Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds

A smiling senior man with a tabletWe feel compelled to share with you an uplifting video interview with three British centenarians that we came across. The names of the interviewees are Clifford Crozier, born in 1915, Emilia Tereza Harper, born in 1913, and John Millington Denerly, born in 1914. These endearing 2 gentlemen and a lady give us a glimpse into their lives and share their life lessons. Even though the entire interview is filled with love for life and can be an inspiration to all of us as a whole, we highlighted just a few of our favorite moments below:

I. TENACITY

Their resilient mindset deserves admiration. This idea of keeping going would be a great recipe for a long happy life on its own! – All kinds of things happen around you and to you, but you persevere. That’s how, in their own words:

– “You keep going. A 101 is only a number, and you live for the day.” Cliff Crozier

– “Keep right on to the end of the road. – …I stay put!” John Millington Denerly

II. POSITIVITY

We could not help but notice a feeling of positivity permeating their entire being. These seniors knew how to make themselves happy with simple things like humor, optimism, and …shopping! Here is how they talked about it:

– “Everything makes me happy. I like talking to people, I like doing things, I like going out shopping. Once I go out shopping, I don’t want to come back.” Emilia Tereza Harper

– “I’ve got beautiful memories. I can live happily forever after because of my lovely memories.” Emilia Tereza Harper

– “I am always optimistic…” John Millington Denerly

– And how about a healthy shot of humor about the impact of their long life on the government? – “It always pleases me though that I can keep robbing the government with my pension.” Clifford Crozier

III. CONNECTEDNESS

Finally, they were giving us an impression of people who were not frozen in time. All three show great mental flexibility:

– “Life goes on. You get healed (but you never forget)”, – shares Tereza who was devastated by the loss of her twins

– “You’ve got to keep up with the times. So, what was good 80-90 years ago, doesn’t work these days”, says John, who received an iPad as a gift and uses it actively.

– And Cliff points out something we believe and support the most due to the nature of our home care company: “Be as independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.”

 

What were your favorite moments?

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Parents Are Caring For Themselves

A senior couple looking contentIf you’re an adult with parents who are getting older, you realize, before your parents would, that their need for support is growing. Sadly, it’s not always easy to figure out the best way to provide support. Your mom and dad might feel that an increased level of support is a sign of them giving up their independence. Often children are not sure what would be best for their parents – to take full responsibility over their needs and schedules despite their objections, or do the opposite and allow them complete autonomy until they realize they need help on their own.

Of course, a better approach is probably a happy medium, at least at the beginning.  While you work on gradually introducing more occasions when you take care of them, you still need to give them an opportunity to feel independent and take care of themselves. But how can you know they are doing it well?

Here are 3 ways to help you make sure your parents are caring for themselves.

1. HELP WITH AN EASY ROUTINE THAT LEADS TO A FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT

Creating a weekly routine is one of the best ways to make sure your parents are taking care of themselves. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated. It can be a consistent time that allows them to get things done without worrying whether they will have time the next day or not because they know they have a regular time that they can look forward to. For example, it can be as simple as taking the evening to do some housework. Having a regular time for tasks that don’t require extra effort but can still provide them with a sense of purpose is a great feeling.

2. ENCOURAGE THEM TO STAY SOCIALLY ACTIVE AND INVOLVED

Our social environment is what keeps us going as we wrote earlier. And once established social connections get lost when your older parents retire, are widowed or divorced, it’s easy for them to start feeling lonely or excluded. There is nothing wrong with staying at home, but it’s important for you to encourage them to find new ways to stay connected to friends, family, and community. Encourage them to create social circles, join clubs or volunteer for activities that are meaningful to them. These are all great ways to stay active and connected. Another option to consider is to have a home care agency like ours arrange for a caregiver who would provide companionship and socialization and usually become a dear friend.

3. ENSURE IT’S EASY FOR THEM TO STAY HEALTHY

A disciplined approach to health care makes a big difference as your parents get older. It’s possible for seniors who are left to their own devices to get overwhelmed with their illness or forget about doctor’s appointments, etc. That’s why it’s important to make sure they have an easy system to take care of their health. Check if they have medication they can take without anyone’s observation. Encourage them to get a medical organizer book to not only keep track of their appointments but also to make any notes about what they should prepare ahead of time or bring to the appointment. And most importantly, help them stay safe by ensuring they have access to a phone to call you or another dedicated caregiver at any time.

Once the three aspects we discussed above are addressed, it will be easier for you to have some peace of mind about your parents for a while. However, there is one last piece we need to add to the puzzle, and that is to check on them frequently. If everything goes well with your mom and dad’s independent routine, it will just show them that you are in their life and you care. If something goes wrong, it will give you a chance to notice it quickly and arrange for help.

“YOU MATTER”: Inspiring Stories About Our Clients

A senior man in glasses playing cards

It is easy to succumb to the daily grind of life, to become transactional, to lose perspective. We think it’s important to always find a moment to take a step back and appreciate what really matters. What matters to us is seeing our clients as unique individuals with their unique lives.

That’s why we introduce the “You Matter” blog series to celebrate our clients, their individuality, their humanity, their stories. As we do our best to make sure our clients’ needs are met with dignity and respect on a daily basis, we also take time to connect with them personally, be it via a phone call or by stopping by to say hello. As we do so, we hear their stories, we help them re-live their memorable moments and go through the ups and downs of their emotions.

 

We would like to start sharing these inspiring stories to help us all celebrate the humanity of our clients and as our way to say “You Matter”. Our first story is about Bill, told in his memory by his daughter.

“My father, Bill P., was always a guy that embraced a game of chance including a simple card game of gin rummy.  So, as a result, all of the great caregivers from North Oakland needed to play cards.  These wonderful women took such good care of my dad and played cards for as long as he wanted to play.  If they didn’t know how to play gin,  they knew how by the end of their first day!  He was 98 years old and kept score in his head while the rest of us were keeping score with the aid of a solar calculator or at the very least carrying the one on a pad of paper.  He amazed us all. – K.”

Selecting a Home Care Agency? – Use This 5 Factor Checklist

Pros and Cons ChecklistThere comes a time when your mom, dad, or another loved one will need help with their daily lives. And hiring help to care for them at home is one of the best options for them and you for many reasons. Whether your family has already decided to go down this path or you are just researching your options, one of the most important questions that come to mind is how to select the right home care agency for your loved ones.

Let us share with you our recommendation based on almost 30 years of experience. This practical and straightforward checklist includes 5 factors you should focus your research on. It will help you ask the right questions and form a very informed opinion on your home care agency of choice:

#1. EXPERIENCE
  • Look for companies that have been in business for a longer period of time and at the same location.  This shows stability and most likely a favorable reputation.  Equally important is how long the management team has been in place.  Years of experience speak volumes regarding satisfied customers.

Example – Why North Oakland Caregivers agency might qualify: Our company has been providing home care for almost 30 years since 1992, and it’s still run by the original family of founders, from the original location.

#2. REPUTATION
  • Reviews can reveal the true reputation of the company among clients. The company website is an obvious place to go to first but make sure you also check Google and Facebook as the next best places to find such information. Besides the ratings look for details of the reviews which might show if their relationship with the company was personable and warm or simply matter-of-fact.

Example – Why North Oakland Caregivers agency might qualify: We are honored and humbled by the trust our clients put in us by giving our services their highest ratings over and over again.

#3. CLARITY
  • The planning stage of setting up your home care services is the critical part of the process, and you should look for whether the company makes all the necessary steps to ensure success? For example, does it include the client or their family members in developing the plan of care? Do they explain clearly all available options and recommend a scenario, including its financial aspect, that would fit your particular situation? Do they take into consideration the compatibility of the client and their caregiver?

Example – Why North Oakland Caregivers agency might qualify: All our clients are offered a free consultation over the phone or in person. Then our team will involve you in the planning discussion which will result in a meet and greet package handover, with each detail documented and agreed on.

#4. FLEXIBILITY
  • Some companies have a one size fits all plan or a few choices. Try to find the company that will match your exact needs with a customizable plan.
  • And while it is a good idea to have a plan of care in place for the client and caregivers for the first two weeks, it is also good to know that plan can be flexible enough to accommodate the “ebbs and flows” of a very fluid care process.

Example – Why North Oakland Caregivers agency might qualify: We are known for offering help in situations where little help could be found via a cookie-cutter approach. We stand by our clients and adapt our care program as their needs change.

#5. RELIABILITY
  • It’s important to understand how reliable the caregiver services are going to be. For example, is the company insured?  Is the client protected in their own home? Are all of the personal belongings protected in the home? Is there a backup plan if a caregiver calls in sick?
  • Finally, when it is all said and done, look for a “team” of people that genuinely care for your loved one, just as your own team of family members does. You can tell when you talk to them.

Example – Why North Oakland Caregivers agency might qualify: From the technical point of view, all our caregivers are screened and our company is fully insured to provide you with peace of mind when it comes to your loved ones. What is equally important is we have a team of people who are fully committed to serving each family as their own.

When you search for a home care agency using this guide, consider giving us a call, too. It would be a pleasure to speak with you regarding your situation and see if we can be the right fit for you.

3 Advantages of Home Care in Times of Pandemic

A caregiver and a senior woman image for the article "Advantages of home care services for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic"We have been living through devastating events brought by the COVID-19 pandemic for a year now. It disrupted the flow of our ordinary lives, but it also taught us valuable lessons. Here we share 3 lessons we learned at North Oakland Caregivers, and they showcased the advantages of our home care services for our clients during the pandemic.

I.  A dedicated caregiver provided required support while limiting the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Having one caregiver in the home to help with the client’s needs combined the best of both worlds – it limited the client’s exposure to potential virus carriers and made sure the client received the help they needed. It goes without saying that all our caregivers were following daily protocol to keep everyone safe.

II. Social interaction with a trusted caregiver helped relieve the pandemic side effects of anxiety and isolation. In an environment of social distancing limited social contact provided a safe haven for our senior and immune-compromised clients.  However, isolation, loneliness, and anxiety were a cause of concern and a potential situation for both physical and mental decline for many of them. Looking forward to their caregiver on a scheduled, weekly basis brought great relief to our clients in those times. It was their time for a much-needed social interaction, an opportunity to distract themselves from grim news in the media and enjoy some smiles and positive energy. Besides the immediate benefits described here, simple social interaction is known to be the most important factor of longevity as we wrote in our blog earlier.

III. Our caregivers helped fill in where family primary caregivers could not manage their pandemic-driven workload of working from home and looking after their children. Families providing care for their elderly family members were all of a sudden finding new demands on their time. Many experienced added responsibilities with children at home with virtual schooling and many were working more hours from home in their professional careers. We received many inquiries for help to relieve the family caregiver because of these increased demands on their time, and our schedulers made sure the transition of care from a family member to our caregivers was done quickly and efficiently. It was the ultimate example of our motto – providing relief and bringing peace of mind to the family that their loved one had someone to take care of them.

These are just three out of many advantages of home care we witnessed during the pandemic.  Let us know how our home care services can help you and your loved ones in similar situations – or in situations different from what we described but still created by the pressures of the pandemic – we’d love to help and we are just a phone call away!