San Diego Compassionate Caregivers https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com Thu, 02 Jul 2020 02:48:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Adjusting to Living in the “New Normal” https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/adjusting-to-living-in-the-new-normal/ Thu, 02 Jul 2020 02:44:14 +0000 https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1751 As things are slowly reopening and “going back to normal”, should precautions still be taken when going out into the world? The answer is yes. “Conditions are improving in some of the country’s major cities, but outbreaks continue to grow in others,” therefore the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains. Some states have fully lifted their …

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As things are slowly reopening and “going back to normal”, should precautions still be taken when going out into the world? The answer is yes. “Conditions are improving in some of the country’s major cities, but outbreaks continue to grow in others,” therefore the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains. Some states have fully lifted their COVID-19 quarantine policy, however there is no certainty that the virus is fully defeated. On the contrary, some states like Texas have “reported 1,789 new cases” and thus “have dramatically increased testing.” Now is not the time to let our guard down, we must continue taking the proper measure to ensure the safety of our beloved seniors.

Is it Safe for Seniors to go Outside?

Seniors should continue practicing social-distancing and refraining from going out. The virus is still out there and so is the risk of infection. Additionally, since seniors are the most high at risk group for contracting COVID-19, they should not quit taking proper safety measures during this time. If a senior must leave their home, they should continue wearing a face mask, gloves, and keeping an alcohol-based hand sanitizer close by. It is also smart to keep human face-to-face interaction to a minimum. If the senior misses their family or friends, they should video chat or call them instead of seeing them in person.

Restaurants and Take-Out Food

Like everyone in this world, there is no doubt that seniors love going out to eat at their favorite restaurant. However, it is not a good idea to eat out during this time. Even though many restaurants have reopened and might be taking proper safety measures, there is still a high chance of contracting the virus. For instance, if a person working at the restaurant is infected, they will spread the disease to the individuals consuming the food. Instead of eating out, it might be a good idea to have a family member or even the senior themselves cook. There are countless recipes online with many healthier and even tastier food that the majority of restaurants out there serve!

Staying Positive

It can be very easy to feel down during these times however keeping positive is very important. There many things that a senior could do if they are not feeling bright. Dancing is always a sure thing to raise the spirits! Have the senior put on their favorite song and break out some moves. They can even video call their friends and families and dance with them through the internet. Another great activity is to grab a piece of paper and write down ten things that they are grateful for. There is just something about the feeling of gratefulness that instantly boosts the mood. Yoga is also a fun activity that calms and strengthens the mind. Have the senior sit on the floor, close their eyes, and inhale deeply while exhaling for a count of 10. Have them repeat this 10 times and they should feel much more relaxed and rejuvenated.

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Keeping Our Seniors Safe During Covid-19 https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/keeping-our-seniors-safe-during-covid-19/ Mon, 25 May 2020 22:41:54 +0000 https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1739 It is well-known that seniors are at dangerously high risk for contracting COVID-19 due to their age and/or underlying conditions (heart disease, autoimmune, respiratory, etc). When infected, symptoms can range from a cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, or muscle pains. Recent studies have found the virus to spread from “respiratory droplets produced when an infected …

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It is well-known that seniors are at dangerously high risk for contracting COVID-19 due to their age and/or underlying conditions (heart disease, autoimmune, respiratory, etc). When infected, symptoms can range from a cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, or muscle pains. Recent studies have found the virus to spread from “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.” To ensure the safety of our seniors, proper measures must be taken and implemented to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Stay At Home

First and foremost, seniors should refrain from leaving their homes to attend religious services, community centers, or other public places. Visitors should practice social-distancing unless that visitor is a nurse or an assigned caregiver. Additionally if another person is present, both the senior as well as the caregiver should protect themselves by wearing gloves and a mask. To keep seniors from getting lonely or missing their visitors, it would be a great idea to encourage daily video calls to their families and loved ones.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is especially important for seniors to prevent the onset of COVID-19. An ideal meal plan should contain 40 percent complex carbohydrates (such as sweet potatoes), 30 percent proteins, and 30 percent healthy fats (such as almonds). Do keep in mind that everyone’s nutritional needs are different, someone with Type 2 Diabetes might require a different meal plan than someone not diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Furthermore, it is also beneficial to have the seniors take Vitamin C or eat foods rich in Vitamin C such as oranges. This will ensure that their immune systems remain strong and their bodies can fight off any potential threats.

Keep Germs at Bay

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, proper hygiene must be maintained to avoid getting sick. Seniors should wash their hands often or use a high-percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching their face, and wear a face mask and gloves when in the presence of their nurse or caregiver. At home surfaces should remain clean and sterile through the use of germ-killing household cleaning products. Additionally, when using face masks or face coverings, it is important to wash them frequently or exchange the used one for a new, clean one. Gloves should be disposed of immediately after usage.

Being Entertained

Despite being quarantined at home, there are still many things that seniors can do to be entertained at home. The well-known bingo game is one of them! With the help of the internet, seniors can now play bingo online with their friends and families. Further, it is always a good idea for them to start a new hobby or become more advanced in a skill they already know, such as knitting. Also, the caregiver would do well to suggest some fun activities for the seniors and participate in them as well. This will make the senior more likely to partake in the new activity as it’s often challenging for some to begin new things.

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Bathing Tips for the Elderly https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/bathing-tips-for-the-elderly/ Thu, 25 Oct 2018 18:13:01 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1407 Once an individual can no longer bathe themselves because of things like a risk of falling or mobility issues, they’ll need assistance to get the full benefit of the experience while staying safe. Bathing the elderly is one of the typical tasks of being a caretaker but it’s not always easy. It is, however, a …

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Once an individual can no longer bathe themselves because of things like a risk of falling or mobility issues, they’ll need assistance to get the full benefit of the experience while staying safe. Bathing the elderly is one of the typical tasks of being a caretaker but it’s not always easy. It is, however, a necessity of life and something that most of us take for granted when we are younger.

Foregoing regular baths can lead to serious problems, including body odor, skin irritations and infections, and urinary tract infections. The latter is especially worrisome with dementia patients. This is one area where daily showers might be the best course of action. But for others, bathing daily might do more harm than good.

Determining how often and to what extent a senior needs to be bathed depends on several factors. While most experts agree that, like the majority of all adults, seniors don’t usually require daily bathing, the face, underarm areas, and groin should be cleaned daily. Washing these areas daily can help extend the period between full baths.

Evaluate the Situation

If the senior is especially resistant to bathing, ask them about their concerns. Understanding their concerns will help you implement some tools or practices that make them more relaxed. For example, if they are afraid of falling, you might add safety railings or nonstick stickers to make the shower safer. For seniors with severe mobility issues, sponge bathing might be a better alternative.

Modesty is another issue that commonly causes seniors to resist bath time. One way to make them more comfortable is to try and have a caregiver of the same sex. Also, give them a privacy towel to hold over private areas while you are washing them. Imagine how you would feel if you were in their place. That will make it easier to be understanding and find solutions that make the experience better for them. If you take a compassionate approach to bathing them, it will get easier for both of you over time.

Bathing Schedule

Develop a Bathing Schedule

Determine how often a senior needs to be bathed. Some caregivers find that bathing the elderly every day is actually easier. It becomes a part of their daily routine, making them less resistant. Once you decide on the bathing frequency, it’s time to create a solid bathing schedule.

Place a wall calendar where the senior can see it easily. Mark off the days with an ‘X’ so they can track what day it is. Write-in the days when you will provide a full bath, sponge bath, etc. Consider calling it ‘spa day’ or ‘pampering’ instead of bath day to make it sound more appealing.

 Preparing for Bath Time

Creating a safe setting is important for any senior. Take an honest evaluation of the bathroom before you start. Make sure all the devices you use are within reach and working. If you have to leave the senior alone while you get something, you’re putting them at risk. It also slows down the process, possibly giving them a new area for concern.

Choose Cleansing Products Carefully

Seniors aren’t only prone to thin, dry skin; they also have a higher risk of health issues that affect their skin and hair. It’s best to avoid soaps and shampoos that contain perfume. Look for gentle body cleansers that are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Never use a cleanser that contains alcohol since it further dries out skin. Instead, choose one that is moisture rich.

Caregivers often recommend using baby shampoo for elderly adults. It isn’t harsh, and it doesn’t burn if it gets into your eyes. Instead of applying conditioner that must be rinsed out, consider using a leave-in spray. That will save you time and add ongoing moisture to dry hair.

Once you have everything you need, place it nearby for easy access. Minimize distractions such as the TV or other noises. A careful preparation helps make bath time go smoother.

Once Bath Time Begins

Consider your own frame of mind before you start. You need to exude a sense of calm and confidence. Bathing the elderly can be challenging. It’s up to you to turn it into a fun and enjoyable part of the day. Some things that can help…

  1. Choose some good conversation topics. Having something prepared to talk about will help reduce the tension.
  2. Make sure they have access to a warm, comfy bathrobe when they get out of the tub. It will absorb the water and it’s easy to put on. This will help keep them warm and comfortable whenever they aren’t in the water. If the room is cold, turn up the heat, at least until bath time is over.
  3. Don’t assume that the water temperature that feels right to you is best for them. Let them test it with the back of their hand. Double check once they get in the water that it isn’t too cold or hot.
  4. Don’t give them more assistance than they really need. All seniors don’t require the same level of bathing assistance. Maybe they can still shampoo their hair, but they need help rinsing it out. Maybe they can still reach some areas of their body, but not others. When bathing an elderly person for the first time, don’t take them at their word about the level of help they need. Instead, talk with a family member or someone else who has already been providing their care. Letting them do the things they still can without help will make them more confident and happier.
  5. Tell them what you’re going to do before you do it. Don’t risk startling them by doing something unexpectedly. You don’t have to give elaborate details of each step. Simply saying things like, “let’s get your hair wet,” is enough to let them know what’s coming next.
  6. Examine their skin for sores or rashes while you wash. Folds of skin make great breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause infection. By washing every area thoroughly, you can examine all of their skin without making a big production of it.
  7. Wrap them in a robe or towel as soon as the bath is over. Dry them quickly to prevent chilling.
  8. Apply moisturizer to their skin to help keep it from drying out.
  9. Have a fresh change of clothing laid out so they can get dressed before they leave the bathroom.

The Next Level of Hygiene

– Oral Care

Bathing the elderly requires special consideration for their advanced condition. The same is true when it comes to oral health. Seniors are also more prone to a number of oral health problems. Through the years, eating foods and drinks that cause stains leads to yellowing of the teeth. The outer layer of enamel is thinner, allowing the yellow layer of dentin beneath to show through.

Dry mouth is another common condition seen in seniors due to a reduction in saliva flow. A dry mouth is often a side effect of cancer treatments, some medications, and certain health conditions. Dry mouth and gum disease contribute to tooth decay, which in turn causes tooth loss.

Seniors who wear dentures aren’t exempt from the impact of poor oral hygiene. Dentures that don’t fit well, poor hygiene, and the buildup of the Candida albicans fungus can all lead to an inflammatory condition called denture-induced stomatitis. The growth of Candida can also lead to a yeast infection in the mouth called thrush.

Seniors need to brush their teeth at least two times each day. You can make it part of the bathing process and repeat it before they go to bed for the evening. Brushing might be more effective immediately after meals.

For some seniors, holding the toothbrush firmly in their hand is the difficult part. There are special toothbrushes available that allow you to modify a regular toothbrush. Another option is to attach a tongue depressor to the handle to make it longer. If the handle is hard to hold, wrap paper towels around it and secure with a rubber band. These modifications need to be changed frequently to prevent germs from breeding.

Many seniors do well with an electric toothbrush. The handles are naturally thicker, and they don’t have to move them around as much to brush their teeth. You can also use an electric toothbrush if you have to do the brushing for them.

– Nails

You can take care of basic nail care unless they have special needs. Care should be taken in trimming nails in individuals with diabetes or in those who take blood thinners like warfarin. Avoid cutting cuticles and don’t try to deal with ingrown nails. These are better left to a podiatrist.

– Hair

Your primary concern is maintaining a clean, healthy scalp. Taking care of the scalp and hair is a necessary part of bathing the elderly. If they are bedfast, use a special hair basin that lets you wash their hair in bed. Another option is dry shampoo that you can use when they don’t shower every day.

Seniors who are still mobile might enjoy going to the salon. Some salons offer scalp treatments to prevent the buildup of oil in the scalp. They can also keep their hair trimmed and styled. Caring for their hair can go a long way to boost a senior’s confidence and mood.

Bathing the Elderly Dementia Patient

Dementia patients often present even more challenges when it comes to bathing. They may insist they just bathed or flatly refuse to bathe or even change clothes. Since bathing is more likely to become a battle, keep it down to a couple of times per week if possible. Supplement with sponge baths in-between to help keep them clean.

Link something that they like to do with bathing. Let them have a favorite treat or do some activity they enjoy right after they bathe. They may be more willing to bathe without fighting you if they have something to look forward to.

Let them get into the bathtub while there isn’t much water in it. Once they get comfortable, run it the rest of the way full.

Seniors with dementia have many of the concerns and fears that other seniors do. They might worry about falling, getting cold, undressing in front of you, or even be afraid of the water. Take the steps needed to put them at ease. Dementia patients are much more likely to be afraid of you and your intentions from something as harmless as bathing them. If they shower, keep the stream turned down. They might perceive the sting of high pressure water as a threat.

Let them do as much for themselves as possible. Depending on the stage of their dementia, they may require only light assistance. In more advanced cases, you may need to handle a lot more of the load. Remember how important good grooming is to the elderly. No matter how difficult it is to get their cooperation, it’s up to you to find solutions for any issues the day brings.

Is Being a Caregiver Right for You?

Bathing the elderly is just one of the issues you must tackle when you become a caregiver. Sometimes adults become volunteer caregivers for an aging family member or other relative or friend. Often, the responsibilities are difficult for the caregiver to handle when they try to juggle them with work. Hiring a non-medical caregiver to provide respite or regular care is often the best solution for everyone involved.

Those people who choose caregiving as their career are prepared to make their clients their priority. They have the skills and the compassion to make a difference in the person’s life.

If you need help caring for an aging loved one, contact San Diego Compassionate Caregivers. We offer a broad range of services and flexible hours to meet your specific needs. Give your loved one the compassionate care they need to stay healthy and happy in their own home.

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How to Become a Caregiver & Is It Right for You? https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/how-to-become-a-caregiver/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:45:45 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1403 Are you interested in learning how to become a caregiver? Before you get started, you need to understand just what the term “caregiver” means. While it does refer to providing assistance to clients, the level of care isn’t the same. Some positions require special training, education, or certification. If you have the desire to help …

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Are you interested in learning how to become a caregiver? Before you get started, you need to understand just what the term “caregiver” means. While it does refer to providing assistance to clients, the level of care isn’t the same. Some positions require special training, education, or certification. If you have the desire to help others, the next step is to decide which type of caregiving is right for your skills.

Caring for Seniors

You’ve probably never heard anyone talk with enthusiasm about moving into a nursing home. Aging affects everyone differently and at a different pace. In spite of the growing challenges of being in their own home, most seniors prefer to age in a place that is familiar and comfortable. This sense of independence is very important to them.

A growing number of seniors and their families are making the decision to hire a caregiver to the household. The senior’s needs range from help with everyday tasks to qualified medical care. They have a choice of three types of caregivers to address their loved one’s specific needs.

1. Volunteer Caregiver

If family members are worried about leaving their loved one alone, they might ask a volunteer caregiver to help out. Sometimes volunteers are neighbors, friends, or family members who have available time to spend with the senior. These are often referred to as informal caregivers who volunteer their care without pay. It can also be someone who volunteers their time to various non-profit organizations and hospices to help out without pay. Some of these organizations have training programs that teach volunteers the best way to provide needed care.

Sometimes volunteers are students in social work or nursing programs. Volunteering as a caregiver lets them put their skills to work. Some programs require a specified number of volunteer hours by their students. It’s a great way to enhance the student’s skills while providing a needed service to a senior and their family.

Just make sure you confirm the details of what you will and won’t do as the senior’s caregiver. Don’t put yourself into a situation where you are expected to do more than your time or skills will allow.

If you want to become a volunteer caregiver, it may be as easy as approaching a family who you know needs help. Another option is to find an organization in your area that accepts volunteers.

If you aren’t sure caregiving is the right career choice for you, volunteering is a great way to find out. It gives you a realistic idea of what kind of responsibilities you will face. For some people, learning how to become a caregiver isn’t about the money; it’s about the satisfaction of doing something to help others. For them, volunteering gives them a feeling of satisfaction.

2. Non-Medical Caregiver

Non-medical caregivers typically provide a broad range of services ranging from companionship to grooming and running errands. Although the senior might require medical care, a non-medical caregiver tends to their other needs. You don’t require medical training to work as a non-medical caregiver. But you might require training or certification depending on the state where you live and the agency you work for.

Sometimes family members request the services of a non-medical caregiver to help their loved one do the everyday tasks they no longer can do on their own. Often, family members who become volunteer caregivers face physical and financial hardships. They sacrifice time they would spend with their families, at their jobs, and taking care of themselves to care for their loved one. The more responsibilities they have, the greater the impact will be on every area of their lives.

Hiring a non-medical caregiver for respite care or for regular hours throughout the week can help take the pressure off. The family has the peace of mind from knowing their loved one is getting the care they need. It gives them the break they need without the guilt they might otherwise feel.

Working as a non-medical caregiver is the first level of paid care. Often, you will get paid more for nighttime and weekend hours worked. Your clients might be able to do many of the things they’ve always done. The impact of aging has made it harder to do these tasks without help.

Some seniors suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The amount of time and the level of care they demand depends on the progression of the disease. Initially, they might require companionship, reading to them, and playing interactive games. Other types of care include giving medication reminders and picking up their prescriptions. As their dementia progresses, they might require help with bathing, dressing, and going to the restroom.

Even those seniors who have little or no mobility prefer the freedom of being at home. They may require a high level of medical care that is provided by a medical nurse. As their non-medical caregiver, your job entails doing household chores, preparing meals, shopping for groceries, and helping with pet care.

You’ll need to know how to become a caregiver in your state. In those states that don’t require certification, everyone doesn’t work through an agency. Sometimes they advertise their services and take on clients independently. This approach to caregiving is often more challenging to the client and the caregiver. A quality agency provides the security, training, and quality control that makes caregiving beneficial to everyone involved. It gives you someone to reach out to when you have questions. A support team helps make you better at your job.

3. Skilled Caregiver

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are the highest level of paid caregiver among the three common types. To become a CNA, you must have training in the number of hours required in your state. You must have a high school diploma or GED, in addition to completing a CNA program.

A CNA is not a medical caregiver. They have basic healthcare training that allows them to take blood pressure readings, give partial bed baths, and apply some types of assistive wear like support hose. They can document the patient’s health issues and report changes to the nurses. Even when a state doesn’t require you to be a CNA to become a caregiver, the training is beneficial to you. It helps you do a better job at caring for your clients. It also makes you a more desirable employee for some types of clients.

There are professionals who provide a higher level of medical care to in-home seniors and other patients. These include skilled nurses, therapists, and specialists, and they’re all professionals intended to take care of a patient’s medical needs.

Becoming a caregiver

The Growing Demand for Caregivers

If you work as a caregiver and are good at what you do, you will probably be in demand. One reason for this is the growing number of seniors we have in this country. It’s also the fact that more seniors are making the choice to age in place than go to a nursing home.

In 2015, more money was spent on in-home care in the US than on nursing home care for the first time. America is growing gray at a rate that is expected to increase. In-home caregivers have a growth rate of 41 percent, and it is expected to continue through 2026.

How to Become a Caregiver in California

The state of California requires in-home caregivers to have certification. This requirement reflects new laws from 2015 that are designed to protect the caregiver and the seniors they care for. The good news is that you can learn how to become a caregiver and earn your certification online.

Start by finding an online training course which meets California’s 10-hour and 5-hour training guidelines. Present confirmation that you completed the course and passed the exam. Then register your name and training information with the state. This option allows you to complete the course at your own pace without interfering with your current schedule.

Is Becoming a Caregiver Right for You?

For some people, caring for others comes naturally. The majority of those considering caregiving as a career will become non-medical caregivers. This job encompasses a broad range of responsibilities. A good caregiver has more than a few hours of training to pull from. They have some essential traits that make the right for the job.

  • Patience – Having a schedule doesn’t always mean that everything will fall into place. Patience is more than a virtue for caregivers — it’s a necessity. Seniors have already lived more of their life than they have left. They have good days and bad ones, and their own way of doing things. When things don’t go as planned, you need patience to help get you through it without over-reacting. If it takes a little longer to get where you need them to go, that’s okay. Remember, you’re there to support them and make their life a little easier.
  • Trustworthiness – When you work as an in-home caregiver, you have access to everything in the person’s home. They need someone they can trust not to take advantage of the situation.
  • Attentiveness – This trait is really at the heart of what a caregiver does. You need to pay attention to your client and notice if their needs change. Physical or emotional changes can occur slowly or in a matter of seconds. Be aware of their mood, how responsive they are, and what they might need help with.
  • Compassion – Be understanding of what the person is going through. Imagine what it must be like to be in pain. Many seniors have a lot of trouble accepting that they can’t do the same things they did just a few years ago. Showing compassion lets them know you understand and shows them they aren’t alone.
  • Dependability – Think about what else you have going on in your life. Your clients need someone who puts them first. It isn’t the kind of job that you can call in sick for whenever you feel like taking a day off. If you can’t be there when they need you, then it isn’t the right job for you.

The Benefits of Being a Caregiver

The benefits to seniors of getting to stay in their home include being happier and healthier. That’s something we all want for our loved ones. But there are also some benefits to the caregiver.

Seniors feel a sense of freedom when they live at home as they still have the right to go where they want and do things they enjoy to the best of their abilities. Being a caregiver can give you a greater sense of freedom, too. If you aren’t the type of person who likes sitting behind a desk and doing the same thing day after day, caregiving can offer you more freedom. You have the chance to be active and put your energy and skills to good use.

It’s also a chance to feel challenged by what you do. The situation is never the same. It presents new challenges, leaving you to get the best results from any situation. Seniors rarely stay in the same physical and mental condition over time. It’s up to you to analyze what’s changed and come up with solutions to make things better.

Most caregivers find their careers very fulfilling. Many build close relationships with the people they provide care for. They get close to their families and feel the reward of helping someone live a better life.

If you think being a caregiver is right for you and you have the qualifications you need, submit your application today. If you need to know more about how to become a caregiver, contact the facility that you want to work with. They can provide you with guidelines that they use to hire new caregivers.

If you’re interested in working as a caregiver in San Diego, contact San Diego Compassionate Caregivers. We are always happy to hear from qualified candidates who want to provide compassionate, non-medical in-home care. Ask us how you can make a difference in someone’s life!

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Taxes on Social Security Benefits Explained https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/taxes-social-security-benefits/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 21:34:07 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1391 Is Social Security taxed after 70? It might be. This is a question many people ask. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal answer, because everybody’s situation is different. It doesn’t depend on your age, but on your income. We all pay a lot into the Social Security System. The total Social Security tax is 12.4%. Half …

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Is Social Security taxed after 70? It might be. This is a question many people ask. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal answer, because everybody’s situation is different. It doesn’t depend on your age, but on your income.

We all pay a lot into the Social Security System. The total Social Security tax is 12.4%. Half of that tax is paid by the employee, while the other half is picked up by the employer.

This means that the average American pays around $3,045 a year in taxes to support the Social Security program. In other words, if you work 40 years, then you will probably pay over $120,000 into Social Security. Of course, the tax rate has changed over time, but this is a pretty good estimate.

Many people don’t realize that they need to pay taxes on their Social Security earnings. Isn’t the money already taxed? Didn’t you already pay so much into that the system that you deserve to get the benefits tax free? Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Many people are forced to pay taxes on their Social Security earnings. The Social Security Administration issues a SSA-1099 form to you every year. This form tells you exactly how much money you received in Social Security benefits. They also send a copy to the IRS as well. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is over a certain threshold, then you will be obligated to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits. If you don’t report your income, then you will receive a Notice of Underpayment from the IRS. You will have to pay interest on unpaid tax debt (which will have already started accumulating retroactively before the notice was mailed). You may also have to pay penalties as well, depending on whether the IRS felt you were negligent about reporting taxes from Social Security benefits.

Who Needs to Pay Taxes on Social Security Benefits?

The thresholds for paying taxes on Social Security benefits depend on whether you are single, married and filing jointly, or married and filing independently. Couples that usually file their taxes separately may want to start changing their filing status after they begin receiving Social Security benefits because they get the worst end of the stick when it comes to being taxed on their Social Security benefits.

You don’t have to pay taxes on all of your Social Security income. The share that you will need to pay will either be 0%, 50%, or 85%. It varies according to your filing status, your AGI and whether you and your spouse were separated at any point during the tax year in question.

You will be required to pay taxes on benefits if you are single and have an AGI over $25,000. Married people filing jointly will also need to pay taxes on their benefits if they have an AGI over $32,000. Married people that file their tax returns separately must always pay taxes on some of their Social Security benefits, provided they lived together for the entire year.

If you and your spouse were not living together for part of the tax year, then you will both be held to the same rules as single people. This rule applies if you got married after January 1 of the tax year, were separated for part of the year, or received a divorce. This rule applies even if you still have power of attorney over your spouse.

The tax requirements for Social Security benefits are outlined below:

  • You will not need to pay any taxes if you are single and have an AGI less than $25,000 or are married and filing jointly with a household AGI less than $32,000.
  • You will need to pay taxes on 50% of your benefits if you are single with an AGI between $25,000 and $34,000 or are married and filing jointly with an AGI between $32,000 and $44,000.
  • You will need to pay taxes on 85% of your benefits if you are single with an AGI over $34,000 or married and filing jointly with an AGI over $44,000.

The portion of your benefits that are taxable will be subjected to the same tax bracket as the rest of your income. Here is an example to help illustrate this situation:

You are a single taxpayer with an Adjusted Gross Income of $27,000, which includes $7,000 in Social Security benefits. Under the new tax law, you will be subjected to a 12% tax bracket. Since you make less than $34,000 a year, only 50% of your benefits are taxable. This means that you must pay a 12% tax on $3,500 of your Social Security benefits. Your total tax on Social Security benefits is $420.

You can look at the worksheet under IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits for more information. It will help you determine the amount of taxes that you must pay on your Social Security earnings.

Is Any Income Excluded?

Some of your taxable income can be excluded for the purpose of determining whether some of your Social Security benefits are taxable. The income that doesn’t count towards the allowance is listed under IRS Publication 915. Here are some of the types of income that will not count towards your Social Security benefit allowance:

  • Qualified U.S. savings bonds (as shown on Form 8815 of the IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits worksheet);
  • Adoption benefits (as shown on Form 8839 EZ of the IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits worksheet);
  • Qualified foreign earned income or housing income (as shown on Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ of the IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits worksheet);
  • Income earned in American Samoa (as shown in Form 4563 EZ of the IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits worksheet) or Puerto Rico by bona fide residents.

If your AGI appears to exceed the allowed thresholds, then you will want to review your income to see if you meet any of these qualifications. Keep in mind that the income listed above may still be taxable. It simply doesn’t count towards the limit for determining whether or not you need to pay taxes on Social Security benefits. You still need to report it on your 1040.

How Are Lump Sum Payments from Previous Years Taxed?

Figuring out whether or not you need to pay taxes on Social Security benefits you earned is complicated enough. It becomes even more complicated when you receive a lump sum payment for benefits that should have been received in previous years. A number of factors come into play:

  • The AGI of all previous years that you are receiving benefits for
  • The tax rates of the years in question (keep in mind that the tax brackets were changed in 2018, which complicates the calculations further)
  • Whether you already paid taxes on benefits that you received before receiving the lump sum

You will need to use IRS Publication 915, Social Security, and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits worksheet to determine the taxes that you need to pay (if any on your benefits). These calculations can get very messy and it can be difficult to determine whether you need to pay taxes on the benefits at all, so you may want to consider working with a professional if you receive a lump sum payment of Social Security benefits.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Social Security Taxes

If your AGI is over the limit, then you may want to look for ways to reduce it. You can claim deductions or rebalance your retirement account to limit your taxable income. By reducing your AGI, you may not have to pay taxes on some or all of your Social Security earnings. Here are some tips that you should consider trying:

  • Take advantage of tax-free withdrawals from IRA before getting Social Security benefits. If you withdraw this money before you start receiving benefits, it can be put in a standard checking account for future use. You can use this money to pay for your living expenses, so you don’t need to declare capital gains taxes on any shares that you sold.
  • Make charitable donations. You can donate part of your IRA to charity if you want.
  • Switch your portfolio to be more focused on equities, especially if they have few dividends. Capital gains will count towards your AGI, but you only pay them after selling shares. It is easier to control your AGI by selling stocks when needed and budgeting your money throughout the year. You can’t control your interest income the same way and it is easier to go over the limit with interest-earning investment vehicles.
  • If you have self-employment income and are just on the line of needing to pay taxes on your benefits near the end of the year, considering asking your clients if they can pay you after January 1 and declare your earnings then. This may keep you from crossing the limit and needing to pay taxes on 50% of your Social Security earnings.
  • Considering rebalancing your portfolio to include more municipal bonds. You can get tax-free income from municipal bonds. While the interest isn’t as high as most other investments, you will find that the ROI can be much higher if it spares you from needing to pay a 12% income tax on 50% of your Social Security benefits.
  • See if any nursing care services can be deductible if your spouse is in a senior living facility.

Take advantage of any deductions that you can to reduce your earnings below the allowable limit.

Dealing with Taxes on Overpayments

You may receive overpayments on your Social Security earnings. This is common for a lot of reasons. Unfortunately, even if the overpayment was the Social Security Administration’s fault (which happens for a number of reasons), you still need to pay taxes on the benefits. The tax rules for overpayments on Social Security benefits are the same as any other Social Security benefits that you have been paid.

Here are the general rules that you will need to be aware of.

Repaying Overpaid Benefits in the Same Year

If you repay the overpayment in the year that is was made, you simply deduct it from the reported benefits. This can reduce your taxable benefits and even keep you from owing taxes on any benefits.

Repaying Overpaid Benefits in a Subsequent Year

If you repay overpayments at a later date, you will need to claim the repayment on the year it was made. The process depends on the amount of the overpayment:

  • You paid less than $3,000 in benefits. You will need to itemize your taxes and claim the overpayment as a deduction. The deduction is applied to the tax return of the year that the benefits were paid. You don’t need to file a new tax return for that year.
  • You paid over $3,000 in benefits. You can either claim it as a deduction or a tax credit. The credit is applied to the tax return of the year that the benefits were paid. You don’t need to file a new tax return for that year.

If you have a large overpayment, you will want to try paying as much as possible, so you can qualify for the tax credit. This means that you can still have the option to claim the standard deduction if you want and don’t need to do the extra work of itemizing your taxes. The value of the tax credit should also be much higher than the value of a deduction.

Conclusion

Understanding the taxes that you may need to pay for Social Security benefits is very confusing. The portion of your benefits that are taxed varies according to a number of factors and you need to understand all the nuances associated with determining your AGI for these purposes. You also need to deal with other confusing issues, such as getting a huge lump sum benefit from previous years or needing to repay benefits that have been overpaid.

Fortunately, it is easier to understand the legal framework if you have done your due diligence. If you are still struggling to figure out whether you owe taxes on your Social Security benefits, you can always talk to an expert.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help understanding the taxes on your Social Security benefits. We will be happy to assist!

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Family and Elder Mediation Services https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/family-elder-mediation-services/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:35:11 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1390 Elder mediation has been around for years, but it has started to gain popularity rapidly over the past two decades. As a person ages, they face several transitions that can cause disputes or problems within the family dynamics. This is where elder mediation comes in. Common situations that can benefit from elder mediation include disputes …

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Elder mediation has been around for years, but it has started to gain popularity rapidly over the past two decades. As a person ages, they face several transitions that can cause disputes or problems within the family dynamics. This is where elder mediation comes in. Common situations that can benefit from elder mediation include disputes about residences, estates, wills, caregiving responsibilities, and property sales.

So, what is elder mediation and how can it help, and what should you cover in your mediation sessions? We’re going to give you the answer to these questions and much more so you get a good understanding on what elder mediation and mediators can do for your family during this emotional and sometimes difficult time.

Defining Elder Mediation

People go to mediation to resolve any disputes they have with another party. In meditation, two or more groups of people or individuals meet in a neutral space and attempt to resolve any conflict or disputes with the help of a neutral third party. This neutral third party is the mediator, and it may be useful to have additional support like a clergy member, social worker, geriatric care manager, lawyer, or financial planner on-hand as well.

Since elder mediation is secure, confidential, private, and completely voluntary, it gives families a safe platform to voice their concerns, ask questions, or settle disputes. The mediator holds no power over the decisions, and they simply help to guide the conversation in a productive and direct manner.

The elder mediation process has two broad goals. The first goal is to help families or concerned parties come to mutual agreements and beneficial solutions for everyone involved. The second goal is to help the parties open the lines of communication and develop communication strategies to help with future decisions.

You can have your mediation meeting in your home, senior living facilities, or at the mediator’s office. The mediator can help both parties see each other’s point of view, and the mediator is a highly skilled individual in the area of conflict resolution. Additionally, someone who specializes in elder mediation is up-to-date and very knowledgeable about topics concerning older adults. These topics include but are not limited to:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Caregiver burden
  • Driving
  • End of life arrangements or issues
  • Estate planning
  • Family business
  • Financial problems or concerns
  • Guardianship
  • Healthcare concerns (at home, in a long-term facility, or in a hospital)
  • Holiday schedules
  • Living or housing arrangements
  • Medical decisions and power of attorney
  • Nursing home or assisted living decisions
  • Relationship concerns
  • Religious concerns or issues
  • Retirement
  • Safety concerns or environment issues

Why Families Choose Elder Mediation

Many people choose elder mediation instead of going to court because it’s less stressful for everyone, and both parties can have a certain amount of control over the outcome. In court, you have very little control over the final decision, and it’s very difficult to have a decision appealed without going back to court.

It also gives you a chance to resolve your disputes in an efficient and timely manner, and you can help to tailor an outcome to suit your family’s individual needs or wants. Since you’re working together and trying to cooperate to come to the best possible outcome, elder mediation can also help heal any rifts or strained relationships. Mediation also has a higher satisfaction rate for everyone involved, and the outcomes tend to be longer lasting.

Sometimes, a dispute can escalate to the court level, and this is where everyone involved loses a great deal of control. A court or a judge’s task isn’t to come up with a creative solution to the problem, and not all parties have a chance to feel like they were able to voice their concerns and be heard. Instead, a judge or court will interpret any laws. This can lead to family members feeling unsatisfied with the results, and the results are more likely to fail.

Courtroom disputes can also cause rifts or destroy families as family members tend to take sides. There usually isn’t a clear “winner” when you go to court, and this is why so many people decide to try elder mediation before escalating it to the court level. Finally, mediation is usually less exhausting on an emotional and physical level, as well as in terms of money and time.

Early Intervention is the Key to Success

As family members start to age, more and more questions start to come up, and most families have similar financial, legal, or medicinal decisions that they have to decide and agree on. Things like caregiving responsibilities, health care proxies, wills, trusts, and housing decisions are often ignored, disputed, or flat out avoided.

This can only hurt the family in terms of emotional turmoil, financial loss, and fewer choices. Enlisting the help of an elder mediation service can go a long way in helping the family resolve any disputes and make sure that the elder’s wishes are clear, written out, and followed.

An early intervention is the key to success before the family goes into a crisis. When a family is going to attempt to agree on important decisions like the ones we mentioned, it’s important to have a neutral third party. This third party can help ensure that everyone in the family has the space and time to voice their concerns, and they can help direct the conversation in a positive and productive way.

Once a family hits a crisis level, it’s much more difficult for everyone involved. A crisis means that there are heightened emotions and tension that can lead to an imbalance in the family. This can quickly result in outside intervention from law enforcement or disputes that don’t go away within the family. Early intervention can help avoid these levels of escalation.

Conflicts Early Intervention May Prevent

There are numerous conflicts and disputes that early intervention can successfully navigate. While the exact conflicts vary from family to family, the following broad categories are universal.

  1. Adult Sibling Disputes

As parents of family members age, the family dynamics start to change. One child may take on more responsibility due to their closer proximity to their parents or aging family members. Siblings that are trying to deal with their economic, geographic, and family differences may find it difficult to work together and come to agreements that everyone is happy with. Additionally, resentment can build from one sibling taking on the majority of the responsibility.

Elder mediators have a lot of experience in the areas of caregiver burnout, sibling disputes, and inheritance issues. Mediation allows each sibling to speak their concerns or ask their questions and work toward a solution that everyone is comfortable with. It’s also a key time to open the lines of communication.

  1. Financial Decisions

A lot of families have this unwritten rule where they don’t talk about finances. This can make it difficult for the family to try and sort through an estate or make sure that they follow the elder’s wishes. It gets even harder when you add in caregiving costs, medical bills, housing, and daily expenses.

Mediation allows the entire family to be productive and open about financial decisions. The mediator can manage the more delicate conversations, and they may suggest adding a financial planner or a CPA to the conversation. This can help the family get a realistic picture of their aging family member’s finances.

  1. Inheritance Disputes

Although many aging parents hope that their family continues to get along after they’re gone, inheritance disputes can be a major hurdle. Early intervention can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and this includes any estate, money, or property.

At this point, mediation can help everyone understand why and how their parents or the elder chose to set up their estate like they did. It’s also a chance for the elder’s lawyer to document that the elder in question is capable of making sound decisions.

  1. Medical Treatment and Guardianship

It’s important that the elder’s wishes are heard and followed by the family, regardless of what the family wants or thinks is best. This includes things like resuscitation in the event that the elder’s heart stops, feeding tube preferences, and life support. Additionally, if an elder is struggling in certain areas of their life like paying bills, a guardianship may come up for discussion.

Having a mediation session can help ensure that every family member gets a chance to voice their opinions. It’s also a chance for the elder to outline what they want in regards to their end of life care and resuscitation efforts. The mediator can also help the family decide which areas the elder may need guardianship over and which areas they’re still capable of handling on their own.

  1. Property and Living Arrangements

Telling someone that they can’t live in their own home anymore due to safety concerns can bring up a lot of resentment and anger. Additionally, trying to make the decision to sell the family home or any property can be a very emotional and turbulent time.

Elder mediation has access to resources you may not think of. For example, they may suggest bringing in a geriatric care manager to talk about any assistance, housing options, or resources available. They can also bring in a financial advisor to help the family understand their finances and offer alternatives or suggestions.

Important Documentation an Elder Should Have in Place

There are a few important documents that each elder should have in place, and elder mediation can help get everything sorted. These documents include:

  • Advanced Directive for Medical Care – This medical directive ensures that your family follows your wishes. It includes what life-saving measures you want a medical facility to undertake. Additionally, it includes whether you want artificial eating and breathing support like a feeding tube or ventilator.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney – Your healthcare power of attorney is someone who can make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to due to diminished mental capacity or a medical emergency. It should be in writing, on file at the local medical facilities, and notarized.
  • Financial Power of Attorney – You want to appoint a financial power of attorney that you trust, and it’s usually a child or spouse. This person can and will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. It will include managing your finances, paying bills, selling property, and so on.
  • Will – Anyone with dependents should have a valid will in place. However, this is even more important as you age. Your will should stipulate who gets what property, valuables, or any assets you may have after your death. It should be very clear and concise.

Deciding When Elder Mediation is Appropriate and Not Appropriate

Elder mediation is an appropriate step to take if a family is struggling or having conflicts over the care of aging family members. It’s appropriate if a family has problems with caregiving, health or safety concerns, living arrangements, and estate disputes. The mediator will work to protect the elder’s rights during this time and remain a neutral party that helps families come to decisions that everyone can live with.

Elder mediation is not appropriate if the mediator has concerns or reasons to believe that the elder in question is being abused, neglected, or coerced. Also, if the elder has a cognitive impairment that stops them from being able to be an active participant in the decision making, elder mediation may not be appropriate. The mediator may insist that the elder has an advocate present at each meeting that is able to make decisions for them regarding their care. This can be a social worker, a court-appointed guardian, attorney, or a geriatric care manager.

Deciding to participate in elder mediation can be a difficult and emotional time for a family. No one wants to see their loved ones age, but elder mediation can make the processes and transitions easier on everyone.

If you’d like to set up a personalized care plan for your loved one, or if you have questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us. Our friendly and professional staff are ready and willing to assist you in any way they can.

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Some Tips for Becoming a Better Home Health Aide https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/home-health-aide/ Wed, 29 Aug 2018 22:41:38 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1383 A home health aide performs an important service to their clients. They provide part-time to round-the-clock assistance to seniors or others who are ill or injured. In-home care might include respite care to give the regular caregiver a break. It could include medicine reminders for a client who is recovering from surgery. Sometimes an aide …

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A home health aide performs an important service to their clients. They provide part-time to round-the-clock assistance to seniors or others who are ill or injured. In-home care might include respite care to give the regular caregiver a break. It could include medicine reminders for a client who is recovering from surgery. Sometimes an aide is there to provide companionship to clients who live alone. If you enjoy helping others, you are a good candidate to become a home health aide.

To make you even better at caring for your client, follow the tips below:

1. Don’t Go It Alone

There are no educational or training requirements for becoming an in-home caregiver. Anyone can advertise their services and go straight to work. The problem with this approach is that you won’t know what you’re doing. Caring for an aging or injured adult isn’t the same as caring for a child. Although you won’t provide their medical care, many will require medical treatment from an in-home nurse. You need to know what to expect from the patient, their medications, and what they can and can’t do themselves. For example, an aging patient with dementia might not be able to dispense their own medications.

Even if you take a training program, getting started is difficult. People tend to be careful about hiring someone to care for their loved ones. They want to know what kind of person you are and what kind of background you have. That’s just one of the benefits of working for an in-home agency. They can conduct background checks, train you in their methods of giving care, and provide the credentials you need to demonstrate a good reputation as a caregiver.

Another advantage is having the support of a knowledgeable agency behind you when you need it. If you have a situation that you aren’t sure how to handle, you can call. You never have to feel like you are on your own.

An agency has a system; a method of hiring and training the aides who work for them. They screen their workers and develop a range of services they offer to their clients. If you meet their qualifications, they work with you to prepare for the job. When you arrive to care for your first client, you’ll be ready and confident.

Home health aide taking notes

2. Take Notes

From day one of working for the agency, start writing down everything. Every client and each situation is different. You need to understand and remember to follow every detail of the client’s care plan. Dietary limitations, medication reminders, or appointments are important things that are essential to your client’s care. Even those details that seem simple and easy to remember should be recorded. As the client’s plan begins to grow, there’s going to be a lot more details to remember. Some of the services you may provide include:

  • Bathing/showering assistance
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Companionship, socializing, conversation
  • Assistance with walking
  • Prescription pick-up
  • Arrange and facilitate appointments
  • Prepare grocery lists
  • Assist with personal hygiene
  • Reading
  • Visiting neighbors and friends
  • Transfer using Hoyer lift or gait belt
  • Care and support with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

3. Stay Organized

Putting tasks off is the first step towards getting disorganized. Instead, organize the tasks you have throughout the day according to priority. Schedule those that are most important first. Fill in the rest where there’s time. Others need to be fitted in. Start by listing the essentials first and then fit everything else in where there’s time.

Spend some time planning out your day before you arrive at your client’s home. Makes notes about what you will need and when you will need it. Keep all your supplies on-hand so you don’t have to spend time looking for them. Get a large tote bag to carry supplies and keep them together. Figure out ways to group tasks together. Maybe you can let the dog out while you’re in the kitchen preparing meals. Run out for groceries while dropping off the dry cleaning. The more you can do at one time, the more effective you will be as a home health aide.

4. Always Go the Extra Mile

You should never feel limited to the tasks on your client’s care plan. Sometimes they may want you to do something that isn’t included. Others, they won’t want to do what is on the schedule. It’s easy for someone who is aging, suffering from dementia, or dealing with an injury to feel frustrated or depressed. Always remember that you are there for them. Treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Take the time to have a real conversation with them. Maybe they want someone to watch TV with or to read them a book. Some patients need emotional support as much as they do physical support.

5. Get on the Same Page

Take an interest in the client’s feelings and needs. Give them choices whenever possible. You can help them pick out clothing but let the final decision be theirs. If they have a hobby or interest, ask them about it.

If your client has dementia or Alzheimer’s, don’t avoid having conversations with them. During the early stages of the disease, they experience minimal memory problems. Most are still able to communicate if you know how to help them. Every day that they are still able to communicate with another person is a good one for them.

Becoming a home health aid is gratifying. It allows you to make other people’s lives better. But it is also challenging and, sometimes, overwhelming. Everyone isn’t a good candidate to become an in-home aide. Some of the qualities that you should have include:

Patience – Your clients are going to be ill, disabled, confused, and sometimes in pain. Seniors with dementia often act out in anger and confusion. Their behaviors can change at a moment’s notice. They may want to hug you one minute and strike out to hit you the next. Even those recovering from injuries can become angry or depressed. It takes a lot of patience to handle every situation that the client throws at you. No matter how bad things get, you need the patience to return their emotions with a genuine smile.

– Compassion – It takes skill to understand something another person is going through that you have never experienced first-hand. When your client acts out at you and won’t cooperate, will you have the compassion to understand?

– Ability to Focus – If your idea of caring for your client is to sit idly by and text on your cell phone, you aren’t the right person for the job. Your client should be your central focus from the time you arrive at their home until you leave. If the client becomes distraught, withdrawn, or depressed, you need to spot those changes quickly. It isn’t enough to look at them; you need to be able to really see any changes that take place.

– Be Trustworthy – You are in another person’s home. Everything that they own and hold dear is probably there too. The client needs to know that they can trust you to perform your duties and not breach the trust they have placed in you. Often, it is the client’s family members who have hired you to care for their loved one. If you can’t be trusted in any setting, this isn’t a good job choice for you.

– Dependability – Even though your schedule or your tasks change, one thing stays the same. Your client needs you to be there when you are requested. Their needs don’t take a holiday, and neither should you. The client, their medical caregivers, and their families are all counting on you. If you can’t be there every time you are needed, you shouldn’t be there at all.

Is Being an In-Home Health Aide a Good Career Choice?

One of the factors that makes any career choice a good one is its potential to remain in demand. The growing number of people becoming seniors in this country is one reason home health care is a booming business. Another is that more of these seniors are making the decision to stay at home. As a result, home health aides are increasing in demand. That demand is only expected to grow in the future.

Money is an issue for most people, and those considering being caregivers are no different. No one is going to make their fortune as an in-home aide. The fact that it doesn’t require special education or training prevents it from being on par with a high-paying professional position. But those same traits are what make it a perfect choice for some people. Many caregivers make a good salary by getting jobs with leading in-home care agencies.

If you aren’t a good candidate to be a home health aide, then even the best-paid positions aren’t for you. Those aides who really love what they do embrace the good moments and make the best of those that aren’t so great.

A growing number of people are also taking on the job of caregiver for their loved ones. They take on all of the responsibilities without getting paid. In many cases, they don’t get appreciated by the rest of the family members. When they spend a lot of their time caring for their loved one, they often become ill. Stress and burnout are very real problems. Too often, people find out the hard way that being a caregiver isn’t the right choice for them.

What Is the Best Solution?

Most people who care for their loved ones have an emotional burden that makes the job more difficult. They can often hire a trained home health aide and get better care for their loved one. This also takes the impact off their own emotional and physical well-being.

Many seniors would be unable to stay in their own homes without a caregiver. At the same time, many don’t want to be a burden on their family. As a home health aide provider, you offer a solution for the client and the caregiver. Your training and skills make you more efficient at caring for their loved one.

A trained home caregiver is the best solution, regardless of which side of the situation you are on. Too often, families have problems agreeing on the best approach to care for a loved one. Others have heard horror stories about getting the wrong caregiver who failed at their job for a variety of reasons. If you want to be a better caregiver, the best tip is to want to help your client. Understand the expectations and challenges going in. Try to build a real connection with your client and have a positive impact on every moment of every day.

A good home health aid agency understands the value of the relationship between caregiver and client. They know how important it is to their clients to help them maintain their independence and keep living in their own homes. Providing trained, professional, and compassionate caregivers is just the first step. They need to match the caregiver to the client on every level. The caregiver should become a close, trusted friend who the client knows they can depend on.

Keeping the same caregiver with the client is always the best approach. This encourages a bond between them, increasing the client’s feelings of trust and security. Placing the right home health aide into the home will relieve stress and make every day a better one for everyone involved.

San Diego Compassionate Caregivers is a unique home health aide agency which provides custom care plans. We know that every client has unique needs. Our caregivers are compassionate, trained, and trustworthy. We make sure that the caregiver you hire is right for your loved one.

If you need compassionate care for your loved one, contact us to learn more about our services. If you’d like to work as a home health aide and make a difference in someone’s life, submit our online application for employment. We’re here to bring together the perfect match between caregiver and client.

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Hiring a Caregiver for In-Home Help https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/hiring-a-caregiver/ Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:20:17 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1378 Hiring a caregiver to care for your loved one is a big decision. Every person involved has to be a part of the process of deciding when is the right time to hire professional help. There’s a lot to consider including where to look, how your loved one will respond, and how much help you …

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Hiring a caregiver to care for your loved one is a big decision. Every person involved has to be a part of the process of deciding when is the right time to hire professional help. There’s a lot to consider including where to look, how your loved one will respond, and how much help you really need.

What Is a Caregiver?

Caregiver” is the general term given to an unpaid person who provides care to a friend or loved one. There are no special qualifications required to do this job but it is a demanding one. As their loved one’s condition continues to decline, the caregiver’s responsibilities increase. There often comes a point where the person is no longer able to provide the level of care needed to keep their loved one safe, healthy, and happy.

A professional caregiver is someone you hire to provide assistance. They are trained to provide a range of services that make life easier on the client and their loved ones. The caregiver doesn’t provide medical services; there are other professionals for that. Instead, they do things like helping with grooming, taking care of household chores, or running errands. Depending on the individual needs of the client, the caregiver might provide respite care several hours each week or they may provide around the clock care.

Hiring a caregiver is usually the decision of a person’s spouse or their adult child. Caring for a spouse is often too difficult for someone who is also a senior. The demands on their time and energy can have a greater impact on their well-being than the illness has on the one initially requiring care.

Adult children also find caring for a senior parent challenging. Most have to work and take care of their families. Sometimes they live far away. Even those who are available to take on the role of caregiver initially reach the point where they can no longer do enough. How much is too much for someone all comes down to the situation and the needs of both the loved one and the caregiver.

Should You Hire a Caregiver?

Is Hiring a Caregiver the Right Choice for You?

Answering some questions about your current situation will help you decide if it’s time to hire a professional caregiver.

Does your loved one want to live at home?

Caregivers provide in-home support for seniors who want to stay in their home. An AARP study showed that about 90% of seniors wanted to live in their homes near their family and friends. It’s the place where they feel in control. They still feel a sense of freedom and are able to do what they want on their own schedule.

Some seniors said they didn’t prefer to be at home if it would put a burden on their family. Although they would rather be in their own home, they are afraid of being alone, fearing they might fall or get ill. A caregiver might provide the security they need to feel safe and retain their independence at home.

Does your loved one suffer from impaired mobility?

All of us have a decrease in mobility as we age; some much more than others. Some might need the support of a cane or walker when walking short or long distances. Others might be unable to walk at all. Those in the latter group, or seniors with other health conditions, require 24/7 care. A senior who lives in a single floor home and has little trouble getting around can probably do most things for themselves. Those that must climb stairs or who have difficulty getting in and out of the shower or bathtub are at a greater risk.

The issue of falls is a serious one with seniors. Seniors are more likely to fall than other adults. There is also a greater risk of ending up with broken bones, infections, and other complications when they do fall. If your loved one requires help with the simplest things, they probably need frequent assistance. You need to decide if that’s more time than you have to give yourself.

Does your loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia?

Alzheimer’s is one form of dementia and it is the most common kind. The disease consists of three general stages, with each becoming progressively more severe. Every person with Alzheimer’s or dementia experiences the stages differently. They don’t all have the same symptoms or have them to the same degree. All Alzheimer’s and dementia patients experience increasing memory loss. It is the rate of progression that differs from one person to the next.

During the early stage of disease, the person will experience random memory lapses. They may still go about their normal routines including going to work, driving, and socializing. The middle stage of Alzheimer’s is usually the longest. Once they advance to this stage, they require a greater level of care. Those closest to them begin to see differences in their personality. They may stop bathing, doing their laundry, and become withdrawn. It is usually during this stage that people begin to think about hiring a caregiver. Although their loved one may be able to stay in the home, they aren’t capable of taking care of themselves. Their safety and well-being are at risk.

The late stage of Alzheimer’s is the most severe. The person stops responding to the people around them. They may experience personality changes and require extensive help in performing daily activities. The person requires round-the-clock assistance.

It is impossible to know how quickly your loved one will advance through any of the stages. Hiring a caregiver during the early stages can help them enjoy years in their home before they need to transition to an assisted-living home.

Does your loved one require a greater level of care than you are physically and/or emotionally prepared to provide?

Caregiving is hard. Even when you aren’t taking care of your loved one all day and night, you have to pack a lot into the time you have. It’s often a juggling game, trying to take care of every aspect of their life and still managing yours.

Once they require a higher level of care, your time is no longer your own. Between doing laundry, shopping for groceries, preparing meals, bathing, and dressing your loved one, you don’t have any time for breaks.

Sometimes hiring a caregiver to provide respite care is enough to help you manage. It gives you a chance to do things that are important to you. Caregiver support groups have become popular to help caregivers cope with the stress the job entails.

If your loved one has dementia, it becomes even more difficult. It isn’t just the need to help with tasks around the house. They may have behavior problems. Some dementia patients ‘wander’ and have to be watched or monitored all the time. Your loved one might not understand why they shouldn’t cook their own meals or drive a car. As their mental and physical capabilities diminish, you see the person you knew disappear. If it’s your mother or father, you may have to deal with them yelling at you, calling you names out of anger, or not recognizing who you are. Sometimes the caregiver gets seriously ill due to the stress. Many times, they die before the loved one they are caring for dies.

Never let guilt be the driving force behind your decision to be a caregiver. If you were in their place, what would you want for your child? Hiring a professional caregiver isn’t taking the easy way out. It’s making the decision that is best for your loved one. An experienced caregiver knows what to expect. They have the training to give their clients the best possible care to keep them safe and happy.

Can you afford it?

Many people hesitate at hiring in-home help because of the cost. It’s true, a professional caregiver can be expensive. This is especially true when you need them full-time. But paying for a caregiver by the hour might be more affordable than you think. If it means the difference in your being able to keep working at your job, it might be the more financially sound option by far.

Some types of long-term insurance pay part of the cost. You may also be able to deduct the cost of in-home care from your taxes if it is considered medically necessary. Some states have programs that help pay under certain circumstances. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to other family members to help foot the cost. It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page about a loved one’s care. But there may be some members of the family willing to pitch in and do their part.

Do you have the right to make the decision about your loved one’s care?

You should be able to rely on the rest of your family members for support. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end up that way. Even in large families, there usually ends up being one child who takes care of their aging parents alone. The best they can hope for is that the rest will be supportive.

Don’t be surprised if your family contradicts every decision you make. They may have differing opinions about what type of care is best. The best way to prevent family squabbles from adding to the stress is to discuss the possibility of hiring a caregiver before one is needed. If your aging parent trusts you to make decisions on their behalf, consider getting a power of attorney. This gives you the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of your loved one when they are no longer able to reasonably do so.

It’s also a good idea to talk with them about their wishes in case they should become disabled or ill. People often say they don’t want to end up in a nursing home when they get older. They prefer to stay at home, even if it means not getting the care they need. Hiring a caregiver is a reasonable solution that lets them have the best of both worlds.

Finding the Right Caregiver

Once you’ve decided hiring a caregiver is the right choice, where do you start? Begin by sitting down and creating a list of services that you need. You need an idea of the schedule your caregiver will need to keep. Include everything from medication reminders to walking the dog. Caregivers provide a broad range of services that include companion care, taking care of household chores, and personal care. Make a list of what you need before you ever start your search.

Safety is always an important issue. You want someone you can trust to care for your loved one and do what is expected of them. Never rely on classified ads and bulletin boards to find a caregiver. You want the option to check the credentials of the person you invite into your loved one’s home.

Working with an agency allows you to choose a caregiver who has been screened and trained to provide safe, compassionate care. Make sure that they provide extensive background checks on all of their caregivers. They should also be insured and bonded. You want to know you can trust them.

Ask the agency what types of schedules they offer. You need some flexibility to fit in with your schedule or to adapt as your loved one requires a higher level of care. Find out if they will offer a custom care plan for you or if their services are a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. You and your loved one will get the greatest benefit from a care plan that meets both of your needs.

The right caregiver will not only care for your loved one, they will be a friend and companion to them. Ideally, they will be compatible and share similar interests. This will help them build a bond that both can enjoy.

San Diego Compassionate Caregivers goes the extra mile to provide caregivers that are a perfect match to the client. We maintain contact after they are placed in the home to ensure your loved one gets the best possible care. If you are thinking about hiring a caregiver, contact us today. We will work with you to develop an affordable and customized care plan for your loved one.

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What Does Power of Attorney (POA) Stand For? https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/power-of-attorney/ Mon, 30 Jul 2018 15:58:45 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1369 If you have ever seen the letters “POA,” you have probably wondered, “What is a power of attorney?” In essence, this is a legal document that enables another person to act on your behalf in the event that you become mentally or physically incapacitated. It is a binding legal document that gives the person you …

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If you have ever seen the letters “POA,” you have probably wondered, “What is a power of attorney?” In essence, this is a legal document that enables another person to act on your behalf in the event that you become mentally or physically incapacitated. It is a binding legal document that gives the person you appoint the power to make decisions for you, including medical, financial and other important decisions. You can specify what your power of attorney is and is not able to handle. Here’s what you need to know to implement your own power of attorney.

Uses for Power of Attorney

There are many categories of people who will have use for a POA arrangement. The most common is the elderly. When you reach the later stages of your life, the possibility of contracting a debilitating illness or suffering from memory issues becomes increasingly more likely. When it gets to the point where you can no longer make decisions for yourself, you’ll want to have someone you trust in place to handle those decisions for you.

Even if you haven’t yet reached your golden years, you may still wish to have a power of attorney for medical reasons. For example, if you are planning to undergo major surgery, you may wish to institute a POA in case of any complications during the procedure or recovery process. This would likely be a temporary arrangement until you are well again.

If you travel frequently, you may institute a power of attorney to handle your affairs back home. This would be especially useful if you are traveling to areas that don’t have reliable phone or internet connections, making it difficult for you to tend to important matters. As in the previous instance, this would probably only be temporary. You would retake control when you return home.

Another common use of POA arrangements is for people who own their own businesses. Even if you don’t anticipate being away from your business for an extended period, you might want to have a POA in place in case of emergency. You never know when you might fall ill or be in an accident. A POA will ensure your business continues to run according to your directives until you are able to return.

There are plenty of other scenarios that may warrant a POA. Don’t be shy about talking to an attorney to learn more about the process and how it works.

Types of Power of Attorney

Just as there are many uses for a POA arrangement, there are many different types as well. Each gives your appointed person a different amount of control, according to your wishes.

General Power of Attorney

This is the broadest of all the POA options. It gives your chosen person or entity the greatest level of control. Your POA can handle a variety of tasks for you, including:

  • Managing your finances
  • Purchasing insurance, including life insurance
  • Operating your business
  • Settling legal claims
  • Hiring additional help
  • And more

This type of POA agreement is often included as part of the estate planning process, enabling you to appoint someone to handle any financial issues that arrive after your death. This type of arrangement is also common for travelers and those who are concerned about their ongoing physical or mental health. Under this POA type, your chosen agent basically acts for you as if you were there yourself.

Special Power of Attorney

In a special power of attorney arrangement, you can pick and choose the powers you wish to impart to your agent. In this case, you specify exactly what your agent is and is not allowed to do. For example, if you will be traveling, you may allow them to sell an old car for you while you are away but not make decisions regarding your children’s education. You may also choose to allow them to manage your real estate investments but not your charitable giving. In the POA document, you will have the chance to delineate the specific capabilities you want your agent to have in your absence and can also specify areas in which they are to have no control.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This is one of the more well-known uses of power of attorney, allowing your agent to make medical decisions for you. Of course, this person can only take action if you are incapacitated. This can include if you are:

  • Unconscious
  • In a coma
  • Mentally incompetent
  • On life support
  • Or otherwise incapable of communicating your wishes to doctors

Although similar, this is not the same as a living will. In a living will, you specify your wishes for your medical care in a variety of situations. In a healthcare POA arrangement, you grant the power to your agent to make medical decisions for you. If you have specific requests regarding your ongoing care, you can combine a healthcare POA with a living will, letting your agent know exactly what you expect of them, including your wishes with regards to being kept alive on life support. If you do have a living will, this document will override the POA agreement, meaning that your agent is legally bound to follow your specific instructions.

Durable Power of Attorney

This is an additional provision that you can add on to any of the above types of POA agreements. In many cases, POA documents are only temporary, enabling your agent to act on your behalf only in specific conditions. With a durability provision, the agreement is safeguarded against any possible complications. This keeps your power of attorney in effect under any circumstances that you were not able to foresee.

Choosing Your Power of Attorney

Choosing the person you name as your agent is just as important as choosing what powers that person will have. Because this person will be acting on your behalf, it is crucial that you choose someone you can trust to look out for your best interests when you are unable to do so yourself. You also want to ensure that this person will respect your wishes and won’t abuse the power you have given them.

In most cases, people name a relative or close friend to act as their power of attorney. However, you can also name an organization, your attorney or any other entity you prefer. You also have the option of appointing multiple agents. When you have more than one agent, you can specify whether they can each act independently or need approval from all agents to make final decisions.

Requiring multiple agents to be in agreement can help to prevent any one of them from abusing their power or going against your wishes. The drawback, though, is that your agents may disagree from time to time, creating delays in decision-making. This could present a problem if any required decisions are time-sensitive, like in medical scenarios or the signing of important documents.

Even if you only appoint one agent, it is a good idea to have a successor in place in case your preferred agent is unable to assume the role. This successor would only come into play if the primary agent is unavailable or incapacitated. Having this backup plan in place will ensure that your wishes are still carried out as you had hoped.

Your Agent’s Responsibilities

When acting as your POA, your agent should keep detailed records of everything they do on your behalf. This includes things like recording all financial transactions, documenting medical tests and procedures, and providing you with updates if you are able to receive them. If you will not be able to review these updates, you can appoint a third party to evaluate them on your behalf.

Your agent will be held legally responsible for any decisions they make while acting as your agent. This means that they can be prosecuted for any intentional misconduct. It is important to note, though, that the provisions of POA agreements protect your agent against legal action for anything that they did wrong unknowingly. Many people are reluctant to take on this much responsibility, so this protection can provide the peace of mind they need to agree to be your POA.

As unfortunate as it is to think about, there are those out there who take advantage of their positions as POAs. If you or anyone else you trust suspects that your power of attorney is going against your wishes or engaging in wrongdoing on your behalf, you can report them to law enforcement personnel. In scenarios like this, it is wise to consult an attorney as well to learn more about the next steps you should take.

Verifying Your Power of Attorney

When you first create a POA document, you must be mentally competent. This ensures that you truly wish for a particular person to handle your affairs for you and aren’t being forced into the agreement against your will. To ensure that there are no complications in enacting your POA, you can get a mental competency verification from your doctor to include with the document.

Once you have completed the document, you will need to sign and notarize it for additional verification. It is also a good idea to create several certified copies of the document to give to banks, attorneys, doctors and other businesses. Many entities will not allow your agent to act on your behalf until they have received a certified copy of the POA agreement.

Competency can come into question when enacting the POA agreement. In order for your POA to take over, a doctor must certify that you are mentally incompetent unless you have specified other provisions like being out of the country. You can choose a particular doctor to provide this certification or you can request that at least two doctors corroborate the diagnosis.

In extreme cases, a court may need to step in to determine your competency. In this scenario, the decision of the court overrides any other recommendations that have been made. While you don’t need an attorney to execute your POA, it is a good idea to consult one in the process of creating the document to ensure you are adequately protected and that the document meets all necessary legal requirements.

Revoking Your Power of Attorney

You have the power to revoke your power of attorney whenever you like, assuming that you are still mentally competent. To cancel the arrangement, you must notify your agent in writing. You should also collect all certified copies of the document so that you can destroy them. You’ll need to notify any banks, medical professionals, businesses and other entities that the document is no longer in effect so they can destroy their copies as well. You’ll also need to tell your County Clerk’s office that the document has been revoked.

Ongoing Care in Your Retirement

If you have reached retirement age, it is smart to set up a power of attorney agreement to protect your wishes in case you fall ill or lose your mental faculties. However, legal protection isn’t the only thing you’ll need in this case. You’ll also need qualified care.

Here at San Diego Compassionate Caregivers, we provide a variety of in-home care types for the elderly. For those who are still relatively independent, we can provide companionship and socialization. For those who need a bit more assistance, we can help with daily activities, including dressing and grooming, getting to appointments, preparing meals, doing light housework and more. We can even assist those with memory loss issues, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

We welcome you to get in touch with us to learn more about our various care options in San Diego and how we can help you make the most of your golden years while staying in your own home. Our caregivers will be happy to answer all of your questions to give you a better sense of what we have to offer. Call us today to get started.

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What Does ADLS and IADLS Stand For? https://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/adls-and-iadls/ Mon, 23 Jul 2018 20:47:36 +0000 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com/?p=1364 ADLS and IADLS are common terms in the senior care industry. It is important that you know what these terms mean. ADLS stands for activities of daily living, and IADLS stands for instrumental activities of daily living. These are the basic tasks that a person must be able to accomplish to get through the day …

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ADLS and IADLS are common terms in the senior care industry. It is important that you know what these terms mean. ADLS stands for activities of daily living, and IADLS stands for instrumental activities of daily living. These are the basic tasks that a person must be able to accomplish to get through the day and care for themselves successfully. An inability to perform these tasks means that the person will likely need ongoing care. Here’s what you need to know.

 

Activities of Daily Living (ADLS)

ADLS are the basic life skills that most people learn from an early age. This category encompasses the things that people typically perform first thing in the morning, like grooming, bathing, eating, moving around the house and using the bathroom. Although most people pick up these skills in early childhood, they can often become difficult for the elderly to do without help.

Getting Around the House

No matter who you are or where you live, your day starts with getting out of bed. However, even this seemingly simple task can present challenges for some seniors. Those who use wheelchairs, for example, may need assistance moving from the bed to the chair and back again at the end of the day. Those who are still able to walk may still have difficulty with balance, making it risky for them to try to get things off high shelves or walk up and down stairs.

Mobility can impact just about all areas of a person’s life as people have to move around frequently to engage in other ADLS and IADLS. This can be especially problematic for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients as they may forget how to get from one room to another. If a person only has trouble getting around but can perform other activities with minimal assistance, in-home care can be of great assistance.

Using the Bathroom

This is a bit of a touchy subject for many people as it encompasses activities that are normally done in private. This universal task is something that everyone will have to do several times throughout the day. Because bathrooms are often wet areas, this task can be particularly perilous. There is an increased risk of slipping or falling. Many elderly individuals also have difficulty getting on and off the toilet, making this task even more challenging.

Because using the restroom is normally a private affair, it is important that the caregiver you choose is able to assist with it tactfully and respectfully. Maintaining dignity is a major concern for many seniors. Installing handles near the toilet can make it easier for your loved one to be able to get up and down so they can continue to care for themselves safely.

Bathing

As with using the toilet, showering or taking a bath can pose problems for seniors. Shower and bathtub floors can be quite slippery, as can the floor of the bathroom itself. This is another area where handles can be particularly useful. You should also install non-slip flooring or use non-slip mats to minimize the risk of slipping and falling. A small stool or chair in the shower can be helpful as well.

Towels should be placed close to the shower or bath so the person doesn’t have to reach very far to grab them. This way, they can dry off before stepping out, reducing the risk of slipping while getting out and after the fact. Caregivers can provide support whenever the person is entering and exiting the shower or bath as well.

Dressing

Getting dressed in the morning is an important part of the day. Choosing appropriate clothes for the daily events and activities can give a person an extra dose of self-esteem. When people look good, they feel better about themselves. Clothes play a big role in this.

However, getting dressed can be difficult for those with limited mobility or balance issues. Standing on one leg to put on pants can be a recipe for disaster for someone who has trouble balancing even on two legs. Most caregivers will provide assistance in this area, giving the person an extra set of hands when they need them most.

Grooming

Aside from getting dressed, there are a number of other tasks that can boost a person’s self-esteem. These tasks fall under the general category of grooming and include things like brushing teeth, styling hair and using cosmetics and other beauty products. Of course, brushing teeth or caring for dentures is just as important for good health as it is for personal hygiene, so this important daily activity should not be overlooked.

Styling hair and wearing makeup won’t necessarily have any health implications, but they can still go a long way towards making the person feel good about themselves. However, these tasks often require precision and manual dexterity, making them difficult for many seniors to accomplish unaided. Most caregivers can help with these activities as needed. This is another area, like using the toilet, that can impact a person’s dignity, so the caregiver must approach these tasks with compassion and respect.

Eating

Eating a healthy diet is absolutely essential for daily living. A person must be able to accomplish this task in order to live safely on their own. Issues with finger strength and dexterity can make using utensils difficult, and many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients often forget that they even need to eat. Other physical and cognitive impairments can make dining challenging as well.

If a person is unable to feed themselves, they will require assistance with meals. Depending on how well they are able to perform other ADLS and IADLS, they may need around-the-clock care, or they may only need assistance at meal times. The caregiver you choose should be able to assist with meals as needed.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLS)

IADLS are a sub-category of ADLS. These are the skills that a person needs to have in order to live independently and are typically a bit more complex than ADLS. In general, these are the skills that a person acquires as a teenager, like cooking, communicating, performing housework, managing money and using transportation, among others. Although these skills aren’t necessarily essential for self-care, they are, nonetheless, important for independent living.

Cooking

This is a separate category from eating, discussed in the previous section, as modern conveniences make it easier than ever to prepare meals without cooking. However, this is still an important skill to have as it enables a person to eat food that is not only delicious but nutritious as well. Many pre-prepared meals are nowhere near as nutritious as the same meal prepared from scratch. Of course, dining out is also a possibility, but that presents other challenges and can be quite expensive.

In-home caregivers can assist a person with preparing their own meals, as well as with eating them, if needed. This makes it easier to stick to any doctor-recommended nutrition guidelines, control portion sizes and eat preferred foods.

Communicating

Modern technology makes it easy to communicate, either on the phone, over email or even using video chat. However, seniors did not grow up using this type of technology and may not fully understand how to use it. Not only that, but some cognitive problems can make it difficult for the person to speak clearly.

A caregiver can help the person get the appropriate technology set up and show them how to use it. For those who have difficulty speaking, email may be a better option. If a person has difficulty communicating in any form, though, they may need more comprehensive care, as they won’t be able to let anyone know how they are feeling or what they need. A professional caregiver will know the signs to look for to ensure the person’s daily needs are being met.

Housekeeping

Keeping a clean home is almost as important as maintaining good personal hygiene, but house cleaning tasks can be a bit more challenging due to the amount of physical activity required. Even light cleaning can become hazardous for someone who has trouble with balance and mobility. Cleaning products should be kept in places where they are easy to reach to minimize the risk of falling.

Whether housekeeping is included in your loved one’s care depends on the extent and scope of services offered by the particular caregiver you choose. If a caregiver doesn’t provide this service, you can always hire an outside housekeeper to keep your loved one’s home clean.

Managing Finances

Even in the senior years, managing finances is still an important task. Your loved one will have bills to pay for utilities, and they’ll have to cover housing expenses if they do not own their property outright. They’ll also have monthly expenses for food, clothing, leisure activities and more. Many seniors live on a fixed income, which makes adequately managing their finances even more important to ensure they have the funds to cover their expenses throughout their retirement.

This is a task that should not be left to the person’s caregiver. This can create a conflict of interest so it is better for someone else to handle this task if your loved one is no longer able to. They may wish to instate a power of attorney to manage their affairs in the event that they become mentally or physically incapacitated.

Navigating Transportation

Seniors don’t spend all of their time at home, which means they need to have a means of transportation to get from place to place. While many seniors are still perfectly capable of driving, many are not, which means they must rely on public transportation to get around town. However, this can be especially problematic for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients as they may forget where they need to go or how to get back home.

Many caregivers provide transportation services, either driving the person around themselves or taking public transportation with them. Even if a person has not yet shown signs of memory problems, it is always a good idea to monitor their condition on a regular basis to minimize the risk of them getting lost while out and about.

Measuring ADLS and IADLS

As your loved one gets older, you’ll need to make a decision as to whether they can continue to care for themselves or need a part-time or full-time caregiver. When it comes to making this decision, doctors and senior care specialists typically grade each skill on a sliding scale. Skills are rated in terms of whether the person can perform each task independently, with minimal help, with greater assistance or not at all.

The more tasks a person can do independently, the more likely it is that they can continue to live in their own home, possibly only requiring the assistance of a caregiver a few times each week. If a person has severe difficulty with many of the tasks, on the other hand, they will likely need full-time care, either in-home or in a senior care facility.

Those in the early stages of being a senior can often accomplish most or all of the ADLS and IADLS, but as they get older, they will likely need more assistance. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s typically need the most care as their memory issues and other cognitive complications make these basic tasks far more difficult.

You and your loved one can complete an assessment on your own to help guide you in making your decision about ongoing care. If you are unsure how to rate a particular task, your doctor or a professional caregiver can offer advice and guidance.

Care Options

You have numerous options available to you when it comes to elder care. Most senior care providers, both in-home and residential, can assist with ADLS and IADLS. The amount of assistance provided will depend on the particular care provider you choose.

Here at San Diego Compassionate Care, we provide in-home care services, allowing your loved one to age gracefully in the same place that they have called home for many years. This is an attractive option for many people as it doesn’t require them to move to an unfamiliar setting. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our in-home care services for seniors.

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