Senior Care Tips for Families in Allentown, PA

Senior Care Tips for Families in Allentown, PA

If your loved one receives family senior care in Allentown, PA, you may wonder how you can best support them and yourself as their caregiver. Providing support to elders is an important role that many family members are happy to fulfill, but it isn’t without challenges. If you’ve embraced an at-home family care position for your loved one, here are a few tips that help you give the most compassionate, quality care possible.

 

Tips for Caring for the Senior in Your Life   

Familial caregiving is such a gift. It allows your elderly or disabled loved one to receive the loving support they need within the comfort of their home. Agencies like AmeriBest Home Care are honored to come alongside family caregivers and provide them with the training and resources they need to excel as a family personal aid. 


Routine Assistance and Daily Care  

Your family member’s needs can vary, ranging from assistance with transportation to help with basic needs like dressing. It’s important to continually assess how much support your loved one requires. While you want to ensure they receive adequate care, especially regarding nutrition, hygiene, and medication management, giving them some autonomy is also crucial. Collaborating with your relative regarding things like meal planning or social activities can help them maintain their sense of independence. 


Companionship and Emotional Support  

Aside from assisting with daily routines, being there for companionship and emotional support is a valuable aspect of family caregiving. Emotional wellbeing is important for their overall health, so take time to check in with them about how they’re feeling. Keep your communication open and honest, showing patience and compassion when they express struggles or concerns. Your mental wellbeing as a personal aide is important too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, connecting with family caregiver support groups who can listen and empathize can be a worthwhile activity. 


Reach Out for Support and Resources  

Aging and the need for care can take a toll on both caregivers and the individual receiving support. You may experience financial concerns, need professional support, or just want to connect with resources in your area. Fortunately, home care agencies like AmeriBest, and local coalitions on aging, such as your State’s Aging Services Department, are often a wealth of knowledge and resources for family caregivers. 


Financial Considerations and Legal Concerns  

While family caregiving is a wonderful option for most families, it’s important to have a plan in place for long-term care if and when the time comes. Budgeting, deciding advance care directives, and understanding your legal responsibilities should all be discussed before the need arises. An attorney or financial planner can help you get these items squared away so you can continue providing quality care to your loved one without the stress of future planning.

 

Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver  

Being a family caregiver is undoubtedly rewarding. Still, that doesn’t mean it is without challenges. Take some time for self-care and balance your responsibilities and wellbeing with the support duties given to your loved one. It’s essential to recognize when you’re becoming overwhelmed or stressed and seek support when you need it. Utilizing respite care or a personal aide through a home care agency can help give you a break while ensuring your relative receives the best care possible.

Senior Care Tips for Families

 

Let Us Help You with Senior Care in Allentown, PA

AmeriBest Home Care is a preferred agency for individuals seeking senior care in Allentown, PA. Not only do we support family caregivers with training, resources, and financial compensation, but we can also step in when needed. Our home care services staff are compassionate, skilled, and able to give you some respite. We are conveniently located in Allentown, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia to assist you with your senior care needs. 

Call us at 1-800-HOMECARE to learn more about how we can help.

How to Become a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member in Allentown, PA

Caregivers in Allentown

Caregivers in Allentown, PA, are likely facing the same rewards and responsibilities as caregivers nationwide. AARP estimates that 50.3 million adult caregivers in the United States provide unpaid care to their family members. Many of them probably want to give the best support to their loved ones, caring for them in the comfort of their own home instead of using an unfamiliar caregiver or assisted living facility. But at the same time, that can mean making tough decisions.

Family caregivers often spend their earnings or savings on care-related resources, like transportation. They may also have to endure long commutes to and from their relative’s home and take time off work to provide support. The value of family caregiving can’t be understated, but neither can the challenges.

Fortunately, there are resources available to caregivers in Allentown, PA, who want to be paid for their compassionate care.

 

Ways Caregivers in Allentown, PA Can Get Paid for Family Caregiving 

If you’re considering becoming a paid family caregiver in Pennsylvania, it’s essential to understand the eligibility requirements and steps needed to receive financial assistance for your care.

 

Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Programs 

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that offers waivers that can compensate family caregivers. Various programs and waivers are available to residents, like the Managed Long-Term Services and Supports program (MLTSS) and the Home and Community-Based Services waiver (HCBS), which are available to caregivers in Allentown, PA.

To qualify through Medicaid, eligibility criteria must be met by both the caregiver and the recipient. These requirements are often functional and financial. First, the recipient will need to be deemed as requiring care for daily living activities, which a medical practitioner usually does. Next, they will need to be considered financially eligible for Medicaid. Once considered eligible, they can work with their county’s case manager or Independent Enrollment Broker to be enrolled in the program and determine which waiver best suits their needs.

The caregiver is generally required to be a family member. However, there are sometimes additional stipulations regarding age and relation to the recipient. In most cases, the program or waiver requires the family caregiver to receive some sort of training. That’s where AmeriBest Home Care can help.

 

Partnering with a Home Care Agency like AmeriBest Home Care 

Medicaid waivers will not pay family caregivers directly. Instead, a participating home care agency, such as AmeriBest Home Care, must hire an approved family caregiver. The family member will become a regular employee, receiving compensation and accessing available benefits. Regular paychecks and benefits can take a huge burden off both the family caregiver and the loved one they are supporting.

Additionally, the agency will provide training, information, and ongoing development to ensure caregivers can offer the best support possible. AmeriBest Home Care is dedicated to providing continuing mentorship and development to all of its staff. We’re proud to partner with family caregivers in Allentown, PA, who are selflessly committed to their loved ones.

 

Are There Other Avenues for Caregivers in Allentown, PA, to Be Paid? 

Medicaid is often the most sought-after way to get paid as a caregiver in Pennsylvania. Medicare does not offer payment for long-term care, regardless of whether the caregiver is a family member.

However, there are sometimes other possibilities for financial support. The US Department of Veteran Affairs is one option. For veterans who meet the eligibility requirements, an Aid & Attendance offering can increase the recipient’s monthly budget, which can then be used to pay a family caregiver. Alternatively, the Administration on Aging and Department of Aging Services may be able to offer some assistance for transportation, meal plans, respite, care, and housing, although they cannot pay you as a caregiver directly.

A final option is long-term care insurance. Certain insurance providers offer compensation for caring for a dependent family member. Still, it’s important to be aware of your coverage and premiums.

 

Family Caregiving

 

Why Caregivers in Allentown, PA, Turn to AmeriBest Home Care 

AmeriBest Home Care is the ideal solution for families as a home care agency that hires, trains, and mentors family caregivers. We give you the resources and training you need to care for your loved one and receive compensation for doing so. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for both caregivers and their family members.

Contact AmeriBest today to learn more about becoming a paid family caregiver and all of the resources we have to offer.

Empowering Philadelphia’s Unsung Heroes: How Medicaid Supports Family Caregivers in the City of Brotherly Love

Family Caregivers

How Medicaid Supports Family Caregivers Philadelphia, PA 

According to one statistic, as many as one in five Americans are family caregivers. You may be part of this group as a Medicaid Family Caregiver in Philadelphia, PA. It’s undeniable that caring for a family member is one of the most rewarding experiences. You can provide them quality care from the comfort of their own home and care from someone they know and trust. In most cases, the same level of compassionate support and familiarity just isn’t attainable through a caregiving service. While there are many capable and highly skilled caregivers out there, receiving caregiving from a family member or loved one is often the best way to put everyone at ease.

However, as enjoyable as spending quality time with and caring for your family member is, the choice to do so isn’t always easy. The impacts of family caregiving can range from emotional concerns to financial stressors. Family caregivers often pour a lot of resources into caring for a loved one. They put in a lot of hours, which can mean long commutes around their work schedule or giving up a career entirely. Some may choose to sacrifice portions of their income or savings to help cover the cost of medical equipment or transportation. These things can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining.

These effects of family caregiving don’t go unnoticed, though. Fortunately, there are various programs available that may be able to help family caregivers financially.

 

Is It Possible to Use Medicaid for a Family Caregiver in Philadelphia, PA? 

Family caregivers in Philadelphia, PA, can often use Medicaid to receive payment for caring for a loved one. In fact, Medicaid Waivers, or Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, are among the most common resources used by residents. The program is also referred to as 1915 (c) Waivers or Section 1115 Waivers. In all, the state offers approximately ten support service waivers for caretaking.

In Philadelphia, these waivers can help pay for care services for individuals who are not residents of a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living center. Support services covered by the federal government program include assistance with daily living activities, such as dressing and bathing, as well as household chores.

 

Designating a Family Member as a Caregiver in Philadelphia, PA 

Although there are some stipulations, the recipient of the Medicaid funds can generally use the money to pay a familial caregiver for home care services. In some cases, the dependent family member must be over 18 years of age to select their relative as their caregiver. Then, they can oversee schedules and timesheets, but a fiscal agency will manage payments to the caregiver.

There are eligibility requirements and certain steps the caregiver must take. For example, the recipient may need to work with a case manager in their county to determine how much care is needed and what the budget should be for those services. Then, from that budget, they can pay their family member instead of receiving care support directly from the state.

 

Taking Advantage of Home Care Agencies in Philadelphia, PA 

Although the family member needing care may not want to receive services from a caregiving agency, the agency may still be able to help them pay a family caregiver. For example, AmeriBest HomeCare can help family caregivers in Philadelphia, PA. 

There are programs available that provide training to become a caregiver, such as the self-directed personal assistant program, the Structured Family Caregiving program, or Community HealthChoices. These programs typically compensate individuals who give in-home care to their loved ones while educating them on how to provide the best support possible.

A home care agency like AmeriBest can hire a familial caregiver. They will then become a general company employee, receiving both paychecks and benefits. The care recipient can choose their family member as their caregiver through the company. Still, they will not have to be responsible for compensation.

It’s important to note there are eligibility requirements, such as income limits, physician certification, the prohibition of a spouse as a caregiver, and program parameters.

 

Can Medicare be Used for Family Caregivers Living in Philadelphia, PA?

The government health care insurance plan, Medicare, does not pay for long-term care services, including in-home care support, and does not offer reimbursement for caregiving services. In some cases, the insurance plan may cover things such as transportation or meal delivery, but these offerings are limited.

 

Supports Family AmeriBest

 

Become a Medicaid Family Caregiver in Philadelphia, PA

A rewarding job like family care for a loved one shouldn’t be daunting. With the variety of programs available in Philadelphia, PA, you can find the appropriate support network for you and your family members. AmeriBest HomeCare can help you on your journey; reach out today! 

Unlock Financial Support in Philly: A Guide to Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver in Pennsylvania

Family Caregiver Ameribest

As a family caregiver, you are a valuable asset to your loved one. Not only are you providing support, but it is coming from someone they feel comfortable with and given in the familiarity of their own home. Being a family caregiver is a rewarding experience that offers benefits to all involved. Still, it’s likely that you may also incur expenses associated with your role.

Family caregivers often draw from their earnings or savings to afford care-related expenses. In fact, AARP reports family caregivers can spend as much as 26% of their income on related expenses. Additionally, they may take time off work and face long commutes to provide for their loved ones. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to consider getting paid to be a family caregiver in Philadelphia, PA.

 

Options for Getting Paid to Be a Family Caregiver in Philadelphia, PA 

Family caregivers are individuals who support their loved ones who are sick, elderly, disabled, or require long-term care for other reasons. They help with transportation, daily routines, and obtaining medical supplies or other resources. Family caregivers occupy the same role as paid caregivers, but most engage in this rewarding experience because they care about their loved ones, not for financial gain.

That said, family caregivers in Philadelphia, PA, typically can get paid for their services.

 

Getting Paid Through Medicaid 

Medicaid participates with Personal Assistant Services (PAS) in Pennsylvania. The PAS program offers individuals who need help completing day-to-day activities services for assistance. It’s possible that a family caregiver can qualify for PAS under various waivers.

These waivers include OBRA, Act 150, and Community Health Choices (CHC). However, it’s important to note that each waiver has its own stipulations. For example, to qualify for CHC, the individual receiving care must qualify for long-term care after an evaluation by their doctor. Across the board, the care recipient must be over 18 (in some cases 21) and enrolled in Medicaid for their family caregiver to receive payment.

 

How to Qualify

Getting paid to be a family caregiver in Philadelphia, PA, does not happen directly through Medicaid. Instead, the person giving care will need to be hired by a home care agency, like AmeriBest Home Care. The company can provide quality training, allowing the caregiver to provide the best support possible to their loved one.

Furthermore, the caregiver will become a regular employee of the company. This means that while they will be able to care for their relatives, they will also receive paychecks like every other employee and have access to other benefits offered by the agency. How can you get paid to be a family caregiver in Philadelphia, PA?

First, your loved one must ensure they qualify financially and functionally for both Medicaid and the applicable waiver program. This can often mean obtaining physician certification and certification through the local County Assistance Office (CAO). 

Once approved, your family member will need to choose a home care agency that allows family members to be employed and is approved by the state waiver program. AmeriBest Home Care is pleased to employ family caregivers, offering training and continual development opportunities in a supportive environment.

 

How Much Will Medicaid Pay Family Caregivers in Philadelphia, PA?

The amount depends on Medicaid’s rates. Medicaid has fixed rates dispersed to home care agencies that the company uses to pay caregivers, including family caregivers. The rate is also what the state of Pennsylvania deems a suitable hourly rate for home care services managed through Community HealthChoices. Agency rates can vary slightly but generally fall within a similar range.

 

Will Medicare Pay Family Caregivers? 

Medicare does not pay for long-term care services, including in-home care support. The government insurance health coverage plan does not pay — regardless of whether the in-home caregiver is a family member.

Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver

 

Why Partner with AmeriBest Home Care?

AmeriBest Home Care has a lot to offer caregivers, including compensation, benefits, and excellent training so that you can provide the best support possible for your loved one. Reach out to AmeriBest to learn more about how to join our team and get started today.

National Mental Health Month

Since 1949, May has been dubbed Mental Health Month. The goal of the designation is to reach out to people through various venues offering help and education. AmeriBest is a home care service agency in Harrisburg, PA. As part of our commitment, we work hand-in-hand with families who need assistance navigating the tumultuous waters of understanding mental health and finding effective solutions for their loved ones. 

The 2022 theme for Mental Health Month is “Back to the Basics.” After two years of living with the pandemic, many people find themselves feeling stressed, isolated, and uncertain about how to get back to some semblance of normal. This is doubly true for seniors whose support often had to remain separate due to social distancing. In-home caregiving services like those offered by AmeriBest, Harrisburg, filled some gaps by utilizing special protective uniforms so they could still be on the job.

Risks for Developing Mental Health Issues

When someone begins experiencing mental health issues, it probably has more than one root cause. Psychiatrists have created a list of risk factors for mental health. The more you have, the more likely you’re to experience one or more mental health conditions. 

  1. Genetics: Think of your genes like a map of how your entire body grows and functions. That includes the brain. So if there is a history of mental health in your family, you may have a genetic predisposition. For example, if either or both of your parents had an anxiety disorder, your risk of developing the same disorder can increase by 6 times as much at the top end. 
  1. Lifestyle: Your mom was right. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. It’s god for your body and mind. Should you develop a mental health problem, these simple things become coping mechanisms and helpmates. 
  1. Social conditions: Where you live, work, and socialize all impact your quality of life. Individuals living in poverty, areas with high crime rates, and who have limited access to a healthy community environment illustrate more mental health problems. The amount of anxiety-centered conditions went up 20% because of isolation during Covid, for example. 
  2. Trauma: This is a big category. For example, someone in your life may have had a stroke or car accident that created limitations. That’s trauma as is the death of a loved one, being bullied for extended periods, racism, and experiencing a disaster up close and personal. 

The impact of trauma can remain with little notice until something triggers a memory. Then the world can come cascading down into a pool of tears and fears. Experiencing trauma as a child puts you at 1.3 times the risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood or senior years. 

How can You Help?

If you are a caregiver for someone with mental health problems, even part-time, there are things you can do to help them. The most important is companionship. Loneliness is a huge factor in someone developing depression, and depression can impact other aging issues including dementia. 

Motivation and intellectual activities go hand-in-hand with companionship. An idle mind is one prone to spiraling into negative thought-forms. When people are dealing with things like SAD there’s a tendency to want to simply give up. When you offer said person input at the right time and in the right way, it can make a huge improvement in their quality of life. 

Now, not everyone has the capacity to step into this type of role. There’s a lot of responsibility including paying attention to the signs that mental health is on the decline. That’s the time to reach out. Any organization participating in Mental Health Month can get you started with more tools and know-how. Alternatively (or consecutively) you can call AmeriBest’s Harrisburg, PA office at 717-545-2920 and talk to one of our professionals. 

One of the core principles of professional aid services is helping the entire family. People don’t realize that their personal mental health can be adversely impacted by a loved one’s struggles. Ours is a holistic approach. You can email us (info@ameribest.org) or use our online form for more information. 

Home Care Agency for Stroke Recovery in Philadelphia

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. As a home care agency for stroke recovery in Philadelphia, AmeriBest sees the impact of strokes on individuals and families daily. Did you know that, according to the American Heart Association, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States? It can lead to disabilities and death. The good news is that 80% of strokes can be prevented. Keep reading to learn more about stroke reasons, risks, signs, and post-stroke care in Philadelphia.

The Makings of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to some part of the brain becomes blocked. Alternatively, it may happen when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. When brain cells do not get oxygen-bearing blood, they will die. This creates a medical emergency. The sooner stroke treatments can be administered, the better chances physicians have of allaying some of the potential results. Delays in stroke treatment increase the risks of permanent brain injury or even death. 

Stroke Risks

There are a variety of factors that increase the potential for having a stroke. Some risk factors can be managed by medicine and monitoring, others cannot. If you have:

  • A history of smoking, alcoholism, or using illegal drugs
  • An abnormal heart rhythm
  • Damaged heart valves
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hight Red Blood Count, Cholesterol, or Lipids. A high red blood count means your blood is thick, increasing the chance of clots. Cholesterol can thicken arteries
  • Obesity
  • TIA (transient ischemic attacks aka a mini-stroke) history

Then you have a higher propensity toward stroke, especially if more than one of these factors is in play. 

While strokes can happen to anyone at any time, people over 55 have twice the chance of having a stroke. Men experience strokes more often than women. One in four people who survive a stroke are at risk for another. 

Home Care Agency for Stroke Recovery in Philadelphia

Stroke Signs

The CDC explains the use of the FAST system to recognize the signs of a stroke.

F – Face drooping

A – Arm limp or weak

S – Speach issues, including stuttering

T – Time is of the essence – call 911 immediately.

What Can You Do?

When consulting with families in the AmeriBest Home Care Philadelphia, PA caregiver agency circle, we strive to educate everyone on ways to prevent stroke. The most important action is living a healthy lifestyle, including adjusting your meal and snack choices to more fruits and vegetables while avoiding trans fat, cholesterol, and salt. 

It’s also important to watch your weight. Obesity increases stroke risk. The BMI index is one that shows you if your weight is in a healthy range. If you know your weight and height check it here. Hand in hand with your weight comes activity. Movement helps stabilize or even decrease your weight while supporting healthy blood pressure. 

You can learn a lot and make great contacts by participating in a National Stroke Awareness event near you.

Home Care Agency for Stroke Recovery in Philadelphia

It can be overwhelming to care for a stroke patient while also attending to your own needs. That’s where home and community-based programs like those at AmeriBest come into the picture. We can provide your loved ones with improved safety, while also focusing on their recovery. Call the AmeriBest Home Care Philadephia office (215) 925-3313; 1-800-HOMECARE for information. You can also email info@ameribest.org, or use our online form for questions.

Home Care Agency for Stroke Recovery in Philadelphia

National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Did you know there are waiver home care programs for seniors with high blood pressure? Waiver programs like those AmeriBest of Harrisburg, PA, participate in allow people to get proper care at home for lower costs than in an institution. As you can imagine, having these programs provides great peace of mind to families and patients alike.

May is dedicated to Blood Pressure Education so that you can help your loved ones who are at risk.

What is Blood Pressure

Blood pressure comes from blood pushing against arteries as it moves through your body. Everyone’s blood pressure rises and falls daily. There are two blood pressure measurements

  • Systolic: This number indicates the pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat.
  • Diastolic: This measures pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. 

Normal blood pressure is considered 120 systolic over 80 diastolic. 

What is High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. While your blood pressure may go up with exertion, for example, when it stays up there’s a reason for concern. As your blood pressure rises, the risks of a stroke, heart attack, or heart disease go up. 

When your health care provider, or that of your senior, diagnoses high blood pressure, they can then work on a treatment plan for reducing those numbers. Some providers consider 130/80 high, while others pin it at 140/90.

Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

At AmeriBest Home Care Harrisburg, PA, we believe that remaining informed and involved is vital to the care of your elder. We are a top, in-home caregiver with waiver plans and take great strides to educate our staff, too.

You can begin by learning how to take blood pressure at home if you do not have a caregiver, aid, or nurse. It is the only way to know your blood pressure changes. Remember that high blood pressure is called the silent killer because so many people never know they have it.

There are all kinds of equipment you can buy for measuring blood pressure, and it’s not overly expensive. Beyond that, here are some signs of high blood pressure:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Eyes with blood spots
  • Flushing
  • Nervousness
  • Nosebleed
  • Pounding in your ears or chest
  • Sleep interruption
  • Weariness

The longer high blood pressure continues, the more it can damage your arteries. In turn, this leads to heart disease, heart attack, or heart failure. 

Brain & Other Problems

If high blood pressure blocks blood to the brain, the lack of oxygen causes a stroke. Additionally, there is a link between high blood pressure and decreased cognitive functions. Adults with high blood pressure face increased potential for kidney disease, too

Prevention & Management

There are some simple things that help prevent and manage high blood pressure. Encourage your loved one to have about 30 minutes of activity a day. Help them prepare a healthy diet, low in salt and alcohol. And find ways of managing stress. Often, having a waiver home care plan for seniors in place not only decreases your loved one’s anxiety but also your own! Self-care matters. 

Call AmeriBest’s Harrisburg, PA office any time (717-545-2920), email info@ameribest.org, or use our contact form online for further information.

Arthritis Awareness Month

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. This condition causes individuals chronic pain that can affect their ability to enjoy life fully. The swelling in a person’s joints often limits mobility and impacts having a normal lifestyle.

According to the CDC, there is no cure for Arthritis. Some medications along with structured exercise may, however, provide relief and improve joint flexibility with on-going effort. 

Prevalence: 

Arthritis Awareness Month recognizes the growing health problem Arthritis represents. There are over 53 million (or 1 in 4) people in the US at the time of this writing who have the condition. By 2030 that number will likely come close to 67 million. Some of these people will lose their jobs because of pain or the loss of joint functionality, range of motion, or decreased muscle strength for things like lifting and intricate handwork. 

With this in mind, AmeriBest Home Care Services, Philadelphia, PA strives to assist seniors struggling with arthritis in a variety of ways. Our highly trained staff offers home and community-based assistance with daily activities which, in turn, decreases frustration and anxiety. It also provides families with comfort in knowing their loved ones are getting excellent care, especially when they cannot be present for help.

Types of Arthritis:

There are three prevalent types of arthritis:

  1. Osteoarthritis: When the cartilage at the end of bones wears down, the bones rub together. This is osteoarthritis, and it’s the most commonly known form.
  2. Psoriatic: This form only happens to people with psoriasis, affecting ligaments, tendons, and joints.
  3. Rheumatoid: Rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease. The lining of the joints becomes inflamed, and they begin deteriorating. 

It’s important to remember that while more common in the aging community, arthritis can happen at any age. Also, just because your loved one is talking about joint aches, you need to have them see a physician to conclusively render a diagnosis. Other conditions including lupus, gout, and bursitis cause joint pain. 

Caring for Individuals with Arthritis

Arthritis Awareness Month isn’t just dedicated to raising awareness, but also to education. What can you do to help someone in your life with arthritis? Perhaps most importantly listen. It’s hard to understand the pain someone has radiating from within. You can, however, SEE how they move, when they hesitate or stumble, or when they strain to open jars (for example). 

Now, people have pride. They may not ask for help. So you can open the lines of communication. Approach it from the point of view that you want to learn from them about how arthritis impacts their life. A lot of great ideas will result from that conversation. Just take care to step back when the answer is, “no, let me do this.” A sense of independence is important so long as they are not putting themselves in harm’s way. 

Professional Assistance

When you have an in-home caregiver, that person can keep your loved one as active as possible while still taking safety precautions. Examples of the types of assistance AmeriBest Home Care Philadelphia, PA provides include:

  • Bathing
  • Bending/reaching
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Lifting
  • Medication regulation
  • Mobility, and much more. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us on our web form, by email at info@ameribest.org, or by calling our Philadelphia office 215-925-3313; 1-800-HOMECARE (PA only).

Wise Caregiving: ‘Toxic Positivity’ vs Validation

Wise Caregiving Toxic Positivity vs Validation

Ask anyone you know who has been the caregiver for one of their family members about the complexities of their roles. They become a nurse, companion, counselor, errand-runner, and so much more. One of the most difficult aspects of the “job” is knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it when a loved one is struggling with anxiety and negativity.

Toxic Positivity vs. Validation & Hope

While private duty home health care agencies and nursing services receive training on the difference between offering validation and hope vs. going overboard into toxic positivity, most people have no such training. There is no magic switch that turns dark clouds into sunshine. Many people who are home-bound are in situations unlikely to resolve themselves any time soon. So how do you help? How can you be a wise caregiver?

It’s OK to be Sad & Angry

If you’ve ever faced a truly rotten situation, you know how emotions become intense. You might feel outraged and mad at the whole universe. The LAST thing you want to hear at that moment is, “you’ll get over it” or “just be positive.” Such statements come across as trite and dismissive.

Now apply the same idea to caregiving. Your loved one wants to know their feelings have merit. Of course, you don’t want them wallowing in negativity 24-7, but you also have to recognize that a person is ready to change their outlook when THEY want to, not when you want them to. Here are some better responses to an elongated case of the blues:

  • This situation is hard, but I believe in you. I’m here if you need to talk, or just hold space. 
  • I don’t mind hearing how you feel. No judgment!
  • It’s perfectly normal to feel as you do. I’m here for you. How can I help make your day better?

Wise Caregiving Toxic Positivity vs Validation

 

Never offer false hope or reassurances

In effect, toxic positivity sounds impersonal, fake, or even insulting. They’re hollow words that really don’t offer any kind of help. True support happens when you can imagine walking in someone else’s shoes and accepting their reality. This is where trained professionals like our home care team at AmeriBest Home Care Philadelphia, can relieve some of your worries about communicating in all the wrong ways. You can observe and listen to the aid or nurse, and mirror their approach. 

The Truth About Support

Let’s use the example of grief. Denial, anger, and grief are all part of the human process. Here you have a person who is, effectively, grieving for the life they once had. It’s common for others to feel uncomfortable with the emotions, and that’s where toxic positivity begins. 

We as a society are not taught how to openly discuss difficult scenarios, so we try to make a person feel better using the first, overused response that comes to mind. One example is, “choose happiness!” When the individual cannot seem to do that, they can begin feeling like something’s terribly wrong with them.  You’re certainly not doing this with any intent to harm. Learning effective validation takes time. 

Getting Help

When you reach a point where you know you simply cannot meet your loved one’s needs effectively, reach out. AmeriBest is a top home care agency located in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, PA. We take great pride in providing superior service, personalized according to your situation. You can contact us HERE, email info@ameribest.org, or call either of our offices:

Philadelphia: 215-925-3313

Harrisburg: 717-545-2920

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The Parkinson’s Caregiver

The Parkinson's Caregiver

Each year April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. As a top in-home caregiver agency in Philadelphia, PA, we at AmeriBest home care encourage people to learn more about Parkinsons and what they can do during April to make a difference.

What is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder, that primarily affects a person’s movement. The most common symptoms of the disease, which increase over time, include

  • Decreased Facial Expressiveness: Parkinson’s weakens facial muscles, so the person may show no signs of smiling or frowning.
  • Emotional Impact: Depression and behavior changes.
  • Fatigue.
  • Memory Loss. 
  • Muscle Stiffness: A Parkinson’s sufferer’s muscles never relax fully. Over time, this leads to limited motion, which is sometimes painful. 
  • Posture Changes: Over time it becomes difficult for someone with Parkinson’s to stand upright, and they may also experience balance issues.
  • Sleep Disruption
  • Slow Movement: Spontaneous movement becomes difficult with Parkinson’s. People move more slowly, shuffle, lower their speech volume, etc. In some instances, their gait may freeze temporarily.
  • Tremors: Starting as small as one finger or foot, tremors occur usually when the body is at rest. 

Men are at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s. It usually begins around the age of 60, but sometimes manifests as early as age 50. Some cases of Parkinson’s are hereditary, while others come from a combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition. 

Many people dismiss early signs of Parkinson’s thinking of them as an effect of the normal aging process. The signs begin on one side of the body, or in one limb of the body. Eventually, Parkinson’s affects the entire way the body functions.

How to Get Involved

  1. Donate toward further research and community assistance.
  2. If you have noticed worrisome symptoms, make an appointment with a neurologist for yourself (peace of mind is worth it).
  3. Participate in fundraising walks virtually: https://www.apdaparkinson.org/get-involved/optimism-walks/ 
  4. Put up links on your Facebook Page or personal webpage so people can find webinars and request publications.https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month. 
  5. Visit someone you know with Parkinson’s to offer your support, or volunteer at a facility specializing in the disease. 

The Parkinson's Caregiver

 

Being a Parkinson’s Caregiver

When you discover your loved one has Parkinson’s Disease, you want to do your best to help them. But what does “help” in this situation really mean? It’s a challenging diagnosis with equally challenging daily issues. 

Tips for Effective Home Care

It might be tempting to take over responsibilities for your loved one. It’s a normal, but sometimes unnecessary, reaction. Let them do whatever they are capable of doing, for as long as they can. A sense of ongoing independence and self-sufficiency is important for mental wellbeing. Keep your dialog open to true needs. Have those tough conversations openly and honestly.

This is a complex disease. Learn all you can about Parkinson’s so you know what to expect. Nonprofit organizations like the National Parkinson’s Foundation have educational materials at the ready. Also, ask your health care provider and team for suggestions about community supports. The more you know, the less you’ll feel inadequate for the task ahead.

Going one step further, if your loved one will allow, come with them to each medical appointment. This gives you the opportunity to take notes and gain perspectives. 

Beyond these actions, watch every missive from insurance companies, making sure prescriptions and services are adequately covered, and likewise make sure this individual takes their medications properly. 

Need Help?

As Parkinson’s progresses, you may find you need professional assistance. AmeriBest caregivers are happy to step in and provide superior service for your loved one with Parkinson’s. We have a variety of services, one of which is sure to meet your needs. Our top home care agency offices stand by to review your request for information or reply to your email (info@ameribest.org). You can also call us:

Philadelphia 215-925-3313

Harrisburg 717-545-2929

Toll Free 1-800-HOMECARE