Archive for the ‘Benefits of Home Care Delray Beach’ Category

Protect Yourself From Legal Liabilities When Hiring Boca Raton Home Health Caregivers

by: John Aker | September 25th, 2017

Boca Raton Home Health CaregiversAker Kasten Home Health Care of Boca Raton has joined forces with a national movement to educate the public on risks—including legal liabilities—associated with employing a caregiver versus hiring an agency that provides caregivers.

The Health Care Financing Administration estimates more than 7.6 million Americans require in-home care due to acute illness, long-term health conditions, permanent disability, or terminal illness. Yet despite the large number of people requiring care at home, the private duty home care industry remains mostly unregulated and the quality of care between providers can vary greatly. Often people do not realize that by employing a caregiver through a Florida registry, clients become responsible for taxes and worker’s compensation.

Choices in Home Care

  1. Registries, also known as referral services or nursing registries, match independent contractors to clients and patients. These workers are not employed by the registry as employees; instead the registry serves as a middle man to match independent workers to clients seeking home care.
  2. Private duty agencies, like Aker Kasten Home Health Care, provide caregivers who are employed, bonded, insured and licensed. Such agencies do the accounting/bookwork, background checks, provide training, supervision and discipline, carry insurance, and ensure shifts are covered.

 

Quality Care versus Cost

At first glance, the hourly rate for a registry caregiver might seem substantially lower than an agency employed caregiver, but does not include the additional client expenses of worker’s compensation and taxes. An agency’s hourly fee does include the required taxes and worker’s compensation payments because the agency fully employs its caregivers.

Important questions to ask when hiring a caregiver:

  • How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?
  • Is there a care professional who works with the client and family to develop an individualized plan of care?
  • How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?
  • How often are caregiver services monitored?
  • Does the agency employ a full time nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?
  • Who employs the caregiver?
  • How does the agency screen and select caregivers prior to an assignment?
  • Are references checked and are criminal background, driver’s licenses and drug screens conducted on all employees?
  • Does the agency manage all payroll and employee related matters and adhere to state and federal guidelines in their employment practices, such as: withholding appropriate taxes, providing worker’s compensation, and other benefits?
  • Do they also use independent contractors? If so, who employs the person and pays the mandated taxes and withholdings in this case?

If an independent home care provider is hired, the person who hired him or her becomes the legal employer—taking on payroll, tax liabilities, and worker-related injuries. Many consumers are caught unaware of these employer-related obligations and find themselves paying back-taxes and penalties.

An educated public will understand the differences between registries and agencies and realize the legal liabilities associated with employing a caregiver. Interested in learning more about our home health care services in Boca Raton and the surrounding areas? Contact us today!

Tips to Cope with Caregiving & Senior Diabetes

by: John Aker | June 27th, 2017

Senior DiabetesSenior diabetes is known to raise the risk of a number of major health problems, including heart disease and kidney failure. More recently, studies have also linked diabetes to speedier mental decline and dementia in seniors.

Age is one of the most significant factors in the risk for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association found that 23.1% of seniors over the age of 60 have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that can be positively affected by caregiving, so an understanding of the risks, treatments and even prevention are essential in protecting your loved one.

Diabetes in seniors can manifest itself differently than what you might traditionally associate with the disease in younger people. For instance, one of the scariest side effects of diabetes in seniors is heart disease. Others can include kidney failure, eye complications such as blindness or glaucoma, foot and skin complications, deterioration of mental health, high blood pressure, arterial disease & stroke.

Living with senior diabetes is really a question of making good life management choices and as a caregiver, you can strongly influence many of those lifestyle choices. Learning what works best is much of the battle against diabetes. Aker Kasten Home Health Care recommends the following:

  • Food Choices are #1 – First and foremost, the most important part of managing diabetes is diet. Caregivers are most likely responsible for shopping or meals, so understanding what foods are good for diabetes and what foods should be avoided can make all the difference. High-carbohydrate foods, such as breads, pastas, potatoes, chips, candy and desserts are foods that will increase blood sugar levels. Keeping track of blood sugar is crucial – higher blood sugar can lead to stroke and heart attack.
  • Get Moving – Exercise is the second most important step to controlling diabetes. Depending on the senior’s ability, any type of exercise is helpful. Running, walking, tennis, golf, gardening – even yoga – provide wonderful benefits for the heart, muscles and mental health. Make sure to check with the doctor prior to beginning any new exercise program. Find out what the senior enjoys and try and incorporate that into a daily routine.
  • Be Aware – The third tip in managing diabetes in seniors is to regularly check for signs of complications. Be aware that seniors don’t always express difficulties or symptoms. If dementia is in play or even a little bit of denial, you won’t necessarily hear complaints. As a caregiver of a senior with diabetes, keeping your eyes and ears open is key.

Make sure to check the senior’s feet for infection, as neuropathy is a frequent problem with diabetics and loss of feeling can be common, causing unreported open sores or lack of circulation. Also be sure to check skin frequently for signs of fungus, infection and even boils. Finally, it is important to medically monitor with blood sugar tests and journals, and ensure that the senior has enough tests and supplies.

Diabetes does not have to be scary for a senior and definitely not for family caregivers. For more tips or information, please contact the home health care experts in Boca Raton, Aker Kasten Home Health Care at 561.955.6010.

Caregiver Stress Affecting Productivity & Profitability in Boca Raton Businesses

by: John Aker | June 26th, 2016

 

Boca Raton BusinessesBoca Raton companies are always concerned about the well-being of their employees. Many offer wellness coaches, gym facilities, stress management tactics and more. However, there is a silent undercurrent of stress for many employees that companies are likely unaware of that could be affecting performance and ultimately, the bottom line.

This silent stressor centers around the “sandwiched” employees: those that have their own nuclear family to care for and are also now in charge of an aging relative. Currently over 1 out of 4 households is involved in providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. Just over half of all caregivers for persons aged 50 and over are employed full-time, while simultaneously providing 20 hours or more of care per week.

Employed caregivers are more likely to miss work or come in late/leave early, experience a loss in productivity, take unpaid leave of absences or use personal or sick days to provide care, and are two to three times more likely to develop depression. All of these factors cut into morale and productivity in the workplace.

By recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress in an employee who is also caregiving for a senior or disabled person, steps can be taken to assist through a respite care benefits program or home care referral.

 

Why It Matters

According to MetLife, family members needing to care for loved ones 50 years or older cost American businesses as much as $29 billion each year. Another national study reported that companies without eldercare benefits stand to lose $2,500 a year per caregiving employee. Some evidence shows that:

  • Each caregiver loses on average 166 hours of productivity due to absenteeism and interruptions.
  • 20% of the caregiving employees will quit their jobs to provide care full-time.

The financial impact of all these factors combines to staggering dollar amounts. For example, a Boca Raton area company that employs 500 people loses over $1.8 million each year to unmanaged eldercare – equal to about 15% of their salary budget. Bottom line, family caregivers need help, and more and more companies are looking to provide it.

 

Employer ROI

For any Boca Raton company to create a new program, there needs to be a business case for it. Will helping employees stressed with caregiving benefit the company? The answer is yes. The most valuable return on investment for an eldercare program is employee retention. The time, money and valuable expertise that are lost when employees leave is far more costly. Benefits typically offered include:

  • Work time flexibility
  • Financial assistance
  • Phone- or Internet-based resources and referrals
  • Face-to-face consulting
  • Educational activities like on-site seminars and health fair kiosks

 

Web Resources for Family Caregivers in the Workplace:

Aker Kasten Home Health Care works with many Boca Raton area companies to assist in advising family caregivers. We have compiled the following list of resources for employers to begin the process of learning about the benefits of eldercare programs or referrals.

With the graying of the Boomer generation, these trends pose an urgent need for Boca Raton businesses to plan for the needs of their working family caregivers. A strong support network is always going to be the greatest protection against stress. Through an eldercare benefits or referral program, businesses can help alleviate some of the responsibilities and pressures of family caregiving.

For further information about our eldercare resources and respite care programs, please contact us today!

Pearls of Wisdom

by: John Aker | January 7th, 2014

As we move into 2014, many of us reflect on the years past and make resolutions for the New Year.  While this reflection and planning is worthwhile, some of us tend to expect too much of ourselves–and others.  And sometimes we complicate our daily lives by not focusing on what truly matters.

Take a deep breath and click on the link below.  We think you will enjoy this brief video of seniors sharing wise words which might help you keep things in perspective:

Pearls of Wisdom

Happy 2014!

All of us at Aker Kasten Home Health Care wish you a year filled with good health and great happiness.

If there is any way we can help you remain independent in your own home and enjoy improved quality of life–call us at 561-955-6010!  We are here for you!

 

5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure & Sodium Intake

by: John Aker | March 28th, 2012

Do you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or a concern about your weight? If so, your physician may have encouraged you to modify your diet to improve your cholesterol, blood pressure or weight.

It may seem overwhelming at times when you feel need to make a lot of changes in your eating plan to make a difference in your cholesterol, blood pressure or weight. The good news is you can make simple, small changes with both your food choices and how you prepare your foods in order to positively impact your health.

In the coming weeks, we will explore other simple steps you can take to cut back on fat and calories and wyas to eat more high-fiber and whole-grain foods–all important steps toward a healthier diet. First, let’s look at 5 ways to lower your blood pressure and sodium intake because if you are concerned about your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is important.

  1. Season foods with black pepper, herbs and spices instead of salt. There are plenty of herbs and spices to add zest to your food–you will probably never miss the salt! Low- or No-Sodium salt substitutes are available, but check with your physician before using them if you have kidney problems.
  2. Buy fresh, plain frozen or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
  3. Use fresh poultry, fish, and meat instead of canned or processed meats. If you use prepackaged lunchmeat, be sure to purchase only low or no-sodium varieties. And beware: pre-seasoned items from your grocery store’s deli or meat counter may save you a minute in your kitchen, but could be loaded with sodium.
  4. Cook pasta, rice, and hot cereal without salt. Flavored pasta, rice mixes and instant hot cereal usually have added salt. Preparing pasta with a squirt of lemon or lime and steam rice with no-sodium chicken broth can add great flavor so you aren’t tempted to add salt at the table…
  5. Rinse canned foods, such as tuna and beans, before eating or adding to other foods to reduce the sodium content.

If someone else prepares your meals and snacks, as many of our home health specialists do, be sure to tell them if you are concerned about sodium intake so they can help avoided added salt in your diet.

For more information about obtaining help with meal preparation, go to our Contact page and let us know. We will be happy to help!

Increase in Veterans Administration Aid & Attendance Benefit

by: John Aker | January 25th, 2012

Good news! The Veterans Administration has increased the pension benefit for Aid & Attendance benefit in 2012. Those eligible can get up to $24,239 per year towards home health care services.

Contact our Business Coordinator, Laurel at LRagaller@akhomehealth.com if you would like more information on this resource available to veterans!