10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Caregiver or Home Care Agency!

In a recent study, it was shown that:

  • Only 55 percent of the Home Care Agencies did a federal background check. 
  • Only one-third of the agencies test for caregiver skill competency.
  • Supervision ranged from non to weekly, and included home visits, telephone calls, and caregivers visiting the office.

By being an educated consumer, you can find a qualified, reputable agency that employees caregivers who will care for your parent with compassion and skill. 

 Here are ten questions to ask before you hire a caregiver.

  1. Go through a well known agency.  This doesn't necessarily mean a large franchise, but get references before choosing.
  2. What recruiting methods do they use? How are they finding job candidates? Newspaper ads? Staff agencies? Craigslist?
  3. What are their hiring requirements for prospective employees?
  4. What screenings are preformed on caregivers before they are hired? Criminal background checks-federal or state?
  5. How does the agency assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
  6. Does the agency train caregivers? What does the training entail? Are they knowledgeable about elderly health conditions?
  7. Are the caregivers insured and bonded through the agency?
  8. IS the agency diligent about sending the same caregiver to their home, rather than a revolving door of strangers who parents don’t know or trust?
  9. If you are not satisfied with a particular caregiver, will the agency provide a different person?
  10. Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis?  How frequently?

These ten questions will provide you with a great start to getting into the type of care and response that you will receive with the agency that you are questioning. 

Traveling with a Person who has Disabilities

If you like to travel, but worry about leaving a loved one at home who has a disability, consider taking them with you!  Think of the experience that you and your loved one will be able enjoy and remember!  Here are some tips to traveling with a person who has disabilities:

One thing is to research how easy the city can be to navigate, and how accommodating the city is to wheelchair accessibility.  If you do an internet search of the city's name, and "navigating with special needs," you will be able to find out if this city is an option for you! It will tell you about the sidewalk conditions, and the quality of public transportation, and options for taxi services. If the city has bad public transportation, look into driving services that may be available. 

Look for hotels that will help accommodate your needs, and are close to the sights that you would like to see. Think about things that make your loved one feel comfortable, such as air conditioning.  This will make your trip go more smoothly if the comforts and familiarity that they are used to are also offered at the hotel that you are staying at.  

Consider flying to make your trip shorter.  The airports provide wheelchairs, and offer assistance on and off the plane, and to your next gate, all free of charge.  They also allow you more boarding time so that your loved one can get settled in to their seat without feeling rushed. This will help you avoid long car rides, and you will be able to enjoy your stay at your destination for a longer period of time! 

When getting off of the plane, look into having a car to wait for you.  They will help with your luggage, and you will avoid all of the hassle of trying to hail a taxi.  This will make the trip less stressful, and more relaxing. Take lots of breaks while you are site seeing. Traveling is exhausting, and you don't want to wear your loved one out early on in the trip.  Make time for naps and relaxation!

Make sure to keep any medication on you!  You don't want them to be in your luggage if it gets lost, or delayed.  Carry them in the original bottles, and write down the generic names, just in case you need to find a quick replacement.  If you are traveling outside of the country, write down the interpretation for the reasoning to the medication, such as "high blood pressure." Also look up how to say the things they are allergic to.  

Make sure that you always carry your loved one's doctor's phone number.  A couple of good things to keep on hand at all times are water (to keep hydrated), energy bars and almonds (For a quick boost), Advil, Neosporin, and anti-diarrhea medication.  

Tips for Seniors on How to keep your Mind and Body Healthy

With the warm weather so close you can almost feel it, we thought we would take the time to post about the importance of exercise.  Physical activity plays a significant role in seniors' health and quality of life.  Daily physical exercise not only helps maintain an active life style but effectively prevents multiple diseases.  Exercise is also good for seniors' mind, mood, and memory.   Without enough exercise, seniors may gradually lose their strength and their ability to stay independent.  Regular exercise can build strength and stamina, which reduces the risk of falling.  Some seniors are skeptical about exercising because they are unsure of how much physical activity is the appropriate amount, or what exercise would fit them best.  Here are some tips to get you started!

1.  Pick something that you ENJOY doing.  This will keep you motivated to keep at it!

2.  Try different things.  You might find new passions, and new friends in the process!  Just start out slow with new activities, so you are sure that you are not overextending your abilities.  

3. Try to spend at least 2.5 hours weekly of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as swimming or biking.  

4. Add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscles groups at least twice a week, such as lifting weights or yoga. 

5. Start slowly, and listen to your body.  Do not push or stretch yourself too hard. 

6.  Spread out the activities into sessions of 10 minutes or more.  

7. Grab a friend, and make them your exercise partner! This can turn this into a social event, and you can motivate each other!

8. Walk as much as possible.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can!

My tip for today is to go out and smell the flowers! Take a long stroll, and begin to enjoy the weather outside, while also improving your body and your mind!  

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