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Top Exercises for Older Adults

Physical activity is essential for healthy aging. As we grow, our bodies change and our need for exercise increases. Researchers continually emphasize the importance of regular exercise for older adults, and why many should opt for an active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one. 

By strengthening the body, older adults can prevent or delay age-related diseases and live a longer, healthier life. Keep reading to learn the benefits of exercise, ways to improve strength for older adults and the top activities to increase strength, flexibility and stamina.

The Benefits of Exercise in Older Adults

There are so many health benefits of exercise, especially for older adults. Exercise can improve the body, mind and emotional well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all older adults can appreciate these benefits, even those with conditions like heart disease, obesity, arthritis and high blood pressure. 

Some of the benefits associated with exercise in later life include: 

  • More independence: Regular exercise can help older adults maintain their independence. Research shows that older adults who exercise are less likely to depend on others for help with tasks like bathing, walking, cooking, eating or using the restroom. 
  • Better balance: Older adults are often hospitalized for fall-related injuries. By exercising regularly, older adults are 23% less likely to experience falls, preventing emergency room visits and serious injuries. 
  • Disease delay and prevention: Age-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis can shorten one’s life and decrease their quality of living. Fortunately, adopting an active lifestyle can prevent these diseases for those at risk or alleviate symptoms for people already living with them. 
  • Improved brain function: Research shows that physical and mental health are closely related and exercise can improve cognitive function in older adults. Just simple exercises can sharpen the mind to ward off age-related cognitive diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression. 

Best Exercises for Older Adults

The CDC notes those aged 65 and older need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week, two days of strength exercises and three days of balance training to reap the physical and mental health benefits. 

Try these strength, aerobics and flexibility exercises to achieve the many health benefits:   


Aerobic exercises can improve lung health and prevent heart disease. Moderate-intensity aerobic workouts for older adults include: 

  • Walking: Walking is an excellent form of cardio for older adults. Modify this activity to match the pace, distance or time that feels right to you. 
  • Cycling: Whether using an outdoor bicycle or a stationary bike, cycling can increase blood flow, benefit the heart and lungs and help relieve joint or muscle pain
  • Dancing: Moving the body through continuous dance is a fun and enjoyable form of cardio. Zumba, tango or line dancing are all exciting activities to try alone or with friends. These dances can improve a person’s balance and strengthen several muscle groups simultaneously.

Strength Exercises

Strength training can help improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis in old age. It can also strengthen muscles and help older adults move around without the help of others.

Try these simple strength exercises for older adults:  

  • Bridge: One of the best core workouts for elderly adults is a bridge. To do a bridge, lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Raise your hips and hold the position for three seconds. Repeat this 10 times. 
  • Sit to stand: Start by sitting in a chair. When you’re ready, stand up and then sit back down repeatedly. Repeat this exercise 10 times daily to help prevent the need for assistance in the future, such as sitting on a low couch or the toilet.
  • Side planks: This exercise can strengthen the shoulders and improve core stability. To practice it, individuals should lay on their side, propped by their elbow directly under the shoulder. Next, they should lift their hips off the floor so their body forms a straight line and hold the position as long as possible before repeating it on the other side. 


Flexibility is essential for mobility and stretching the body to reach its full range of motion. Flexibility exercises can decrease our energy costs while standing and walking as we age.

Try the following exercises to improve flexibility: 

  • Knee extension stretch: This exercise can help straighten knees while walking to prevent a crouched gait. Start by sitting and placing your heel on a low stool in front of you. Gently lean forward until you feel resistance in the back of your knee. Hold this pose for one to three minutes, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Yoga: Several yoga poses can improve flexibility and promote balance, such as the downward dog position. To achieve this position, start on your hands and knees. Tuck your toes under, lift your hips and back away from the floor until your body forms a triangle. Stay in this position for five to eight breaths and lower back down. Repeat two more times for the best results. 

Workout Tips for Older Adults

As you now know, physical activity presents several short and long-term health benefits. Older adults should make exercise a priority to keep themselves motivated.

A few tips to increase physical activity include: 

  1. Exercise with friends: Make exercise a social activity to stay motivated. For instance, elderly adults might try dance classes or going on a walk with a friend during lunch. 
  2. Make exercise fun and enjoyable: Older adults should try various exercises to keep their interest alive. Some fun exercise games for elderly adults include croquet, chair soccer, dance and cornhole. 
  3. Take it slow: Workouts don’t need to be strenuous for individuals to achieve health benefits. Try breaking up exercises into 15-minute intervals twice a day. For instance, older adults might try two 15-minute walks a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. 
  4. Find ways to fit exercise into the day: Combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of the person’s day, such as walking the dog, taking the stairs at work or doing household chores. 
  5. Keep track of progress: One of the best ways to stay motivated is to measure a person’s exercise progress and celebrate successes. Use a journal to track daily physical activity, find ways to increase it and monitor improvements over time. 

Improve Your Health and Wellbeing With Corewood Care 

Exercise can improve cognitive function and prevent illnesses for older adults. Older adults can gain independence, increase their energy and improve brain function with physical activities. 

At Corewood Care, our primary goal is to provide exceptional, high-quality care for elderly patients. Our caregivers can help you follow a regular exercise plan and encourage and motivate you to work out. They can provide excellent recommendations for personal trainers, physical therapists and the like who will coordinate these care management services for you. These services are designed to help clients navigate life’s challenges and live a more comfortable, graceful life. 

To learn more about our care management services, we invite you to get in touch with us today. 

Essential End-of-Life Documents

Discussing your end-of-life wishes can be difficult. Death is a taboo subject for many, and it might feel as if you’re burdening family members by bringing up the topic. In actuality, end-of-life planning can soothe your fears about the future and alleviate your family members’ stress. You can clarify what’s important while taking care of your paperwork and preventing the responsibility from being shifted to your family when you die. 

Learn about the crucial end-of-life documents, and follow our planning tips to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and your family is cared for. 

What Are End-of-Life Documents?

End-of-life document preparation is the process of getting your medical, legal, personal and financial affairs in order for when you pass away. While different for everyone, these documents will typically include decisions on your property, healthcare and finances. By gathering the necessary documents ahead of time, you can relieve your family members of this massive administrative undertaking when you pass. Some examples of these necessary documents or information needed are listed below. 

Medical documents for end-of-life planning may include:

  • List of current physicians and medical specialists
  • Current list of medications you are taking
  • Previous and current medical diagnoses and conditions
  • Previous surgeries 
  • Primary and secondary Medical insurance information
  • MOLST Form (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment)
  • Hospital preference

Personal information for end-of-life paperwork might include:

  • Full legal name
  • Social Security number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Legal residence
  • Names and addresses of spouse and children
  • Employers and dates of employment
  • Education records
  • Military records
  • Contact information for your close friends, doctors, relatives, lawyers and financial advisors

Legal records for end-of-life planning may include:

  • Revocable or Irrevocable Trust(s)
  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney (Financial or Health)
  • Advanced Directives
  • Contracts 
  • Location of your home’s original deed of trust
  • Location of your living will and other legal paperwork with legal signature
  • Location of your birth, adoption, marriage, citizenship or divorce certificates, as applicable

Financial records are equally essential to include in your end-of-life planning. These documents might consist of: 

  • Sources of income
  • Bank numbers from your checking, savings or credit union accounts and bank names
  • Login details for online accounts
  • Credit and debit card names and numbers
  • Assets such as a pension, IRA(s), 401(k)s or interest
  • Investment income from stocks, bonds and property
  • Financial fiduciary names and contact information (Financial accountant, broker, investment advisor)
  • Mortgages and debts, as well as how and when they’re paid
  • Life, health, long-term care, home or car insurance information with policy numbers, agents’ names and phone numbers
  • Copy of most recent income tax return
  • Car title and registration
  • Location of a safe deposit box and key

No one plans to be terminally ill or disabled. When you take the time to make decisions about your health and finances in advance, you eliminate the stress and need for your family members to do it for you. And if you have a family member nearing the end of their life or struggling with illness, gathering the necessary end-of-life paperwork can lift a lot of stress off their shoulders.

Top 8 Essential End of Life Documents

At the end of our lives, we often cannot express our needs at a time when that information is the most crucial. If you have a terminal illness or simply want to prepare for emergencies, it’s a good idea to create legal documents with your doctors or lawyer and discuss these wishes with family members. By completing this task as early as possible, you can ensure your wishes are followed and your family is taken care of when you pass away. Learn about the essential documents you might consider while creating an end-of-life plan:

1. Living Will

One of the most well-known documents for end-of-life planning is a living will. People who face terminal illness often create a living will or health care directive to communicate their wishes regarding their end-of-life care if they cannot communicate on their own. A living will can provide your preferences for prolonging your life if you cannot speak without the help of a medical team. These preferences might concern medical treatments such as:

  • Medication
  • Pain management
  • Tube feeding
  • Resuscitation
  • Dialysis
  • Organ and tissue donation

There are other separate legal documents to communicate your preferences, such as a do not resuscitate (DNR) order that specifies that you don’t want life-sustaining treatment after cardiac or respiratory arrest. But whether you have the additional documentation, it’s always best to make your wishes known in a living will.

2. Last Will and Testament

A recent study showed just 46% of adults have a last will and testament. Yet, if you own any assets or have family members depending on you, creating a last will can take away the burden of planning and ensure your family is cared for. A last will and testament shouldn’t be confused with a living will, which outlines your wishes while you’re alive but in a terminal state.

A last will and testament documents your wishes for what happens after you die, such as funeral preferences, instructions for any outstanding debts and disbursement of your assets. This includes the physical assets — your house, car or possessions — and your financial assets from your bank and investment accounts. You might also name a guardian for your minor children and the person who will care for your pets.

Having a will streamlines probate — the legal and court-driven process of distributing assets — by ensuring your property goes to the correct people. Beneficiaries are the people or organizations you name to receive your property. You can also name an executor, who is the person who distributes your estate to your heirs and carries out the instructions in your will after you die.

3. Living Trust

Like a will, a living trust helps you manage and distribute your financial assets after you pass away. However, unlike a will, a living trust owns your assets as a legal entity. You can outline how your assets should be distributed in a living trust. You can also place valuable assets into a living trust, such as real estate, vehicles or bank accounts. When you die, your assets will distribute as outlined in your trust without probate.

Living trusts require more management than wills since you’ll need to transfer new property to them as you acquire it, though they can come with many advantages. For instance, since a trust doesn’t require probate, your family will save time and keep their privacy when you opt for one.

When you set up a living trust, it’s best to name a successor to manage your assets if you become disabled or pass away. You can also choose beneficiaries to receive the trust property after you die, and the living trust will streamline the process of transferring your assets.

4. Financial Power of Attorney

When you set up a financial power of attorney (POA), you make it possible for a person of your choosing to act on your behalf legally and handle your financial affairs. The person you choose to have POA is referred to as an agent, attorney-in-fact or proxy. A financial POA is a highly customizable document you can use to designate agents to help with specific tasks, such as selling property, or to take over all financial responsibilities should you become disabled or incapacitated.

When completing a financial POA, you should be aware of the different levels of power that you can give to your agent. These different levels include:

  • General power of attorney: This document lets your agent pay bills, sign legal documents and act on your behalf. However, these powers end when you can no longer make decisions or pass away.
  • Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re in a coma or cannot communicate due to incapacitation.

5. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is a personal way of expressing your end-of-life decisions to your beneficiaries. Aside from listing the reasoning behind the instructions outlined in your will, it can also include:

  • The location of your legal and financial documents
  • Usernames and passwords for online accounts
  • Care instructions for pets
  • Funeral arrangement preferences

While it’s not legal paperwork, a letter of intent can clear any confusion and aid family members through the estate process.

6. Life Insurance

Taking out a life insurance policy might be worth considering as part of your end-of-life plan. Life insurance can help protect those who rely on you financially and provide a substantial payout when you pass away. The payout might cover your family’s day-to-day or long-term expenses, depending on the amount of coverage you choose. Some people also use life insurance to pay for funeral expenses or probate costs. This way, your family members won’t have to worry about planning while in the grieving process.

To determine the coverage you need, consider your age and household expenses. You can purchase a life insurance policy by researching providers online and sitting down with an agent to determine your needs and options.

7. Pet Trust 

If you have pets, you’ll want to ensure they’re cared for after your passing. While you can choose a caregiver in your will and set aside money for your pet’s care, a pet trust takes this a step further by ensuring your pets are cared for exactly how you prefer after you die. With a pet trust, you fund your trust with assets to pay for your pet’s care and leave instructions for using the funds, such as for your pet’s medical treatments or favorite toys. A pet trust might also be ideal if you:

  • Have a pet with a long life span, such as a tortoise or parrot
  • Have a pet with special needs or a disability that requires costly medical attention
  • Wish to offset the costs of your pet’s regular care after your die

8. Organ Donor Card

If you wish to give back to someone in need after you die, you might consider applying for an organ donor card. It can be tough to think about what happens to your body after you die, let alone donating organs. However, choosing to be an organ donor is a compassionate and meaningful decision. Being an organ donor might also help your family and friends cope with your loss, knowing that you helped to save lives. 

single donor can save eight lives and improve the lives of 75 others by providing organs and tissues. Whether you donate your heart, a kidney or connective tissues, you’ll significantly impact someone’s life. You can become an organ donor in the following ways:

  • Register with your state’s donor registry by signing up online.
  • Designate your choice on your driver’s license when obtaining or renewing it.
  • Tell your family so they know your wishes for donation after your passing.

Tips for Getting Your Affairs in Order

As you’re putting your end-of-life paperwork together, ensure a smooth process by following a few steps:

  • Put your end-of-life paperwork in one place: Once you’ve gathered the necessary documents, it can be helpful to set up a file on your computer or place the papers in a desk or dresser drawer. You might also keep copies of the files at home if your documents are in a bank safe deposit box. Check these places each year to determine whether there’s anything new you should add.
  • Tell a trusted friend or family member where to find your paperwork: List your information and the location of your end-of-life planning documents in a notebook so your family members can easily find them in an emergency. Let your executor, power of attorney agent and other essential people know where to go and inform them of any changes. Ask a lawyer for help if you don’t have a friend or relative you can trust.
  • Discuss your end-of-life preferences with your doctor: Talk with your doctor to ensure your healthcare wishes are honored. A doctor can explain the health decisions you might face and available treatment options. You might also permit them to discuss your information with your caregiver.
  • Consider meeting with a lawyer if needed: If you have any questions about your legal documents or need someone you can trust, discuss your end-of-life plan with a lawyer. You might talk to them about setting up a trust, general power of attorney or durable power of attorney. By preparing an outline of your preferences ahead of time, you may save time and money on attorney fees.

Schedule an Assessment With Corewood Care

Planning your end-of-life wishes is vital for you and your family if you’re living with a terminal illness or nearing the end of your life. While it may be uncomfortable to discuss, sharing your end-of-life documents with family members ensures you live your last years peacefully and that your family is protected and provided for.

If you’re looking for help for yourself or someone you care for during a life transition, consult with an attorney to organize your documents and trust Corewood Care for support through the process. Our care providers are specially trained to offer solutions and help clients navigate the changes that come from aging and terminal illness. We provide premier guidance and advocate for your needs throughout the process.

To schedule an assessment, contact us today.

Geriatricians vs. Gerontologists: What’s the Difference?

While the terms gerontology and geriatrics are often used interchangeably, several differences exist between these two fields. Geriatrics is a specialty in medicine involving the study and treatment of illness and diseases within the elderly community, while gerontology is an all-encompassing study of aging.

While they are two different fields, they share the same goal — improving the quality of life for older adults. Learn more similarities and differences between these two elderly care types and the importance of gerontologists in an increasingly aging population.

What Is Gerontology?

Gerontology is the study of old age, the process of aging and the impacts of aging on the population. The multidisciplinary research is ell-encompassing and covers various aspects of aging, from physical and mental changes to the social changes associated with growing old. 

Researchers and practitioners in the field of gerontology are often well-versed in several areas, such as:

  • Sociology and social sciences
  • Physiology
  • Public health and policy
  • Psychology

Further, gerontology looks into the processes of bodily changes associated with aging and the societal changes of an aging population. Gerontologists can apply their knowledge to various programs and public policies from these perspectives. Gerontologists perform a supportive function in educating other about aging while researching and understanding aging. 

Sub-disciplines of gerontology include:

  • Biogerontology: Biological gerontologists study aging at the cellular and molecular levels. Researchers in biogerontology examine changes in cells and tissues as we age. 
  • Social gerontology: Focuses on the social and societal aspects associated with aging. Researchers in the field will look closely at the relationships between older adults and their families, caregivers and society on a larger scale. They’ll also identify ways aging affects social roles and work to develop programs and public policies to improve the lives of older adults. 
  • Biomedical gerontology: Biomedical gerontologists study the origins of aging and age-related diseases. Researchers will also investigate ways to intervene in the aging process and how to slow, prevent and reverse it. 
  • Environmental gerontology: Environmental gerontology is the study of how older adults interact with their physical and social environments. Researchers will seek to identify the external factors that allow healthy aging. They might also work to optimize the relationship between older adults and their environments by making their surroundings more age-friendly.  
  • Jurisprudential gerontology: Jurisprudential gerontology combines law and gerontological concepts. Researchers identify how law plays a part in aging by examining the interactions between society, law, aging and public policies.

What Is Geriatrics?

Geriatrics is a medical specialty focusing on the care of elderly people. As we age, our cells, tissues and organs change and put us at risk of chronic disease. Common diseases and conditions that can occur as a result of age include:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia

Older adults might also experience high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis, which are conditions that can affect daily tasks. For this reason, geriatricians provide care to address the individual needs of elderly patients. 

What Is a Geriatrician?

A geriatrician is a medical doctor or clinician focused on diagnosing, treating and preventing age-related conditions and diseases. Geriatricians will also tailor care to the unique needs of elderly patients and provide services such as:  

  • Helping patients manage chronic illnesses.
  • Addressing mobility issues and frailty.
  • Offering guidance on medications.
  • Providing support for caregivers and families of elderly patients.
  • Offering hospice care for people with terminal illnesses.

Geriatricians will usually practice in hospitals, outpatient clinics or skilled nursing facilities. They’re often internal medicine doctors who work with other healthcare providers to develop care plans for elderly patients with various health problems. 

Geriatrics vs. Gerontology 

While geriatrics and gerontology are similar when it comes to the population they work with, they have a few key differences. 

Gerontology examines various physical, mental and social changes that occur due to aging. They might work, plan, research and even educate people on the topic while studying all aspects of aging. 

In contrast, geriatricians specialize in elderly care and are often medical doctors. They focus on preventing, diagnosing and treating age-related diseases and conditions. Geriatricians coordinate overall care with other physicians and guide the patient in making treatment choices.

The training that goes into becoming a geriatric doctor 33

v651+5s. a gerontologist is also different. To become a geriatrician, you must complete medical school and a residency in geriatrics. On the other hand, gerontologists don’t face one single path — professionals usually have various backgrounds, from sociology and psychology to anthropology, biology or medicine.

While both fields involve aging and the overlap between the sub-disciplines, they take different approaches to studying the process. Geriatrics focuses on the individual, while gerontology takes a broader approach. Geriatricians seek to understand the aging process to treat diseases and conditions. In contrast, gerontology takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand aging through social, biological and psychological perspectives. 

The Importance of Gerontologists 

The rise of the elderly population only increases the importance of gerontologists today. In 1960, just 9% of the population was made up of those over 65 years old. By 2020, it was at 17% and the elderly population is expected to climb to 22% by 2050. The importance of gerontologists is felt on a social, physical, economic and psychological level: 

  • Medical advancements: By studying the physical aspects of aging, gerontologists have broadened the research in this field and provided powerful insights into the interactions between age and disease. As a result, we can develop preventive measures and rehabilitative treatments to help older adults live a better quality of life. 
  • Positive social shifts: Gerontology has helped drive public policy and put gerontological concepts in the public eye. For these reasons, debates about government funding for social security and Medicare are increasingly highlighted in the mainstream. Further, through the work of gerontologists, the variety of senior living care and communities have significantly grown to help elderly people live comfortable and fulfilling lives.
  • Psychological insights: Gerontologists provide essential insight into age-related mental health conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Therefore, researchers are learning new ways to prevent and treat older patients suffering from various mental issues. 

Learn More About Gerontology Services at Corewood Care

Gerontologists and geriatricians provide crucial care for aging and elderly people. By studying the aging process, healthcare providers can determine helpful methods of treating age-related diseases and conditions. They might also discover ways to prevent common illnesses that occur due to the aging process. 

We’ve seen vast improvements in treating and caring for an increasingly aging population through these critical fields of work. When you have a family member who requires gerontology-based services, trust Corewood Care. We specialize in care management and home care for seniors and provide around-the-clock assistance and rehabilitation for acute medical illnesses. 

We look forward to helping your loved one maintain a healthy and happy quality of life. To learn more or schedule a free assessment, get in touch with us today. 

Skilled Nursing vs. Long-Term Care

Skilled nursing vs long-term care

As people grow older, they often require more help, sometimes at home or at specialized care facilities. It can be an emotional experience for individuals and family members when that time comes. To make that time even more challenging, the terms used for types of senior care can be confusing.

What is skilled nursing care? What is long-term care? Who needs these types of care, and how do you decide what is right for your family? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you navigate senior care management and find the best care plan, simplifying the process.

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care is daily care provided by registered nurses. This type of care is administered under a doctor’s orders and supervision. In many cases, skilled nursing care is given in a skilled nursing facility. This type of care is administered with the goal of eventually sending the patient home again.

What Qualifies a Patient for Skilled Nursing Care?

Patients who undergo surgery or have a medical condition that requires care during the recovery period may need skilled nursing care. For example, a patient who has undergone surgery and needs wound care may be a candidate for skilled nursing care. A patient who has had a stroke and needs physical therapy and speech therapy to help them to recover would need skilled nursing care, as well.

Examples of Skilled Nursing Services

Some of the common types of skilled nursing are: 

  • Physical therapy: Following a fall or surgery, older adults may need physical therapy to regain mobility. Skilled nursing care facilities can provide trained physical therapists to help patients recover their physical strength. The ultimate goal of physical therapy will be to help individuals recover and go home. 
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy helps people adapt to the changes they may experience following an illness or injury. For example, an occupational therapist may help a patient learn how to feed or dress through a series of coordination exercises. This type of therapy is meant to help people be as active as possible when they return home after undergoing skilled nursing care.
  • Speech therapy: Older adults may experience speech challenges following a medical event like a stroke. A speech therapist at a skilled nursing facility can help assess communication challenges and work with the individual to rebuild their language skills. A speech therapist can help their patients through exercises targeted at strengthening the muscles involved in speech.
  • Nutrition therapy: Skilled nursing can help address nutritional needs related to specific conditions, such as stroke or congestive heart failure. Nutrition therapy can address healthy eating and strategies for receiving proper nutrition when a patient has difficulty swallowing.
  • Stroke recovery: A stroke can have a significant impact on an individual’s mobility and speech. Skilled nursing is available specifically to help people recover from strokes and adapt to their environments. Post-stroke care can involve a multitude of therapies commonly offered in skilled nursing settings, including speech therapy and occupational therapy. 
  • Cardiac rehab: Following a heart attack, older adults may need to undergo cardiac rehabilitation. This kind of skilled nursing care can involve a variety of approaches to improving cardiovascular health. Exercise is an important part of cardiac rehab. Patients will also receive education on how to adopt behaviors to maintain heart health and manage stress.
  • Pulmonary rehab: Adults with chronic lung conditions, such as pulmonary fibrosis, may experience periods of hospitalization. Doctors may recommend patients with lung conditions undergo a pulmonary rehabilitation program through a skilled nursing facility. This type of rehab will focus on managing chronic lung conditions and improving activity levels.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is for people who need assistance with daily activities on an ongoing basis. While this type of service is provided by trained professionals, it doesn’t require the same level of medical expertise as skilled nursing care. Long-term care can be provided in dedicated facilities or at home, depending on the individual’s unique needs.

Examples of Long-Term Care

A few examples of long-term care include the following:

  • Home care: When older adults need help with daily tasks, such as bathing and preparing meals, home care can be the answer. Someone from a dedicated home care team will come to the person’s home to help them with nonmedical tasks. This type of care helps adults to live with dignity while giving them the support they need. This term is often used interchangeably with home health care, but this type of care involves medical support, such as medication administration, in the home.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia care: When a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, caring for them at home alone can become difficult. As the individual experiences memory loss and communication, their need for outside care grows. Caregivers trained to work with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients can come to the home to assist with their daily care.
  • Companion care: Not all long-term care is about providing activity and housekeeping support. Some people may find value in emotional support, as well. Companion care is ideal for older adults who feel lonely at home. Someone from a trusted companion care team will come to socialize and help out with small tasks, like running errands.
  • Transition care: After a stay in the hospital, older adults might need help transitioning back to life at home. Once at home again, patients may be vulnerable to infection or falls. Transition care can help them reduce these risks and keep them at home instead of back in the hospital. 

How Corewood Care Can Help

Everyone we work with has unique needs, and our team works with compassion to provide that essential care. We offer a broad selection of care services at Corewood Care, such as home care services, 24/7 in-home care, companion services, care management, Alzheimer’s care services and more. We aim to manage care needs to enable people to live their lives comfortably and gracefully.

If you are interested in learning more about our long-term care services, schedule a free home care assessment

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

What is skilled nursing care?

When most people think of the term “skilled nursing,” they usually have conflicting ideas of what it entails. When considering options for care, skilled care may be recommended and not all providers or communities are able to offer this level of care. 

Skilled nursing services involve a high level of medical care that is provided by or under the supervision of a licensed health professional, such as registered nurses, occupational, physical and speech therapists. Usually, this type of care is offered in skilled nursing facilities, rehabs, or long term care facilities with at least one physician that oversees patients’ care.

Skilled nursing facilities must meet specific criteria while being periodically inspected for high-quality standards.

Skilled nursing staff consists of

What Are Examples of Skilled Nursing Care?

If your family member has had surgery or extensive treatment for health conditions, they might require skilled nursing care following their release from the hospital. For instance, if your older family member has had a stroke or has a disability, they’ll typically require extended rehabilitation services that only certified nurses can provide.

The care provided in a skilled nursing facility is more complex and intense in nature and the patients need a this care on a frequent or consistent basis due to a chronic medical condition.

Examples of skilled nursing care include:  

  • Physical therapy: After an illness, surgery or specific injuries, physical therapy is prescribed to patients to restore function and mobility, and minimize pain. Physical therapists will use manual therapy methods such as exercise, massage and stretching, to improve the alignment and flexibility of bones and soft tissues.
  • Occupational therapy: This is a form of therapy is performed by a licensed occupational therapist, with a focus on helping the patient become more independent in performing their activities of daily living after an illness or injury. While physical therapy focuses on the functioning of the body, occupational therapy focuses on the actual activity you need or want to perform every day. 
  • Speech therapy: Performed by speech and language pathologists, speech therapy focuses on improving a patient’s language, communication, swallowing and fluence after an illness or injury. Speech therapists provide treatment for patients with aphasia, cognitive-linguistic impairments, dysphasia and other swallowing disorders. 

Skilled nursing staff consists of:

  • Medical Doctors
  • Registered nurses
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Speech and language pathologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Audiologists
  • Social workers
  • Nursing assistants
  • Nutritionists

What Qualifies a Patient for Skilled Nursing Care?

To qualify for skilled nursing care, a physician will need to determine that you require daily skilled care provided by a skilled healthcare professional. 

Overall, skilled services are necessary at a higher frequency in high-intensive settings, meaning treatment at home or intermediate care facilities isn’t applicable. These services also involve a personalized plan and goal-setting to improve your family member’s functionality or medical condition in a set timeframe.

Your family member should exhibit health conditions that require services that meet the following criteria:

  • Services needed at a high frequency or intensity: Typically, your family member will need around-the-clock care for health issues that can only be cared for in skilled medical facilities such as a disability, severe injury and post-surgery care.
  • Services need to be monitored weekly: Your family member will require skilled nursing for daily specialty treatment that will need to be evaluated weekly for improvement.

For an extended stay in a skilled nursing facility, your family member must display a measurable and significant improvement from therapy that healthcare workers will evaluate weekly. Examples of professional nursing services that meet the requirement are tube-feeding, IV injections, colostomy care and urinary catheter care.

What Is the Difference Between Home Health and Skilled Nursing?

Skilled nursing can be provided in a facility or in a the home by a Medicare approved home health care agency. While both services offer highly skilled care, some skilled nursing care is better managed in a facility versus a home based setting. Additional differences include insurance coverage, frequency of the services and the ability of the professional providing the care.

1. Patients 

Patients who require skilled nursing will usually need close monitoring and extensive care. This can be provided in a nursing facility or at home with home health care. However, some patients require nursing staff to be present at all times, around the clock and this is not provided by home health care. Additionally, some home health care agencies are not able to provide the frequency that a nursing facility can provide. Some patients requiring skilled services will need to be evaluated daily in an intensive skilled nursing facility and may transition into home care when they’re physically able.

2. Services

Skilled nursing typically involves medically-related health services such as administering medication through injection, wound and pain management or rehabilitation equipment for physical therapy. Home health care agencies can provide skilled nursing services, but may not be able to cover or manager certain complex chronic conditions which require frequent monitoring and multiple professionals involved.

3. Care Providers

For skilled nursing, registered nurses are usually assigned to ensure your family member is given the medical care they need at precise times of the day. Professional providers such as different therapists will also be involved in their care. Home health agencies may not have the range of specialists and providers that a facility has and therefore may not be able to provide that provider in to you in your home. 

4. Insurance Coverage

Skilled nursing care is typically covered under Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance. However, this coverage is often limited in duration. Examples of criteria that need to be met include: 

  • Experiencing functional decline: Rehabilitative therapies are intended to treat a recently documented decline in your family member’s functional performance due to illness, injury, disease or surgery.
  • Meets minimum assistance requirements: As an example, according to BlueCross BlueShield policies, skilled rehabilitation services are applicable when your family member requires two examples of assistance — bed mobility, transfers and ambulation or wheelchair use for up to 70 feet.
  • A high enough frequency of care is needed: For most insurers, your family members can receive skilled nursing care when they require rehabilitation for at least one hour a day, five days a week. 
  • Expected to improve: Your family member can receive coverage for skilled nursing services if they’re expected to get better in a reasonable timeframe.

Learn More About Corewood Care

When you have a family member who requires home health services, trust Corewood Care. If you have an aging parent who needs to be transitioned into at-home care, we provide ADL services and guidance throughout the process.

We specialize in elder care and provide around-the-clock services to support your family when you need it the most. Learn more about Corewood Care today.

What Is Respite Care?

With increased life expectancies and more people living with disabilities and chronic conditions today, many family members take on the role of primary caregiver to provide at-home care to family members. While providing care for a loved one or family member is a rewarding experience, it is easy to forget to take care of one’s self when they are a full time caregiver.

Primary caregivers may be family members, neighbors or friends who take over the caregiving responsibilities of another. Often, primary caregivers continue to juggle their own personal and professional responsibilities while caring for another. This in turn can lead to exhaustion, stress, isolation, guilt and ultimately, caregiver burnout. 

Respite care offers primary caregivers short-term or temporary relief from their care responsibilities. This type of care will provide the primary caregiver with some downtime to rest and recharge. Let’s take a look at the benefits of respite care and how this could help you and your family member. 

Respite caregivers can be family members, friends or other healthcare professionals who take over caregiving responsibilities. Caregiving presents its own sets of rewards and challenges. However, when you’re providing care every day for an extended period, you’ll need help carrying the weight. Learn the difference between respite care and home care, the benefits of respite assistance and how you can receive respite care for your family member.

What Do Respite Caregivers Do?

A 2020 study found that one in five Americans act as primary caregivers for family members. With an increasing number of older adults living longer, this number is expected to rise significantly. If you are a primary caregiver, respite care and respite care services temporarily assume your day-to-day caregiving duties and provide you with some rest and relief. Respite care can be provided in your home, adult day centers, assisted living communities or healthcare facility, giving you peace of mind while you take a much-needed break.

While typical home care services offer day-to-day support, on an ongoing basis, respite care/caregivers, provide this care for a temporary period. This may be for a few weeks, a few days or a few hours, it is up to the primary caregiver to decide what would be best for them and the person they are caring for. You can schedule respite caregivers for temporary relief on the days or times you need it the most.

Examples of respite care services include:

  • ADL: Respite caregivers can assist with activities of daily living (ADL) for your family member who needs help eating, bathing or walking.
  • IADL: They can assist with Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, driving to and from appointments during the time that you are away. 
  • Enrichment activities: If you care for a parent with dementia, respite caregivers can partake in stimulating activities, or if you have a disabled child, they can assist with physical therapy routines.
  • Education: Most providers offer instruction and guidance when an older adult is transitioning through cognitive decline stages or when you have questions about specific health issues.
  • Safety: Caregivers can be there in the home to offer you peace of mind that your family member is safe and can be there in case of any emergency.

Depending on the type of respite care you choose, providers and agencies offering respite care services can facilitate the areas you need help with the most, including, post-hospitalization, rehab or skilled nursing services.

Types of Respite Care

Ultimately, respite care will involve someone else providing care to your family member while you care for yourself. If you need someone to stop by while you run errands or hit the gym, for instance, a caregiver can provide respite services at your home. 

In-Home Respite Care

Caregivers, professional or volunteers, can provide home respite care. Maybe you have to travel for business and need someone to stay at home, or you need someone to watch over your older parent at night to prevent them from wandering so you can get a good night’s rest, or you want to get to the gym, see a friend or continue a hobby that takes place a few hours during the day. You can schedule respite caregivers to be there for your loved one when you cannot physically be present at home.

  • Volunteers: You can enlist volunteers from schools, churches or non-profit organizations for respite caregiving services.
  • Home Care Agencies: Home-care agencies can provide temporary at-home services for your family members offering assistance with bathing, medication reminders, dressing as well as meal preparation, shopping and housekeeping duties.
  • Temporary Stay at Assisted Living: Many communities offer temporary stays to older adults while their primary caregiver needs respite. They can enjoy the amenities, social activities and light personal care while you are away.

Out-of-Home Services

Depending on your location, respite caregivers can care for children, adults and seniors at private and non-profit facilities.

  • Adult daycare: These centers are designed for adults who cannot manage independently or are isolated. Daycare centers plan activities to promote well-being by providing companionship and other activities during the week to improve social health.
  • Residential programs: Group homes, assisted living communities and other facilities offer temporary accommodations to older adults.
  • Caregiver retreats and respite camps: Education, peer support and other services are often available at these retreats, depending on your location. They’ll provide rest, relaxation and inspirational activities for rejuvenation before returning to caregiving responsibilities.

Benefits of Respite Care

Respite caregivers can ease the stress associated with taking care of your family member while you care for yourself. Whether it’s for a few days or a few weeks, respite assistance can give you the time to restore your energy and promote balance in your life. Learn about the benefits respite care can provide for you and your family member.

Promotes Relaxation

You’ll need help from time to time to take care of your own health to care for your family members. Respite care can alleviate the issues associated with taking care of others for an extended period, and it’s perfectly normal to enlist help at a time when you need relaxation.

A vacation or weekend away can prevent burnout during a long period of caregiving. When respite care ends, you’ll have the opportunity to return to your family member with a fresh mindset so that your caregiving role is more enjoyable for the both of you. Breaks can provide much-needed rest while restoring you with better focus to tackle any challenges.

Boosts Social Health

It’s essential to avoid isolation by keeping up with your relationships between friends and other family members. Solid relationships are vital for us as humans and promote the social engagement we need for our mental health. Taking a vacation with friends and meeting new people can help your overall mind and body, and you can reclaim your identity as more than a caretaker.

Promotes Healthier Relationships

Spending too much time with the person you care for can be detrimental to the relationship. Following the same schedule, having the same conversations or being cooped up in the same house for extended periods can create boredom or resentment. Respite care can help you take a break in your routine, have fun and establish a healthier relationship with the person you care for when you return.

Provides Assistance and Care

If you don’t have prior professional caregiving experience, respite caregivers can provide education and tips for caring for your family member. When you feel like you need support or the weight of caretaking responsibilities rests solely on your shoulders, respite care can offer you much relief when you aren’t sure what to do in a particular situation.

Severe health conditions might require special care that you don’t have the time or skills to provide. Respite caregivers can help you with bathing, meal prep and other small tasks that might prevent you from taking on your central role effectively.

How Long Can You Stay in Respite Care?

You define the amount of time your family member stays in respite care. Most people typically set a specific number of days, from a few hours to a few weeks. Respite care is generally reserved for short-term help when you need relief or help with taking care of your family member’s needs.

Studies show that primary family caregivers have a significant risk of developing anxiety, depression and overall burnout, with 40% to 70% experiencing depression.

Caregiving can feel like a full-time job when you’re caring for someone with severe health issues. Most family caregivers have no experience or proper guidance while taking care of a family member, and it can be taxing when you have no backup help or the proper breaks you need.

It’s logical to assume that you cannot provide all the assistance your family member needs or be by their side 24 hours, seven days a week. Respite care is necessary when you need a temporary break or if you’d like extra assistance while completing other caregiving or housekeeping tasks.

Many caregivers receive no support while providing intense care and going through health problems themselves. Even if you feel like you can handle all of the duties, you should take a break occasionally to avoid mental or physical strain.

Whether it’s for a day, a weekend or a couple of weeks, respite care can give you the break you need. If you’ve been missing your doctor’s appointments because you’ve had a packed schedule or you haven’t seen friends in a while, do what you need during this time — how much time and how you spend your respite care period is up to you.

Is Respite Care Covered by Medicare?

Respite services generally charge by the hour or number of days and weeks you need it. Often, insurance plans won’t cover these costs, so you’ll need to cover them.

If your family member qualifies for hospice care, Medicare will cover most of the cost of respite care. To qualify, a hospice doctor and a primary care doctor need to certify that your family member has a terminal illness and that they expect your family member to live no more than six months.

If Medicare approves your family member, they will cover the costs of room and board and care in a certified inpatient hospice facility for up to five days. You or your family member may have to pay for 5% of inpatient care costs. You can have one five-day respite period under each billing cycle.

Is Respite Care Covered by Medicaid?

Medicaid is different from Medicare in that it’s a federal program administered by individual states, so the rules for coverage will vary depending on your location. However, Medicaid’s Home & Community-Based Care Services (HCBS) program generally covers respite care.

Additionally, your family member might qualify for in-home care in a facility covered by Medicaid, depending on where you live.

To determine if your state offers respite care benefits, you can visit the HCBS program page and look for your state’s profile. Contact your state’s Medicaid agency to talk with someone who can answer your questions and help you cover respite care costs.

How to Choose a Respite Care Provider

If you’ve decided you need respite care, you’ll want to ensure the person who takes over caregiving responsibilities is reliable, trustworthy and possibly certified, depending on your needs. There are a few ways you can choose a respite care provider. These include:

  • Friends and family: If your care includes light assistance or housekeeping, sometimes asking friends or family members to provide a watchful eye can give you the quick respite care you need.
  • Agency: Connect with a home care agency to find providers who have the skills and tasks you need to meet your family member’s needs. 
  • Individual provider: You can look for a caregiver independently without paying for the fees an agency would require. However, you will need to conduct your own background and licensing checks and there is no nursing supervision or back-up support.

Keep an eye out for specific things to look for in the right respite care provider, including:

  • Licensing: Make sure your potential provider has the necessary up-to-date licensing if your family member requires medical attention and they are insured and vetted.
  • References: Make sure your caregiver prospect has reliable references before employing them for respite services. You’ll want to ask for references from past facilities or families they’ve worked with to get a good idea of how they work.
  • Screening and evaluation: If you’re using an agency to find a provider, ask them how they screen and evaluate their caregivers to ensure you know their process and who you could be potentially working with.
  • Reliability: Find someone who will be prompt and show up when you need them to. Ask questions in your interview process to ensure your potential carer is the right person for the job.

If you’re looking for your provider on your own, you’ll want to screen your prospects through an interview. Potential questions might be:

  • What is your training and level of experience?
  • How do you react in emergencies?
  • What special skills do you have to make you a good fit for this role?
  • If you cannot provide care on a specific day, do you have a backup plan?
  • What services are included in your costs? How is payment arranged?

Learn more about Corewood Care’s Senior Home Care Services

We know how fulfilling it is to take care of those you love. We also understand how easy it is to forget to take care of yourself when you’re faced with the challenges of providing long-term care for someone.

Corewood Care specializes in-home care services specializing in respite care for elderly family members. Trust our dedicated team to support you and provide individual attention to your family members while you care for yourself.

Learn more about how our senior home care services can help you today.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

If you have a family member who would benefit from socialization, assistance with day-to-day activities or direct access to nursing care, you might be considering a move and wondering about the differences between assisted living and nursing homes. The primary distinctions between these two options are the level of care provided and the cost. Generally, assisted living communities are for older adults who can no longer live on their own but do not need the daily nursing care provided in a nursing home. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, are for individuals who require a higher level of medical care and monitoring.

Another noteworthy difference is that assisted living communities offer residents a social, home-like setting, while nursing homes offer a clinical setting to accommodate frequent observation and manage complex medical care . Both types of residential alternatives have specific benefits — learning about these unique advantages can help you make the best choice for your relatives. 

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities provide residents with an apartment-style living accommodation as well as other amenities and common areas. They help residents with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and medication reminders and have nurses and aides on-site. Additionally, they offer different services such as housekeeping, meals, laundry and daily social activities.

These communities are state regulated and a licensed nurse is responsible for completing an individualized assessment for each resident to ensure they can provide the appropriate level of care. Ancillary staff is available throughout the day, including maintenance, housekeeping and dining staff members.  

Health care professionals such as chiropractors, dentists and geriatricians will often make on-site visits. Some communities have even started offering occupational or physical therapy services supervised by licensed nurses, while others provide specialized memory care units for older adults with cognitive difficulties. 

Like nursing homes, assisted living communities have emergency pull cords and other safety systems. Both residential alternatives offer laundry delivery services, light housekeeping and personal care. 

Benefits of Assisted Living

A move to assisted living could help your aging relative enjoy health and happiness with the following advantages.

  • Entertainment: Many assisted living communities offer entertainment and engagement via book clubs, poker and card tournaments, music and art classes, communal gardens and movie nights. 
  • Intellectual stimulation: Assisted living facilities provide lifelong learning opportunities. Older adults can stay engaged in an assisted living facility via brain games, guest lecturers and even personal tablets. 
  • Help with daily activities: One of the primary benefits of a move to assisted living is the availability of help with activities like bathing and getting dressed. 
  • Security and safety for older adults: Safety is undoubtedly your primary concern when seeking a new home for your loved one. Assisted living facilities provide security-related benefits such as on-call staff, disaster preparation and minimized fall risks. 
  • A healthier lifestyle: Older adults have unique nutrition and fitness needs. Many assisted living facilities boost members’ health with on-site exercise classes and dining services that provide flavorful, nutritious options. 

What Is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, offer a wide range of personal and health care services. These typically focus on medical care and include assistance with everyday activities, rehabilitation services, 24-hour supervision, nursing care and three meals a day. Individuals will go to a skilled nursing facility when their care needs are medically complex and require licensed healthcare professionals to manage and oversee their care. This type of care is often too complex for non-skilled communities such as assisted living facilities. 

Nursing homes provide:

  • Around the clock, 24/7 care
  • Skilled nursing care and Personal care, including toilet assistance, bathing and dressing
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Wound care
  • Recreational and social opportunities
  • Administration and management of medication
  • Room and board

Types of Senior Living

There are many different types of living options for older adults. Understanding the type of care provided and services offered to residents will help when making a decision. Below is an overview of some of the different types of senior living communities.

Independent Living Community or Retirement Community

These communities are ideal for older adults, typically 55 and above, who are able to live independently but want to have access to amenities, activities and services. Many offer various types of living arrangements, from houses to apartments. Independent living communities often have social gatherings, planned events, clubs, interest groups and maintenance services. Most independent living communities do not offer medical or nursing care, therefore if a resident requires assistance with care, they will need to coordinate these services privately. Other services include:

  • Planned activities and events
  • On-campus restaurants and cooking
  • Home and lawn maintenance
  • Housekeeping

Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities offer personalized services and amenities to their residents with the added benefit of nursing assistance with their activities of daily living. They provide residents with more support and engagement than independent living communities. Assisted living communities allow older adults to continue to live an independent lifestyle while receiving care and support with activities such as bathing, grooming, medication management by nursing professionals. 

Continuous Care Retirement Community

A continuous care retirement community may be an ideal option if you suspect your family member’s needs will change. They offer different housing options on one campus and provide different levels of care that support various stages of life. These campuses allow their residents to live in one location without having to move should their care needs change. These communities are commonly most expensive and typically have buy-in fees and monthly charges.

Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility is probably your best option if your relative needs complex skilled nursing care services such as wound care, ventilator care, tracheostomy care or intravenous medication administration and management. These facilities offer long-term care for medically necessary cases and are generally best for short-term stays. They provide access to a Medical Director, Delegating Nurses, Charge Nurses, Social Workers, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Certified Nursing Assistants. The type of care provided is skilled and these facilities are typically referred to as “nursing homes”. 

Factors to Determine Which Option Is Right for Your Family Member

The following considerations will help you choose the best senior living housing option for your family member.

  • Transportation services: What are the transportation options if non-emergency medical services are unavailable on the premises?
  • Expense: How much does care cost? Does insurance cover any of the costs? How often does the community bill?
  • Admission requirements: How long does the admissions process take, and what financial information will the community require during the admissions process? 
  • Meals: How do residents access their daily meals? Do they have different meal options? Can residents make their own meals?
  • Employees: Does the community have nurses and caregivers on-site? Does the community allow for private caregivers? 
  • Resident care plans: How often does a licensed physician review and adjust customized care plans? All residents’ physicians must evaluate their needs and prescribe a medication program, diet restraints and therapy. 
  • Room sharing and furnishings: Look into the facility’s room-sharing policy. If your family member will have to share a bathroom or living space with other residents, will they have the power to change roommates if dissatisfied? 
  • Residents’ mental and emotional well-being: Intellectually stimulating social activities play a significant role in older adults’ mental and emotional health. A high-quality program should have regularly scheduled social events such as educational classes, bingo, exercise or a weekly musical event or movie. 
  • Staffing: The staff-to-patient ratio during each shift is essential.
  • Physical consideration: What are the facility’s visiting hours, and how convenient is it to where you live? Location is crucial in determining how often family and friends visit patients.
  • Physical consideration: What are the facility’s visiting hours, and how convenient is it to where you live? Location is crucial in determining how often family and friends visit patients.

Learn More About Corewood Care’s Senior In-Home Care Services

At Corewood Care, we understand older adults can experience the best caretaking services in the comfort of their own homes. 

As life changes, so do people’s needs, and we strive to make a difference in our clients’ lives. Count on us for senior home care services such as personal care assistance, Alzheimer’s care, companionship care, home helper services, respite care, transportation services and day programs to keep older adults entertained with interactive activities. 

Do you have questions about our senior home care services or need help determining if they’re appropriate for your family member? We invite you to reach out online to schedule your free care assessment today. 

What Is Companion Care?

Companion care is a type of non-medical care for older adults. Companion care primarily provides socialization and emotional support. However, care providers can also help with custodial care services such as running errands, doing light housekeeping, performing household chores, planning activities, scheduling appointments, cooking meals, providing transportation and more. Companion care allows older adults to remain in their homes while receiving care.

Socialization is a basic human need, but it’s harder for aging adults to meet with friends and family for various reasons. This is where companion care providers can step in and offer support. While companion care is not a medically necessary service, it can significantly impact an individual’s health. Loneliness, depression and anxiety can bring about health complications such as high blood pressure and heart conditions. Companion care can help prevent these conditions and support an individual’s mental health. 

How Does Companion Care Work?

Older adults can receive companion care formally or informally. Friends or family members can informally provide companion care by visiting and helping with household chores. Local organizations and home care agencies provide companion care on a formal, paid basis. 

Care providers often assess an individual’s needs prior to providing services. This assessment allows them to determine what type of care is best for the individual, when they will need care and what type of services they’ll require. 

Companion caregivers engage older adults in conversation, listen to them, play simple card games or board games with them, take walks with them and join them in any other activities they may be interested in. They also provide transportation for errands, appointments or other activities. In some situations, they may cook for individuals or perform light household tasks that older adults struggle with. 

When working with a home care agency, the agency will schedule the companion care provider to weekly visits, while others may benefit from two to three visits per week. Some individuals may require daily visits because they need help with everyday tasks. 

Companion caregivers also keep family members informed. They communicate with other care professionals and family members to ensure older adults receive the care that’s best for them. Care team members use their time with individuals to monitor their physical, mental and emotional well-being to create personalized care plans tailored to each person’s needs. 

Benefits of Companion Care

Benefits of Companion Care

Companion care benefits older adults in various ways. It provides companionship, emotional support and improved quality of life. When older adults live alone and struggle to leave their houses, they often experience isolation and loneliness. They may not be able to meet with friends or visit family often. 

Companion care providers can alleviate this loneliness by spending time with care recipients and provide engaging conversation. They provide social connection, which is vital for a person’s health and overall well-being. Humans are wired for connection, and social interaction has the following health benefits:

  • Improved mental health
  • Controlled blood sugar
  • Decreased depression symptoms
  • Higher chances of cancer survival 
  • Lower rates of cardiovascular mortality
  • Lower blood pressure

Lack of social interaction negatively impacts one’s health and can lead to increased mortality rates. Companion care can help older adults live longer, healthier, more fulfilled lives. Companionship helps people feel understood, welcomed, valued and close to another person. 

In addition to spending time with care recipients, companionship providers can help them remain engaged and active in their community. Care providers can transport them to senior centers, community centers and other locations that offer activities for older adults. They can also help individuals plan fun activities such as going to movies, shopping, sightseeing and visiting friends. They can help keep older adults active and healthy by doing physical activities with them such as walking or swimming.

Companion care can also help grieving individuals cope with the death of a spouse. Some older adults lack family members or cannot see their relatives often. When some older adults lose their spouse, they lose their primary source of companionship. In these cases, companion care can provide the comfort and support needed when a person is grieving. 

Older adults living independently sometimes struggle to keep up with household tasks such as cleaning, doing laundry, cooking and running errands. Companion care providers can relieve individuals of these responsibilities by helping them complete tasks around the house or doing household chores for them. This assistance can help relieve stress and give older adults an overall better quality of life. 

Companion care allows older individuals to remain independent and enjoy the comfort of their own homes. It decreases the risk of isolation and depression, increases overall happiness and mental health, relieves the stress of household responsibilities and provides needed transportation. Older adults often look forward to visiting with companion care providers and find comfort in knowing that they have someone they can rely on for help with transportation and household tasks. 

Companion care providers also create consistency for older adults. Their services become a routine for older adults and something they can look forward to. Individuals can request care at times that are most convenient for them and enjoy the comfort of counting on a reliable companion.

Home companion care

Companion Caregiving vs. Personal Caregiving

Companion care focuses on having a caregiver assist with Instrumental activities of daily living such as social companionship, help with household tasks, cooking, assistance running errands, transportation, medication reminders, while personal care caregivers provide hands-on care and assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, fall precautions.

Personal caregiving provides the same services as companion care, but it also offers physical assistance with tasks such as toileting, dressing and bathing. Personal care providers provide non-medical care for chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s and diabetes. They can assist with tasks such as the following:

  • Emptying catheter bags and other external urinary collecting devices
  • Bowel regularity assistance
  • Emptying colostomy bags
  • Incontinence care

Companion care is beneficial to individuals who need companionship and help with basic household tasks. However, if they also require personal hands-on care such as personal hygiene, grooming and toileting assistance, they will benefit more from personal care services.

Signs Companion Care Is Right for Your Family Member

Older adults who live independently are at risk of isolation and loneliness. Even if family members are able to visit them once in a while, they may require more help and companionship than their family can provide. This is when companion care services can help. Companion care is beneficial for older adults who feel isolated, struggle to keep up with household tasks and need help getting to and from various places.

If an individual experiences forgetfulness/cognitive decline, or they lose their ability to drive, they may need companion care to help them get around and complete tasks around the house. Another sign that a family member may need companion care is sadness, depression, anxiety or loneliness. If an individual often expresses feelings of sadness or loneliness, or if they simply don’t seem like themselves most of the time, they may be struggling with isolation.

Another sign that an older adult needs companion care is if their family members struggle to keep up with their care. Work, family obligations and other responsibilities can keep people busy, and they may not have adequate time to care for an aging adult. If you’re struggling with care tasks such as driving your family members to appointments, helping them with chores or entertaining them, companion care may be right for them. 

Companion care can relieve family members of caring for an aging adult so they can enjoy their time with them rather than stressing over care tasks. It can also give families peace of mind that their family member is taken care of even when they can’t be there. Companion care is also ideal for older adults who don’t have many family members or friends to spend time with them. 

If an individual spends most of their time alone, companion care can be a solution to reduce the isolation they feel. Companion care can be right for a person if they experience difficulties living independently but want to continue living in and receiving care in their own home.

Does Insurance Cover Companion Care?

Does insurance cover companion care?

Medicare, the government insurance program for American adults age 65 and older, does not cover companion care services. Medicare will only cover medically necessary services, and in some cases, it will cover short-term personal care if it is in combination with medically necessary services. Medicaid, the state and federal health insurance program for United States citizens with low income, offers different services based on where an individual lives. For example, Medicaid covers custodial care services in some states but not others.

Private insurance plans will sometimes cover more elder care services than Medicare and Medicaid. For example, comprehensive long-term care insurance policies will sometimes cover health services and custodial care to certain limits. For an insurance policy to cover these services, individuals must purchase this coverage before they actually need the services. 

How to Choose Quality Companion Care

When searching for companion care, individuals and families should make sure they choose an agency that provides quality care. People should look for an agency with the following qualities and benefits:

  • Trained, qualified and compassionate staff
  • Client care plans
  • Replacement staff when caregivers are unavailable
  • The option for 24/7 care

It’s important that companion care providers are compassionate and trained to provide quality care. Families should check with agencies to see if they create client care plans and involve families in the plans. They should also inquire about what services an agency offers and if they have replacement staff to fill in when regular caregivers are unavailable. Additionally, if individuals need 24/7 care or may require it in the future, families should find out if an agency offers it.

Schedule a Free Assessment With Corewood Care

Aging adults need companionship to avoid depression and feelings of isolation. Companion care can provide them with social companionship, transportation and help around the house. This arrangement allows older adults to continue living independently in their own homes. Even though it’s not a medically necessary service, companionship can significantly impact mental, physical and emotional well-being. At Corewood Care, our goal is to help older adults thrive and live gracefully while receiving the necessary care. 

From companion care to home health care, our compassionate, qualified staff works to create individual care plans and tailor services to each person. Every person is different, so we monitor clients’ emotional, mental and physical well-being to meet their unique needs. Contact Corewood Care to schedule a free assessment and decide if companion care is right for your family member.

What Is Elder Care?

What is elder care?

Elder care is specialized care intended for adults aged 65 and over. This type of care provides assistance to individuals as they transition into later stages of life. Some individuals may need help completing daily tasks in order to live independently and safely while others may need hands on personal care or skilled care. Some people may simply need companionship to fulfill emotional needs.

The level of care depends on one’s physical, mental and emotional health along with their individual needs and preferences. Older adults can receive elder care services in communities, facilities or in the comfort of their own homes. 

How Does Elder Care Work?

Older adults may face mental and physical difficulties that prevent them from performing their regular Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Elder care is a service that helps them with these challenges. Experienced healthcare professionals, hired care providers and even family members, can assist older adults in the recipient’s home or in more formal settings, such as memory-care facilities, full-service skilled nursing facilities or assisted living communities.

Older adults will receive different types of care based on their needs. Some people have debilitating or chronic conditions that require more hands-on care and attention than others. Many older adults need assistance due to memory loss. Some people may only need a little help remembering to take their medicine at the correct time each day, while others might struggle more with their memory and find themselves in unsafe situations. They might forget important tasks such as taking food off the stove.

What are the types of care for older adults?

What Are the Types of Care for Older Adults?

Older adults require different types of care depending on their physical, cognitive and emotional functioning. Some individuals require medical care for physical impairments or health conditions while others simply need help with basic tasks around their house or assistance running errands. Families are sometimes able to provide care for older adults, but this responsibility can strain their work schedules and other aspects of their lives.

Elder care services can provide care to individuals in their homes or in senior living communities to relieve families of these responsibilities.

Custodial Care and Skilled Care

Custodial care/Personal Care refers to non-medical care while skilled care refers to medical care. Custodial care/Personal Care provides older adults assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, showering, getting in and out of a chair or bed, toileting, walking and dressing. Custodial care also provides older adults assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as shopping, household chores, necessary business tasks and getting around for various purposes. Adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s usually need custodial care.

Skilled care provides older adults assistance with medical services such as administering IV medications, providing physical therapy and wound care. Only licensed or certified medical professionals can provide skilled care. Older adults can receive custodial care in an adult day care setting, at home or in a senior living community such as a group home for older adults, assisted living community or skilled nursing facility.

Memory Care and Assisted Living

Senior living communities may have residences with Memory care and assisted living. Memory care and assisted living provide residents with hands-on care and assistance. These communities also provide social activities, meals, medication monitoring, laundry, housekeeping, and a nurse on-site at all times.

Memory care is meant for individuals who have dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Memory care typically has a lower resident to staff ratio than assisted living because memory care residents need higher levels of care.

Memory care staff members are trained to work with specific needs associated with dementia, such as physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral issues. Memory care units implement increased security and restrict residents from unaccompanied outings to keep residents safe and prevent them from wandering. 

Adult Day Care

Adult day care is a service within a structured setting that provides care and supervision for older adults during the day. This service is usually offered during weekdays, and it’s typically meant to relieve unpaid family caregivers from their caregiving responsibilities so they can go to work or perform other necessary tasks. It’s also a form of respite care that relieves primary caregivers from their caregiving responsibilities.

Virtual Companion Care

Virtual companion care provides home care via the internet. Through this type of care, older adults use a tablet computer to interact with others and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Care providers communicate with older adults through the tablet to monitor their mood and safety and remind them to take necessary medications. Virtual companion care can be a more affordable alternative for older adults who live alone but don’t require hands-on care.

Palliative and Hospice Care

Palliative care and hospice care provide pain management and support for individuals who are terminally ill. These care types are different from medical care because their purposes are not to cure any underlying conditions. Palliative care offers relief from pain and suffering, and hospice care is a more comprehensive care type that includes palliative care. Patients receiving palliative care are not always hospice patients.

Home care providers help individuals by cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and accompanying them when they need to run errands or attend doctor's appointments

What Is Elder Care at Home?

Older individuals can receive care in the comfort of their own homes through homecare or companion care. Home elder care typically refers to unskilled or custodial care. Home care providers help individuals by cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and accompanying them when they need to run errands or attend doctor’s appointments. They may also help the individual bathe, get dressed or complete other daily tasks.

Home health care can include home care tasks such as completing household chores and helping individuals manage hygiene, but must be ordered by a physician, provided in conjunction with a skilled service, is for a temporary duration and the person receiving the care must be homebound.

Many older adults live alone or with family members and prefer the comfort of remaining at home. Home elder care allows older adults to receive care at home without moving into a care facility or attending an adult day social or adult day health care center.

Signs of cognitive issues include

Signs Elder Care Is Right for Your Family Members

Certain physical, cognitive and emotional signs can indicate that an older adult needs elder care. Families should consider and discuss elder care options as soon as they notice any signs that an older adult is experiencing physical, cognitive or emotional decline. Delaying assistance could put an individual’s safety and well-being at risk. Family members should schedule regular physical examinations for older adults and observe them for the following signs.

Cognitive Decline

Cognitive function and ability can change and decline as people age. When cognitive functioning declines enough to impair an individual’s ability to live safely on their own, they may benefit from elder care services. Signs of cognitive changes or decline include:

  • Language problems: Older adults may struggle to communicate their needs as they age, which can inhibit their ability to live independently.
  • Memory loss: Older adults may develop memory loss, such as forgetting to take their medications at the right times or forgetting to take them at all. They may put themselves in danger by accidentally leaving the stove on or wandering places and forgetting where they are. Occasional forgetfulness is normal but if it prevents an individual from living independently and safely, elder care may be necessary. 
  • Dementia: Severe memory loss can be a sign of dementia. 
  • Difficulty paying attention: Older adults may struggle to pay attention in certain situations, which can inhibit their ability to comprehend important information such as medication instructions and other medical or safety precautions they need to follow. 
  • Confusion: Confusion can impair an individual’s ability to function independently and remain safe. If an older adult experiences frequent confusion, they may need elder care services.

Physical Changes/Decline

Bodies become less resilient and more fragile as people age. Injuries, illnesses and chronic conditions can impair an individual’s ability to carry out daily tasks, move around or care for themselves. A person may require elder care services if they experience any of the following conditions:

  • Chronic health conditions: Chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions often develop as people age, and they can cause physical impairments that make it difficult to perform daily tasks. 
  • Physical limitations: Permanent or temporary physical limitations due to chronic health conditions or injuries can prevent older adults from functioning independently.
  • Difficulty walking: Impaired gait or stability can inhibit an individual’s walking ability and make them prone to falls and injuries. If someone is unable to walk independently or struggles to get around, elder care can help them with ADLs and other activities.
  • Sensory loss: Vision and hearing loss are not always obvious, but when these senses begin to decline they present significant safety risks. If sensory loss affects an individual’s ability to live independently, they may need elder care services.

Emotional Changes/Decline

As individuals age, they may feel unimportant or experience difficult situations, such as health complications, the inability to engage in activities they once enjoyed or the death of a spouse. Individuals do not always communicate their feelings, which can make it difficult for family members to identify when an older adult struggles emotionally.

Family members can look for the following signs to identify when an individual may need extra emotional support:

  • Personality or mood changes
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Social withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts

Social isolation and loneliness can increase health risks such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, a weak immune system and death. Companionship can reduce feelings of loneliness, give individuals a sense of purpose and help them live longer.

Companionship can accompany personal care, home care and home health care services. Care providers can engage in conversations and build friendships with clients while they provide assistance or help them with daily tasks.

Does Insurance Cover Elder Care?

Regular health insurance does not cover most elder care services. Medicare is a government health insurance program for United States citizens over age 65 that covers medically necessary services. Medicare will cover home health or skilled nursing services if an individual needs them for medical or health purposes. However, it does not cover personal or custodial care services if these are the only types of assistance an individual needs.

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health insurance for United States citizens with low income. In some states, it offers wider coverage for more services such as home health services and personal care services. However, individuals only qualify after they deplete enough of their personal savings. 

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides benefits to eligible veterans that can help with elder care services in certain situations. Veterans may receive health care benefits and pension increases for care services in some cases when they’re housebound. 

Individuals can purchase private insurance to cover certain elder care costs. For example, comprehensive long-term care insurance policies sometimes cover home health care, custodial care and care within assisted living settings. Policies like this cover services to certain limits. For elder care coverage eligibility, individuals must purchase policies before they actually need the services. Annual policy premiums may be expensive for some individuals, but premiums are cheaper when healthy individuals sign up for policies in their fifties or sixties.

Schedule a Free Assessment With Corewood Care

Elder care helps individuals when they experience physical, cognitive and emotional changes that occur in later stages of life. At Corewood Care, we provide support, guidance and individualized care to individuals during life’s later transitions. Our home care services help people perform personal activities of daily living so they can thrive in the comfort of their own homes. 

We’re passionate about helping older adults live gracefully, and our compassionate staff is trained to provide medical care, personal care and companionship with a holistic care plan tailored to each individual. Schedule a free assessment with Corewood Care today to see if elder care is right for your family member.

What Are 4 Common Types of Caregivers?

Many people use the word “caregiver” to describe anyone who gives help to an individual. While this definition is a good start, not all caregivers are alike. Many have unique functions, usually depending upon their expertise and the needs of the person they assist.

To help you understand the vast world of caregiving, we’ve outlined four of the most common types of caregivers you’re likely to encounter. If you’re searching for a caregiver for you or a loved one, you may find a perfect fit among these descriptions.

1. Family Caregiver

Family caregivers have played an essential role in society for centuries. As the name implies, these caregivers are family members who assist their relatives. For instance, a 40-something daughter may serve as a caregiver to her elderly mother who needs help with activities like grooming, bathing or shopping.

Family caregivers may or may not be volunteers. In some cases, they earn their living by being a full-time caregiver. In other cases, they may only spend part of the time caring for a relative. Unless they’re medically trained and appointed to serve in a medical capacity, they do not deliver any kind of formal home healthcare services.

2. Private Duty Caregiver

If a family member is unable to provide care, a private duty caregiver with a medical or nursing background may come into the house.

Private duty caregivers are hired through trusted outside sources, such as a Home Care and Care Management services provider like Corewood Care. The family usually works with the private duty caregiver to determine a customized schedule. Some private duty caregivers stay throughout the night, while others concentrate their attention on care during the day.

Some families employ more than one private duty caregiver, especially if round-the-clock (or nearly round-the-clock) assistance is preferred.

3. Home Health Care Caregivers

It’s a common misunderstanding that individuals who need a caregiver today will need one in the future. Consider home health care caregivers. Generally speaking, they’re paid for entirely or partially by insurance to provide anything from physical therapy to home-based nursing.

Someone recovering from an accident or illness may see a home health care caregiver two or three times weekly. Though this type of caregiver can assist with anything from cooking to cleaning, the caregiver’s role is temporary. Ideally, the individual will get better to the point where the home health care caregiver is no longer necessary.

4. Virtual Caregivers

Does it seem as if the world has gone completely remote? It has, and that’s a great thing for many people who need a caregiver.

Virtual caregivers can provide a great deal of companionship from afar. While they might not be able to help someone put on an outfit or go to the store, they can act as a friendly face. Though virtual caregiving is in its infancy, it’s likely to become more popular with the rise in telehealth and telemedicine.

Which Type of Caregiver Is Right for Your Situation?

Now that you have more information on caregivers, you can consider which type is best suited for your or your loved one’s needs. Feel free to schedule a free assessment at Corewood Care. We’ll help you explore your caregiving choices to pick the appropriate fit.

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