This 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.
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.
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.
Growing 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.
Over 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.
One 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.
One 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.
Since 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.
This 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.
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.