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4 Ways to Protect Your Hearing

Changes in hearing are a common part of aging. Almost half of adults over the age of 75 will have some degree of hearing loss. Changes in hearing can occur due to damage, illnesses, or even genetics.

 

Although many people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime, there are ways to protect your hearing. Taking care of your ears and preventing hearing loss can be as easy as following these four tips. Read more

6 Ways to Make a Home Safe and Comfortable for Seniors

Losing strength and balance can be common consequences of aging, and living with these changes is rarely easy. It is frustrating not to be able to do everything you once could; it can also be dangerous due to an increased likelihood of falls.

 

Changes in mobility can make your own home seem like a dangerous place. However, there are ways to make the home a safer place for seniors. With a few alterations and upgrades, you can live comfortably in your home again or bring aging loved ones into your home safely. Here are six ways you can bring your home up to snuff for anyone easing into old age. Read more

4 Signs It’s Time to Put Away the Car Keys

One of the most difficult decisions an individual or their children will face is when an elderly person should stop driving. Putting the car keys away can feel like a loss of independence, especially if aging has brought on other limitations in a person’s life. Read more

How One Hour Could Save Your Life

October may have been breast cancer awareness month, but anytime is the right time to protect your health. Approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And the best defense against this disease is to know the risks, recognize the early symptoms, and act on early detection. Read more

The Secrets to a Long Life Aren’t Really Very Secret

As the oldest woman in the world, 116-year-old Emma Morano credits her long life to a breakfast of two raw eggs every day. She also credits her longevity to staying single. She walked away from her marriage when she was 38 years old, and she’s been single ever since. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.

What sustains some people to live over a century, while others struggle with poor health? With some swearing by service or beer for breakfast, there are consistencies in the lives of centenarians. And some of them may surprise you. Read more

Six Fat-Free Ways to Handle Stress

It may have started when your boss watched you fly through the main doors 10 minutes late or last night during bedtime when your youngest announced he has a book report due today.

Perhaps it is the neighbor who expects full participation with every cause that hits Instagram or the mean girls that seem to follow your teenager’s every move with negative commentary.

Before you realize it, you are standing in front of the open freezer listening to your serving spoon scrape the bottom of an empty ice cream container. That’s right. You are stressed, and the fact that the only way you can cope with the pressures of life is to drown your concerns in heaps of whipped cream or melted cheese only adds to the problem.

Instead of snacking your way through a crisis, consider these six fat-free strategies to handle the most bitter of stressful situations. Read more

Healthy Eating for Aging Adults: 5 Tips to Help You Live Longer and Stronger

You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Eating well is important for everyone at all ages, especially the older we get. According to the World Health Organization, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to changes that naturally occur with the aging process. Many diseases that plague the elderly are a result of dietary reasons. Studies have indicated that malnourished older adults tend to visit doctors, hospitals, and emergency rooms more often. Read more

6 Foods You Should Be Eating to Prevent Alzheimers Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. With this in mind, it’s important that every American lives a healthy lifestyle to combat the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. One of the most important lifestyle changes to prevent memory loss is eating foods known to prevent these diseases. Read on for a few recommended foods that can protect your mind without breaking the bank. Read more

Overtime pay: What are the rules for paying an independent caregiver?

Many people who employ in-home caregivers think of them like teenage babysitters: You agree on a price (perhaps $40 for the evening), and when you return home a few hours later, you slip them the cash and send them on their way. You likely don’t bother to report the payment to the IRS.
Although in-home caregivers have been historically treated like babysitters, recently enacted federal regulations have clarified that they have little in common with babysitters and cannot be treated as such. Home healthcare aides are, for legal classification purposes, domestic service workers who must be paid an hourly wage for all of the hours they’re providing services to your loved one. They must be paid the minimum wage, and if they work longer than 40 hours a week, you are required to pay them overtime.

Homecare agencies typically handle these technicalities for their clients and employees, but if a family decides to hire an independent caregiver, then they are responsible for making sure that these laws are correctly observed. Although hiring a private individual who has no connection to an agency is thought to be less expensive, there are some very important factors that you must take into consideration as an employer.
Tafa Jefferson, CEO of Amada Senior Care, breaks down some of the key rules and regulations that determine when your independent aide qualifies for overtime:

Does your caregiver qualify legally as a domestic service worker? As Tafa explained, the fundamental first question is critically important, but not always clear. “Only a home that is legally deemed a private home can employ a domestic service worker as a caregiver,” he said. For example, was your loved one living in the place where he or she is now receiving care? If not, the place is probably not legally a private home. What happens if your loved one does not live alone? If it’s a group setting, it may not legally be a private home.

Does your caregiver work 40 hours a week? Although we might not think of a caregiver as being on the clock whenever they are in the home with your loved one, the law makes it clear that in most cases, they are working and must be compensated like any non-exempt worker. That means they must earn a minimum wage and be paid overtime when they qualify for it. Thus, it’s critically important to keep track of all hours on a written timesheet and account for meal and sleep breaks when the caregiver is legally not entitled to compensation.

Does your caregiver stay overnight or through meal breaks? Caregivers often spend considerable time in a home, and they typically are so self-sufficient that they can take care of fitting their own meals and rest breaks into the care services they provide. Tafa explained that, as an employer, “you are obligated to keep track of these breaks in writing because it affects the hours they are considered to be working and entitled to compensation.” If your caregiver takes breaks to eat meals on the premises or to sleep on the premises, you must document when they do this and give them adequate time to have a bona fide break from work. If a caregiver’s services are needed while they are supposed to be on a break period, and they must interrupt this break period to perform duties, this time can no longer legally be considered a break—and the caregiver is entitled to compensation for the duration of what was intended to be a break period, even if overtime pay is triggered.

Is your caregiver primarily a companion? One of the most common exemptions that can be used to preclude in-home workers from minimum-wage and overtime eligibility is the “companionship services” exemption. Individuals whose primary job is to provide fellowship and protection to an elderly or sick person fall under this exemption, as long as they spend at least 80% of their time serving as a companion and no more than 20% of their time providing any kind of “care” services. Once this threshold is crossed, the worker is legally reclassified as a domestic service worker and must be compensated at least the minimum wage, plus overtime as necessary.

In many situations, it’s not always easy or realistic to understand when to pay overtime to a caregiver. But, it is your job as a private employer to determine whether your caregiver qualifies legally as a domestic service worker, to keep track of hours worked, to understand what constitutes a bona fide break, and to distinguish between an in-home companion and a true caregiver. If you feel unsure about taking on all of these responsibilities on your own, you can turn to the services of a professional home care agency.

Seeing the signs: What to say when it’s time to take away the car keys

It’s an experience that Americans dread. As recent surveys by Caring.com and the National Safety Council indicate, most people would rather discuss funeral arrangements with their loved ones than taking away their driving privileges. But while this conversation is difficult, it is necessary for the safety of both your loved one and other drivers. I had the opportunity to interview Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com, to learn how to best have this conversation.

Build a case.

“A new survey on Caring.com reported that roughly 14 million Americans have been in a road incident caused by an elderly person,” Cohen stated. “It’s a difficult but necessary conversation that we need to have.”

Prepare for this conversation by keeping detailed records of traffic violations, minor accidents, and anything that causes you to worry. Watch for an increase in traffic tickets, getting lost on familiar routes in familiar areas, and getting into more fender benders.

You should also calculate the monetary savings that will benefit your loved one when he or she gives up driving, such the cost of gasoline, maintenance, car insurance, repairs and registration fees. Your approach should be caring, but it also needs to be thorough and specific.

Get support from other sources.

While it’s important to have the conversation directly with your loved one, it can be helpful to ask for support from other sources. Driving assessments can be used to confirm to your loved one that he or she should not be driving. Your religious adviser can help you handle this conversation in a compassionate, loving manner. In some cases, your loved one may listen to recommendations more easily when they come from an outside authority whom your loved one trusts rather than from a family member. As a last resort, you may ask your loved one’s physician to write a prescription stating, “No driving.”

Research and arrange alternative transportation.

Your loved one will undoubtedly find it difficult to give up independence, so the more you can do in advance to have alternative means of transportation available, the easier the transition will be.

A good transportation system will not only take a passenger from point A to point B but will also put your loved one in control of routes and final destinations. Also, the transportation system should maintain a senior’s sense of dignity and security.

“No one wants to be the one to take away Mom or Dad’s keys, but sometimes it can be crucial for their safety,” said Cohen. “Plus, many seniors would actually prefer to hear it from a family member than from a police officer on the road.”

Taking away the car keys is not a conversation anyone wants to have, but remembering to express your concerns firmly and honestly, inviting support from other sources that will provide additional love and support, and arranging alternative forms of transportation to best fit your loved one’s needs is a healthy approach to this transition.

This article was originally published on OCRegister.com. It has been republished here with permission.