(thanks Aridget Ackeifi)
One person caring about another truly represents life's greatest value
~ Jim Roh
Photos taken by Valerie Cipriano
"An optimist is the human personification
~ Susan J. Bissonette
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Here at Always There Home Care, we are grateful you are slowing down to read our newsletter full of items that relate to home care, home health care, aging and eldercare, as well as some useful tips for daily living. Please enjoy in the spirit of community and cooperation in which this newsletter was sent.
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Of Alzheimer's, Friendship,
Hospice and Hope
By Regina McNamara RN, MSN, MPH
My friend Bob moved his mother to hospice care today.She is very near the end of her life and will likely die within the week. I have never met Bob DeMarco. He is the prolific and tireless author of Alzheimer's Reading Room, an amazing resource for all things related to Alzheimer's. (http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/) He moved to Florida from New York 8 years ago to be a full time caregiver for Dottie, his now 95 year old mom, afflicted with Alzheimer's.
Bob has been extraordinarily generous with me and with our company. He has given us permission to reprint his wonderful articles and blog entries in our newsletter. He has amassed thousands of these over the past 8 years. He responds promptly to my inquiries.
When he announced in his blog yesterday that Dottie was now on hospice, there was an unprecedented outpouring of support from his followers, most of whom have never met him or Dottie. Literally thousands of posts in less than a day. And yet I feel that I have let my friend Bob down. I should have acted more quickly for this amazing man, whom I have not met and yet admire so much. Because I had read between the lines in his blogs, I could see this coming. Dottie was closing in on the end of her life...many months ago. She was declining; I could see it from thousands of miles away. Bob could not. Dottie's doctors could not. This is not uncommon. Families are too close to see it, and many physicians are reluctant to refer to hospice "too early."
Hospice is a Medicare and health insurance covered service available to all. There are many fine hospices in your area. Just take a look at our Providers we Love section of this newsletter. Hospice provides palliative and end of life care for both patients and their loved ones. It provides medical and nursing care, aide support, social work, medications, equipment, volunteers, and bereavement services. It covers all diseases, and currently Alzheimer's/
Dementia is the one of the leading diagnoses in hospice. Today, the average length of stay on hospice is 7.4 days. Not enough time to really say good-bye. Not enough time for closure, for adequate pain relief. Over 25% of chemotherapy patients are still receiving chemo in the last 2 weeks of life.
Enough is Enough. Hospice care can last for 6 months, for over a year in some cases. The amazing hospice team will determine if a referral is "too early". This rarely happens. Those caring for elderly people need to watch for signs of decline and assert their rights to stop aggressive but futile medical intervention. A recent Wall Street poll of US physicians found that the vast majority would refer themselves and their family members to hospice as early as possible. They would stop aggressive treatment, and accept palliative care. Yet they do not extend this practice to their patients. Know the facts about hospice. Refer early. We try to do this for our clients. I wish I had done that with my friend Bob.
There is a lesson to be learned for all of us here. The best care for our loved ones is sometimes letting go and letting the hospice angels in. ■
Photo taken by Valerie Cipriano
I just happen to
like the simple little things, and I love cats!
~ Michelle Gardner
Hiring Independent Caregivers...
Buyer Beware! By Regina McNamara RN, MSN, MPH
There comes a time for many seniors and their families when life simply becomes overwhelming. They realize outside help is needed, for personal care, housekeeping chores, doctor visits and other errands, mobility and safety.
After a frustrating web search and phone calls to home care agencies, families sometimes feel this cost of care is simply too high. Many people, in hopes of saving a few dollars per hour, hire independently, without the assistance of a licensed homecare agency. However, there are many other things to consider, before making decisions for your loved one's home care needs.
- If you hire a caregiver independently, you are then an employer. You are required by law to provide your employees a W2 at the end of the year; you must pay Federal Taxes, Medicare Taxes, Social Security Taxes and state taxes. You are also required by law to pay Unemployment Insurance, and Workers Compensation Insurance.
- Since safety and security of you parents should be a concern, Bonding and Liability Insurance should be in place.
- If you are considering hiring "under the table" you should be aware of the risk involved. The type of work you are asking a caregiver to do is often very hands on assistance. If the caregiver were to get hurt on the job, this is what Workers Compensation would normally cover. If a caregiver is not a W2 employee, the family could likely be responsible to pay for their injuries. Homeowner's policies will not cover such incidents.
- When a caregiver is hired independently and their hours are cut back, they are then likely to seek help from the state Unemployment office. Families will then likely receive a bill for any unpaid unemployment insurance taxes. This is especially true in CT, an employee friendly state.
- Many families provide a 1099 form to the independent caregiver. This would be to designate them as an independent contractor instead of an employee. However, unless the caregiver is officially recognized and licensed as an independent contractor in CT and passes all the rules for 1099s, he cannot be designated an independent contractor.
Read full article...
|Lillian Krumenacker, daughter of e-newsletter guru Jessica |
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Creating Fun for Frail Seniors
By Regina McNamara RN, MPH, MNS
As a caregiver, either a family member or a paid caregiver, you are focused on your family member or client's personal care, safety, medical treatment, nutrition and activities. You busy yourself with doing everything in your power to keep them comfortable. You worry about their reduced energy level, increasing fatigue, physical weakness and variable mental status. But do you know how important it is for them to just have fun? To laugh deeply, live in the moment, to briefly not be just old and frail; to forget pain?
Below are some ideas on how to add fun and stimulation to their lives.
Seniors look forward to having a day out, but as they age, they don't have the stamina or mobility for trips to museums, monster malls, wooded parks, loud modern restaurants, etc. But they may be able to enjoy an hour or two in a new and fun environment. Many folks enjoy a simple trip to the supermarket-colorful flowers, fanciful balloons, acres of fresh, bright produce, bakery smells, energetic families with huge carts. This is an activity, which they had enjoyed for many years when they may have been responsible for meal preparation.
Another fun activity is a trip to a local antique or consignment shop. Wandering through these shops may bring back memoirs as they explore old magazines, toys from decades gone by. These stores usually have soothing environments, and are not too crowded. You can browse many articles from bygone eras, which may hold special memories to elderly folks. As they push their walkers (and we recommend walkers with seats for these expeditions) through these stores, the memories continue to come to life, providing enjoyment to the elderly person as well as the caregivers.
Read full article...
Jean Fornaci, Kelly's grandmother, Regina's mom,
with her caregiver Antoinette
"When you can think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear, you are near contentment."
~ Source Unknown
KUDOS from Kelly
By Kelly McNamara
Elizabeth's care to N D has been wonderful. She helped her regain her strength and rejoin her friends and activities at Arbor Rose after a hospitalization. ND is a very bright client and Elizabeth is as adept at keeping up conversation with her as she is with her personal care and monitoring of her condition. Though ND is back in rehab after a bit of a setback, Liz continued to visit her and keep her spirits up. Liz has also been a great help in relieving other caregivers and taking on a few short cases while she awaits ND's return. Thanks, Elizabeth for a doing such a wonderful and professional job with all your clients.
Moses came in to care for FP when her caregiver accepted a job as an LPN. He is not only a superb caregiver to FP, he is also a friend and companion to her husband EP. His care of FP includes scrupulous attention to skin care, grooming, fluid intake, and avoiding complications. Even her hair looks especially fetching these days! It can be difficult to step into a case when a regular caregiver leaves suddenly, but Moses has done an extraordinary job and is a true professional at all times. We are so glad you're with us!
Edie has been a caregiver to G L, a new client to the agency, for several weeks now. G L is a fiercely independent and accomplished woman who did not initially see the need for any assistance. Edie has been patiently professional, and has become not only a valued caregiver but also a friend to GL, who is improving daily. It is an added bonus that Edie is an amazing cook! It is very clear to the family and any visitor to G's home, that there is a high level of respect between Edie and G. In fact G has suggested that Edie may be a valuable resource to the agency to help mentor less experienced caregivers. A great Idea!
All caregivers mentioned in this column will receive a gift card and our sincere appreciation! Many many thanks to all of you for once again extending yourselves to ensure that we are of course Always There...!!
"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different"
Providers We Love
We are privileged to have received referrals from and be able to coordinate care with many Assisted Living facilities, rehab facilities, and Medicare Home Care and Hospice agencies. Our growth is in large part due to the trust the staff in these organizations have put in our caregivers. We are likewise impressed with them and we are committed to referring to them on a regular basis.
Arbor Rose, Assisted Living, New Britain
Long a favorite facility of ours, Arbor Rose boasts a wonderful and caring group of staff, activity folks who keep life interesting for residents and a very welcoming environment for our pet therapy program. Our caregivers who are providing service for some residents at Arbor Rose have determined that Arbor Rose serves the best food and has the friendliest and most attentive dining staff of any facility in which they've worked. High praise indeed! Arbor Rose is the perfect environment for those who want to age in place gracefully and well cared for. Thanks to our colleagues at Arbor Rose for their continued support and trust in our caregivers. It is always a pleasure to work with all of you!
Vitas Hospice, Waterbury, Fairfield, Hartford
We are always proud to refer our clients to Vitas Hospice. Their beautiful new acute care inpatient unit at St Mary's is just another reason to refer folks there who are struggling with their family members care under hospice. Vitas has distinguished itself on its response time, its amazing and unique Veterans program and its commitment to providing continuous care (24 hour care by Vitas staff LPNs or CNAs at Medicare's expense). Continuous Care is provided by Vitas when clients are actively dying or need short-term symptom management. The vast majority of people have expressed their desire to end their lives at home in peace and comfort. Vitas excels in this area. We are proud to be a referral partner.
Seabury Active Living Retirement Community, Bloomfield
One of Connecticut's first retirement communities, Seabury has grown impressively from its original facility. The sprawling campus now boasts several individual residences, from apartments to substantial single homes. Their memory care unit is superb. The surroundings provide lovely views in all seasons. An immense fitness facility, including a large pool promotes continued fitness of older adults. Seabury boasts an impressive participation of its residents in the fitness facility. Seabury also has an innovative Life Care program and Seabury at Home service. Their home care program provides both Medicare as well as home private duty services for the community and surrounding area. It is a privilege to work in co-operation with them.
Emeritus Assisted Living in Glastonbury,
A truly special community, dedicated entirely to those with memory cares issues; Buckingham/Emeritus has truly distinguished itself in the market. One has only to visit, to see the happy residents and very caring staff and management who have all who received special training in Alzheimer's and other memory care conditions. It is an honor to serve their residents and work with their great staff!
Emeritus also has facilities in Woodbridge, South Windsor, and Rocky Hill.They were recently voted the Best Assisted Living Communities in CT. It is easy to see how they earned this award. All their facilities boast lovely exteriors, inviting interiors, personable, helpful and competent staff, great food, and varying levels of care to meet the specific needs of an aging population.
Miller Memorial Community, Meriden
Another long-term favorite of ours, Miller boasts extraordinary therapists and nursing staff who work wonders for patients undergoing rehab there. They do such a great job, we are happy to continue to help their patients return to their normal lives at home. Miller boasts an active and effective short-term rehab in addition to high quality long-term care. In addition Miller operates an active outpatient rehab facility for folks who have been discharged to home but miss the folks at Miller and can receive the same quality therapy in an outpatient setting. Our clients continue to visit after discharge, just to see their friends on the staff again!
Established in 1901, VNA Health Care provides home health care, hospice and independent living services to more than 60 towns throughout Greater Hartford and Waterbury communities. They provide a full range of Medicare covered services including nursing therapy and Hone health aides. They also hold wellness clinics throughout the state, meals on wheels, telemonitoring so that their patients health conditions can be monitored remotely thus preventing hospitalizations. They have a wonderful hospice program (with pet therapy!) They also have specialized programs in cardiac care and Geriatric care management. With a century of experience a coverage area that spans the state of CT, and a wonderful caring and professional staff, they are well equipped to meet all your skilled nursing needs at home. The easiest way to inquire about their services is to call 1-800-466-3227.
We take our recommendations of providers very seriously. Please consider our favorites in deciding care for yourself or your family members. We would choose any of them for our loved ones.
About Always There Home Care
Always There Home Care provides compassionate, dependable and professional one-on-one care for seniors who need assistance in the comfort of their homes or residential care communities. Services from highly qualified and trained caregivers range from companionship, meal preparation and incidental transportation to personal care, medication management and RN-directed case management. Available 7 days a week, services range from a few hours a day to 24-hour care.
Always There Home Care understands that every situation is unique and creates individualized care plans to help improve a client's quality of life.
Our caregivers are totally committed, highly qualified and carefully
selected individuals who are personally and thoroughly screened, bonded and
insured. Most are Certified Nurse Assistants or Home Health Aides. Most
importantly our caregivers are dependable and extraordinarily caring of others.
In addition to their previous experience, our caregivers receive continuous training
that includes dementia, hospice care, home safety, nutrition and other topics related
to seniors. These highly qualified and trained caregivers are ready to help you and
your loved ones with a variety of daily activities such as:
Personal care / Meal planning and preparation
Transportation to doctor appointments and other errands
Caring companionship / Light housekeeping
Medication reminders / Information and referral services
Our personalized, nurse- supervised services are available 7 days a week and can range from a few hours a day to 24 hour and live in care.
For more information or service needs, call 24 hours a day at: 203-879-6675
or visit www.AlwaysThereHomeCare-CT.com.
We are Always There!