Benefits of Playing Bingo for Seniors

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

February 20, 2020


Bingo is commonly thought of as a game for the elderly, but did you know it’s beneficial to their health? Learn more about the benefits of playing bingo.

 

Bingo is stereotypically referred to as one of those “games old people play.” But bingo can actually be a very healthy activity for aging adults. Studies have shown that there are many benefits of playing bingo for seniors in particular.

Read on to learn more about how bingo for seniors is a great game for their overall health.

 

Benefits of Playing Bingo

Did you know that bingo for seniors scientifically improves health? Learn some of the benefits for older adults who engage in a game of bingo.

 

Increases Social Engagement

Games for senior citizens, like bingo, are great because it increases social engagement. Seniors often struggle with isolation. Every year they are losing friends and family to distance, death, or other factors. They’re also less energetic than they once were, which makes it difficult to be motivated to leave the house and be a part of social activities.

A bingo competition is a structured way for senior citizens to get some fresh air and interact with other people. Since bingo games usually happen at the same time every week, it can easily become part of a routine. 

 

Allows for Reflection and Memory Recall

One of the best sit down games for senior citizens is Life Experience Bingo.

The elderly have so many life experiences that make this game very enjoyable for them to play. After writing down the common things they’ve done on a bingo card, the bingo caller can say them to the group. 

Older adults get the opportunity to laugh and reminisce about their lives. This opens the door for them to connect with other seniors who have had similar life experiences. Additionally, using their memory to bring to mind past experiences is a great brain exercise for aging adults.

 

Decreases the Risk of Mental Illness

It’s sad, but the risk of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, get higher as people age. One of the major factors of depression is isolation, which bingo helps to tackle through social interaction.

Cognitive impairment is usually accompanied by depression in older adults. Playing memory games, like bingo, is great for combatting mental illness and memory loss diseases like Alzheimer’s.

 

Improves Cognitive Function

Playing bingo improves cognitive function in the elderly. Brain games, even those online, help aging adults remain sharp and tackle day-to-day tasks. Most seniors are able to play bingo at various stages of mental health.

Bingo is repetitive, which is helpful for elderly players who may not have the wherewithal to learn new rules and skills. In this way, bingo strikes the perfect balance between improving the mind and being a simple, engaging game. 

 

Improves Memory

One of the benefits of playing bingo for the elderly is that it supports memory improvement. A wide variety of digital games and apps for seniors exist to help combat cognitive decline. However, older people may think more traditionally when it comes to gaming. 

It’s important to consider, “what do seniors like to do?” New games and technology may be foreign and unfamiliar. For those who prefer to play in-person games rather than on a screen, bingo is a perfectly good alternative. 

Games for senior citizens need to be interactive and engaging. This allows them to focus on the task at hand for a longer period of time, opening up neuropathways for learning. People who are engaged are more likely to remember what happened than if they were bored or disengaged.

 

Better Hand-Eye Coordination

As we age, our bodies tend to get a bit shakier and we lose some coordination skills. Because seniors must place chips onto their card quickly in bingo, it’s a good step towards improving hand-eye coordination. 

Simple movements, like placing a chip on a card, can be beneficial to the daily life of older adults. This can help your elderly loved one with household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, or buttoning clothes.

 

At Home Care for Seniors

Grandkids may still refer to bingo as one of those “games for old people.” However, now you know the benefits of seniors playing bingo. 

Consider spending time together as a family this week to play bingo with your aging loved one. Or find a local bingo game group they can participate in. 

If home care assistance is something you are looking into, learn more about Commonwise Home Care services. Our caregivers are trained professionals, but also compassionate. The type of people who stop a task to sit down and play a game of bingo with your loved one.

Call our 24/7 Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Why be a caregiver?

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

February 13, 2020


Why be a caregiver? Well, do you love taking care of people? Learn if you would be a good caregiver for the elderly.

 

Have you ever thought, “Of all jobs, why be a caregiver?” Unfortunately, there are countless elderly adults facing a variety of abuse types as a result of bad caregivers. That’s why.

Caregiving is an admirable profession. There are many requirements to be a caregiver, such as education and training. But, having the technical skills of a caregiver is not enough.

Do you have the right qualities of a caregiver

Do you have a soft spot for those in need, particularly the elderly?

Read this blog as a guide on what it takes to be a good caregiver.

 

What Is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is anyone responsible for providing care to an older adult. Caregivers can be a family member, close friend, or a professional.

If you are a family member who wants to know how to become a caregiver for the elderly, learn how to get paid to take care of family.

Family members are usually not able to care in the ways a professional caregiver is. In addition, the weight of caring for a loved one can become overwhelming; especially as their health declines. 

Professional caregivers are qualified, trained, and certified, allowing them to provide specialized home care. 

 

What Are The Duties of a Home Caregiver?

Caring for elderly adults can be challenging, especially when you face resistance. It’s important to remember that whether those patients are dealing with the loss of a spouse or the loss of their independence, many elders are dealing with a myriad of emotions.

The duties of a caregiver are not easily summarized. By no means is this list all-inclusive, but here are a few services caregivers provide on a daily basis:

 

Personal At Home Care Services

 

Caregiver Requirements

Caregiver requirements are not standard across the board. There are a variety of home care agencies and organizations that offer caregiving.

At Commonwise Home Care, our Care Team must have caregiving experience and a compassionate heart that exhibits unconditional kindness.

Our caregivers have the following qualities:

  • Compassionate
  • Patient by nature
  • Excellent communicator
  • Relentlessly punctual
  • Creative problem solver
  • Respectful
  • Empathetic
  • Teachable

In conjunction with these positive qualities, we make sure that our employees possess a variety of caregiving skills. 

We take great care to ensure that each caregiver who joins our team truly desires to care for the wellbeing of older adults.

 

Why Be a Caregiver?

There are many great reasons to be a caregiver. While unconditional kindness and consistent care require hard work, there is great joy when opting to help someone in need.

Caregivers provide a fantastic service to families who have been caring for someone they love but need a break to keep up with all the other demands of life.

Caregiving is an excellent way to develop new skills, learn to listen, and make a difference in someone’s life. The vocation of caregiving requires heart. It’s not a job, caregiving is a calling.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unqualified, neglectful caregivers. The sad truth is without proper training or a compassionate heart, a loved one may be experiencing elderly abuse from a caregiver. Sometimes, this neglectful behavior can continue for months or even years without family members knowing.

We stand by every one of our caregivers, and we can do so because of our extensive hiring process. 

 

What Sets Commonwise Caregivers Apart From the Rest?

Our home care agency provides compassionate care to patients. Not only that, but the way we treat our caregivers is unlike other care providers. 

If you are thinking, “Why be a caregiver at Commonwise Home Care?” Consider the following differentiators.

 

Extensive caregiver training

First and foremost, we understand the demands of the job. As a result, we make sure that our caregivers have the support they need to provide excellent care. Each of our caregivers completes our proprietary training program to prepare them for providing excellent at-home care.

 

Personal care plans

Before one of our caregivers even begins to care for a client, we establish an in-depth, personal care for that individual. Plus, we have a registered nurse and administrator on call 24/7 to provide support. Every situation is different, and every old adult has unique needs. We are dedicated to meeting those needs in a personalized way.

 

Caregiving as a calling

To us, caregiving isn’t just a job, but rather, a calling. It’s both challenging and fulfilling. We look for people with exceptional emotional intelligence and refined personal skills. A good caregiver isn’t just someone with a certification or experience as a caregiver. Great caregivers are personally committed to their calling and enjoy caring for elderly adults.

 

Better pay, better care

We take the time to recruit the best in the profession, and we are proud to pay them accordingly. The fact of the matter is some people are caregivers for the sake of having a job. Most times, caregivers are vastly underpaid for the amazing work they do. At Commonwise, we pay more to attract the highest quality caregivers around.

 

Every caregiver has a voice

When our caregivers make creative suggestions, we say “yes” as much as we can. We want to support them in improving the lives of older adults. We nurture team spirit and encourage bonds between our caregivers. That way, they can learn from one another. Sharing knowledge and experience helps to build strong Care Team members.

 

Premium Home Care

Commonwise Home Care is committed to compassionately caring for elderly adults, their families, and our caregivers. We strive to ensure that we match each client with a great caregiver. 

Our goal is for our elderly clients to receive premium home care by our exceptional staff. Families should feel at ease knowing that loved ones are receiving the care and compassion they deserve.

Do you have a loved one in need of care? You can start their care today right here. Would you like to apply to be one of our caregivers? You can begin the process here!

Benefits of Elderly Care at Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

February 6, 2020


Do you have someone in your life that needs elderly care due to their declining health or wellbeing? Read the benefits of keeping them cared for at home.

 

If you have loved one in need of quality elderly care, consider the benefits of at home care.

Many factors play into someone needing at home care: physical disabilities or impairments, a new diagnosis, post-surgery recovery, worsening conditions or symptoms, declining overall health, etc. Aging at home is the best next step for elderly adults who are no longer independent or in good health.

Read on to learn more about why elderly care at home can benefit you and your loved one.

 

Home is Where the Health Is

A crucial component of elderly home care is to ensure the patient feels safe and comfortable. When they can stay in their own home, most elderly adults feel better mentally and physically.

Staying at home means that they are surrounded by the familiar, which helps to create a sense of security and freedom. 

Consider the following benefits as you research the best option for a loved one.

 

Home Care is Personalized

Assisted living facilities may have some perks, but working with the elderly by offering help at home is ideal. Most importantly, home care patients receive more personalized, one-on-one care. Dedicated caregivers provide a sense of companionship and compassion not found in a group setting.

When an elderly person needs specific care, their needs may be overlooked in a larger living facility. Patients who stay at home get personal assistance at their own pace in a more intimate setting. 

Overall, personalized care provides a higher quality of care. Professional caregivers get to know their patients on a relational level to learn how to serve them best. Your loved one deserves personal attention to help them thrive.

 

Home Care Preserves Health and Independence

As people age, everyday tasks can start to become more difficult. Being able to live at home offers a sense of comfort and independence.

Elderly care at home can also help patients maintain or even increase confidence levels. Living in a nursing home or assisted living facility can make a person feel defeated, helpless, or even bitter.

The ability to stay at home can encourage your elderly loved one to reach out and communicate more. Home care empowers elderly adults to do things on their own but quickly offers assistance when needed. These feelings of confidence and independence can be extremely beneficial for their mental health and well-being.

 

Home Care Provides Peace of Mind to Families

As the child of an elderly parent, it’s normal to worry about their safety and well-being. When your older parent or parents can stay at home, the stress of a life-altering change is no longer imminent.  You can worry less about their safety and be certain their health is in good hands.

Knowing loved ones can get the special care they need at home provides peace of mind. An aged care guide can be a helpful tool in the beginning phases of searching for care. Learn more about how Commonwise Care helps families find the right care for loved ones.

 

Home Care Government Assistance Programs Available

Government assistance for caregivers of elderly parents is also available depending on factors such as location. Medicaid offers a few programs geared toward families who need financial assistance caring for their elderly family members.

Talk to a financial advisor to find out if you can get some form of reimbursement or assistance if you have a loved one who needs elder care. The National Council on Aging also provides an online resource, BenefitsCheckUp®, to help you find out what programs you are eligible for.

 

Home Care Creates a Safe Environment

Some concerns regarding elderly parents aging at home is a lack of safe surroundings. Instead of uprooting their life from the place they call home, ground them by creating a safe environment. An older adult’s home can easily be transformed into a safe, comfortable space to remain living in. 

Consider integrating some of these safety precautions if you want to provide elderly care at home:

  • Install shower bars.
  • Add slip-proof coverings to shower and bath floors.
  • Move cabinet items lower to make functioning in the home easier.
  • Remove clutter from floors to prevent elderly falls.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Every situation is unique, but allowing loved ones to stay at home is often the best option. Not only will they be able to maintain most of their independence, but they’ll also get a more personal level of care that is dedicated to their health and safety.

 

Keep Your Loved Ones at Home

In closing, there are many benefits of working with the elderly through at home elderly care.

Make sure you look for high-quality elder care services that will give your loved one the personalized attention they need. You’ll get peace of mind knowing they are surrounded by a familiar environment where they feel safe and protected.

For more information about our professional at home care services, visit our website or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Home Health Care Cost vs Hospital

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 30, 2020


How does home health care cost compare to the pricey medical bills for a loved one’s end of life care in a hospital? Find out here.

 

Every year, approximately 4.5 million people throughout the U.S. require long-term or end of life care. Do you have a loved one in need of this type of care? Are you struggling to figure out hospital vs home health care cost and benefits?

One of the hardest decisions to make during this process is deciding whether to invest in a hospital stay, in home care, or alternative home health care options.

Read on to learn more about end of life care options and how life care at home compares to that of a hospital setting. You’ll also learn about the benefits of in home care that help your loved one feel their best while still getting access to the support they need.

 

The Reality of Home Care vs Hospital Costs

The average home health care cost varies depending on the provider you choose. In most cases, though, in home care is significantly more affordable than seeking hospital care. The health system is primarily built to solve problems, not to support people, and it shows in both the price and service it provides.

Research shows that acute care for an in-home patient can cost, on average, 52 percent less than care in a hospital setting. Real-life experiences have shown even more significant savings. For example, one family spent nearly $20,000 for their father to spend just 12 hours of care in a hospital. Contrastly, they went on to spend a mere $6,093 for over 200 hours of in-home care.

There are many reasons why home health care is more cost-effective alternative than a hospital or nursing facility, including:

  • Reduced need for rehospitalization
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Reduced need for expensive, unnecessary testing
  • Reduced exposure to illnesses that can worsen an aging adult’s condition

All of these can lead to more hospital bills and put a serious strain on a patient’s — or their loved ones’ — bank account.

 

7 Benefits of End of Life Care at Home

Patients deserve to have a choice in end of life care because at the end of the day, it’s about making the patient as comfortable as they can be. In many cases, in home caregivers provide equivalent to or better care than hospitals. Additionally, care at home avoids unnecessary and costly procedures. 

The benefits of home health care and end of life care at home extend far beyond saving money, too. Consider the additional benefits of home care for your loved one, which are invaluable.

 

1. Increased Comfort at Home

It’s almost impossible for a hospital stay to be as comfortable as the experience of receiving care in your own home. Between machines beeping at all hours of the day and night, to nurses and doctors coming in regularly to check vital signs, patients hardly get the rest they need in hospitals.

Two options for end of life care at home to support your loved one’s comfort are hospice and palliative care.

 

Hospice Care

Hospice care is not for those who are going through any form of treatment. When a loved one has reached a point where their disease or condition is incurable, hospice is the next step. Professional hospice care providers ensure your loved one spends their final days in peace by helping them manage symptoms and supporting their utmost comfort at home.

 

Palliative Care

Alternatives to hospice include palliative care, which is for those who are currently working towards recovery after a chronic diagnosis. If a patient is going through treatment and needs additional, non-medical support (i.e., mental, emotional, physical) palliative care is a great at home care option. 

 

2. More Quality Time with Loved Ones

Home health care also makes it easier for patients to spend quality time with their loved ones. Family members and friends don’t have to cram themselves into a small hospital room. Instead, they can all gather together and enjoy quality time at home without having to worry about abiding by any hospital rules. 

 

3. Support ADLs

Professional in home caregivers can help to support activities of daily living (or ADLs) plus they have prior medical training, being either a certified nurse assistant or registered nurses (RN).

Caregivers ensure patients have assistance handling everyday tasks that they may not be able to perform anymore such as cleaning, cooking, or grooming. They can also provide medication reminders and assist with basic healthcare monitoring (checking blood pressure, temperature, blood sugar, etc.).

 

4. Comprehensive, Personalized Care

Even in the best hospitals, the level of personalization a patient receives is quite limited. Personalized, home care services help a patient enjoy a higher quality of life than they would otherwise receive in traditional inpatient care settings.

Doctors and nurses are busy attending to lots of people at once, so it’s hard for them to give your loved one the individualized care they deserve. When you work with a home care agency, it’s much easier for your loved one to get one-on-one attention. Professional caregivers help with specific needs and can even administer around the clock care.

 

5. Hospital-Level Care

Some people are under the impression that home health care is not as comprehensive or of the same quality as care from a hospital. In reality, an RN caregiver can provide hospital at home type services without the sterile setting—and with greater compassion.

You won’t have to worry about your loved one getting substandard treatment as long as you’re working with a premium home care agency. Professional caregivers are trained and experienced; providing the best care in the best place, home.

 

6. Companionship

In home caregivers develop a relationship with their patients and help them feel truly seen and heard. Companionship is an invaluable benefit to in home caregiving that can’t be provided in a hospital setting. The relational aspect of home care significantly improves the quality of care, and the patient’s life, leading to better long-term outcomes.

 

7. R&R for Caregivers

Finally, home health care allows primary caregivers, like family members, to take a much-needed and well-deserved break from their daily responsibilities. Consider looking into respite care for caregivers even if it’s just for a day.

Professional caregivers offer practical and relational support so your loved one doesn’t feel alone while you take time to work, care for your children, run errands, or simply get uninterrupted sleep. You can rest easy knowing your loved one has all the care they need even when you aren’t able to physically be there with them.

 

Contact Commonwise for Home Health Care Today

In general, the cost of home health care is much lower than the cost of care in a hospital. Now that you know more about the cost savings, and additional benefits that in home caregiving has to offer, are you interested in choosing it for your loved one?

If they are located in the Charlottesville, VA, Charleston, SC, or Richmond, VA areas, our care team here at Commonwise Home Care is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to start making home health care arrangements. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your call: 434.202.8565.

How to Improve Blood Circulation in Old Age

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 23, 2020


Bad leg circulation in the elderly is a common health issue as their body ages. Learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.

 

Have you ever been to your loved one’s home and thought it was rather warm? Older adults commonly feel colder than others, especially in their hands and feet. Knowing how to improve blood circulation in old age is helpful to know as a caregiver or an aging adult.

Some older adults even complain about their hands and feet swelling, as well as being cold. All of these are telling signs that they may have poor blood circulation.

Let’s review some practical steps to learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.

 

Signs of Bad Circulation

Our circulatory system delivers blood, carrying vital nutrients and oxygen, throughout our bodies. When blood flow is reduced, common side effects begin to show.

Poor circulation can be a result of old age or signal other health-related issues, such as obesity and diabetes. If you are wondering, “how does poor circulation affect the body?” read the signs below.

 

1. Cold hands and feet

When an elderly adult’s blood is not properly circulating, the temperature of their extremities tends to fluctuate. The blood vessels in those areas constrict in efforts to retain body heat, which results in cold hands and feet.

 

2. Discoloration

Typically, if someone has cold hands and feet, discoloration is present. Certain parts of the body turn blue and purple when blood is not reaching those areas. The discoloration is normally seen in the nose, lips, and extremities.

 

3. Numbness and Tingling in the Hands and Feet

Nerve endings are negatively impacted due to poor circulation, causing numbness and tingling. This symptom is commonly referred to as having a sensation of pins and needles poking under the skin. 

 

4. Swelling in the Feet, Ankles, and Legs

Poor circulation can create a build-up of fluid in key areas of the body. If swelling occurs in the lower extremities, this can also be a sign of edema

 

How to Improve Circulation in the Legs and Feet Naturally

Improving blood circulation in the legs and feet is very important for aging adults to prevent life-threating side effects. Natural remedies for better circulation are great options for older adults. 

Consider adding in some or all of the following tips to your daily regime to improve circulation.

 

Exercise Your Body

Anyone who is not very active may experience poor circulation as the Vein Clinics of America points out. Walking, stretching, and generally moving your body is an easy first step to improving circulation. 

When your heart rate increases, your body pumps blood faster throughout your body, thereby improving circulation. Simple things like walking outside to get the mail or taking a stroll around the neighborhood are good places to start.

 

Elevate Your Legs

Some older adults are less mobile than others and walking may be too difficult or physically impossible. Low activity levels mean our hearts have to work double-time to circulate blood to the outermost parts of the body. Small adjustments, like elevation, can be a very helpful remedy.

To assist your body’s circulatory system, elevate your legs at a 45-degree angle using a firm pillow. Start elevating your legs while sitting at home, watching TV, reading a book, or even sleeping. This also helps fight against blood clots from forming in the legs. 

 

Wear Compression Socks

If you are wondering how to increase circulation in feet, start with socks. The best socks for seniors with poor circulation are called compression stockings. These are essentially snug, calf-high socks that gently squeeze your legs and feet to stimulate blood flow back to your heart.

Compression stockings can be purchased from suppliers like Amazon.com or For Your Legs. These socks are also great for those who suffer from varicose veins.

 

Change Your Diet

The classic culprits of nutritional health are foods high in sugar, sodium, dairy products, and trans fat. The American Heart Association is a great resource for those who want to eat a heart-healthy diet. 

Choose foods that promote blood flow by following Healthline’s 14 best foods to increase circulation:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pomegranate
  • Onion
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Fatty fish
  • Beets
  • Tumeric
  • Leafy greens
  • Citrus fruits
  • Walnuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Ginger

Blood Circulation Self-Assessment

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you may have poor circulation. Consider the following signs if you suspect you or a loved one has poor circulation:

  • Do my hands and feet often feel very cold?
  • Are my fingers, toes, ears, nose discolored (purple, blue, extra red)?
  • Do my extremities feel numb or tingly more often than not?

This is not an official assessment. Use the tips above now that you know how to improve circulation in the legs and feet naturally or contact your doctor.

 

Call Commonwise Home Care Today

At Commonwise, we are familiar with all sorts of physical ailments and conditions such as poor circulation in the elderly. Our caregivers are familiar with how to improve blood circulation in old age and help patients live as comfortably as possible.

Commonwise caregivers provide care management, personal care services, and other home care services. We aim to support families and compassionately care for your loved ones like they are our own. To learn more about the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Can a Family Member Become a Caregiver?

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 17, 2020


Did you know that you can get paid to take care of family at home? Learn more about how you can become a paid, family caregiver.

 

Finding the best care for your elderly parents is a priority for any child. Consider how you can get paid to take care of family as a professional caregiver.

If you want loved ones to remain in the comfort of their own home, a professional caregiver might be the answer. What better way to guarantee your family member is being treated with compassion and love than you becoming that caregiver?

Keep reading to discover exactly how people can become a paid caregiver for family members and the steps you need to take.

 

Get Paid to Take Care of Family

Yes, you can get paid to take care of family members as a caregiver. With the proper training and certifications, you can become the certified caregiver to your parents or loved ones. All inside the comfort of their own home, so they can age in place.

A qualified and experienced company like Commonwise Home Care can hire, train, and oversee new caregivers. During this process, you will become an employee of the home care agency and receive all of the training and resources you need.

Aside from direct family care giving, even trusted housekeepers, custodians, and others can go through training to become a certified caregiver to an elderly parent. Having a caregiver that your aging parent knows and trusts helps you both feel comfortable and confident in the process.

 

Advantages of Taking Care of Elderly at Home

One of the biggest challenges when seeking quality care for your aging parent is finding affordable options. In many cases, families have to sacrifice quality for a reasonable price. But when you’re the caregiver, you can save both yourself and your parent’s money.

Some family members choose to care for their parents for free, out of obligation. While this is an honorable thing to do, it also causes extreme financial stress and emotional strain. 

Many people end up sacrificing their jobs when they offer to help care for their aging parents. Missed hours at work and calling out sick means reduced pay and less income.

Why not become a paid caregiver for family members instead? You’ll bring in a steady income and have no reason to take off work. After all, your job is to take care of aging adults, including your parents. 

If this seems like too big of a step to take, look at the qualities of a caregiver that we look for in our care providers at Commonwise. Caregiving is not for everyone, but our carers were born for it.

 

Financial Support Options

Aside from getting trained and paid through a home care agency like Commonwise, you should also explore medical support options and insurances. Find out which of these services your loved one qualifies for. 

 

Medicaid

Medicaid is a major source of income and financial support for many people over the age of 65. All 50 states offer some level of personal care assistance via Medicaid, but stipulations may vary.

States can grant waivers that allow aging adults to manage their own home-care services. This includes hiring a family member as their caregiver. Be sure to read the fine print – in some states, legal guardians and spouses don’t qualify. 

Other states require that the caregiver resides in the same house as the individual. 

 

Military Veterans

Is your parent a military vet? Veterans in 37 of the 50 states might qualify for services that help provide long-term care. 

Veterans receive a monthly budget to use toward their needs. This includes any foods, goods, medications, or caregiver fees related to their care. Veterans are able to hire a caregiver of their choosing, including a family member.

The Veteran’s Association (VA) will determine your loved one’s eligibility and refer you to outside services. At this point, you can explain your plans to become their paid caregiver.

 

Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Paid Family Caregiver

Now that you understand how to get paid to take care of family, let’s discuss a few other things to consider. Aside from finances, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

 

How Much Care Does My Loved One Need?

Being the primary caregiver to your loved one is a big responsibility. Before you commit yourself to the role, evaluate how much care your parent needs.

What is their current medical condition? Do they need you to administer daily medication? 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 65 have some form of dementia. If your parents are part of this statistic, it may be more difficult to care for them.

Dementia patients often experience memory loss and can become violent and combative. You’ll need resilience and plenty of patience to care for a parent with dementia. If you choose to accept the challenge, additional training can help prepare you.

 

What Assets Does Your Parent Have?

There’s no doubt that your parents would give you the shirt off their back – and you’d do the same for them. Sometimes, based on the budget they receive from Medicaid, care recipients can determine the rate they pay their caregivers. The home care agency you work for determines service rates and salary.

A lot depends on how much money and assets your parents have in savings. Some Medicaid home care benefits are only available if your income falls below a certain level. Research how much money your parents have to determine the level of elderly assistance they qualify for.

 

What State Do You Live In?

The state government controls many of the programs that pay family caregivers. In addition to other factors, your pay as a caregiver may fluctuate depending on the state in which you live.

Check your state regulations or the state in which your parent lives. This is especially important if you plan to reside with them. Take some time to research and learn more about Virginia Medicaid eligibility requirements.

 

Am I Emotionally Prepared for This?

Becoming a paid caregiver for your family member might seem like an easy choice, but with so many emotions involved, things can get complicated fast.

Make sure you consider the feelings of both yourself and your parents. You need to put any uncomfortable or awkward feelings aside. Have an open discussion about wages and expectations. 

You may also see your loved one in compromising and potentially embarrassing situations when it comes to their daily needs (i.e., dressing, bathing, helping them use the bathroom). Caregivers are training to provide professional, personal care services like these every day.

Bring in a third, unbiased party to help draft an agreement between you and your parent. They can offer unbiased advice and guidance. A therapist can help you sort out any worries or concerns about taking on the role of a paid caregiver.

 

Commonwise Home Care Supports Families and Caregivers

If you are a primary caregiver for a loved one who may just need a break, consider respite care for caregivers. It’s okay to take the load off and take time to process or simply rest. Weigh your options before deciding if professional, full-time caregiving is the best decision for you and your loved ones.

At Commonwise Home Care, we support families and caregivers alike. Whether you just need a break, want to become a paid caregiver for family, or are looking into home care for a loved one, call Commonwise Home Care at 434.202.8565.

Exercises to Relearn Walking

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 9, 2020


When recovering from a stroke, gaining mobility, strength, and learning to walk again is your first step to independence through rehabilitation.

 

If you’ve recently recovered from a stroke, learning to walk again can be a big challenge, but it’s also a crucial part of your recovery.

Whether you currently have a plan for gaining mobility or you’re in need of some help, there are several important leg exercises for stroke patients that can help you get stronger.

Read on for some exercises you can try that will help you walk again and get stronger so you can get back to living a normal life.

 

Exercises to Relearn Walking

There are several symptoms that people must cope with after a stroke that can affect their balance, mobility, and overall strength. Some symptoms of post-stroke include a loss of balance, weakness in the legs and lower extremities, and a general lack of coordination. You may also experience muscle fatigue, which can make walking even more difficult.

As you’re learning to walk again, your physical therapist or doctor may suggest some helpful exercises to help you relearn walking. Start off slowly with each exercise and work your way toward doing more as you start to get stronger.

 

Focus on the Toes and Legs

One common issue after a stroke involves problems with your toes, which can make walking extremely difficult. Try to pull your toes downward with your hands to improve their flexibility.

You can use your thumb and press into the arch of your foot to help your toes extend downward, which will strengthen the muscles over time. Hold this position for about 20 to 30 seconds and then reverse direction and repeat.

Of course, your legs and hips will also need exercise to help you regain your balance. Try some mild exercises first and then work your way toward more advanced options as you regain your balance and start to get stronger.

Start by trying a chair exercise that begins by standing up and securing your balance, then gently shift your body weight to one side. Swing your other leg up to the side, then balance yourself for about 10 seconds, using the chair as support. Repeat this and switch your legs as many times as possible.

Once you feel confident, you can try this same exercise to relearn walking without the support of the chair. The key is to re-learn how to maintain your balance and to regain strength in your legs without the help of a cane or walker. 

 

Stroke Rehabilitation Exercises

As you’re learning to walk again, try some leg exercises for stroke patients that will restore your body strength. This can involve anything from using a stationary bike to doing simple leg lifts as many times as possible per day.

Once you start to regain your strength and your confidence, the chances of walking after a stroke will start to increase. Remember to remain diligent and talk to your physical therapist about any concerns regarding your progress.

  • Try lifting small weights. Start light by lifting one to two-pound weights daily. Soup cans are a great alternative if you don’t have light weights at home. This will help you rebuild the strength in your upper body.
  • Simple stretches every day. Stretching can do wonders for your body’s ability to heal and get stronger. Try an exercise called “chair yoga,” which will help you stretch without having to be on the floor.
  • Take a walk every day. Once you’re ready to walk more, consider taking a leisurely stroll whenever you can to keep your muscles active. Avoid sitting for too long or else you could end up with pain and stiffness.

Keep in mind that learning to walk again will take time and your body will need some time to heal and process these changes. With some determination and help, you can eventually start to walk normally again.

 

Learning to Walk Again Using Equipment for Stroke Patients

Aside from these simple exercises, you can also use special equipment that will give you the additional support you need.
 

Wheelchairs

There are special types of wheelchairs for stroke patients that can help you when it’s difficult to walk. The best wheelchairs for stroke patients will also encourage you to use your muscles to get up from the wheelchair whenever you can.
 

Special Shoes

Look for special shoes for stroke patients that have a wider footbed and soft, cushioning support. These shoes will help your feet stay supported without being too restricting. Many health insurance companies cover some or all of the cost of things like shoes and other walking therapy equipment.
 

Walkers and Canes

A walker and a cane are other examples of ways you can use equipment to help you learn to walk again. These items give you stability and support, but they also encourage you to keep using your own muscles to walk.

You may also need to consider some in-home aids to help you as you’re learning to walk again. These items can make it easier and safer to get out of bed or get into and out of the bath and shower. With the use of feet and leg exercises for stroke patients and some equipment, you can begin to rebuild your muscles for a better quality of life.

 

Stay Focused on Walking Again

After you recover from a stroke, learning to walk again may seem like an uphill battle. Thankfully, with some daily strengthening exercises and helpful equipment, you should be able to get your strength back sooner than you realize.

Talk to your doctor about some ways you can use rehab to walk again. They can guide you through the process and give you a list of exercises to try at home. If you are in need of an at home caregiver to help out during the rehabilitation process, call Commonwise Home Care at 434.202.8565.

24 hour home care for your loved one is just a call or click away. Learn more about our services today.

Games for Memory Care Residents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 8, 2020


Technology has touched nearly every cornerstone of our lives, lending a hand with the best memory games for Alzheimer patients to play.

 

In this blog, we’ll highlight some interactive games for Alzheimer patients to play to combat cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily growing more prevalent in the aging population. Almost 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050. 

Even though it can show up during an adult’s 40s or 50s, most people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are older than 65. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help. 

 

Memory Games for Alzheimer’s Patients

Technology has touched almost every aspect of our lives and can be used to our advantage. Spatial recall games, in particular, are great for Alzheimer’s patients to play. Spatial memory helps us remember where things are in the short-term and long-term. 

Memory games for Alzheimer’s patients are some of the best types of treatment for a deteriorating memory.

Do you want to learn about some of the most effective games for memory care residents? Keep reading to uncover the best games for Alzheimer’s!

 

What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disease. It slowly destroys areas of the brain pertaining to thinking skills and memory skills. Ultimately, it decreases a person’s ability to perform daily activities, which leads to the need for 24 hour home care.

Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia. Dementia is the umbrella term for brain disorders that cause issues with memory, thinking, and behavior.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia.

 

Games for Alzheimer Patients to Play

For Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the disease can be extremely disheartening and terrifying. As it progresses over time, patients often find themselves feeling agitated and irritable.

A simple Dementia simulation game can do wonders for the hope of an Alzheimer’s patient. Plus, Alzheimer’s games provide cognitive help and repetition that can make living with Alzheimer’s more bearable.

 

Healing Spaces Is More Than Just a Game

In conjunction with the growing number of Alzheimer’s diagnoses, there is a lot of research and development being done to better serve those living with Dementia.

Healing Spaces is one of the best iPad apps for Alzheimer’s patients, and it’s much more than “just a game.”

Developed by a woman named Gabriela Purri R. Gomes, Healing Spaces is a multi-sensory experience meant to benefit Dementia patients and their caregivers. The app is an excellent choice for memory care assisted living patients.

The smart platform permits caregivers to transform spaces for their patients through the use of color, light, visuals, and sounds. It also allows patients to generally focus, engage, and relax.

 

Games for Memory Care Residents

Depending on the patient, Alzheimer’s symptoms can vary greatly. Whether the Dementia has just begun or the patient has been progressing for years, there are plenty of Alzheimer’s games to provide help, encouragement, and brain exercises for dementia patients.

 

MyReef 3D

MyReef 3D is perfect for those who have advanced Dementia. The user can interact with different types of fish. They can perform simple activities such as stocking the aquarium and do other fun things like tapping on the glass, thus annoying the fish.

Users can also sit back and enjoy the reef’s beauty making it a fun and easy-to-use game.

 

FlowerGarden

Dementia usually requires 24 hour care for the elderly in their own home. The inability to function individually often frustrates patients as they’re unable to do the things they used to love.

Those who love plants, flowers, and gardens can grow a garden using FlowerGarden. From planting seeds to watering plants and watching their flowers grow, there are lots for garden lovers to do using this app.

 

MindMate

MindMate is one of the best memory games for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s almost like a friend as it helps patients stay focused through activities concerning problem-solving, attention, and memory.

There are 8 interactive games that are both fun and educational. Users can monitor their progress if they please. Through daily workouts and mental activities, MindMate stimulates the brain regularly. Plus, it’s FREE!

 

Luminosity: Brain Training

Luminosity: Brain Training provides fun, cognitive training. It provides brain interaction and the ability to learn about how your mind works.

This game is perfect for Dementia patients because it uses science-based games to exercise attention, memory, speed, problem-solving, and flexibility.

 

Alzheimer’s Games for iPad

In addition to games, there are some excellent iPad apps for Alzheimer’s patients to use on the daily.

 

It’s Done!

It’s Done! is one of the best apps on the market for memory loss as it helps patients recall tasks they’ve done.

Everyday tasks are one of the hardest things for Dementia patients to remember. It’s Done! helps patients remember things like whether or not they locked the door or took their vitamins.

 

Spaced Retrieval Therapy – Memory Training for Dementia & Brain Injury

The Spaced Retrieval Therapy – Memory Training for Dementia & Brain Injury app uses a scientifically-proven method of spaced retrieval training. The technique helps people with memory impairments to recall essential information.

By recalling an answer over multiplying intervals of time, the app helps to cement the information in memory.

 

For Dementia Patients With a Creative Spark

The Let’s Create! Pottery app is perfect for Dementia patients with a creative spark. The user gets to throw clay onto a pottery wheel and virtually create a variety of clay pots. 

The app is fun and satisfying, and users can make a variety of pottery.

 

Spatial Recall Games Can Do Wonders for Dementia Patients

Living with Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia can be terrifying, both for the patients who suffer and their loved ones.

Technology, however, has graced us with a myriad of spatial recall games to provide food and fun for the brains of memory care residents.

With many levels of difficulty and apps designed for both fun and practicality, there’s no reason why Dementia patients can’t benefit from integrating smart device apps into their daily lives.

Do you have a loved one who may need full-time care? Take a look at the many services we offer or contact us with any questions or concerns. We are here to help!

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Qualities of a Caregiver

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 6, 2020


Searching for in home care to help a loved one is an important task and should be carefully considered. Learn about the essential qualities of a professional caregiver.

 

For some, caregiving is a choice, for others, caregiving is an unexpected family responsibility. At Commonwise Home Care, we believe caregiving is more than a job—it’s a calling. We have listed four qualities of a professional caregiver that you need to look for in the person potentially caring for your loved one.

Let’s discover what some of these qualities of a carer are to inform your search for in home care.

 

Qualities of a Professional Caregiver

In a previous blog, we discuss the legal caregiver qualifications for those who want to become a respite care provider. Once qualified, what skills are needed to be a good caregiver? At Commonwise, some of our Care Team joined as certified nurse aides, while others originally had no prior training or caregiver experience.

Quality home care is not only about supporting the physical needs of an older adult but caring for their emotional health as well. Good caregiver traits are not just boxes to check off or hard skills. The home care industry requires deep, indwelt character and dedication to caring for others.

 

Traits of a Caregiver

When someone displays ideal caregiver characteristics, we further invest time and technical training into them becoming an excellent care provider at Commonwise. Our caregivers are trained to meet the specific needs of every client.

Some skills you can’t train but are intrinsically necessary for those working in the home care industry. Take a minute to review the four traits we look for in all of our caregivers:

 

Compassionate

True compassion cannot be trained. As Brené Brown points out, the word “compassion” comes from the Latin words pati and cum, which means “to suffer with.” Compassion is a form of empathy. Compassionate people sit with others in their pain and emotional lows and experience it with them.

Care providers who are compassionate treat older adults the way they would want to be treated if their own health was declining. Not only do compassionate caregivers empathize with older adults, but they strive to care completely and wholeheartedly. Compassion is a mark of maturity, genuine care, and creates a sense of connection with the other person.

 

Personal

Caregiving is personal. Every person is unique and should be treated as such. Older adults who need in home care want to be seen as a person, not a job. The beauty and blessing of caregiving is the companionship it creates between the carer and patient.

Good caregivers are in tune with the personal needs of the older adult they are caring for. Whether the need is physical, mental, or emotional, personal caregivers prioritize the person in their care over the duty or task at hand. Personalized care is the standard at Commonwise, not an added commodity.

 

Excellent Communicator

“Excellent communication skills” is something almost every employer puts on a job description, but for caregivers—communication is crucial. Those who provide home care not only have to communicate well with older adults but also with their families. Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, especially when the majority of time is spent together, such as in a total patient care model.

A compassionate, communicative caregiver asks good questions and makes a patient feel comfortable to freely share how they are really feeling. As a family member in search of at home care: if a caregiver cannot effectively communicate with you, they are not a good fit for your loved one.

 

Patient

As they say, “patience is a virtue.” Patience is more than important, it’s a requirement for caregiving. Some days plans change or emotions are on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Older adults with mental illnesses, such as depression and Alzheimer’s, need special attention and plenty of patience.

Caregivers must be patient (and creative) in their approach to caring for older adults. A good example of patient caregivers in action can be seen in our Medication Management vs Medication Reminders blog. Five of our caregivers give tips on how they encourage older adults to take their pills even when they don’t want to or think they already did.

The qualities of a caregiver don’t stop here; there are countless traits that play into someone being an excellent caregiver. You want someone who will be as attentive to detail as you are. We understand; we strive to provide your loved one with the best possible care, by people who care.

 

Find Compassionate Caregivers at Commonwise Home Care

Are you looking for home care? Have you found anyone that fits these traits of a caregiver?

We hope you found value in the four exceptional qualities of a professional caregiver that we look for in those looking to join our Care Team at Commonwise. Home care is not a vocation for just anyone; we handpick the people we believe are made for it. Caregivers must demonstrate exceptional grace, wisdom, and compassion to fit the ethos of Commonwise.

Discover how Commonwise caregivers care for your loved ones differently by calling 434.202.8565.

Respite Care Worker Qualifications

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

January 3, 2020


Considering a rewarding career as a respite care provider? While requirements vary, explore the qualifications and steps to become a professional caregiver.

 

How Do I Become A Respite Care Provider?

Have you ever considered a career as a respite care provider? Throughout the U.S., there is a growing demand for home health care, including respite care providers. In fact, the home health aide and personal care aide fields are expected to grow by 36% by the year 2028.

But before you dive in, it’s important to know that it takes a special kind of person to do this job professionally…

 

Respite Care Worker Qualifications

Read on to learn everything you need to know about being qualified to provide respite care. Hopefully, this information will help you decide for yourself whether or not you’re a good fit as a respite care provider.

To provide respite care services in a person’s home, there are five particular qualifications you’ll need to meet beforehand:

 

1. Education

At a minimum, individuals who work as respite care providers must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. Completing this step allows you to go on to complete other necessary certifications required for this and other care-providing fields.

 

2. Certification

After you receive a high school diploma, you’ll need to complete additional certification courses. Some companies that provide respite care, like Commonwise Home Care, offer their employees in-house training.

Training through a home care agency ensures uniformity across the board when it comes to specific care practices and standards. Caregivers in training will learn the basics of administering care to older adults according to a predetermined set of rules and regulations. 

 

3. On-the-Job Training

Once your certification is complete through a respite care program or in-house training, you’ll need to spend some time completing on-the-job training.

By shadowing another caregiver, you have the opportunity to see how care providers interact with patients on a day-to-day basis. Observing the caregiver-patient relationship first-hand provides a sense of confidence and experience needed before practicing and providing care on your own.

 

4. Licensing

Finally, you can apply for a license from your state board after completing a specified number of training hours. The license gives you credibility and proves that you have both the skills and education necessary to provide a certain level of care.

 

5. Continuing Education

To keep your license current, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. You may also have opportunities to specialize in providing care to certain types of individuals, such as those with Alzheimer’s or specific dietary needs.

 

Respite Care Provider Services

A respite care provider helps patients in a variety of ways to give primary caregivers, usually family members, a time to rest from full-time caregiving. The responsibilities of older adult respite care vary from person to person, but they nearly always include the following:

 

Care Management

When primary caregivers need time away to reset, choose a respite care provider affiliated with a larger home care agency. Some patients need special care, requiring a certified nurse assistant or registered nurse, which is why it’s important to partner with a full-service, home care agency. 

Commonwise care managers do everything with compassionate care. From advocacy to medication management and reminders, we serve a range of needs to provide elderly care in the most effective, sensitive way. 

 

Caregiver Assistance

A respite care professional is just as helpful to the patient as they are to the family. Through respite care, those who selflessly care day and night for loved ones are able to take a break from the heavy toll of caregiving.

Respite care providers give primary caregivers much-needed relief for a short or longer period of time. In turn, the time away improves caregiver resiliency and their ability to offer long-term care without burning out.

 

Personal Care Services

Personalized care is at the foundation of every service we provide at Commonwise. From niche services like ambulating a patient, range of motion support, and general exercise, professional caregivers are well-rounded in their ability to care for older adults.

Some of the most basic tasks can be overwhelming or difficult for aging adults to accomplish on their own. While providing respite care, caregivers may help older adults with toileting, bathing, grooming, dressing, and/or feeding.

 

Home Care Services

Professional home care services, such as hospice care and total care, are specifically catered to each older adult’s unique needs. The specific types of care and assistance vary depending on the patients’ condition. 

Whether a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia or needs post surgery home care, Commonwise caregivers are equipped to serve an endless number of elderly care needs.

 

Companionship

A new person stepping into the shoes of an older adult’s current caregiver can be nervewracking. Sometimes, the best thing a respite care professional can do is to provide a patient with a sense of companionship—talk with them, help them with basic housework, and simply be a kind presence.

Caregivers who step in for family members may also assist patients with general chores, like pet care or bill pay. Supporting patients physically, mentally, and emotionally is the job of any good caregiver; respite care provider or not. 

 

State Licensing Requirements (Virginia)

In the state of Virginia, to become a respite care provider, you must meet certain licensing requirements. Each state has its own rules regarding licensing, so it’s important to do your research before pursuing a career in respite care.

If you’re located in Virginia and are on the lookout for a respite caregiver job, you’ll need to meet these requirements to get licensed properly:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Able to read and write in English.
  • Able to demonstrate the skills required to perform respite care services.
  • Complete and graduate from an appropriate training curriculum.
  • Have a satisfactory work record (no evidence of abuse, neglect, or exploitation).
  • Pass a standardized test administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

You’ll also need to be evaluated on a regular basis by a supervisor.

 

Become a Respite Care Provider Today

Working as a respite care provider is incredibly rewarding and provides a variety of opportunities to help those in need.

Now that you know more about what it takes to become a respite care provider, as well as some of the responsibilities associated with this career, does it seem like a good fit for you? Are you interested in becoming a respite care provider or caregiver? Do you meet the requirements outlined above?

If so, check out our Careers page. You can apply for a position here at one of our locations and find out more about the Commonwise difference by calling: 434.202.8565.

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