Help Anytime

What would you do?
You’re home alone and you trip. It could be a rug, coffee table, mans best friend anything and it could happen anytime. Simply  walking, distracted for only a split second and down you go.
Hopefully you only bump your knee but what if it’s more serious?
Maybe you’ve lost consciousness or broken something and can’t get up.
How are you going to get help?
The phone is by your chair, in the other room or is it up on the counter? If you’re unconscious it doesn’t matter anyway.
How long will you lay there waiting for someone to realize that somethings wrong?

Did you know that some personal medical alert systems can detect falls?
Imagine this, you’re laying on the floor and a voice comes from a speaker connected to your phone “Mrs. Smith? This it Mary from XYZ Medical Alert. We detected a fall. Are you okey?”
This is a fantastic service! Depending on the response the operator receives or doesn’t receive you are not alone, help is on the way.

They can call 911, a family member, a neighbor or someone like me who is ready to respond to the emergency needs of my clients at anytime.
Not only can the pendants detect falls, they can be used when you don’t feel right or you hear a burglar or even if you suspect a fire. All you have to do is press the button and that comforting voice will ask if you need help.
My favorite is Philips Lifeline. I don’t get a commission for recommending them, my experience is that they are the best.
Here’s the link, check it out! 

Why use a professional care giving agency? Peace of mind

A while back I was at the home of a potential client and her grown daughter, chatting to see what their care expectations were and if we would be a good fit, like I always do. We were talking about their options for respite care, help while the family is away, this could be a few hours weekly or 24 hour care during a vacation. The daughter is part of our local law enforcement, she told me that she had been to a website that passed along contact information for independent caregivers. “ I recognized at least 80% of them as having been through our local criminal system.” I was shocked!

How do we protect our seniors? How can you trust a stranger to care for your mom or dad?

A Hand at Home is licensed through the State. This means that the business has to prove that it will follow the law, protect our seniors, pay their taxes, carry sufficient insurance to protect clients and employees and train and supervise their caregivers.

Caregivers who work for my agency must not only be compassionate, reliable and skilled they also need to register with the State. Registration includes a fingerprint background check that goes all the way back to when they turned 18, any infraction could make them ineligible.

One of my first clients hired us primarily because they had tried hiring an independent caregiver in the past, which had not worked out. The family had gone to Hawaii on a dream vacation leaving grandma in the care of an acquaintance. Luckily a friend stopped by that first evening to see how things were going. The front door was wide open, the remains of dinner sat on the table, and grandma was passed out on the floor, an empty bottle of booze and two glasses were the last they saw of the “caregiver”.

We ended up working with the family for several years and many happy vacations.

A Smile Goes a Long Way

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of hands on work with our clients.

My role is generally as an administrator but since we are a small, family run, local business everyone must be cross trained to step in to any situation.So, recently I’ve jump in and covered some caregiving shifts.

Like everyone, when I go to a client’s home I’m not completely sure what I might encounter. I’ve worked with seniors who are a complete delight to those who get angry because the sky is blue.

Not only do you need to be a patient and compassionate person to do this work, you also need to be a good actor.

No one is thrilled to start a shift at 7:30 am and face a fouled bed and upset client. A good caregiver can put their personal feelings aside, take control of the situation and the very best do it with a smile.

I feel great at the end of a shift when my client says thank you and asks when I will be back.

Stepping out of the office and into the role of caregiver is a great reminder of what is important.

Training caregivers to do their jobs in a way that does not embarrass our seniors and to do it with a smile is a goal of supreme importance to me.

How do you deal with transportation?

Time to go to the doctor, dentist, hairdresser  or even just to the store? Well, as winter approaches you might want to  start thinking about this. The roads in Tahoe can be crowded and tricky, add the extra challenges of ice and snow. Why would anyone want to drive? At A Hand at Home we can help by providing great assistants to get you around. Just a few hours or all day I’ve got just the right person to help make your day easier.530-545-0780

Fraud Alert!!!

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department received information of a scam to access retiree’s financial information. A person falsely presents themself as a representative from the local gas company and offers to set up an appointment to review the customer’s financial records. The representative claims they can lower the gas bill, if they can review the financial documents. The public should know Southwest Gas will not ever send anyone out to review personal financial information of customers. Anyone receiving a phone call of this nature, should not give any information. They should contact the police department. If someone arrives at your residence asking for personal information, call the police immediately at (530) 542-6100.

Put yourself in their shoes

The other day while at the home of a client, I was brought up short when she asked me when she could go home. My client is in her 90s and generally pretty clear headed but she had just woken from a nap and was a little fuzzy. It broke my heart. We are so busy as caregivers, whether with clients or family members it’s may be hard to see the person through the work. Occasionally, step back and put yourself in their shoes for a minute. No one ever expects to be old and wrinkled, to become a burden, or have their mind clouded. Have compassion. What I try to do when surprised by a situation or comment that I can’t fix, is to calmly explain what is going on and how things are now. Sometimes it works sometimes you just have to get through it the best you can. One day you may literally be in their place. How would you like to be treated? Makes you think.


Smooth transitions

As professional caregivers we want to smoothly slip into our client’s routine but it usually takes a little time for everyone to get comfortable. Transitioning to a new caregiver can be unnerving but a little patience and flexibility can go a long way. Even the most experienced, best trained individual may still fold your socks wrong and forget to turn on the dish washer.

When a person finally decides to get that extra help in their home and call us they are often at their wits end. It can be hard to step out of such a stressful situation and accept help. Give yourself and others a break and expect that things will be dicey for a while. If an egg is over cooked or a little too salty take a deep breath try to see how much help you’re really receiving and how your life is easier. Before you know it your caregiver may start to feel like family.

Turn challenges into opportunities for creativity

One assignment I recently had placed me in a home where I was asked to take care of an individual, run the vacuum and fix something for dinner. No problem, my client was as sweet as pie and the house was in good shape but when I went to the kitchen it was slim pickings. A few tired looking veggies, and some frozen mystery poultry pieces. I had some time so I got to work. Turkey veggie soup! I boiled up a turkey leg cut up just about everything I could find in the fridge and a few hours later… voila! Maybe some of the best and most nutritious soup I’ve ever made. Oh, and my client asked for seconds. Small accomplishment but I’ll take it.

Music for memory loss?

Do you care for a person with memory loss? Or perhaps your senior has become less communicative. Try something new, create your own music therapy sessions. Studies have shown that music from a persons past, especially focusing on what they may have listened to as teens or early adults, can stimulate a person’s memories like nothing else. People who haven’t spoken in ages may suddenly break into song, or share a story seemingly out of the blue. You may not get these incredible results but what can it hurt to try? Don’t have access to a lot of music? Try googling music of a certain year. If the music you choose doesn’t seem to make an impression be creative, check out different styles of music, classical, blues, jazz, country, even hillbilly might be what trips the switch. There is a huge amount of free music available on the internet, so you have nothing to lose.

Give it a try.  An afternoon, or hour of music will at the very least be a nice change.