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San Diego Home Care Blog


Home Care Givers

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 2:16 pm | by San Diego Home Caregivers

In-home caregiving can be a very rewarding & satisfying job. There are many hats that a caregiver wears other than the ones mentioned in this article but these are just a few that we will be covering. As a caregiver, you provide a variety of non-medical services that allow seniors to remain living independently in their homes.

These services generally fall under three categories:

  • Companionship
  • Home Helper
  • Personal Care

Companionship services are those that stimulate, encourage and assist an individual.

The primary responsibilities of Companionship services include the following:

  • Provide companionship and conversation
  • Provide stabilization and assistance with walking
  • Prepare meals together
  • Provide medication reminders and appointment reminders
  • Help keep client active & busy with stimulating activities

Home Helper Services includes a variety of household services for the individual or client. It includes providing cleaning & household maintenance duties.

  • Light housekeeping assisting client to keep home neat & tidy. (Vacuuming, dusting, making beds, linens, bathroom & kitchen cleaning.)
  • Meal Preparation and cleaning up the dishes.
  • Laundry and linens as well as helping client with organizing their drawers and closets.
  • Run errands, food shopping, or accompanying client to appts. – doctor, pharmacy, etc.
  • Organizing ingoing and outgoing mail, bill reminders.
  • Assist client with miscellaneous duties where clients are limited, i.e. setting up a computer, programming a remote, setting up and testing Lifeline pendants, coordinating with a handyman, etc.

Personal Care Duties tend to be a little more personal and “hands on” in nature and may include:

  • Assist with bathing, grooming & hygiene care. Dental care brushing teeth or dentures etc. Washing, drying and combing hair.
  • Assist with toileting & incontinence issues. Help with clean up & changing of sheets or briefs.
  • Help with any exercise or activity regime they might have set up.

Caregiving can have its challenges. A lack of a good routine or the constant change in a client’s health can cause stress. Stress can be constant as caregivers must flex and adjust to sudden changes to accommodate their clients needs. For example, a client with a history of head trauma or vertigo may have unexpected falls or accidents that require emergency room visits.

This and other situations can lead to stress, burnout and depression in caregivers. Well planned caregiving can be healthy & fulfilling. In order to be a capable & understanding caregiver you must equip yourself with the knowledge & support needed to do an exceptional job. There are many resources out there to help. The Caregiver Coalition is a great place to start. You may visit them at http://www.caregivercoalitionsd.org/.


Care for Parents in San Diego

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 10:51 am | by San Diego Home Caregivers

  1. Know what you need to know.

Experienced caregivers recommend that you learn as much as you can about your mom or dad’s (or both) illness, medicines, and resources that might be available in San Diego.

  • Information can help you understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent crises, and assist in healthcare management. It can also make talking with the doctor easier.
  • Make sure at least one family member has written permission to receive medical and financial information. To the extent possible, one family member should be the one to talk with all San Diego healthcare providers.
  • Try putting together a notebook, on paper or online, that includes all the vital information about medical care, social services, contact numbers, financial issues, and so on.
  • Make copies for other caregivers, and keep it up-to-date. Or provide it to your caregiving network by saving it “in the cloud” through Google docs, or other online storage service such as Dropbox.
  1. Plan your visits.

When visiting your parent or parents in San Diego, you may find that there is just too much to do in the time that you have. You can get more done and feel less stressed by planning ahead.

  • Talk to your parent and find out what he or she would like to do.
  • Check with the primary caregiver, if appropriate, to learn what he or she needs, such as handling some caregiving responsibilities while you are in town.
  • Does your mother need to get some new winter clothes or visit another family member?
  • Could your father use help fixing things around the house?
  • Would you like to talk to your mother’s physician?
  • Decide on the priorities and leave other tasks to another visit.
  1. Spend some quality time.

Try to make time to do things unrelated to being a caregiver.

  • Rent a movie to watch with your parents, or plan a visit with old family friends or other family members.
  • Perhaps they would like to attend church.
  • Offer to play a game of cards or a board game.
  • Take a drive, or go to the library together.
  • Take your mom or dad (or both) to dinner at one of their favorite places in San Diego.
  • Take you Dad to a San Diego Padres baseball game!

Finding a little bit of time to do something simple and relaxing can help everyone, and it builds more family memories. Keep in mind that your parents are the focus of your trip to San Diego—try to let outside distractions wait until you are home again.

  1. Get in touch, stay in touch.

Many families schedule conference calls with doctors, the assisted living facility team, or nursing home staff so several relatives can participate in one conversation and get up-to-date information about a parent’s health and progress. Google Voice is a free service you can use for this. GroupMe is a smartphone app for free group messaging.

  • If your parent is in a nursing home, you can request occasional teleconferences with the staff.
  • Sometimes a social worker is good to talk to for updates as well as help in making decisions.
  • If you use Unfrazzle you can set up regular conference calls with your Unfrazzle network.
  • Unfrazzle users can also set up a shared caregiver bulletin board.
  • Try to find people in the San Diego community who can provide a realistic view of what is going on. In some cases, this will be your other parent.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of a phone and email contact list. It is a simple way to keep everyone updated on your parents’ needs and home care plan. Once again this list could be shared in the cloud through Google Docs or DropBox.
  1. Help your parents stay in contact.

The simple strategies below can be a lifeline. But be prepared—you may find you are inundated with calls from your parent. It’s good to think in advance about a workable approach for coping with numerous calls.

  • For one family, having a private phone line installed in their father’s nursing home room allowed him to stay in touch.
  • For another family, giving grandma a cell phone (and then teaching her how to use it) gave everyone some peace of mind.
  • You can program telephone numbers (such as those for the doctors, friends, and yourself) into the phone for speed dialing contacts.
  • If your parents have a computer you can get them a Skype account or teach them how to use Apple’s FaceTime.
  1. Learn more about caregiving.

Whether you are the primary caregiver in San Diego or a long-distance caregiver, getting some caregiving training can be very helpful. As with a lot of things in life, many of us don’t automatically have a lot of caregiver skills.

  • Training, for example, can teach you how to safely move someone from a bed to a chair, how to help someone bathe, how to prevent and treat bed sores, as well as basic first aid.
  • You can find information about training opportunities in your area online.
  • Some local San Diego chapters of the American Red Cross might offer courses, as do some non-profit organizations focused on caregiving.
  • Medicare and Medicaid will sometimes pay for this training.
  • The U.S. Government maintains a massive database of community services and programs called the Eldercare Locator.
  1. Gather a list of resources in your parent’s neighborhood. 
  • Searching the internet is a good way to start collecting resources.
  • Having a copy of the phone book for your parent’s city or town can also be really useful.
  • The “Blue Pages” provide an easy guide to state and local services.
  • Also check with local senior centers for lists of sources of help.
  • The National Institute on Aging’s website 0ffers an online list of more than 300 national health and aging organizations, including contact information. You can visit them at https://www.nia.nih.gov/.


Home Care Background Checks

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 3:54 pm | by San Diego Home Caregivers

San Diego, CA – With home care agencies in San Diego, there are no requirements that in-home caregivers undergo any kind of background check before providing in-home care to individuals in need of assistance at home. Only a patchwork of protections are in place.

“State requirements for background checks vary in terms of what sources of information must be checked, which job positions require background checks and what types of convictions prohibit employment,” Brian P. Ritchie, acting deputy inspector general for evaluation and inspections, wrote in his new report.

Currently, federal law does not require background checks or bar workers with criminal records or a history of abuse from working in the home health industry, the report said.

Investigators asked officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia if they require home health agencies to conduct pre-employment or periodic background checks on workers and if any criminal convictions disqualify applicants from employment.

In cases where some level of screening is mandated, only 15 states require checks to be completed before employment commences and just as many states have systems in place for periodic checks of existing workers. Currently, California does not require background checks for non-medical in-home caregivers. They do require background checks for skilled nursing care. To find out more about the differences between non-medical home care and skilled nursing, please visit http://www.sandiegohomehealthcare.com.

Rules in 35 states bar individuals with specific convictions from becoming home health workers but differ on which offenses disqualify prospective employees.

Of the states that reported having no background check requirements, officials in four states — Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii and West Virginia — told investigators that they plan to implement such safeguards.

When hiring through an agency in San Diego, ask for details on the background checks performed on their caregivers. Home Care can be overwhelming and background checks may be overlooked. Many home care agencies here in San Diego perform comprehensive background checks and a few questions when researching will help as an initial screen for the right agency.


Helping Parents with Home Care

Sunday, April 27th, 2014 10:19 am | by San Diego Home Caregivers

Home Care in San Diego requires foresight and preparedness. You can’t predict when something might happen to your aging parent. Whether an unexpected illness leads to a hospitalization, or a fall requires rehabilitation at a nursing home; in these instances it’s vital that your parents have their essential legal documents in order so that you have a good picture of their state of affairs.

Here are ten questions to ask your senior parents in San Diego to make sure your family is prepared for the unexpected. This list should help with determining their need for home care as well. It may be best to gather the answers to these questions over the course of days or weeks rather than springing them on Mom or Dad all at once.

1. Do you have a durable power of attorney?

Durable power of attorney designates who will take care of your affairs if you are unable to decide for yourself in the case of mental or physical incapacitation. Seniors can designate one person to handle health care decisions (the health care proxy) and another for financial decisions (the financial proxy) or they can designate one person for both roles. It helps to have someone local in San Diego for this part of the home care plan.

2. What are your end-of-life wishes?

A living will, also known as an advance health care directive, is used to indicate choices about end-of-life care. For example: Would you want a ventilator and feeding tube used to keep you alive even in an irreversible coma? Do you want CPR initiated if your heart stops, even if you are terminally ill? Make sure the health care proxy is aware of your parent’s decisions.

3. Do you have a will or living trust?

Wills and living trusts are the legal methods used to designate what happens to your possessions and money after you die. A will simply specifies, in writing, who gets what, and how much. A living trust is an alternative to a will. A senior who prefers a trust puts their assets in the trust and names a person to take charge in case of death or incapacitation. If needed, research local attorneys in San Diego that specialize in elder care law.

4. Do you have long-term care insurance or another plan in case long-term care in San Diego is required?

The national average cost for assisted living is $3,074, according to an analysis of the pricing of communities in A Place for Mom’s network. In some regions like San Diego, the cost of care in a health care facility or with in-home care is much higher. This can decimate a senior’s nest egg rapidly, so it’s important to know if your parent has insurance to offset these costs, or some other plan in place should long-term-care needs arise. If your parent does have long-term insurance, read the policy to make sure you understand it. Call the insurer if you have questions about what is and is not covered.

5. Have you made sure that their documents in San Diego are current?

All of the documents we’ve mentioned need to be up-to-date and current for them to work properly. Encourage your parent to revisit estate planning and care planning measures each year.

6. Where can I find these documents if I ever need them?

It doesn’t do any good for your parent to have these documents in order if they can’t be found in an emergency. Make sure you know where they are and how to get to them. For example, if they’re in a safe deposit box, see to it that a trusted family member has a key and permission to access the box. If they’re in a fire-safe, someone besides the parent should have the combination.

7. Is someone advising you on financial matters as part of your home care plan?

Older parents are often fiercely independent regarding their finances, which is understandable. Even so, it’s important to know who is advising your parents regarding financial decisions. This knowledge will not only allow you to reach the adviser in case of an emergency, but also gives you a chance to make sure your parent is working with someone who is reputable. Search for a local accountant or financial advisor in San Diego.

8. If you can no longer take care of yourself, have you thought about where you’d prefer living in San Diego?

Start the discussion about long-term care options before crisis hits. Get your parent involved early, and look at options before the need arises. This gives your parent an opportunity to provide input about preferences and to get involved in the process rather than having to passively accept arrangements hastily made at the last minute by well-meaning but uninformed loved ones. A Place for Mom can help you identify quality senior communities and home care providers so that your family has a plan B in place. To help in your planning, we also encourage you to compare your parent’s current cost of living with the costs of assisted living and in-home care in your San Diego using A Place for Mom’s handy Cost of Care Calculator.

9. Do you visit the doctor regularly?

Your parent may be seeing several specialists in addition to a primary care physician. If your parent becomes hospitalized, information from one of these doctors could be critical. If possible, ask your parent to provide you a list of physicians seen regularly, and how to contact them. On the other hand, some seniors’ may have the opposite issue. Their idea of a doctor’s visit may be a weekly session in front of the TV with Dr. House. This question can also help prompt a meaningful discussion about your parent’s general health and well-being as well as there home care plan.

10. Do you feel like you understand why you’re taking the medicines you’ve been prescribed?

Many San Diego seniors end up on a dozen medicines or more. This question can help you gauge whether your parent is able to manage his or her medications independently, and also may provide a clearer overall picture of medical status. And just as it’s important to know who your parent’s physicians are in case of emergency, it’s also important to know what medicines your parent takes. Being able to provide this information to hospital staff in case of a medical crisis can be vital to effective treatment.


San Diego Caregiver Tips

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 5:52 pm | by San Diego Home Caregivers

San Diego Home Care Tips

How to Create a Safe Home Care Environment

If you are a busy family caregiver in San Diego who works full-time while caring for your aging loved ones, your main priority is ensuring their safety while they are home alone, right?

In fact, reports show that nearly one-third of people age 65 and up experience a fall every year in the United States.

According to AARP, many of these falls and injuries can be prevented by taking simple, inexpensive steps to eliminate or fix potential hazards. Here are 10 tips they provide to create a safe in-home care environment.

10 Home Care Tips for a Safe San Diego Home:

  1. Install handrails on both sides of all steps (indoors and out).
  2. Secure all carpets and area rugs with double-sided tape or carpet mesh. Consider removing unnecessary rugs.
  3. Install easy to grasp C- or-D-shaped handles for all drawers and cabinet doors.
  4. Use brighter lightbulbs that don’t produce excessive glare.
  5. Install night-lights in all areas of night activity.
  6. Add reflective, non-slip tape on all non-carpeted stairs.
  7. Install lever handles on all doors.
  8. Place a bench near entrances for resting or setting down purchases.
  9. Install closet lights, as well as adjustable, pull-down rods and shelves.
  10. Install rocker-style light switches and consider illuminated ones in select areas. For individuals who use walkers, canes or wheelchairs in the home, you can create more open walkways throughout the home by moving larger furniture against the wall and removing loose rugs, cords or other objects in the open walk space, to avoid trips or falls.

Considering these simple tips can help to create peace of mind for caregivers, as well as creating a safe environment for home care here in San Diego.


Home Care vs. Hospice Care

Monday, October 31st, 2011 12:35 am | by San Diego Home Caregivers

San Diego In-Home Care & Hospice Care: The Difference

Many people in San Diego ask “What’s the difference between hospice care and in-home care?” It can be very easy to get the two services mixed up, but the differences are significant.

Hospice Care Services In San Diego

Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families affected by a life-limiting illness. Hospice care is usually provided in a patient’s home or wherever a patient calls “home” such as a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility.

Care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals all working together with the patient, the patient’s physician, and the patient’s family members. The team makes intermittent visits to a patient’s home, depending on the needs of the patient and family members.

And hospice care is very affordable, as it is covered under Medicare, Medi-Cal (Medicaid), most private insurance plans and HMOs. The goal of hospice care is to help the patient live the best quality of life possible, for as long as life lasts – whether that’s weeks, months, or years.

In-Home Care Services in San Diego

In-home care services in San Diego are available for those in need of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), or for family caregivers who may need a break, or additional help, in caring for their loved one.

Non-medical home care agencies provide assistance with ADLs, which require no medical intervention. These activities include supervision and assistance with personal care, such as bathing and dressing, feeding, companionship and light household tasks.

Important Note:

It’s important to note that non-medical home care (also known as Companion Care) is not covered by Medicare or other commercial insurance policies (i.e. PacifiCare, Secure Horizons, etc). Generally, agencies in the San Diego area can range from $13 to $20 per hour.

If your loved one needs assistance 24 hours per day, sometimes known as a “live-in” home care, prices may range from $150 to $250 per 24-hour period.

Some services may be covered by long term care insurance, review your policy for details. Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance usually cover the cost of visits from a Physician, RN or therapist (if ordered by a Physician). Services must be provided by a Medicare certified Home Health agency.

Here’s the main difference…

The main difference is that hospice care team members visit patients on an intermittent basis – they do not “live-in” with the patient or stay with the patient all day (except in cases where the level of care is determined to be continuous care, based on the medical needs of a patient). And services provided by the hospice team are usually covered by insurance.

In-home care workers provide non-medical care, can stay as long as needed (depending on the service agreement between the in-home worker and the patient), and services are usually not covered by insurance.

To determine which type of care is best, talk with your doctor or call a San Diego hospice provider for more information.


-by Melissa DelaCalzada

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