Happy Thanksgiving!

Earlier this week, I heard a radio story about a San Diego woman that recently turned 108 years old. The woman’s name is Laura Simon. I was captivated to hear her story and of course her “secret” to living healthy and happily, well past the century mark. I was envisioning a combination of lifelong healthy eating (I pictured lots of kale) and an intense exercise regimen. She may have done these, but in her interview she does not mention this. If you would like more information on her story, please see the link attached below.

Being that this week is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fitting to tie in Laura Simon’s amazing story to why being thankful and practicing genuine gratitude might increase one’s chances of living a long and fulfilled life too. There are many published studies which show a correlation between health and happiness. This seems so easy then. To live a long and healthy life, we should all just be happy. But how do we get happy? I’m sure Amazon could gladly recommend over a hundred books on how to do so. If reading is not your thing, then perhaps one could ask society, “How can I be happy?” Society often tells us that our happiness lies within one’s status, image and/or material possessions. Although, many experts claim society’s notion of happiness is not correct. The experts in the field of happiness claim that being thankful and practicing gratitude are the most important factors in one’s overall happiness. When I heard the connection between genuine gratitude and happiness I thought of all the people I had met that were at least one hundred years old. The ten or so names that came to mind all had an amazing outlook and ability to be grateful for life. Although, I have never met Laura Simon, she seems to be an incredibly grateful and happy person. Her story has inspired me this week to reflect and reevaluate how I express my own personal gratitude. I hope you are inspired too!

Seacrest at Home is tremendously grateful to our clients and their families who place trust in our care. Also, to our Home Care Associates, your care and compassion is often above and beyond and we are all incredibly impressed.

Seacrest at Home wishes everyone a healthy, happy and grateful Thanksgiving. For more tips on why and how to practice gratitude, please see an addition video link from the TED organization.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/nov/26/san-diego-celebrates-108th-birthday/

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful.html

Tikkun Olam

Seacrest at Home completed our largest home care associate training class since inception earlier this week. Every training class spans over a three day period where we introduce our home care associates to a myriad of company protocols, caregiver safety training, Jewish (history, customs, holidays and values), as well as other pertinent knowledge that would be applicable for our Home Care Associates. I feel confident saying that Seacrest at Home is second to no other company in proper training of our Home Care Associates. While this training is critical, it is only one part of being an excellent caregiver.

Before the training even begins, we carefully select our Home Care Associates based off stringent background and screening metrics, prior experience and in addition, a genuine compassion to provide care. Often, one’s genuine compassion stems from a personal story or experience that compels the individual to give back to others. My favorite part of the Seacrest at Home training period is getting the chance to meet and hear our newly hired Home Care Associate’s own person story. After hearing these stories, I am often left thinking about the Hebrew phrase, Tikkun Olam. Translated to English, Tikkun Olam means to heal the world. Tikkun Olam suggests that we all have a shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world to make it a better place. While there are a wide variety of global issues today, one such issue is the lack of quality care options for seniors. While our population continues to exponentially age, the lack of quality senior care will unfortunately only become more relevant.

Our Home Care Associates are doing their part to heal the world.  We know that providing excellent care does not just benefit the client, rather it puts family and friends at ease knowing that individual is well taken care of.  In addition, our Home Care Associates are role models within the Home Care industry.  They are raising the bar of excellence.   I am so proud and inspired to be a part of a company that hires individuals whom have a deep connection to the idea of Tikkun Olam.

New Revelations about Client Satisfaction

Seacrest at Home is committed to providing the best quality of care in the non-medical home care industry. We are constantly striving to learn how we can improve our client’s satisfaction. When we came across this recent report by the SCAN Foundation, we found it very refreshing that many of the findings support our continuum of practice.

The SCAN Foundation conducted a study to help examine which caregiver’s attributes lead to highest client satisfaction. From The SCAN Foundation’s report, a few issues became evident. They found that many people value those with strong interpersonal skills. Having effective verbal and written communication is critical. Also, caregivers must be observant of protocol and be willing to follow the rules. These skills are suggestive of one’s ability to provide assistance with activities of daily life.

At Seacrest at Home, we are determined to hire only those caregivers that have substantial previous caregiving experience. We make sure our Home Care Associates have a high school degree, or equivalent. Our Home Care Associates must have strong communication skills as well as a compassionate personality in order to pass our interview process. In addition, our Home Care Associates go through a 3-day training period where they are trained in proper regulations, mechanics and Jewish customs.

The SCAN Foundation‘s study also supported the importance of feeling physically safe. When an individual receives care, they are in fact inviting a stranger into their home. For one to be satisfied with care, it is essential that the client and Home Care Associate have a mutual trusting relationship. The emotional relationship the caregiver and client have for one another is critical to overall client satisfaction.

At Seacrest at Home, we put great pride in mandating our Home Care Associates have cleared background checks with the DOJ ( Department of Justice) for the State of California, as well as the FBI (state and federal backgrounds. We want to make sure our clients are receiving care from the most trusting and reliable individuals. We understand how important the relationship between client and Home Care Associate is forhighsatisfaction of care. Therefore, our Home Care Coordinator initially meets with the client to find out their preferences and personality. From this, we are able to match the client up with a Home Care Associate that would be a “best fit”.

At Seacrest at Home, we are continually trying to improve service and quality of care. We are encouraged by the findings of this study and will continue to find Home Care Associates that meet our high standard. In addition, we will continually think of innovative training techniques that will help with communication and relationship building skills.

The article from where we obtained this information was written by The SCAN Foundation President and CEO, Dr. Bruce Chernof. For more information please visit the link below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-bruce-a-chernof-md/caregiver-skills-emotional-bond-and-safety_b_3955422.html?utm_source=10-9-13%3A+CAMRI%2C+TSF+CAMRI+F.S.%2C+more…+&utm_campaign=October+2013+Eblast&utm_medium=email

New Diagnostic Tool For Alzheimer’s

Many of us have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease in some way. For those that have unfortunately been impacted, we know all too well how difficult it can be for the one suffering as well as their loved ones. We are all hopeful that a medical breakthrough will come about. Until this needed discovery becomes available, we all must do our part to help raise funds, create innovative care and living options, provide education and offer emotional support.

Last weekend the Seacrest Village and Seacrest at Home family participated in the annual Alzheimer’s walk in Oceanside, Ca. We understand how detrimental Alzheimer’s is today as over 5 million people in America suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, the Alzheimer’s Association is expecting these numbers to explodeas our population begins to age. By 2050, they project that nearly 14 million people will be afflicted by the debilitating disease.

One of the biggest challenges with Alzheimer’s disease is that it is very difficult to diagnose early on. However, earlier this week, University of Florida researchers may have discovered a cheap and reliable way to determine if one has Alzheimer’s disease early on in the disease process. They found that patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s had more difficulty smelling peanut butter held at short distances compared to people without Alzheimer’s. More investigation is needed, but if these studies hold true, then we are one step closer to finding an effective intervention for this disease. Graduate student (working on the study )Jennifer Stamps states, “If we can catch it at that earlier stage, we can start treatment more aggressively at that earlier stage, and you can prevent a lot of the progression.” So don’t be surprised ifone day in the near future, a part of your yearly physical might include the peanut butter smell test.

If you are interested in learning more about the study please find more information below.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57606985/cheap-alzheimers-test-made-from-peanut-butter-and-ruler-researchers-report/

Google creates new company seeking to defy age

In the September 2013 edition of Time Magazine, Google’s CEO Larry Page discussed his company’s newest venture, Calico. The new health care company, Calico, will leverage Google’s massive cloud and data centers to help facilitate research on disease and aging. As a company, Calico’s goals are to reverse the aging process and extend human life. While the specifics on how Calico will go about tackling these goals are not stated and perhaps are even unknown, Page is confident that one day people might expect an extra 100 years of life span. Clearly, Calico has ambitious goals; however it will probably take 10-20 years before we are able to see if they have been effective.

In addition to Calico, Google has also made substantial investments in the driverless car and Google’s wearable facial computer called, Google Glass. Both of these new technologies will most likely hit the market in the coming decade. These inventions could particularly have profound positive impacts on seniors. The driverless car could enable a senior who no longer is physically able to drive, the ability to type in their destination on a GPS device and a computer will safely drive the car for them… Incredible! Google Glass can benefit one with early cognitive impairment through its facial recognition feature. This feature could help an elderly person remain connected to their friends and family.

I am so impressed with Google’s efforts to effectively capitalize on the growing influx of seniors and how their technology could dramatically benefit quality of life. However, in terms of Calico, some questions to think about. What if Calico is successful and people can be given an added 100 years of extra life? Is that a good thing to individuals and to the world?

You can read more about Calico by purchasing the September issue of Time Magazine or from the NPR link I’ve provided below.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=223755980

Seacrest at Home-Doing RIGHT before it is law

Caregivers hired by an agency, under our current labor law, are classified as “companion care.”  An employee that is classified as “companion care” is afforded no protection in terms of minimum wage and overtime pay.  However, earlier this week, the Obama administration passed a law which extends the minimum wage and overtime protection to caregivers hired by agencies.  This means that these home care associates will be required to be paid minimum wage and overtime, if accrued. Sadly, many for-profit home care agencies have protested this legislation as it will increase their labor expense and cut into profits.

When reading about this new piece of legislation, I am reminded why I am so proud to work at Seacrest at Home.  One reason being that, from our first day of operation, we insisted that in order to obtain and retain the best home care associates, we must pay them not only minimum wage, but an hourly rate that is higher than the industry average. Without any deliberation, if one of our home care associates works more than 40 hours in a given week, they are given proper OT pay.  Seacrest at Home does NOT need legislation to be passed in order for us to do the RIGHT thing.  We applaud the passage of this legislation for caregivers and inevitably their clients will benefit.  Unfortunately, it does not take into effect until January 2015.  Therefore, it gives many home care agencies another 15 months to delay fair payment to their home care associates.

I believe Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez  states it perfectly when describing the passing of this new law, “Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home.”

If you would like to read more about this subject, I have attached a link to the NYT article below.

U.S. to Include Home Care Aides in Wage and Overtime Law

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