Seniors may lose caregiver overtime exemption

The Department of Labor is attempting to close the overtime law exemption for caregivers.  This exemption has been important for seniors because many need more than 40 hrs of care per week. Some utilize live-in caregivers who remain with them 24 hours a day. Care giving is a very personal service and freedom from overtime laws has allowed seniors to limit the amount of different people coming into their homes.

Caregivers have enjoyed this freedom as well.  One example would be the single mom working 4 12-hour shifts per week.  Having three days off, she would rack up 48 hours of pay per week.  If this exemption is taken away, caregivers will not get overtime pay.  Instead, their hours will be limited to 40 per week because the additional labor expense would have to be passed on to seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes.

Here at Comfort Keepers, we understand how important it is for our clients and caregivers that they have consistency in their schedules.  We work hard to ensure that our clients get the caregivers they have grown to love, and that our caregivers get as many hours as they need to support their own families.  We oppose this legislation and believe it will hurt the people it is supposed to help.

For more info and to write your legislators go to:

http://www.congressweb.com/cweb2/index.cfm/siteid/NAHC-FL/action/TakeAction.Background/LetterGroupID/13

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

Presidential Proclamation — National Family Caregivers Month, 2011

At Comfort Keepers we see first hand how hard family caregivers work to care for their loved ones.  We are proud to be able to assist these amazing people and so glad to see they are being formally acknowledged.

 

Read full proclamation by President Obama:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/01/presidential-proclamation-national-family-caregivers-month-2011

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7 ways to prevent Alzheimers

Comfort Keepers is dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent.  Alzheimer’s disease is an all-to-common problem for many of our clients, here are some ways to help prevent it.

http://health.yahoo.net/tips/7-ways-to-prevent-alzheimers

 

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NWF AAA charity golf tournament

Marcus Pointe golf course was the site of the 3rd annual charity golf tournament to benefit the NWF Area Agency on Aging.  The weather was great for 18 holes.  Tony Swaim represented Comfort Keepers as lots of money was raised for the AAA ’emergency fund’ that will help needy seniors throughout the rest of the year.  A great time was had by all and a great cause was supported, thanks to all who were involved.

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Helping our Veterans

I’ve observed, in many situations, where there are Veterans who simply will not ask for help.  I am assuming it is pride, and the self-reliant attitude that keeps many Veterans from asking for assistance.  As with all bureaucracies there is paperwork;  but our team has been through it before, and, we can help with it again.  Many “care agencies” simply don’t want the hassle of dealing with insurance claims and assisting in applying for veterans benefit programs.  We welcome the “hassle”.   If you know a Veteran that could use some assistance then call us…………… we can help encourage them to take advantage of  a benefit that they have earned and should feel no embarrassment about applying for.

Below I have paraphrased some promotional literature that is focused on helping Veterans obtain assistance.

Veterans Benefits

Comfort Keepers® Is Honored to Serve Our Nation’s Veterans

We feel privileged to care for veterans who served our nation in its time of need.  We provide you with the information to work through the paperwork to help you avoid potential pension claim delays.  Once you become an approved participant in a VA program, Comfort Keepers will provide the quality care and companionship our veterans deserve.  There are several programs for which an individual may qualify:

Who Qualifies?

If you or your spouse served 90 consecutive days of active military duty – at least one of those days during a U.S. declared war – you are already partially qualified.

Other qualifications include specific financial criteria and documented physical need for in-home care.

To begin the application process, you will need:

  • Original discharge certificate
  • Marriage certificate (divorce papers from any prior marriages, if applicable)
  • Death certificate of veteran (if applicable)
  • Social Security numbers for the veteran and spouse

If you think you may qualify for one of the VA programs, contact Tony at: 850 687 0791

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Senior Home Care Pensacola: Alzheimer’s Day September 21

Today, in countries around the world, awareness is being raised about Alzheimer’s Disease and the plight of those afflicted with it. These awareness events range from forums to wine-tasting fundraisers, but in each country, local activists are coming together in order to emphasize the importance of elder care and the high cost of this debilitating disease.

Many of these events are sponsored by members of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). ADI is an international organization that encourages education and empowers Alzheimer associations offer support to local careers. The organization is based in London and each year sponsors two main events through its member organizations: the annual, international conference on Alzheimer’s, and World Alzheimer’s Day.

By choosing one day to honor the struggles of those afflicted with dementia, the ADI unites the many different people affected by Alzheimer’s and provides a way for the world to recognize the work that these people do, which makes it easier for them to influence politicians and other leaders to support the work that ADI and other Alzheimer’s associations do. This globally coordinated day of awareness suggests to leaders that dementia is more than just memory loss and is a serious problem their citizens face. By focusing on a different aspect of the fight against dementia each year, the ADI continues to send a diverse message about the importance of elder care and the universal implications of Alzheimer’s.

This year, the message that ADI is emphasizing is the different faces that dementia takes. The theme plays well into the global nature of ADI: Alzheimer’s Disease is a serious concern regardless of race, culture, creed, or social status. Memory loss is not the only way this terminal, degenerative disease affects dementia patients. As this year’s theme emphasizes, Alzheimer’s can turn an independent, elderly, loved one into someone completely dependent on their caretaker for all their daily needs. Eventually, as the disease continues to eat away at the brain, Alzheimer’s patients tend towards mood swings and irritability, experiencing a breakdown of their language abilities and finally a complete degeneration of all bodily functions. The faces of those affected by this disease are many: the patients themselves, their children and grandchildren, and their caretakers all have their lives changed by the presence and progression of this deadly illness.

Every year, more people join in on World Alzheimer’s Day to raise awareness. The efforts of these member organizations have informed hundreds of thousands of people across the globe about the importance of elder care through concerts, symposium, and meetings with government officials. Increasingly, the media has joined in this fight against Alzheimer’s, covering many of the events hosted by Alzheimer’s organizations on this day and embracing the international relevance of advances in dementia care and treatment. Fundraisers often see increased productivity after an increase in media attention and each year on World Alzheimer’s Day, the ADI website gets more hits than the previous year. By fostering an open dialogue between those affected by dementia, the media, and politicians responsible for funding and supporting the work of Alzheimer’s organizations, World Alzheimer’s Day has drastically increased the effectiveness of Alzheimer’s associations worldwide.

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Why Do Some Seniors Not Take Nutrition Seriously?

That is a good question.  It can also be misunderstood by younger generations who do not understand the challenges many seniors face.  The problem is not necessarily that seniors are not serious about their own good health, but rather, the malnutrition they experience can be caused by factors beyond their control.

Malnutrition in seniors is often caused by a combination of physical, social and psychological issues.  Many seniors experience lack of appetite due to the effects of illnesses or medications they take for those illnesses.  Some medications change the effectiveness of taste buds, making food less appealing.  Seniors who live on limited incomes may pay high out-of-pocket costs for medications and do not have funds left over to purchase healthy foods.  In addition, those who have restricted diets because of medical conditions may not find their required bland meals appealing.  Some seniors do not have easy access to grocery stores, or the means to get there to shop. Seniors who live more isolated lives may find cooking for one and eating alone a challenge.  Alcoholism and depression may also be key factors in the lives of some seniors, further inhibiting consumption of necessary amounts of nutritious food.

Whether you are a family member, friend or caregiver of a senior, Comfort Keepers® believes there are ways to recognize whether or not the senior you care for is eating properly and steps you can take to fix the problem and avoid malnutrition.

It may not always be easy to determine whether or not your senior loved one is at risk for malnutrition.  An easy, step-by-step quiz is available at www.InteractiveCaregiving.com ,which provides a nutritional score that can be printed and taken to a doctor to discuss the senior’s nutritional needs.   You can also easily contact a Comfort Keepers office to help seniors who may need assistance from a caregiver.

Here are additional steps you can take to help seniors avoid malnutrition: 

  • Visit often and monitor what the senior eats.  If possible, help cook meals and dine together to ensure healthy meals are prepared and consumed.  Doing so also makes mealtime more enjoyable for lonely seniors.
  • Offer to take the senior shopping.  Help choose nutritious and easy-to-prepare items that the senior likes.  Foods packed with nutrients such as peanut butter, fresh fruits and vegetables are good choices.  Add cheese to dishes, such as rice, pasta and sandwiches, to make tasty meals.  Top yogurt with wheat germ and add extra egg whites to scrambled eggs.
  • Help the senior choose healthy snacks such as peanuts, nutrition-boosting shakes, health food bars, and other nutrient-packed items designed for immediate consumption with no preparation needed.
  • Introduce the senior to seasonings, such as lemon juice and herbs, that can make bland meals taste better.
  • Monitor alcohol intake and be on the alert for signs of depression that may affect appetites.
  • Consult the senior’s doctor regarding changing medications that might suppress the appetite.

The dynamics of a senior living alone pose unique challenges as opposed to those who have other family members living in the household and more interaction on a daily basis.  Good nutrition for seniors is a key factor in maintaining good health necessary to leading active, healthy and independent lives.  Keeping an eye on seniors who live alone is critical to helping them maintain their safety, well-being, and ability to live independently.

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