact, utilizing hospice's unique care services may give your senior loved one exactly what he or she needs to remain happy and comfortable.
Patients with a life expectancy of six months are typically the ones who use hospice. However, there's no set-in-stone criteria, and sometimes hospice can be suitable for other patients. Ultimately, it may help to look at the progress of your loved one's health. For example, if your mom has dementia and doesn't want to eat and spends most of her time sleeping, she may benefit from hospice care. Perhaps your dad has made several trips to the emergency room, and his quality of life and health are diminishing equally. He, too, may require hospice care.
Unfortunately, there may never be a "right" time to move the older adult to hospice care, but earlier is generally better than later. Additionally, the staff at the skilled nursing center can help you identify signs that the individual requires end-of-life care, and hospice typically begins with a referral from a physician.
"Hospice is used to enhance the quality of a patient's remaining life."
Selecting a hospice care service
You have two main options when selecting the type of hospice for your loved one: You can either use a facility's services or opt for in-home care, which is the more common route. Families who are unable to be at home with the senior typically use a facility's hospice services, such as a hospital or a skilled nursing center. When using hospice services at home, on the other hand, a family member, will typically serve as the primary caregiver.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, each patient is assigned an interdisciplinary team, which includes a volunteer, registered nurse, home health aide, social worker and chaplain. You may use a referral from your loved one's skilled nursing team, word-of-mouth from a friend or even online reviews to help you select the ideal team.
The Hospice Patients Alliance elaborated on each person's role in delivering care to your loved one.
Changes in the senior's well-being
Hospice is used to enhance the quality of a patient's remaining life. As such, it's not meant to improve the individual's health. Rather, you may see the senior's well-being further decline. As HelpGuide explained, fatigue, confusion, labored breathing and loss of appetite are all common symptoms hospice patient's experience. The older adult's health care team will work to address these issues and make your loved one as comfortable as possible.
Care communities aim to deliver a better experience and higher quality of life for America's aging population.
Many older adults require extra care as they age, such as assistance with meal preparation, medication, driving and other daily activities. This means living at home alone is not necessarily the safest or most convenient option. Even so, if you're a senior considering a relocation into a continuing care retirement community or a loved one researching for an older family member, making the decision to transition from home can be daunting. Is it the right move? Will I or my senior loved one be happy in this new space?
To answer those questions, it's important to understand what a typical day looks like for folks who reside in care communities. Of course, schedules and amenities vary by location, but there are several trends that many senior care organizations have adopted. Here is a general overview of a day in the life of a care community resident:
Care community staff will likely review the health status of all residents when they wake up. The health care professionals will check seniors' vitals and administer daily medications. With this level of assistance, residents can rest assured they're starting their day out on the right foot and won't forget to take any prescriptions. Staff will also aid with morning grooming, bathing and dressing for those who need extra assistance.
Most continuing care retirement communities offer three meals a day, starting with breakfast. These locations strive to move away from the stigmas of flavorless food and dingy cafeterias, so residents can expect well-prepared meals and an inviting dining room atmosphere. Health care professionals work with kitchen staff to develop a menu that enables residents to eat a well-balanced diet that also tastes great.
Many care communities offer exercise classes to boost seniors' energy levels so they can enjoy all the activities the day has to offer. These activities are geared toward older adults, meaning staff lead them through safe yet effective workouts. As the National Institutes of Health noted, staying active later in life can help ward off diseases and delay disabilities. It can also help seniors manage stress and live an overall better quality of life.
Meanwhile, group activities like exercise classes elicit the advantages of socializing for seniors. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, interacting with peers reduces older adults' chances of developing dementia, depression, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and osteoporosis. On the other hand, avoiding interacting with others can make seniors more prone to high blood pressure and feelings of loneliness.
This is an especially important component of senior care communities because, without arrangements like exercises classes, many older adults have few opportunities to interact with their peers. After all, retirees can't gab with co-workers at the water cooler anymore, and limited mobility may keep seniors inside and away from friends. Care communities provide opportunity and accessibility.
Senior care communities offer lunch menus built around the same principles as breakfast - healthy and tasty! By noon, many of the residents migrate to the dining area to chat with friends while eating their midday meals.
Following lunch, those who need some rest can nap in their bedrooms. Residents who have the energy to keep going have an opportunity to engage in all the activities the care community has to offer. Again, those amenities and excursions vary depending on the community, but certain practices are becoming increasingly popular.
For instance, according to Building Design & Construction, many housing developers create spaces that accommodate both seniors' and area residents' needs, a design that aims to integrate older adults into the larger community. As such, care communities are often equipped to host lectures from various speakers or performers from the town's dance teams. By inviting people outside the senior community, residents have access to both entertainment and a chance to socialize.
"Care providers are available 24/7."
Care community dinners are no less nutritious or delicious than breakfast and lunch. For instance, they may enjoy protein-rich grilled chicken, which can boost energy levels and help individuals manage a healthy weight. Seniors can gab with friends about how they spent their day while enjoying supper.
Post-dinner hours provide the perfect opportunity for family members to visit their senior loved ones, as folks are typically just getting off work. Residents enjoy catching up with their children and grandchildren either in their living quarters or general lounge areas. Some evenings, care communities even host events designed for all ages, meaning family can join in on the fun.
Finally, when it's time to unwind, health care professionals again step up to aid seniors in getting ready for bed. Whether this involves bathing, administering nightly medications or checking vitals, community staff is there to assist in any way possible. While mornings and nights have unique routines, care providers are available 24/7 at these locations, meaning residents always have access to quality health care.
Care communities aim to deliver a better experience and higher quality of life for America's aging population. As such, amenities and services see constant advancements, which puts seniors in the midst of a care community revolution.Read in 4 minutes
Moving a senior loved one into a care community is a big step. Here are the top four things to look for when deciding on the best care community.
Moving a senior loved one into a care community is a big step. You want to ensure the older adult will be happy in his or her new home and that the community will provide adequate support. At first glance, it may seem like any care community will do - they should all have trained medical professionals on staff, food for residents and rooms for the seniors to live in.
However, it's important to scrutinize each detail until you are confident you've made the best decision. Even the smallest differences between locations matter. Here are the top four components to look for when making a care decision:
1. Motivated staff
Most professionals enter the medical field because they are motivated by helping others. As such, the majority of care communities will have dedicated individuals on staff that take their positions seriously. However, as with any job, business operations and the environment can make all the difference in how employees approach their work each day. As such, even though medical professionals have some characteristics in common, certain care communities are bound to have exceptionally compassionate and happy employees.
To distinguish these options, be sure to schedule tours of the care communities you're interested in. A staff member will likely guide you through the building and give you a detailed explanation of the services the community provides, but what you see matters just as much as what they say.
For instance, look around at the residents during this tour. Are the seniors sitting by themselves, or are they chatting with friendly staff? What are the employees doing - sitting at a desk or engaging the residents? You can also develop a more realistic perception of the staff by speaking with the residents or their family members.
2. Amenities that promote an active lifestyle
Colorful walls and TVs are nice additions to any care community, but when reviewing the amenities, it's important to consider how they will affect your senior loved one's well-being. Remember, it is important for individuals of all ages, especially older adults, to maintain an active lifestyle.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercising later in life can help seniors maintain strength and stamina, stave off conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, fight depression and improve joint function. Essentially, physical activity can help your senior loved one experience a higher quality of life, so it's crucial that he or she has the opportunity to exercise in the care community.
Workout rooms, outdoor walking paths and swimming pools are all excellent amenities for this purpose. Exercise classes bring an additional advantage - the opportunity to socialize. The University of Rochester Medical Center explained that interacting with other people later in life can help older adults reduce their risk for a number of health conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and arthritis.
3. Healthy food options
Having breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options isn't enough for a care community to be the optimal choice for your senior loved one. The food must constitute a nutritious, well-balanced diet - an important aspect of senior health. As the National Institutes of Health explained, eating well can boost energy levels in older adults, help them maintain a healthy weight and combat digestive issues like constipation.
So when touring the care community, ask for a menu of their food options. Do you see meals heavy in saturated and trans fats, or does the care center serve good sources of protein, vegetables and whole grains?
4. The right fit
A community may have the most caring staff, finest amenities and healthiest meal plan and still not be the right choice for your senior loved one. To be sure, those advantages carry a lot of weight, but it's also important for the older adult to be happy with the location, too. For instance, if the best senior community is 500 miles away, the senior may feel sad or insecure being so far from his or her family. Similarly, if the older adult has a beloved dog, he or she will be happier at a pet-friendly community.
Choosing a care community is a tough decision, but you can make it easier by keeping the appropriate criteria in mind.Read in 3 minutes
Having a conversation about the future when the person in your care is becoming more fragile or needs more care than you are capable of giving can be difficult. Be ready for some push-back from the person in your care.
Having a conversation about the future when the person in your care is becoming more fragile or needs more care than you are capable of giving can be difficult. Even the most positive-minded of us might avoid talking or thinking about entering into what may be perceived as the final chapter of our lives.
Despite knowing that the conversation may be difficult, as a caregiver, you are most likely the person who will need to broach the subject with the person in your care. Be ready to have a sensible talk or talks that may involve a lot of emotion and push-back from the person in your care.
Prepare for the talk.
The person in your care may have several concerns and anxieties about leaving home and your care such as:
Explain that your role of caregiver isn’t going away – you’ll still be the person in charge of overseeing his or her care:
Have several conversations.
You may need to bring up the subject more than once because the person in your care may resist talking about it. Try different approaches to starting the conversation. You can start by chatting about how much your back has been hurting, or that your teenager is requiring more of your time and then segue into what may need to happen down the road.
Ask your physician or the hospital social worker to help you approach the person in your care and discuss with both of you the importance of knowing when and how to approach a plan for the future.
Schedule trial or respite stays.
Help the person in your care acclimate to living in assisted care by periodically scheduling repeat trial or respite stays. You can schedule these mini-visits even if you’re not going out of town, but using a vacation as an excuse may help the person in your care be more receptive to a respite trial stay. By giving them the opportunity to experience life away from you, they will be more at ease when the time comes for permanent placement. Work with the staff to encourage engagement in activities and meeting other residents who can help the person in your care feel welcomed.
Don’t wait for a crisis.
Anything can happen to anyone at any time. The person in your care could have a medical event that might cause them to be unable to return home. You could have your own medical issues that will prevent you from continuing as caregiver.
If you have already had the conversation, you and the person in your care will be more prepared to make the transition to long-term care.
You already walk the walk. Now it’s time to talk the talk.Read in 3 minutes
Avoid the caregiver scramble – start looking now so that if you are faced with the decision to place the person in your care in a long-term care facility sometime in the future, you’ll have made and informed and unrushed decision.
When you’re a caregiver one day can blend into another, and subtle physical changes in the person in your care can easily go unnoticed by you. You may find yourself in crisis mode one day, scrambling around for long term care options. Avoid the caregiver scramble – start looking now so that if you are faced with the decision to place the person in your care in a long-term care facility sometime in the future, you’ll have made and informed and unrushed decision. Take the time now to do your homework.
Your doctor’s office is a good place to start, but they may be biased about referring you to a place that is conveniently located for the doctor to get to for appointments with the person in your care.
People you know
Friends, family, neighbors and your place of worship can provide you with honest reviews.
Increase Your Options – Online Searches
The internet is abundant with places where you can find information about any business. Yelp and Google+ are just two examples.
But some businesses listed on these and other sites ask their employees to write reviews, or they actually pay people to write reviews for them that result in biased records. This practice is known as “cyber-shilling.”
Some consumers can’t contain their anger when they’ve had a bad experience. And when businesses get into spitting matches with negative reviewers, you’ll want to avoid contact with them. To be fair, there are some upstanding customers in this world who do not abuse their right to plug in their experiences (good and bad).
Many review sites have put safeguards in place to discontinue cyber-shilling, but reviews of this nature that appeared before policies and filters where changed, remain on the sites, making it difficult for you to know whether to trust any review. And some businesses still know how to “game” the systems and get away with posting bogus, self-prophesizing reviews. Additionally, many sites actually get paid a referral fee if they help place a patient into a particular facility. They work with facilities they are contracted with and may not list or inform you of all the available options.
On the Carelike blog, we always try to give caregivers great information on how to better cope with their stresses – and give them tools to better equip themselves. We rarely mention our own tool but be assured, you can trust search sites like CareLike when looking for care. At Carelike, we do not post reviews nor are we a paid referral site – we simply give you the tools you need to investigate what facilities are in your area so that you can reach your own conclusion about where you want to place your loved one. You can start your search by going to our Families page.
By following these guidelines (doctor referrals, friends and relatives, and online searches), you can feel secure that you will make the best possible decision about letting someone else take over the day-to-day care of your loved one – whenever that may be.Read in 2 minutes