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Winter Safety for Seniors: Part Two

Posted on: October 17th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Winter Safety for Ann Arbor Seniors

As we Michiganders prepare for another harsh winter, we must remember to take extra steps in protecting our elderly loved ones.  If unprepared, a simple power outage can strand them without light or heat for several hours, or an old wood stove can slowly fill their home with smoke.

Continuing our special three-part series on winter safety, today we will examine ways to prepare the inside of your elderly loved one’s home.  If you missed it, our first installment covered safety measures outside the home, including preventing icy porches, fallen limbs, and more.  Click here to read it.

First, your elderly loved one needs to be prepared in the event of a power failure.  Safe inside from a winter storm, their home could suddenly lose power (and possibly heat), for up to several days.  The CDC recommends stocking up on emergency supplies for events like this, and items on their list include:

  • A cell phone, charger, and extra batteries.
  • Battery-powered flashlights
  • Extra blankets
  • Clean drinking water
  • No-cook food, such as canned or dry goods.
  • Readily available warm clothes, including heavy socks.

To read the CDC’s complete list of recommendations, click here.

Secondly, many of our elderly loved ones live in homes with wood fireplaces.  While certainly reliable and warm, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure their safe operation.

  • Use carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  These devices are inexpensive, and can be installed in a matter of minutes.  Carefully follow the instructions for placement and testing, and make sure older units are still functioning properly. Also, stock up on extra batteries for these devices.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy.  Double-check to make sure the fire extinguisher is not expired, is in good working order, and is easily accessible.

Our third and final installment will include tips on preparing your loved one for the winter months, including prescription medication coverage and hypothermia.  Thank you for reading!

Winter Safety for Seniors- Part One

Posted on: September 23rd, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

As summer winds to a close, we (begrudgingly) prepare for winter. Last year, several Michigan cities experienced record snowfall, and on January 7th, the wind-chill dipped to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, right here in Ann Arbor!

While we cannot control the weather, we can take steps to mitigate the risks posed to seniors by freezing temperatures and heavy snow. Many of those preventative measures involve home repair, which should be done now, before the snow flies. In the first installment of a a special three-part series, we will be explaining how to prepare the exterior of your loved one’s home.

1. Seniors are always at risk for falls, and that risk increases when ice begins to form on the ground. To prevent ice build-up, check for gutters that leak over sidewalks or porches, and look for roof runoff water that lands in the same spots. These repairs can be relatively inexpensive, and will prevent ice build-up in the colder months.

2. Freezing temperatures, heavy snow, and strong winter winds are a recipe for disaster when mixed with dead tree limbs. Fallen branches (or entire downed trees) can lead to power outages, blocked pathways, and damage to your loved one’s home. Look around power lines, above the roof, and near sidewalks and driveways. Are there any rotten, sagging, or dead limbs that would cause damage if they fell? Have an expert evaluate your yard and identify any trees that pose a risk.

3. Winter days are shorter, and nightfall comes quickly. If the exterior of your loved one’s home is dimly lit, navigating in the darkness can be very challenging, even dangerous. Adding new porch, garage, or walkway lights is an effective way to mitigate that risk. You can also put new or existing lights on a light sensor or timer, to ensure your loved one’s home will be consistently well-lit. As a bonus, many lighting products available today are energy efficient, so you won’t have to worry about a higher electrical bill.

If you are in need of a local contractor to provide an estimate for any of these repairs, feel free to contact us today (we have an Angie’s List account!).  Keep an eye out for our next post in the series, which will examine ways to prepare the inside of your loved one’s home for another record winter!

What Our Clients Have To Say

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

At Care Response Home Care, we believe the only way to provide outstanding, individualized care is through ongoing communication.  This is why each of our clients receives periodic satisfaction surveys to assess employee performance, improve training, and ultimately deliver the best in-home health care possible.  

The first satisfaction survey is sent 30 days after we begin service and additional surveys are sent every 12 months.  They are also used when new caregivers join a client’s team.  These surveys allow our clients and their families to give praise, address concerns, and evaluate their care staff.  Just as important, there is a section for evaluating the office staff and their respective duties, including billing, after-hours emergency calls, and care plan updates.

One of the highlights of these surveys is the testimonials given by our clients.  Some of our recent favorites are below (these are genuine testimonials given by local families in the Ann Arbor area).

“We are very pleased with the caregivers in all ways and the nursing supervision and prompt attention to all calls is great!” -Edwin G., Saline

“I don’t think of Care Response as a company.  It’s a group of people with one thing on their mind: To provide the best care possible.  And that’s exactly what they did for our Mother.” -Sue H., Ann Arbor

“I appreciate your service and your dedication to good home care.” -Sue G., Ann Arbor

Above all, these satisfaction surveys are one of the many tools we use to ensure clear communication and accountability. We have used them to create new policies, identify potential problems in the home before they occur, and they are part of employee evaluations.

If you are researching home health care options for your loved one, and are interested in what our clients are saying about our services, we have references readily available.   Contact Care Response Home Care today, and find out how we have earned the trust of so many local families.

Respite Care: An Unexpected Benefit

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Respite care provides caregivers a temporary break from their duties.  Often, these caregivers are family members or close friends.  They are relieved by a home health care agency, for anywhere from a few hours to several weeks.

Respite care is the subject of many popular articles and current studies, and its benefits are well known.  Taking a break from caring for a loved one is an opportunity to alleviate built-up stress, restore energy, and add balance to your relationships.  Whether it is a two-hour escape to the movies or a week-long vacation, respite care is an essential part of ongoing care.  It also provides peace of mind, knowing your loved one is safe and spending time with a caring professional.  However, there is another important benefit of respite care that is often overlooked, likely because it is not a popular subject among families.

In the event your loved one suffers a medical emergency and needs additional in-home health care, respite care can help ensure a smooth and safe transition when they return home.  Think of respite care as an insurance policy, easing the difficulties and stress brought on by a medical emergency.

A Familiar Face

First, your loved one will already be familiar with their home health aides.   A caregiver’s familiar face can be very comforting in the wake of a hospital discharge, and will help put your loved one at ease.  Similarly, their home health aides will already know favorite meals, engagement activities, and other personal preferences.

Staying One Step Ahead

A reputable home care company will already have a care plan in place, even for respite care clients.  Medications, personal health history, and other essentials will be accounted for and available.  Following a hospital discharge, your agency will be ready to make the necessary changes to the plan and stay on top of your loved one’s health (instead of starting from scratch and quickly creating a new plan).  At Care Response Home Care, each our our clients has a registered nurse to oversee any discharges and changes to their care plan, all at no additional cost.  Click here to learn more about our RN advantage.

Your Trust and Confidence

Above all, your chosen home health care agency will have already earned your trust and confidence.  You will have interacted with the home health aides, spoken to office managers, paid invoices, and experienced the nuts and bolts of working with an agency to ensure your loved one is safe.  Having proven themselves as a respite care provider, your agency will then rise to meet the challenges following a medical emergency.   You will have an ally in your family’s time of need, and you will feel confident when requesting additional care for your loved one.

Where to Start?

Even just a few hours of respite care each week will provide all of these insuring benefits, allowing you the opportunity to vet agencies until you find the right fit.  Click here to download a free copy of Asking the Right Questions, a handout featuring useful and revealing questions to ask when interviewing home care agencies.  Once you’ve found an agency that meets your loved one’s respite care needs, starting a dialogue about increasing hours in the event of an emergency will certainly bring you piece of mind.

Does respite care sound like the right proactive option for you and your loved one?  Contact Care Response Home Care today and discover how we can help.

A Critical Change to Medicare Benefits Goes Unannounced

Posted on: June 3rd, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

In January, Medicare officials quietly decided to provide treatment for patients with chronic diseases, even if the patient’s condition does not improve.  Previously, coverage for skilled care was only continued if the patient showed signs of improvement.  In certain cases, this led to seniors being denied these essential treatments and losing the ability to age safely in the comfort of their own homes.

Unfortunately, these landmark changes were not communicated to Medicare beneficiaries and many are unaware they could now be eligible for services previously denied.  These services include nursing care, physical therapy, and treatments for various chronic conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.  For further information, click here to read A Quiet ‘Sea Change’ in Medicare, an excellent piece by Susan Jaffe and published on the New York Times website in late March.

For complete details of the settlement and what it means for you or your loved one, click here.

If you are a Michigan resident and you or a loved one have previously been denied care, but are now eligible due to the settlement, call 1-800-365-5899 to file an appeal.  If you are not a Michigan resident, click here to find your state’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization and file an appeal.

Still not sure where to go for assistance?  Contact Ann Arbor’s senior care experts today and find out what you can do to get the treatment you or your loved one deserve.  Aging safely in the comfort of your own home should be an option for every senior- make sure you can get the treatment you need to do so.

Ann Arbor Home Health Care Agencies

Thank You, Attendees!

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Thank you to all who attended the 2014 Senior Living Week!  And, of course, a big thank you to the UM Senior Housing Bureau.  We are already looking forward to next year’s events.

2014 Ann Arbor Senior Living Week

For more information on the UM Senior Housing Bureau, click here.

There are still great Senior Living Week events!

Posted on: May 6th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

First, thank you to everyone who joined us at the Friday expo to kick off Senior Living Week!  We had a great time and were fortunate enough to introduce several great speakers and make many new friends.  We will post pictures soon! And, if you did not have the chance to attend the Friday expo, there are still three days of great events to attend throughout Ann Arbor.  There are four sessions being held tomorrow at the Turner Resource Center.  These sessions include-

  •  What are ACE and PACE? Bringing Innovative Geriatric Services to You
  • Stock Markets are Up, Interest Rates are Low…What to do?
  • Asset Protection & Estate Planning Fundamentals
  • Local Public Transportation – Maintaining Your Independence and Mobility

For more details, click the banner below!

 

Ann Arbor Home Health Care

Ten Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Working with a doctor or entering the hospital can be a daunting process, whether it’s for you or for a loved one.  To add to the challenge, with age comes new and unfamiliar diagnoses and solutions.

“How will this new medication affect my dad’s occasional insomnia?”

“Yes, a cancer screening is a great idea, but at my age, what are the risks involved?”

The American Geriatric Society, working  to improve the health, independence and quality of life of all older people, has compiled an excellent article listing key questions and considerations for patients and physicians alike.  Ten Things Physicians and Patients Should Question is a must-read for seniors and adult children alike.  It is easily printable, making it a great resource to have on-hand at you or your loved one’s next doctor’s visit.  If you need further information, contact Care Response Home Care today and find the information your family needs to make informed decisions.

Ann Arbor Home Care Nursing

Join Care Response at Senior Living Week 2014!

Posted on: April 7th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Ann Arbor has garnered headlines for being a retirement mecca, one of the best places to retire, and a retirement hot-spot for active adults.  These praises are well deserved, and bolstered by the area’s amazing selection of assisted living communities and care options.  Now is the time to discover the senior living, housing, and care options available to you or your loved one at the 2014 Senior Living Week.  There are opportunities to ask questions, visit living communities, and participate in educational programs, all at no cost!  Care Response Home Care is proud to be a sponsor of this great event, and we hope to see you there.

Everything begins Friday, May 2nd, with the Senior Living Week Expo at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti.  Attendees can enjoy presentations, gather information from area agencies, and listen to a few words from Valerie Dockter, the director of Care Response! (Also, be sure to visit the Care Response Home Care booth!)  For more information on the Friday expo, click here.  For the rest of the week, daily events will take place at various senior living communities.  For a complete schedule of events, click here, and be sure to follow us for updates!

Ann Arbor Home Health Care

Now That I Know We Need Home Care Services…What Next?

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 by Care Response Admin No Comments

Earlier this month, we discussed some of the benefits of choosing a professional home care agency over an independent hire or registry. If you’ve decided it’s time to enlist some help with home care, there’s a variety of services available. What’s best in your situation? Below are some options to help narrow down the type of help needed:

  • Regular or Light Housekeeping: Household chores on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, including things like vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, changing beds, and dusting.
  • Companionship: Includes help for those who are living alone as well as supervision for safety for those who are confused or have memory loss, as well as meal preparation.
  • Personal Care: Bathing, toileting, eating, dressing, grooming, walking, getting out of bed or a chair, being lifted, and providing medication reminders.
  • Nighttime Care: Assistance with getting out of bed to the toilet during the night, or when dementia causes “sundowning”.
  • Transportation: Assistance with getting out for activities, shopping, medical appointments, etc.
  • Geriatric Care Management: Ongoing household management that falls outside of the services of a direct care provider, including moving into another living arrangement and the closing up of a household.

If your loved one could benefit from any of these services, or if there are other needs you have in mind, we’re here to help. Call us at in the Ann Arbor area at 734-662-2207 at your convenience to get started.

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