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Costs of Care – The Shocking Reality
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Vida Certified Home Care Agencies work with the Senior Care resources in their communities to help our clients receive the care that best fits their needs. All Valley Home Care in Denver, Colorado supports client independence through education and information provided by Pamela D. Wilson of to enable residents of the Denver area to plan and make informed decisions on a wide range of available services by accessing quality Senior Care.

Pamela Dombrowski-Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG and CSA, Certified Senior Advisor, specializes in working with individuals and families to navigate healthcare and aging issues with a focus on maintaining independence and planning for long term care. Pamela shares her advice on preparing seniors for both today and the future.

Pamela D. Wilson

Costs of care can be shocking for caregivers and those needing care. If you are a caregiver who has had a parent or loved one in the hospital or in a nursing home you may have experienced shock when the community told you that your loved one was ready to go home and you had only several hours to make the transition. Today, limited stays for medical conditions are becoming more and more common. Insurance companies want patients released as soon as there is no longer a medical need requiring treatment. Time frames for treatment are often short; catching caregivers off guard with no plan as to how to care for a parent or spouse.

Many caregivers feel ill equipped to care for a loved one who may need constant supervision after a hospitalization or nursing home stay especially if they have their own families and are employed full time. In other situations, caregivers are clueless about care needs and options.

Costs of Care – The Shocking Reality

Caregivers and those needing care are outraged to learn that health insurance and Medicare do not pay for ongoing support of daily activities. Shock of the cost for in home caregivers, retirement communities and nursing communities result in feelings of helplessness and guilt for many caregivers as they realize options for the care of a loved one are limited to their degree of personal or financial resourcefulness. Care costs of $25 per hour or $3-7,000 a month are beyond what many caregivers would ever guess to be basic rates to receive care.

Situations of overwhelm or unpreparedness become more common as caregivers realize only too late that they or their parent needing care didn’t plan financially for retirement or the costs of health care. When situations arise that require decisions to be made in a short time frame and when money related to cost of care is an issue, caregivers have no idea how to frame decision making. Making a list of pros and cons relative to a situation we’re familiar with seems easy compared to a situation, like health care or care needs, of which many caregivers lack understanding of the system, available options and even what questions to ask.

If you are a caregiver pressured to make an immediate decision or if you realize the importance of planning to avoid crises decision making, it’s best to identify an expert or an advocate able to explain the care system and the costs and options for care and long term planning. Needing care or becoming a caregiver is stressful and overwhelming.

Becoming a more educated caregiver and making a short and long term plan for care will help relieve feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The costs you will invest in becoming more educated or in working with an advocate who is familiar with the system will save you time, frustration, overwhelm and the possibility of reversing an uninformed or rushed decision. Caregiving situations often arrive unexpectedly and result in life changes that were rarely, if ever, anticipated forcing us to change lifestyles and make difficult choices. When the decision involves your life or the life of a loved one it’s important to know and consider all the options.

Visit The Care Navigator for information about caregiving, short videos on a variety of topics including care options and planning for care. For educational topics on caregiving and video education visit The Caring Generation.

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Declaring a Parent Incompetent and Finding Resources for Dementia Care
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Trent Rushton, Administrator of Advanced Home Care in Boise Idaho answers a Senior Q & A about having a parent declared incompetent and finding resources for dementia care…

*The following content is being provided for your information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
My Mother has suddenly had dementia issues and hasn’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as of yet. We can’t get access to her finances unless she is declared incompetent. We live six hours away and we have a home care agency at the home watching over her but her funds are nearly gone. It is possible they will run out before we can get her declared incompetent – Are there any other resources that can help us?

Your mother’s physician would have to be the one to have her declared incompetent. You can either talk to her doctor or send the doctor a letter voicing your concern for your mother’s well being. The doctor can have her take a cognitive exam. If she fails the cognitive exam then you can push for a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). If your mother is a threat to herself then you can call your local Adult Protection Agency and have them help you with the legality of having your mother declared incompetent. Many times if the county is involved they can help with guardianship. If you are looking for other financial help or resources to pay for her care there maybe county or state grants available. Medicaid is also a possibility; if your mother ends up spending all of financial resources on care she can apply for Medicaid. Each state medicaid has different financial guide lines for medicaid eligibility and what care are covered.

If you would like assistance or more information you can always Chat Live with Senior Care Advisor, call us at 1.866.775.0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form.



Caring for an Elderly Parent
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Caring for an elderly parent is one of the most stressful experiences many Americans will face during their lifetime. According to a 2008 USA Today Gallop Poll over 41% of baby boomers are caring for their parents in some capacity.

Options and Support for Family Caregivers

Every day I provide live chat support to family members who are just discovering “mom and dad need help”. Many of them don’t know where to begin…

Tips for assessing the elder care situation.

  • What is the home environment like? Are there cleanliness issues or physical dangers and fall hazards?
  • If you are a long distance caregiver, have a near by relative or close friend do a check up.
  • Call a home care agency. A good home care agency will come out and assess the situation and make recommendations at no charge.
  • Find out your loved one’s health situation by talking to their personal physician or primary care provider.
  • Get any needed legal paperwork in order, including an advanced directive and a durable power of attorney.
  • Find out what resources your loved one may qualify for to pay for senior care  including Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Aid and Attendance, & Long Term Care Insurance.

If you would like assistance or more information you can always Chat Live with Senior Care Advisor, call us at 1.866.775.0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form.



Senior Advice Chat
Posted by: is proud to introduce our free live senior care chat. We have highly trained senior care advisors standing by to chat with our website visitors about any senior care issues them may have.

Senior Care Advice Services

Our senior care advisors can help you…

There is no limit to what our advisors are willing to do to help you find the information and answers you need. Just click the chat with a senior care advisor tab below and you will be immediately connected!



All Valley Home Care
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All Valley Home Care provides senior home care services throughout the western United States and Michigan.

As a VIDA Certified Home Care agency All Valley is held to a strict set of standards including:

  • Having someone on call 24 hours a day
  • Being licensed, bonded and insured
  • Conducting a thorough background screening of all employees
  • Providing care giver training and insuring employees are certified in CPR and first aid
  • Always personally introducing caregivers to the family
  • Providing periodic onsite supervisory visits and weekly “Care Calls” to all clients

All Valley Home Care Agencies are committed to customer service.

Customer Service Commitments

  • Providing the right resources for payment options
  • Coordinating community resources free of charge
  • Providing compassionate caregivers
  • Continuous care coordination through effective oversight and communication
  • Immediate face to face care assessments

Call All Valley today at 877-602-3191 and they will match you with a care giver who will provide your loved one the home care services they deserve.



Senior Care Q & A
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Caring for a loved one can be a very difficult process filled with many decisions and questions. We would like to help you with your senior care questions and concerns. Just leave your questions in the comment section of this post and we will work to get you the answer you need. Your participation in the Q & A will help you and other senior caregivers in the community.



Choosing an In-Home Caregiver
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Crystal Alexander, Human Resources Director for Absolute Home Care in Idaho Falls, Idaho shares some helpful information to help family members choose a caregiver for their loved one. Her advice applies to both independent caregivers and caregivers hired though a home care agency.

Caregivers with Integrity

When choosing a caregiver it is important to look for someone you really feel is trustworthy; someone who will tell you when they make a mistake or when anything goes wrong. Ask the caregiver directly how they will handle specific scenarios when things do go awry. Finally, you want someone you can trust to tell you what is really going on with your loved one in your absence.

Genuine Concern for your Loved One

Sincerely caring about the comfort and well being of others is a pre-requisite to ensuring the caregiver will be a good match for your loved one. Look for a caregiver who shows genuine interest and concern, by both asking questions about the your loved one and listening to the information you provide.

Perceptive and Intuitive, with Appropriate Boundaries

Just because you are not hiring a nurse does not mean your caregiver won’t need to detect subtle changes in your loved one’s condition. A quality caregiver will be attentive to these changes and will seek to have them addressed. At the same time they also need to know when to show restraint, for example to redirect a senior who is becoming anxious or preoccupied towards a more positive activity.

Health and Safety

Your caregiver should be current in their CPR certification. They should understand basic hygiene and infection control procedures. Ask what types of continuing education activities the caregiver engages in. Is the caregiver able to provide you with a current negative Tuberculosis screen, or doctor’s statement that they are currently clear of this disease?

Does/Is the caregiver:

  • Dress neatly and appropriately?
  • Wear sensible footwear?
  • Keep their fingernails trimmed short? (to avoid nicking a clients sensitive skin).
  • Free of strong perfumes?
  • Ask about safety equipment and protocol in the home?
  • Inquire about where the emergency phone numbers are kept?

A quality provider is first and foremost concerned with their client’s safety, and will ask questions to ensure they have necessary information to keep their client safe.

Sense of Humor and Positive Outlook

A caregiver who has a sense of humor and positive outlook on life is going to be uplifting to be around, and better able to handle stress. Caregivers develop close relationships with clients, so a caregiver who focusses on the positive will have a positive influence on your loved one’s well being. Look for a candidate who does not talk about their personal problems.

Caregiver Support Structure and Self-Care

Caregiving can be stressful. It is important that your caregiver have a support system of his or her own. Things to know in advance are whether the caregiver has supportive ties to the community, be it family, friends, church, school, or other involvement. You also want to look for indications that your caregiver takes good care of their personal well being. Are they well groomed? Organized? Do they seem stressed, late, or hurried?
A caregiver who is not meeting their own needs is going to be hard pressed to provide quality care to others.

Caregiver Background Screen

Your caregiver should be able to provide you with an employment history which includes current contact information for current and past employers, and you should contact each and every one. Gaps in employment should have a logical explanation.

Sometimes an employer is precluded from giving you anything more than a confirmation of dates worked, however if you explain to the employer that the applicant will be working in the home with an elderly or disabled client and you need to know if they would be considered safe you will get them to open up a bit and give you more information.

Obtaining a thorough FBI background check can provide you with critical information about a caregiver. Supplement this with a search of your state’s court repository as well as a department of motor vehicles driving record. Don’t forget to include other states the caregiver has resided in.

Remember, criminal records only reflect activity that was detected by law enforcement, so trust your instincts even in the absence of a criminal history!

Just as important as the contents of a caregivers criminal history is their truthful disclosure of anything you might find. Try to get ahold of the criminal record clearance from your local department of health and welfare; compare this to their job application. Check to see if any crimes are listed on the clearance letter and whether the caregiver disclosed those crimes at the time of their application for fingerprinting.

Be sensitive to the embarrassing nature of past criminal conduct, and allow the caregiver the opportunity to disclose any such information by asking directly about any history, what they learned from it, and how they changed as a result. Being able to learn from past mistakes is a valuable trait.

Hiring a caregiver is not the time to be shy or polite. Be prepared to ask the difficult questions. You have a right to know the answers!

If you would like assistance or more information you can always call us at 1.866.775.0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form. Get Help Now!



Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension
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Anna Graefon, Client Care Manager for All Valley Senior Home Care in Escondido, California revisits a past post on the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension program.

The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Improved Pension program helps veterans and their spouses by giving them a monthly benefit to assist with their activities of daily living (ADLs) when the regular assistance of another person is required. More and more the elderly are seeking senior home care services but they can not afford the cost of being taken care of in the comfort of their own home. This benefit has been around for the past 58 years and is an entitlement to veterans and their surviving spouses.

Qualifying for Veteran’s Home Care Benefits

  • Is not dependent upon service-related injuries.
  • Calculate the veteran’s and/or surviving spouse’s assets (make sure not include value of their primary residence & vehicle). This will give you an estimate of total liquidatable assets. Then estimate the annual income of the veteran and/or surviving spouse. This will give an estimate for total income (If married include spousal income). Then, list all unreimbursed, recurring health care expenses. Last, subtract your total annual health care expenses from your total annual income and write the amount. This is your countable income.
  • Veteran: A veteran alone must have countable income less than: $19,736 per year. 
A veteran with a spouse must have countable income less than: $23,396 per year.
  • Surviving Spouse: A spouse alone must have countable income less than: $12,681 per year. A spouse with a dependent must have countable income less than: $15,128 per year.
  • Discharged under “General under Honorable” or “Honorable”.
  • Served at least one day during the following periods and had 90 days of continuous military service:
    • World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
    • Korean War: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
    • Vietnam War: August 5, 1964
      (February 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975
    • Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law of Presidential Proclamation

Maximum Annual Aid and Attendance Pension Rate

  • Veteran: $19728 annually, $1644 monthly
  • Surviving Spouse: $12,660 annually, $monthly
  • Veteran Married to Another Veteran: $30960 annually, $2580 monthly
  • *These rates increase annually

If you would like assistance or more information you can always call us at 1.866.775.0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form. Get Help Now!



Senior Home Care Services
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Many people are confused about what senior home care services are and whether they are covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Senior home care is also often times confused with home health care & nursing.

What are Senior Home Care Services

Senior home care services are non-medical care services provided in the home by Home Care Agencies. These services can be covered by medicaid if certain eligibility criteria are met, but are generally not covered by medicare. Senior home care services are provided on 2 to 24 hour basis.

Senior Home Care Services Include:

  • Respite care (family relief)
  • Homemaker services
  • Companionship
  • Fall prevention
  • Medication reminders
  • Incontinence care
  • Bathing & grooming

If you would like assistance or more information you can always call us at 1-866-775-0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form. Get Help Now!



When Elderly Parents Refuse Help
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Therea Phillips, Client Care Manager for All Valley Senior Home Care in Walnut Creek, California shares some tips about what to do when an adult child caregiver’s elderly parents refuse outside help.

As our parents age we walk a fine line between making sure that they are taken care of and taking away their independence. All of a sudden children are now in the position of protecting their parents. They find themselves in a position of ensuring their parents environment is safe but also respecting their choices and decisions that they are still able to make. Unfortunately, if their parents are no longer able to make these important decisions it then can become a war of wills with elderly parents making their children feel guilty.

Understanding Why Parents Refuse Assistance

What has to be understood is some of the reasons why an elderly parent may act out and refuse assistance. It could be behind loss; The loss of a spouse or other family members, the loss of their independence, or it could be the loss of their youth and of feeling healthy and happy. Some of the defiance of accepting help could just be plain anger. The human nature of wanting and needing to blame someone else when things are going bad. It could also be the realization that they are sick and just can’t do the things they used to be able to.

The dynamics of a family of an elderly parent could have been years in the making. Sometimes guilt is a part of the family make up before the situation occurred that caused the need for help. When children and even non-family members become caregivers of elderly loved ones, they have to understand how that elderly person is feeling.

Many elderly women where brought up an era where they married, had having children and lived her whole life taking care of her home, her children and her husband. She has been brought up in an era where that is what the woman did and no one did that for her. Now to bring a stranger in to take care of her, her home and even sometimes to take care of her husband it is seen as a threat.

Many elderly men have been brought up in an era where men were men. He was strong and independent. He was the bread winner, he took care of his family and made sure his family was safe. Now, there is someone coming into his home taking that away from him. He can feel in his own body that he doesn’t have the strength to take care of his family anymore and he can’t keep them safe, which can be very disheartening for him.

Approaching Your Elderly Parent

Every family is different but for the most part a lot of families were structured in this way when current generation of elderly people where younger. Unfortunately, sometimes just like their elderly parents had to do with them, adult children may have to put their foot down for the best interest and safety of their parents.

Approaching a loved one about needing help can be very uncomfortable to say the least. Here are some tips that can make the conversation go smoothly:

  • Have a meeting with siblings if there are any. Discuss what the outcome of the meeting will be. If the concerns are not urgent, then it is okay to say that; likewise, if the concerns are urgent it needs to be stated.
  • When speaking to aging parents it is best to focus on what they can still do, not what they can’t do.
  • Encourage your parents to continue doing what they can do, and to accept help with tasks they cannot do.
  • Timing of the conversation is crucial. Do not wait until there is a crisis to have the discussions. Trying to force a decision immediately seldom works. It is best to put a deadline on the calendar to come back and re-visit the discussion allowing time to process the information.
  • All family members need to be in “the same mind” for this discussion. If other family members are not in agreement, these members will work to undermine the efforts of others. To bring everyone to a single mindedness, family members can meet beforehand to discuss their feelings. If need be, third party can mediate this meeting to keep emotions in check.

Starting Senior Home Care Services

When you start senior home care services you will be bringing in a non-family caregiver; It is important to understand that if your parent acts up with the family member they may not necessarily act up with a non family caregiver. Also understand that in order to make the elderly parents environment safe and to make sure that you can take care of yourself an outside home care agency is sometimes needed and you should not feel guilty seeking their assistance.

The most important thing you can do is to be patient and understand that there has been a change in your love one’s life; Whether it is a loss of memory or having a life changing diagnosis. Look for senior home care agencies that help you understand your role as caregiver to your elderly parent or family member. Get help to learn to take care of yourself.

If you would like assistance or more information you can always call us at 1.866.775.0028, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online form. Get Help Now!