New Year’s Resolutions and Senior Home Care

Senior Home Care with North Oakland Caregivers - smiling senior mother and daughterJanuary traditionally triggers us to think about New Year’s resolutions. It just seems easier to create a new habit, make a big change for the better, and reinvent yourself at the beginning of a new year! Many people use the first months of the year to start something significant that will make a lasting impact on their lives. But this may also be the right time to make a lasting impact on the life of your senior family member, too. For example, taking a step towards planning for the future of your older mom or dad who may need assistance in their daily activities. The idea may feel daunting at the beginning but we are here to help. Today we share tips that come from years of our senior home care experience.

We know some seniors may not be immediately open to the idea of having a caregiver coming into their home to help them.  A perceived fear of loss of independence or temporary anxiety of having a “stranger” in the house might overshadow great long-term benefits.  Seniors can respond with resistance in many different ways. Frankly, family members might have their own concerns about how this new arrangement might work.

We understand. Every change requires an adjustment. Our experience has shown that slowly easing into this new “caregiver” scenario is often all it takes to relieve the concerns of starting a home care routine for your senior loved one.  Maybe having a caregiver come into their home once or twice a week just to give them an idea of what it’s all about might help alleviate their anxiety.  Or, maybe, one 8-hour day a week will do the trick. Maybe 4 hours a day, 2-3 days a week will help set a comfort level!  The key is starting small and adjusting to what the future needs will be.

Having a senior home care provider that is flexible enough to allow time to find the perfect routine for your senior loved one is a great solution.  North Oakland Caregivers at Clarkston, MI, has been doing it for 30+ years. We are waiting for your call. Are you ready to make the first step towards the New Year’s resolution that will make a lasting impact on the future of your family?

Caregiving Makes a Difference

Family celebrating holidaysIn our busy days throughout the year, it is very easy to forget or to let time pass by, without appreciating all the things that made your life a little better that put a smile on your face.  The holiday season traditionally helps us pause, observe and reflect. So, we thought it was a perfect occasion to share how caregiving touches lives – small acts of kindness bringing a big impact.

Our clients often give our caregivers the highest praise in their reviews. However, the little note below was different. It was sent directly to a caregiver from one of our clients showing her appreciation. We publish it with their permission:

“Hi, Vickie.  Hope all is well.  Sorry, it took so long to get back with you but “life” has been quite busy after my mom’s passing. (My brother and cousin were diagnosed with terminal cancer & uncle with dementia).   I can not thank you enough for sharing in my mom’s transition. You are truly a blessing to your patients.  I have been thinking about going into caregiving (for my family members) but not sure if I am able to handle such a delicate profession.  You are amazing for what you do.“

We wholeheartedly agree – our caregivers are amazing at making difficult times easy, turning fear and stress into human connection, and making this world better overall.

Sending warm wishes this Holiday Season!

How to Choose the Right Home Care

Senior couple making home care choicesChoosing a home care company for your loved ones can be stressful. How to find the “right” people? Who to turn to for a recommendation?

There might be many approaches to the search but we recently came across the one we really liked, and we decided to share it with you.

It all started with one of us looking for a provider from a completely different industry for their personal needs.  They come across an expert rating of such providers in their location, and the system of rating made a lot of sense to them. It was simple, factual, and credible because anyone could use the same criteria and arrive at the same results.

They used only two main criteria – Reputation and Experience because both of them can be easily researched by anyone. Reputation is based on customer reviews – many delighted customers and outstanding service lead to 5-star ratings. And the more people shaped that rating, the more reliable it is. Experience identifies masters of their trade based on years of being in business. After all, if you stay around for a long time, you must be doing something right!

You can apply this approach to any of your searches for the right provider. But, of course, our first thought was to check how it applies to the North Oakland Caregivers. And we passed this test with flying colors!

1. REPUTATION – 5-STAR REVIEWS
    • We are proud to have 5-star reviews on Google, Facebook, and our website. We consider this our best recommendation as the words of appreciation are coming directly from our clients’ experience.
    • These outstanding reviews are testimony to our human touch that comes from our hearts, not our duties. We know all our clients personally, we call them to just ask how they are doing, and we stop by when we can. We like it when it feels like a family.
2. EXPERIENCE – 30 YEARS IN BUSINESS
    • 30 years of home care experience means we have withstood the test of time and are not going anywhere
    • It also means we have gathered great expertise in the field of home care and in the understanding of what seniors and their families look for

So, there you have it. Now you’ve got an approach to assess any provider you are considering hiring, and in case you are looking for a caregiving company, you might want to include North Oakland Caregivers in your shortlist since we pass the test by the above criteria and more. So, we hope you give us a call, and we could discuss your family’s specific needs, and how we can help and be the “right” home care provider for your loved ones.

Can A Robot Help Seniors Living Alone?

ElliQ Robot For Seniors“Oh my GOSH, I am in LOVE. ElliQ is my new best friend.” Reading these words, would you know that the best friend is a robot?

We read an article in The Verge that New York State bought 800 ElliQ robots to address loneliness in older adults. What a wonderful act of care for our seniors who get forgotten by society too often! We wanted to know how a robot can help, and this is what we learned.

IT HELPS WITH SENIORS’ WELL-BEING:

ElliQ, the robot, is described by its manufacturer as ¨the first-ever proactive, voice-operated care companion designed to empower independence and support you in taking control of your social, mental, and physical well-being¨. We loved the focus on independence right away – from our experience, an inability to live independently is a sure signal for the family to start looking for different living arrangements for their seniors. So, if it can be improved, it’s a very strong benefit of getting a robot!

From many testimonials on its manufacturer’s website, we could see how ElliQ can empower independence. Some people say “she” encourages them to exercise when instead they would have spent an evening sedentary. Others feel less lonely and stressed, feeling like there is a companion present in the house.

BUT NOTHING CAN REPLACE THE HUMAN TOUCH:

It looks like ElliQ might be a great solution for some people to address such important issues as elements of mental and physical wellness. However, The Verge mentions that using robots in elderly care could be controversial, too: “Critics warn that machines have the potential to dehumanize their users, and their deployment reflects the low value society places on older adults.” We think we know where it’s coming from. For example, a senior we know did not like the idea that much stating that “It would make me feel like nothing”.

Another issue is that a senior needs to be digitally literate to be able to use a robot. And some also have concerns that it might be another gate to digital vulnerability and a possibility to get “hacked”.

Maybe the most important consideration is the lack of human touch. It’s important for a senior to get some physical help from their caregiver when needed. It’s even more important to simply get hugs or other expressions of encouragement and care. For example, our caregiver V. would “dance” with her senior by holding and lifting her arms to some happy music, and they both loved those moments.

So, we conclude that having a robot helping seniors might be a great solution in situations where humans are not available. However, nothing can replace human companionship and care, the authenticity of the human bonds, and the warmth of the human touch. We feel honored as we help our seniors to have all that and more, according to our clients’ reviews. Often the emotional connection between a senior and a caregiver turns into a genuine friendship. And it’s a wonderful thing.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day - a picture of Lance's dadWe say Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and father figures who helped, inspired and loved us.

We share personal memories of Lance, our President, about his Dad on this occasion.

“…My dad ALWAYS made time for me.  He was a surgeon that had office hours during the day and picked up more shifts at night in the emergency room almost every night.  He slept for what seemed like 4 hours a night.  But he ALWAYS found ways to be there.  I had a baseball game one day, and there he was, in a suit, catching baseballs as I warmed up to pitch in my Little League baseball game.  Or during a snowstorm, our school bus could barely make it to the other high school, let alone any students or fans.  But there he was, in his suit, straight from work, sitting up in the stands by himself, in the middle of an empty gym, eating his bag of popcorn and waiting for the game to begin.”

“…My dad ALWAYS put others first before himself. After he passed away, way too young, at age 58, I heard story after story on how he gave people hope and made them feel so good. I came across a race horse trainer out in the country.  One day he told me “Your dad said the greatest thing to me one time that made me feel 10 feet tall.”  And when I asked what in the world my Dad said to him, he replied: “Well, I told him, you open people up and operate on them and in many cases bring them back to life.  What does it feel like to be able to give them years of life by your hand?  Your dad looked at me and said, “Actually, I always wanted to be a horse trainer all my life. That made me feel 10 feet tall. No one ever said anything like that to me in my life.”‘

“…My dad ALWAYS made time for others and ALWAYS made them feel good about themselves.  He put others ahead of himself ALWAYS. And he was ALWAYS the greatest dad a son could ever hope for.  I miss him. I think of him often 36 years later.”

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.”

North Oakland Caregivers Celebrates 30 Years

North Oakland Caregivers in Clarkston and Bloomfield Hills Celebrates 30 Years

“We started this business for all the right reasons. And here we are 30 years later still helping people.”– Lance Baylis, President

North Oakland Caregivers Team

North Oakland Caregivers, Inc

After being in the Medicare certified home health care business for 10 years, we decided there were too many people that still needed help in their home after their certified care had come to a halt.  That’s when we opened North Oakland Caregivers, Inc. in 1992.  And here we are 30 years later with the desire, dedication, commitment, warmth, kindness, compassion, expertise and EXPERIENCE to provide care to so many people in the Oakland County area.  We’ve helped people in Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Rochester, Lake Orion, Oxford, Clarkston, Waterford, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Goodrich, Ortonville, Farmington, Franklin Village, Troy, Oakland Township, Auburn Hills, West Bloomfield, Pleasant Ridge, Holly, Walled Lake, Madison Heights, Sylvan Lake and EVERYWHERE in between.  AND we are still doing it with our heart and soul, and a smile that all our clients have come to expect.

30 Years of giving you peace of mind while we take care of your family.

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.