Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 17, Zack talks about
hiring a professional caregiver. Specifically how to choose a home care agency, how, what to look out for, what to ask, and how to protect your family.
You finally have come to the realization that you need to hire some outside help to care for mom or dad.
As a home care provider myself, and having hired over 500 aides in 10 years, I will tell you the good news—most of the horror stories you have heard are not true or can be avoided. The bad news—-you still have to manage the aides no different if you let a plumber into your house. But we’re going to talk about how to do all of this the easiest way possible, how to find a good agency, what to ask and look for, and how to protect your family on this episode of Raising ‘Rents Podcast.
This show is sponsored by ComForCare, a national home care provider that will help you live your best life possible. https://comforcare.com/
This is Day 17 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan to care for an aging parent. The Prep Plan is all about helping you the family caregiver provide your loved one with the best comfortable safest and efficient caring environment in which they can grow old in.
The topic today is one option for long term care which is home care.
If you have not had a chance to listen to Days 1 through 15, please go back to Season 1 and check out these episodes. Also in Season 1 we introduce the 9 beginner steps in raising your parents. http://raisingparentspodcast.com/page/5/
Back on the episode that was Day 14 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan To Care For An Aging Parent we talked about how your parents can age in place—what to consider so that they can live at home independently as they get older in a safe environment and with dignity. http://raisingparentspodcast.com/episode-023-day-14-what-is-aging-in-place-for-mom-dad/
It really is what most people prefer— to remain living at home as they get older.
In the beginning the family caregiver steps in. It could be the spouse. It could be an adult kid who lives nearby or even a long distance adult kid. After a while though, that is just not enough or practical.
When we plan for long term care as someone ages, the first goal should be that they stay home or if the situation calls for it, in someone’s home. Anywhere but a facility if it can be helped is usually the most effective option to begin with. But to make that happen, besides being the family caregiver, you need help. It is time to hire a caregiver, a professional aide from a reputable home care agency.
There are two types of services that come to the home—typically referred to as home care and home health. Home care is considered non medical and home health is considered medical, that is, it is prescribed by a medical provider like a doctor...services like physical or occupational therapy, skilled nursing, administration of medicines, wound care and monitoring of health status. Usually these services are part of a care plan following a hospitalization. By the way, these services are usually paid for by medical insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, because they are prescribed by a doctor and typically associated with a hospital discharge.
In this episode we are only talking about home care the is non medical. Services like Helping with adult daily activities or referred to as ADL’s in the industry, things like grooming, dressing bathing and using the toilet. There are others services as well such as assistance with safely managing tasks around the house like preparing meals, shopping, medication reminders, assistance with walking or transferring from a bed to a wheelchair, assistance with chores like light housekeeping and then there is safety supervision such as fall prevention and monitoring someone with dementia. There is also Companionship which include things like engaging in conversation and helping them with their hobbies—gardening, reading a book, listening to music. Some agencies will even allow their aides to drive a client’s vehicle or their own vehicle to run errands, do some shopping, and transport to doctor appointments.
Different terms for a caregiver: aide, companion, home maker, home care aide, certified nursing assistant or CNA, Home health aide, or Certified Home Health Aide CHHA. It varies depending on which state you live in and how they are regulated. For example in New Jersey a CNA is an aide that works in a hospital or facility like skilled nursing and a CHHA is the aide that works in a private residence. New Jersey leans heavily towards protecting the consumer by regulating home care agencies and their employees—that is good news for a family that needs to hire an aide.
The agency has to be licensed and regulated under the Division of Consumer Affairs, renew on an annual basis, comply with strict requirements like having a RN on staff who supervises the aides and carrying the right insurance, and starting in 2019 agencies in New Jersey must be accredited which is an extra step in meeting the highest quality standards in the home care industry.
The CHHA is regulated under the Board of Nursing, must renew their certification every two years, has to successfully finish a course and gets fingerprinted and background checked. The state also monitors CHHA’s and agencies for any criminal activity and reports it on their site
Best way to search an agency is plugging in your state with terms like home care agency, home care aide, caregiver as a start. Some of the state government departments offer information about how to pick an agency and what a home care aide is. You can check out the one New Jersey provides as good reading—just remember that it is specifically for New Jersey but a lot of it is applicable to general home care knowledge. https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/hhh/Documents/A-Consumers-Guide-to-Homemaker-Home-Health-Aides.pdf
We get calls to our own home care agency from stressed adult kids all the time who were told by a discharging personnel like a social worker from a hospital or rehab center that their parent is being released tomorrow and they will need home care.
Zack’s personal experience: After calling the Employee Assistance Program at my job years ago it was suggested to me to hire an agency for my father who was in North Carolina and I am in New Jersey. I went about it blindly hiring the first agency I spoke to without doing any research, not knowing what they do, what they require, what they cost. It was stupid when I think back on it.
It really pays to do your research. I would recommend no less than speaking with three agencies and if possible having a face to face meeting with them.
Speaking about associations, if your state has one, which most states do, that is a great resource to check in with and ask questions or ask for their membership list. Typically associations like these only have members that are very reputable and credible but do not assume that—you still need to do your research. Go to their websites, check out their list of members, read some of their resources, and even reach out and ask questions. https://www.hhsanj.org/ and https://www.homecarenj.org/
Each county also typically has some type of resources for elder care, usually called the area agency on aging. They also can provide lists of home care agencies they have worked that are reputable. They are also a great resource to answer questions you may have about how to pay for some of these services such as the Veterans Administration https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp and Medicaid https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/hcbs/index.html
There are plenty of other places to find lists of home care agencies. There are publications that you can find in hospitals, libraries, senior centers or online. Just keep in mind just because they are listed somewhere doesn’t mean they are endorsed by anyone or anything in particular. It usually means they paid for an ad to be on that list. One professional publication that is nationwide that I have had a great experience here in New Jersey is the Senior Blue Book https://www.seniorsbluebook.com/. https://www.seniorsbluebook.com/local/newjersey/. The book lists many reputable home care agencies that the publisher of the book personally vouches for. By the way, the book also has multiple resources of other areas of need such as medical home care services, housing, and moving services just to mention a few.
The internet has plenty of information too. As you plug in “Home care” into your browser and the geographical area you are searching for, you will get a long list of options. Some referral sites will pop up too.
Another great source are Social workers. They usually have a list of reputable home care agencies, or at least ones they have had their discharged patient or resident use and there have not been any issues they know of.
And don’t forget your EAP —-Employee Assistance Program. Most companies now offer that to their employees. They usually can also provide you some guidance as to where to look and perhaps offer a few recommendations.
There are major franchise home care chains. Typically these are considered reputable because they not only follow their own states regulations but have to follow their franchise system requirements that usually are more strict than what the state requires.
I recommend you have at least two if not three or four to evaluate and now you should call them. Because most of you work, you will probably have to do this after hours. Not to worry. Most agencies tout they are 24/7 and this is the first test to see how 24/7 they are.
Once on the phone, you should be prepared to ask questions. They will go into their pitch I am sure but a very good agency will listen to you first, ask clarifying questions, then proceed to share with you what they can do. And this is very very important to me...I hope it is to you. I would at the very least ask them to meet you, preferably in your parent’s home or where the care will take place. And if you can’t meet them because you are long distance, get another family member or responsible decision maker to be there.
The face to face meet and greet is important for a few reasons. It will give you a good impression of who you are dealing with, it will equally give them the same impression and put them in a better position to help your family. Are they professional? Are they the owners? Are they more educators or are they trying to just make a sale. It will also help start a relationship for your parent or parents—remember this is their home and they probably did not ask for someone to be sending someone into it. As the owner of a home care agency and with many years of experience, I also like to give safety suggestions by inspecting the home for fall prevention—regardless if they pick me or not. Home care providers are usually very knowledgeable with this and should offer.
This was Day 17 part 1 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan to care for an aging parent. Tune in for the next episode when we continue to talk about Home Care. In this episode I will share with you questions that you should ask a home care agency before you hire them. We will also discuss what the next steps are after you have identified the right home agency for your parent or parents, the different type of options for shifts including 24/7 or live in’s, how to protect your family when aides visit their home, what home care costs, and the pro’s and con’s of hiring a caregiver privately.
Thank you for listening to the Raising ‘Rents podcast. If you have any questions or feedback, please go to our website http://raisingparentspodcast.com/ and click on the “Contact” tab. Let us know about any topics you want covered. You can also find the show notes and references to anything we talked about. Until we talk again, remember that our parents raised us, the least we can do is help raise them. Talk to you later.
Sources used in this series:
Intro/outro music: Arthaiz
Other music: Philipp_Weigl_-_01_-_Subdivision_of_the_Masses, Blue_Dot_Sessions_-_06_-_Wahre
Daughter Anastasia Demopoulos does the opening voice over
Website created and managed by Philip Golden
Day 16 of the 30 Day Preparation Plan To Care For An Aging Adult: Senior Scams
Zack shares a personal story of a scammer calling his cell phone.
Scammers are getting more and more creative. Easy targets are people with cell phones (because they always pick up) and your aging parent who are at home and answer the good old fashion land line.
Latest scam is about the new Medicare issued card—something every older adult may fall for.
This is Day 16 of the 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging parent and the topic is senior scams. If you have not had a chance to listen to days 1-15, please go to season 1 http://raisingparentspodcast.com/page/7/ and check out those episodes. We also talk about the 9 beginner steps in raising your parent in season 1.
2.7 million reports of fraud and identity theft were reported in 2017 according to FTC Federal Trade Commission costing victims a total of $328 million. Those are the reported ones. That doesn’t count the attempts. Senior citizens are targeted more frequently than any other age group according to the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs.
A very popular scam is during tax season—“This is the IRS calling”.
Here are the top 10 scams of late (National Council on Aging - NCOA): https://bit.ly/1MVdQKR
Some others not mentioned by these folks are the one about a scammer calling as a utility company telling the victim that they are past due and need to pay now before cutting off the power.
Then there is the one posing as the NJ Motor Vehicle Department telling you your driver license has been suspended and that a payment is needed to get your license back.
There is also the ones that give out a customer service rep for big names like Amazon and you google search the number and it takes you to a fake webpage that makes you think it really is Amazon and it will ask you for your information.
The latest one should also get your attention. It’s about the new Medicare card and since about 44 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare that is a pretty big target group to go after.
Medicare will not call you. They just don’t. Everything will be sent written in the old fashion snail mail style. So never never talk to anyone on the phone if they say they are Medicare. By the way the IRS does not make phone calls either. They use snail mail too.
If you haven’t seen a Medicare card ask to see your parent’s. If they haven’t received their new ones yet and you are looking at the old one, you will see the problem right away. Their social security number is on it. Medicare has always advised that you carry your card. This has been one of the biggest causes of identity thefts known for a long time. We all misplace our purses and wallets, especially as someone ages. And of course they are stolen as well. And scammers used to ask Medicare beneficiaries to read the number off the card over the phone. Today you probably notice that the social security number is hidden practically on everything. At the very most you will see xxx-xx- and the last four digits. This makes it tougher for bad people to steal your identity.
So the CMS or the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services has wanted to change this for quite some time but it was going to be very expensive to do so and they did not have the funding. Luckily they found some cash and started changing the cards as of April 2018. It is going to be a gradual process since there are so many folks who have a Medicare card. They plan to take one year to do this. But they are mailing them out automatically free of charge starting in one geographic area and moving to another. When they receive their new card, they are being asked to destroy the old one. Just make sure your parent does not destroy their social security card or health or drug plan cards. Just the old Medicare card with the Social Security number on it.
Other things to know:
Here are some of the things scammers will do--tell your parent there is a fee for the new card and ask them for their credit card or banking information to pay for it. Or they will call and ask to validate their information including credit card and banking information before they send out the card or give them a refund for the old one. The will tell them they cannot use the card until they activate it and they need to give them some information first to do that.
The problem is that many older adults will get embarrassed if they have been scammed and won’t tell anyone. Or they will not know where to turn to tell someone they have been scammed.
After hearing so much about the new card, and relying heavily on your Medicare benefits, you can be easily convinced that your Medicare may be at jeapordy if you do not do what the caller says. With healthcare costs so high no one wants their Medicare in jeapordy and you may fall for it.
How do they protect themselves from fraud?
Tell them not not share your new Medicare card or MBI with anyone. Keep your card in a safe place and do not carry it in your purse or wallet unless you need it that day. Only give your MBI to people you trust and who legitimately need it such as doctors, pharmacists and health care providers.
So this is worth repeating….Scammers may call to ask you to pay an activation fee for the new card. The card does not need to be activated and there is no fee!
Scammers may call to ask you to update or confirm your address or Social Security Number. That is not necessary. The card is good to go once it is sent to you.
Never give your Social Security number or address to anyone over the phone!
Never send money or give personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
If you suspect something you can Search online for phone numbers or company names and put “scam” with it to see the latest. Most seniors are not aware of the latest scams.
Best thing to do is to Report anything suspicious to the FTC: 1-877-382-4357.
You can also sign up for scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
Now that mom or dad know how to use a cell phone and can text, scammers are hitting them up too.
It’s not necessarily that someone is fooled or not so smart. As you get older, you may get in a vulnerable moment where you are wishing it was true...how great it would be to get some extra money to have a little more retirement money or leave something for your family—so the sweepstakes check is tempting. Or even how they may not want to bother you again for something and they try to handle this alone….like activating their Medicare card. Hey mom and dad...bother me! That is not a problem at all….but getting scammed is.
Please give me some feedback on what you think of the show so far or topics you may want to hear about in the future. http://raisingparentspodcast.com/contact/
And remember, our parents raised us. The least we can do is to help raise them. Talk to you later.
Sources used in this series:
Host Zack Demopoulos prepares to kick off Season 2 of Raising ‘Rents but before he does he shares a bonus episode on the transition of care for a family loved one who has been hospitalized and is being discharged. This one is a personal story about Zack’s Mom. It is the first time he is sharing on a personal note and plans to do more in the future.
Sibling dynamics--Zack has to work with his brother to care for their mother who has been hospitalized with a contagious virus that has weakened her and heart problem called supraventriculartachycardia. His brother lives in North Carolina near their mother and along with his wife is the primary caregiver. Zack lives in New Jersey and is a long distance caregiver.
Cost of caring, especially as a long distance caregiver-- Zack walks through what it takes to leave New Jersey on short notice to help his brother care for their mother.
Challenges of your mother telling you she wants to go home from the hospital and there is no clear plan yet.
Hospital case manager--very important you meet with them early and have them help you start planning for your family member’s hospital discharge.
Doctor says his mother can go home but with a plan that includes 24/7 care which Zack knew would not fly with his mom.
Zack reviews options with his mother which include going home with 24/7 care which she did not want nor can a family member help her with or go to a subacute rehab facility which she immediately rejects because she considered that to be a nursing home.
He convinces her to agree to go to a subacute rehab facility. Case manager gives Zack a list of recommended facilities. He is not familiar with any of them being from out of town. He reaches out to his home care provider peer and friend in Charlotte ComForCare Charlotte NC and received recommendations, two of them being on the list. Zack also asked the doctor who replied that she did not know anything about them but if it was her mother, she would go to each facility in person and check them out and make a decision from there.
Zack’s brother wants their mother to go to a rehab facility by his work so if need be he can run over briefly and see her. It was mostly about location than anything else. Zack instead tries to use factors such as how good the Physical Therapy is, is subacute separated from long term care (nursing home), how many aides are there per number of patients, and if a private room is available that is paid for by Medicare. Sibling dynamics once again come into play here.
After selecting a subacute facility, Zack is ready to take his mom there. Very important that you get the discharge plan documents from the Director of Nursing or Case Manager so that you can share it with the facility. Discharge plan has special instructions and lists medications, some of them could be new since her hospital admission.
Thank you for listening to the Raising ‘Rents podcast. This was Episode 25. If you have any questions or feedback, please go to our website www.raisingrents.com and click on the “Contact” tab. You can also find the show notes and references to anything we talked about. Until we talk again, remember that our parents raised us, the least we can do is help raise them. Talk to you later.
Sources used in this series:
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 15, Zack talks about what is involved when it is time for your parents to down size and move.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 14, Zack talks about what it means when the term “aging in place” is used and how this may apply to you and your parents or an aging adult you know.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 13, Zack talks about being a long distance adult kid caring and worrying about your aging parent and some things you can do about it.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 12, Zack talks about how staying active as you age will keep go far in keeping you healthy.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 11, Zack talks about how important estate planning is, and how an elder care attorney can help with that and long term planning.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 10, Zack does a high level overview of Medicare and how important it is to understand it for yourself and your parents in managing health care costs.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 9, Zack talks about how important it is to stay on top of your parents hearing and some of the things to look for as they age.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 8, Zack talks about how important it is to stay on top of your parents eye health and some of the things to look for as they age.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 7, Zack talks about how many doctors an aging adult may have and what are the best ways to help your parent manage them and benefit most from them.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 6, he talks about medication management, the risks of not complying, the polypharmacy issues, and the problems that can occur if medication is not managed correctly.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 5, he talks about what some of the signs are that Mom or Dad should not be driving anymore and how to take the keys away.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 4, he talks about what to look for when you visit your mother and father’s house in terms of safety and aging in place. There are simple measures one can take to ensure that their home is as safe as possible. One of the primary goals is to make a home safer to prevent falls.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult. In Day 3, Zack finishes up the three critical parts to Y.O.U as the caregiver. He discusses the importance of understanding your parents’ needs, the “U” in Y.O.U. “Y” stands for “Your Well Being” covered in Day 1. “O” is Overall financial situation—yours and your parents which he covered on Day 2. In this episode Zack talks about the importance of knowing and respecting your parents’ wishes and needs while walking the thin line of making sure they are living safely as they age and have prepared for the long term. He reviews the 9 Beginner Steps To Raising Parents as well.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 Day Preparation Plan to Care For an Aging Parent. In Day 2, it is still all about Y.O.U. as the caregiver. “O” stands for “Overall Financial Situation, both yours and your parents.” Zack shares how important it is to not only help your parents to prepare for long term care expenses but you should also plan for yourself accordingly due to caregiver costs that can unexpectedly hit you.
Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 Day Preparation Plan to Care For an Aging Adult. In Day 1, it is all about Y.O.U. as the caregiver. “Y” stands for “Your Well Being” and Zack shares how important it is to ensure your physical, mental, emotional and social well being are in a good place so that you can be the best caregiver possible.
Host Zack Demopoulos continues his discussion with Wendy Sabin, MSW, LCSW (check out Episode 007 for Part 1: http://bit.ly/2sSpTIz) about how to hire a GCM (Geriatric Care Manager), resources they can help you with caring for your aging parents, Wendy's dog Sophie who is training for pet animal therapy and how important this therapy. Zack also does a review of the ALCA (Aging Life Care Association) as in its members and its purpose. This show is dedicated to pet therapy animals—stick around until the end of the show to learn why.
Host Zack Demopoulos invites Wendy Sabin, MSW, LCSW to talk about what a GCM or Geriatric Care Manager is, the change to the name ALCA or Aging Life Care Adviser, why you would call one, what they do for you, and how she balances her professional caregiving and personal caregiving which you'll be surprised to hear. She also answers a listener's question on how to handle an aging parent who is reluctant to move out of state to be near an adult child who can care for them.
The discussion on The 9 Beginner Steps To Raising Parents is concluded with the introduction of Step 9 "Be There". Stories and tips are shared about how important being there for the aging adult you are caring for as well as being there with them. Zack Demopoulos is your host and has guests provide insights. Guests include ComForCare employee Cheryl Wilson and her mother Anne Smith, Client Helen Mintz, Paula Muller of Sociavi. This show is dedicated to wife Phyllis and some fun awkward bloopers are shared at the end..
Step 7 "Be Fun" and Step 8 "Be Loving" are introduced as the next Beginner Steps To Raising Parents or an Aging Adult. Stories and tips are shared about how important having fun is for the person you are caring for as well as yourself. Fun includes laughter and music. It is also important to show your love for the person you are caring. Resources are shared to help you prepare in caring for an aging adult. Zack Demopoulos is your host and has guests provide insights. Guests include wife Phyllis and Eugene "Gene" Foret. This show is dedicated to Chuck Berry who passed away on March 18th, 2017.
Step 5 "Be Compassionate" and Step 6 "Be Respectful" are introduced as the next Beginner Steps To Raising Parents or an Aging Adult. Stories and tips are shared about how important compassion is when caring for someone and to be careful of compassion fatigue; and the importance of being respectful in helping someone with their decisions as they age. Resources are shared to help you prepare in caring for an aging adult. Zack Demopoulos is your host and has guests provide insights. Guests include wife Phyllis, a professional caregiver, and a current client who is an aging adult herself. This show is dedicated to James F. Ward, a former client.