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Podcast #11- Benefits Of Using At Home Services

 

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The Coach’s Corner has a new podcast for the new year! Listen and learn more about Messiah Lifeways At Home and how home care helps family caregivers gain some peace of mind and balance in their lives.


Home care plays a vital role in assisting older adults and the disabled to “age in place” in the safety and comfort of their own home and live as independently as possible while receiving the care they need to maintain a high quality of life.

As our population rapidly ages and the desire to stay at home rather than move to a care facility continues, the need for supplemental care and services like home care is also growing. Over the last several years a a number of non-medical home care providers has exploded across the country. To the surprise of many, Messiah Lifeways At Home has been providing a broad range of non-medical caregiving services such as daily support, housekeeping, and companionship to older adults in the greater Harrisburg region since 1984.

To learn more about Messiah Lifeways At Home, please call 717-790-8209 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AtHome.

 

 

Adult Day Services: Enriching Lives & Supporting Caregivers

Caring for an aging parent or ailing spouse while trying to fulfill the promise of helping them age in place can be a struggle. This is especially true for a growing segment of caregivers who have a parent or spouse they’re caring for, while simultaneously still raising kids or even grandkids. Known as the “sandwich generation,” many of them are also still working, and therefore their plates are quite full, as you might imagine.

Often as the caregiver goes to work or needs to run errands, their loved one may be alone throughout the day. The fear of falling, dementia, isolation, and boredom can create an unsafe or less than desirable home life. Hiring care to look after them during the day is an option, but it can be cost prohibitive at times or it may not provide the stimulation they need or desire. Likewise, avoiding a move to a care community is counter to their goal. This is where Adult Day Services could be the solution.

Adult Day provides great balance 

Adult Day programs offer a great balance by enriching and caring for those trying to age in place, while supporting and relieving caregivers juggling their busy lives. Adult Day clients get the care, stimulation, and support they need on a daily basis. But at the end of the day they return home with their family or spouse. This takes a lot of pressure off of the spouse or the adult children as they go about the rest of their busy day. It is also reassuring for them to know that they are being cared for, eating well, having their medications administered, plus are participating in activities and socializing with their peers.

Affordable and flexible

It is also extremely affordable compared to other forms of daily care, and with financial assistance, typically through county funding, it is accessible to most everyone. Another great aspect is its flexibility. The Adult Day programs in Mechanicsburg and Carlisle are open Monday through Friday, but clients can attend as little as 1 or 2 days a week for 4 or 8 hours. They also open at 7:15 am and close around 5:00 pm to allow for early and late pick up.

Adult Day could be the solution you’re looking for

The chart below provides a great overview of the program, why it might be the right fit for you. It also gives detail on the services, support, and enrichment available to those in the program. [Hover and click on the chart for a larger view]

To learn more or to schedule a visit, please call 717.790.8224 for the Mechanicsburg Center or 717.243.0447 for Carlisle or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AdultDay.


 

Home Care: A Cornerstone to Aging in Place

Every November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrates National Home Care Month all month long, and Home Care Aide Week, which runs from November 13-19, 2016. It is a time to honor the care giving heroes who make a remarkable difference in the lives of those in need. This year’s theme is “Caring in Action.”

November is Homecare MonthHome care lies at the core of helping aging and disabled Americans stay in their home for longer periods of time. It can potentially lessen the amount of time someone may spend in an assisted living residence, personal care home, or nursing home. Of course there are many other resources to help people “age in place or community.” Other options include home health care, which provides short-term medical care into the home, adult day programs, respite care, technology, home modification, and in-home medical equipment. Home care services combined with one or several of these other home-based resources can create a workable blueprint to help someone age in place.

The Evolution of Community-Based Care
There are a number of reasons for this shift toward community-based care. First is the government’s dwindling ability to fund healthcare. And with nearly 76 million baby boomers reaching age 65 in the next 20 years, coverage for institutional care will become harder and harder to get. Because of this, the free market is joining the movement away from an institutional model of care and pushing for more community support services. It is the direction health care services are headed in our country. This is why you are seeing more urgent care centers, home care agencies, and hospice providers popping up in the community. It is simply cheaper to take care of someone if they don’t have to be hospitalized or placed in a facility, which is what most people want anyway.

These 76 million boomers represent a large and powerful generation whose demands and expectations of care will be very different from what we are used to seeing. Once more the idea of bringing services into the home and modifying homes will be the future for this rapidly growing number of seniors. Other factors compounding this evolution of care include our ever increasing life spans which require longer periods of care and funding. Secondly, over the last three decades, the number of family members, especially daughters, serving as caregivers has shrunk as our society becomes more mobile and career-oriented making a move out of town, state, or country more common. The way we used to care for our elders has changed. Just as nursing homes and personal care homes have provided surrogate care for aging loved ones over the last several decades, the idea of substituting care with home care aides has become more conventional. It helps working daughters (or sons), sandwich generation caregivers, out-of-towners, and spouses to replace or supplement the care they provide.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice states that demographic shift studies translate into some [troubling] data. The number of frail older people over 65 is expected to increase from 11 million in 2010 to 18 million in 2030. The percentage of frail older people who are childless is expected to rise from 14 to 18 percent during this period, and the ratio of frail, older people who have only one or two adult children is expected to increase from 38 to 49 percent. Most of these aging boomers will want to remain in their homes, but they may not be able to count on their families for long-term care when it’s needed.

Home Care Can Fill Many Niches
Not only has health care evolved to put a greater emphasis on community-based services, but home care itself is evolving. Traditional housekeeping, cooking, companionship, transportation and assistance with activities like bathing and dressing are generally offered by most non-medical home care providers. However, home care providers such as Messiah Lifeways At Home now offer a unique array of services that buoy one’s ability to live safely and more carefree at home. Some of these newer and less known options include: pet and plant care,  non-skilled home maintenance, downsizing services, assistance with home exercise programs, and technology/computer assistance.

Lastly, in a time where the expanding need along with the absence of consistent familial support continue to grow, home care staff fill a void and become more than just caregivers for their clients. They become almost like close friends or even family and are poised to play a key role at the center of caregiving in our country.


To learn more, go to MessiahLifeways.org/AtHome or call 717.790.8209. For information on home care services for the entire state, visit the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) home care locator link [click here].

Originally posted November 2013- Revised for November 2016
by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach, BASW, CCP

Celebrating Home Care: A Key to Aging in Place

Every November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrates National Home Care Month all month long, and Home Care Aide Week, from November 10-16. It is a time to honor the care giving heroes who make a remarkable difference in the lives of those in need. This year’s theme is “Home is the Center of Health Care.”

untitledHome care lies at the core of helping aging and disabled Americans stay in their home for longer periods of time. It can potentially lessen the amount of time someone may spend in an assisted living residence, personal care home, or nursing home. Of course there are many other resources to help people “age in place or community.” Other options include home health care, which provides short-term medical care into the home, adult day programs, respite care, technology, home modification, and in-home medical equipment. Home care services combined with one or several of these other home-based resources can create a workable blueprint to help someone age in place.

The Evolution of Community-Based Care
There are a number of reasons for this shift toward community-based care. First is the government’s dwindling ability to fund healthcare. And with nearly 78 million baby boomers reaching age 65 in the next 20 years, coverage for institutional care will become harder and harder to get. Because of this, the free market is joining the movement away from an institutional model of care and pushing for more community support services. It is the direction health care services are headed in our country. This is why you are seeing more urgent care centers, home care agencies, and hospice providers popping up in the community. It is simply cheaper to take care of someone if they don’t have to be hospitalized or placed in a facility, which is what most people want anyway.

These 78 million boomers represent a large and powerful generation whose demands and expectations of care will be very different from what we are used to seeing. Once more the idea of bringing services into the home and modifying homes will be the future for this rapidly growing number of seniors. Other factors compounding this evolution of care include our ever increasing life spans which require longer periods of care and funding. Secondly, over the last three decades, the number of family members, especially daughters, serving as caregivers has shrunk as our society becomes more mobile and career-oriented making a move out of town, state, or country more common. The way we used to care for our elders has changed. Just as nursing homes and personal care homes have provided surrogate care for aging loved ones over the last several decades, the idea of substituting care with home care aides has become more conventional. It helps working daughters (or sons), sandwich generation caregivers, out-of-towners, and spouses to replace or supplement the care they provide.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice states that demographic shift studies translate into some disturbing data. The number of frail older people over 65 is expected to increase from 11 million in 2010 to 18 million in 2030. The percentage of frail older people who are childless is expected to rise from 14 to 18 percent during this period, and the ratio of frail, older people who have only one or two adult children is expected to increase from 38 to 49 percent. Most of these aging boomers will want to remain in their homes, but they may not be able to count on their families for long-term care when it’s needed.

Home Care Can Fill Many Niches
Not only has health care evolved to put a greater emphasis on community-based services, but home care itself is evolving. Traditional housekeeping, cooking, companionship, transportation and assistance with activities like bathing and dressing are generally offered by most non-medical home care providers. However, home care providers such as Messiah Lifeways At Home now offer a unique array of services that buoy one’s ability to live safely and more carefree at home. Some of these newer and less known options include: pet and plant care,  non-skilled home maintenance, downsizing services, assistance with home exercise programs, and technology/computer assistance.

Lastly, in a time where the expanding need along with the absence of consistent familial support continue to grow, home care staff fill a void and become more than just caregivers for their clients. They become almost like close friends or even family. They’re a large part of why home care is poised to play a key role as the center of health care in our country.


To learn more about Messiah Lifeways At Home go to messiahlifeways.org/AtHome or call 717.790.8209. For information on home care services for the entire state, visit the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) home care locator link [click here].

Originally posted November 2013- Revised for November 2014
by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach, BASW, CCP

 

What Is Aging in Place?


What exactly does it mean to “Age in Place”? Ideally, aging in place is leading a healthy and engaging life in your own “home” for as long as one chooses. And “home” should be considered a fluid term. But, if we delve deeper, we’ll discover its meaning becomes situational, conditional, and distinct to each person facing difficult life choices as they grow older and or more dependent on others.

Aging in place has become a broad term bandied about in the senior and long-term care industries for many years. At work, I use the term several times a day and provide guidance to older adults and their families on how to “age in place.” However, for those who have little or no exposure to an aging or disabled loved one struggling to live independently or safely at home, it may be an unfamiliar concept.

One way to help define aging in place, or muddy the waters, depending on how you look at it, is to dispel what it is not:

•It’s not exclusively defined by age. When you retire at 65 you’re not suddenly aging in place. Furthermore, is a healthy 81 year old still working full-time and leading a very active lifestyle aging in place? I wouldn’t necessarily say that he is. Plus, if I claimed he was, he might respectfully disagree, since I’m referring to my father-in-law. Conversely, we could reference a 45 year old female with a traumatic brain injury in which the family is doing everything they can to keep her at home as she becomes more dependent each passing year.

•It also is not defined necessarily by where you live. Someone residing in a place other than their house, such as in a retirement or 55+ community, a personal care home or assisted living, has the opportunity to age in place. Therefore, you can age in place in multiple stages and locations too.

Thoroughly confused yet? Don’t be. You can boil the term down to whether a person has a fundamental deficit or inherent need, that without help may not be able to live independently or safely. These deficits can be quite broad. It could be that because of aging, impairment or disability that person needs some home modifications: a ramp into the house, a bedroom on the first floor, or a walk-in shower rather than a bathtub. A deficit may also be due to a loss, such as the loss of driving privileges or loss of physical or mental capacities. Aging in place manifests itself if you now need assistance coming to your current living situation for the safety, welfare or maintenance of you or your household.

Another way to understand aging in place is to talk about its primary alternative. Typically, this is choosing to move to a retirement community or care facility because it could make life easier or more enjoyable or safer than living in a private residence. Statistically, if we examine the choice of aging in place versus making a move among older adults, the percentage of those who move into a facility for care is less than 15%. Thus, the majority of older adults will be living at home and opt to age in place.

There are a multitude of different services and resources that can help people stay at home and age in place. Family or hired caregivers and/or professional home care are keys to aging in place. Other options include: adult day programs, home modification, and technology such as emergency call systems, telemedicine and even the use of web cams. Additionally, home health care and hospice services, durable medical equipment, outpatient therapy and diagnostic programs bolster the effort of people living safely and healthy at home. Wellness programs, volunteering, community membership groups like Messiah Lifeways Connections, senior centers, and transportation services can help round out a healthy and engaging life in the comfort of your own home.

To learn more about aging in place options available through Messiah Lifeways Community Support Services, call 717.790.8209 or go to MessiahLifeways.org/community-support.

The TinkerToy Effect

The National Village to Village Movement

The Messiah Lifeways Connections program turns one year old this February and continues to grow and develop into something very special for its members stretching from Carlisle to Hershey. But a concept like Connections, though new to Central Pennsylvania, has actually been around since 2001. The Connections program is part of national movement called the Village to Village Network. Initially started by a group of aging neighbors in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, members of this “village model” made it possible for fellow seniors to stay in the community and their homes for as long as possible, a primary goal shared by most retirees and older adults.

As the idea of “aging in place” gains momentum particularly for baby-boomers, the introduction of new services and concepts to making this a reality is vital. Options like the Connections program adds another layer of support and complements the traditional aging in place provisions and services. Coupling it with assistance from family and friends or hiring home-health aides, modifying one’s home or purchasing adaptive equipment can create a safer and more enriching life at home. For others it has less to do with receiving support or assistance, but rather it serves as an opportunity for them to collaborate, support, and socialize with others in and around their community. These members volunteer their time, energy, and vision to for the betterment of the group and, if they need help in the future, other members will reciprocate when the time comes.

The Village Model Gets National Recognition

Recently the Village Model concept got some great exposure through NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Nightly News featured a story about Williams’ in-laws living in Connecticut that belong to a group just like Messiah Lifeways Connections called Staying Put in New Canaan.”

Like the group here in Central Pennsylvania, Staying Put also connects its local seniors to a variety of practical resources along with social networking opportunities to help support its members. This idea of networking or “connecting” members is certainly nothing new. It harkens back to “the way things used to be.” It’s a reinvented notion of “neighbor helping neighbor” but in more formal and structured way according to Geli Losch, Director of the Connections Program. She goes on to say, “the number of volunteers helping, vendors working, and programs and events happening continues to rise. Members meet regularly to further enhance the program as it has evolved and grown during our first year.” It’s impact and value caught the attention of Holy Spirit Health System and PinnacleHealth System who became our first two community partners and founding sponsors last year.


The TinkerToy Concept

For some people, the Village to Village concept can be a bit hard to grasp. The ideas of members being part of a virtual village or network sometimes need a visual representation. Ms. Losch recalls a guiding group meeting where a member compared being a part of Connections was like being a part of a tinkertoy set, where pieces differ in length, color, and shape, but could still bond with each other, support each other, and ultimately build something unique and beautiful. This was such a powerful image that Connections has used the idea to help people understand and embrace the concept.

If you would like to learn more about the Messiah Lifeways Connections program or become a member go to messiahlifeways.org/connections or call 717.591.7223. If you’re interested in finding out if there’s a village near you or you’d like to join your local group, go to www.vtvnetwork.org.

Finding the Right Place (Part 2- Assisted Living Residences)

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, part 1 of this 3 part series, one of the biggest challenges that a caregiver can face is helping an aging parent or loved one choose the right place to move when living at home is no longer an option. This includes those living alone with help coming into the home, and those who actually live with their primary caregiver. The willingness to admit there is a need for change is the first step in what should be a consensual decision to find the right nursing home, or personal care home, or today’s main focus, an assisted living residence.

Last week’s blog focused on choosing the right personal care home for your loved one. And while many of the tips and ideas are almost identical to choosing an assisted living, we have to again differentiate these two similar yet different levels of care specific to Pennsylvania. For the long version please refer back to my blog from March 2013. For those who want the abbreviated version, here goes. Up until January 2011, facilities like Bethany Village, Country Meadows, and Messiah Village offered a level of care called “assisted living”; however, they were all licensed as personal care homes by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW). Technically the term assisted living was inaccurate, but sounded more appealing, so that’s what most providers went with and identified themselves as. Meanwhile, legislation was brewing for nearly a decade in the Commonwealth that would change all of this and looked to create an alternate level of care to nursing care and personal care for aging and disabled Pennsylvanians. The goal was to create another option for care that promoted, provided, and allowed more care than what a personal care home could do. It was also meant to reduce or offset the need for the heavier care and more expensive option of a nursing home. The basis was to serve the gap or niche of clients that fell between these other two levels. This new level became known as an Assisted Living Residence (ALR), and it finally became a reality in January, 2011. From that point on in Pennsylvania, a facility had to be licensed as a Personal Care Home (PCH) or an Assisted Living Residence. They were no longer one and the same.

However, this reality has been a bit less than stellar. One of the other main differentiators of assisted living residences was supposed to be means-tested reimbursement through Medical Assistance to help pay for those who could not afford it privately. That, unfortunately, has not become reality due to state budget issues. The recycling of the name “assisted living” has also created much confusion for consumers, plus many healthcare professionals are still using assisted living and personal care interchangeably. Another problem has been a lack of interest by many facilities across the state to change their offerings and licensure to an ALR. For some companies it could require them to structurally alter their buildings and increase the square footage in resident rooms and would require more staffing and additional training. Consequently, the monthly costs would also likely increase; although it would be less expensive and provide a more homelike setting than most nursing homes. Unfortunately, a year and half later, there are still only about 2 dozen or so assisted living residences spanning 12 counties in PA, while there remains well over 1200 personal care homes located in just about every county across the state. Locally, Bethany Village and Columbia Cottage are the only two communities licensed to provide assisted living. Time will tell if ALRs are truly a viable option. I hope they are.

I digress – back to the topic at hand. Whether you are looking at a personal care home or at one of the scant assisted living options across the state, the same principles apply. First to locate the elusive ALRs, contact your county Area Agency on Aging, because the state’s online ALR directory is currently not available. They should be able to tell if one exists close to you. If so, you’ll want to ask for the facility contact information, whether it’s for-profit or non-profit, and most importantly access to the inspection surveys.

Just as with a personal care home, be sure to call for availability and ask about admission criteria and financial guidelines. Remember, you’ll want to streamline your list before you start to schedule one of the most vital steps, which is taking a tour. Again, schedule mom to have lunch or partake in an activity or ask if they have an ambassador program where they can speak directly with another resident one-to-one. Get copies of the menu, activity calendar, and newsletters. Don’t forget to ask about a respite program to let mom stay for a week or two to “try it out.” And finally don’t forget that, with non-profits in particular, you’ll want to ask if a benevolent or charitable care fund exists to pay for their care once your loved one’s assets are depleted.

As far as the question I mentioned last week about what happens when your loved one needs more care, this is where assisted living residences differ a bit from personal care homes. Its main concept is to help residents “age in place,” stay put, and get more care into them rather than moving them onto a nursing home. However, there still may be a point where nursing care may be needed if their medical treatment and care requires daily oversight by a physician and 24 hour care by a licensed nurse.

Lastly, and I cannot stress this point enough, whether it’s a personal care home or assisted living residence, do your research sooner rather than later. Don’t make such an important decision without thoroughly researching the options ahead of time.

For more tips and information about choosing the right assisted living home for a loved one, please contact the Coach at 717.591.7225 or email coach@messiahlifeways.org.

Please stay tuned next week for the third and final part of this series, as we cover how to choose the right Nursing Home (Part 3).

 by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach