Archive for the ‘Care’ Category

Free Caregiver Resource eBook: 8/26/12 Only!

Very important for those who are caregivers or know they will be one day soon.

 On 8/26/12 from 12 AM to 11:59 PM, my “Taking Care of Mom and Dad” eBook will be free on Amazon.com!

You don’t need a Kindle to get it – a PC, Android, or any number of eReaders will do just fine. Amazon has a free download for you to use. Download the reader and then download the eBook!

This book is regularly $6.99. If you have a need or know any followers that need help with caregiving, please share/tweet/google+ or do whatever you need to. I am happy to give this away for one day.

In order to get the eBook, click on the icon to the right or right here: http://amzn.to/KxtD7B 

Important Article on Hiring a Caregiver Privately

This article is so important, I copied it to paste here instead of just giving you the link. If you are considering private employment of a caregiver – PLEASE ask the questions at the end of the article. There is not much control over private industry home health.

Dangerous Caregivers for Elderly: Agencies Place Unqualified, Possibly Criminal Caregivers in Homes of Vulnerable Seniors, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (July 10, 2012) — If you hire a caregiver from an agency for an elderly family member, you might assume the person had undergone a thorough criminal background check and drug testing, was experienced and trained for caregiving. You’d be wrong in many cases, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

A troubling new national study finds many agencies recruit random strangers off Craigslist and place them in the homes of vulnerable elderly people with dementia, don’t do national criminal background checks or drug testing, lie about testing the qualifications of caregivers and don’t require any experience or provide real training.

“People have a false sense of security when they hire a caregiver from an agency,” said lead study author Lee Lindquist, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “There are good agencies out there, but there are plenty of bad ones and consumers need to be aware that they may not be getting the safe, qualified caregiver they expect. It’s dangerous for the elderly patient who may be cognitively impaired.”

The study will be published in the July 13 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.
Lindquist, a geriatrician, personally has seen a number of bad caregivers accompanying patients in her clinic. “Some of the paid caregivers are so unqualified it’s scary and really puts the senior at risk,” she said.

Lindquist had a 103-year-old patient whose illiterate caregiver was mixing up her own medications and the patient’s medications. The caregiver was giving her own medicines to the elderly patient by mistake. Another patient had dropped 10 percent of her weight and developed pressure ulcers because her caregiver was not properly feeding her or getting her out of bed.
“It was easier for the caregiver to sit and watch TV and not to try to feed the patient or move her,” Lindquist said. Several agencies surveyed in the study actually made up names of screening tests they claimed to give their job applicants.

“We had agencies say they used a ‘National Scantron Test for Inappropriate Behavior’ and an ‘Assessment of Christian Morality Test’,” Lindquist said. “To our knowledge, these tests don’t exist. If you’re not a smart consumer, you won’t recognize which agencies are being deceitful.”

Identifying the good agencies from the bad is difficult because many agencies have slick websites and marketing campaigns, she added. “It’s a cauldron of potentially serious problems that could really hurt the senior,” Lindquist said. “These agencies are a largely unregulated industry that is growing rapidly with high need as our population ages. This is big business with potentially large profit margins and lots of people are jumping into it.”

For the study, researchers posed as consumers and surveyed 180 agencies around the country about their hiring methods, screening measures, training practices, skill competencies assessments and supervision. They found:

Only 55 percent of the agencies did a federal background check.
“A number of agencies don’t do a federal background check or look at other states besides their own,” Lindquist said. “Someone could move from Wisconsin to Illinois and could have been convicted of abusing an elder adult or theft or rape and the agency would never know.”

Only one-third of agencies interviewed said they did drug testing.
“Considering that seniors often take pain medications, including narcotics, this is risky,” Lindquist said. “Some of the paid caregivers may be illicit drug users and could easily use or steal the seniors’ drugs to support their own habits.”

Few agencies (only one-third) test for caregiver skill competency. A common method of assessing skill competencies was “client feedback,” which was explained as expecting the senior or family member to alert the agency that their caregiver was doing a skill incorrectly.
“How do you expect a senior with dementia to identify what the caregiver is doing wrong?” Lindquist asked.

Many agencies (58.5 percent) use self-reports in which they ask the caregiver to describe their own skills. “In the hunt for a job, some people may report they can do tasks that in reality they have no idea how to do,” Lindquist said. “We found agencies sending caregivers out into the seniors’ home without checking.”

Inconsistent supervision of the caregiver.
Agencies should send a supervisor to do a home visit to check on the caregivers more frequently initially and then at least once a month. But this only occurred with 30 percent of the agencies.
“Amazingly, some agencies considered supervision to be asking the caregiver how things were going over the phone or when the employee stopped in to get their paycheck,” Lindquist said.
With seniors wishing to remain in their own homes, paid caregivers fill an important role.
“The public should demand higher standards, but in the short term, seniors need to be aware what explicitly to look for when hiring a paid caregiver through an agency,” Lindquist said.

Below are Lindquist’s 10 questions to ask an agency prior to hiring a paid caregiver:

10 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HIRING A CAREGIVER
1. How do you recruit caregivers, and what are your hiring requirements?
2. What types of screenings are performed on caregivers before you hire them? Criminal background check — federal or state? Drug screening? Other?
3. Are they certified in CPR or do they have any health-related training?
4. Are the caregivers insured and bonded through your agency?
5. What competencies are expected of the caregiver you send to the home? (These could include lifting and transfers, homemaking skills, personal care skills such as bathing, dressing, toileting, training in behavioral management and cognitive support.)
6. How do you assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
7. What is your policy on providing a substitute caregiver if a regular caregiver cannot provide the contracted services?
8. If there is dissatisfaction with a particular caregiver, will a substitute be provided?
9. Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis? How frequently?

Silver Alert

Today, we had a Silver Alert and it reminded me that not all states have such a wonderful program.

Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return. -Wikipedia-

As I began researching it, I wondered what the holdup was on a National Silver Alert system. Apparently, one of the reasons is money. A senator said that it would cost $59,000,000 over a period of 5 years. That’s $8.5 million per year or $1.4 million per month. The feds pay out $75,000,000 per month in SNAP benefits to our state each month and our state is a small, rural market. I really don’t get that argument.

The other argument is that a Silver Alert would take away from the child Amber Alerts. Hmmm……so THAT argument would indicate that one human life is worth more than the other merely because of age. I bet those are the same people who preach about media portraying youth and beauty in an unbalanced way. Either way, Silver Alerts are lifesavers for many.

This is how the states stack up and who to call in your loved one’s state about their Silver Alert or alike program:

As of June 2012, 41 states have implemented Silver Alert programs. Several others are pending.
For more information, contact the state agency responsible for the program’s administration or
local law enforcement. ~Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Alabama
Name: Missing Senior Alert Plan
Eligibility: senior citizen with dementia or other deterioration of intellectual faculties
Administrator: Alabama Department of Public Safety

Arizona
Name: Endangered Person Alert
Eligibility: adult with significant health problem or medically-diagnosed disability (i.e.,
dementia)
Administrator: Arizona Department of Public Safety

Arkansas
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: senior or adult with cognitive disorder
Administrator: Arkansas State Police/Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association/Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police

Colorado
Name: Missing Senior Citizen and Person with Developmental Disabilities Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with verified impaired mental condition; person with developmental
disability
Administrator: Colorado Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Investigation

Connecticut
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older; 18 or older with mental impairment
Administrator: Connecticut Department of Public Safety

Delaware
Name: Gold Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older; person with disability
Administrator: Delaware State Police

Florida
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: cognitively-impaired adults who become lost while driving
Administrator: Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Georgia
Name: Mattie’s Call
Eligibility: adults who are cognitively-impaired or developmentally-impaired
Administrator: Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Illinois
Name: Endangered Missing Person Advisory Program
Eligibility: seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
Administrator: Illinois Department of Aging/Illinois State Police

Indiana
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 18 or older with mental illness, dementia or other physical or mental incapacity
Administrator: Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults/Indiana State Police

Iowa
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: adults with dementia
Administrator: Iowa Department of Public Safety

Kansas
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: person with dementia; 65 or older
Administrator: Kansas Bureau of Investigation

Kentucky
Name: Golden Alert
Eligibility: impaired person with developmental disability; person with physical, mental or
cognitive impairment
Administrator: Kentucky Division of Emergency Management

Louisiana
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 60 or older with diagnosed mental impairment
Administrator: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Maine
Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: adults with dementia or developmental disabilities
Administrator: Maine Department of Public Safety

Maryland
Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with cognitive impairment
Administrator: Maryland State Police

Massachusetts
Name: Silver Alert Community Response System
Eligibility: adult with serious memory impairment
Administrator: Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety

Minnesota
Name: Missing Children and Endangered Persons’ Program aka Brandon’s Law
Eligibility: all ages, including mentally impaired
Administrator: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Mississippi
Name: Silver Alert System
Eligibility: 18 or older with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: Mississippi Department of Public Safety

Missouri
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: 18 or older
Administrator: Missouri State Highway Patrol

Montana
Name: Missing and Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation

Nevada
Name: Statewide Alert System for Safe Return of Missing Endangered Older Persons
Eligibility: 60 or older
Administrator: Nevada Department of Public Safety

New Hampshire
Name: Missing Persons With a Developmental Disability and Missing Senior Citizen Alert Program
Eligibility: persons with developmental disability; 55 or older with verified impaired mental condition
Administrator: New Hampshire State Police

New Jersey
Name: Silver Alert System
Eligibility: person with cognitive impairment
Administrator: New Jersey State Police

New Mexico
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: endangered person, including person with degenerative brain disorder
Administrator: New Mexico Department of Public Safety

New York
Name: Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert Program
Eligibility: 18 or older with cognitive disorder, mental disability or brain disorder
Administrator: New York Division of Criminal Justice Services/ Missing Persons Clearinghouse

North Carolina
Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: person with dementia or cognitive impairment
Administrator: North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Ohio
Name: Missing Adult Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older; or adult with mental impairment
Administrator: Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation

Oklahoma
Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: Oklahoma Department of Public Safety

Pennsylvania
Name: Missing and Endangered Person Advisory System (MEPAS)
Eligibility: endangered person due to age, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Pennsylvania State Police

Rhode Island
Name: Missing Senior Citizen Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with impaired mental condition
Administrator: Rhode Island State Police

South Carolina
Name: Endangered Person Notification System
Eligibility: person with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: South Carolina Law Enforcement Division of Missing Persons/Missing Person Information Center

South Dakota
Name: Endangered Person’s Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: South Dakota State Police

Tennessee
Name: Senior Alert
Eligibility: 18 or older with dementia or disabled
Administrator: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Texas
Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older with diagnosed impaired mental condition
Administrator: Texas Department of Public Safety

Virginia
Name: Senior Alert System
Eligibility: 60 or older with cognitive impairment
Administrator: Virginia State Police

West Virginia
Name: Silver Alert Plan
Eligibility: person with cognitive impairment
Administrator: West Virginia State Police

Utah
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Utah Department of Public Safety

Washington
Name: Endangered Missing Person Advisory Plan
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Washington State Patrol, Missing Persons Unit

Wisconsin

Name: Endangered Missing Person Alert
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger
Administrator: Wisconsin Crime Alert Network/Wisconsin Department of Justice

Wyoming
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger
Administrator: Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations

Pending: California, Hawaii, Michigan

No program: Alaska, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont

Help with Utility Bills in this Summer Heat

***I’m sorry I have been out of pocket for several days. An old back injury has had me under the weather.****

It was announced last week that LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funds were released by the President. This is for any person who meets certain guidelines in order to pay their summer heating bill. The funds are not always released during the summer but this year, they have been. One of the categories is for seniors 60 years old and older or any disabled adult. There are other target markets who are eligible to apply as well. This website: http://www.liheap.org/
is incredible! Go there, click on yours or your loved one’s state and information specific to that state will appear including income guidelines, where to apply, how to apply, and what to bring. It may or may not tell you when – but simply call the number listed in that area and ask when the first day to apply will be. They will tell you. Generally, it is between July 9 and August 1.

This year, in Oklahoma, applications will begin on July 9 at the local OKDHS offices. It is on a first come, first served basis so you must go quickly and early on the first day because they only have so much money.

The money – $150 for one person and $200 for a two-person household, is paid directly to the electric company. If there is less bill than allotment, it will carry over to the next month until the funds are spent. This money is meant to encourage seniors and others to use air conditioning in order to stay healthy!

Go check it out now!!

Kindle eBook Raffle: Taking Care of Mom and Dad

Writing, Reading, and Eating is hosting a giveaway of my new book Taking Care of Mom and Dad: A Baby Boomer’s Resource Guide.

You can go over there and find multiple ways to enter the raffle. Don’t forget to take a moment to look around Writing, Reading, and Eating. You just might find something you like.

The raffle ends on June 30, 2012.

Good luck!

Excellent Article from Denver Post

This link leads to a newspaper article by Kevin Simpson of the Denver Post.  He writes about Jose and Phil Gallegos as well as Phil’s wife Claudia.  Phil and Claudia are Baby Boomers who took in Jose, Phil’s dad, after his mother’s death last year.  This is a poignant story about coming to terms with role reversal and new family adjustments.  Read it, you will enjoy it!

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_20875209/aging-boomers-take-parents-roles-reverse

But how am I supposed to do THAT?

Oftentimes, a caregiver is thrust into service when a loved one experiences a health event that is sudden and possibly non-recoverable.  There are often many questions, such as:  How do I communicate now that dad can no longer speak?  With mom bedfast, how in the world am I supposed to bathe and wash her hair?  What is a gait belt and how is it used?

Good news!  I’ve got something that will help you and it is absolutely free as well as accessible 24 hours per day seven days per week!  I will even provide the links for you.  This program, a joint venture between the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Aging Services Division, Redlands Community College, and MetLife set up a website where caregiving information is warehoused and a part of that are some demonstration videos along with power point training on specific questions and concerns of caregivers universally.  For instance,

If you have questions about how to properly wash your hands and keep infection down, click on this link: http://www.oklahomapca.org/2011/07/28/infection-control/

If you have questions about how to communicate with your loved one now that they have experienced some verbal, hearing, or memory incident, go here:  http://www.oklahomapca.org/2011/07/27/communication/

If you have concerns about how to turn a bedfast person or give them a proper bed bath, you can find the answers here:  http://www.oklahomapca.org/2011/07/27/bed-rest-essentials/

Do you wonder what a gait belt is, when to use it and how to use it correctly go here:  http://www.oklahomapca.org/2011/07/27/bed-rest-essentials/

Finally, if your loved one is supposed to have their blood pressure and heart rate taken regularly but you don’t know how to do it you can see a demonstration here:  http://www.oklahomapca.org/2011/07/28/vital-signs/

There is a great deal of information on the website that appears to be exclusive to Oklahoma but is not.  So, if you have questions please go to the home page at http://www.oklahomapca.org  and surf around within the website, I bet you can find what you need!

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