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!

The Dos and Don’ts of Being a PCA: Don’t Try to Do Too Much

Five Things Every New Family Caregiver Needs to Know  - personal care providersAs any medical professional will tell you, proving health care is a lot of work. As a personal care assistant you have likely experienced this first-hand. From early morning medication assistance to late night emergency calls, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything there is to do. This feeling of being overworked will only get worse the more home care patients you are responsible for.

It should come as no surprise that caregiver burnout is one of the most common ailments faced by home care specialists today. According to WebMD, caregiver burnout is “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.” The accompanying feelings of fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression are most often caused by a home care provider trying to do more than they are capable of.

So How Can I Avoid Caregiver Burnout?

  • Be Realistic – Set realistic expectations for your daily home care services and be okay waiting till tomorrow to finish a non-essential tasks.
  • Have a Schedule – Establish a realistic home health care plan every week that includes when you will arrive and when you will leave. Then stick to it!
  • Ask For Help – Be willing to seek out assistance for in home supportive services if you start feeling overwhelmed.
  • Take Time for Yourself – Schedule time each week to do something you enjoy and make it a priority.

While it’s wise to prioritize your patient’s home health, you must remember that if you aren’t healthy your home care services will suffer as a result. Make a plan to avoid caregiver burnout so you can keep providing the best home care possible to your patients.

Contact Best Home Care or visit our Support for Caregivers page for more tips on how to avoid caregiver burnout and stay healthy while providing home care.

 

Be a Great Family Caregiver: Avoid Falling Into These Bad Habits

Caregiver HealthFor most family caregivers, home care is not something that lasts for a week or two. A family caregiver will likely provide daily in-home care for a family member or friend for months or years at a time. After a while it’s easy to think you have it all figured out and know what’s best for your patient; however, it can be even easier to fall into habits that lead to larger issues down the road.

We here at Best Home Care understand the stress that family caregivers are subjected to and how it can negatively affect their home care services. Even the most experienced personal care assistants can unknowingly fall into tendencies that may hurt themselves and those for whom they provide care. No matter how long you’ve been providing home health services, it’s a smart practice to review your work and note any room for improvement.

Take a moment to review these negative home care habits and how to avoid them:

  • Improper or No Planning: Write down exactly what home care tasks are required each day.
  • Procrastination: Take the initiative to finish little jobs like scheduling appointments or picking up medications.
  • Poor Communication: Make a point to always talk with your patient to understand their feelings and needs.
  • Bad Health: Take care of yourself first by eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep every night.

We here at Best Home Care believe that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked as a home caregiver, you should never quit learning and striving to be better. Here are some great caregiving resources to help you stay on top of your game:

For over ten years, Best Home Care has provided PCA services and resources to families throughout the Twin Cities. If you are hunting for PCA jobs, contact us to learn how to transfer to our home care agency and join a team of home care professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality home care.

 

Tips and Tricks to Stay Organized While Working as a Personal Care Assistant

Tips to keep organized as personal care assistant

As a personal care assistant providing home health services, it’s a safe bet that your life is pretty chaotic. Balancing multiple patients’ medications, daily plans, and personal requirements while trying to keep up with your own life can be exhausting. Without an effective way to stay organized, it’s easy for home health professionals to become overwhelmed by the many demands of their job.

Everybody has their own unique way to organize their life and what works for one personal care attendant may not work for another. The home health specialists at Best Home Care recently put their heads together to come up with some tips and tricks to help those providing in-home supportive services stay organized. Here are the results:

  • Keep a Caregiving Calendar: This is a smart way to keep track of medications, appointments, and many other items. Download a calendar or scheduling app for your smartphone to make it more convenient.
  • Start a Caregiving Journal: Start keeping track of each home care service you provided and take general notes about each patient’s needs each day. This can be very valuable in the event of an emergency or transition to a new caregiver.
  • Be Prepared for an Emergency: Falling? Seizures? Whatever the most likely emergency may be, create a plan of what you will do until medical assistance arrives.
  • Make a List of Necessities: Post a list of everything you need each day on your refrigerator and be sure to double-check it before heading out the door.
  • Create a Patient Folder: Make copies of all medical, insurance, and other important documents for each of your patients. Keep these papers in separate labeled folders where you can easily access them.

Keeping your work and personal life organized is a crucial part of providing quality home care services. Best Home Care is happy to assist by handling the many administration tasks that come with caregiver jobs. Contact us today to see how we can organize your PCA services.

Capture the Benefits of Learning a Second Language for Senior Home Health

bigstock-home-caregiver-7540770Learning to speak a second language has many advantages for a young child’s development. In fact, bilingualism in children has been attributed to an increased aptitude for solving problems, better listening skills, and improved social skills. However, did you know that speaking a second language can help keep the minds of adults and seniors sharp as well?

A recent study from Northwestern University found that speaking more than one language provides a mental workout for the speaker and prepares the mind for more challenging tasks. Increased mind sharpness is especially beneficial and can improve the quality of life for the elderly and those receiving senior home care. There is also evidence to suggest that speaking a second language can help delay the effects of Alzheimer’s, the memory-stealing neurodegenerative disease.

The benefits of speaking a second language for the home health of a senior are obvious. Learning a second language is easier said than done but the truth is, you are never too old to learn a new language. In fact, many communities offer language classes specifically for adults and seniors! Consult your city’s community education program or senior center to learn more about their offerings. Seniors can also benefit from the different types of language learning computer programs on the market today.

Home caregivers should encourage those they provide in-home supportive services for to learn a second language. Caregivers can help by:

  • Researching community education language classes
  • Suggesting appropriate language learning software
  • Listening to music in a foreign language
  • Watching foreign language movies with English subtitles

Even though it may be more difficult for adults and seniors to pick up a second language, even the slightest bit of knowledge will help sharpen and engage the brain.

To learn more about the benefits of speaking a second language for senior home health, contact Best Home Care. Our team of home care professionals can also work with you to manage the administrative work that comes with providing home care services.