When a Little Time is All You Need

ec_pianoImagine this scenario: You are working, out to lunch, or taking your children from one activity to the next – and your phone starts ringing from an unknown number. You worriedly answer the call to find out that your father had an accident of some sort while shopping at the grocery store. You immediately drop what you are doing and rush to his rescue. This is something that can easily happen from time to time, but what happens when it starts to happen on a regular basis? This is when you know something is wrong and it’s more than you can handle on your own.

There are many misconceptions and preconceived notions whenever we heard the words “elder care” and the thought of going down this path with a loved one can often feel like defeat. One factor to keep in mind is time. One of the misconceptions about elder care is that this needs to be a full time salary commitment, but this is not always the case.

Maybe you have found yourself going back and forth on this issue, perhaps after experiencing something similar to the above scenario. In this case, you are clearly at an elder care crossroads and not sure whether to hire someone or tough it out on your own a little bit longer. These are difficult decisions, and not ones to make without knowing your options and doing your research first.

If your loved one is still capable of taking care of themselves on a daily basis, but just needs help with tasks outside the home, hourly and part-time care is available through LifeWorx to cater to all of your needs, and be there so that you can rest easy each and every day. Flexibility is so important because you have to be able to choose what’s right for you and your loved one.

When is it time for part-time care?

It can be very difficult to determine the key indicator that it is time to hire an elder care assistant to provide assisted living for your loved one.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

Is my loved one still independent? Can he/she get around safely and without struggle?

Are they in need of regular medical visits (inside or outside the home)?

Do they need to be reminded to take medications?

Is their safety at risk because of physical or mental limitations?

Hiring someone part time to help with activities is a great way to open the door and get your loved one accustomed to having help in the home. Here are some short time framed activities that an elder care professional can be hired for initially:
• Accompaniment to doctors appointments
• Grocery shopping trips
• Cleaning the house and get meals started
• Simple companionship; Playing games that will keep their brain stimulated

In this phase of aging, your loved one simply just might need someone there to assist them with small, day to day tasks. This little bit of extra help will make a huge difference in their quality of life, and at the same time let you know that they are being taken care of.

How can LifeWorx help?

Personalization is key to LifeWorx services. We’re not a one size fits all kind of business – we listen to everything you share about your loved ones – their interests, hobbies, past experiences, etc. so we can provide the very best care possible and improve their quality of life at home.

How to Develop Trust & Reliability With Your New Elder Care Professional

Leaving your loved one alone with someone that you don’t know can be a challenge. It may remind you of the feeling you had when you left your new baby at a daycare or with a new babysitter– uncharted territory. You made a connection with the elder care professional and chose them for a reason, but it doesn’t make letting go and walking out the front door any easier. There is a need to develop a certain level of trust and reliability in this person between you and your loved one. Here are some simple tips to help cultivate those feelings of ease.

1. Remember that you chose them for a reason.

You wouldn’t have made the decision to hire your new caregiver if you didn’t feel a connection and trusted them right away. Although at LifeWorx we have an elaborate screening process for providing elder care, there are certain people that you will immediately feel a bond with and some you don’t. Trust your intuition! We are doing all the ground work so all you have to do is choose who is the best personality fit. Whenever you are feeling hesitant, think back to the main bullet points and experiences this person has had that lead you to making this major decision, and trust in that.

2. It will take some time.

You aren’t going to become best friends with your new caregiver overnight, so it will probably take some time for you and your family to get adjusted to having them around, and that’s okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an adjustment period where they are getting acclimated to their new work environment and your loved one is getting used to having them around.

3. Establish a personal care agreement.

Beyond everything else, the personal care agreement will give you the most security. This is simply an agreement or contract between you (the employer) and the new employee that outlines all the important details about what they are responsible in their new role. It’s the best way to clarify what needs to happen on what days, compensation, how many hours per week they will be working, if they will be assisting with any additional housework, etc.

4. Spend some extra time with them.

Time is the only way that you are going to get to know this person. There is no need to pop in on them unannounced or take large gaps of time out of your work day, but make it clear that there is open communication. Many caregivers will text or email to let you know what’s going on that day. Most of all, make sure they are connecting with the loved one they are caring for.

5. Communicate.

We know, this tip has trite written all over it, but it couldn’t be truer. Be upfront with your new elder care worker with your expectations of them, and in turn let them do the same. For instance, if they need a certain day off, be open and communicative about talking about it and working it out for them. Being able to communicate and trust in each other is imperative to have a successful, professional relationship.

When Is It Time To Hire An Elder Care Professional?

There are many major decisions that we will need to make for our parents in life, and hiring elder care is one of them which is certainly not to be taken lightly. There are many questions that arise whenever this discussion comes up and we hope to answer them all, as well as give you some insight on the process that we go through at LifeWorx to find the best fit for an elder care professional for you and your loved ones.

Why hire an elder care professional?

There are many different reasons that families have for needing to hire elder care to support their elderly family member, and each might be very personal. But, in a general sense, they are typically hired because the family has no one close by who can look after the elderly family member, the capable family member may lack the necessary training to take care of the needs of the elderly family member, or simply that the elderly family member wishes for extra support and connection during the day (especially important if they are living alone). No matter what the reason is for your family, whenever these questions arise, it’s important to look into the different options that are available to you.

What should an elder care professional be responsible for?

This again is very specific to the person they will be caring for, but a great thing to do whenever you are searching for the right candidate is to write out a job description including everything that you need them to do. Think about outlining your elderly family member’s daily routine from morning until night, focus on the time of day that you need them there, and take into consideration any major details you are looking for in their skill set (ex. Ability to administer medication, has a background in physical therapy, experience with Dementia, etc). Here are some helpful tips to guide you along the way:

• Involve your elderly loved one in the process of hiring someone. It will make the transition a lot easier.
• Make sure the caregiver is aware of the specific dietary, medical, physical, and emotion needs of the person they will be caring for and know how to make smart decisions based on those.
• Don’t expect them to be on call 24/7, but set out a designated weekly schedule for them to follow.
• Be open about communication. It’s important that the caregiver is comfortable texting or calling you to update you on your loved one’s day.

What are the financial obligations?

This relies heavily on the skillset you are seeking, the amount of time they will be working, and the amount of work they will be doing (will they be responsible for extra household chores?). There are many agencies out there that advertise attractive pricing, but the quality isn’t always there. In some cases, the cost of elder care can be offset with health insurance.

How can LifeWorx help?

Once you know what you are looking for, LifeWorx can take over and provide you with the right person for your needs. We only accept 5 out of every 100 applications that come through our doors, so we are confident that we can provide you with the elder care that you can make all the difference in your loved one’s life.

Meet Barbara

Barbara has had a unique experience working at LifeWorx because she originally started on the other side of the phone – as a customer. Living in Westchester, she initially contacted LifeWorx after reading an article about their services while on the quest for a babysitter of her own. She was seeking the work/life balance that LifeWorx helps attain for working mothers and found the answer within the company itself.

Her experience of being highly involved in the different positions at LifeWorx (client relations and recruiting) and being a client herself has made her an invaluable employee whose work ethic plays a vital role in the day to day operations of the LifeWorx community.

1. Tell me a little bit about your background and what you did before working at LifeWorx.

I graduated from the University of Texas, with a major in Economics and started my career on Wall Street on the sales trading floor. After some time went by, I made a switch in careers to working in a hospital in the administration department. After having my children, I took some time to be a stay at home, then thanks to my mother in law – was able to go back to work in investment banking. After she passed away, I began seeking out jobs where I could work from home and be present with my children, while still bringing in an income.

2. How has your role evolved at LifeWorx from your first encounter with the company?

Originally, I started as a recruiter in Chappaqua and I am now the Client Relations Director (sales) for Fairfield County, working out of our Westport, CT office. My recruiting experience really helped me become knowledgeable about all that goes into screening every single applicant. I’m able to communicate this process to my clients in detail because I spent so much time doing it.

3. How has LifeWorx grown since then?

We were only 5 employees when I started 7 years ago. LifeWorx consisted of one salesperson, 2 recruiters and an operations manager. There were only 2 offices- one in Chappaqua and one in Westport. We are now around 30 employees and have 5 offices! We have an actual technology department, marketing department, HR along with sales and recruiting. It has grown tremendously and its been really exciting to be a part of. Bal will continue to grow the company and accomplish amazing things.

4. Being in this industry for 7 years and being a mom yourself, what’s the first thing you look for when you’re talking to a potential nanny?

I look for a warm nurturing person, one who understands children and is willing to pitch in with other household things. I really look for someone who I would have take care of my own children in my own home. Someone can look great on paper, but if we don’t feel amazed by them in person, we do not move forward.

5. Why do you think families trust LifeWorx over all the other options out there?

Our vetting process is unlike any agency out there. The families we work with know they are getting trustworthy, skilled professionals. We also give personal attention to the families we service – they know they can call me for advice, additional service, or even just to chat. We are real people with real families and we have the knowledge and experience in the industry. They wouldn’t go to anyone else.

Barbara’s story is much like the many mothers yearning to be able to work, but fearful of leaving their children in the right hands with a babysitter or nanny. At LifeWorx, we strive to make the work/life balance a possibility for mothers whether they work from home and need a few hours to get things done each day or travel into the office and need someone for longer periods of time. It’s possible to attain this, even though it may seem out of reach.

What will you be able to achieve each day with LifeWorx on your side?

Meet Parentpreneur Susannah Ludwig of Portraits That Move

Being a parent is hard work, and also rewarding, humbling, and amazing. But being a parent and a business owner? These moms and dads are managing a tenfold increase in workload and stress but find it equally rewarding. They do it all somehow, and they do it well! That’s why we are so pleased to bring you a five-part series, in collaboration with LifeWorx, a company started by a parentpreneur to support their busy lives. In this series, we will be interviewing some of the top parentpreneurs around New York City—you may know some of them, you may strive to be them. We’ll hear their tips and tricks, their highs and lows, and what they love about running a family and a business here in the Big Apple.

To kick off the series, we couldn’t be more delighted to introduce you to award winning filmmaker Susannah Ludwig, whose credits include producing the Oscar-nominated film, Kings Point. Susannah, a Brooklyn mom, is founder of Portraits That Move (PTM). PTM creates personal and touching documentary videos of children, bringing the family photo shoot to a whole new inspiring level.

MN: Portraits That Move is such an innovative idea for a business. What motivated you to create it?

SL: Having identified with being a documentarian for two decades and a mom for six years, I found myself suddenly divorced and brainstorming different income streams that would work better for our new family dynamic. Thinking about what I knew how to do well (making films) and what I loved (working with kids), this business idea came to me in the ultimate lightbulb moment. There is certainly an absence in the market for anything like this, and it sounded like something really fun to try. Truth be told, the company has brought me nothing but endless joy. It’s joyous being in the room filming and hearing what the children have to say. It’s joyous editing and sharing the films with the families. It’s just all around joy and I feel so lucky to be doing it.

MN: Your joy really comes through when watching how free and forthcoming the children in PTM’s films on Vimeo are! What’s your trick for getting them to open up in front of the camera?

SL: I just have a way with kids, I always have. I babysat from a young age and find kids fascinating and so much fun. I think the key is making them feel loved and accepted from the moment I meet them. I do a pre-interview with the parents so I have a good idea of what activities and things the child likes, but when we go on the shoot I really let the child call the shots and it always comes out magical.

MN: As a mom, and especially so as a single mom, having the right support systems in place is key. Who do you rely on for support at home and at work?

SL: First and foremost, I couldn’t be doing this without the support of my family and friends. Not only are they essential in helping watch my son when I have to work nights and weekends, but also in encouraging me and sharing their beliefs that Portraits That Move is an amazing business idea worth putting my all into. Secondly, I have been extremely discerning in who I hire to work for PTM. Everyone on the team is wholeheartedly in love with kids, film making, and being part of our company. I feel it’s really important to build your business with individuals who are as passionate about it as you are. Finally, I feel very lucky to have such great clients and supporters, who really go above and beyond to spread the word about our services. Word-of-mouth at school, in the park, at birthday parties—it’s huge.

MN: You mention friends and family helping with child care. Do you not have a sitter or nanny?

SL: I wanted to stay home for my son’s first year, but financially it just wasn’t feasible. I went back to work making documentaries and we had a nanny from when my son was five months through five years. I interviewed ten nannies and she was the only one who actually got down on the floor and played with my son during the interview. I didn’t do any official background checks, but I called tons of references. But in the end, it was this one nanny’s interaction with my son that sold me. We loved her and she became part of the family, but ultimately she needed to leave us to expand her own family and we just never found another nanny or babysitter that worked out long term again. Finding great child care that you can rely on, who loves your child and vice versa, is really hard. I feel like no one has cracked the child care nut yet—there needs to be someone to take the stress out of management issues between nanny and parent. So yes, I’m very thankful to have such great friends and family who can help me out!

MN: What do you find to be the easiest and most difficult aspects of keeping the balance between nurturing your business and nurturing your family?

SL: The hardest is definitely the fact that I’m a complete overachiever, but, of course, that’s the kind of personality it takes to become a successful business owner! The challenge lies in being able to turn off the computer and go to bed, or enjoy a snow day with my son and realize I don’t have to be working every waking moment.

The easiest thing, which has come as a huge and pleasant surprise to me, is that my son views Portraits That Move as something we are doing together. Because he sees me working on the computer and can come and watch and take part in what I’m doing, he feels as much pride and excitement about it as I do! He’s constantly telling his friends about it. Just the other day, he was telling me that he got in trouble at school for a silly reason, because an adult at his school is unhappy. I asked him why he thinks she’s unhappy. His response? “She’s unhappy because she doesn’t have a business like we do.” I mean, come on, how cute is that!?

MN: The journey toward building a successful business while being a parent is like a roller coaster, and many give up when they reach a big set back. What have been some of your high and low points so far?

SL: This may sound corny, but it is 100% genuine. My high point is seriously every shoot I go on. I love working with kids—just meeting and talking with them brings me so much energy and happiness. As for lows, I really haven’t had any setbacks or points where I wanted to give up. However, I do catch myself just wishing things would grow and happen quicker. But that’s just because I’m an overachiever, and I have to force myself to take a step back to reality sometimes. Portraits That Move is only a year old, and is doing considerably well for being such a new business. Of course I wish we could be booked seven days a week, but it’s just not realistic…yet!

MN: Technology is playing a bigger and bigger role these days in both the business and parenting worlds. How do you use technology at work and at home?

SL: Portraits That Move films are provided to the families via a link on Vimeo (they can order a DVD but actually that has not been a big request from our clients). Social media—Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—are key for promotion and getting our story out there. We use Square Space for hosting our web page and Final Cut Pro for editing films. I use Google Calendar to balance my busy work and home schedules, and, of course, the Starbucks App!

MN: We watched the Portraits That Heal (PTH) film on your website and were really touched by this aspect of your business and how you’re giving a voice to children suffering from illness. Could you tell our readers a little more about PTH and how they might be able to get involved?

SL: Portraits That Heal is something that is especially near and dear to my heart and is a quite new addition to PTM. It came to fruition recently when Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer reached out and commissioned us to film videos for four children who are currently battling or have survived life-threatening illnesses. PTH gives kids a chance to share their stories in their own way, and can be an incredibly healing experience for the child and their family. We hope to continue to grow this by reaching out to foundations to fund sessions and setting aside a certain percentage of profits from Portraits That Move to cover PTH sessions. We’d also like to provide a way for family, friends, and neighbors to fund raise and gift a session to a child they love and support.

MN: It sounds like you really treasure family time. Where are some of your favorite spots around New York City to go when you have a day off with your son?

SL: I’ve lived in the same area of Brooklyn for about 16 years now and I have to say we do not venture beyond all that often. We go to Carroll Park just about every day. We love Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, ice cream at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, and going to see movies.

This post was originally published in Mommy Nearest Magazine.

Meet Dee

Born and raised in London, obtaining her Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations in Chicago, and becoming a stay at home mom has prepared Dee, our Director of Human Resources for everything she manages on a daily basis at LifeWorx. After having children, she knew that she wanted to utilize her degrees, and upon moving to Westchester and spotting a job opening at LifeWorx, she has been able to do everything that she loves. She felt an instant connection with the company upon interviewing and carries LifeWorx’s best interest in her heart through each and every part of her job.

Tell me about your role at LifeWorx and how it’s evolved since you’ve been here.

My background is in in HR. I was looking to return to the workforce after being a stay at home mom for several years. I started out as a recruiter for the LifeWorx Westchester office and then moved into Sales for Long Island. It was my job to introduce our services in Long Island. More recently, I got promoted and am now the Director of HR. My role encompasses training recruiters, continuing Sales in LI, HR, payroll, administration, employee relations, benefits etc.

What did you learn as a recruiter about the importance of screening applicants?

Our screening process is extremely rigorous and it has taught me the importance of triple checking every detail about an applicant. Our screening includes:
DMV check – We don’t accept anyone who has more than 2 driving violations
Credit check – We want to make sure people have good spending habits and can be responsible with money.
Multi State Criminal Check and Sex Offender Check – We look for any indication of a criminal background. These reports must be clear of any incident.
Social Security check – Applicants need to be legal to work in the US.
We’re always playing detective throughout interview process. I need to be able to trust the nanny in my own home with my own children. Our interviewing process is more thorough and intense than a corporate job interview. We don’t leave any stone unturned.

What’s the work environment like at LifeWorx?

We have 5 offices and 25 employees. As a result, the 25 employees are split up between 5 locations and we communicate over the phone or email. However, we all work as a team because we rely on one another daily. We work as a team, and want each and every employee to succeed. Tools are provided to employees to make sure they can do their job with ease. We also like to socialize, for example we had a team building event in Atlantic City, or we held an event at the 40/40 Club in NYC – geared toward having fun and getting to know everyone.

Why do you think so many families choose you over all the agencies that are out there?

Families know that our service is impeccable because we go above and beyond for our clients. Our nannies and other professionals are the best in their field. We know how to select experts who can bring added value to households by ensuring they go the extra mile.

As a mother, can you relate to the struggle parents often go through to find reliable child care?

Before coming to LifeWorx, I never saw any company with such an intricate process. After training and recruiting at LifeWorx, I came to realize the nuances of hiring great nannies. It’s a job that really needs a trained professional who can filter through applicants’ work experience, their references, their background, and read subtle cues. There are so many requirements that need to be considered. We have training as a LifeWorx professional, that I personally lacked as a mother.

Can you relate to the journey Dee has had? Share with us in the comments below!

Celebrating National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and here at LifeWorx, we are celebrating awareness of this developmental disorder and showing support for the many charities and organization that provide research and assistance for families with children with autism.

We know that whenever it comes time for working mothers to hire a nanny or babysitter many different questions arise – Will he/she know how to handle an emergency? Will they pay enough attention to my children? Will they follow our discipline rules? The list goes on and on. But, whenever you have a child with autism, those questions go much deeper, and you must have a level of assurance that enables you to happily leave your child with their caretaker so that you can get your work done.

During the first part of our multi-level process in screening our applicants, we analyze their specific child care experience, meaning what kinds of special circumstances they’ve worked with. It is our job to match families’ needs with the skilled caretakers that we have working for us. If a parent calls us to care for a child with autism, we make sure that the nanny chosen has experience working with children with autism and is knowledgeable of this specific child’s needs and preferences.

You will be able to leave the home for work each day or work in your home office resting assured that your autistic child’s needs are being met each and every day. It is this peace of mind that we strive to provide every parent with.

Here are some fun ways to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month with your whole family:

• Read some new Autism Awareness books with your whole family! There are so many authors whose lives have been touched by Autism and they have written wonderful books about their experiences. This will help the whole family enable a better understanding of this developmental disorder and is also a great opportunity for a deeper connection with your caregiver.
• Shop for Autism – there are MANY online retailers that will be donating a portion of purchase proceeds to Autism research, this is a great opportunity to help give back!
• Plan a family outing – this is a great opportunity for you to let your autistic child choose to celebrate the month by taking the family to their favorite place for celebration. The support they will feel is invaluable!
Download the newest autism apps – we know that all kids love anything technology related, but we don’t always feel good about handing them the tablet and playing games. This list summarizes the top iPad apps that are great to be used in conjunction with therapy to help children with academics, speech, feel comfortable in new surroundings, vocabulary, and more! It’s a great way to get the whole family playing together!

How are you and your family celebrating National autism Awareness Month?

Meet Sam

Being a “people person” is a crucial personality trait when recruiting for LifeWorx, because it is in these conversations with applicants that the recruiter is able to pick up on the most pivotal traits – intuitively knowing when they have found the perfect person to fill a designated role. This is why Sam, who has always worked in a customer service based role, has succeeded the way he has as a LifeWorx recruiter. After graduating from Rutgers University, he knew that he loved working with people, and wanted to apply that trait to his career path.

Can you tell us about your background and how your role has progressed at LifeWorx?

I started out as a recruiter where my job was finding exceptional child care providers in the New York City area. After learning the nuances of the recruiting process, I was promoted to manage the child care recruitment team and our new on demand child care offering.

From your perspective having been a recruiter, can you tell our readers about the rigorous screening applicants go through every day and why?

Every candidate that LifeWorx represents has gone through a rigorous screening process that includes a phone interview, in person interview, and background check that includes criminal/sex offender/ driving/ credit/ and social security verification. We also verify the work experience by calling at least 2 references. We are the only company that completes these steps of screening in order to ensure that we represent only the most trusted and skilled experts to our customers.

What is LifeWorx On Demand Service and how is it different from what LifeWorx does now?

LifeWorx On Demand Service provides customers the opportunity to have a trusted and reliable sitter come to their home last minute when they need someone. Whether their usual sitter calls out, their child is sick and can’t go to school, or they have a last minute work commitment, we have them covered. On Demand differs from our other services because on demand provides short term child care service for customers, while our other services provide long term service that include more than just child care, such as housekeeping, elder care, housekeeping, personal chefs and personal assistants.

How does the on demand service work?

The way it works is through a simple call to 646-517-5716 or email to hello@lifeworx.com where the customer will let our team know the details of the job and a LifeWorx team member will make sure that we send the customer an amazing sitter when they need them. For $22/hour, customers will have a fully screened and interviewed sitter at their doorstep ready to help. LifeWorx takes care of everything, including the sitter’s pay as well as insurances such as workman’s compensation.

How does the LifeWorx on demand service benefit busy parents?

The on demand service helps busy parents by being available at all times, even when things unexpectedly come up and parents need someone they can trust to watch their children asap; LifeWorx is always there to help find the best person in the shortest amount of time.

So there you have it busy moms and dads – LifeWorx has set out to make your lives easier, one sitter at a time!

The Battle of Balance – The Journey of Working Mothers

Balance is something that we are always trying to seek in life; it’s a journey within itself. But for working mothers, balance is something that must be achieved on a daily basis in order to manage our households, work, and be a mom. Without balance, life is simply chaotic.

The thing about motherhood is this – you truly do need a village to maintain your composure, get everything crossed off your to-do list each day, and raise your tribe. Your village consists of those around you who help you pull it all together, the people who are there for you when you need to get your work done while knowing that your children are being taken care of. In households with working mothers, nannies and babysitters are a huge part of that necessary “motherhood village” that allows every mother to feel like she can take on the world each morning, and rest without worry each night.

Working Mothers – Life Balancing Tips

Here are some tips that will help all working mothers out there who are yearning for some balance in their life:

Target your household needs

All working mothers know that they can’t truly focus on their job or sleep at night if the household needs aren’t being met. The first key to achieving balance is to address your household needs and figure out a plan for making sure it’s all being managed. In many cases, hiring help to make sure these needs are being met is super important, and LifeWorx has numerous individuals ready to help you with child care, housekeeping, and home chef services.

Put yourself first

Yes, we said it and – and we mean it! Whenever mom is taken care of, she is able to take on the challenges of work and motherhood with more enthusiasm and clear headed than ever! If putting yourself first means that you need to take some “me time” do it – the rewards that you, your job, and your family will reap are endless.

Be open

Be open to change, be open to unexpected deadlines, and be open to things not always going as planned. All of these things will happen, sometimes all in one day. It’s an annoying, yet important part of life that we all need to deal with in order to live a more balanced lifestyle. Life can be unpredictable and we can’t have total control over every aspect, so be open to life’s random acts.

Know when to step away

Knowing when to step away from work or when to step away from daily parenting duties rests within you. Think about it – every piece of technology that you own has an off button, and whenever they haven’t been re-charged and re-started in a while, they begin to malfunction. You will, too. Make sure you are using your time wisely whenever you have a babysitter and get your work done, leaving you the ability to step away whenever you know that it’s time to do so.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

Elder Care 101: What you NEED to Know

Mom loves living in her home where she raised her kids. But she doesn’t always remember to take her medicine … and sometimes the fridge doesn’t get filled. Grandpa was fine living alone until a fall made it harder to get around. As our loved ones age, sometimes they help to continue living happily on their own.

If you are considering elder care, here are some things you should know.

Does my loved one need extra help?

Watching our family members get older is a hard process for everyone. For them, age can bring unexpected changes to their mental and physical health that leaves them less able to care for themselves. And for you, there are difficult decisions to be made when this happens.

But how do you know if your loved one needs that extra help now? Take stock of their well-being.

Ask yourself:

  • Do they have difficulty walking? Are they unsteady on their feet or falling?
  • Are they neglecting their personal hygiene?
  • Do they have trouble concentrating? Are you concerned about their decision making skills?
  • Are they suffering from memory loss, confusion or a feeling of “fogginess”?
  • Do they take the medications properly and per instructions?
  • Are they not eating well?
  • Is their energy level down? Do they suffer from fatigue?
  • Are they moody?
  • Is their driving questionable? Are you concerned they may be a danger to themselves or others behind the wheel?
  • Are they paying their bills on time? Are they opening their mail?
  • Do you have concerns about the safety and sanitary conditions of their home?

What help does my loved one need?

When it comes to elder care, there is no one-size-fits-all solution because every case is different. From home services like house cleaning to part- or full-time elder care, there are many services available to help your loved one continue living in their own happily – and safely.

Start by looking at the parts of your loved ones life that are in need of assistance. Do they need a little help and companionship to make the week run smoother? Is their house in need of more cleaning help them they can do themselves? Or do they need more frequent assistance to ensure that they are staying on top of all of life’s chores and duties?

What type of help is available?

  • Part-Time Help – Part-time caregivers are great for providing companionship to your loved ones. They can help with personal care, medications and schedules, drive your loved one places and do light chores like laundry and cooking.
  • Full-Time Help – Full-time caregivers do many of the same tasks as part-time ones, but they do so on a more frequent basis. If your loved one needs more time with someone to help with their day-to-day tasks, then full-time help can be perfect.
  • Special Needs Care – When your loved one is impacted by Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, broken bones or surgery, they sometimes need specialized care. These type of elder care professionals can help with personal care, medications, scheduling and running errands. Special needs care can also help with companionship – both through overnight care and through activities.
  • 24/7 Care – For those who need constant non-medical care, 24/7 care is available to ensure that your loved one lives comfortably (and safely) in their home.

What is a CNA? A HHA?

When selecting elder care, you will probably hear acronyms like CNA and HHA used to describe the people who are available. But what do these certifications mean? A CNA is a certified nursing assistant and a HHA is a home health aide. Both are have similar capabilities – they both can help with daily activities like bathing, light household duties, dressing and personal care. But a CNA – often found in care facilities – can also perform some medical tasks to under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, which a HHA cannot.

Does my loved one have dementia?

You can tell when something is just … off with your loved one. But does that also mean that they are experiencing dementia? Dementia refers to symptoms that affect one’s social and thinking abilities and hinder that ability to perform once-easy daily functions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of dementia include memory loss, difficulty communicating, difficulty with complex tasks, planning and organizing, difficulty with coordination and motor functions, disorientation, personality changes, inappropriate behavior, paranoia, agitation and hallucinations.

If your loved one experiences some of these symptoms, they should see their doctor.

Don’t forget about you

When your parents and loved ones age – and especially as their health declines and they need more help with everyday things – it can be stressful. You are losing the vibrant people who raised you as the roles reverse and you care for them. It’s sad, and it’s hard. Be sure as you deal with elder care that you remember to take care of yourself – eating well, exercising and taking breaks. Get help when you need it and find support – either through friends who are experiencing similar things or through support groups. These will help you cope with the changes and best prepare to help your loved ones with elder care.