McCortney Family In-Home Care News

VA Aide and Attendance

Yesterday, we met with Aaron Budd, an attorney who specializes in Elder Law, and an expert on VA Aide & Attendance benefits.  We learned a TON of information on what it takes to qualify, how to qualify, and what types of benefits are available. 

Deciding Where to Get Care for Your Elderly Parents

I typically try not to copy and paste too much from the in-home care articles that I link to on this blog, but I'm just not sure I could write this story much better than they did.  (Read the whole thing here.)  I'll give you chunks and then my thought with them.

During the past five years, the cost of a private room at a nursing home rose 4.19% annually....Nursing homes rate hikes outpaced that of in-home aide care, which rose 1.32% annually during the same time period...

I know here in Southeastern/South-central Oklahoma, there are typically more nursing home residents than nursing home beds, so this trend doesn't surprise me.  What would surprise me would be if this trend continues over the next twenty years.  Baby Boomers, as they become Senior Adults, want more than ever to stay home, so in-home care service (especially good quality in-home caregivers) are going be become much more of a scarce commodity.  That's not saying that nursing home beds will be easy to find, but I do think the two are going to become equal as the Baby Boomers age.

Moving on to the point that I believe to be very important:

Oklahoma is the Third Cheapest State for Long-Term Care Costs in 2014

Anecdotally, I can tell you that it is always funny when I receive a phone call from people who live on the east coast but need family home care for their senior adult aged parent(s) in Southeastern Oklahoma.  Typically, those children have asked around to their friends and have an idea of how much care costs.  Then they call us, and have a very hard time containing their excitement over how much cheaper our in-home caregiver rates are than the rates they would have to pay on the east coast.

Advantages of Home Care for Elderly with Alzheimer's or Dementia

From my experience providing hospice and in-home care in Oklahoma, if your loved one is suffering from middle to late stages of Alzheimer's or dementia, their home may very well be the biggest thing in the world that they still know.  They may have forgotten names, have totally forgotten dates, and may not remember what was for dinner last night, but they remember the house.  They remember where their bed is.  They remember where the bathroom is.  They remember where they go to get food and water.  They are comfortable and feel secure in their homes.  To me, this is why in-home care service is such a great choice for people with Alzheimer's or dementia.  If their home is the biggest thing they remember, then we need to find ways to keep these people in their homes.  Keep them where they feel comfortable.  Keep them where their memories are.  If you can hire a caregiver to help your loved one with a cognitive disorder remain in a home that they have lived in for many years, it will never been a bad decision.

Demand Increasing for Paid Caregivers

Finding good quality family home care providers is probably the hardest part of running an in-home care service in Oklahoma, and the same can be said all over the United States.  I thought the statistics in this article were interesting:

By 2020 Iowa will need 95,000 paid caregivers. The average annual turnover rate for the profession in the state is more than 60 percent, according to the Iowa CareGivers Association. The organization founded by Di Findley, a 13-year nurse aide, estimates that to keep up with the turnover, Iowa employers spent $193 million to recruit and train new staff in 2012.

Long Term Care Costs Cheapest at Home

I would have linked any article with the title “Long Term Care Costs Cheapest at Home”, but the fact that this article comes from the Money section of “U.S. News and World Report” makes it even more exciting.  You should read it for yourself, but for those of you who are pressed for time, I’ll give you some bullets.
In-home Care cost for caregivers is stable:

The good news in the survey is that costs for in-home care -- where nearly 80 percent of people prefer being cared for -- have risen very little during the past five years.

(Did you catch that part about 80% of the elderly population preferring in-home caregivers instead of being placed in an Assisted Living or Nursing Home facility?)

Moving on, it tells us why this is something that we, as a nation, need to be talking about.

What are in-home care services?

It’s always hard to totally define what “in-home care services” are.  Every patient is client is different.  Every family has different needs.  The list of things that our caregivers can help you with seems unending.  Clearly, our company website had tried to define what family home care is and looks like, but it never hurts to let others try to help.  With that in mind, here are two different paragraphs from a blog post that seem to define it decently.

First, family in-home care for those with a short-term disability:

Long-term care insurance: Who needs it? What does it cover? What will it cost

If I had a nickel for every time I discussed our services with the child of a client and the conversation turned into a sales pitch for the child to buy long-term care insurance….

By the time you are calling our family home care agency because you need a caregiver to help you in your home, you have missed the window to purchase the insurance that would pay for it.  In all honesty, most of the elder care clients we help here in Oklahoma were too old or too sick to purchase long-term care insurance when the product first became widely offered.  Their children, on the other hand, are getting a very fast lesson on why Long-term Care Insurance is important and why it is a really good investment.

With that said, I wanted to link to this article from the Sacramento Bee titled “Long-term care insurance: Who needs it?  What does it cover? What will it cost”.  Yes, portions of the article deal with California issues, but most will be very relevant to anyone who has questions about Elder Care issues in Oklahoma.

Op-Ed: Raising the Bar for Elderly Care at Home

There was an interesting op-ed column in US News recently by the Director of Product Strategy, Social Program Management, at IBM.  Read the whole thing.

It discusses the aging of our population:

Consider that the oldest living person today – Misawo Okawa at 116 years old – was not expected to see her 45th birthday when she was born in 1898. While super-centenarians like Okawa are rare, people in the United States can expect to live an average of 78.7 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – good news to be sure, but it also presents new challenges in how we provide care to the elderly.

It also goes on to discuss the preference of the elderly population to have caregivers that can help them remain in their own home:

Increasingly, the elderly are opting to be cared for at home, preferring their own surroundings instead of outside environments. This is sparking a renewed debate on the merits and challenges of home care versus third-party care. Many believe home care is the optimal choice,

No Tax Day Stress for Our In-home Care Clients

It’s everyone’s favorite day of the year.  Tax day 2014 is upon us!  Woohoo, right?

Okay, I know, nobody gets excited about tax day, but, if you use a  true In-home Care company for your elder care needs in Oklahoma, your tax worries would be significantly less.  There are a lot of benefits to using a company like our family home care company (bonding, on-the-job injuries, drug testing, background checks, reference checks, reliability….), but today, let’s focus on the tax day reasons to use a full service in-home care company instead of a “caregiver finder” service.

Location of Service

I know this is a weird post, (We do have a map of our services on the website), but one of the most frequent questions I get is what our geographic coverage area is.  My standard answer is that we provide family home caregivers to a huge part of southern and southeastern Oklahoma.  That answer is to vague, so I'm trying a different answer today.  He is a list of everywhere our in-home care services are being provided to senior adults TODAY.

Ardmore, OK
Madill, OK
Dickson, OK
Wilson, OK
Lone Grove, OK
Davis, OK
Milburn, OK
Stratford, OK
Ada, OK
Byng, OK
Stonewall, OK
Konawa, OK

6 things not to do as a caregiver

Here is a great article from (one of my favorite blogs) about the hardship of being a family caregiver.  Yes, I know that this doesn’t necessarily fit on the website of a company that provides in-home care for elderly clients, but the advice is just too good not to share.  We know that our service isn’t for everyone, and if this information helps those who are able to care for their parents or spouse at home, then we’ve done something good.

Pay special attention to number six, “DO NOT neglect your own health”.  This is a huge deal.  If you are caring for mom, dad, your spouse or a sibling, the last thing you need is for the caregiver to get into a situation where they need a caregiver of their own.

Who Cares for the Home Care Aides?

Olympia Dukakis recently wrote an article, that I found on, that tells about her personal experience with in-home care.  She had caregivers that cared for her mother who had Alzheimer’s in the 1980s.
She does a good job of explaining the importance of elder care services such in in-home care:

Like so many families, we turned to committed and compassionate home-care workers, who supported not only my mother but also the whole family during the progression of my mother's disease.
I am so grateful that I was able to be with my mother, in our home, in her final years. It would not have been possible without the incredible women who provided quality care to my mother.

But she also does a great job of discussing the issues that face this industry with the aging of the baby boomers.  It is often hard to find good caregivers who want to provide family home care:

A Patient's Guide to Home Care

I thought this infographic on In-home care service was interesting.  It is from a family home care company based in another state, but the information is still relevant for Oklahoma.  Most of it talks about the difference between having caregivers in your home or moving your mom or dad to a care facility.

25 charged in bogus home care scheme; prosecutors call it DC's largest health-care fraud

This article from U.S. News and World Report is another example of how hard it is to track caregivers providing in-home care in a senior adult's home.  

The alleged schemes, which prosecutors said were similar but not necessarily part of a unified conspiracy, involved bogus claims for home care services, .... The uptick in billings for home care — from $40 million in 2006 to $280 million last year — was part of what tipped off authorities to illegal activity, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said.

How do you know when the caregiver who is supposed to be caring for your parents arrives at the home?  How do you know when they leave?  Can you really prove that they showed up at all?  Did they stay the entire time that they are getting paid for?  These questions are nearly impossible to answer if you are using a private caregiver in the home of someone with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or the confusion that often comes with any advancing illness.

Our company uses technology to solve this problem.

In-home Care Service for those with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia: No, it is NOT a babysitting job!

There is a lot of nuance in providing In-home care service, especially when you are working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia.  One of my pet peeves is when people say, “So, you’re like a babysitting service for senior adults.”  Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they say this; babysitting is the closest thing the typical person ever experiences to the family home care services that we provide.  It’s an innocent statement, but it undermines how specialized caring for a senior adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s is.

Most people can give you the typical list of things that our caregivers will be doing for a patient with dementia:
  • Make sure they remember to take their medications.
  • Remind them to bathe.
  • Turn the oven off… to prevent them from burning the house down.

In-home Care Service for those Recovering from Surgery: A trip into the great unknown

Unless you are much healthier than the average American, you probably know what it feels like to face a surgery and the insecurity that comes with the recovery process.  I was reminded of the feeling recently when my mother had a major operation on her foot.  The doctor said she wouldn’t be able to “let her foot touch the floor” for a week (or maybe two).  Sooooooooo, does that mean that mom isn’t going to be able to get out of bed for a week (or two)?  Or, does that mean that mom is going to be in a wheelchair for a week (or two)?  The difference in the amount of help she is going to need during that time period is huge.  Then, you wonder what happens the next week.  She isn’t going to be up jumping rope on week three!  How much help was she going to need and for how long?  Those were the big questions, and there were no good answers.   Doctors love the phrase, “recovery time varies”, but patients hate it.  The reality is that you never know exactly how the recovery process is going to work.

In-home Care Service for those being Discharged from a Nursing Home: Removing the fear and going home again!

There are certain concerns that are common for senior adults that are considering moving out of a nursing home and into their home again.  Clearly, this is a time of excitement.  Everyone, or most everyone at least, wants to be home.  Unfortunately, moving home isn’t always easy.  Nursing homes do a lot for their patients, and all of that needs to be replicated in the home.

  • Who will cook the meals?
  • Who will remind me to take my medications?
  • Who will help me with my shower?
  • Who will be there if I get tired and can’t complete a task?
  • Who will be there if I get dizzy or weak while walking?
  • Who will change my bed?
  • Who will do my laundry?
  • Who will take me to the doctor?
  • Who will check in and make sure everything is going okay?
  • Who will remind me of the things I need to do to regain my strength?
  • Who will take care of things if there is an emergency?

The answer to all of these questions (and many more) is “my in-home caregiver”. 

Is Long-Term Care Insurance Right for You?

This article is not from the great state of Oklahoma, but the basic discussion applies anywhere.  Here’s the cut and paste version of the highpoints:  (The whole article is worth reading.)

"Long-term care is the biggest threat to elders' financial well-being," he said.

Another option is long-term care insurance, which can cover the costs of care for those who lose the ability to perform some of the basic activities of independent living because of health issues.

Long-term care insurance is different from health insurance. The premiums policyholders pay aren't likely to pay off very soon, and it might not even be needed. Someone who dies suddenly, for example, wouldn't need it, Murdock said.

He said many people don't even think about getting it until they realize they need it, and by then it's often too late.

"Everybody wants to get long-term care insurance after the event that happened that's going to prevent them from getting long-term care insurance," he said.

Clearly, every family is different, so the decision on whether or not to purchase long-term care insurance is a personal one.  As quite possibly the only elder care company in our part of Oklahoma that is qualified to provide In-home care to a family member who has a long-term care insurance policy, we can honestly say that these policies are often worth their weight in gold.  We have seen MANY senior adults who have used these policies and the benefits they provide to remain in their homes long past the time they could have without them.

Affordable Care Act Program Encourages In-Home Care

I must say, that this program, from the National Center for Policy Analysis article, makes a lot of sense.

The Balancing Incentive Payments Program is intended to keep as many people as possible out of nursing home care. Nursing home care is expensive, and a 2010 AARP survey found that 9 out of 10 older Americans would prefer in-home care to nursing home care.

If in-home care for senior adults is what people want and providing in-home caregivers instead of nursing home care saves money, why wouldn’t this be the direction our healthcare system goes?

Profile of a Long-Term Care Cargiver

PBS has done a good job summarizing the cost of caring for your mom or dad at home with their article, which is provocatively titled, "What working a part-time job for five years - for free - looks like".  (There is also an interesting graphic that goes with it that you can find here.)  Here are a couple of the stats pulled out of the article:

  • This will impact a lot of us — 40 percent of all women 18 or older and 37 percent of all men 18 or older provide care for someone.

How Many In-home Caregivers Will It Take?

Nobody likes strangers in their home.  Senior Adults, especially those with memory problems associated with Alzheimer's Disease or dementia, or physical problems like COPD (emphysema) or severe arthritis that make moving around the house hard, are not an exception to this rule.  Because of that, one of the questions we most often get asked is, how many caregivers will you be putting into my mom's home (or dad's).  The answer is, as few as possible.  If you need around the clock live-in care, we accomplish this with two people.  Often this team of caregivers works up to 7 days on and seven days off, so the client only has to endure "shift change" once a week.  

Often times, families and friends try to patch together the care needed without hiring anyone or they only hire a caregiver for the hours that can't be covered by someone else.  In that situation, the senior adult ends up having multiple in-home caregivers each day.  One caregiver doesn't know what the other has done, and things slip through the cracks.

In-home Agencies Fight Fraud

This article (or any other that you want to find) is the latest in a long list of tales of family home caregivers who have abused or neglected their clients.  It is a sad thing, and something that is hard for most of us to imagine.  Unfortunately it is a reality.  This is also why hiring an Elder Care Agency is so important in Oklahoma (or any other state for that matter.)

1.  We do background checks on all employees, and this includes checklists of people who have been connected with senior adult abuse before.

Can Technology Save Home Care?

This article comes from a company that is trying to sell their care management system, but it does discuss an interesting question.  First, I don't know that I agree that Home Care needs "saving", but I do think that technology is only going to make it better.

First, let's talk about what McCortney Family In-home care already does with technology.

We use what the industry calls a "telephony" system, but I have always thought that was a bad name.  Our system allows our caregiver to clock in when they arrive at the client's home every day and clock out when they leave.  Yes, that's a telephony system, but what happens from there is far from anything Alexander Graham Bell every imagined.

Reliable Post-Operative or Senior Home Care Service

There are a couple of things about this blog post that we should spend more time discussing on this blog, but I will have to skip discussing using In-home caregivers for post surgery care and focus on their section about the benefit of finding an In-home care company that provides individual assessments. As they state in their article:

If you or a loved one is in need of in-home care services, a reputable company typically begins the process with a care assessment. It's likely you'd prefer an in-home care company that delivers personalized attention, tailored to their clients' individual needs and wishes. Care assessments involve analyzing a patient's situation, and offering solutions and outlining options for them and their family. At a trustworthy caregiving company, nurse's assistants and other trained medical professionals collaborate with patients, family members, and one another to deliver only the best, most effective care to each of their clients.

Three Things to Know when Hiring a Home Health Aide

This article from USA Today helps sort out the type of In-home Care service that you or your loved one may need.  Depending on their condition, there are many different forms of In-Home Care.  Many, including people with early stages of Alzheimer's or Dementia, just need a companion caregiver while others need the assistance of a Certified Nurses Aide.  Some need a few hours a week and others need 24 hours a day seven days a week help.  Our company can provide any of these needs, but often identifying where you are is difficult.

Ten Warning Signs that an Elderly Loved One May Need In-Home Care

The holidays are over and it's back to the grind, but for many of us, especially the children of The Greatest Generation or even Baby Boomers, there is a nagging question in our heads.  Is mom (or dad) really okay living alone or do they need assistance from in-home caregivers?

If you are one of the people who is worrying about their parents, this article has a list of ten warning signs that may indicate that you should consider in-home care services for your family.

1. Experiencing a change in memory
2. Bills not being paid on time or mail piling up
3. Missed doctor appointments
4. Personal hygiene (e.g., clothing, hair, etc.) becoming difficult to maintain

Seniors Fill Ranks of Caregiving Workforce for Elderly

This article discusses one of the things that seems to surprise many of our in-home care clients. It comes out of another state, but definitely applies to the Elder Care services we provide in Oklahoma.  Many of our clients, especially those with Alzheimer's, dementia, and COPD, don't need a lot of "hands on care".  The need a companion.  Often the best companion for a Senior Adult is another Senior Adult.

Ten of the Most Important Caregiver Traits

This article from does a good job of listing some of the traits that we look for when hiring our caregivers.  Sure, we focus on clean background checks, a good work history, trustworthiness, and many other traits that you most often associate with people providing In-Home Care (or Elder Care), but it's not that simple.

State tightens rules on home care aides

When searching for a caregiver to bring into your home,  McCortney In home Care can help with this process. Our In-home caregivers go thru training, background checks, drug screening, and driving record reports. We understand the importance on proper screening when you are planning to bring a caregiver into your home.

Importance of selecting the Right Caregiver

At McCortney Family In Home care, we know the importance of selecting just the right caregiver for your specific needs. We take great pride in our In home Care, and value the care and kindness our caregivers give to our clients. We recently found a article that also gives insight to the importance of selecting the right caregiver for your  In home Care. Below you will find an exert from that informative article.


McCortney Family In-Home Care has provided care for my mother for over 2 years. When a concern came up, they listened and acted on my request.