Is a Pet Right for Your Homecare Patient?

Pets In Homecare Services

Best Home Care specializes in helping seniors and persons with disabilities or special needs find their ideal homecare services. With our expertise, network, and resources, we can assist in helping you find the best home healthcare services in Minnesota.

 

Among other benefits, personal care assistants can provide friendship and company to their patients. However, there is nothing quite like having a furry friend to spend time with! Having a pet around can provide extensive mental and even physical benefits, such as:

 

 

 

 

  • Reducing Risk of Heart Disease. Studies have shown that pet ownership may be linked with lower blood pressure, as well as low cholesterol levels. Pet owners are also reportedly more active, which of course provides huge physical benefits.
  • Reducing Loneliness and Isolation. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are very common, especially in senior citizens. Having a furry friend around can make a significant difference in better mental health.
  • Encouraging Daily Routine. For adults that are retired, it can be hard to maintain a daily schedule, which is incredibly important for good mental and physical health. Needing to care for a pet encourages a regular structure.
  • Giving Responsibility. It can be hard for retired or elderly adults to feel the same sense of responsibility or the feeling of being needed as before retiring. Having a pet that relies on them can help with motivation and purpose.

 

If you have any questions regarding how to best provide home healthcare services to a friend or loved one, feel free to contact us at Best Home Care! You can call us at (651) 330-2550 or email us at info@besthomecaremn.com. For more information on us or our services, be sure to visit our website!

Filling Gaps in Home Care: Connecting Recipients with Passionate Caregivers

Home care is essential for many disabled, elderly, and chronically ill people who need assistance with daily living. In-home care also helps people with special needs maintain some independence and continue living in their communities. However, despite the crucial nature of this service, there are currently not enough home care workers to fulfill the demand for care in Minnesota.[1]

 

Recipients of home health care often experience dangerous gaps in service due to absent or unavailable caregivers. The majority of home health agencies undergo significant turnover and employ mostly part-time personal care assistants (PCAs). Many PCAs work part-time for as few as 10 or 20 hours per week.

 

It needs to be easier for PCAs who want to work more hours to do so. But it is also essential to give workers the option of providing in-home supportive services on a part-time basis, and open the door for more qualified, passionate people to join the industry.

 

Often, wage increases for home care jobs are suggested as the solution to the problem. While important and deserved in a tough industry with risks of stress and injury, the impact of increased wages would be limited by the following factors:

  • Reimbursement rates for services set by the state limit how much home care agencies can pay workers and still remain in business.
  • The expected raises of approximately $2/hour would not be a sufficient incentive to retain PCAs in caregiver jobs.
  • Most caregivers are not in it for the money, but for the personal fulfillment brought by helping someone in need.

 

So how will we meet Minnesota’s demand for home care? Through a more creative and innovative answer that builds on the last bulleted factor.

 

We should stop treating caregiving like it is just another career, and recognize it for what it really is: a vocation for supportive, compassionate people who desire rewarding work.

 

The home care industry would be hard-pressed to attract new workers to the field with promises of riches and career advancement, but we can offer the happiness that comes from giving one’s time to people who need help.

 

Companies like Uber and Lyft revolutionized the transportation industry by leveraging the convenience and ease of a smartphone application to make drivers out of people who would never be traditional taxi drivers. An app that connects people who are not currently working as PCAs – but who have a desire to provide care – with recipients in need can help to alleviate the home care worker shortage.

 

The PCA On Demand mobile application connects home care recipients with caregivers directly and remotely, allowing them to “self staff” immediately when they need a caregiver.

 

This works to fully utilize the existing PCA workforce by eliminating enrollment barriers and providing an easy, convenient way for recipients and caregivers to connect instantly. Recipients can use the app to search for a caregiver using set criteria or browse through a list of PCAs. Caregivers can create a profile, accept shifts, and receive driving directions using PCA On Demand. Like Uber, this app helps with billing and scheduling to make it as simple as possible to provide part-time, tailored services for those who want to help but may have a full-time job elsewhere.

 

The team at Best Home Care is passionate about supporting personal care assistants and those who benefit from their services. The PCA On Demand mobile application is one of many ways we work to elevate the industry. For more information about home care services, please contact us.

 

[1] Minnesota Department of Human Services’ 2014-2015 Gap Analysis

Identifying and Mitigating Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver BurnoutBest Home Care specializes in all aspects of homecare services. We understand both sides of homecare: knowing the importance of a loved one getting the quality homecare that they need, and the caregiver being able to do their best to provide home healthcare while caring for themselves as well. While being a home caregiver is certainly rewarding, we understand that it is no easy job. When a caregiver is stressed, worried, or tired for too long, they may be heading toward a burnout.

 

 

Here are some signs to look out for if you or a caregiver you know is becoming burnt out:

 

  1. Irritation or anger
  2. Withdrawing from family or friends
  3. Changes in eating habits
  4. Lack of motivation
  5. Exhausted emotionally and physically

 

Given how demanding it can be to provide homecare, especially when dealing with a close friend or family member, many caregivers sacrifice their own wellbeing for others. To provide the best homecare, however, balance is needed!

 

If you are a caregiver that is feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burnt out, here are some steps to take that can make a real difference:

 

  1. Start with Physical Health. Focus on making sure you are eating right and getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day. Even just taking 20 minutes to throw in the earbuds and go for a walk can do wonders.
  2. Find Support Groups. There are plenty of support groups that are meant especially for caregivers, and provide a space to talk openly about daily struggles. Having someone to vent and talk to is always helpful with stress.
  3. Seek Professional Help. When things get to be too much, it can be well worth it to see a therapist or psychologist. Not only does it give you someone to talk to, but they can also help you take steps to manage your stress and workload.

 

For more information on homecare services for the elderly, children, or persons with disabilities, or for more on how to avoid getting burnt out as a caregiver, contact us at (651) 330-2550, info@besthomecare.com or visit our website for more on our services.

 

Help for Hoarders

At Best Home Care, we understand that providing quality home care consists of so much more than just basic home healthcare. We know that the best personal care assistants, home nurses, and home caregivers understand the importance of good mental health as well as physical health.

 

One mental health disorder that affects many seniors is hoarding. This condition has gotten much attention lately in the media with TV shows dedicated to helping hoarders. In order to help loved ones better understand this problem, here are important recommendations for families to consider when assisting someone with a hoarding problem.

 

 

  • Hoarding is a disorder: It has symptoms and behaviors like any other disorder. It is important to consider the underlying cause behind the behavior. Hoarding is characterized by extreme difficulty parting with possessions, despite their value (or lack thereof).
  • Hoarding may be part of something bigger: In particular, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, and dementia can lead to developing a hoarding disorder.
  • Start help right away: Acknowledge the problem right away rather than putting it off or waiting, as it may just get worse. Seek professional help from the beginning. There are experts trained to deal with not only the physical conditions of certain environments but also the mental health aspects.
  • Don’t get frustrated: When conditions get bad or unhealthy, most people want to find a quick solution and get to work throwing stuff out. However, throwing everything out can lead to worse mental health conditions for the person hoarding as the experience can be very traumatic.
  • Find quality help: Knowing that this is a mental health disorder, it stands to reason that the person struggling needs to find suitable therapy and treatment. Finding the right doctors and professionals and being consistent with treatment is essential to getting better.

 

For any questions and concerns regarding hoarding or anything related to finding homecare services for seniors, people with disabilities, or children, be sure to visit our website. You may also call us at (651) 330-2550 or send us an email at info@besthomecaremn.com.

Stroke Prevention 101 for Home Caregivers

family home caregiver, home care professionalLast week, our blog focused on understanding the warning signs of a stroke. Stroke and heart attack are two of the most common and life threatening health risks for the elderly. The home care professionals at Best Home Care have provided the following tips for reducing the risk of a stroke for at-home caregivers, personal care assistants, home nurses and family caregivers:

 

  1. Take Steps to Control Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is the largest factor that contributes to stroke. You should always consult your doctor when about combatting high blood pressure. Maintaining a blood pressure below 120/80 can be done by limiting sodium intake, avoiding foods high in cholesterol (meat, cheese, and ice cream), and eating lots of fruits and veggies.
  2. Quit Smoking: Quitting this habit will help lower blood pressure, which in turn will help reduce the risk of a stroke.
  3. Limit Alcoholic Beverages: Drinking more than two 5 oz glasses of alcohol per day can increase your risk of stroke.
  4. Treat Atrial Fibrillation: A-Fib is a form of irregular heartbeat that can cause clots to form in the heart which can travel to the brain causing a stroke. If you have heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor!

 

At Best Home Care, we know the best treatment is prevention! Being aware of the risks and what you and your home care assistant can do to lower them can make all the difference. However, if you or a family member lives alone, it can be difficult to find that peace of mind.

 

This is why at Best Home Care we make it our goal to help find the best quality home care for you or your loved one. We will guide you through the process of finding home care services for the elderly, the disabled, as well as pediatric home care.

 

Contact us today to learn more about our Twin Cities home care agency and how we can help you find the home caregiving solutions you need!

 

Best Home Care 2015: A Year in Review

Minneapolis Home Care Agency. Home Care Agency in the Twin CitiesIt’s hard to believe that 2015 is coming to an end in just a few short days. But even more incredible is the remarkable events and news stories that took place in just the last 12 months. Think back to last New Year’s Eve. Where were you? You might not even live in the same state anymore. Who were you with? You might not have seen them since. Do you remember what you were wearing? It’s lost in the back of your closet somewhere. One year can change a lot of things and the same is true at a home care agency.

2015 was a great year for all the home care professionals at Best Home Care. While the landscape of the home health care industry saw many changes, we are proud to say that we had one of our best years in business to date. Throughout 2015, we had many exciting moments for our company. Here’s just a quick snapshot of the past year at our home care agency:

January: First Best Home Care White Paper Released

After receiving a large numbers of home caregivers asking how to get paid for taking care of a family member, we created a new resource! This white paper explains the different options available for family caregivers to get paid for their home care services.

            Read the White Paper Now!

February: Andre Best, Best Home Care Founder, Featured in Star Tribune

The Start Tribune wrote a full-length article on our founder Andre’s path to owning a Minneapolis home care agency and his efforts to fight fraud within the home health care industry.

            Read More Here!

July: Best Home Care Announces New Benefit For Employees

On July 1st, all home care professionals at Best Home Care received PTO hours and we raised our starting wage to $10.75. Every full time employees at our Minneapolis home care agency were offered a free preventative health care plan as well.

December: Best Home Care Receives PCA Visit Verification Variance  

On December 10, 2015, Best Home Care received a variance from the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General to use an electronic visit verification system instead of the state mandated visit verification phone calls. Best Home Care will be offering the Homecare Timesheets System with Visit Verification to its recipients and employees beginning in January 2016.

           Learn More about the Homecare Timesheets System Here! 

These are just a few of the great moments from a wonderful year. However, none of this would be possible without you! Your continued support and trust in our home health agency is humbling and we are honored to have made so many great friends this past year.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Family Caregiving and the Holidays

Caregiver HealthThis is the time of year when people travel around town and across the country to spend time with family and friends. For many, the holidays are a time to reconnect with those important individuals who they may not get to see as often as they’d like. Here at Best Home Care, we treasure the moments we spend with our families throughout this season but for many senior home care patients, family takes on a very distinct and important role.

According to the CDC, over 34 million family caregivers provide 83% of all home care services. Above and beyond family members, this number includes friends, neighbors, and partners who provide in home supportive service for a loved one. It is estimated that 1 in 5 households in the United States are impacted by caregiving duties. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming decades as seniors live longer and elderly home care fees continue to rise.

It is very likely that you or someone you know have cared for an elderly parent or a sick relative in the last year. Even though you might not consider yourself a home care professional, family caregivers are just as vital for those they care for. In fact, family caregivers will often provide the same (if not more) home care services than personal care assistants. These tasks may include:

  • Giving and managing medications
  • Assisting with and preparing meals
  • Providing transportation to appointments and errands
  • Cleaning and maintaining a home
  • Performing basic medical and nursing procedures
  • Assisting with toileting and personal cleaning

On average, family caregivers spend 20 hours a week performing these home care services, yet the majority are unpaid. Helping out with a loved one’s home care is an admirable gesture however, the time commitment can often conflict with other priorities and result in struggles with money.

It is a little known fact that there is a variety of state and federal programs that help family caregivers get paid for taking care of a family member. Best Home Care has helped many family caregivers find solutions to their money struggles by showing them how to get paid to care for a family member. See how we can help you next!

Preventing Alzheimer’s at Any Age

Meeting the Challenges of Caring For a Loved One with Dementia - caring for dementia patient at homeAn exciting announcement was made at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference: Over the past 40 years, Alzheimer’s and dementia rates have steadily declined in the U.S. In fact, an American adult age 60 and older today has a 44% less chance of getting Alzheimer’s when compared with a U.S. senior citizen 30 years ago. Researchers largely attribute this reduction to improved cardiovascular risk factors and better health and wellness education among senior citizens.

While this is encouraging news, Alzheimer’s remains a devastating disease that affects over 5 million people in the U.S. The majority of these patients are over the age of 65 however; Alzheimer’s and dementia can strike at younger ages as well. Even though the disease is incurable, research has begun to shed light on ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s at any age.

As personal care assistants, it’s vitally important to monitor our senior home care patients for signs of Alzheimer’s. Taking steps to prevent this disease is also key, especially for those over the age of 65. Here are some ways you can help your home care patient’s mind stay sharp and adopt a lifestyle that helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Eat Your Fruits & Veggies: Including more fruits and vegetables in your diet is a great way to improve your brain health.
  • Munch on Berries: The high levels of biologically active components in berries help fight memory impairment associated with beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.
  • Sip on Wine: Minerals in grape skins help protect brain cells from stress that can lead to Alzheimer’s. Grape juice makes for a great nonalcoholic substitute.
  • Stay Social: Studies have shown that an active social life and strong network of friends may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent Alzheimer’s. However, it is never too early to take steps to lessen your chances of getting this disease. As a Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care has helped hundreds of at home care patients live better more independent lives. Contact us to learn more about Alzheimer home care options and ways to prevent this disease.

Top Trends in Technology and Home Care

Tech Trends in Home CareEven a veteran in the home care industry benefits greatly from additional resources and the occasional break. Today, there is a growing industry of supportive technology designed to assist both personal care assistants and the individuals they serve.

Sensors

Smart sensors are quickly becoming one of the biggest players in home health care technology. Evolving from the classic emergency buttons available to seniors, these sensor systems can now help home care patients track their health, monitor activities, and even alert caregivers that something may be wrong before an accident occurs.

Sensor systems range from activity trackers that monitor events like missing a meal or medication, abnormal physical signs, and home entrances and exits to GPS and video systems that allow family caregivers to quickly locate and assist a loved one.

Home Helpers

The friendly and popular Roomba robot, a small machine programed to clean floors without supervision or physical interaction, has been joined by a whole host of other devices that help around the house.

Cleaning robots can save both home care providers and recipients time and energy with pre-programmed routines. Other supportive machines can translate common sounds such as a doorbell or telephone into a visual alert for the hearing impaired. For those who are receiving home care and are comfortable with technology, intelligent personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa can answer questions, set reminders, add items to shopping lists, and much more with a simple voice command.

Socializers

Skype, FaceTime, and other video call technology has been very valuable for home care patients who live far away from loved ones or find it difficult to leave the house often. That technology has been joined by senior-friendly social media sites, smartphone applications, and even “telehealth” systems that allow individuals to have face-to-face interactions with healthcare specialists remotely.

Learn more about the quickly expanding world of supportive home care technology or other home care solutions by connecting with the Best Home Care team today.

The Dos and Don’ts of Being a PCA: Do Be Professional

Choosing the Right Home Health Care for Your Family Member

Personal care assistants and family caregivers are lucky to have such a great job! Home care is a very rewarding career that allows an individual to make a valuable difference in the lives of others. Home caregivers play a very important role in those they provide in home supportive services for. While it may be easy to fall into a day-to-day routine, it’s important to always be at the top of your game and remain professional, especially when someone’s health is in the balance.

There is no required level of education needed to provide home health care in the state of Minnesota. In fact, the majority of family caregivers start providing care as an act of love or out of necessity with little to no knowledge or experience in the field. No matter what your level of experience, acting professionally is a critical part of providing the best home care. At times this can be difficult, especially when the patient and home care worker are very close (as in the case of family caregivers).

At Best Home Care, we hold our personal care assistants to the highest standards and expect nothing but complete professionalism everyday. Here is what it means to be a home care professional at our Minneapolis home care agency:

A Home Care Professional Will Always:

  • Treat patients with the utmost respect and dignity
  • Be a trustworthy confidant for their patients
  • Remain honest and ethical while providing home care services or interacting with patients
  • Strive to receive the highest level PCA training and education

Being a professional goes far beyond any specific license or education one can receive. Throughout all their duties, home care professionals must act in the best interest of their client’s health and well-being.

Best Home Care takes pride in our personal care assistants and the reputation we have garnered as a professional home care agency in the Twin Cities. Contact us to talk with a home care professional today!