National Physical Therapy Month

Physical Therapists Perform Important Roll in Aging Well

Capability Homecare is proud to recognize the impact that Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives during National Physical Therapy Month.

Physical Therapist’s Guide to Balance Problems

Balance problems make it difficult for people to maintain stable and upright positions when standing, walking, and even sitting. Older people are at a higher risk of having balance problems; 75% of Americans older than 70 years are diagnosed as having “abnormal” balance. Older women are more likely than older men to develop balance problems, although the difference between the genders is small. Balance problems increase by almost 30% in people aged 80 years or more. Physical therapists develop individualized physical activity plans to help improve the strength, stability, and mobility of people with balance problems.

  • Balance problems occur when 1 or more of 4 systems in the body are not working properly:

o    Vision

o    Inner ear

o    Muscular system

o    Awareness of one’s own body position (called “proprioception”)

Poor vision can result from age, eye tracking problems, or eye diseases. Inner ear problems, also called vestibular problems, can develop from trauma, aging, poor nutrition, or disease. Body-position sense can become abnormal as a result of trauma or a disease, such as diabetes. Muscle strength and flexibility can decline due to lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, or disease.

The brain coordinates impulses from the eye, inner ear, and body-position senses, and sends signals to the muscular system to move or make adjustments to maintain balance. If one or more of the senses is not sending correct signals to the brain, or if the muscular system cannot carry out the necessary movements, a person may not be able to maintain or correct their balance.

  • How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Physical therapists offer numerous options for treating balance problems, based on each person’s needs. They are trained to evaluate multiple systems of the body, including the muscles, joints, inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation, and position awareness in the joints (proprioception). Physical therapists are experts in prescribing active movement techniques and physical exercise to improve these systems, including strengthening, stretching, proprioception exercises, visual tracking, and inner ear retraining.

Your physical therapist can help treat your balance problems by identifying their causes, and designing an individual treatment program to address your specific needs, including exercises you can do at home with your caregiver.

                 For more information about our trusted physical therapist partners, please call Capability Homecare.                                    

Additional information about balance is available at the following link:

Using Friends or Neighbors for Caregivers? Why Risk It?

We often hear of cases where an elderly person starts to needs a little extra help with Activities of Daily Living and a well intentioned family member, friend, or even someone from the church offers to ‘help’ take care of them.

Unfortunately, these good intentions usually fail to consider the following:

  • personal liability

  • worker related injuries

  • abuse and financial exploitation

  • no supervision

  • no oversight or care management

  • not paying into payroll tax

  • lack of training

  • no background check

  • no reference check

  • no drivers license/ insurance check

  • caregiver is not a CNA (certified nursing assistant)

By using a Homecare agency, you are protecting yourself, your loved one and their finances. You will have peace of mind knowing the caregiver is licensed, bonded and insured. You will trust that their work will be carefully managed, supervised and regulated. You will know they have undergone a background check, had references checked and have a safe driving record. You will know they are properly trained in caregiving and nutrition. And should an emergency arise- you will know your loved one will have an alternative caregiver provided by the agency.

If you have hired a caregiver on your own and they get injured on the job, the ramifications can be devastating.

According to the Homecare Association of America, a work related injury could be … the most potentially financially devastating result for consumers and workers who are unaware of the employer-employee relationship. If no workers’ compensation protection is provided (as mandated by law for employees for nearly every state), and the worker sustains an on-the-job accident, the liabilities can be substantial. Medical costs and disability payments for workers could cause financial hardship for even a very wealthy client.’

When considering the potential for problems, it simply isn’t worth the risk- especially when there are so many capable and well respected agencies that you can count on to make this very difficult time of your life much easier.

Call Capability Homecare today, our motto is ‘a relationship you can trust’.

A Revolving Door Policy? Not for Us!

 I had a meeting with an attorney a few weeks ago and he mentioned that the Homecare firms he refers his clients to have a system in place to rotate their caregivers.  If you are unfamiliar with what that means- let me explain.

 Let’s say a client needs care 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Instead of assigning one caregiver to that client, these Homecare agencies rotate who will be providing the care.  Each week (or each day) a different person will show up to take care of the senior.

He claims that they do this so that the caregiver doesn’t have time to develop a relationship with the client.  Therefore it is less likely they will have the opportunity to take advantage of the senior.  His belief was that by having a different caregiver- the client will be protected from any misconduct.

Capability Homecare disagrees with this theory.

While we recognize the need to ensure a senior is safe and protected, we don’t think this is accomplished by having a revolving door of caregivers coming in and out of the senior’s home.  In fact, this exposure to so many different people might even make it easier to take advantage of the client.

At Capability Homecare we assign one caregiver to each client (or possibly two if it is more than 40 hours a week) because we believe that by having the same caregiver taking care of a client they are able to develop a true relationship. In fact, our motto is ‘a relationship you can trust’.

Our primary goal is match the caregiver’s personality to the senior’s personality. We employ 2 full time recruiters whose job is to do background checks, reference checks, and also to screen, interview and get to know our caregivers so that we can confidently assign them to a client knowing it will be a good fit. Our recruiters spend hours finding the best caregiver- it’s so important to us that it’s worth the extra time and effort.

Contrary to our competitors, we want our clients to build a trusting relationship with the person caring for them.

I know in the case of my grandfather this couldn’t be more important! He absolutely loves his caregiver- and if for some reason she isn’t able to be there- it completely stresses my grandpa out. It ruins his whole day- and as a fragile 92 year old man, this is the last thing we want to worry about. He counts on Erin being there- and relies on that consistency.

In addition to peace of mind for the client, it is also extremely important in terms of the actual care. By having the same caregiver each shift, the caregiver gets to know the client and what their needs are, what their likes and dislikes are, what sort of personality they have (talkative, private, depressed, forgetful…), what sort of food they like, what activities they enjoy…

By having the same caregiver each time the caregiver is completely familiar with the care plan and what the requirements are. By having a new caregiver each week, there is extra burden on making sure they are familiar with the specific details of the care plan.  Without this familiarity, mistakes can easily be made. With a medically fragile senior- a mistake can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening.

As for the protection of the senior- this is also extremely important to us.  Capability Homecare uses a process of extensive background checks, reference checks and interviews so that we feel confident that the person we have hired is a trustworthy individual. To further ensure that level of safety- we do random safety checks. We also feel it is extremely important to constantly communicate with the client and the client’s family.  As an added precaution- we have even gone so far as to offer Lifelock to some clients who require live in care.

So it’s your choice- would you rather see your loved one cared for by someone who has taken the time to get to know them and will treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, or would you rather just have a random person show up to do the job?

Call Capability Homecare today to find out more about our homecare services 425 679-5770.

All You Need is Love

I was out to lunch with my children the other day- and as I sat and looked at them across the table my heart was literally filled with love.

Like bursting at the seams love.

I honestly didn’t know it was possible to love someone so wholly.

I looked at my kids and thought:

I love you more than anyone else in the world will ever love you-

I know you better than anyone else in the world will ever know you-

and I will always feel this way, no matter what.

It’s a pretty powerful love a mother has for a child. It’s also a reciprocal relationship. Despite my flaws, my children love me completely as well. In their eyes I am beautiful, smart, funny and kind.

I’m not sure why I’m writing about this love for my kids- except that in working with seniors and their families- we see this sort of love all the time. We see how even when children are adults and have families of their own- that love between a parent and child never fades.

We have a client who lives on Mercer Island. His daughter loves him so much- during our initial assessment, she ( a 50 year old woman) kept exclaiming ‘My dad deserves the best caregiver because he is the BEST dad in the whole world’. Her love for her father was bursting at the seams. She is so proud of him- and wanted to make sure we recognized what an incredible man he is.  Because of her unconditional love, she wanted the very best for him.

That is what separates Capability Homecare from the others.

We understand that love- and we take the time to get to know our clients. We treat them as if they are our parents- and we offer them the very BEST caregivers. Our standards are higher because we truly understand the importance of having the very best care for the one you love.  Nothing else will do.

If you have a family member who is in need of in home care, please call Capability Homecare today 425 679-5770.

Spirit Centered Care

What is the difference between Spirit Centered Care and Body Centered Care?

The difference is HUGE.

In spirit centered care, each person is treated as an indivudual. Their wishes and wants are taken into consideration. Their personal preferences are considered. They are treated with dignity and respect.

In body centered care, a person’s needs are met- they are bathed, fed and medically treated- but the personal connection is missing.

How would you rather be treated?

Fortunately, Spirit Centered Care is within your reach.

Many seniors choose to age in place and hire care to come into their home.

At Capability Homecare it is our mission to provide kind and loving caregivers who recognize the difference between spirit centered care and body centered care. Our caregivers focus on respecting the senior and treating them with love and dignity. Building a true relationship is of the upmost importance to us.

For those seniors who want to get out of the house, Spirit Centered Care is the primary goal of Elderwise*- an adult day center located in Seattle. Elderwise focuses on enriching senior’s lives, rather than just taking care of their primary needs.

It is not a drop in program, participants attend according to their own weekly schedule-giving them the opportunity to connect with the same people each day- which in turn provides a supportive community for seniors. This idea of community is very important to Elderwise, they recognize the powerful impact this has on a senior (or anyone’s) life.

At Elderwise the day consists of meals, art, meaningful discussions and exercise classes. Their aim is to provide a gracious way of living and to build deep relationships with other seniors.

Whether you chose to age in place, or attend a day center- or do both– your primary goal should be to find a place that recognizes that you deserve to live your life to the fullest, no matter what your age or ability.

*Elderwise is a 501(c)(3) organization and is always looking for donations to support their mission. They will be holding their annual Art Auction on May 19th! Mark your calendars! To donate, or learn more- click here.

Capability Homecare, A Relationship you can Trust

Mary and Don* are an elderly couple who live in Marysville. Don was being discharged from Marysville Care Center and Mary was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to help Don at home as much as needed- that’s where Capability Homecare came in.

Mary called Capability Homecare to inquire about our services- and we immediately set up a meeting to help Mary understand her options and to help her learn more about who we are as a company.

Our motto is ‘A relationship you can trust’ and that is very important to us. We want our clients to feel completely comfortable and at ease about using our services. We consider every client to be like our family- and we carefully select our caregivers with that standard in mind.

Mary wasn’t sure exactly what help she would need.  She felt scared, unsure and overwhelmed. Here was her husband of 35 years needing help that she felt unable to provide.

Fortunately, our caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants, and specifically trained in providing homecare.

They are able to assist Don with Activities of Daily Living such as bathing and getting dressed. They help transfer him from his chair to his walker. They encourage him to participate in his rehab exercises. They cook healthy, nutritious meals to help Don in his recovery.  They accompany him on his doctor’s appointments and assist with housework- so that Mary can simply enjoy spending time with her husband.

When Mary called us- she had no idea what she was getting into- but she has relied on Capability Homecare over the past year and a half to care for her husband. We now feel like family and are proud to be a part of their lives. Thank you for allowing us the privilege to be of service.

*names have been changed to protect privacy

Letter From a Former Client

I wanted to share with you a letter that a former client wrote. It was written a few years ago, and it’s long, but it really captures what we do, why we do it and how our caregivers truly change lives. She mentions Capability Homecare near then end, so please read all the way through. It really is a beautiful story.

Dear Friends,

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I feel compelled to share a heartfelt message to give thanks to all of you. Home healthhospice and private duty providers perform miracles for the patients and families they serve, and I can personally attest to the incredible gift that your programs provide every single day.

In my last e-newsletter, in early October, I shared that my father-in-law (he was really my own dad, as we “adopted” each other 15+ years ago) was admitted into hospice with stage 4 colorectal cancer.  He had been diagnosed on September 4, 2008 – his first grandbaby’s birthday (my daughter).  This last year had been a process of acceptance, gratitude, joy, and sadness as we tried to live every day to the fullest while preparing for the eventual goodbye. After a courageous battle, my dad passed away on October 25, 2009. He was buried on November 13th at the Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors for his brave service as a Navy Medic with the Marines in Vietnam. Then, we celebrated his incredible life – he was honored for his work as a serial entrepreneur, husband of 40 years, “world’s best dad” and grandpa.  I have never been more proud of “Big Mike” than I was on that day.

Over the last year, I intimately witnessed the entire home health and hospice process from start to finish. Although I do this for a living, it is different when it is your mother, father, sister, child in need of assistance; when you are the patient/family as opposed to the agency.  The perspective gained was incredible, as physical therapists helped preserve dad’s ability to walk when the tumor in his brain made it increasingly difficult to move around.  The palliative care program managed his pain while he was in between home health and the willingness to accept hospice. The hospice social worker brought resources, suggestions and compassion as she helped our family come to terms with the realities that we were facing. Once dad accepted hospice, his nurses provided state of the art care and ensured that he was comfortable as the cancer progressed.

While the home health and hospice organizations delivered exceptional care, I must say that the greatest miracle came in the form of a few special private duty caregivers who joined our family in the last few weeks of my dad’s life.  When dad’s cognitive function significantly declined, and he had a couple of falls because of it, we realized that it was time for more intensive care.  We had less than 48 hours to hire a live-in caregiver who would be capable of working in partnership with hospice.  Immediately, I called on a friend/former client for help.  Just two years before, I worked with him on the launch his private duty business. Now, the tables had turned and I was his client.  I was blessed with the opportunity to experience him delivering beautifully on the promise of incomparable service. Capability Home Care provided us with top notch caregivers who possessed the personal and professional skills required to care for a complex patient at the end of life.  The caregivers rotated in and out – a few days on and a few days off – to prevent “burnout” in this intensive time.  While the care was outstanding, I must say that it was indeed their empathy that made all the difference in the end. Allow me to explain…

On the day dad died, he was draped in a woven blanket depicting his favorite picture – grandpa kissing his beloved grand-daughter Caitlyn.  She was his pride and joy, and he loved her more than anything.  After he passed, and our family had a chance to say goodbye, the private duty caregiver helped the funeral home prepare his body.  As he was wheeled out of the house, the entire family gathered around only to find the most amazing gift from Emily (dad’s caregiver). She had wrapped his body in the cherished blanked with the picture of his granddaughter literally enveloping him.  It was at this moment that the miracle of home health, hospice and private duty became clear – it was pure empathy. Emily knew exactly what to do – not because she had been told to do so, but because it was simply what the moment required of her.  We later learned that Emily had lost her 7 month old baby just three months before.  My goodness, I can’t even imagine…but she knew exactly what we all needed because she had experienced a profound loss in her life.  Emily was our angel on that day.

Although many members of my family have benefited from hospice – grandparents, god parents, and others – it wasn’t until I helped my dad through the hospice process that I really gained the depth of perspective that I have now.  It is an exclusive club in our society – those of us that have helped someone pass on.  Amazingly, though, ask any room of home health and hospice professionals if they have helped someone transition to the other side and nearly everyone will raise their hand.

Today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I want to share with all of you that this experience has deepened my passion for home health, hospice and private duty in a way that I never could have imagined.  I remain a fierce advocate for what we do!  But more importantly, I genuinely want to convey my profound gratitude to each and every one of you. Words cannot express my true feelings other than to say a very humble thank you on behalf of Big Mike (dad) and my entire family.

Happy Thanksgiving,