TALK TO A
Client Care Coordinator
Friday the 13th was our lucky day -- on Friday July 13, 2012, anyway.
Public Radio International, producer of such popular shows as Marketplace, called to request that I appear on To the Point, "a fast-paced, news based one-hour daily national program that focuses on the hot-button issues of the day, co-produced by KCRW and Public Radio International." The show was devoted to "Home Care and Our Aging Population."
This was our third opportunity for national exposure within a month, including an opinion piece on CNN.com and a series of national webinars requested by the National Private Duty Association. The show examined both the costs of home care and people's attitudes toward old age. The most interesting question, I thought, was
Read more ...
We were delighted to learn recently that CNN.com published a piece I had submitted on the unintended consequences of the Obama administration's intention to change the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime for home care workers. Leaving aside for the moment the merits of the adminstration's proposal and the cautions I was raising as it is considered, it was a milestone for our agency to be on the national stage debating a piece of legislation this important.
Most of the reader comments indicated that people thought I was concerned about the home care agency's profits, but the fact is that the law, if passed, would not affect our profit by a single dollar. That is because Massachusetts already has an overtime provision, so we pay overtime to everyone who works more than 40 hours. What those readers do not realize is this:
Recently I had the pleasure of breakfast with William O. Lytle, author of The Essential Organizer: An Ongoing Record of your Estate and Personal Information. Bill has created a valuable tool that helps families do exactly what it advertises -- a much-needed exercise.
Bill is pleasant, thoughtful, and friendly, and in discussing his work he tells stories of families he has interviewed in preparation for this publication. He talks about how difficult these end-of-life planning conversations can be, and had contacted me after a recent blog post on strategies to guide families through these waters before dementia strikes or other events make the conversation impossible.
Planning elder care is fraught with emotional minefields. Perhaps nothing is harder than when dementia or Alzheimer's strike, and a loved one’s skills or judgment has degraded and family action is required. This may mean taking away car keys, insisting that a caregiver comes part of the week, or that the elder move to live in a facility. This is always easier if you know that your parent, when entirely competent, had expressed a preference for how to handle the situation. The trouble is that we find that many families have not made such plans.
This is the first of a series of blog posts on lessons learned on navigating that difficult terrain. In future posts, we will address how to handle situations when someone’s competence has declined due to dementia, stroke, or other factors. For today, we will assume the elder is competent to make decisions. This leads to our first recommendation:
Improving home care for elderly Massachusetts senior citizens has become passion of mine, and recently I was asked to address the New England Home Care Conference in Newton, MA, on how to use web technology to improve the quality of senior care, or eldercare. So I ask the room a seemingly-obvious question: “How many of you registered for this online?” Dozens of hands went up among attendees of the largest home care conference in New England, which was the first partnership of the state home care associations in the region. I continued with more obvious questions: How many made your travel reservations online? Dozens. How many shop, pay bills, check kids’ school schedules? Dozens, dozens, dozens -- in each case, nearly everyone.
Then came the punch line.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend we received notice that Caring Companion Home Care is among the first home care agencies in the state to earn accreditation from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA). The alliance's accreditation protocol promotes quality service, caregiver training and competency, ethical business standards, and superior employment practices in an industry that lacks meaningful licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The accreditation was all the more rewarding because Caring Companion Connections is only the third west of Boston to be accredited among independently-owned, private-pay home care agencies -- i.e., we are not a franchise, and we are not affiliated with a hospital or other large organization. This is a family business. My dad started in Florida in 1992 at his kitchen table, and now my two sisters and I have independent agencies in our home states. Being recognized within the industry is a point of pride for all of us. Our recent mention by National Public Radio's Aging in America broadcast series was a big boost; this accreditation is another.
Our metro-west Boston area office is directed by Deborah Bier, PhD -- like me, a long-time Concord resident. We have just expanded with a new Boston office to better serve clients and families in the city. We are proud to be in the initial group of agencies to promote accreditation standards, all of which are a part of Caring Companion’s commitment to a higher quality of care. These standards help consumers choose agencies worthy of trust, as they come to see the many advantages of keeping people independent in their homes and as part of the community.
Many of you probably heard National Public Radio's popular series this week Aging At Home. We were enormously proud to learn that NPR selected Caring Companion Connections as one of only four resources they listed on their web page as Additional Resources for the first episode. Clearly, NPR has realized what many already know: Caring Companion Connections is a leader in providing wellness-focused home care and innovative, effective ways to help seniors age comfortably in the home of their choosing.
Find out for yourself! Download our white paper: Reimagining Home Care: New Needs, New Approaches . See how home care in the 21st Century is different, and find out what every family needs to know before you choose your home care agency!
Our custom app tracks iPhone/Android-toting seniors at risk of getting lost. Call for details!
All rights reserved. © Caring Companion Home Care