8 Qualities To Look for When Selecting a Home Health Care Agency

Before you hire a home care agency or caregiver, be sure to look at these 8 points. Click to play to video or read the points below.

  1. Make sure they provide all services needed
    Some home care services may provide a simple companion service such as watching over your senior and providing general assistance. But at times, it may be important to get help with other tasks such as bathing, grooming & dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, companionship and 24 hour care.

    • At Family Bridges, we provide all of these services and much more.
  2. Make sure they perform background checks and screen their caregivers
    • Since you will be hiring caregivers to care for your elder in their home, you will want to make sure they are a trusted and loyal individual. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure they had a background check and were screened properly.
    • Unfortunately, we find that many agencies don’t take this step.
    • We at Family Bridges only hire caregivers that pass fingerprinted background checks, and are qualified in other ways such as training, experience and compassion. Choosing a caregiving agency that handles this eliminates the need of having you review dozens of resumes and pay for background checks on each person. That itself can be a time consuming process.
  3. Ensure your senior will be safe
    • In addition to having a trusted caregiver assisting your senior’s every actions, you will also want to make sure that caregiver is trained to focus on safety.
    • At Family Bridges, every caregiver is trained with best safety practices and our case manager regularly visits current clients in their homes to ensure their needs are being met. Our caregivers will keep you updated on your senior’s current status for a worry-free experience.
  4. Do they allow you to choose the caregiver?
    • Not many agencies do this, but we feel it is important to provide the option for you to interview and pick a caregiver from our team.
    • Although we make it a priority to match the best caregiver with the needs of your senior, you may be the better person to know which personalities your senior will be most comfortable with.
  5. Take note of how much they charge per hour
    • Price is typically charged hourly and it is important to get a great value from home care. A price that is even slightly lower than a competitor will add up to a lot of money saved in the long run.
    • At Family Bridges, we aim to provide the best value. Our hourly costs are typically in the middle price range of local agencies and lower than the national average.
  6. See if they belong to the Better Business Bureau and check their profile for past issues
    • Not all agencies belong to the BBB. But it can be a good sign if they do belong for a little extra peace of mind. Some agencies will display their accreditation on their website and linked to their profile. We encourage everyone to review an agency’s profile for any complaints and to verify the company’s legitimacy.
    • Family Bridges is a BBB accredited agency. If you search the BBB’s website, you will notice it currently rates us as an A+ company with zero complaints.
  7. Make sure they know their industry and belong to similar organizations
    • A company that belongs to a senior care related organization can further confirm they are knowledgeable about providing quality care, they are operating professionally and meeting industry standards.
    • Family Bridges is currently a member of the “Home Care Association of America” and accredited by several government organizations which can be seen on our website.
  8. Read about what others are saying about the company
    • If a friend didn’t refer you to a certain agency, the next best thing is to read reviews and find a company with positive testimonials. You can search review websites such as Google Plus and Yelp.com, among others to see what people are saying.
    • At Family Bridges, we are constantly hearing our clients say great things about our services. In addition to many 5 star ratings listed on various review sites, the third party satisfaction research and quality assurance firm, Home Care Pulse, has praised us with many awards. Family Bridges has earned the “Best of Home Care, Provider of Choice” award in 2011 and all the way up until the time of this video in 2017. That’s 7 years in a row! And we are very proud of that. The Home Care Pulse awards are given to agencies with the best feedback received from independent phone call interviews from past and current clients.
    • Through these interviews, some of our clients have said the following testimonials:
      • Bob T. writes, “Family Bridges staff has bent over backwards to accommodate us. They are outstanding. If they didn’t do what was promised we wouldn’t have them back. That being said, they have done exactly what we have hired them to do. We are very satisfied. I appreciate their caregivers. They are conscientious and overall they are just good at what they do”
      • Jeanette M. states, “I was using a national franchise company before…. Family Bridges offered everything I needed. I chose to go with Family Bridges because they were willing to give me what I wanted. “My caregiver is excellent. She is all I could ask for. We hug each other when she comes and goes. Being a caregiver isn’t just a job for her; she actually cares and wants to help me. She is just perfect.”
      • Cheryl states, “We had tried another agency, and they kept sending different people. Family Bridges has been so great, and they have been sending the same people consistently. It’s worked out very well. The caregivers are very nice, polite and helpful. My father really enjoys having them there for company and companionship. It works out very nicely.”

We hope this was a helpful video as you search for a caregiver. We truly think Family Bridges is one of the best available in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky area.
Please contact us by phone at (888) 900-0048 or by emailing us through our website here.

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Relationships & Training are Important to Family Bridges and the Home Care Industry

Technology is changing the world and it will continue to do so. Family Bridges continues to invest in technology in order to be able to offer the highest quality service and communication.

However, technology can’t be a replacement for hands on, face to face skillful, caring and compassionate service.

Attached is an article expanding on how important relationships and training are to Family Bridges and the home care industry.

https://medium.com/@HCAOA/how-to-disrupt-the-health-care-industry-53b2dfe70132

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Senior Fall Prevention Tips on Floors and Rugs

Fall prevention on carpets and floors

As a senior’s balance, depth perception, muscle strength and sight declines, their probability of falling on a floor or tripping is increased. In this article, we provides some suggestions and referenced some of the tips from the Eldercare Locator’s PDF checklist to help prevent injury from falls.

Floors & rugs Fall Prevention Tips:

  • Inspect any uneven floorboards/tile. Some seniors may drag their feet slightly when walking. If there is any raised surface, it is a good idea to level it.
  • Secure loose rugs with tacks, non-skid pads or double sided tape.
  • Wax the floors with only non-skid floor wax.
  • Place a floor safety mat next to their bed. After a senior gets a night’s sleep, they may be more prone to falling when stepping out of bed. Often times, they are still sleepy and their muscles aren’t engaged enough to go from laying down to standing up. A safety mat will provide added traction and cushion their fall, if that may happen.

Next Step to Safety At Home

Although these tips may help prevent falls, the best solution is for seniors to have assistance around the home and a person to be there if they do fall. If you don’t currently have a caregiver, please give us a call or contact us here.

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Tips to Prevent Elders from Falling on Stairways

Tips to Prevent senior falls

As many elders today are choosing to stay in their homes rather than living in nursing homes and other forms of senior care, it is more important to implement safety practices that may prevent them from falling. Stairs or steps are one of the more dangerous areas around the house to fall in. In this first series, we put together some of our suggestions and other tips discussed in the Eldercare Locator checklist.

Stairway Fall Prevention Tips:

  • Implement handrails on both sides– a second handrail can be purchased at a home improvement store inexpensively and installed easily into your wall with a few tools.
  • Securely tighten any handrails that aren’t sturdy– this can often be done by tightening the screws with a screwdriver.
  • Remove or secure any loose rugs near the top or bottom of the stairway. Double-sided rug tape can be used to secure them in place which will prevent elders from slipping on them or tripping over an edge that comes up.
  • Ensure the stairs are sufficiently illuminated. Since elders often have a reduced eyesight and depth perception, adequate lighting is essential to see the next step.

Suggestions for Seniors with Limited Mobility

If your senior requires a walker and has trouble walking on their own, it may be best to ask them not to use stairs. However, stair lifts can be installed for a more drastic way to prevent falls and ensure mobility at home, but these can cost a few thousand dollars.

If your senior likes to move around the house to check on things such as in the basement and not know their limitations, you might want to install a temporary lock if they don’t necessarily need to go there.

We Can Help!

We hope these tips and suggestions give you some guidance on preventing falls on stairways. Regardless of how much safety precautions have been put into place, it is a good idea for your senior to have assistance around the house. Our caregivers are an essential step to help seniors safely maneuver stairways, steps and other areas around the home.

Contact us here for more information about our home caregiver services in Cincinnati, Dayton & Erlanger. Rest assured, knowing there is always someone watching over them and preventing costly falls.

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Negative Effects of Lonely Seniors and Ways to Keep Them Social & Happy

Lonely Senior citizens

As discussed in the publication, EXPAND YOUR CIRCLES by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, there are many negative health effects of isolation and loneliness as your senior ages.

When seniors live alone and lose touch with their social life, they are more likely to have higher rate of:

  • Chronic health conditions such as heart disease
  • A weakened immune system
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Admission to nursing homes
  • And death

“Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation and Health among Older Adults, Journal of Health and Social Behavior (2009)

Ways to Keep Seniors Social and Happy

If your senior seems to have little social connections, you may want to make suggestions such as:

  • Scheduling a dinner for your senior and an old friend
  • Invite a neighbor over
  • Find an elderly club or support group for them to attend
  • Offer to take them to church
  • Take them to events popular amongst other seniors such as bingo

Even if your senior needs little help at home, Family Bridges’ caregivers in Cincinnati, Dayton and Kentucky can also provide social support. Having a caregiver on-site is one way to prevent isolation and keep them socially engaged. Contact us today at (888) 900-0048 or through our online form to discuss how you would like our caregivers to provide social support.

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Improving Brain Health is Important for Seniors

Brain health for seniorsToday we would like to discuss this helpful brochure, Brain Health You Can Make a Difference! which was developed by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) through ElderCare.gov. As you know, the brain is one of the most important parts of the body to keep healthy.

As seniors age, it becomes apparent that their memory and learning ability may begin to decline. As the brochure discusses, the good news is your senior can improve their brain power by following these tips:

  • Visit the doctor for recommended health screenings
  • Work to improve conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Eat healthy. Make sure the senior in your life is eating healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and is monitoring the consumption of fat, sugar and salt.
  • Discuss if any medications have side effects on their brain health with their doctor
  • Ensure they are having an active social life
  • Stay active and exercise for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. Physical activity is known to:
    • Reduce conditions such as heart disease, depression and stroke
    • Improve brain cell connections
    • Improve balance and coordination to prevent falls
  • Limit or quit drinking alcohol or smoking

Although Family Bridges does not provide health care or advice, these tips from the ACL may be helpful to improve your senior’s brain health. Our Cincinnati based private duty home care services can help assist your senior stick to a healthy lifestyle while working with suggestions from you or their health care professional.

Please call us at (888) 900-0048 or contact us online here.

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Alternative Transportation Options for the Elderly

Elder care transportationMany elders associate driving their vehicle as a sense of freedom and independence, just as it felt when we all got our driver’s license. As our senior parents or grandparents age, their driving skills may decline such as:

  • Worsened night vision at night
  • Slower reaction time
  • Tougher time judging the distance between oncoming cars

If you start noticing your aging family with any of these traits, it may be a good idea to either talk to them about transportation plans in the future or discuss options for them to get to where they need to go every day.

As the Department of Health and Human Services brochure, Before You Give Up the Keys Create a Roadmap for Transportation Independence states, there are these alternative options:

  • Public transit (such as the Metro bus or TANK bus)
  • Specialized transportation or paratransit for the elderly and disabled
  • Volunteer transportation
  • Transportation with assistance
  • Private-pay transportation ( such as taxis, Uber and Lyft)

Transportation is one of the biggest issues seniors face and our in-home senior care service can help. Family Bridges can not only provide care for seniors in the comfort of their home, but we also help provide light transportation if needed such as going to the grocery store or doctor’s appointment.

Contact us today at (888) 900-0048 to discuss how our caregivers can provide senior transportation services in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky.

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4 Tips to Improve Your Elder’s Life in Their Golden Years

How well seniors live the golden years of their life will be determined by how well they take care of themselves at the start and how well we as family take care of them when they need assistance. As the video states, the four things that medical doctors typically recommend are shown below:

  1. Regular physical activity. Seniors are never too old to participate in moderate exercise even if it is a short walk or stroll in a wheelchair. Exercise can reduce the likelihood of falling and fracturing bones in fact maintaining your fitness.
  2. Pay more attention to diet and nutrition. Controlling how much is eaten and the quality of food is extremely important. Before each meal decide the serving size needed and pay more attention to the FDA nutrition facts that are printed on the side of most packaged foods.
  3. Keep the mind active. By constantly learning and stimulating their mind can help them retain a healthy mind.
  4. Focus on improving their strength through light weights can help restore a sense of balance, strengthen the bones and maintain a healthy weight.

Family Bridges is a senior home care service that can work with your family to take care of an elder and focus on the important things in their life. Contact us and request more information.

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Basic Tips for Cooking for the Elderly

In this video, dietitian, Christine Marquette, talks about how to cook for an elderly person since they have unique nutritional needs.

It is important to note the following about elderly people:

  • Have a lower body water mass than a young adult so they are at a higher risk for dehydration.
  • Have a diminished sense of thirst so they may not always be aware that they are not drinking enough fluids. So you really want to push fluids, you want to encourage your elderly friend or relative to drink fluids throughout the day in between meals and when serving meals you want to include items that do have a high fluid content such as soups or stews, lots of fruits and lots of vegetables.
  • Some have special needs such as difficulty chewing or have dentures. In this case, you want to choose meats that are soft like ground meats, fish, or ground chicken. Also try finger foods for those people who may have trouble handling utensils, such as chicken tenders, string cheese, and sandwiches. If this person is still able to use utensils but they just still have a little bit of trouble say with their balance, choose some items that stick very easily to a utensil, things such as mashed potatoes, meatloaf, anything that is a very thick item and again make sure that you are really encouraging this person to drink fluids in between their meals.
  • Some have a lack of appetite or getting full very quickly so often it is best to have fluid in between meals, not exactly with the meal because they may get full on their beverage and not actually eat their food.

To summarize, be sure to encourage them to have fluids in between their meals, emphasize the fruits and the vegetables and make sure that they are able to handle their foods properly.

Our home caregiving services in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky can keep a close watch on your seniors by helping them with meal preparations and encouraging them to keep hydrated. Contact us here for more information.

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Importance of Good Nutrition for Seniors

Nutrition is very important for seniors, especially since they are known to have changes in their digestive systems. They generate less saliva and stomach acid as they get older which makes it difficult for their bodies to process certain vitamins and minerals.

In addition to this, dietician, Elisa Zied, MS, RD, says many seniors develop nutritional problems when they have some major life changing event. They may not be paying attention to their own nutrition and that’s where they can get into trouble.

As the 73 year-old in the video states, she resorts to what’s easy to make which is typically processed foods such as Mexican, Chinese and other take-out menus. This type of diet is a recipe for danger, cautions dieticians.

A recent study, showed that up to 16% of the nation’s seniors may be under-nourished and some seniors consume as little as a thousand calories without realizing they need more.

Here are a few nutrition tips from the video to help the senior in your life live healthy:

  • Aim for at least 1,600 – 2,000 calories per day. Seniors need an average of this amount to meet their needs.
  • Add supplements to their diet. It becomes increasingly important as they get older, especially for vitamin D because there isn’t enough in their diet.
  • Good nutrition will improve senior’s lives and reduce your stress. Remember to focus on good nutrition because it will make them feel better, give them more energy, be more mentally alert, keep their bones strong, and allow them to do more things throughout the day to enjoy life.

Family Bridges’ caregiving services can keep a close watch on your seniors strict diet by preparing meals, reminding them to take their supplements and accomplishing their tasks throughout the day. Request more information about our services here.

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