Caregivers help seniors live independently

As we welcome spring with a beautiful start to the month of May, it’s important to note that May is also Older Adult Month, and it’s a great opportunity to highlight one of the many services JF&CS offers to seniors and their families.

At JF&CS, we strive to make sure that resources are available for families who are concerned about their loved ones’ care as they age. Older adults wish to remain in their homes, living as independently as possible, but we sometimes worry about their safety and care. It is important to remember that maintaining a home in the community is often a realistic option as long as the proper support systems are in place.

In-home caregivers help seniors who are able to live safely and independently in their own homes, giving them the autonomy and dignity they want to maintain. Caregivers also give adult children peace of mind, knowing that a trusted professional is caring for their parents or loved ones.

Through our Caregiver Connection registry, JF&CS is committed to enhancing the quality of life of our community’s seniors by providing quality, affordable in-home personal assistance from trusted and experienced caregivers, some of whom have been in our registry for more than 15 years.

When Lisa’s* elderly mother Ruth* began asking for extra help with daily tasks, such as running errands and preparing meals, Lisa was determined to help meet her mother’s needs without compromising her independence. Months later, Ruth’s needs had increased, and Lisa was late to work nearly every day from stopping by her mother’s home to help her get ready in the mornings, preparing meals for the day and planning activities to keep her occupied in the house.

Despite this help, Lisa was worried about her mother becoming isolated and depressed from being alone all day. The situation had reached a point where Lisa was forgoing her own work, family responsibilities and obligations, and this had begun to impact everyone around her: her employer, co-workers, husband and her young children. After leaving work in the middle of an important meeting because her mother called after slipping in the bath, Lisa knew it was time to get help managing her mother’s daily needs. Ruth was adamant about wanting to remain in her home, but Lisa was worried that this was no longer a safe option for her. Finally, Lisa turned to JF&CS’s Caregiver Connection.

A JF&CS geriatric social worker performed an in-home evaluation and found that with small changes in the house, and the help of a caregiver for a few hours each day, Ruth could stay in her home. Lisa could then feel confident that her mother’s needs were being met and could get back to focusing on her own family and responsibilities. Shortly after putting these recommendations into place, Lisa was pleased to see that Ruth was getting out of the house, attending senior exercise classes with her caregiver, and, most importantly, retaining her sense of independence.

JF&CS’s Caregiver Connection registry provides a network of experienced caregivers for adults who require assistance to live comfortably and independently in their own homes. Families work with our Caregiver Connection staff to select the caregiver who best meets their loved one’s needs. Our caregivers are independent contractors, so fees are negotiated directly with caregivers, typically leading to rates that are more affordable than homecare agencies. Families also pay a small monthly administrative fee to JF&CS. This fee covers the cost of recruiting, interviewing, reference checks, securing proper clearances and records, monitoring maintenance of credentials of caregivers, matching caregivers to consumers, quarterly professional caregiver development training and maintaining 24/7 back-up service for consumers.

Under a new initiative, all caregiver clients are offered a comprehensive, in-home evaluation (often covered by insurance) performed by one of our licensed geriatric social workers. This evaluation is the first step in ensuring that older adults are receiving the services they need to obtain the highest level of independence, comfort and safety consistent with their capacity and preferences for care.

JF&CS is also licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to operate the Caregiver Connection Home Care Registry.

JF&CS is committed to ensuring older adults and adult children feel empowered and supported in the decisions they must make as they face the challenges of aging. For adult children living outside of Pittsburgh and for local families juggling work, parenting, and caring for their aging parents, the Caregiver Connections is a valuable resource for keeping older adults safe and comfortable at home.

If you are an adult who wants to continue living at home, but needs a little help, or if you are caring for a loved one who does, consider using Caregiver Connection to help you find the support you need. To learn more about Caregiver Connection, please visit our website or contact Maxine Horn, Information and Referral Specialist for AgeWell Pittsburgh, at 412.422.0400.

* Names changed to protect confidentiality.

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