Home Care Franchise Sector Enjoys Continued Growth

Good news for current and prospective franchise owners: the franchise industry continues to grow, despite the economic slump of recent years. The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently released a report indicating that the franchise sector has added 184,000 jobs over the last 12 months, according to a recent Forbes article.

The franchise industry supports 18 million jobs, both directly and indirectly, according to the IFA report. While franchises are often associated with fast food restaurants, the franchise model includes dozens of industries. In more recent years, especially, this has begun to include assisted living and home care for seniors. The Baby Boomers are aging, and the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to increase dramatically by the year 2030, to around 72 million in the United States.  According to the Pew Research Center, more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day.

With our aging population will come increasing demand for non-medical in-home care for seniors, who overwhelmingly opt to stay in their homes when given the choice.

The IFA report indicates several trends, including increasing numbers of women and minorities in franchising. This is good news, as while women and minorities have traditionally played a major role as caregivers in industries like nursing and elder care, they have not played as integral a role as business owners in these industries. Among the obstacles they have faced is lack of access to start-up capital. Franchising opens new opportunities for these individuals, and many franchisors offer financing for franchise costs.  Always Best Care is one of the top franchises for minorities, as featured in USA Today.

The IFA report sends a clear message: the franchise industry continues to grow and offer excellent opportunities for individuals from all walks of life to start a business.

Always Best Care is one of the nation’s largest and most reputable senior in-home care franchises. Learn what it takes to start your own home care franchise for seniors.

Learn more about the senior care franchising industry by downloading our FREE eBook.

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Senior Care Franchise Caregiver Tips for Working with Dementia Patients

Even the most skilled senior caregivers may find themselves occasionally frustrated when working with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. While frustration and irritation may be normal emotional responses to the daily trials of caring for a dementia patient, it is critical for caregivers to remember their responsibility to respond to patients with kindness, understanding and professionalism at all times.

People with dementia can exhibit behaviors such as repetitive speech, questions and actions, paranoid behavior, incontinence, wandering, and verbal or physical aggression.

It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t control a dementia patient’s behavior, but you can control how you choose to respond to it.

Here are some tips for working with people with dementia:

  • Speak clearly and use simple words and sentences.  If the person doesn’t appear to understand you, repeat the question or statement. If he or she still doesn’t understand you, wait for a few moments and try rephrasing the question.
  • Limit distractions in order to get and keep the patient’s attention. Make sure to address the person by name. State your name and communicate slowly and clearly.
  • Ask simple, direct questions. Using visual cues and asking closed-ended questions that require simple yes or no responses are helpful.
  • Take things one step at a time. Breaking down tasks step-by-step can be helpful for those with dementia.  Use gentle reminders if the person forgets a step in the process.
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice, which communicate your mood and feelings more powerfully than words.  Use a gentle touch, tone of voice and body language to convey your message.
  • Be patient and understanding.

Remember that people with dementia may take longer to respond and accomplish tasks and may need you to repeat things several times. Managing any frustration you might feel is important for both you and the patient.

Working with patients with dementia can be challenging, but it can also be a rewarding experience to help those with special needs. With patience and understanding, caregivers of a senior care franchise can improve seniors’ quality of life.

Improve someone’s life through your work, learn more about franchising in the rewarding senior care industry by downloading our FREE eBook.

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Exercise for Clients of a Home Care Franchise

An important element of overall health is regular exercise, the benefits of which extend well beyond physical health. Exercise is also vital to mental and emotional health, releasing a host of chemicals in the brain that improve mood and keep us mentally sharp.

Many seniors are nervous about exercising, out of fear of falling or otherwise injuring themselves. Some may have a heart or other condition that requires that they not over-exert themselves. The reality, however, is that not exercising is probably the greater threat to health, especially for older adults. In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, exercise improves muscle tone, balance and coordination, all essential in fall prevention.

Non-medical in-home care caregivers can play an important role in ensuring that seniors get healthy amounts of exercise by exercising with clients or monitoring clients during activity. Here are some examples:

Swimming/Aquatic Exercise — Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for seniors. If swimming is too difficult, stationary aquatic exercises are a good alternative. In-home care assistants can exercise with seniors in the pool or accompany seniors to classes.

Walking — Whether a gentle stroll, or a brisk stride, walking is excellent exercise that gets the heart pumping and improves core strength and muscle tone.

Chair Exercises — For folks who can’t walk or who have difficulty walking, chair exercises with or without a light pair of weights are an excellent alternative.

Exercise is an important part of overall health and longevity. assistant professional caregiver can help seniors maintain an exercise regimen, and stay healthy and happy at home.

Always Best Care is among the top home care franchises for seniors in the nation. Learn more about becoming a franchise owner by calling 855-430-CARE (2273).

Learn more about senior care franchising and download our FREE eBook.

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

How Will the Healthcare Mandate Affect Seniors and the Senior Care franchise Industry?

The Affordable Care Act is a healthcare reform measure that aims to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to Americans.

Among the ways it does this is by barring insurance companies from denying people coverage based on preexisting conditions, requiring that insurance companies cover 10 essential health benefits, including preventive and pediatric services, and subsidizing the cost of coverage for eligible participants.

Impact to Seniors

Seniors on Medicare should not be affected by the Affordable Care Act in terms of losing coverage. In fact, the ACA will extend additional benefits to those on Medicare, including reductions in the cost of prescription drugs and the addition of several free preventive services.

For most people on Medicare, costs will remain the same.  For higher income individuals, the monthly cost of Medicare will increase, but this will impact a small number of people of those on Medicare (around five percent), according to webmd.com.

Since senior care services, including assisted living, are most often paid for with private funds, the impact on the senior care industry should be minimal, in terms of payment for services.

Impact to the Senior Care Industry

The impact on assisted living facilities and other senior care services will likely be minimal in terms of changes to patient care. The biggest impact will revolve around employer obligations to provide caregiver staff with health insurance.

Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will be required to offer employees health insurance or face a per-employee penalty of

$3,000. Employers with fewer than 50 FTE employees will not be subject to the same requirement.  Employers will ultimately need to do a cost assessment to determine whether it is in their best interest to provide employees with health insurance or pay the penalties.

Employees who do not receive health insurance through their employer can purchase coverage via their state’s health insurance exchange (if available) or through the federal exchange.  Depending on income level some people may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for coverage.

The Affordable Care Act aims to provide Americans with affordable access to health insurance. The launch of the federal health insurance exchange website has been met with many technical glitches, frustrating consumers.

As time passes, and these issues are addressed and corrected, the full impact of the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare mandate will become more clear.

Always Best Care is among the leading companies with senior care franchise opportunities, to learn more contact an area rep near you.

To learn more about franchising in the senior care industry, download ourFREE eBook today!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Smartphones Can Help Seniors Stay Connected

For many of us our smartphones are an essential part of our lives, helping us navigate the roads, avoid traffic jams, check our email, snap photos on the fly, update social media accounts, and more.  In fact, anyone who has ever panicked upon realizing they left their phone at home knows that perhaps we have become a bit too reliant on our beloved phones.

For the most part, though, smartphone ownership is limited to younger demographics.  Seniors (age 65+) could benefit greatly from smartphones to stay connected to loved ones in other ways than phone calls alone (i.e. through social media), but they trail the younger generations in terms of smartphone adoption, according to a Pew survey conducted in 2011.

The survey found that 68 percent of respondents aged 66-74 (classified on the survey as “Older Boomers”) reported having a cell phone, while just 48 percent of respondents aged 75+ (classified as the “G.I. Generation”) reported having one.  Older Boomers used their cell phones for taking pictures, sending or receiving text messages, accessing the Internet and sending or receiving emails at higher rates than did the G.I Generation.

While the survey didn’t indicate the reasons for lower smartphone use among seniors, it’s probably safe to assume that since seniors didn’t grow up with this technology it may feel a bit overwhelming and confusing at first.  But there are plenty of ways seniors can benefit from smartphone technology.  Our phones function well beyond phone calls, enhancing communication between family members and friends through mediums like social media and connecting us to the world at large.

In-home and assisted living caregivers can help seniors learn how to navigate and use the various functions of their smartphones, including the camera and email features, which could potentially help seniors feel more engaged and connected.

Always Best Care is among the most reputable non-medical home care companies in the nation.  To learn more about starting a Senior Care Franchise contact an Area Representative near you.

To learn more about franchising in the senior care industry, download our FREE eBook today!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

Seniors are all too often an untapped resource of invaluable wisdom, knowledge and guidance.  As many people age, they lose touch with family members and friends, which can create feelings of loneliness and isolation.  It’s important for people to feel like they’re making a difference in the world, and seniors are certainly no exception.  Seniors can offer valuable advice and life lessons to people of every age.

While some may have physical limitations, there are still numerous ways seniors can get active in their communities and volunteer.  We’ve highlighted some volunteer opportunities below.

 

  • Foster “grandparent” — There is no shortage of kids who need guidance and support, and who could benefit from the wisdom and attention seniors can provide.  Foster grandparents help children with activities like reading and writing, they mentor troubled youth, and help children who have suffered abuse or neglect. There is no limit to how a foster grandparent can help a young person in need.
  • Elder companion — Elder companions offer assistance to those who are ill or have limited mobility, or who are simply seeking companionship.  Becoming an elder companion is a rewarding experience for all involved.
  • Nature guide — Seniors who have a love for the great outdoors can make excellent nature guides. Whether taking kids on local hikes, or giving presentations at a nature center, there are many ways seniors can share their knowledge about nature and help promote stewardship.
  • Community service — There are dozens of ways to get involved in the local community, from food drives, to youth outreach and education.  And there is no shortage of local and national organizations where seniors can find volunteer opportunities, including Senior Core, a division of AmeriCorps.

Volunteering in the community can be a truly rewarding experience for seniors, whose wisdom and knowledge change lives.  Regardless of physical capabilities, opportunities to help are all around.  Assisted living and In-home care franchise assistants can help clients find local volunteer opportunities in the community, and in doing so, improve clients’ quality of life.

To learn more about senior care franchising, simply download our FREE eBook!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Helping Seniors Avoid the Common Colds this Winter Season

The National Institutes of Health reports that there are around 1 billion new cases of the common cold in the US each year.  This number far exceeds the US population of approximately 314 million people, indicating that many, if not most, people in the US contract several colds per year.

Colds can be especially dangerous for young children and the elderly, since their immune systems typically have more difficulty fighting off infection.  Given this, it is especially important to reduce the risk to seniors and children of contracting viruses. Here are some tips from senior care franchise owners for helping seniors avoid catching a cold:

 

  • Wash hands frequently — The average person touches various surfaces that can harbor germs—doorknobs, countertops, toilet lids—hundreds of times per day. Washing hands frequently with soap and hot water reduces the chances of contracting a virus.
  • Avoid touching the face — Touching your hands to your face brings germs closer to open areas such as the mouth, eyes and nose where germs can easily enter the body. Avoid touching the face as much as possible.
  • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected — Viruses can live on surfaces for two to eight hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Disinfect surfaces frequently, especially in high-traffic areas, to avoid coming into contact with viruses.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet — A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps boost immunity — the body’s first line of defense against cold and flu viruses.
  • Take supplements for vitamin/mineral deficiencies — For some people, it is difficult to get all the nutrition they need from diet, alone, and some individuals may have vitamin or mineral deficiencies as a result of taking certain medications. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement will help ensure that all nutritional needs are met, boosting the immune system.

By taking extra care and precautions, such as those outlined above, seniors and their caretakers can reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with cold and flu viruses for a healthier, happier winter season.

To learn more about franchising in the senior care industry, don’t hesitate to download our FREE eBook!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Creating a Pleasant Holiday Season for Residents with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

The staff at assisted living facilities can go a long way in helping make the holiday season a fun and pleasurable event for residents. Feeling a sense of home is important to residents whose lives in assisted living facilities are likely very different than when they were at home, and the holidays can help spark feelings of warmth, family and tradition.

Familiar Items Can Bring Comfort and Good Cheer

Despite memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia, patients with these conditions often remember events deep in their pasts with surprising clarity.

Decorating a resident’s room with treasured Christmas ornaments or other holiday memorabilia with the help of the resident’s family members can create a sense of familiarity and bring comfort during the holiday season.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that change can be disconcerting or disorienting for some with dementia, so the resident’s wishes must be respected when it comes to decorating or moving things around the room.

Deck the Halls

Decorating the facility, playing holiday music and holding social gatherings for residents during the holiday season can help create a festive, lively atmosphere.  You may be questioning whether it’s worth the effort, considering many residents may not be aware of the season, but it’s important to note that while the short-term memories of patients with dementia can be fleeting, it’s difficult to know with certainty what they may be picking up on and what events they may remember.

People with dementia can teach us a lesson about living in the present moment. While it may be forgotten tomorrow, if a holiday song or social gathering brings a resident pleasure, the effort put into creating those special moments is fully worthwhile.

Always Best Care is among the leading senior franchises and providers of in-home care and assisted living services in the nation.  Learn more about becoming a franchisee and helping seniors on our website, www.www.alwaysbestcare.com/franchising.

To learn more about the franchising in the senior care industry, download our FREE eBook today!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Nutrition and Aging

Your nutritional needs change as your body ages. Physiological changes occur slowly, over time, constantly altering your body systems and their nutritional requirements. Life’s events, illness and injuries, genetics, lifestyle choices and socioeconomic events influence these physical changes to speed the aging process even more. Even though your body has changed over the years, chances are good that your eating habits have remained the same.

As you age, you lose lean muscle and gain body fat. Physical activity usually decreases with age, and this means you need to take in fewer calories each day. The challenge is to meet the nutritional needs you had when you were younger, while consuming fewer calories.

One way to do this is to cut down on your fat intake: fat contains more calories than does protein or carbohydrates. High fat diets are also associated with many chronic and serious diseases, such as heart problems and obesity.

You should try to get 60 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, preferably complex carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables contain complex carbohydrates, are low in calories, and contain no fat. Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber for digestive health. Grain products, cereals, seeds, nuts, and beans are also good low-calorie, no fat sources of fiber.

Iron, calcium, and zinc levels can drop as you age. Eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables to improve absorption of iron. Tomatoes and cheese are good sources of calcium. Eat low-fat meat, eggs, and seafood for zinc.

Vitamin E may play a role in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, while low levels of vitamin B12 are associated with memory loss and age-related hearing loss. Whole grains, peanuts, nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds are rich in vitamin E, while meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy foods increase vitamin B12 levels.

As you age, it becomes increasingly important that you take in more calcium, fiber, iron and protein, and vitamins A, C, and folic acid, which is a form of vitamin B9.

Supplements can improve your nutrition as you age. Consult with a professional with experience in nutrition and aging to learn how to slow the aging process in your body today.

Learn about the senior care industry and franchising opportunities in our FREE eBook, download today!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.

Three Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation in one or more of your joints. Normally associated with senior citizens, you can get arthritis at any age. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and a decrease in range of motion in a joint. These symptoms are often more acute in the mornings and subside throughout the day.

The pain of arthritis is associated with joint damage. Joints are those moveable points where two or more bones meet. The ends of these bones are coated in cartilage to allow these bones to slide over each other smoothly. A tough membrane, known as the joint capsule, encloses all the joint parts. The synovium lines the joint capsule and secretes synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint and nourishes the cartilage.

Osteoarthritis

In osteoarthritis, normal wear and tear damages the cartilage in between bones. This damage may become significant enough to allow bone-on-bone contact, resulting in the ends of bones grinding against one another. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a chronic disease, caused by many years of use.

This degenerative disease worsens over time, causing increasing pain and disability. Doctors use imaging, like x-rays and MRI, to diagnose arthritis. A doctor may order blood tests to rule out other causes of pain, like rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor may opt for joint fluid analysis, or send fluid drawn from the joint to the lab to rule out gout and infection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis describes a condition where the body’s own immune system attacks the joint and inflames the synovium, causing swelling, pain and redness. This is a very destructive disease, destroying cartilage and bone within the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, causing pain, swelling and loss of function, and can cause long-term disability.

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by excessive levels of uric acid in your blood. Not everyone with high uric acid levels experiences gout, but some people accumulate this uric acid in the synovial fluid in one joint. These people may produce too much uric acid, or their bodies have a hard time getting rid of it. Acute gout typically affects one joint, often the big toe. Chronic gout, or gout that keeps coming back, tends to affect more than one joint. There is no known exact cause for gout, but some groups of people seem to experience gout more than others do, including men, post-menopausal women and people who drink alcohol.

Learn more about the senior care industry and franchising opportunities by downloading our FREE eBook today!

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Please refer to our most recent Franchise Disclosure Document for important details.