• August 9, 2019 /  Basics, Miscelleaneous

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    By Ginger McMurchie, Elder Care Management of Northern California Owner & Care Manager

    In this edition of our newsletter, we would like to introduce the idea of transitions. For the next few months we will focus on three topics-

    When should a family bring in outside help to the home?

    When do you know it is time to move to assisted living?

    When should a person consider hospice?

    Our first topic is likely the easiest to navigate. The home where you or your loved one lives is getting too big for one person to handle. Tasks take longer to accomplish; they take more energy and sometimes things get left undone. Driving is complicated by poor vision, difficulty getting in and out of the car and demands too much brainpower- it is no longer the independent pleasure it used to be. The simple task of bathing now seems overwhelming and gets put off until another day and putting on clean clothes seems unnecessary or goes unnoticed. Your doctor, family, and sometimes friends are telling you that you need more help around the house. So, what are the options?

    If the house is all you need help with, that is a simple fix. A housekeeper once or twice a month can keep bathrooms clean, the kitchen scrubbed and can get the vacuuming and dusting taken care of. Tired of gardening? Hiring a gardener or young adult from the neighborhood to mow the lawn and rake the debris keeps the yard tidy. If you need assistance with personal care, then it may be time to consider a caregiver. As care managers, we always encourage people to use licensed home care agencies for help. A licensed agency will act as the employer, pay the payroll taxes and will screen the caregivers by doing background checks. These caregivers should come to you with ample training on personal care and with some coaching from you might be able to make your favorite mac and cheese. While it may sound simple, having a stranger in your home is not easy. It takes time and patience to establish a relationship with a caregiver and home care agency. If the caregiver does not feel like a good fit- ask for someone else!

    We want to acknowledge that all the above ideas come at a price. Caregivers across the state average anywhere from $26-33 per hour with the agency typically asking for a four-hour minimum. Housecleaners may cost an additional $100-200 per month. For those on a fixed income, applying for Medi-Cal, getting on IHSS or if you are a veteran or spouse of a veteran looking into the Veterans Aid and Attendance Program may be good ideas. We encourage you to start a conversation with loved ones about how things are going around the house. Ask your friends and family for recommendations on housecleaners and gardeners. Research and meet staff from local home care agencies. Keep everyone’s phone number handy because the day will come when we all need additional help!

    At Elder Care Management of Northern California we partner with families, elders, community members, and employers to tackle the tough issues of elder care.  Please visit our website at www.ecmnca.com or call to get more information about our services.

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  • November 22, 2011 /  End of Life Issues

    have a healthy healthcare directiveDenny Welch is one of the attorneys I work with and actually, he is the very first one I worked with.  His website for more information is after the article. This is not meant to be technical but to get you to think about end of life issues.  

    The trust is just the tip of the iceberg. Equally as important, in my opinion, is the power of attorney for health care, better known as the Advance Healthcare Directive.

    My wife has been an oncology nurse for a long time. We’ve been married for a long time, and we talk. I get the image of the family in the hospital corridor when the doctor walks out of the patient room. “Well, folks, there’s nothing else we can do. What do you want us to do?” It’s like the deer being caught in the headlight. Nobody knows what to do, because they’ve never talked about it. Even if they did, no one has the legal authority to make a decision because there’s nothing in writing.

    The Advance Healthcare Directive allows you to make a decision today on what you want done if you were that person in the hospital bed. You can make that decision today while you are still in good health and have a clear mind and a clear purpose on what’s best for you.  By making that choice today, you are taking the onus away from your loved ones on what you want done.  Your desires can be as specific as you want.

    Most of us feel that “when my time’s up, my time’s up. ” If all the quality of life indicators are gone, and to a medical certainty they aren’t going to come back, then, under those circumstances, “keep me comfortable and keep me pain free, but don’t keep me alive just because science says you can.” But no one would know that, or have the authority to act, if you hadn’t gotten your ducks in a row.
    Donald D. Welch  is an Estate Planning Attorney servicing the Northern California region. To find out more about Estate Planning, please visit www.dennywelch.com.

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