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Health Sciences Students can Gain Valuable Health Care Experience with CaregiverUSA

Health Sciences Students can Gain Valuable Health Care Experience with CaregiverUSA

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am in my fourth year at The Ohio State University. I will be graduating this upcoming spring with a B.S. in Health Sciences, and a minor in Biology and I have hopes of attending a physician assistant program come next fall. Physician assistants are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. A lot of prior education, training, and experience is required to become a physician assistant.

As a full-time student, finding ways to gain valuable health care experience was extremely difficult as many health care positions, especially those in facilities, require pricey certifications and time-consuming training, in addition to intense time commitments. This is unrealistic for a student whose goal is to excel in his or her 15 credit hours of coursework to maintain a competitive GPA to be admitted into any graduate program.

This is why when I heard about the opportunities at CaregiverUSA in an e-mail from my advisor, I did not waste any time in finding out more information. I felt comfortable beginning my journey with CGUSA knowing that I was going to be alongside my classmates. Within a month after first coming into contact with CaregiverUSA, I was able to begin my first home health position.

CGUSA provided me with an opportunity to familiarize myself with the patient population before obtaining my STNA certification through homemaking. At first, going into people’s homes was intimidating to me, but CGUSA made sure that someone was there to meet and orient me until I felt comfortable and, with the help of the CGUSA nursing team, it was not long until I felt fully confident in my ability to perform my job. Additionally, CGUSA provided me with details on an STNA training program that would be easily accessible to me and that I could take when my busy student schedule permitted me to. Once I successfully completed the STNA training course, I was able to gain even more valuable experience through the administration of personal care. My job as a CHHA has allowed me to grow as a future health care professional, helping me to develop my interpersonal skills, work as a team, and understand and learn other skills necessary to work in healthcare.

Through the referral program, I was able to develop a team of individuals that work together with the provision of improved care for our communities’ elders. Our team works in a similar manner to teams in healthcare facilities that we as students soon hope to become a part of. With the support and help of each of our team members, we can help accommodate each other’s schedules to ensure that both our clients and caregivers are being taken care of.

Working as a CHHA has been an overall extremely positive experience for me and has only further confirmed my aspirations to become a physician assistant. The guidance and support of the CGUSA team, flexible scheduling, and precious experience I have obtained working for CGUSA are just a few of the many reasons why I would highly recommend considering a position with them.

Care Story about a Single Father with Cancer and His Little Boy

Hi this is Sarah again… So many interesting and wonderful things have happened since I last blogged. Where do I begin? It’s been weeks since I blogged about my career evolution from telecom company marketing manager…  to stay-at-home mom… to part-time Caregiver via CGUSA. If you’ve missed my last article, here’s a quick recap to get you up to speed.

Sarah looks after a little boy's father who has Cancer

I officially turned 46 years old and had a nice, low-key celebration at my favorite organic restaurant with my husband David, and our two teenage boys, Mike and Zach. Besides treating me to a delicious and nutritious special meal (I even splurged and had a piece of flourless cacao cake) all three pitched in to buy me a new, high-end vacuum cleaner, replete with all the crack and crevice nozzle attachments I’ve come to love as the aforementioned “neat freak.” I’ve been putting my incredibly efficient new appliance to good use not only at our suburban Columbus, Ohio home but also at Jim and Josh’s house. They are my new clients for whom I provide caregiving services. We connected through the electronic job board on the CaregiverUSA website www.caregiverusa.com.

Now to the heart of the story. I admit, when I first met Jim and Josh, their situation was dire, and I knew my job wasn’t going to be easy. Jim, age 40, a divorced single dad who works as a wastewater specialist for the county water department, was diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma about five months ago. He is the father of an adorable five-year-old boy, Josh, and shares joint custody with his ex-wife, Brittany, who lives about an hour’s drive away.

Jim’s doctors are treating his cancer aggressively and have been giving him several courses of chemotherapy over one to three days at a time. Each course of chemo makes Jim very tired and unable to do much of anything, especially cook for and keep up with Josh, who is a typical little “bundle of energy”, to be sure. Naturally, Jim was feeling guilty he can’t take care of Josh as he should during or shortly following the chemo. It didn’t help his frame of mind that for about three months prior to my arrival, Jim was depending on neighbors to feed and watch Josh while he was “out of commission”. Jim realized the neighbors have their own lives, with irregular schedules, and he needed to bring somebody qualified into the house right away. Leaving Josh with the neighbors was a temporary band-aid.

After trading several internal messages on the CGUSA site, Jim and I had our first candid phone conversation about his situation and the pressing need for my services. It was heart-breaking to me, as a parent, to realize that despite his own life-threatening health issues, Jim was most concerned about losing custody of his son. I could tell that Jim “being there” for Josh was essential to both the father and son’s well-being. Jim didn’t want to lose influence over his son’s rearing during this crucial phase of the boy’s life.

Generally, Jim is not a big talker. On this initial phone call, he was pouring out his fears about disrupting Josh’s routine too much, which could aggravate “acting out” episodes over “something’s wrong with Daddy”. Most of all, Jim wanted to stick to his pre-illness custody schedule as much as possible, rather than let Brittany watch Josh while he was sick. Jim “did not want to let on too much” about the seriousness of his condition, in case Brittany would try to “take Josh away from me, and just leave me with some visitation rights”.

While internally I was struggling with my own emotions upon hearing this truly sad scenario, I chose to be understanding but professional, recommending that I come into his home four days a week for six hours each day, with any needed adjustments made to accommodate Jim’s chemo treatments. While I knew Jim was desperate and would probably agree to almost any hourly rate, I stuck with my original quote, displayed on my CGUSA profile, of $25 an hour for cooking, housekeeping, organization, errands and, most importantly, child care. I felt this was reasonable given my experience and skills sets, and it also made it worth my while as I seek to build up my own sons’ college tuition fund.

My first day on the job was daunting. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I felt (and still do feel) it is my purpose and mission to be there and help Jim and Josh through this distressing time. Anyway, Jim answers the doorbell and he is tall about 6 foot, but very pale and frail-looking, with thinning light brown hair and blue eyes. Despite his obvious fatigue, he has a pleasant, accommodating personality. In a surprisingly strong voice, he calls for Josh to come out and meet “your new nanny”. “Josh, come see, Sarah says she’s even more fun than Mary Poppins!” Jim jokes.

Sarah shares how caregiving is a fulfilling and rewarding career for her

“Great,” I think, as this tow-headed little fireball races toward me from around the corner, “Now I have to live up to Mary Poppins standards. What a let-down when he realizes my umbrella doesn’t carry me off to the skies!”

However, fear of not flying was the least of my initial concerns. There were dirty, smelly dishes in the sink. The house seemed as if it hadn’t had a good cleaning in at least six months. Toys were strewn everywhere. After talking a few minutes, I realized their usual dinner consisted of order-in pepperoni and bell pepper pizzas (at least the peppers are vegetables) or fast-food burgers and fries.

Like Mary Poppins, it was time for me to work my own brand of magic to transform Jim and Josh’s living situation. Day after day, I would happily scrub and scour tubs, corners, and cobwebs, and revealed in more opportunities to use my fantastic birthday vacuum cleaner. I did an inventory of Josh’s toys and created a color-coded bin system so he, Jim, and I could retrieve and stash them easily.

Practically speaking, I agreed to make the delivery pizza only an occasional dinner treat. Instead, I took the grocery money Jim gave me and whipped up some tasty, nutritious healthy meals. Like the former junk-food eaters in my own family, Jim and Josh quickly learned to love my famous “zucchini with roasted pistachios” not to mention “baked chicken with sweet potato and green beans casserole.” As Josh says: “Gulp-alicious!”

Clearly, the biggest challenge of all was handling Josh’s roller-coaster emotions. He is such a cute, smart little guy, but it didn’t take much to turn him into a screaming banshee! He threw a fit when he didn’t get his customary “sprinkle cheese” on his sandwich. He cried and carried on when he couldn’t see Daddy sleeping in the bedroom. He grabbed the Comet when my back was turned for just a second and started sprinkling it all over the furniture – now that was a clean-up job I actually didn’t like!

Fortunately, Jim and I discussed in advance how he wanted Josh disciplined. Besides, Josh’s personality reminded me of Zach when he was that age, so I had a few tricks up my sleeve. I even told Josh funny stories about my boys when they were little – finding a frog in the inflatable swimming pool; Mikey’s big hit in T-ball, etc. without giving Josh too many ideas!

Today, I just returned from Jim and Josh’s house. I’m thrilled to report Jim is responding very well to the chemo. Without the added worry of cooking and caring for Josh, Jim has been able to rest more comfortably and focus positive energy on his recovery. Josh’s tantrums have started to subside now that a sense of order has been restored.

I’m so touched Jim introduces me as a “godsend” to his family. Besides the housekeeping, cooking and childcare services I provide, Jim credits my “optimism and positive attitude” with making the biggest difference in their lives. He says he is grateful to me for getting them through this “sludgy situation”, and plans to recommend CaregiverUSA to his friends and his HR department once he is able to return to work. I’m hoping that will be in the next couple months. I’ve developed a real affection for Jim and Josh, and plan to visit or help out once in a while, even after they resume their regular routines and I move on to care for another client family.

By now, you know I’m not “just about the money”, although I am happy our college fund is growing week after week. This experience with Jim and Josh has helped me find renewed purpose and a heightened sense of contentment. I would never have imagined that I’ll be sharing my care story about a single father with cancer and his little boy, let alone be blessed with the opportunity to help them through a tough time.

With everything I’ve done in my life thus far, I’ve discovered that caregiving is what I do best. When I nurture other people, I am nurturing my higher self to be the best person I can be. I’ve found my true calling.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

It’s not easy being a Caregiver and if you keep at it long enough, you will really need to take care of yourself as well. Why? You need to help yourself to prevent burnout. It’s too easy to get caught up in the moment, knowing you are doing something worthwhile no matter how physically, psychologically and emotionally draining it may be. Sometimes, we do this informally for a loved one – and when our own minds and bodies start to pay the price, Caregivers in their utter devotion and sacrifice, might not even notice the toll they themselves are paying – until it is far, far too late.

So what can we do? Are you at risk for Caregiver Burnout?

We can learn to spot the Caregiver burnout signs – whether in ourselves or in other Caregivers. The second part is more important – because we may never be able to judge ourselves properly. We need friends, fellows, co-workers to see us as we truly are, because, by the time we start showing signs of burnout, our own minds may be too brutalized and traumatized to see ourselves properly. Friends are our lifeline, Caregivers caring for each other. So, let’s just talk about the signs of Caregiver burnout and what we can do. There are many signs, and here are four of the big ones.

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What are the signs of Caregiver Burnout?
  • Social Withdrawal

Do you find yourself withdrawing from friends and family? Are you avoiding things you loved to do, and cutting off connections with other people? Sometimes, we can get so busy with the often-urgent demands of caregiving, we tell ourselves “we’re just busy”. And little by little, like the frog in a slow-boiling pot, we start to close ourselves to the outside world. We stop talking to friends. The phone is almost never used. We stop showing up to gatherings. And people may take some time to notice that something is wrong. So check yourselves – who are your closest friends now, and who were your closest friends before you current caregiving arrangements? When was the last time you met up with your friends, and when was the last time you even spoke to them? If something bad happened to you, would they notice it immediately? Withdrawal is the greatest slow-burning problem because it kills off the best antidote: friends. People who know you, and who know you well enough to sense when something goes wrong. Once these people are gradually removed, under the cover of reasons such as “busy with work”, “lost interest” and “need more alone time”, they stop noticing. And that is when a person can enter a very dangerous spiral – isolation and loneliness feeding each other in a vicious circle.

Look around you. Make sure someone can see if you’re in burnout. You are devoted and loyal to your charges and patients, and you may feel guilty about taking a break. That is natural, but being alone and depressed is not. Keep all your social channels open!

  • Irritability and Hopelessness

This is another danger sign that “complements” social withdrawal. These things come in packages, and one leads to another.  When your mind is in perpetual crisis mode, perceptions become extreme. It’s easy to end up swinging from being optimistic one moment, and then completely hopeless and pessimistic the next. It affects your mood and can make you angry – angry enough to be snapping at people around.

Is this happening? Once a Caregiver starts behaving like this, it can trigger or reinforce the social withdrawal that is all too dangerous – this sort of thing cuts off your best lifeline and prevention method for burnout, namely, a good support circle of friends. So, don’t keep it all in. Find someone to talk to, someone with whom you can share your frustrations, your anxieties, your fear. This can dial down the tension quite a bit, and give you the mental recharge you need to sort out other problems!

 

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Reflect on your own health and illness to avoid Caregiver Burnout.

 

  • Beneficial Routines Stopped

This is related to withdrawal from social life, and missed medical appointments. The sheer workload of Caregivers may disrupt your life as you move mountains to care for someone. Many things we do by routine, which are beneficial to our holistic wellness, get disrupted. One of the most important ones is exercise.

As a Caregiver, have you stopped your routine exercise, no matter how light it may be? Has it been discarded under the excuse that “my caregiving is strenuous enough and gives me all the exercise I need”? Snap out of it! Exercise is beneficial not only physically, but psychologically too – you need to devote your exercise time to focus on the exercise activity. Withdrawal from this deals you double damage – first, you lose a lifeline that helps stave off burnout and depression. Second, you lose the benefits that exercise brings, and any work-based substitute merely stresses you out even more.

Snap back to your routine as much as possible, or plan a new routine that meets your caregiving needs – and stick to it. Enforce a break mentally as well as a physical break every now and then – think of it as clearing your head and recharging for the long term! And don’t forget to keep a healthy diet, and go for any routine check-ups you need – who knows what they might detect early?

  • Increased Illness

Getting stressed often leads you to catch just about any bug that comes your way. All the more if you ignore your exercise routine and lapse into an unhealthy diet, and isolate yourself from friends and spiral into anxiety and depression. Look back and ask yourself – are you falling sick more often, or more intensely, than usual? Are you getting more aches and pains, and more sniffles? The stresses faced by Caregivers can, over the long run, compromise the immune system. As a Caregiver, you can see this in your patients – but don’t forget to look in the mirror! Sickness can be a person’s body asking them to slow down – and that person may well be the Caregiver instead of the Careseeker (everybody is a potential Careseeker anyway).

So, do reflect on your own health and illness – it is an excellent self-check against Caregiver Burnout. Better still if you have regular medical checkups or appointments – if you have missed any of them, that’s a good cue to think about whether you’ve been in burnout. And if you can’t decide, ask your friends. And if you haven’t spoken to your friends for a long time… you probably need to take a step back, and re-connect as soon as you can!

  • Conclusion

Remember, human beings are social creatures. As much as we need “me time” to take a break from whatever work consumes us, we also need “social time”. Think of it as crowdsourcing your self-diagnosis – it’s one thing to look into a mirror to check if your hair looks messy or if that dress fits you well. It’s another thing to have close and trusted friends give you a variety of honest opinions – they may not share your blind spots, and Caregiver burnout is one of those things that creeps up on us from where we usually cannot see it. So reach out and find friends! Until next time, take care of yourselves!

 

4 Podcasts Every Doctor Should Listen to in 2018

This article is written by April Han. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. With a formal education in Business Administration and years of working with healthcare startups under her belt, she is able to provide valuable advice to aspiring locums in terms of creativity, innovation, and discovery of solutions to the challenges amid our society’s growing demand for health services. A life-long learner with a growth mindset, she is currently expanding her knowledge of the healthcare marketplace through online courses and hands-on training from world-class mentors.

The word “podcast” was coined in 2004. It is a portmanteau of the two words “iPod” and “broadcast.” A podcast is an audio show that is usually made up of a series of episodes. They can be downloaded from the Internet to your computer or mobile device so you can listen to it whenever and wherever you go.

Here's how locum doctors can improve their skills in their free time
Here’s how locum doctors can improve their skills in their free time!

You can access podcasts, usually for free, from popular platforms such as Google Play, Stitcher, and iTunes. Topics vary from news, business, education, technology, politics, and health among others. For locum doctors, listening to podcasts offer a lot of benefits such as:

  • Getting you inspired. A well-rounded individual is passionate about things outside of their field. A doctor like you, for example, may be interested in the meaning of life, sustainable living practices or what genuine happiness means. As mentioned earlier, podcasts come in various themes and subjects that you will surely find one that will inspire you.
  • Keeping you well-informed. The landscape of medicine is ever-changing. Medical technology keeps on advancing, and patient-focused care is more critical than ever. As a doctor, your responsibility is to make sure that you are ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow by keeping yourself educated and well-informed. Sadly, your work takes up a lot of your time and reading a book is often not an option. A podcast can help you stay updated on the current trends and developments in the medical world.

These are the two most important benefits you can get from listening to a podcast. There are a whole lot more, but those two should be enough to get you to pick up your devices and start downloading these five podcasts every doctor should listen to:

  1. Medtech Talk

This podcast is a weekly installment of gripping conversations with the influencers in the healthcare industry. If you want to stay updated on who the current movers and shakers are in healthcare and what new methods and products are about to change the way healthcare is delivered to the community, this is the podcast that should be on your top download list.

  1. TedTalks Health

TED is the acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. The organization produces and distributes talks online that you can listen to for free. They operate under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.”

The TedTalks Health podcast is primarily dedicated to sharing interesting insights from medical professionals. Although the talk is presented in front of a live audience, they are also recorded so that the public can listen to it wherever they are in the world. If you want to know about the latest medical breakthroughs straight from the experts, you have to listen to this podcast.

  1. The 10-Minute Healthcare Marketing Podcast

If you are a locum doctor who already knows that personal branding is an important part of your success, you are probably looking for ways to improve the way you market your brand. This is precisely the podcast that you should download right away. What makes this even more perfect for a busy doctor like you is that each episode only lasts for about 10 minutes.

If your online presence and offline marketing efforts haven’t been bringing new contracts lately, this podcast will help you remedy that, one 10-minute episode at a time.

  1. The Freelance Podcast

Whether you are a full-time locum or you have a steady job and planning to transition to freelancing, this is a great podcast to listen to. As their website says, it is a podcast where you can learn from those who have “been there, done that.” These are the professionals that can give you advice based on real-life experience, not merely from a book they’ve read. Not only will you find inspirational pieces here, but also practical information about setting your rates and dealing with clients.

Do you want to improve your career or profession and your personal life at the same time? Listen to these podcasts while you’re commuting to or from work, exercising or relaxing. They will help you make the most out of the very limited time you have left after taking care of your work responsibilities. Let them inspire you and keep you updated on top healthcare issues.

Common Challenges Faced by Caregivers

From time to time, careseekers need caregivers who provide home care services. These can range from helping mothers with newborn babies or even staying overnight to care for an elderly loved one. But this type of service delivery comes with its own challenges and issues, beyond the usual issues of cultural, age and gender differences. We’d like to share this article to help you better understand the challenges faced by caregivers.

The Stranger In Your Midst

I’m sure many caregivers have experienced this before. Sometimes, people are simply uncomfortable with a new person within the household. The consequences can be severe – caregivers sometimes end up suffering verbal, physical and psychological abuse from their charges if this isn’t handled properly. There are many causes for care recipients, such as the elderly, to feel unhappy about receiving home care. One cause is social perception – it looks as if the family is unwilling to provide the sort of care and help that the caregiver is being hired to do. Another cause may be inherently personal – the patient simply has that sort of personality that makes it difficult for home caregivers to work with them. Sometimes, in the absence of either factor, other things can happen to create such problems. Dementia or other illnesses may affect mood and personality, and medication can also cause complications. This is why when you are arranging for home care – whether as a careseeker or caregiver – the patient’s psychology and condition need to be considered in order to find the best way to achieve a “soft landing”. Of course, the relationship should also not be allowed to get too close – this can have equally bad consequences, and even the most intelligent people might not be immune to such problems (Professor Stephen Hawking’s relationship and marriage to Elaine Mason is a huge example).

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What are the challenges faced by caregivers who are offering home care services?

Revolving Doors and Backups

Do you prefer having one dedicated caregiver for the long term, or do you prefer having a care company that may send a different caregiver to the patient each week? There are pros and cons to both caregivers and careseekers. From the patient perspective, certain light, minor issues can easily be dealt with on a revolving-door basis but there will be times when a patient requires the sort of insight and understanding that only a dedicated caregiver can provide – but caregivers need rest too, and cannot be expected to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for months on end. Caregivers, like all other people, can get sick, and may take days off, and celebrate public holidays. Therefore, even if there is no revolving door, there is still a need to arrange for backup or relief – not corporate slavery or leaving the careseeker in the lurch just because it’s Christmas. For these reasons, when caregivers and careseekers are trying to match up with each other, it makes sense to cast a wide net to ensure the right combination of the right people are found for the right job.

Running Helter Skelter

Is the caregiver expected to provide a taxi service? Does the careseeker require it? This is not an idle question – some home care patients need to be regularly ferried to and from hospitals for checkups or therapy, and transportation requirements and options may have to be taken into account. It is one thing to live very near good public transportation or have a budget to arrange for taxi booking. However, there may come a time when what is needed is a home caregiver with a driver’s license. The patient’s travel requirements are no trivial matter since a delay can sometimes be far too costly.

Not A Maid

A careseeker’s medical needs may extend to being chauffeured to the hospital, being bathed and washed, and being spoon-fed. However, people sometimes forget that caregivers are not maids, and may end up expecting them to perform domestic chores. This is an unenviable situation that happens when people are obsessed with the dollars and cents and see everything as a transaction. Caregivers should be careful and realize that the job interview goes both ways – it is as much for caregivers to screen out potentially-abusive careseekers, as it is for careseekers to screen out problem caregivers. Besides, who knows what sort of tax incentives or care-related rebates might be lost or jeopardized if the caregiver undertakes more work than they should? All this would depend on your national laws, of course.

Paying for Quality

Does the careseeker require specialized nursing or pharmaceutical assistance?

Does the caregiver have the training and ability to prepare and administer medications under a complex regimen? The greater the professional demands on a caregiver, the higher the potential cost. This is a fact of the market that both sides need to think about. What the market does not say, is that in a way, the worse off a careseeker is, the more likely they need a caregiver who is more diligent and/or intelligent. This has a potential downside – fraud and elder abuse sometimes come from the most dogged and determined of caregivers, whether formal or informal. Even now in Singapore, we have an informal caregiver who got struck out of a widow’s massive will, is facing numerous criminal charges, and is contesting the authorities’ legal actions on all fronts. Caregivers, on their end, may also face the challenges of dealing with sophisticated customers. Some care seekers may be poor and uneducated. Others may well be retired hospital department heads who might not hesitate to make that one phone call to a highly-placed friend… hopefully to praise and not condemn the caregiver.

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We’re sharing the challenges faced by caregivers so help you better understand your home helper.

The Interview

This can be crucial, even if you do this merely by telephone.

This is the chance for parties to clarify mutual expectations and limits, what’s in and what’s out, and also look at patient history and caregiver experience and references. What are the caregiver’s skills? Besides having a driver’s license, does the caregiver know how to transfer a wheelchair-bound patient in and out of cars? Does the patient require special types of food and must the caregiver be able to cook or prepare them? Will you be scheduling a live meeting to see how the caregiver and patient interact?

Well, that’s all for now. We hope this helps at least a little bit more in understanding that matching up a caregiver to a careseeker can seem to be an easy task, but it really isn’t, and it pays to invest the effort early to prevent problems happening later.

What Everyone Should Know About Diabetes

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States but unlike many other leading causes of death, type II diabetes (type you are not born with) is highly preventable and accounts for 90-95% of diagnosed cases.

 

Science: The short explanation of science behind the disease is when you eat carbohydrates the body breaks it down into a sugar called glucose. The hormone insulin is used to transport the glucose where the body needs it to go. Those with diabetes have problems with the hormone insulin working properly, either from the body’s cells no longer being able to use insulin or the body has stopped producing insulin. The harmful effect of insulin resistance is the increased level of glucose (sugar) in the blood since it has nowhere to go.

What is so scary about high levels of sugar in the blood? Frequent high levels can cause permeant damage to nerves, blood vessels and even organs.

 

Important things everyone should know:

What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are a fuel source for the body and come from many sources from bread, soda, sweets, popcorn, legumes, fruits and even starchy vegetables. The more sugar and less fiber contained in carbohydrates will escalate blood sugar higher and at a faster rate.

 

Symptoms: urinating often, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, slow wound healing, tingling/numbness in hands or feet.

 

Pre-diabetes? You can be tested to see if you are on track to developing the disease by testing your blood glucose levels. Pre-diabetes should be taken as wake-up call to create lifestyle changes for prevention of the disease. A shocking statistic is 7.2 million people with diabetes are undiagnosed.

 

Prevention? Healthy lifestyle factors such as maintaining a healthy weight and performing physical activity is the main advice for prevention. Another important factor is making important choices when choosing what carbohydrates to eat. Choose carbohydrates with whole grains and/or plenty of fiber will not cause frequent spikes in blood sugar. Some simple swaps for improvement include:

  • Make a fruit and vegetable smoothie instead of a soda.
  • Use bread and pastas made from whole grains.
  • Oatmeal with fruit instead of a pastry for breakfast.

 

Also always watch for hidden sugars! Some food items you do not think include a lot of sugar do so pay attention to labels. Salad dressings, yogurts and condiments are examples of foods that can easily pack in sugar. On the food label below the amount of carbohydrates you will find the amount of sugar so watch out for the sugar instead of just looking at the carbohydrates.

 

Learn more about diabetes by checking out the American Diabetes Association at diabetes.org or calling 1-800-DIABETES during normal business hours.

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Why Choose Home Health Care?

There are many options for paths to recovery in the health care industry. More individuals are learning the benefits and switching to having health care provided in the comfort of their own homes. Home health care has a wide range of services with the goal of achieving better health while also regaining your independence. Some individuals who could benefit from health care include those in need of:

  • Wound care
  • Monitoring Illness and health status
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Administration and monitoring of medications
  • Personal hygiene
  • Companionship
  • And many more

 

So why choose home health care over other options such as a skilled nursing facility or hospital?

  • Same quality care– The same skilled professionals you’d find in a facility work in home health care. RNs, STNAS and LPNs all work in home health care settings.
  • Convenience– Stay in the comfort of your own home with also receiving help with household chores to keep living conditions safe and convenient.
  • Companionship along with care- With home health care you are receiving one on one support. These meaningful interactions can help support social interactions that are important for aging individuals.
  • Save Money– Home health care is usually less expensive and can be covered by Medicaid insurance for qualified individuals.
  • Coordinated Care with Doctor- Physicians can still be involved through working with the family caregivers to help develop individuals plans.

 

Check out Medicare.com and the link to find home health care agencies in your area:  https://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/search.html

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Have you heard about MyPlate?

 Do you ever wonder what happened to the food pyramid? It received a makeover. The new updated version is called MyPlate and you can learn all about it on chooseMyPlate.gov. This website created by the USDA provides useful information and resources for a fun informational way to learn more about nutrition. The website is created for every life stage group to teach about 5 food groups: fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy.

When you explore the website, you can find:

  • Informational quizzes to test your knowledge.
  • Recipes, meal plans and plans for staying on a budget.
  • BMI calculator.
  • Calories each exercise can burn.
  • Consumer friendly resources to help food waste consideration.
  • Seasonal and State resources.
  • YouTube videos that share tips, family stories and much more.

 

Overall this website is a great foundation for learning about nutrition and health. It seems today nutrition information can be controversial and get confusing, but MyPlate makes a simple way to learn the essentials. Myplate.gov creates a way to promote small changes adding up to big wins you can benefit from!

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How Strength Training can be more Beneficial than Aerobic Exercise

Strength training can help you look and feel younger

Looking for the fountain of youth? Pick up a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell (a ball-shaped weight with a single handle) or a resistance band. Strength training offers a multitude of benefits, including ramping up your metabolism to help lose or maintain weight. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it can also be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

    arthritis

    diabetes

    osteoporosis

    obesity

    back pain

    depression

Strength train to maintain a healthy weight

The CDC asserts that strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength training can provide up to a 15 percent increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

 

Strength train to feel better

Regular strength training can help improve balance and reduce fall risk, decrease arthritis pain and strengthen bones, thus reducing fracture risk. It can also improve glucose control, improve sleep quality and state of mind and support better heart health.

 

Common questions and answers about strength training

Following are some common questions about strength training, and answers from trusted sources:

 

Won’t strength training bulk me up?

This question is most commonly asked by women who fear an overly muscular look. The truth is, to bulk up as a bodybuilder aims to do, you would need to spend a significant amount of time lifting very heavy weights and you would need to be eating a surplus of calories to support building serious muscle mass. You can easily find a strength training program that will help you gain just the right amount of muscle mass to crank up your metabolism and burn stored body fat so you actually end up leaner and tighter. If you combine strength training with a nutrition plan aimed at losing or maintaining weight you will find yourself losing weight or fitting into smaller sizes even if the scale doesn’t move much.

 

I walk/swim/take Zumba classes – isn’t that good enough?

The CDC reports that “While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, has many excellent health benefits — it maintains the heart and lungs and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance — it does not make your muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.”

 

Still not convinced? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that an increase in muscle that you can’t even see can make it easier to do everyday things like get up from a chair, climb stairs, carry groceries, open jars, and even play with your grandchildren. Lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.

 

Michele Brannock, 69, of Upper Arlington, Ohio, picked up her first kettlebell six years ago. She worked with a trainer for six weeks to master proper form and said she has benefitted tremendously from for this particular form of strength training.

 

“I stand taller now,” she said. “My balance has improved, I have fewer aches and pains. I don’t have the tummy bulge anymore, and my back pain is completely gone. Nothing else I have done exercise wise has helped by back like training with kettle bells.”

So how do I get started?

The NIH recommends doing strength training exercises for all of your major muscle groups on two or more days a week. You should not work the same muscle groups two days in a row. Your muscles need 48 hours or more to recover in between strength sessions. So you could either do a full-body strength training routine three days a week – for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, or if you prefer to keep your strength sessions shorter, you might break them up into upper-body strength and lower-body strength sessions and work your upper body Monday, Wednesday and Friday and your lower body Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Strength training should complement rather than replace cardiovascular exercise, which is also important, as are balance and flexibility training.

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Caregiver USA Corporation’s Mission Stemmed from Personal Experience

Jinji and Shinji Yue’s decision to start Caregiver USA Corporation was rooted in personal experience with caregiving. Both men helped to care for their father when he was dying of cancer, and Jinji also helped care for his then future wife’s mother in her final days battling lung cancer.

“I was 16 when my father was diagnosed with liver cancer,” Jinji said. “Shinji was 20 and in the army, and he would get some nights off to come visit and help, but I was there every day.”

The family lived in Singapore, and there, at that time, most cancer care was delivered in a hospital inpatient setting.

“It was still very important for us to be there with him as much as possible,” Jinji said. “His chemotherapy treatments were very harsh, and he suffered a great deal from side effects, including extreme fatigue and frequent vomiting. We did our best to keep him as comfortable as possible.”

As they watched their father struggle and suffer, Jinji and Shinji suffered too.

“Caregiving is emotional,” Jinji said. “It’s very tiring, and our anxiety level was very high. During my dad’s first round of cancer treatment, I was in denial. The year before, my grandfather had passed, but he had been old, so while the loss was sad, it was expected at that point. But my dad should have had many more years of life left ahead of him. He had always been the pillar of my life. I thought he would recover.”

While initially hoping the cancer treatments would be successful, Jinji and Shinji and their mother saw growing evidence to the contrary.

“We saw his slow decline,” Jinji said. “Then, in his final two months, he was very frail and was in and out of consciousness. He died about eight months after his diagnosis. I was 17. It took me years after he was gone to accept the reality of losing him.”

About five years after losing his father, Jinji was a student at Ohio State University, working towards his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering.

“I received a call from my girlfriend, Siewling,” Jinji said. “She still lived in Singapore at the time. She called and told me her mom had just been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and had less than one year to live. I decided to take time off from school to go home and help care for her.”

Jinji was able to apply what he had learned through his personal experience with caregiving to help Siewling and her family.

“I saw the condition Siewling’s mother was in,” Jinji said, “And I Siewling and her brothers were in the same shoes I had been in. I suspected she had less than a year to live, maybe six months. She was in the hospital a lot, and I spent a lot of time there with her and her family. I tried to give advice and help out however I could.”

Fast forward to the present, and Jinji and Shinji are applying what they learned through their personal experiences with caregiving to help others.

“Having had the opportunity to care for two people who were dying let me appreciate tremendously what caregiving is all about,” Jinji said. “When we started Caregiver USA, we did so because there are a lot of people who need help with caregiving. In our experience, we just had family members rotating constantly, with no extra help, and we really could have used more assistance. Sometimes you just need a break. We wanted to offer more choices to find help. And we wanted to help ensure access to high quality help.

“We created a web-based platform, bookacare.com that allows those seeking healthcare services for themselves or loved ones to find, evaluate, hire and review qualified, experienced and accredited health-care professionals. Our services can be accessed conveniently online from a computer or mobile applications and through social media. Information is readily accessible via iPhones and tablets. We even provide the opportunity for caregivers and care seekers to review one another. Care seekers can enjoy peace of mind in hiring a caregiver who has received positive reviews, is insured and has passed an extensive background check. The caregivers who get the best reviews will be hired the most often, so they benefit too. “ Care seekers also can get to know their caregivers better before hiring them and welcoming them into their homes.

One way to improve the quality of caregivers available is to ensure they receive fair financial compensation.

“You get what you pay for,” Jinji said. “Many home care agencies have a very high turnover because nurses and nurses’ aides can barely earn a living wage. They receive inadequate pay and no benefits, and most of them operate completely independently, never interacting with their professional peers..

“Through our business model, we are able to help our caregivers receive fair compensation and feel valued. We empower them to perform at their best. As independent contractors, they are their own bosses. We also provide a lot of training to both our contracted caregivers and our full-time employees, and we can provide an office environment that encourages team interaction. This supports the goal of all of our caregivers knowing and living our core mission.”

Through bookacare.com and our brick and mortar agencies, Caregiver USA aims not only to lighten the caregiving load for families, but to provide a rewarding professional experience for its caregivers.

“The caregiving experience I had made me realize the importance of caregiving, its challenges and also its emotional rewards,” Jinji said. “Our mission is very simple. We want to create value and happiness in caring for others. You want to be happy when providing care. The drive to do so has to come from within. But then to avoid burning out in doing so, you need to be supported and rewarded.”