Hire a Home CareGiver: What to Watch For

Chances are good that your loved one wants to remain at home as long as possible.   I know I do.  And let’s be honest about that – it’s not an easy promise to keep.  In fact, it isn’t always possible to do that.  But it can be more possible when you hire a caregiver to work in the home.

When that is possible, you want assurance that the person you hire to provide helping hands is going to be reliable and trustworthy.

Check out these AARP tips for hiring an in-home provider.

Then give us a call!

hire caregiver, peace of mind, home care, home health, maine

What, Exactly, is Home Care?

The short version: Home care services relate to being  able to live safely and comfortably in your home.  And that’s something most of us want to do for as long as possible.  That might mean light housekeeping and helping you run errands.  It could mean supporting you with comfort and companionship as you live with chronic illness or life-ending disease.  It more likely means both and anything in between, including pet care, meal making, or going on an excursion.

Mediline Plus offers great resources to explore more about home care services.  Learn about important questions to ask and how to choose trustworthy services.  Find simple ways to make your home a safer place to live.   Understand the difference between using an agency and hiring someone privately on your own.  Know the risks and safeguards involved in either choice.

If it feels appropriate, include family members and close friends in your home care search.  Let them know what’s important regarding your quality of life goals.   Whether just doing your homework or actively looking for support, sometimes others’ ideas can be very helpful.  Asking for help is hard for some people, but it can go a long way toward ensuring you receive high quality services with a reliable agency.

Feel free to give us a call with your questions.

home care, maine, newcastle, quality of life

 

VA Medical System – Togus

I’m saddened when I hear veterans and/or their families talk about how they cannot get services from the VA, or when I learn that other healthcare providers do not believe services are available for veterans.

I’ll admit the VA medical system can seem confusing to the uninitiated – but the services are readily available, and here in Maine they are wonderful.  The folks at Togus work very hard to ensure people get what they need, when they need it, and that the veterans they care for feel heard.

It’s the VA.  It’s too confusing

When trying to obtain services, having some basic knowledge will help you navigate the system more readily:

First, veteran healthcare services are not the same as veteran benefit services.  Healthcare comes through the medical center branch of the VA, and veteran benefits happens on the ‘other side’ of the system.  The two parts work together, but one doesn’t necessarily depend on the other.

This handy reference explains what is available through VA Maine Healthcare at Togus:

Togus Healthcare System

Note at the bottom of it there is a short reference to the benefit services side of the VA.

In order to receive healthcare through the VA, one needs to be enrolled in the medical system.  That’s easy enough to do and it doesn’t keep you from using other healthcare providers if you already have that.  If you qualify, what it does do is make it easier for you to obtain needed services you may later choose to access.

The ins-and-outs of receiving services, co-pays, and other insurances is too complicated for this post and varies person-to-person.  If you find yourself in circumstances like that, stick it out. There are folks up at Togus who specialize in sorting through that.

Once registered/enrolled, the VA can help with pretty much everything you saw using the link above.

How it works: the nutshell version

One2One Home Care interfaces with the folks who coordinate extended care services for veterans.  It basically works like this:

~ You or your loved one is a veteran enrolled at Togus for healthcare.

~ The veteran’s health situation suggests home services or home healthcare is needed.

~ Tell the VA  physician that it would be helpful, or the physician suggests it based upon health condition/screening.

~ The VA physician writes an order for services, which is received by the extended services team.

~ They send a referral out to all the agencies in Maine providing services under contract with the VA.

~ An agency picks up the referral and contacts you to begin services.

The agency submits service claims to the VA, who then pays the agency.

I’m not that bad off.  There are vets who need this more than me.

I’ve encountered a number of veterans who refuse services thinking they don’t need the help or that another veteran will go without if they have services.  These services are available to all veterans who need them so long as there is an agency available.  Do NOT forego services if you need them – you will not be short-changing another veteran if you receive services.

And those veterans who have insisted they didn’t need help?  They did.  Most often in the case of veterans who refuse services, we hear back in a few months that things have gotten worse and the services are now desperately needed.

Trust me: get started early.  Accept the help.  At least let your physician do the referral for services, including a social worker visit. Those folks are really great at helping families figure things out so you access services in your area.  You served your country.  When your country wants to serve you, don’t refuse that.


Valerie Lovelace, One2one Home Care manager, is a twenty-year Navy veteran. One2One interfaces with the VA to provide home services for veterans in Lincoln and surrounding counties.

Oldest Population: Aging in Maine

This excerpt republished with permission….

Maine has the country’s oldest population by median age and its highest concentration of baby boomers. With an aging populace come challenges — but also opportunities. Could Maine’s “demographic cliff” turn the state into a laboratory for livability?


Choose your favorite metaphor: The Maine Heritage Policy Center once deployed the term “demographic winter.” The governor’s most recent budget briefing stuck with the ever-popular “demographic cliff.” In an article last spring, The New York Times settled on “demographic tsunami” — as in, “Economists regard Maine’s rapidly aging population as a demographic tsunami that has severe implications for the state’s labor pool, healthcare system and overall socioeconomic well-being.”

Whichever your pick, they all sound pretty grim. And no doubt, the state has its share of problems to address thanks to its low birth rate, modest rates of in-migration, and tendency to lose younger wage earners to higher-paying states, all of which combine to make Maine’s population the nation’s oldest. Among those problems: a critical need for more home- and healthcare workers, a lack of affordable housing and public transit options, and an overabundance of films in local cinemas starring dames Maggie Smith or Judi Dench (just kidding, they’re both divine)…

Read more of this interview by Brian Kevin at Retire to Maine by Downeast Magazine

Fall Prevention: What You Need to Know

Fall Prevention: All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men

Clearing a home of fall risks is a key part of senior quality of life.  Living safely at home for as long as possible is truly everyone’s goal, isn’t it?  Learn more about fall prevention in your home before you fall.

Clearing risks and hazards really could mean the difference between safe, healthy living in your home or having to give that up.

Falls Prevention Facts

According to Bangor Daily News“Statistics show that, in Maine, 90 percent of hip fracture hospitalizations are due to an unintentional fall and that 25 percent of people that have falls that result in a hip fracture die within a year of their injuries.”

 

Falls common cause of serious injury, death among elderly

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Don’t Let ’em Get You Down

By using this handy National Council on Aging (NCOA) checklist,  you can find common in-home risk factors.  Work out ways to reduce or eliminate these in your home.  Fall prevention is not a one-time activity.  It’s much better to make a monthly practice of checking your home for safety concerns.  That will keep you safer and build routine awareness, so you’re more likely to notice when something is out of the ordinary.

fall prevention

Getting informed and remaining aware will go a long way to avoid a very sudden turn of events.  Don’t delay.  That favorite throw rug (I know you love it) may just represent your next trip to the emergency room.  Don’t let dimly lit basement stairs or a loose railing on the front porch cost you.  Instead, take active steps to create a safer and healthier home setting.

Download and print this Philips Lifeline easy-to-use one-page checklist to survey your home for fall prevention.  It’s not worth waiting.

fall prevention, hazard, elderly, senior, maine

Giving Excellent Care: From Our Home to Yours

excellent care

Giving Excellent Care: From Our Home to Yours is being offered again this fall!  Our first class in the Spring of 2017 was such a huge success, we are offering it again.

This free twenty hour course is for informal caregivers who have or want to have home care giving experience and who are not already certified as a PSS or a CNA in the state of Maine.

This course focuses on practical skills necessary to safely and skillfully provide personalized, high quality care by applying a solid base of practical knowledge on which to build confident care-giving.

Do you suddenly find yourself facing family care-giving responsibilities?  This class is for you!

Do you want to gain solid skills for informal home care-giving? This class is definitely for you!

Do you want to prepare for working with an agency providing personal and homemaker services?  This class is truly for you!

A course completion certificate will be given to all participants who complete the full 20 hours of training. Completion of the class does not result in a formal, state-approved certification but completing this course will definitely boost your confidence and significantly enhance your care-giving skills.  This course is a great stepping stone should you want to continue your education elsewhere in pursuit of a PSS or CNA certification.

Call to register today, space is limited!

Details:
Giving Excellent Care runs on Tuesdays for five weeks, beginning Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

Dates: 9/26, 10/03, 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24.
Time: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Location: The Lincoln Home, 22 River Rd, Newcastle, ME 04553
FMI/Register: Valerie Lovelace, One2One Home Care, 563-3350, ext. 23, between 8:00am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

You may also contact us here.

Want to know more about Lincoln Home?  Click HERE!

Death Cafe Founder, Jon Underwood, Dies at 44

Walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Jon Underwood personally.  I interviewed him a few years ago to learn about  Death Cafe.  Being in the process of founding a similar kind of venture, I sought like-minded others.  I really wanted to hear their stories.  Jon was one of them.  I wanted to learn what it had been like for him to walk, quite literally, into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  He strode boldly and publicly into such conversations, complete with tea and cake, in 2011.

Death Cafe discussions now take place from Australia to Nigeria and every place in between.  As of this writing, there have been 4836 Death Cafe discussions in 51 countries.  And these are just the ones registered on the Death Cafe website.

What was it that motivated him?  More importantly, why?

As I recall, he explained it something like this: the monsters in the closet are only scary until we shed light on them.  Jon felt (and I do, too) that talking about Death in a very real and personal way ultimately makes those conversations less uncomfortable.  More than that, something kind of amazing begins to take place: a deeper, more thoughtful appreciation for life in all its forms starts to develop.  And then to flourish.

Death, Dying

Dying Matters.  A lot.

People say it’s too hard to talk about dying.  Honestly, it’s easier than you think.  Particularly if you or a loved one aren’t actually in the throes of doing it while trying to start the conversation.

Seniors frequently say to me they want to talk about it with their kids, but the kids don’t want to.  Adult children often say to me they want to talk about it with their folks, but the folks don’t want to.  When I hear this, I have to wonder whether either has actually tackled the subject with the other and who is really doing the avoiding!

I’m pretty certain that Jon Underwood did not imagine in 2011 that he would die in 2017 at the age of 44, leaving behind his wife, his children, and a world full of people who understand what he was trying to accomplish.  And I’m also feeling certain that his having talked openly about dying hasn’t lessened the incredible shock his family currently experiences with this  kind of a loss.

Talking About Dying Matters a Lot, Too

Here’s what I do know.  He’s left behind a legacy of openness and authenticity that’s hard to argue with.  He’s given his family, friends, and thousands of others across the globe a creative way to address the elephant in the living room.  That means something.  And that’s what life and death are: the meaning we make of it.

Here’s the bonus: Damariscotta Death Cafe has been meeting monthly for four years and is as lively and strong as ever.  Join in the fun on the second Monday of each month at Savory Maine, 9:00am.  No agenda.  No taboos.

Here’s to you, Jon.  I hope wherever you are now, there’s tea, cake, and heartfelt conversation.

 

Love, Death

First Home Care Training Class Graduates!

SIX HOME CARE PROVIDERS COMPLETE TWENTY HOUR EXCELLENCE IN CARE-GIVING CLASS

Training came to a close today after twenty hours of training spread over a five week period. Class participants learned a range of handy skills for in-home care-giving. Lincoln Home’s Giving Excellent Care in the Home: From Our Home to Yours curriculum centers on simple but important skills that boost confidence and help home care givers gain insight.

Class topics cover a broad range of skills. Right from the start students jump in with both feet, taking on subjects like personal values, home safety, and how to help granny with her dentures. Learning different skills and techniques help students become more confident providers.

I ENJOYED THE ACTIVITIES AND GAMES. THAT REALLY ENHANCED my training.

Student feedback helps us know what we’re doing well and what we can do better. It’s exciting to hear how the class was received, and even more exciting to know we’ve made a difference in our community with this class offering.

I gained so much through this class. I now have a different perspective and feel more confident caring for my stepfather.

I liked the way we reviewed chapters after reading them. It felt easier to take in the lessons that way.

I learned about all aspects of daily living. I gained a lot of new information and recognize that every care-giving situation is going to be different. This class is fantastic!

I liked the interaction with other students during activities.

We all got off to a good start that provided ease of sharing information and asking questions.

I learned a lot about care-giving. The biggest lesson I take away from this class is “someone else’s emergency is not my emergency.”

Please stay tuned. Lincoln Home will offer this course again in the fall of 2017.  Watch our Facebook page for the event posting!