How to Find the Right Caregiver for your Elderly Loved Ones

A caregiver can be an extremely important person in the life of your parents and by extension an important person in your life. Caregivers can support your elderly loved ones in any number of tasks including meal preparation or medical support. This all depends upon the needs of your parent, the budget you have established for hiring a caregiver and the skill set your chosen caregiver possesses.

Qualifications/Credentials

The most important part in beginning the process of hiring a caregiver is to find someone qualified to look out your parent. The best option would be to have a personal referral from someone you trust; however, this is unlikely to happen and many times it is best to look at resumes. How many seniors has this caregiver worked with in the past? What tasks were they in charge of to ensure the safety and care of these seniors? How much time will this caregiver be able to dedicate to your parent? Does their experience reflect what your parent needs? All of these questions are important to answer when looking at candidates for this position.

Run a Background Check

One of the most important aspects in hiring a caregiver for your parent is to find out about your candidates past. When working with children or seniors, it’s important for you to request a police check and to call listed references. Past employers are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to give you an honest referral. When it comes to your loved ones, you want a caregiver who works hard and is empathetic and truly likes your parent. Talking to the people who have worked with candidates before will be the best indicator in knowing if a caregiver will be a good fit for your parent.

Responsibilities and Tasks

Does your parent need a part time caretaker? Do they need someone with a medical background to administer medication or someone to help with cleaning, meal preparation and transportation? These are questions that you need to consider when looking at hiring a caretaker. A candidates abilities have to match your loved ones needs for a caregiver/patient relationship to succeed.

Personal Connection

Even though a caregiver can look great on paper and come with excellent references, that doesn’t mean that they will be the right fit for your parent. Having a personal connection is important because this caregiver will be a support system for you and your loved one. Fostering a good relationship between a caregiver and your parent can really change your parent’s life for the better. This person will not only be caring for your parent, but will become their companion. If your parent and their caregiver get along, you will feel more assured in the safety and happiness of your loved one.

It is also important that you have a good relationship with your parent’s caregiver. This is the person you will be able to get in touch with to make sure that your loved one is getting the best possible care. If you hire a caregiver that you have a good personal connection with, it will be easy for you to keep in touch and get updates on your loved one’s well-being. This will keep your mind at ease and it will make for an open line of communication, which is vital when hiring a caregiver.

How BookJane Can Help You

Using BookJane is ultimately going to save you a lot of time in the process of finding a caregiver. All the caregivers you’ll find on the app have already been screened and interviewed to ensure that they are the best of the best in their chosen field. Their qualifications and experience are listed on their profiles, so you will have access to a more reader-friendly resume without all the extra information that might not be relevant. BookJane offers an extremely streamlined processed for all your caregiver hiring needs. BookJane profiles are also a lot more personal than reading a piece of paper with qualifications and experience listed. We want you to feel like you can get to know our caregivers before meeting them so you’ll feel comfortable leaving your parents in their hands.

Martial Arts – The New Trend in Positive Child Behaviour  

Martial Arts has become a huge new trend in after school programs for children. More and more kids are becoming interested in learning this art form and although it used to be a male dominated sport, young girls are signing up as well. Not only is Martial Arts becoming trendy, but it is also teaching kids a lot of great values which are promoting positive behavior.

Movement/Exercise

It is extremely important for children to expend energy and Martial Arts is a great form of exercise that will get children moving. For young children especially, martial arts teaches large gross motor development. Children will be learning how to use their motor skills in a more controlled way. Martial Arts doesn’t just teach discipline of the mind, but it also teaches discipline in movement. To be able to perform the moves correctly, children must learn the exact movements. For instance, a common popular skill in a lot of styles of Martial Arts is using your hand to break through a plank of wood. In order to achieve this performance, children must learn the correct placement of their hand against the plank of wood.

Active Listening

Martial Arts requires children to practice active listening. In order to be able to learn the correct moves, children must be listening. Martial Arts instructors also demand respect. In their classes, children are expected to listen to instruction and to not interrupt instructors or cause distractions. This is one of the first lessons taught and one of the most important rules in classes. When the instructor is speaking or is demonstrating movements, the students are required to listen. Talking and distractions are not tolerated.

Violence As A Last Resort

 Martial Arts also teaches children appropriate problem solving methods other than violence. Despite Martial Arts being different methods of fighting, students are instructed that fighting is the last thing that one should be doing. For children, especially in schools, this is an important lesson. Oftentimes, when children get frustrated and don’t know how to use their words to work through their issues, they will throw a toy, bite or hit another child. In the training received in Martial Arts, children learn that they are not supposed to be using their bodies in altercations. Martial Arts teaches this control and a more calm way of overcoming issues.

Reward Systems

For a lot of children, receiving rewards for achieving certain feats is a great system. In Martial Arts, children have to work hard throughout the year to be able to test for their belt. The belt system is a great reward because children have to commit to Martial Arts as an activity. A child cannot become a black belt early on, it takes many years, hard work and commitment in order for a person to become a black belt in their chosen field of Martial Arts. All of the belts before the Black Belt work as the Martial Arts versions as trophies. These belts are keepsakes that will be the physical manifestations of the work that a child has put into this activity.

What We Need to Know About the Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation is just that – a group of people sandwiched between two generations – stuck in the position of caregiver for both their children and their parents. This is a generation that is feeling the pressure to take care of everyone, but are having less help than they once did.

Many in this generation are finding the strain of being a caregiver for both their children and aging parents is causing stress, anxiety and even depression. All of this is due to a general lack of understanding and support. It’s important for everyone to realize who this generation is and how it’s possible that they will become a part of it. Here are some important details about the Sandwich Generation and the struggles they face:

It’s Growing

The amount of people considered a part of the Sandwich generation is increasing. This growth can be attributed in part to a higher mortality rate as well the rising average age before having children. The numbers make sense – we have much better medicine and care and frankly, people are living to an older age. This can put a strain on the children of seniors because they are looking after their loved ones a lot longer than they used to. Family sizes are now also a lot smaller and with less siblings around to shoulder the burden, it can fall to just one or two people who may not have the financial means or time to contribute to their parents well-being. This generation is also having children later in life than they used to which can be attributed to both our longer lifespans as well as post-secondary educations and careers. A single income used to provide for the whole family, but now, most families rely on double income in order to support themselves. All of this leads to a larger gap. The longer a person waits to have children, the older their parents get, which is leading to this overlap in supporting parents in old age and children in their growth.

It Effects Everyone

The problems facing the Sandwich Generation aren’t just effecting its own generation or their parents and children. These issues are also affecting the economy and businesses. Many members of the Sandwich Generation are feeling they have to leave the workforce to provide full time care for their loved ones. This is sometimes one of the best or only options available when considering the financial strain on this generation. If people are having to leave their jobs or consider career changes (to positions that require less time or commitment), businesses are losing highly skilled and qualified employees.

It’s a Financial Strain

A lot of parents would love to help their children with university costs, but also find themselves feeling fiscally responsible for their aging parents who may also require care. Millennials are already facing a turbulent job market right now and once leaving school a large amount are moving back in with their parents, unable to find work in their chosen field. These situations can put a large financial strain on a family who may already not have much extra money to be spending on extra expenses to begin with.

There is also the issue of pensions and retirements savings running out. With the raising levels of higher life expectancy for seniors over the last few years, it seems that seniors are running out of the money that they worked hard to save. This puts additional financial strain on their children who are still able to work, but who will now have to work a lot later into their life before retiring.

Available Transportation for Seniors

Starting in their 80th year, Ontario law requires seniors to renew their G license every two years. For a lot of seniors this causes issues, if they are deemed unable to drive, it becomes difficult for them to get to appointments, run errands, meet with friends or any other activity that requires them to leave the house. For a lot of seniors, losing their license is representative of losing their freedom and independence. It’s important for seniors to do their research and discover what other methods of transportation are available to them. This way they can continue to live their lives in almost the same manner as they are used to.

Friends/Family

It’s nice to be able to rely on friends and often times seniors are going places with their friends or family members. Carpooling is a great way to for seniors to get where they need to go. Although its not always possible to rely on friends and family members for transportation, its important to know that they are always an option in helping the seniors in their lives to get the places they need or want to go.

Public Transport/Shuttle Buses

Its important for seniors to do some research on their local transit systems. In big cities like Toronto, TTC is widely available with buses, streetcars and the subway covering the entire city. Transit systems like this make it very easy for travellers to get to their destinations. Most other smaller cities and towns also have some form of public transit available. For these smaller communities, it is unlikely that transit will allow seniors everywhere they need to go, but should allow them to get to most places. Public Transit companies usually also offer senior discounts, which are helpful to seniors with fixed salaries. For seniors living in assisted living facilities often have access to shuttle buses that are organized by the facility. These shuttles usually bring seniors to places where they can run all their errands.

Taxi’s/Uber

Even though taking taxi’s (or for tech savvy seniors taking an Uber) can be expensive, it’s important for seniors to have these options available to them. For instance, when grocery shopping, taking a taxi home is helpful because groceries can be heavy and trying to take them home on public transit would be difficult. Making sure seniors have access to taxi numbers (or the Uber app) can make a huge difference in their independence and ability to get to the places they want to be.

By Foot/Bicycle

If the location is close enough, it’s good to get a bit of exercise and either walk or bike to your desired destination. For certain errands, this option isn’t the most logical because the destinations are too far, or the errands require a lot of lifting or carrying. The best part about going places on foot or by bicycle, is that it doesn’t cost anything.

Although it can be hard for seniors when they lose their ability to drive themselves, they have many other options available to them to maintain their independence. Its important for them to do the research and find out what their options are.

 

 

How Dance Can Help Seniors to Avoid Dangerous Falls

Dance is often overlooked by many as a sport or as a means of legitimate exercise, but for many seniors it is the perfect way to strengthen the right muscles to help then with balance. Some of the most common injuries in seniors stem from serious falls. Recently Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto live streamed dance classes for elders living in rural areas to advocate this as a integral part of any seniors exercise regime. Dance requires focus and determination and works the parts of the body most important to the development of strength and safety for seniors. Preventing falls is one of the most important aspects of protecting the well being of seniors. A fall can dramatically decrease the quality of life for seniors, sometimes leading to a lack of independence, hospitalization or even chronic pain or issues. Although movement in general is good for seniors, dance can provide an all encompassing exercise that isn’t only good for them, but is also fun and something that can be done as a group activity.

Balance

 One of the largest benefits of dance classes is the general improvement of balance. Usually when seniors fall and injure themselves, the fall has stemmed from a lack of balance. Dance is a very disciplined exercise which includes different positions. For instance in ballet, there is first position (feet together with toes turned out), second position (feet shoulder width apart with toes turned out), etc. These positions along with the other movements that go along with them offer a good base for muscle memory. In a situation where a senior feels they are losing their balance, they’ll have learned these positions and may be able to prevent a fall by trusting this muscle memory.

Strength

Like any form of exercise, movement is important. In dance, strength is gained mostly in your core. This is because all movement in dance stems from the core. This is the perfect strength training for seniors looking to prevent falls because the body’s core is where balance is gained. A dance move that begins in first position will also finish in first position. For instance, if a dancer lifts their leg from first position, they will return it to the ground into that position. This works the core and teaches the body control.

Flexibility

 In general, dance is seen as an extremely flexible form of exercise. Dancers work muscles based on their own body weight and body movements. Often, dancers use stretching of their arms, legs and torsos to move their bodies into certain positions. These stretching movements will help to increase flexibility which in turn will help with overall movement capabilities. The more able a senior is with their movement, the less likely they are to fall.

 Confidence

 A big part of preventing falls and being safe in movements is confidence. Being confident will help seniors to feel in control of their bodies which is a large part of preventing falls. Practicing dance as a form of exercise will enable seniors to feel accomplished, strong and totally in control of their bodies. Like with any type of exercise, it’s important for seniors to not push themselves. Dancing in groups is more fun than it is as a solitary exercise and having an

How to Develop A Child’s Curiosity Through Everyday Situations

Children are at their most malleable in their early years. Even though they all attend school on weekdays and have certified teachers that help them learn to read, write, do math as well as various other subjects, children are likely to do a lot of their learning from their parents in everyday situations. It is important for parents to take an active role in their child’s learning. Juggling work and social obligations might make it seem impossible to find time to teach your children as well, but in using everyday situations as learning tools, you’ll find it doesn’t take much time at all. Here are some ways that you can teach your children and help them to expand their curiosity and learning:

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a great way for parents to use a boring errand as a tool for learning. Ask your children to recognize brand names, for instance, in the cereal aisle, you can ask them to grab you a particular box. See if they are able to recognize it by name, by the colour schemes on the packaging or even the pictures of the cereal on the boxes. Another great thing you can do with your child at the store is have them help you count out the correct change needed to pay for your purchases.

Screen Limitations

 Screens have become an important tool for children’s learning. In schools, tablets have become a part of lessons using educational apps as teaching aids. However, a lot of children have access to tablets, smartphones and other various screens at home and aren’t necessarily using them as learning tools. Of course, its fine for children to watch TV and play games, but its also important to realize when it becomes too much. Limiting screen time will encourage children to find alternative entertainment. This can include playing with physical toys — which can encourage improvement in motor skills—or going outside, which usually involves more active play.

 Going for Walks in Nature/Gardening

 This is an especially great way to get children interested in the environment. Bird’s nests, small animals and bugs are all interesting parts of nature that will get children asking questions about different species and how they differ from us and the importance they have towards the earth. You can also have your child join you while gardening. They will see you caring for and tending to flowers and other plant life. This is also a great way to get your children involved in caring for the environment and helping them to learn from an early age the importance of respecting our planet.

 Read In Front of Your Child

 Your children look up to you and will want to copy what you’re doing. Instead of parking yourself in front of the TV and watching Netflix after dinner, read a book. This will encourage your child to seek out a book to read as well. This is an especially good tactic for reluctant readers. At first they may not actually be reading the books they pick up, but if you persevere, your child is more likely to become a reader which will help them develop.

 Read to Your Child Every Night

 Similarly, it is important to read to your child each night. Make reading a picture book or two a part of their nighttime routine. Try to get them to help you to read these books. If they are engaging with the words while looking at the pictures instead of just listening, they will pick up a lot more. This is great quality time for you to spend with your children and if you start early enough with reading to them every night, when they become older, reading at night before bedtime will be an established part of their routine. This way they are more likely to read independently at an older age.

Seniors Living in Rural Areas

How to Keep in Touch and Make Sure They’re Safe

It’s always hard to live far away from your loved ones, but as they grow older, their health and safety become a large concern. For most, it isn’t always possible to live near and care for their loved ones, but it is important to make sure that they have everything they need. For seniors living in rural areas, these concerns can be even greater. Rural areas– although great for community, larger green spaces and cleaner air—often don’t have the same support systems in place. There are fewer care facilities and often your loved ones must travel much further to access even the most basic necessities. To keep your mind at ease, here are a few suggestions to stay in touch and ensure their safety.

Hire A Care Worker

When you hire a care worker, you can rest assured that someone is with your elderly loved one often. They will be able to update you on your loved one’s health and overall happiness. This will allow you some peace of mind in knowing that your loved one is safe and looked after, but also in knowing that they have a companion. For seniors that may have mobility issues, hiring domestic help will also ensure that their home stays clean and they are having healthy meals prepared.

Check in Often

It’s important to keep in touch. Call your loved one a few times a week to see how they’re doing. This is a nice way to check that they’re okay, but it also allows you to catch up on what’s going on in their daily life and to keep them updated on what you’re doing.

If your elderly loved one is technology savvy, send them an email to let them know you’re thinking about them. There are also many free video chat services like Skype that allow you to see each other. This is a great option if your loved one has a computer with an available webcam.

Have A Communication Plan in Place

At times, life gets busy and its easy to forget to check in on a loved one. By putting a communication plan in place, it’ll be easier to keep track of the last time you spoke and how your loved one is feeling. It will also be a special dedicated time for you and your elderly loved one to be in touch and create memories, even if they aren’t in person. For some, this could be a scheduled call that is set for the same time weekly, making it expected and memorable. For others, based upon their work and social calendars, it may be difficult to set aside a particular time. In this case, plan on a week by week basis and write down the time and make sure it is plainly visible.

Have an Emergency Contact

If you do hire a care worker for your loved one, you have a built-in emergency contact. This will be the person who checks in physically and lets you know if something has happened. If you don’t have a care worker employed, talk to your loved one’s close friends and neighbours. Exchange contact information with them and if at any point you haven’t heard from your loved one, get in touch with that friend or neighbour and have them check in.

Visit

With work, family and your social life, it can sometimes be hard to put aside time to spend time with your elderly loved ones, especially if they live far away in a rural area. Try to schedule a weekend to stay with your loved one, or take a few days off work. The time you spend with them in these visits can create great memories and allow you to feel at ease that they are safe and doing well. You’ll never forget these moments shared and the time spent together.