Creating A Plan of Care
Once you have talked with your family, gotten your legal documents in order, and have a formal diagnosis, it’s time to come together and create a “Care Plan”. This is an organized plan that is customized to your family’s needs, requirements and situation. This plan will need updating as your loved one’s needs change. Here are some things to keep in mind and consider while developing your family’s plan
There is no other disease in the world that so many people assume they understand how to care for without actual knowledge and training. If you were diagnosed with Diabetes, you would receive Diabetic education. Yet because Dementia is a progressive and varying disease there is no formal training or guidance offered to patients and their families–until now. Aishling Companion Home Care offers dementia training for the public as part of our community outreach program. This education is complimentary to the families of our customers. View our Dementia Training section for details on what you can learn.
Dementia Support Group
Caregivers never take care of themselves. We all struggle to balance our personal and professional lives. If you are taking care of a senior suffering with dementia, alongside your family obligations and possibly even while working, you are probably overwhelmed. You will need support from others who are going through the same thing you are, in a space where ideas are freely shared and no one is judged. Support groups are free of charge and commitment. Visit our support Group page for locations and dates.
Medication Ease and Accountability –
One of the most frequent mistakes elderly clients make is taking their medication incorrectly. Did you know their pills can be pre-packaged in a clear pouch, labelled with the date and time it should be taken? These clear pouches come in one continual roll that takes the guesswork out of everything. No more forgetting, or filling pill containers and dropping them on the floor. Most importantly, no more taking the wrong medication due to confusion. Rolls can be delivered to homes and facilities. Please note that this service does not include over the counter medications.
Easy to See, Clear Package
Clearly Labeled with Description, date and time of day to take Medication
A home can be modified to meet almost any need. Grab bars in the bathroom, stair lifts, bathtub cutouts so they don’t have to lift their leg up and over the tub can all accommodate the changing needs of the individual. Contact our office for a free and confidential referral.
If your loved one does not have 24-hour care, a personal safety device can bring peace of mind. One third of seniors aged 65 and older fall each year, as do half of people aged 85 and older. There are different types of medical alarm systems, but in general they all include a pendant or small keychain-like device with a help button. That help button automatically connects the wearer to an emergency dispatch person when pressed. The best devices can detect when the wearer falls down. Upon sensing a sudden movement and impact, these devices automatically call the company’s emergency dispatcher, who can check with the wearer to make sure everything is okay and connect the individual to emergency services if not. That means that devices with this feature can save lives even if the user is unconscious, panics and forgets about the service, or is too afraid or embarrassed to call for help. Call our office for more information, 708-361-7845.
Personal Care – Some forms of dementia start off with subtle changes and progress slowly. Others start like a light switch and leaves the family scrambling for appropriate care. Sometimes it is not until there is a fall or injury and the hospital is the one to recommend additional care. However, eventhough the social workers have identified that the senior needs more care, it is not something insurance typically will cover. Home Care services help fill the gap between what the family members can provide and what the senior needs. Home Care services can also grow with the patient as it might start with minimal hours in the beginning to full time live-in care towards the end. It is proven that most people want to stay in their home when possible, and it is certainly a lot more affordable than a facility – even with full time care. If you are considering in home care, there are different categories to understand.
- Full Service Agency
- Placement Agency
- Independent Agent
Full Service and Placement agencies are very different from one another and the differences are not usually explained well by any qualified individual. In fact, most of the time the end user does not even realize the difference and the possible ramifications of choosing one over the other.
A Full Service Agency is best to use when the family lives in or out of state, or if they do not have knowledge about hiring and paying taxes for employees. This is also best if the family does not want to worry about scheduling, dealing with absences, or investing in additional home insurance. A Full Service Agency will provide professional caregivers and take care of the taxes, insurance, scheduling, on-going training and support, background checks, and care plan communication. In essence, it is the easiest of the options to maintain. A full service agency contribution also qualifies as a legitimate expenditure for “paying down” funds when contemplating Medicaid requirements. **This statement is not intended to guarantee anyone that they will qualify for Medicaid. More information about the Medicaid process in Illinois can be found here: Medicaid
The obvious pro of a Full Service Agency is that it is the easiest solution to provide care in the home and it provides the least amount of risk. However, the one drawback is the inability to “hire” a specific person. Because the caregivers are employees of the agency, the customer is not guaranteed services by a specific person. While some agencies try to grant requests to keep their customers happy, it is not a certainty. However, most people find that with the balance of inter-office software, which easily coordinates and communicates consistent care and instructions, combined with the additional training and support caregivers receive, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
When hiring a Full Service Agency, consider:
Are they licensed in Illinois, and what Associations do they belong to?
You can easily check to see if they are licensed by checking the
The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) works with the Global Aging Coalition and is a non-profit organization designed to strengthen the professionalism of private duty home care providers through education and best practices.
Businesses in the HCAOA:
- Set the Standards
- Analyze and Report
- Educate each other and consumers
- Advocate in Washington
Home Care Businesses have the choice to join the association. They are held to the standards of care as defined by HCAOA and it is the businesses that participate that continue to re-define and raise the bar that is set. In fact some hospital administrations have decided to only recommend Home Care Services that participate in HCAOA.
Placement agencies can vary depending on the specific business, but the main difference is that they are a resource used to find a person for hire. Usually you pay a placement agency to find a caregiver of choice, and you can interview until you find an appropriate fit. Then you negotiate the salary and pay the individual directly. The pro to using a placement agency is the control over personnel. However, the drawback is that it is much more time intensive to calculate income tax, negotiate proper home owner’s insurance, and deal with scheduling issues. The customer must also stay knowledgeable about minimum wage and overtime laws and maintain in good standing. This is usually where the trouble lies. If this is not an area of expertise within the family, mistakes can be made which will have severe repercussions. It is best to check with an attorney prior to using this service and make sure you are covered. These agencies should also be licensed and found in the registry.
Independent Agents – Independent Agents can be found just about anywhere, from a friendly neighbor to an online free resource. However, we cannot in good conscience recommend the use of an independent agent due to the risk involved. The market is flooded with people who provide care direct to the consumer for lower pay. It leaves you completely responsible and vulnerable and there is absolutely no recourse for mistakes. We unfortunately hear about this all too often as the resources are readily available. In order to save money people usually turn to this option, only to find out they will now be penalized if they try to apply for Medicaid. In addition, there are tax implications if the employee files for unemployment and possible insurance issues if the employee gets injured. Bottom line–don’t be fooled by the lower price. You will be better off spending down whatever funds are available legitimately and having peace of mind. Always check with an attorney before moving forward.