Monday, June 22, 2015

Caregivers Need Care

3.5 million of adult family caregivers care for someone 50+ years of age and 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

Millions of Americans care for their aging and disabled loved ones at home. This is something we do for our families out of love, a sense of family duty, and oftentimes out of economic necessity. The times that we spend caring for a loved one can be precious times of bonding, sharing memories and honoring relationships. Yet, the act of caregiving often comes with a personal cost. "The close relationship between the caregiver and care recipient is a shared relationship with involved emotions, experiences, and memories, which can place a caregiver at higher risk for psychological and physical illness." Family caregivers can sacrifice their own health and well-being in the very act of caring for one that they love.

Get these and other caregiver statistics here.

Brandywine Home Care can help you provide the care your loved one needs. Our gifted, compassionate and trustworthy caregivers are there to care for your family.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day from Brandywine Home Care!

Happy Father's Day from Brandywine Home Care! Shalini and I were blessed with wonderful fathers who loved us and taught us so much about life, faith and family. They passed on values to us that are essential to the way we live our lives. And they loved our kids - their grandchildren.
Benjamin Peters, 1990

We miss them both, especially on Father's Day, but we're grateful for the gift that they were to us, and for the gifts that continue in our lives through their lives, their love and their influence. 

Hube Pickett, 1991
Both of our fathers experienced great health challenges late in their lives, and depended on family caregivers, as well as professionals both in and out of the home. As we work to provide care to people who need support to stay independent in their own homes, we remember our fathers, who were able to be at home, surrounded by family and friends, even as their health failed. 

And so we honor the memory of our fathers today, and we'll continue to honor them by remembering how important the care that they received at home was to them, for their comfort and peace of mind. 

If you are facing challenges with in-home caregiving, call us. We choose caregivers that we would trust them with our own family, so you can trust them with yours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

High Percentage of Seniors Needing Help at Home

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a troubling report. It estimates that 75 percent of seniors who likely need home-based care are not receiving it. Here is an excerpt:

"Approximately Two-Thirds of People Age 60 and Older Who Have Difficulties with Daily Activities Receive Limited or No Home-Based Care, Though Some Improvements Seen Since 2008. 
An estimated 27 percent (about 16 million) of people age 60 and older likely need home-based care like the services provided by Title III programs because they report difficulties with one or more daily activities. Depending on the number and type of difficulty, between an estimated 67 and 78 percent of older adults who likely need home-based care do not receive help with all of their difficulties, according to our analysis of 2012 HRS data..." 

As the number of seniors in our population continues to rise, the numbers will increase.

"About One in Five People Age 65 and Older Potentially Need Transportation Services. About 20 percent of people age 65 and older are potentially at-risk for needing transportation services, such as those provided by Title III programs, according to our analysis of 2012 HRS data."

The need for these kinds of services is expected to continue to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Many Boomers are now helping to provide care for their parents. 

We started Brandywine Home Care to help with these needs. Our caregivers provide the help needed in the home, and also help with transportation, accompanying our clients to doctor appointments, shopping trips and errands. This is part of our commitment to provide services that enable independence, dignity and peace of mind.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Making A Difference

This video has been showing up on my facebook newsfeed for a few days, and I finally took a few minutes to watch it - definitely worth it. A nursing home is a very different model of business from what we're doing at Brandywine Home Care, but the isolation that many elderly people experience, and the loneliness and depression that follows, is and will be a great concern for many of our clients. 
At Brandywine Home Care, we're working hard to make a difference for people who need a little help to stay independent in their homes. We're also working hard to care for our caregivers.

Take a few minutes to watch this video if you haven't already - it will add a little perspective and compassion to your day.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Caregiver Tips & Tricks (and a little facebook lesson)

I just read a great article by Amy Goyer, a caregiving and multigenerational issues expert. I also checked out her facebook page - a great resource for information on aging and caregiving. For those of you who do facebook, if you want to get notifications from someone like Amy, or from the Brandywine Home Care page, you need to check "like." But that's not all - see the "like" box that now says "liked?" Hover over it with your cursor, or click the little triangle in that box and also choose "Get Notifications." If you want to keep receiving articles from the page, click "like" on their articles regularly. Otherwise, facebook's algorithms will make it disappear. Thus ends the facebook lesson for today.

More importantly, Amy talks about some of the tips and tricks that make being a home caregiver easier. Some of the tech solutions she uses may be overkill for you, but then again, maybe a floor mat alarm is exactly what you need.

As my Dad's multiple myeloma increased his mobility challenges, this little Auto Assist Grab Bar made it much easier for him to get in and out of the car, and it's not expensive. We all know that grab bars in the bathroom help to prevent falls, but they can be tricky to install without the help of a professional, and just screwing them into plaster or drywall can even increase risk. Bars give the sense of confidence, but screws can easily rip out of plaster or drywall, making a fall even more likely than if the bars weren't there in the first place. Besides, there are many bathrooms where installing bars simply isn't an option. I like these rails that fasten directly to the toilet. They don't take up that much space, and again, they're not expensive.

At Brandywine Home Care, when our Care Coordinator makes a home visit to assess needs, we'll gladly do a brief home inspection as well, and suggest simple changes that can make your home safer.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Crunching the Caregiving Numbers

It's quite possible that you've served as an informal caregiver at home - either your own home or someone else's. Much more than most of us realize, family members and friends provide much needed care in situations where individuals can't manage on their own. 

One of the reasons we don't know this is because caregiving can be isolating - we do it on top of all the other responsibilities in our lives. It can keep us so busy, we lose track of things that aren't essential daily tasks.

Here are some of the numbers:

65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. [The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (2009), Caregiving in the U.S. National Alliance for Caregiving. Washington, DC.] - Updated: November 2012

52 million caregivers provide care to adults (aged 18+) with a disability or illness.
[Coughlin, J., (2010). Estimating the Impact of Caregiving and Employment on Well-Being: Outcomes & Insights in Health Management, Vol. 2; Issue 1] - Updated: November 2012

43.5 million of adult family caregivers care for someone 50+ years of age and 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. [Alzheimer's Association, 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer's and Dementia , Vol.7, Issue 2.] - Updated: November 2012

LGBT respondents are slightly more likely to have provided care to an adult friend or relative in the past six months: 21% vs. 17%. [MetLife: Still Out, Still Aging 2010. Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers] - Updated: November 2012

Brandywine Home Care can help you if your caregiving load is too much to handle. Sometimes a few hours a week can help you to get the break you need, and prevent caregiver burnout. It will also help to ensure that your loved one gets the best care possible.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Senior Safety at Home

One of the easiest ways to help seniors stay safe at home is to make some simple adjustments around the house. I visit each Brandywine Home Care client's home to do a needs assessment, which will help me to create the best plan of care and client-caregiver match. While I'm there, I also offer to do a free safety inspection, so that I can suggest any changes that might make the home safer.

There are simple adjustments that anyone can make to help prevent falls and enable aging in place. For example, nightlights are a very inexpensive way to make a big safety difference, and all you have to do is plug them into an electrical socket. Buy at pack of three or five, and you'll pay less per light. The new LED nightlights use even less electricity and last longer.

Other simple safety solutions: 
- Use non-slip pads and carpet tape to secure area rugs, especially at the edges and corners. These rugs are one of the primary causes of falls.
- Water on the floor is a fall hazard, and you can't always see it. Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Declutter, especially in high traffic areas. Bedroom clutter can cause falls, especially at night when making a quick trip to the bathroom. Plus, you'll like the way your house looks when things are tidied up.
- Consider rails and supports. The first place to look is in the bathroom, where grab bars in the bath, shower, or next to the toilet are an easy way to help prevent falls. A handrail provides support for long hallways, and is an absolute necessity for any stairway, even if there are only one or two stairs.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has produced a helpful checklist that you can use to do a careful check of your home. You can find that list here.