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Quality of Life – What Really Matters

Helen is 93 years old and has lived at an assisted living community since she was 90. She has a one-room suite with her own bathroom. It is decorated with her favorite things and whatever furniture that would fit. She has one window that overlooks some trees and a strategically placed bird feeder.

Tom is 84 years old and is living in a long-term care facility as the result of fall and several other medical issues, requiring 24-hour care and support. Due to his finances, he shares a room. He does not mind having a roommate, even though they do not have much in common or converse often. His side of the room has a bed, dresser, small closet, nightstand and a shared bathroom. 

In the healthcare arena, we often hear the phrase “quality of life.” Quality of life is viewed as multidimensional, encompassing emotional, physical, material and social well-being. Quality of life varies from person to person and changes throughout a lifetime. The term or concept is used often with older adults.  

What makes the difference in Helen and Tom’s quality of life? If we listen, really listen, they share the secrets to what makes a good day, regardless of health, finances or their current life circumstances — including long periods of isolation. Whether in a long-term care facility or a brand-new assisted living facility, their answers may surprise you. I rarely hear someone say, “My life would be better today if only: I were  younger, I did not have this disease or condition, my room were bigger/brighter/had more windows, or even if my spouse were alive or family would visit more often.”

What makes the difference in the quality of their days are the interactions with the staff — meaning caregivers, aides, care helpers or whatever name a facility uses for the individuals providing the direct care services and support.

Helen and Tom, like so many older adults residing in various senior communities, often express the same five key factors that, if observed by staff members, would truly make a difference in their day:

  1. Introduce yourself, looking the person in the eyes. Re-introduce yourself every time. Living in a facility with 24-hour care, there are many different faces coming and going each day; add in face masks and often older adults have no idea who may be trying to assist them. It takes a long time to get to know someone, recognize their voice, their face and finally, their name. Most staff are in and out of an older adult’s room or apartment within a matter of minutes. Often, staff will wear name tags, but unless the tag is showing directly in front the older adult with the staff person holding still, and the font size is readable, a name tag is not the answer. Example: Helen was looking out her window when she heard a slight knock on her apartment door and then a voice saying something, but she could not make it out. By the time she turned her wheelchair around to look at the door, it was closing. Helen had no idea who or why someone was just in her room. Later that evening, Helen saw mail on her bed. She had no idea how or when it arrived. The staff caregiver could have turned this quick task into a positive, appreciative interaction that built Helen’s trust, and over time, a sense of belonging. When the caregiver entered the room, she could have waited a moment for Helen to turn around and see her. Then the caregiver would have had the opportunity to look at Helen and say, “Hello Helen, it’s Jennifer. I am stopping by to bring you your mail. Would you like me to give it to you or should I leave it on your bed?” 
  2. Slow down. We live in a fast-paced world where we often multi-task. Older adults dealing with co-morbidities from hearing loss, mobility issues and a range of diseases and conditions move and respond at a much slower pace. Rattling off five commands in a row can be overwhelming. “Dolores, dinner is ready, do you want chicken or fish? Go wash your hands, don’t forget your walker and it is your laundry night.” 
  1. It’s not what you say but how you say it. Tone of voice and the way something is phrased matters; asking versus telling. For example: “Helen, today is Tuesday and you are scheduled for a shower, how does that sound to you?  Instead of, “Come on, you have to take a shower now; it’s on the schedule.” 
  1. Let the individual know what you are doing. The staff caregiver should always tell someone what they are going to do before they do it. Never put hands on someone without letting them know. Example: “John, before they bring your dinner, I am going to help get you ready. I am going to move your walker in front of you, and help you get to the edge of your chair so you can get ready to stand up.” 
  1. Slow Down! Slow Down. Slow Down. Trying to rush older adults to get to the shower, to an appointment, or to dinner can be difficult and counterproductive on the older adult. Example: pushing an older adult quickly in their wheelchair, not realizing how terrifying and out of control the older person feels. We need to respect the pace at which each person functions best and adjust care and supports accordingly. 

What seems like simple common sense often is not so common or simple.  Whether the issue is staff shortages, a need for increased training and/or understanding how fast we move through our day, we need to listen to Helen, Tom and all of our older adults. If we and senior communities care about the quality of life for older adults, we need to focus on the quality of each day and what makes a quality day. 

This post originally appeared here.

About the Author: Jennifer Beach, LSW, MA, C-SWCM established Advocate for Elders in Rocky River in 2010. Jennifer has 25 years of experience in working with and advocating for older adults and their families. Jennifer is a licensed, insured Social Worker and an Advanced Aging Life Care® Professional. She has served as the Midwest Chapter President of the Aging Life Care Association and additionally served 7 years on the Board of Directors. In 2018, Jennifer was honored as the recipient of the ALCA Midwest Chapter Outstanding Member of the Year Award. Learn more at advocate4elders.com.

Jennifer is also a monthly contributor and author of Caregiver Corner for Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond blog and magazine.

Older Adults Admit New Technology is More Stressful Than Going to the Dentist

Older Adults Admit High Anxiety and Fear About New Technology: Candoo Tech Surveys Shows 53% of Seniors Say Learning a New Device is More Stressful Than Going to the Dentist

The results of a recent survey of technology-enabled older adults show that for 53% of them, learning new tech devices such as a computer or cellphone, produced more anxiety and fear than going to the dentist, to the doctor and hearing a strange noise at night – combined!

The results of a survey of adults age 60+ conducted by Candoo Tech (www.candootech.com) shows that older adults feel learning a new tech device is more frightening than hearing a strange noise at night, going to the dentist and going to the doctor – combined! Fifty-seven percent of seniors fear internet scams, hacks and computer viruses. When giving the grandparents a gift, skip the books and slippers, older folks really want a personal tech coach.

The informal poll taken by Candoo Tech, a technology training and support service specifically for older adults, also asked participants to rank their frustration level with learning something new on an electronic device. Respondents ranked it right up there with waiting in line at the motor vehicle bureau, and more frustrating that being stuck in traffic.

Despite their fear and frustration, seniors want to be connected. Forty-six percent (46%)  of respondents picked “personal tech coach” as the number one item on their wish list. That’s more than twice the number who want a new tech device, the second choice (21%); which interestingly beat out the “old school” gift, a book, by only one percentage point.

With COVID-19 travel and visitation restrictions, grandparents are more likely to spend time with family and friends online. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of respondents said they will be visiting virtually through video calls.

While 44% of seniors shopped online for the holidays, 57% are concerned about risks of internet scams, account hacks or computer viruses, and with good reason. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), received more than 68,000 complaints in 2019 from victims over age 60 who experienced losses of more than $835 million. Only 8% of Candoo Tech survey respondents think they are too smart to fall for a scam.

“Unfortunately, older adults are often prime targets for cyber-criminals,  because they are perceived not to be tech savvy,” said Liz Hamburg, founder and CEO of Candoo Tech. “One client answered a call from someone posing as a Microsoft technician and let him into her computer remotely. She finally caught on when he demanded to be paid with gift cards, but by then, the damage was done. Helping seniors stay safe online is a priority for Candoo Tech.”

Candoo Tech provides tech support and training specifically designed for older adults to help them stay safe, independent and connected.  Candoo’s services are provided remotely nationwide by U.S. based Tech Concierges who are specially-trained by a New York City geriatric health institution, cognitive enrichment specialists and other geriatric experts to work with older adults, including those with disabilities. Candoo Tech offers three service options: a one-hour remote session for $50; an annual membership for $180 which includes two, 90-minute training or support sessions and unlimited quick help; and a new device set-up and training package for $180.  The company offers free how-to guides and internet safety tips to help seniors connect, shop and engage safely through technology.

The company was founded by entrepreneur Liz Hamburg in 2019 and has been working with older adults and their families directly as well as with senior living facilities and other organizations. Candoo has seen that with the proper training and support, older adults realize that they  ‘candoo it’.” Candoo Tech is a proud member of the inaugural class of Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates.

This blog originally appeared here.

About the Author: Liz Hamburg, Candoo Founder. Liz is a high-energy, entrepreneurial executive who is passionate about making an impact in the world. She has over 20 years of experience starting up and growing innovative organizations both in the U.S. and international markets.

Are You Prepared for a Loved One’s Care Transition?

Without a doubt, one of the hardest things for families to do is help an aging loved one transition back home from a hospital or rehab center stay – and the stakes are huge. Many older adults who leave the hospital will be readmitted within 30 days for a variety of reasons, such as falls, non-adherence to medication regimens, or a lack of follow-up care.

The good news is that most readmissions are preventable. I always recommend families begin coordinating the transition to home as soon as their loved one is admitted to the hospital.

Here are the top 5 things families need to know about transitions:

  1. It takes a lot of appointments, emails and phone calls to coordinate care. For families that are reeling from a loved one’s sudden health event, the load can be too much to bear. Aging Life Care Professionals® can make all the difference. They help families navigate every detail of medical care, food, transportation, home modifications for safety and filling medications to get home ready for the patient after discharge. They also act as a quarterback of the entire Care Team to ensure everyone is on the same page for a seamless transition.
  2. Home may not be “home,” at least initially. Don’t assume your mom or dad will go right home after a hospital stay. It’s common for older adults to go to a rehabilitation center, “step-down unit”, or nursing home before they can return safely to their homes. About 25% of people admitted to these facilities stay only a short time (3 months or less), according to HealthinAging.org, but 90 days can feel like a long time if your loved one is isolated from family and friends. If you live far away, consider hiring a private-duty caregiver to check-in on your loved one so they have a reliable, friendly face to keep them engaged and working toward recovery.
  3. Exceptional in-home care means more than simply assisting with activities of daily living. Help with bathing, dressing, and eating are just the baseline of care. Excellent caregivers will get to know your family member’s likes and dislikes and understand how to spark their interest in hobbies, exercise, conversation and other activities that bring joy and meaning to their lives.
  4. You might not have the right caregiver fit the first time around. There may be relationship tension, just like on a first date, so you must give it time. As time goes on, if the caregiver doesn’t work out, speak up and ask your agency to find another caregiver. This is where an Aging Life Care Professional® can be a great quarterback to assist in finding a qualified caregiver. A high-quality agency will be happy to have this conversation with you and will work with you to find the right fit.
  5. It takes time to adjust to the new normal – for everyone. Give yourself grace and space to accept your family member’s physical or cognitive loss. Give them time to do the same. If you or your loved one would benefit from mental health resources, ask an Aging Life Care Professional for recommendations.

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to plan a home transition by yourself. Every community has resources to help you. Find Aging Life Care Professionals near you.

About the Author: Nancy Gillette is Chief Growth Officer for the HouseWorks companies, one of the largest independent in-home care companies in the nation. She has more than 20 years of experience in the home care and post-acute fields growing revenue, building strategic relationships and diversifying product offerings. View Nancy’s LinkedIn profile. Nancy spoke at the ALCA 37th Annual Conference in 2021.

Dealing with Delta

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading with alarming speed among the unvaccinated. As a protection to yourself, and your community,  unvaccinated individuals should get the shot as soon as possible. Immunity can take up to 6 weeks to develop, and we must all do our part in stopping the spread of this virus. In order to remain safe and help prevent the spread while waiting for immunity, the CDC recommends avoiding all public indoor settings and limiting outdoor gatherings where it is difficult to socially distance outdoors or consider mask-wearing in outdoor situations where social distancing is not possible. Wear a mask when congregating in public places indoors, because there is a higher risk for contracting the virus if masks are removed to dine or drink. Monitor symptoms closely, test often, contact trace, and isolate if infected.

What about the vaccinated?  In light of recent breakthrough infections, should vaccinated individuals also be masking up?  In making this decision, a few important questions should be considered:

What is your personal health and risk tolerance?

What are the infection and vaccination rates in your community?

Do you know the vaccinated status of people you are congregating with?

Are you caring for an elderly or immunocompromised individual?

Are there unvaccinated people in your household?

The current consensus among the medical experts is that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors in community settings where there are high infectivity rates. This is because the Delta variant is a thousand times more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain and while the vaccine will protect against serious disease and illness, there is a small risk of breakthrough infections because of the increased disease spread happening all over the US right now. Once we can get our vaccination rates up to 80% across the nation, infectivity rates should decrease dramatically, and we will be able to relax the mask guidelines and resume a normal life providing no future more lethal variants emerge.

So, let’s help each other out and do our best to deal with Delta and stop the spread of COVID. If you are vaccinated, be a positive role model and continue to listen to and encourage unvaccinated friends and family to get the jab. Share your positive experiences, help dispel fears and let them know you care for their well-being. If you are not yet vaccinated, examine your reasons for not getting the shot. Is your decision based on unbiased scientific information or the biased views and posts of similar folks who are also hesitant? For example, if you broke your arm tomorrow, you would seek the advice of medical professionals–not your newest Facebook friend. Remember, that your decision on getting vaccinated does not just affect your own health and well-being, it affects the health of everyone around you but most especially children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine and who are extremely vulnerable to the Delta variant. They are counting on the adults around them to keep them safe and protect them by making a choice that is bigger than themselves – a choice to get vaccinated.

This article originally appeared here.

About the Author: Anne C. Sansevero, RN, MA, GNP, CCM is the founder and CEO of HealthSense LLC, an Aging Life Care management consulting practice. She is a master’s prepared geriatric nurse practitioner, and a seasoned nursing professional with over 30 years of experience in the field. Anne has a sub-specialty in neurological disorders and is well versed in all aspects of geriatric nursing. She has particular expertise with communication disorders relating to stroke and dementia and has developed a number of innovative nursing assessment tools and standards to improve the nursing care for frail elders. Anne is a member of the Aging Life Care Association® (ALCA) and Fellow of the Aging Life Care Leadership Academy. She is currently serving on the board of the ALCA, and is Vice President of the New York Chapter. In addition, Anne is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Nurse Practitioners of New York. Anne is a registered nurse, certified care manager, and a master’s prepared geriatric nurse practitioner.

“Born in Ireland, I come from a strong medical family of physicians and nurses. I was naturally drawn to a career in health care where you can make a real difference in the lives of others. In the 1980s, I was recruited for a nursing career opportunity in the United States and fell in love with the energy and optimism that is part of this country’s cultural DNA. In the acute care work setting, I became very attuned to how stressful hospitalization can be for older, frail adults. I found my calling as a nurse practitioner and Aging Life Care Professional while advocating for the elderly and working to improve their quality of life and to avoid hospitalizations. I have a deep appreciation for the wisdom and resilience that I see in my older clients and feel grateful to be able to contribute to helping them and their families lead happier lives.” “

A Daughter’s Plea, A Mother’s Rebuttal

Like in the childhood game, “telephone,” the first call came from the neighbor across the street, who called the son in Pennsylvania who, in turn, called his sister in Maine, who, in turn, called me, the eldercare consultant in New Rochelle, New York. The town their mother, and I, called home.

It seems the neighbor across the street observed their ninety-two-year-old mother taking her garbage to the curb. How, she inquired of the son, could he and his sister be so neglectful? While it wasn’t her words exactly, it was more the tone of her voice, that spurred this action. I imagine the neighbor was trying to be helpful. Given the adult children’s geographic distance, perhaps she thought they were not aware of what was taking place during these thrice-weekly jaunts to the curb.  The truth be known, the son and daughter had been trying, unsuccessfully, for years to persuade their mother to just give a companion a try.

Despite hints of early dementia, the mother was readily able to reiterate to her children all the reasons for not wanting anyone coming to her house. To start, she was not having difficulty managing on her own. Regarding her shopping needs, what she was not able to pick up in the supermarket, there was a “COVID Volunteer” from her local synagogue she could count on. A companion would interfere with her privacy. Hinging on that, she had her sentimental belongings throughout the house and was certain they would disappear within a week of the companion’s arrival.  And so, it was with this background that a daughter, undaunted by her mother’s past rebuttals, called this eldercare consultant, confident that what she and her brother were unable to do, I could accomplish.

With the expectations of the adult children and the neighbor on my shoulders, I met with the mother. She was welcoming and showed me around her home. I was slightly suspicious. Tours usually come after a client gets to know me. Perhaps the unsolicited tour was to make a point about her capabilities or maybe she was just being hospitable. With the sightseeing out of the way, we got down to the reason for my visit. Mom was well-rehearsed.  She conveyed to me all the same reasons she had shared with her children.

This type of resistance is not unusual. As Aging Life Care Managers® we come across this kind of struggle frequently. The mother recognized that accepting help brings with it relinquishing privacy and adjusting to a new routine. She saw it as a sign of weakness to acquiesce. The daughter declared sheer frustration. Her mother failed to recognize that a little bit of help could go a long way to ensuring her continued safety and longevity in her home.

While empathizing with each of the mother’s reasons for refusing help, we Aging Life Care Professionals® have many strategies that we can choose from to try to resolve a particular issue. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, high expectations do not bring the hoped-for results.  (Miracle worker does not appear in our job description or websites.) And so it was with this Aging Life Care Professional, me.

I used one of my tried and true strategies.  “Give it a try, just for a few weeks” Not a budge. “How about if you think about it?” I asked. Affirmative. And with that, I said I would give her a call in a few weeks.

“I’m happy you didn’t forget about me,” she said two weeks later. And in the same breath, said she would be in touch with me when the time was right. Will the time ever be right I thought to myself?  Or will the next call be from the daughter, all her mother’s excuses banished, replaced with an urgent appeal for help.

Wherever you are in your aging care management process, Aging Life Care Professionals are available and eager to help families of older adults. While it’s ideal for us to become a part of the solution before a crisis arises, we are full of resources to help in the event of an emergency too. Don’t delay and find one who can help you and your family.

About the Author: Miriam Zucker, LMSW, ACSW, C-ASWCM, is the founder of Directions in Aging, based in New Rochelle, New York, Westchester County.  As an Aging Life Care consultant with over two decades of experience, she has helped families find strategies to deal with the challenges of aging, while maintaining the stability of the family and the dignity of the senior.

In conjunction with the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, of Hunter College, she helped to develop the Certificate Program in Geriatric Care Management where she served as a faculty instructor. She currently serves on the board of New Rochelle Cares, an aging-in-place program focused on helping seniors remain safely in their homes.

Is it time for the homecare industry to mandate vaccinations?

I recently had a simple request from an elderly patient’s wife after her husband had a short stay in a rehabilitation facility. “I want the home health aide that comes to my house to be vaccinated,” she requested. Prior to my patient’s discharge from the sub-acute facility, the social worker sending out the referrals to the home care agencies was made aware of this request. After the agency’s nurse came over to my patient’s home to evaluate him, the evaluating nurse declared “We simply do not have vaccinated aides.” The family and I then asked that the case be sent to one of the largest home care agencies in New York City with the hopes of getting a vaccinated aide.

Again, before the nurse’s home assessment, we asked for a vaccinated aide. We were told the onboarding team would be sent a note to be made aware of our preference. However, we faced the same plight where the agency could not identify a “vaccinated aide” because of HIPPA laws. Surely, the patient has a right to ask a home care agency if the individual coming to their home during a pandemic is vaccinated? After all, there was a recent case in New Jersey where an aide with Covid-19 spread the virus to her 80-year-old patient who later died and also infected four other individuals living in the home. I reached out to the New York Department of Health for guidance and was told in New York, there is no mandate for home care workers to be vaccinated, but the patient maintains their right to ask if the aide is vaccinated. With that information, I asked for the family to get permission to interview the home health aide to see if they would be a good match for the family. We were told they would get back to us.

Finally, I spoke to the Compliance Department and Director at the home care agency. I was told the home care staff is not tested on a daily basis prior to starting their workday and that aides are only tested if they show symptoms of COVID-19. Moreover, I was told personal protective equipment (PPE) is only issued if the patient is suspected of having COVID-19. We ended up discussing the cost of testing and PPE.

I voiced my concern about resources in institutions not being put towards the frontline patients and workers. I also asked if there have been cases where a patient had gotten COVID-19 from a home care employee. I was told that is propriety information. Clearly, there is something wrong here. It is in the public’s interest to know if a vulnerable individual dies because a home care worker infected them or vice versa. I respect individual’s rights not to choose to be vaccinated, but I also believe the aides have a right to PPE that will protect them. Vulnerable people turning to home care agencies should have the right to receive safe care in their homes.

Instead of waiting for New York Department of Health regulations that will “force” home care agencies to protect their patient. I ask the leadership of the home care agencies to reflect for one minute as to why they went into healthcare. Most of you will say “to help people.” Now look at the home care staff you are sending to the patient homes without proper PPE, look at the vulnerable patients you are treating in the community, and reflect. Are you helping people, or are you placing people’s lives at risk? I am encouraging all home care agency’s management to do the right thing and encourage your staff to get vaccinated or get tested on a weekly basis with the availability of proper PPE. A gown and face shield should be a standard during a pandemic, especially if the aids are not vaccinated. After all, this is healthcare, and if there are no patients or employees left, how will you survive?

This article originally appeared here.

About the Author:  Jangir Sultan, OTR/L, MS AT, LNHA, is the founder and CEO of Patient Advocates of NY. Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in England, Jangir’s father sent him to live with his grandparents in the Himalayas at the age of 10 when he sought more information about his heritage. Once there, he took pride in learning about his cultural heritage but also took a role in helping to care for his grandparents. With this experience, his passion was ignited, and he returned to the United States, determined to pursue a career related to eldercare. He has worked in various healthcare settings and roles such as OT Manager, Regional Director of Rehabilitation, and Director of Specialty Programs. One theme that has remained consistent is his focus on providing his clients with the best care possible. Hence, he created Patient Advocates of New York with the mission of changing healthcare from what it is to what it should be: prioritizing the client and providing him/her with the highest quality care.

Spiders and Finances, Oh My!

ALCA’s Corporate Partners are a vital part of the equation that makes the Aging Life Care Association as strong as it is. They offer advice and insights to members via our listserv to help members find solutions for their clients. And members feel confident choosing one for their clients’ needs because ALCA’s Corporate Partners also adhere to a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. One such partner is Harmoney Bookkeeping Company which helps ALCA Members with their finances, so they can focus on their care management practice.

Harmoney owner, and frequent speaker at ALCA events, Deborah Vogt writes:

quotesI really, really hate spiders. I recognize they have an important place in the circle of life; however, my preference is to pretend we do not exist in the same world.

Yesterday morning, a spider appeared in my bathroom sink. He wasn’t doing any harm, just hanging out enjoying the cool surface of the porcelain. Regardless, I immediately reached for the faucet and washed him down the sink – admittedly feeling a bit bad when I saw the panicked reaction that the rush of water caused the spider. After a few seconds, he was washed away.  That evening, however, he greeted me once again, relaxing in the same exact spot in the sink. I repeated my less than hospitable greeting from earlier in the day and down he went. This morning he was back in the same place. Huh.

Seeing him for the third time gave me pause. Rather than flooding his world yet again, I found myself wondering if his persistence was meant to be taken as a lesson of some sort. I decided to look at the thrice appearing spider as a representation for something unpleasantly persistent but with a greater purpose. But what? Being the owner of a bookkeeping company, there’s never a big leap from anything I’m thinking about to bookkeeping.

My recoiling at the sight of a spider is very similar to the reaction some business owners have when I suggest we review their financial reports. During my career I’ve heard the audible catching of one’s breath at the suggestion, I’ve seen crunched up faces, shaking heads and been given dirty looks, and I’ve been asked to put it off to “another time”. Financial reporting is their spider.

Like spiders, the way to appreciate financial reports is to accept that as a business owner, you and your financial reports exist in the same world. Whether you see them or not, they are there and they serve a greater purpose. Financial reports tell an entrepreneur about their financial environment in the same way a spider tells a scientist about the environment it inhabits. Financial reports can protect owners from unexpected ebbs and flows in cash and they can provide a buffer against cash-seeking pests. While their goodness may not be evident to the untrained eye, their value cannot be overstated.

Three ways to squash a Financial Reports phobia:

  1. Realize there is a structure and a purpose to each report. Its purpose is to share with business owners how to understand, grow and profit from their businesses.
  2. Ease into the reports. Get to know them a little at a time by looking at either the Profit & Loss or Balance Sheet monthly. With regular and increased exposure, an owner’s comfort and confidence will increase. Owners and their financials become good friends over time.
  3. Believe in the ability to understand and to professionally benefit from financial reports. In no time the reports will become an important part of managing your business.

Business owners new to financial reporting may wish to read the SEC’s Beginner Guide to Financial Statements

About the Author: Deborah Vogt is the founder of Harmoney Bookkeeping Company in Wayland, Massachusetts. Debbie presented at the 2021 ALCA National Conference. She and her staff provide monthly bookkeeping services to small and medium-sized businesses around the country including many ALCA members.

A Corporate Partner Shares The Value of Working With ALCA Members

ALCA’s Corporate Partners are a vital part of the equation that makes the Aging Life Care Association as strong as it is. They offer advice and insights to members via our listserv to help members find solutions for their clients. And members feel confident choosing one for their clients’ needs because ALCA’s Corporate Partners also adhere to a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. One such partner is Grandma Joan’s Live-in Care Staffing. Grandma Joan started out as a state-licensed home care agency in 2010. The home-care model was born from an exit survey with one of their original home care agency clients. The client was distressed about the need to continue their professional live-in services for his mom. She was living alone and had Alzheimer’s; however, he was no longer able to afford their agency rates. It was from this client’s need that the concept of live-in care staffing service was born. They helped him find, screen, and contract with a qualified independent live-in, all for a one-time set-up fee. He paid the independent provider directly and, on the books, cutting out the agency overhead. Grandma Joan’s service model was an overnight success, and within a year of its launch, they went nationwide.

Founder David Petroski shares his experience of ALCA membership and working with Aging Life Care Members.

quotes “When I joined ALCA as a Corporate Partner a few years ago, I was already working with a dozen or so care managers scattered around the county, and at that point, 9% of my new clients were referrals from ALCA members. While I don’t remember which one of them suggested that I join ALCA,  I am so glad that they did. I joined in 2018.
Over the last 3 ½ years I have:

  • Networked, networked, and networked.
  • Exhibited at two ALCA National Conferences
  • Utilized advertising options made to corporate partners, like their members-only newsletter
  • Wrote a piece for the ALCA blog
  • And attended lots of ZOOM one-on-ones with curious care managers

And as a result, my business has grown by double-digits for three years in a row.

In 2020, a whopping 55% of my new clients were referrals from ALCA members. I cannot be more thankful and cannot speak highly enough about how much joining this organization has helped me get the message out to families in need–that there is another option out there for them to consider if they don’t want to relocate to an assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility.

When the opportunity arises, I happily recommend ALCA to peers, and always recommend my clients to utilize a certified care manager from ALCA. In the over 10 years I’ve been in the senior care industry, I honestly feel there is no better referral network for a reputable senior care service than ALCA, especially for a company with a national footprint. I have heard local companies do equally well with membership at the regional Chapter level.”

Thank you to all the Aging Life Care Professionals, for all that you do for your clients –  David.

Grandma Joan

About the Author: David Petroski is the Founder of Grandma Joan’s Live-in Care Staffing. He is a Human Resource Specialist that has helped staff over $15 million in household payroll. He has helped hundreds of families across the country safely navigate the challenges of the consumer-directed live-in care market. David’s work has helped Grandma Joan earn five national awards of recognition in the senior-care industry. He has been working in senior care since 2010, when he started a home-care agency in Montclair NJ. David has been an expert panelist for CPE-accredited webinars educating hundreds of senior-care industry professionals about private-hire live-in care. He is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, and has been interviewed on radio and is quoted in the 2018 book Aging with Care. David lives in New Jersey with his wife Cathy, who is also in HR, and their three children, Danny, Sofi, and Blake.