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.


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 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.

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Study Shows Blood Pressure Drug Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk

A recent study led by Johns-Hopkins shows that taking certain blood pressure medications reduces the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating condition that affects more than five million people in the United States.

Blood pressure drugs that reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease

The research team analyzed data previously gathered on 3,000 elderly Americans. The researchers found that people over the age of 75 with normal cognition who used certain blood pressure drugs had half the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The drugs include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, commonly known as ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin-1 receptor blockers, or ARBs for short.

Diuretics, commonly known as “water pills” also proved beneficial in those whose minds were still sharp. Additionally, the researchers found diuretics reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in those who were already showing signs of mild cognitive impairment. Other blood pressure drugs, particularly beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, did not show promise for reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Indentifying new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is critical to improving the health and well-being of an increasing number of older Americans. Alzheimer’s is a common cause of social and intellectual decline that substantially decreases the quality of life for the elderly.

Senior citizens living at home alone or in an assisted living facility should always take medications as directed to get the most out of drug therapy. Sometimes these treatments deliver more benefit than they had advertised.

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Fall Prevention Checklist for Non-Medical Home Care Workers

Senior care patients who choose to remain in the home experience more independence, while still remaining healthy and safe. However, home care business workers should keep a close eye on their patients’ environments for anything which might put a patient at risk for falls. Among the elderly, falls are the most frequent cause of injury-related death, but they can also lead to reduced mobility and a decreased sense of security. Here is a brief checklist of hazards for non-medical home care workers to help keep their patients safe from falls:

Perception Problems

Seniors often experience hearing loss, vision problems, mental confusion, and decreased feeling in their feet, which can all cause them to misjudge situations when moving around the house.


Medications such as vasodilators, anti-hypertensives, sedatives, or pain medication can have side-effects which affect perception. Be aware of what types of medication the client is taking.

Physical Conditions

Many chronic conditions and disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis can make moving around difficult.

Previous Injury

Prior falls and previous injuries can make it difficult for seniors to navigate environments which previously gave them no trouble.

Improper Footwear

Shoes with rubber soles, slippery soles, or heels greater than 1.5 inches can cause problems. Avoid these types of shoes, and suggest walking shoes with elastic laces.

Floor Hazards

Scatter rugs, uneven surfaces, bathroom rugs, and thick plush carpet can all cause problems for seniors. Where possible, suggest they repair damaged flooring and install more consistent surfaces.

By keeping a lookout for falling hazards, non-medical home care business employees can keep their clients safe in their homes.

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Manage and Motivate Your Non-Medical Home Care Franchise Employees

Whether you’re just starting a home health care business, or you’ve been operating a non-medical home care franchise for some time, it’s likely that you realize your staff is your main product. Because home care franchises are often small businesses, the loss of one employee can really put your operation at risk. Because your home care staff is crucial to your success, it’s important to help your employees feel motivated. Here are a few tips to help you motivate your greatest asset:

Think Like a Larger Company

While your home care business will start small, it’s important to recognize key factors which make larger companies successful. In medium and large companies, there are policies for employee time off, performance evaluations, and salary reviews. Similar policies in your smaller operation could make your employees feel confident that they are being treated fairly.

Transfer Your Knowledge to Your Employees

While you and possibly your spouse or business partner have been trained by your franchisor regarding the ins and outs of the home care business, your employees have had no such advantage. It’s up to you to provide training to your employees. You’ll want to be able to rely on each member of your team, but you can only do so if each of your employees is familiar with his or her role in your company.

Establish Accountability for Each Employee

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of your home care franchise that you fail to hold your employees accountable for performing their duties properly. As the owner of a small business, you will need to make time to evaluate employee performance, offer coaching in areas of weakness, and help employees set goals.

Accept Feedback

Remember that each employee has something to contribute, and be willing to accept suggestions and feedback from them.

Treat Employees with Respect

Whether you have one employee, or one hundred, it’s important to respect everyone who works for you, not only as employees, but also as individuals. People want to feel appreciated. Remember to provide positive feedback on employee performance, and not just focus on where they need to improve.

Employees look to the owner of the franchise for both leadership and motivation. If a home health care franchisee gives his or her employees a clear idea of their duties, as well as training, feedback, appreciation, and respect, it’s likely the employees will be motivated to perform to the best of their abilities.

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Six Most Common Non-Medical Home Care Responsibilities

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Six Most Common Non-Medical Home Care Responsibilities

When you first start your home care business, you may be doing all the jobs yourself, from handling incoming calls, to going out into the field as a non-medical home care provider. Here is a short list of responsibilities non-medical home care workers provide as part of the business:


Non-medical home care primarily provides companionship. An ideal home care aide does offer assistance with daily tasks, but also builds a relationship with the client, and helps him or her participate in activities both in and outside the home.

Meal Preparation

Depending on the visitation schedule, a home care provider may be required to prepare a number of meals and snacks for the client, and usually does cleanup afterwards.

Errands and Transportation

Grocery shopping, pharmacy pickups, taking pets to the vet, transporting the client to appointments, taking the client shopping or to the post office are all examples of typical errands a client may require.

Mail Sorting and Light Bookkeeping

A home care provider can help sort through the mail and help the client decide what must be kept or thrown away, and which bills need to be paid, as well as what to do with any other personal correspondence. Often, depending on what the client and the family have decided, the care provider will assist with check writing and balancing the checkbook register. Unless any other services have been designated legally, most home care workers will not be required to get more involved in the client’s finances.


Some tasks can be done by the care worker, such as vacuuming, dusting, making beds, laundry, cleaning bathroom and kitchen, and changing light bulbs. Other tasks will require the home care worker to assist the client in arranging for professional services.

Personal Care

Most responsibilities in this category include assisting with bathing or showering, oral care, assisting the client in and out of the bathroom, hair care, dispensing medication, and dressing.

Naturally these responsibilities can vary, depending on the client’s needs and the specific nature of the home care franchise or business. It is important to agree on these responsibilities in the beginning of the relationship with the client, as well as the fee schedule and the times these services will be required.


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Home Care Businesses Offer Peace of Mind for Long Distance Relatives

Your senior care franchise can provide a valuable service to families with elderly relatives who live in a different city or state. Nearly seven million caregivers reported living an hour’s drive or more away from the loved one for whom they are responsible. Some of these long-distance caregivers are concerned with how to increase their participation in the lives of their loved ones, while still allowing them to remain in their homes. Often, long-distance caregivers rely on the telephone for the majority of communication, but sometimes a weekly telephone conversation is not enough. Visits from your home care franchise employees can often be a long-distance caregiver’s first line of defense against possible problems. A home aide can assist with basic functions like housekeeping and hygiene and also notice changes in the client that could indicate deeper medical problems.

Your home business staff can provide eyes and ears to long distance caregivers, and your company can provide a valuable tool for keeping your client safe and happy in his or her own home. A non-medical home aide can keep a care log for the client’s long distance relatives and keep them up to date with their loved one’s general state of and happiness. More elderly patients wish to retain their independence as late into life as possible, and their families are often concerned whether or not remaining at home is the best option. Be sure to let your clients and referrers know that your home care staff is trained to provide services to your clients and their long-distance loved ones.

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Corporate Culture and Running a Home Care Franchise: Important Takeaways

As a home care franchisee, you know that your home care staff plays a large part in your success. In fact, it’s been reported that up to 85 percent of a company’s assets are now intangible. These intangible company assets include human knowledge and talent, so you’ll want to nurture and develop your employees in any way you can. You also want to motivate your employees to improve and recognize their efforts to retain your top performers.

Two-thirds of employees surveyed said they believed corporate culture is very important to the success of their organizations, as well as one of the largest influences on morale and productivity. When you decided to start your own home care business, you were probably careful to determine if the franchise fit with your own personality and business goals. Hopefully when you staffed your business, you selected employees who meshed with these values, as well. But how do you continue to promote and improve your franchise’s corporate culture?

While it’s true that initially your franchise’s culture will take many elements from that of the franchise itself, your particular franchise will change and evolve over time. To ensure that your franchise remains a great place for you and your employees to work, you will want to build a strong corporate identity. While owning a home care franchise differs from working in the corporate world, you may be able to take away some valuable pointers from other organization’s corporate culture.

Focus on building strong trust relationships and hold your employees to high standards of accountability. Train and develop employee skills, and also work on developing open lines of clear communication between staff members. Utilize resources and tools effectively, and stay on top of industry innovations. Emphasize recruiting and retaining outstanding employees, and look into implementing employee reward and incentive programs, such as “Employee of the Month” and “Outstanding Customer Service” awards. By cultivating corporate culture in your home care franchise, you can maintain one of your businesses’ most valuable assets: your employees.

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What is a Home Health Care Business Plan and Why Do I Need One?

Image of home care business planCreating a home care business plan v on the path to a successful franchise. A business plan is crucial to monitoring the success of your home health care business, and can help you  set goals and establish processes if you are just starting out. Think of the home care business plan as a roadmap to your success. It usually projects about three to five years in advance and outlines the steps that the company intends to take to grow revenues. As an Always Best Care franchisee, you will receive training and support to help you build a home care business plan that will help you throughout the formative years of your business.

A home care business plan can also help with making future decisions. For example, in the case of a sudden crisis, having a business plan can make it much easier to navigate difficult decisions. Building your business plan will allow you to assess your capital needs, your budget and cash flow, and how to get from where you are now with your business, to where you want to be. Without a plan it would be difficult to see the connections between revenue, expenses, and marketing goals in order to make crucial decisions about the future of your business.  Part of the reason Always Best Care is one of the best home care franchises in the nation is because of the combination of corporate and local ongoing support, which includes strategic business planning services. A home care business plan is your key to successful franchise operations, and Always Best Care can help you build one that is tailored specifically for your business!

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Hiring Staff for Your Home Care Business

Hiring for your home care business can be challenging. Keep in mind that, at first, you will have to wear many hats, but ultimately your home care franchise will need several employees to keep things running smoothly. Non-medical home care franchises require experienced employees. In the beginning, you as the owner will most likely function in every role, but eventually, especially in a larger home care franchise, you will need to hire a Care Coordinator to oversee all of the franchise’s clients.

The Owner

The Owner is responsible for the majority of decisions in regards to how the business is run. It is often said that a business is not a democracy. The owner must possess true leadership qualities and be able to make strategic decisions which will grow the franchise.

The Care Coordinator

Initially the Owner will function as the Care Coordinator but as the franchise grows in terms of the number of Seniors that receive care a Care Coordinator will need to be hired. You will need a Care Coordinator that pays attention to detail and one that possesses strong logistic skills. A good Care Coordinator ensures that the daily operations of your Franchise are profitable and efficient.

The Sales Rep

The Franchise Sales Rep is responsible for creating the marketing plan and evaluating the success of those plans. The Sales Rep must have a dynamic personality that prospective customers are drawn to. The ability to seek out and find key opportunities before your competitors find them is also a critical skill. This position is the key to your company’s growth.

Your home care business depends on its top tier team members to make smart decisions on a daily basis. In order to grow your franchise you must hire individuals with the same passion and drive for helping seniors stay in their own home.

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