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Messiah Lifeways At Home Team Members Recognized Among Best in Pennsylvania

Messiah Lifeways At Home team members Jennifer Medina and Ashley Hannon, pictured here with Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne, were among several Direct Care Worker of the Year nominees. They were celebrated recently at the Pennsylvania Homecare Association’s 2nd Annual Direct Care Worker Forum in Harrisburg. 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. “Our entire team was honored by Jennifer and Ashley’s nomination and we celebrate this achievement with them. Their compassion and dedication is admirable; and we look forward to serving more clients in our region with this same spirit,” noted Christina Weber, Director of Community Support Services for Messiah Lifeways.

Celebrating National Home Care Month

Each year, November is recognized as National Home Care and Hospice Month by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. During this month we feel it is important to take the time to celebrate and give recognition to the nurses, home care aides, therapists, and social workers who make a difference for the patients and families they support.

On November 16, Curt Stutzman joined our home care team members as they enjoyed a celebration that we provided for them as a way of saying ‘thank you.’

Home care is more than just a service we provide; for the majority of our home care clients, it means being able to remain independent and comfortable in their own home. Not only is home care important for the individuals who receive the care, but it is also extremely important for their family and loved ones who, in turn, receive peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe and happy in the comfort of their own homes.

Below is a thank you message to our At Home team members from Curt Stutzman, Messiah Lifeways President & CEO:

Dear MLAH (Messiah Lifeways At Home) colleagues,

What an honor to celebrate you during Home Care & Hospice Month! I appreciate you all year-round, but it’s especially nice to pause during November – the month of thanksgiving – and shine a light on the ways you carry out our mission and help so many residents and clients maintain dignified independence. The care you provide is unparalleled – traveling to residences and truly being part of the fabric of someone’s life. You share some of life’s most personal and poignant moments – meals, holidays, and more. Thank you for giving your time and talent to help so many families care for aging loved ones. A former client shared that the At Home team provided quality of life for her Dad at a time when his overall quality of life seemed to be diminishing. Meals and laundry became more than practical chores – they were times of social interaction and companionship. These are invaluable gifts to give to a daughter, a son, a weary caregiver or relative. Thank you for being part of a special team and may God bless you as you continue to walk out our mission in homes around the region!

 

Gratefully,

Curt Stutzman, President & CEO

To learn more about Messiah Lifeways At Home call 717.790.8209 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AtHome

Everyone is a Potential Caregiver

A Caregiver Goes Above and Beyond

 

“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.”

Lydia M. Child


As a caregiver working with older adults, often one may find that they spend a lot of time reminiscing with the person whom they are caring for. Their memories may take them to positive places emotionally, and sometimes they may provoke sadness or regret. Both the reminiscing and mixed emotions are an important part of this stage of life.

Recently, Sharon Harris, a Messiah Lifeways At Home caregiver, was working with a client who shared something from her past that was still troubling her. Sharon went above and beyond in her service to this client to address this concern, and the following letter was received from a family member in response to Sharon’s generosity and compassion.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend Sharon Harris, a Messiah Lifeways employee, for going above and beyond in her care and concern for my mother. Sharon has worked for Mom in the role of caretaker and also housekeeper for several months. During this time, she has been attentive to Mom’s needs, both physical and emotional.

One incident in particular reflects the caring exhibited by Sharon. In conversation, my mother apparently shared with Sharon the fact that my brother had died in 1988. His death was a delayed consequence of his service in Vietnam in 1967-68. My mother was not in possession of any records related to his service or his medals, a fact which saddened her. Sharon must have relayed this information to someone at the Navy Base because less than a week later, Mom received a letter and a commendation thanking Mom for the services of her son. The letter was on behalf of a grateful nation for the sacrifice made by my brother and his family.

These documents were undoubtedly sent to make a mother feel better about the death of a son almost thirty years ago. Only a caring and supportive caregiver would hear and understand the meaningfulness of this recognition. Sharon Harris has made it possible for my mother to hold in her hand a testimony to the sacrifice made by my brother. I want to thank her for that.”

Like Sharon, so many caregivers go above and beyond the call of duty, and we hear those stories from those we serve who are so touched by the fact that you have gone the extra mile. We know that you are not in this line of work because it is easy or glamorous, but because you truly care for other people. Thank you so much for ALL you do!

Christina J. Weber, MSW, LSW
Director of Home Care Services

Messiah Lifeways At Home: Three Decades of Caring!

It’s been a little over two years since we rebranded as Messiah Lifeways. And although I believe we’ve done a rather good job of educating residents, clients, the general public and even our own staff, the name change still confuses some people. As I’ve mentioned before, this is not the first time that the name has changed (please readIf It Ain’t Broken, Then Why Did We Fix It?).

For those who are still puzzled by it, here goes. The name Messiah Lifeways represents a whole host of different services and offerings to those age 55 and better in the Harrisburg region. We serve those who need care, want to be part of a community (both on and off the Mt. Allen Drive campus), are looking for zestful and purposeful living, or want a combination of each. Messiah Village still exists as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and is still an integral part of our identity; however, it is no longer the overarching brand. Additionally, the name change was not part of a merger or buyout, but rather the evolution of whom we really are and who we serve. The moniker “Messiah Village” alone could no longer capture the spirit of the community outreach, services, and enrichment that are also a vital part of our identity. This broadening of our brand serves as a segue to today’s blog.

This April marks 30 years of service by Messiah Lifeways At Home. It is a testament of our commitment to helping people live longer and safer in their own home. At Home, along with other community support services like the Adult Day program, and Respite typify our broad spectrum of services beyond Messiah Village. We have always been on the cutting edge of the senior care industry. Some of these innovations included opening a children’s day care center on campus in 1978, starting the adult day program in 1993, and the creation of the Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning eight years ago. However, most significant was the non-medical home care service, which unbeknownst to many, started in 1984. Somewhat counterintuitive to most CCRCs, we give older adults more choice beyond just moving here.

Serving clients from Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and Northern York Counties, Messiah Lifeways At Home, formerly known as Messiah Village Home Care has been helping older adults with services such as assistance with activities of daily living, companionship, housekeeping, and laundry. As mentioned, this heritage and experience go all the way back to the Reagan administration, when a gallon of gas cost $1.10, and 80’s pop culture was in full swing, (see picture above). However, in the 80s and 90s, we didn’t tout this service all that much. This likely explains some of the disbelief when we mention that we’ve been providing home care for the last 30 years. But as competition and demand grew, consumers started to take notice. Fast-forward to the last several years, the offerings and exposure for At Home has really grown.

With home care services becoming more main stream, along with the expanding volume and desire for baby boomers to age in place, Messiah Lifeways At Home had become more vital to those who wished to stay in their own home as they aged. Several years back, we recognized that beyond traditional services like providing hands-on care, transportation, or housekeeping; we needed to offer other services like light maintenance, technology services, and emergency call systems as part of the solutions we provided. These services have assisted seniors in prolonging and fortifying their goal of aging in place.

Lastly, just as Messiah Lifeways has evolved, so too have the options to age in place, with Messiah Lifeways At Home leading the way. To request information or learn more about the many different options available through Messiah Lifeways At Home, please call 717.790.8209 or go to MessiahLifeways.org\AtHome.

Aging in Place, Yep- There’s an App for That!

 

Lately at Messiah Lifeways, you’ve probably heard us talk more and more about aging in place and/or community.  We can help older adults both on and off campus age in place a number of ways. Programs like Connections or services like Messiah Lifeways At Home or Messiah Lifeways Adult Day Services can really help aging and disabled clients live safer and longer in their own home as their needs increase.

In addition to traditional home care services such as assistance with activities of daily living or housekeeping, Messiah Lifeways At Home also offers some really handy technology to make staying home a safer proposition. First off is the Philips Lifeline Emergency Call System, which I playfully call the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up button.” They also supply the Auto-Alert Emergency Call System, which has an added feature that can detect a fall and send out an automatic signal even if the person is knocked unconscious and is unable to press for the call button for help. Also offered is the Philips Medication Dispensing (PMD) System which is a piece of technology that can help clients and caregivers manage safe and consistent medication monitoring.

Whether or not these gadgets are an option for you or a loved one, technology is here to stay, and skeptics should embrace these possibilities. If it means longer and safer stays in one’s home – why wouldn’t you?

Another budding area of technology, to help seniors age in place, are apps (see definition above). The wonderful world of apps features what seems like millions of different programs for games, maps, weather, books, productivity, you name it. Some apps are just plain silly, but some have some practical, real world value, and these 5 apps featured on aarp.com could come in handy for those looking to age in place.

The iCam and SwannView apps offer real-time or recorded video to help caregivers keep a closer eye on loved ones from afar. [Click here] to learn more about them.

Iconosys’s Tell My Geo is an app that uses global positioning to track and serve as a life line particularly for those with dementia who may wander or often lose their way. It also carries important medical data about that person. [Click here] to learn more Tell My Geo.

Next is Webahns Capzule PHR. PHR stands for personal health record and this iPhone app makes it easy for seniors and their caregivers to track and share health information. [Click here] to learn more about Capzule PHR.

Lastly is Sanofi-Aventis’s iBGStar Blood Glucose Meter that connects to the bottom of the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to help manage diabetes. [Click here] to learn more.

These are just a few apps that exist out there to make aging in place more feasible and safe. Like any new product, it is a good idea for you or a loved one to investigate these applications a little more closely before purchasing them. Lastly, in this ever-changing world of technology, Messiah Lifeways At Home offers a little known service to help those who may struggle a bit with new technology, smartphones and computers. They can send trained staff to your home to assist you with needs like setting up a new smart phone or tablet, downloading new apps or hooking up new computers. To find out more about this service, go to messiahlifeways.org/AtHome or call 717-790-8209.

Do you have a favorite smart phone or tablet app that could help with aging in place? Please share the information with others in the Comments section.

Originally posted 5- May, 2013

R-E-S-P-I-T-E: Find Out What it Means to Me

If you’d now like to get Aretha Franklin’s voice out of your head, follow me toward a completely different direction or at least to a circuitous segue for today’s blog. We’re talking about r-e-s-p-i-t-e and what it can mean to you – the caregiver, the ever-loving and devoted spouse or family member, dedicated and entrusted to the care of an aging parent or dependent loved one.

First, what does respite mean? Primarily it refers to taking or getting a break from a difficult or arduous ongoing task. And for some the “task of caregiving” can often lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and in some cases caregiver burnout. So getting a break or respite is so important for caregivers. Many spouses and adult children have made the promise to take care of their husband or wife or parent at home indefinitely. But as valiant as that promise is, over a few years, months or even weeks, caregiving can take its toll on your health, along with your mental and emotional well-being. Fortunately, respite can be an extremely helpful way to stave off burnout and revitalize or prolong a person’s ability to take care someone that needs the help. It’s a tool that all caregivers should use or at least explore.

For those familiar with the term, the most prevalent form of respite care is having your loved one stay at a personal care home or an assisted living residence for a week or two, while you take a well-deserved vacation or an out of town business trip. Messiah Village offers such a program, and it’s a great option in the battle against burnout. However, there are two other options that can also help counterbalance the stress and impact that being a caregiver entails. Those options include non-medical home care and adult day programs. These services are not as closely associated with respite compared to overnight respite care programs, but they are without a doubt as vital, valuable and many times less expensive than respite in a facility.

Adult Day programs offer flexibility for caregivers who may still work or also have young children to care for at home. Fortunately the aging loved one, who cannot stay home alone, can come to an adult day program for up to 8 hours, while the caregiver is out of the house. At the end of the day the most satisfying fact is that the person in need has received the care, attention and stimulation they need during the day, but return home come evening time. Equally satisfying is that the caregiver gets the respite time they need or desire. Most programs, such as our very own Messiah Lifeways Adult Day program, offer full day and half day programs as well one day or multiple day options. It’s also one of the most affordable types of care out there, with the national average of $70/day and $60/day in Pennsylvania¹ for 8 hours of care.

Another form of respite is non-medical home care. Just as Adult Day can break up the day or supplement the duties of the primary caregiver, home care does the same and can be used in multiple ways and time frames. Whether it’s needed several hours here or there, at bedtime or bath time, in the middle of the night or on weekends, home care can offset the daily tasks and challenges a caregiver faces each day. Providers like Messiah Lifeways At Home can also take the burden out of responsibilities like cooking, housekeeping, and grocery shopping for an aging parent, especially for those “sandwiched” between taking care of mom and taking care of their kids. Though more expensive on a hour by hour basis than adult day, home care in Pennsylvania averages a doable rate of $21/hour, which also happens to be the national average².

The great thing about respite is that it’s not necessarily there to replace you as the caregiver, but rather to supplement your hard work and efforts and to help keep you from running yourself ragged.

And lastly don’t forget to sing…

R-E-S-P-I-T-E
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB, Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

To learn more about respite options available through Messiah Lifeways, call 717.790.8209. Also if you’d like to learn more about reducing caregiver burnout, join us for the next Coaching Workshop entitled “Caregiver Solutions” scheduled for Wednesday, September 18, 2013. To learn more or to RSVP, please call 717.591-7225 or online at messiahlifeways.org/events.

¹&² The 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs- November 2012