Managing Home Care Services While Away on Spring Break

Ways to Become a More Effective Caregiver - services for independent livingThis is the time of year when Minnesotans flock to warmer weather to enjoy a week in the sun known as spring break. This annual migration of the winter weary is observed by millions but for personal care assistants and family caregivers, getting away for a week can be difficult. Home caregivers often find it difficult to take a vacation because they cannot find a substitute PCA to cover for them while they are away or they are nervous about leaving their loved one. As a result, they miss out on the opportunity to recharge on a much needed vacation with family and friends.

 

Taking time away from providing PCA services is vitally important for every caregiver as it allows them to recharge and re-focus on providing great home health care. It’s a little known fact that there are caregiving resources and tools to help personal care assistants find substitutes when they’re away. Take a moment to learn more about these options below and how they can help you take time for yourself this spring:

 

On-Demand PCA Services: The new Homecare Timesheets app includes a unique feature that helps connect home care recipients with qualifies personal care assistants. This tool can be used to find short-term home care solutions when a primary PCA or family caregiver is away.

Home Care Agency: Working with a top home care agency connects an individual with a network of qualified PCAs and caregivers. In the event a primary caregiver is away for a short period of time, contacting a home care agency should be the first step. They will work with you to find a qualified short-time substitute caregiver for the time that the primary caregiver will be away.

 

The home care professionals at Best Home Care are happy to work with PCAs this spring break to take the vacation they deserve. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help and ensure you have a truly relaxing vacation.

How Grandchildren Can Help with Home Care Services

Over the last thirty years, the number of people in the United States living ninety years or more has tripled; reaching nearly two-million individuals in 2010. This number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years as the Baby Boomer generation ages well past retirement. This growing population of elderly individuals means an increased demand for senior home care services. Many families are choosing to face this demand head on by caring for their loved ones themselves in lieu of formal at-home care services from a personal care assistant or home care agency.

 

“Family caregiver” is the most common job title in the home care industry. According to Caregiver.org, 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last twelve months. Whether a child caring for an aging parent or a parent caring for a disabled child, the number of family caregivers is expected to grow in step with the demand for home care services.

 

While the majority of home care duties will naturally fall on the adult children, many grandchildren are beginning to care for their aging grandparents in different ways. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is very different than that of their adult children and it’s important for grandchildren to fulfill their role when a grandparent is receiving senior home care services.

 

Below are some ways that grandchildren can care for their grandparents without actually providing PCA services:

 

Give them Something to Look Forward to: Grandparents love getting visits from their grandchildren and look forward to spending time with them. For those that have difficulty visiting their grandparents, schedule a future date when you will visit.

A Simple Call: A simple conversation with a grandchild can make a grandparent’s day. If you can’t visit in person, make it a priority to call them at least once a week. Try asking them questions about their past to spur stories.

 

Best Home Care is ready to help grandchildren find ways to get paid for caring for a family member. Contact us today to learn more!

 

Working Towards Eliminating Minnesota’s Shortage of PCAs and Home Caregivers

In 2015, legislation was passed that entitled home care workers to a minimum wage, overtime pay, pay for travel time between clients, and several other labor benefits. At Best Home Care, our team of home care professionals had access to many of these benefits long before this legislation was passed however, many other Minnesota home care agencies were forced to adjust their practices.

 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune explains that to adhere to these new regulations, home care agencies began capping their employees’ hours in an effort to avoid paying overtime and other benefits. Personal care assistants had no other choice than to either limit the number of hours they provided home care or provide care for free. This led to a situation where the need for in-home supportive services was growing but access to it was decreasing leading to a shortage of home caregivers in many states.

 

Best Home Care has worked hard to ensure that our employees are able to provide the necessary amount of care for their patients by not capping their hours and offering overtime pay. We are also working to combat the shortage of caregivers in Minnesota and home care fraud with the Homecare Timesheets App. The app is currently available to all our home care employees and is currently being tested in several home care agencies in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota.

 

Recently, we announced that the app would have a new feature: On-Demand PCA Services. Through the app, users are able to request home care services when their normal PCA or caregiver is unavailable. Likewise, PCAs are able to make themselves available to help fill in these gaps in home care services.

 

Even though it is still relatively new to the market, we feel that On-Demand PCA Services is a great step towards ending the shortage of caregivers in Minnesota and throughout the country. For more information on the Homecare Timesheets app and to learn how to download the app, please click here.

Family Caregiving as an Only Child

Transitional Home Care for SeniorsGrowing up, being an only child can definitely have its advantages. No hand-me-downs, the best birthday gifts, and all your parent’s attention. However, as your parents age they may require more of your attention in the form of home caregiving services.

 

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 29% of Americans provide care for a chronically ill or disabled family member. This number is expected to rise as baby boomers continue to enter retirement and require in-home supportive services. Family caregiving is becoming increasingly popular as a more affordable option compared with traditional PCA services. Children caring for aging parents is one of the most common family caregiving situations today but for only-children, this task can be especially stressful.

 

Without anybody to share the burden of home caregiving, only-children caregivers must commit a great amount of time to care for their parents. This can not only affect their other commitments like work and family, but also their health.

 

Below are some tips for only-children providing home care for an aging parent:

 

Don’t Go It Alone: It can be easy to want to do everything; but for many family caregivers, this can become overwhelming very quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask other people in the community for help. Reach out to spouses, neighbors, and friends to cover smaller tasks throughout the day or just to check in on your parent.

Take Advantage of Delivery Services: Meal delivery and housekeeping services are great options to help lessen the work load of a family caregiver. Prescriptions, groceries, and other household supplies can also be delivered to cut down on errands.

Find Support: There are many caregiving resources for family caregivers both online and in the communities. These resources help caregivers learn more about home caregiving and connect with other family caregivers in similar situation. Visit the Best Home Care caregiver support page to learn more!

 

For more family caregiver support and resources, contact Best Home Care. Our home care professionals can show you how to get paid for taking care of a family member and continue providing the best home care for your loved one.

Best Home Care is Working to Combat Minnesota’s Shortage in Caregivers

Minnesota home care agencyOver the last couple years, the home care industry throughout the United States has been facing a shortage of personal care assistants and home caregivers. This issue has been especially difficult for families with loved ones that require 24-hour or daily in-home supportive services as they are forced to provide the care themselves or turn to family members and friends for help. Families have even gone so far as to bring their loved ones to the hospital to be cared for while they search for at-home care services.

 

Unfortunately, Minnesota home care agencies have been affected by this shortage as well. According to state workforce data, the vacancy rate of PCAs in rural areas hit 14% last year. This is the highest rate we’ve experienced in at least 15 years. By 2020, the Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates that Minnesota will need to fill 60,000 direct-care and support positions.

 

How can a Smartphone App Solve this Issue?

The Homecare Timesheets app is working to help families struggling to find personal care assistants and caregivers. The app allows the user to self-staff with other local PCAs when their PCA is absent. This “on-demand PCA services” technology is very similar to that used in popular ridesharing apps. Within the app, home care recipients are able to set criteria for the personal care assistants or set criteria for the personal care assistants or get help from any available worker at their home care agency.

 

The Homecare Timesheets app adheres to all relevant Minnesota laws and applies to those receiving home care services through Medicaid.

 

Best Home Care is Proud to Offer the Homecare Timesheets App

In order to best serve our customers and help them access the PCA services they need, we are proud to be one of the first home care agencies in the Twin Cities using the Homecare Timesheets App. To learn more about how you can use this technology, contact us today!

Social Media Tips and Safety Advice for Senior Home Care Patients

Senior Home Care, Medical Alert SystemsOne of the largest and fastest growing communities on social media are those over 55 years old. As senior citizens become more accustomed to technology, they are increasingly flocking to social media to get news and stay connected with family and friends. Of these social media platforms, Facebook has seen the most significant rise in senior citizen users over the last two years. According to a Penn State study in 2016, 35% of seniors age 65 and older were on Facebook and that number is expected to continue rising.

 

For younger personal care assistants and home care professionals, social media presents a unique opportunity to connect with your senior home care patient. Helping them set up and explaining how to use a Facebook account is an easy way to help home care clients stay connected with their family and friends around the world. But before jumping into the world of social media, take time to review these tips and best practices for senior users:

 

Know Who to Connect with: Be sure that seniors only add those they know personally. Facebook is a great place to find old friends but be sure they are who you think they are before adding them.

Ask Before Sharing: Always ask for permission before sharing friends or family member’s photos or posts.

Don’t Click on Everything: Many posts will use intriguing headlines to get users to click on them, however not every link is what it seems. Make sure you know and trust the source before clicking on any link.

Set Privacy Settings: When setting up a Facebook page, review the privacy settings to ensure only those you want seeing your information can access it.

 

Social media is an incredible tool for building and maintaining relationships however, it can be confusing and potentially dangerous if not used properly. Here at Best Home Care, we stress the importance of adhering to best practices on all our social media accounts. While you’re setting up a new Facebook account, don’t forget to like Best Home Care’s page. We post great home care resources and tips for starting PCA services every day!

Lift the Spirits of Senior Home Care Patients this Valentine’s Day

family home caregiver, home care professionalOne of the greatest threats to a senior’s emotional health is loneliness. Whether due to the loss of a spouse or being separated from other family members and friends, many seniors spend their days alone. This loneliness can lead to depression and negatively impact a senior’s overall health. In fact, seniors are one of the most susceptible age groups to depression and emotional health problems.

 

There are many steps that a personal care assistants can take to help combat depression in senior home care patients. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this is a great time to take a moment to show a senior that they are cared for.

 

Join Best Home Care as we work to share a little love with everybody receiving in-home supportive services this Valentine’s Day. Here are some great activities and ideas for home care professionals and personal care assistants to work into their home care plans this Valentine’s Day:

  • Decorate Their Living Space: Spend time creating love themed decorations for the senior’s home or apartment. This makes a great activity for an afternoon craft hour or decorations can be purchased from a local store.
  • Celebrate with Family: For many seniors, seeing their family members in person on Valentine’s Day can be tough. Coordinate a time when family members can share their love via Skype or phone with their loved one.
  • Bake Some Treats: There is nothing better than sweet treats on Valentine’s Day. Help your senior home care patient bake cookies or a cake then top with holiday themed icing!

 

The simplest gesture can make a huge impact for a senior home care patient. If you don’t have time for any of the above activities, a sincere card or flowers are another great option for sharing your love this Valentine’s Day.

To learn more ways to combat depression and loneliness in seniors, contact Best Home Care today! 

The Future is Here: The Homecare Timesheets App to Include On-Demand PCA Services

Tech Trends in Home CareSince the Homecare Timesheets app was introduced to the public over a year ago, we have received great feedback from the Minnesota home care agencies and our employees using it. Many of our personal care assistants and home care recipients use it every day to track, bill, and verify the amount of home care services provided. Last year, the Star Tribune even featured an article on how the app is helping to combat billing fraud within the home care industry. We are pleased with the positive response this app has received over the last year and there are even more enhancements planned for 2017.

 

In addition to fraud, another major issue in the home care industry is staffing shortages among direct support professionals and personal care assistants. This is often caused when a PCA or home care professional is absent or unable to provide in-home supportive services for a short time. To help address this issue, the app is being updated to include On-Demand PCA Services, and we are proud to offer this technology to our recipients. Similar to ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft, the updated functionality will allow for users to self-staff when their regularly scheduled PCA is absent. To help find personal care assistants best qualified to help them, home care recipients are able to set criteria for the personal care assistants or get help from any available worker at their home care agency.

 

The idea of On-Demand PCA Services is relatively new and typically only limited to the private pay model. We are excited to offer this technology those receiving home care services through Medicaid.

 

The updates to the Homecare Timesheets app will be available in late February 2017.  For more information on this update or the Homecare Timesheets app, visit www.homecaretimesheetsapp.com!

Have You Been Unnaturally Tired this Winter? This Could Be Why

Home care and seasonal affective disorderThis is the time of year when the fun and excitement of the holidays have passed and we begin to look forward to warmer sunnier weather. The only problem? We here in Minnesota still have months of cold darkness before we see a hint of spring weather. While some of us may love the short days and cold nights, this season can actually have a negative impact on the health of others.

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the season. Those affected by SAD typically experience less energy and increased moodiness throughout the fall and winter months. The disorder more commonly impacts those living far away from the equator as these areas experience the most dramatic decreases in sunlight during the winter months. It’s no surprise why Minnesota home care patients deal with this disorder every year.

 

Seasonal affective disorder can impact anyone and the home care professionals at Best Home Care have felt symptoms from time to time. It’s important to ensure that these common feelings don’t evolve into a more serious condition requiring medical treatment like depression or bipolar disorder. Tracking emotional health is especially important for those receiving personal health care and at-home care services.

 

Below are some ways that home care aids and PCAs can help their patients beat the winter blues this year:

  • More Sun! Exposure to natural sunlight has been shown to increase energy levels and improve moods during the winter months. Make it a point to get outside at least once a day and/or open up the shades to let the sun shine in.
  • Get Moving Exercise during these winter months is essential to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Personal care assistants should encourage their patients to participate in at least one physical activity per day.
  • Don’t Get Sick Colder months mean sickness which will only worsen SAD. Make a habit of frequently washing your hands with soap and using a sanitizer to wipe down commonly touched areas like doorknobs, faucet handles, and phones.

 

For more home care tips and resources, contact the professionals at Best Home Care. We enjoy sharing ideas on how to provide the best home care and will work with you to ensure your personal care services are the best they can be. Learn more about seasonal affective disorder and how it can affect any age of individual receiving in-home supportive services.

 

Stop Sitting Around this Winter and Get Moving!

During these cold winter months, it can be so easy to succumb to cabin fever. Sitting on the couch and watching TV seems so much easier than braving the frigid weather outside. It’s no surprise that many Americans pack on an extra 5-7 pounds during this season. However, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can be a major risk factor for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancers, even premature death.

 

For senior home health care patients, staying active in the winter months can be especially challenging. However, home care patients of all ages are guilty of spending too much time sitting around most days of the week. In addition to being at an increased risk of many chronic conditions, seniors spending time sitting has been linked to an increase.

 

In addition to being at an increased risk for chronic conditions, sitting too much has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing a disability as well. This is especially true for those of the age of 60 receiving at-home care.

 

Daily physical activities should be a part of every home care plan. While the amount and intensity of these activities will depend on the home care patient, personal care assistants should make it a point to get those they care for up off the couch several times a day. Here are some ideas to help break the mold of sitting all day:

  • Stand While Eating: If able, stand at a counter or high table when eating meals. While this may feel awkward at first, this can be an easy way to burn calories as you consume them
  • Go for a Walk: Even in the winter, getting outside for a quick walk can do wonders. Be sure to pace yourself and don’t try to go too long. For senior home care patients, start by walking to the end of the block and back.
  • Join a Social Group: Being around people will naturally encourage movement. For seniors, this could be a book club, quilting group, or bingo.

 

When changing any aspect of a home care plan, it’s best to start small. Aim for replacing 30 minutes of sitting time each day and then slowly increase as able.

 

The professionals at Best Home Care are ready to help support personal care assistants with home care resources and encouragement. Reach out to our home care professionals to learn more ways to avoid sitting too much this winter.