Dakota Home Care Blog

A 24-hour home care provider embraces her client as they both smile.

Get Around-the-Clock Peace of Mind With 24-Hour Home Care

There was a period of time when Mom only required care assistance a few days each week, just for a couple of hours each day. As her needs evolved, having a caregiver with her most days became more beneficial, while you provided care for her on weekends. Now, you’re realizing that Mom would feel most secure with someone there around the clock to ensure her needs are met and to handle any emergencies that may arise. If this resonates with you, it might be the right time to explore the option of 24-hour home care! Understanding 24-Hour Home Care The truth is, a person’s need for care doesn’t adhere to a typical nine-to-five schedule. The health and well-being of older loved ones is a constant priority. While some people may manage well with daytime care only, others may face challenges during the night that necessitate professional assistance. This is where 24-hour care becomes invaluable. With 24-hour care services, two or more caregivers are assigned to an older adult, working in shifts both day and night. This care model ensures that the individual has a dedicated caregiver present at all times, actively addressing their care needs. Regardless of the hour, you can have peace of mind knowing the person you love is in the capable hands of a trusted care professional. Distinguishing Between 24-Hour Care and Live-In Care Although 24-hour care and live-in care share similarities, there are crucial differences to consider in determining the best service for an older loved one. Live-in care involves the caregiver having a private bedroom in the house but doesn’t require them to be actively providing care around the clock. In contrast, 24-hour care ensures continuous, active caregiving. Is 24-Hour Home Care the Right Choice? If you’re grappling with the decision of whether 24-hour care

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A caregiver providing live-in care services helps a senior man get out of.

The Benefits of Live-In Care Services

As people age, their evolving abilities may prompt the need for increased support. Initially, an older adult’s care journey may involve an in-home caregiver assisting with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and offering friendly companionship. However, as time progresses, a few hours of assistance each day may prove insufficient. Older loved ones might encounter challenges with nightly tasks or face issues requiring assistance during the overnight hours. Recognizing these evolving needs is crucial, and that’s where live-in care services, such as those provided by Dakota Home Care, emerge as the ideal solution! Understanding Live-In Care Services In the live-in care model, a caregiver resides in the older adult’s home and is available both day and night. It’s important to note that the caregiver isn’t continuously providing care, however. During nighttime, the primary advantage of a live-in caregiver is their immediate availability for emergencies. Considerations for Live-In Care Services Live-in caregivers must be provided with a private bedroom in the home and a mandatory eight-hour break, including a minimum of five hours of uninterrupted sleep. These stipulations ensure that live-in caregivers prioritize self-care, guaranteeing they are in the best condition to deliver exceptional care. Distinguishing Live-In Care From 24-Hour Care While 24-hour care and live-in care share similarities, a key distinction lies in where the caregiver resides. In a 24-hour care model, the caregiver does not live with the senior, eliminating the need for a designated bedroom. Instead, a rotating team of caregivers works in shifts to provide around-the-clock care to meet the needs of an individual. When to Opt for Live-In Care Wondering if live-in care is the right fit for someone you love? Consider the following questions: Do you have concerns about nighttime emergencies? Do both you and the older adult want the comfort of having someone in the home

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Dakota Home Care Receives Three 2024 Best of Home Care® Awards

We are thrilled to announce that Dakota Home Care has been honored with three prestigious 2024 Best of Home Care Awards from Home Care Pulse (HCP), the leading firm in experience management for post-acute care. This honor not only reflects our commitment to providing exceptional care but also highlights our dedication to fostering a positive work environment for our caregivers. Best of Home Care® – Leader in Experience The Leader in Experience Award is the highest recognition awarded by HCP and is given to select home care businesses that consistently rank among the very highest in 10 or more quality metrics. As a Leader in Experience, we are now recognized among the top 10% of home care providers participating in the nationwide HCP Experience Management Program. Best of Home Care® – Provider of Choice The Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice award is based on client satisfaction ratings.  This award signifies our commitment to being the preferred choice for clients seeking high-quality home care services. It reflects our dedication to meeting the unique needs and preferences of those we serve. Best of Home Care® – Employer of Choice The Best of Home Care – Employer of Choice award is based on caregiver satisfaction ratings. This award celebrates our commitment to creating a positive and supportive work environment for our caregivers. It acknowledges our efforts in fostering a workplace culture that values and appreciates the hard work and dedication of our team members.   Todd Austin, President of HCP stated, “When we see agencies like Dakota Home Care that have so effectively provided outstanding care and employment experiences, we know we’re on the right track. Dakota Home Care has worked extremely hard to prioritize high-quality care and employment, and their work hasn’t gone unnoticed. This award allows them to

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Providing Care for Loved Ones with Parkinson’s Disease

Navigating Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be full of surprises for a caregiver and their loved one with the disease. The progression of PD is different for every person, and there can be good days and bad days, with the latter requiring more care. A caregiver must try to be aware of when to step back and let their loved one do what they can for themselves, and then be ready to step in and offer help when needed. It can be stressful and exhausting for both. In the early stages of the disease, symptoms can often be controlled with medication, so it’s important to make your doctor aware of any changes that may require an increase in dosage, or a change of medication based on worsening symptoms or possible side effects. At this stage, your loved one’s mental health might be a primary concern as they adjust to their diagnosis. Anti-depressants and therapy may be prescribed. Another symptom that can present itself either early or late in the disease is cognitive difficulties similar to Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. These can also complicate caregiving. Levels of Care As the disease progresses, so will the need for care and assistance with daily activities. As the caregiver, you can expect your loved one to need help with tasks such as moving safely from place to place, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and eating. He may also need help with cognitive tasks such as handling their finances. The help required may begin to exceed your mental and physical abilities. The best time to learn about in-home care options is before outside help is needed. In-home care can help family caregivers to avoid burnout and maintain their own well-being. In addition to medication, there are services that can help to slow the effects of the

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An older man offers senior mentorship to a teenage boy.

Wisdom Beyond Years: Embracing Senior Mentorship

Reflecting on the journey of life prompts contemplation about the lessons learned along the way. Life doesn’t provide a manual, but it does offer something even more valuable: the shared wisdom of those who’ve traveled similar paths. Older adults, with their wealth of experience, can become mentors, creating a ripple effect of positive impact on others. This not only contributes to their own self-esteem and sense of purpose but also strengthens intergenerational connections, making mentoring a mutually beneficial endeavor.

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A Lifetime of Home: The Inspiring Journey of Jeff with Dakota Home Care

A True Tale of Compassion and Commitment At Dakota Home Care, we believe that every individual deserves the chance to age gracefully in the comfort of their own home. Today, we’d like to share the touching story of Jeff (name changed for privacy), an incredible soul we had the privilege of caring for. The Beginning: A Lone Journey When Jeff first came to us at the age of 80, he was living alone in Bismarck, ND, grappling with Parkinson’s disease. His health had reached a point where daily activities became challenging, and his doctor recommended assisted living. However, Jeff was determined to stay in the place he called home. A Friend’s Recommendation: Dakota Home Care Steps In Faced with the dilemma of leaving his cherished home or finding an alternative, Jeff turned to a friend for advice. That friend’s recommendation led him to Dakota Home Care. Our dedicated registered nurse visited Jeff at home to understand his needs and discuss his options. Creating a Path: Tailored Care Plans Unveiled The nurses conducted a comprehensive needs assessment, working closely with Jeff and his family to create a personalized care plan. Initially, Jeff required four hours of assistance each day, covering personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation, and transportation. Growing Needs: Adapting to Change As time passed, Jeff’s health needs evolved. He eventually needed more support, especially with walking and transferring. Recognizing the importance of maintaining his independence, Dakota Home Care adjusted the care plan, offering 24-hour care. Day and night, caregivers were there to assist with activities of daily living, ensuring Jeff’s safety and well-being. A Team Effort: Hospice Care Integration As Jeff’s health further declined, and his doctor suggested hospice care, Dakota Home Care collaborated seamlessly with a local hospice agency. This collaboration allowed our caregivers to work alongside the hospice

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A grandmother shares photos with her daughter and granddaughter, part of how she will leave a lasting legacy for her family.

How to Leave a Lasting Legacy for Generations to Come

We all share a common desire to leave behind a world that’s better than we found it. One impactful way to achieve this is to leave a lasting legacy to the generations that follow us. A person’s legacy is more than just a physical inheritance; it’s a tapestry of wisdom, values, and contributions woven together over a lifetime.

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A woman shares a holiday meal with her elderly mother, while detecting some warnings signs that indicate the need for care.

5 Steps to Take When Holiday Visits Reveal the Need for Care

If you’ve recently returned home for the holidays only to discover that Mom seems increasingly forgetful or Dad is not walking as well as he was last year, you’re not alone. Many adult children face a holiday reality check each year when visiting family reveals a need for care that may have gone unnoticed throughout the rest of the year. Noticing changes in a family member or friend during a seasonal visit is a common experience and can serve as an opportune time to discuss whether additional care is necessary in the home. With the support of family and friends, initiating a conversation about a care plan can be done with sensitivity and consideration. Here are some tips to guide you: Share Your Concerns: Approach your loved ones openly and honestly. Express your concerns about their health, emphasizing that your intentions are rooted in care and support. Your genuine worry may motivate them to seek medical advice or make lifestyle changes. Create a Sense of Planning: Engage in a conversation about your observations using concrete examples. Ask your loved one about their perspective on the situation and what they think might be going on. Collaboratively explore potential solutions and involve them in the decision-making process. Address Safety Issues: Identify and discuss any safety concerns within the home. Create a plan together to address these issues and ensure a safe living environment. This collaborative approach helps the person feel involved and valued in the decision-making process. Encourage a Medical Checkup: Propose the idea of a routine medical checkup and offer your assistance in scheduling the appointment. You can accompany the person to the doctor or help find someone else to attend the visit. Regular medical checkups are essential for early detection and management of health issues. Contact the Doctor for Guidance:

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Holiday Dinner

Preventing Loneliness During and After the Holidays

People of all ages find November through January to be their loneliest time of year. “Social Isolation” is a buzz word often thought to be the same thing as loneliness. However, during and after the winter holidays the elderly may have reasons to feel lonely, even if they are aging-in-place at home with one or more family members, have in-home caregivers, or are part of a group that meets regularly, such as their church community.  Why the Holidays Are Even Harder for the Elderly Focusing on their losses is common for seniors during the holidays. They may have lost a spouse or friends; some degree of their health, energy and mobility; their independence, their home and the ability to do many of the things that they traditionally associated with getting ready for and enjoying during the holidays. They’ve been used to doing things for others, and now they must depend on others more than they would like to. They are getting outside less, not exercising as much, and their family members may be too busy to spend much time with them. Pressure to Enjoy the Holidays It can be difficult to find ways to help our elderly loved ones feel noticed, loved and part of our holiday celebrations. Many of them were experiencing depression and loneliness even before the holidays started. Unless we expect and also plan for how to lessen post-holiday loneliness, elderly family members are likely to feel even worse, after whatever together times we were able to manage are over. Start by lowering our expectations and theirs for what can be done this holiday season. Maintain as many of your family traditions as you can, while realizing that because of age, some are becoming unrealistic, and we will have to rethink them. Try to put relationships first.

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Christmas Tree

10 Tips to Help the Elderly and their Caregivers Enjoy the Holidays

Holidays can be both a joyful and a stressful time for all of us, no matter what stage of life we’re in. But as a family member ages, it can become more and more difficult to continue the family traditions everyone expects, and at the same time ensure that our elderly loved one’s physical and emotional needs are taken into account. Caregivers often struggle with how to juggle events that can be highly stressful, confusing and even depressing for an elderly family member with the needs and expectations of others. Situations will vary based on the health issues and mobility of your elderly family member, but these 10 tips could help all families and the elderly person they care for find more joy in the holiday season: Simplify your holiday. Caregivers with young families have a lot on their plates during the holidays. An “I want to do it all” attitude can bring on a lot of stress. Simplify routines and modify traditions by making a list of all your chores and eliminating those that aren’t truly necessary. Plan ahead. If older family members tire easily or are vulnerable to over-stimulation, limit the number of activities they are involved in or the length of time they are included. Designate a “quiet room” for them and schedule time there for a break, when necessary. Modify festivities to accommodate limitations. Be conscious of potential difficulties with an event or holiday plans for someone with physical or emotional challenges. Find a way for them to be included safely or get them involved in something else during that time. Ask your loved one about their memories. Older people whose memories are impaired often can share stories and observations from the past. Use picture albums, family videos and music to help stimulate memories and encourage

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A man displays one of the warning signs of seasonal affective disorder – a lack of interest in enjoyable activities – as he waves forlornly out the window.

SAD Seniors: Warning Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Help

The holiday season is often synonymous with joy, warmth, and togetherness as families come together to celebrate. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that not everyone experiences this time of year with the same festive spirit. The darker days of fall and winter can cast a shadow on some individuals, leading to a form of clinical depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While many may dismiss it as the winter blues, SAD can particularly affect seniors, triggering memories of past holidays spent with loved ones who are no longer present. As you gather with your family during the holidays, it’s crucial to be attentive to warning signs of seasonal affective disorder in your older loved ones. Identifying these signs early on can make a significant difference in their well-being. Some common indicators of depression, including SAD, include oversleeping, extreme fatigue, a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, increased appetite or overeating, and in severe cases, even suicidal thoughts. However, depression in seniors during the holidays may manifest in more subtle ways. Look out for these additional warning signs that could indicate a need for assistance: Weight Loss: Has the senior noticeably lost weight? Sudden changes in body weight can be a red flag for underlying health issues. Appearance: Take note if there are unexpected changes in the senior’s general appearance. This could include unkempt personal hygiene or a significant shift in clothing choices. Household Upkeep: Assess the overall condition of the senior’s home. Any drastic changes in how the house is maintained may provide clues about their well-being. General Behavior: Observe any alterations in the senior’s behavior. Are they more agitated or forgetful than usual? Is mobility becoming an issue, requiring more assistance? Such behavioral changes might indicate a need for additional care at home. If any

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Your Trusted Partner in Long-Term Care Insurance Coverage

At Dakota Home Care, we understand the importance of providing high-quality in-home care to our clients. We take pride in being one of the few agencies licensed by the State Health Department, a crucial requirement for long-term care insurance coverage. We’re excited to highlight the benefits of choosing Dakota Home Care and how we seamlessly accept long-term care insurance payments. The Importance of Long-Term Care Insurance Long-term care insurance plays a pivotal role in ensuring that individuals receive the assistance they need as they age or face health challenges. It typically covers in-home care when a client requires help with two or more activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. This coverage is designed to alleviate the financial burden associated with extended care services and provides peace of mind for both clients and their families. Dakota Home Care: State Health Department Licensed and Insured Not all home care agencies are created equal, and we take our commitment to excellence seriously. Dakota Home Care is proud to be licensed by the State Health Department, meeting stringent standards to ensure the safety and well-being of our clients. We are also fully insured, as required by most long-term care insurance companies, giving you the confidence that you are choosing a reputable and reliable provider for your in-home care needs. Seamless Long-Term Care Insurance Payments Navigating the complexities of long-term care insurance can be overwhelming, but at Dakota Home Care, we strive to make the process as smooth as possible. We are pleased to announce that we accept long-term care insurance payments, allowing you to access our top-notch services without the stress of financial uncertainties. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way, from understanding your insurance coverage to processing claims efficiently. Benefits of Choosing Dakota Home Care

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The adult child of a senior who has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis hugs the senior.

Coping With a Loved One’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

When a doctor has to break the news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it doesn’t just impact the person being diagnosed. It affects all of their loved ones. It’s imperative for family caregivers to allow themselves ample time to prepare for the changes to come and to uncover a healthy way to sort out the assorted emotions that manifest.

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Holiday Stress

How Family Caregivers Can Relieve Stress During the Holiday Season

During the busy holiday seaso n, zeroing in on stress—what it is and how to cope with it—can be a vital part of self-care and burnout prevention for caregivers. A family caregiver experiences large and small changes in their life that may continue over time and make a usually stressful time, like the holidays, even more stressful. The first step to relieving stress is to recognize when you are feeling it in a negative way, and what is causing those feelings. Stress can be described in a number of different ways: Stress can feel like the inability to cope with a real or imagined threat to your mental and emotional well-being. You could compare the effect on your body to a “fight or flight” response. Stressors can be physiological or emotional events that you perceive to be stressful or out of your comfort zone. What is stressful for one person might not be stressful for another. Stress can have a short-term or a long-term (chronic) negative effect on your mind and body. Stress can occur when the mind-body-spirit connection is out of balance. Negative thoughts can cause a physical response that makes your spirit feel “down” or even makes you physically sick. Identifying stressors of the holidays that can be aggravated as result of your role as caregiver is the first step to relieving your stress. They can be physical, social, emotional, or economic. It can be helpful to make a list of what your stressors are. Some of the more common ones include: Less time for traditional activities, yourself, sleep, healthy eating, or exercise. Worries about finances. Wondering how to pay for holiday expenses along with new expenses related to caregiving. Responsibility for decisions, both day-to-day and those that affect the whole family, especially if they involve traditions that

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A woman comforts her elderly mother who is experiencing challenging Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Challenging Alzheimer’s Symptoms: What to Avoid

As someone caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you understand the importance of flexibility, patience, and expecting the unexpected. On any given day, the individual could experience a broad range of feelings: agitated, angry, fearful, sad, giddy, or calm. As you adjust your care approach to accommodate the person’s disposition, you also need to juggle management of a host of challenging Alzheimer’s symptoms: wandering, repetitive behaviors and conversations, memory loss, sundowning.

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