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HEALTH   -   SENIORS
What you Need to Think About
September, 2012 - Issue #95
In-home Care for Seniors
In the United States, 6,000 people turn 65 years of age every day. One in five Americans will be older than age 65 by the year 2030 [American Association of Retired Persons, 2003]. Clearly, the country is seeing a staggering increase in the number of seniors living and participating in our community. This population increase has resulted in many new, necessary options for senior living. Because the majority of seniors today say they would like to age in their own homes, the number of in-home senior services are growing rapidly. But not all in-home senior care is the same.

In-home senior care is different from a senior living facility in that it offers help for clients in their own home and not in another location. Many seniors prefer to remain in their familiar environment and like the independence of living at home, but daily routines that may seem simple for decades begin to feel more difficult. Offering seniors the opportunity to enjoy their own home and more independence during these days is critical to maintaining a high quality of life for many. Senior-care companies such as Comfort Keepers, Home Instead Senior Care and Visiting Angels offer services to Santa Clarita families to help care for seniors, maintaining various levels of independence. If a caregiver is considering in-home senior care for their loved one, it is important to shop around and ask the right questions to determine the level of care and attention your family needs.

Many SENIORS prefer to remain in their familiar environment and like the independence of living at home."

How much independence is required?
If families are considering in-home care for their senior, but are not sure if the time is right, Comfort Keepers provides a very helpful assessment guide on their website to determine whether these services are right for their family. It is important to find a facility that offers quality, loving, in-home senior care for families with the flexibility to be sure that their senior is offered the right mix of services that allows them to preserve an independent life. Myles McNamara, owner of Comfort Keepers says, "Through the Comfort Keepers system of in-home care, we are able to enhance a senior's independence and well-being with four interrelated aspects: engagement of the mind, an active body, proper nutrition and safety. All of these aspects have shown to help maintain a high quality of life and peace of mind for family members." Home Instead Senior Care of Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys is certified by California Association of Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) and also believes in addressing the needs of their clients on a one-on-one basis. Caregivers, support staff and corporate partners work together to provide clients with quality care. Charlene Perrone owner/director of Home Instead Senior Care, explains, "Living in a comfortable, safe, familiar environment allows seniors with impaired cognitive abilities or limited mobility to live their lives as normally as possible. And, with one-on-one care, seniors are often more motivated to monitor their health, to eat better, to maintain their hygiene and to interact socially. All of these can reduce feelings of depression."

What would happen in case of an emergency?
Another very important consideration when deciding on in-home senior care is safety and responsiveness. Quality in-home services may offer a 24/7 responsive system for their clients if they are in need of assistance after hours. If you're considering in-home care for a family member, be sure you ask whether or not they have a system to respond to emergencies. Paying for quality care should translate to safety for loved ones and peace of mind for families. Comfort Keepers has a service called Safety Choice by Comfort Keepers that does just that. "Keeping seniors safe is a top priority at Comfort Keepers," shares owner McNamara. Geneva Knoles, co-owner of Visiting Angels, also describes their commitment to senior safety. Professional caregivers are referred to as "visiting angels" who offer living assistance whenever needed, including transitions from a hospital admission and end-of-life care. Knoles explains, "Our Visiting Angels are supervised by our care manager, who is a licensed RN, and by a manager who is always on call to provide support to our employees or clients."

Do you feel comfortable with the care provider?
It is important for caregivers to set up a meeting with each facility they are considering working with. Many of the well-respected organizations may seem to offer similar services, but knowing that the individuals assigned to care for their senior are knowledgeable, dependable and can answer important questions about the aging process will become clear in a one-on-one discussion. This will help bring peace of mind to the whole family. "Having people you can trust when you have serious questions about the aging process and its impact on your loved ones is vital," said Charlene Perrone of Home Instead Senior Care. "Caring for aging parents can take the proverbial village and that is exactly the role we like to play in the process of caring for seniors." Family caregivers already juggle many responsibilities at home. Young children, work responsibilities, their own health issues and maintaining positive relationships with their spouses are many of the issues they face. This is where a senior in-home care service can really offer the best option for a family who doesn't have the time, energy and expertise to best serve their senior family member. At Visiting Angels, RN Care Manager Kathy Tucker explained how serious they are about matching a caregiver with a client. "Because we are particular about who we hire, our families have the confidence of knowing their senior is cared for by a qualified caregiver who has been thoroughly screened and background checked. We match the needs and personalities of our clients to the abilities, strengths and experience of our employees to ensure that we provide reliable care that families can depend on," said Tucker.

"Finding a
STRONG ADVOCATE
can be difficult, but
extremely important."

Are they an advocate?
Finding a strong advocate can be difficult, but extremely important. Comfort Keepers takes pride in advocating for the senior community in Santa Clarita. Myles McNamara, owner of Comfort Keepers is also the president of the Santa Clarita Senior Center Foundation. "We believe in our commitment to raise money to support senior services such as home-delivered meals and other various programs in Santa Clarita. The seniors in Santa Clarita can be overlooked at times. We want to make sure that no senior goes without the food and services that they need every day, " said McNamara.

Do they offer care for dementia?
If dementia care is a priority for a family, or they're concerned that it might be in the future, it is important to be familiar with the dementia services that are offered at various home-care companies. Some may offer them, while others may not. Comfort Keepers has caregivers specially trained to serve dementia patients. "Servicing dementia seniors is a real concern for many families today and we work hard to make sure we are staying abreast of developments in this condition to offer the highest quality of care to dementia patients," states owner Myles McNamara. Other in-home care companies in Santa Clarita service dementia patients, as well. Home Instead Senior Care director Charlene Perrone said, "As the first non-medical home care company in the country to provide an evidence-based Alzheimer's Care Training Program for our caregivers, the results we see are more creative, responsive and compassionate care for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

Asking the right questions will ensure that every family makes the best decision for their senior. With so many in-home care options today, it is important to understand that no two providers are the same. But asking the right questions will more easily allow families to make the right decisions for their senior.

A Truly Different Type of Senior Living
Senior-living communities are becoming another popular option among seniors. For seniors of various levels of independence looking for an opportunity to socialize (or just enjoy the privacy of their apartment), senior-living is a great option.

Valley Oaks Village in Santa Clarita in one of these local senior-living communities. With six and a half acres of shaded lawn, a fitness center, pool and spa, free transportation, laundry facilities, a library, community activities and even an on-site beauty salon and dog park, Valley Oaks Village offers all of the comforts of home and more. For seniors who crave an easy, independent lifestyle, Valley Oaks Village is a great option.

Some of the activities that residents may enjoy here are catered parties for holidays and other events, professional entertainers, enrichment classes, field trips to local attractions and more. Those who live there speak highly of the experience. Mary Strauss, a resident since 2001, cites her favorite Valley Oaks Village activities as gardening and water aerobics. Her best moment? "When I saw my roses bloom in the community garden, I knew I was home."

For more Information...
Comfort Keepers In-home Care
287-4200 www.comfortkeepers.com

Home Instead Senior Care
254-8701 www.homeinstead.com/618

Valley Oaks Village
259-5501 www.valleyoaksvillage.com

Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services
263-2273 www.visitingangels.com/santaclarita
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