Home Care vs Home Health Care – There is a Difference

If you’re a family caregiver or anyone engaged in senior care for that matter, chances are you’ve had some confusion about the types of in-home care available at one point or another. And that is totally understandable. You’ve probably heard terms like, homemaker companion, personal care aide, home health aide, in-home care, nurse registry, and the list goes on. Confusing right? You’re wondering, What’s the difference and what is right for me? In this episode we clear all of that up for you.

Here is what we talk about:

  • Home Care vs Home Health (non-medical vs medical)
  • Do the two ever mix
  • Where a Home Care Agency provide services
  • When should a family consider getting extra help
  • How services are paid for
  • Is it a cost effective option
  • The future of Home Care 
  • Key questions one should ask when considering a care provider

Links and Resources

Read the full transcript here:

Closed Captioning

Sage Aging

Episode 6

Home Care vs Home Health Care. There is a Difference

Recorded April 29, 2020


Liz Craven  0:02

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between home care and home health care, then this is the podcast episode for you.


Hi, I’m Liz Craven, and like so many others, I’ve faced the overwhelming task of being a caregiver for people that I hold dear. I understand how tough the day to day of a caregiver can be, and how hard it is to come by good information. Here’s one thing I know for sure; Education is key! Equipped with the right tools and good information. Caregivers will experience less stress and find better balance in day to day life. For the past two decades, I’ve built my career on connecting older adults and those who care for them to the education and resources they need to navigate the aging journey. This show is dedicated to the same. Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. Hit subscribe now. And let’s get started.


If you’re a family caregiver, or anyone engaged in senior care for that matter, chances are you’ve had some confusion about the types of in home care available at one point or another. And that’s totally understandable. You’ve probably heard terms like homemaker companion personal care aide home health aide in home care nurse registry, and the list goes on. It’s confusing, right? You’re wondering what’s the difference and what’s right for me? Well today we’re going to clear all that up for you. And my guest, Jorge Giraldo of Senior Helpers of Polk County, Florida is going to help me do that. Welcome to the show, Jorge. And thanks for joining me today.


Jorge Giraldo  2:11

Thank you, Liz, it is my pleasure to spend a few minutes here with you. I always enjoy our conversations, and this is a great avenue to discuss an important topic.


Liz Craven  2:19

Thanks for being here. Those who’ve been listening to the show for a while they know I like to have a little fun before we get into the seriousness of our topics. So we’re going to start with a little lightning round. Are you okay with that?


Jorge Giraldo  2:31

That sounds perfect.


Liz Craven  2:33

Awesome. Okay, your first question, what is your favorite sport?


Jorge Giraldo  2:38

favorite sport, I would have to say is baseball. I grew up actually playing basketball, but at this point in my life, I enjoy just to sit down and watch a great race game. And so that’s that’s a lot of fun for me to enjoy with the boys.


Liz Craven  2:52

All American.


Jorge Giraldo  2:54

That’s correct. Yes.


Liz Craven  2:55

Okay. All right, second question. Go for a run over pizza and a movie.


Jorge Giraldo  3:02

That’s funny. We’ve actually had some discussions about that with some of our friends and I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a runner. Maybe if I’m being chased by some sort of wild animal, you’ll probably see some speed come out for me, but I’m gonna say pizza and a  movie is my style at this point.


Liz Craven  3:17

I love it. Okay, and what do you do to escape from a crazy day?


Jorge Giraldo  3:23

Honestly, it’s just a little bit of peace and quiet. You know, I have two young sons, an eight year old and a five year old once they’re in bed, it’s just a little bit of peace and quiet, sitting on the couch, watching some TV or honestly, sometimes just catching up on some work emails, just you know, getting away from the hectic day of a lot of phone calls and emails and conversations. Just sitting in a little bit of peace and quiet is a great escape for me.


Liz Craven  3:45

I totally get that. I have learned to master the art of doing nothing. Sometimes it’s only for five minutes at a time, but the art of doing nothing is an art that everybody should master.


Jorge Giraldo  3:59

Yeah, That’s a great way to just to clear the mind and you just kind of be prepared for the next moment of important items.


Liz Craven  4:06

Absolutely. Okay. And the last question is, what is the best advice your mom or dad ever gave you.


Jorge Giraldo  4:15

So one of the things growing up, anytime I would buy, could be sneakers could be a toy, she said don’t buy the cheapest thing you can buy and don’t buy the most expensive try to get it right in the middle. Because typically that’ll last you long enough and has enough quality for it. So that’s that always stuck with me. If I’m buying something for the boys or for ourselves, for my wife or at home, try not to buy the cheapest item when I find that I don’t go for the most expensive I stick in the middle and seems to have worked well so far.


Liz Craven  4:42

Awesome. That’s really good advice. Well, thanks for doing that with me. I really enjoy letting our audience get to know us as people a little bit and feel a little bit of our personalities before we jump in. Because typically what we’re talking about here are some fairly serious issues and they’re things that that are important to people where they are.  Even if the issue seems mundane to somebody else, when you are in the situation of being a caregiver, any bit of information that you can get is super important. So with that, we are going to jump into the topic of this episode. And for our listeners sake, I want to let them know, George and I have known each other a really long time. I kind of feel like we’ve grown up in this arena together, George open his business. I’ll let him tell you a little bit more about himself in a moment. But when he first opened to senior helpers, I remember walking into his office for the first time and meeting him and thinking what a genuine person he was. And I was really looking forward to working with him. And from that day forward, he’s been a constant in everything that I do. And you know, I’m in the business of helping people connect to people who can provide good reason Sources and options for older adults and their loved ones. So you’ve been a big part of that, and a big part of my business and what I do for a lot of years. So thank you for that.


Jorge Giraldo  6:12

That’s absolutely My pleasure, Liz, you’ve been an amazing partner in our community. Anytime we have questions or concerns or look for advice or information, we know that we can pick up a phone or send you an email, and you’re right there and ready to connect us to the right group. It could be a nonprofit, or it could be a resource for our clients or caregivers. You’re always on top of everything that’s going on. So we appreciate you very much as well as


Liz Craven  6:34

Thank you. All right. Well, before we jump into the topic, and today’s topic, by the way, we’re going to be talking about home care. What really is that and what’s the difference between home care and home health care? Before we do that, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into this field?


Jorge Giraldo  6:55

Absolutely. It’d be my pleasure. We open Senior Helpers in Lakeland, really covering all of Polk County, in September of 2008. And that really had been a dream of mine for many, many years. I remember as a young child and I tell my staff this story, and they always laugh from this one. I grew up in Union City, New Jersey. And as a young child, I remember walking down a busy street and I saw a woman with a cane about to go into a store. And my instinct I didn’t think twice about it. My instinct was to rush around and hold the door open for her. That was just the way I was taught, be a gentlemen. And as a young child, I really looked up to our elders in our community and wanted to help them. And what happened at that I was probably six years old at that time, I startled this poor woman as I ran around her opened the door, and she literally hit me over the head with her cane. And I’ll never forget that it was just like one of those moments that sticks with you for the rest of your life. And truly, as I looked to open up my business in 2008, I reflected on my life and what I wanted to do and it was always a matter of taking care of my moms specifically, that was very important for me, so understanding her aging over time, taking care of those things. need that support. And that really led me to senior helpers. And it’s been a dream to be honest. And it’s prepared me for a lab both personally and professionally. You know, some of your listeners are professional caregivers that are, in essence working in the field of healthcare or home care, and others could be family caregivers. And I’m both To be honest, I care for my mother that has dementia at 80 years old. And I also am the owner, Senior Helpers so I can relate to what our families out there are struggling with overall.


Liz Craven  8:26

And I think that’s a big part of what makes you different from a lot of other people I’ve encountered. And let me qualify that by saying, I have run into so many amazing people. There are beautiful, caring people all over the place who are working in this field because they care and because they have a passion, but you really stand out among the crowd to me because you are someone who is interested in the end result of a family who feels safe and secure. And I think that most has that end in mind, but you have a unique way of getting there. And the way that you care for people and care for your staff is pretty amazing. So the first thing that I think we ought to talk about because there’s a lot of confusion is the different types of homecare many times people confused in home care or non medical in home care with home health care. Can you clarify that for us?


Jorge Giraldo  9:27

Absolutely. I’d love to do that. So Senior Helpers, we are we’re licensed as a home health agency and technically what we do is considered home care. And what that is we’re providing a certified nursing assistant or a home health aide that goes into the home of our clients and really supports them and keeps them independent at home. The goal there is meal preparation, light housekeeping, someone that has dementia, we’re actually interacting with them and creating activities to keep them engaged. That’s very important. And also making sure that all their household duties are taken care of. We can help with paying bills we can get About the doctor’s visits, really just overall support for that individual, where home health care the way that I always see it and kind of gauge it is that’s considered skilled care. Home Health Care will be a nurse that comes out to tend to a wound. They have social workers that can come out to help the family deal with being a family caregiver, which is very challenging. They also have occupational therapy or physical therapy, a lot of times, home healthcare, the skilled side is someone coming home from a hospital stay or rehab stay in a doctor who actually assign or give them a script for them to have home health care at home, whereas homecare for us we’re more of a private pay situation. So in essence, you do not need anything from a doctor to say that you need homecare. This is something that families, as they’re seeing their loved ones age and needing more support, decide that homecare is a good avenue for them. And so that’s where we can step in and support them at home.


Liz Craven  10:53

I think that clears up a lot for a lot of people because people just don’t know where to begin and what to choose. So the Two types of in home care being home health care and home care. Do those ever work in concert together?


Jorge Giraldo  11:09

Absolutely. Honestly, a lot of our referrals come through the home health care spectrum. And what the reason is they’re in the home with a senior that needs support to be independent. And they’re there from the medical side of things, you know, they’re making sure that they’re regaining their strength, making sure that if they need speech therapy that they’re getting that taken care of as well. But they cannot meet all of their needs. There are moments where these individuals are home alone, or maybe it’s a husband and wife and one or the other afraid as well. And they just need additional support. For us. We can be there one hour per day, we can be there 24 hours, seven days a week. It’s really built around that individual. And always the goal is keep them independent, not really take over their life. We don’t want to come in and do everything for them because that’s not the intent of our service. We engage them we keep them independent. If they’re still able to participate in activities. That’s what we want them to do. We don’t want them to rely solely on our staff, because I didn’t ask Since defeats the purpose of our care, we want to keep them strong, independent engaged, we want them to do well overall. So we definitely work very well with home health care, and that we can continue services beyond their scope when they are there for a few hours per week, we can be there to fill in the gaps that families may need.


Liz Craven  12:16

Most people want to age in place, they want to stay in their home as long as possible. This is a really good tool to assist families in accomplishing that. And one thing I’d like to add to that is there’s also a misconception or confusion about where home care can be provided. So I’ve heard you say many times wherever the individual calls home, so can you go a little deeper into that?


Jorge Giraldo  12:42

Absolutely. Many times our services start in the home in a private residence where an individual has their favorite chair, they have their routine in the morning of where they like to have their coffee and read their paper. So our goal is really to follow these individuals wherever home may be for them or even temporary stays So for example, a client may start services at home and have a stay at hospital for a few days, our aides can actually go into the hospital, and be there with that individual, to keep them safe and keep them up to date for the family. So they know exactly what’s going on. Many times our individual clients, they decide that they’d like to move into an independent living situation. And there are many great independent living situations out in our communities and across the country. And in that sense, they don’t have to really worry about maintenance and other items of a home. And our aides can still go into that environment, leading all the way into an assisted living. Many assisted livings have amazing services for a resident or their residents or clients. But many times they do need just additional support more one on one care, and we can follow them into the sister living site and even up to a skilled nursing facility. So our goal is really to provide services to an individual wherever they call home at that time, whether it’s temporary or permanent. We can be by their side to support them.


Liz Craven  13:54

So someone could engage your services for example. They have had a hospital stay and are feeling weak but are typically very independent. And after recovery from whatever they were hospitalized for, they could use you for a short period of time, and then release the services when they’re ready.


Jorge Giraldo  14:15

That’s the beauty of what we do. It’s not something that’s a permanent situation. In many instances, a lot of times, we can be there for short periods at a time, we don’t have a long term agreement, or a contract. We’re really going for services, as long as that person needs it so many times after a few weeks, a few months, someone is regaining strength, we’re actually reducing schedule because what we do is we create a very specialized plan of care that’s tailored to the individual. And as their needs change, whether they need more support, because things are becoming more difficult for them. We can add hours or days, or vice versa, if they’re getting healthier and stronger, we can actually start to reduce days and hours up to the point where services and so we’ve had many clients that in my mind, they’re almost like graduating from our services back to being just fully independent or help from family and that’s a great feeling to know that We were there for the time that they needed us. And we were able to get them back to being as independent as possible on their own. And they know that we’re there for the future should they need us again, but that’s one of our main goals is support them at their exact level, not force anything extra on them, just do what they need at that time. And many times it’s just short term as well, which is, which is a nice feeling. Also,


Liz Craven  15:18

I think it’s great. And as you know, I have been a caregiver multiple times for family members. And I can attest to the fact that having the extra help is something that you just, you can’t appreciate it enough having not been through it. Once you go through and you are in that situation. The days get long. The to do lists get longer, and it seems almost impossible to get everything done that needs to be done and to make sure that the person you love so dearly is well cared for. And to have the extra hands even for just a few hours a day. makes things so much more manageable and releases some of that stress that you feel, and any kind of caregiver whether you’re caregiving from a distance, and worrying about mom and dad, when you’re not there to take care of things, or you are engaged in the day to day and living with the person that you’re caring for. Having the extra peace of mind with an extra set of hands on board is amazing. It just really makes all the difference in the world. So another point of confusion that I typically encounter when people are calling and asking questions is payment, how are these types of care paid for because some are calling and saying, I want home care? Shouldn’t my insurance pay for that? Can you break that down for us?


Jorge Giraldo  16:46

Absolutely. Yeah, we that’s a major question that we receive as well. And the way that our services are structured, there are some payments that are considered non private pay. So I’ll start with just the private pay side. That’s someone that’s saved up for care potentially in an assisted living Or they have their their funds for a rainy day and their family says, You know what, now’s the time to bring some help into keep mom or dad as independent as possible in home. There are other options though the VA actually has some really amazing benefits for veterans and actually surviving spouses of veterans as well. So the VA can be an avenue that we can tap into to see if they qualify for any assistance. There are some insurances that can also step in to pay for this, there is long term care insurance. Now, it’s typically something that an individual took out many, many years ago, they probably have a policy hidden somewhere that has not been looked at in a long time. So what I caution family members, if they’re looking at care for mom or dad, take a look at their accounts. are they paying any monthly premiums to somebody that doesn’t sound very familiar, that may well be a long term care policy that you might want to dig into to see if see if they have it’s still active, which is important. There are also the other spectrum of care is Medicaid side of things. We also accept Medicaid as a option to provide care. So that’s something that for individuals that have exhausted their funds And I highly recommend speak to an elder law attorney if you do have Medicaid questions so that you can understand the qualifications for that, but that is another avenue to help pay for care overall.


Liz Craven  18:11

And so for someone who ends up being a private pay client, is this a cost effective option for them?


Jorge Giraldo  18:19

I believe so. And the reason why is that that schedule is tailored to that individual. So it’s not let’s say an all in move to a facility assisted living facility where they’re downsizing their home, they’re selling their items, they’re going there permanently. Our services can be again, as little as one hour a day. That to me is affordable, in a sense, because we’re not overdoing it with a schedule, we’re creating a schedule that exactly meets the needs of that individual. And again, that schedule may change and fluctuate depending on what it may be. But we’ve had clients that, for example, given us a story for many, many years ago, we had a daughter that lived out of state the mom was here she had dementia, the daughter would call and the mom would not pick up. She paid us what was called a peace of mind visit as a one hour visit our caregiver would show up knock on the door, that woman would open up. Not happy to see anybody at that moment. She was having some some hard days, but we would, in essence have a sign of life like, hey, she’s here. She’s okay. We would ask her, can we throw out the garbage, she would hand us the garbage, we would turn around, take the garbage out and then report to the daughter, hey, I had a sign of life today mom’s okay. And she was perfectly happy with that, because she was worried she was so worried about mom that she couldn’t make contact with her. And we were there seven days a week, just that quick touch. You know, the individual or the client themselves didn’t want a lot of help or support and they struggled with that, but at least we can make sure that she was okay at that moment.


Liz Craven  19:36

There’s that peace of mind again. That is such a big thing for caregivers. And I think another point of confusion that people have is in classifying themselves as a caregiver because somebody who’s living in another state from their parents, but is in charge of their well being. They are still a caregiver, maybe not in the same sense as somebody Who is living in the home with somebody helping them with their activities of daily living and such. But a caregiver is simply a person who is responsible for the well being of another, whether that be in person or from a distance.


Jorge Giraldo  20:16

That’s a great point. And honestly, on my end, and in many of your listeners are probably in the same situation. I mean, what’s called the sandwich generation, I’m raising young children. And I’m also caring for an aging adult. And so that’s a challenge because we’re in different times of our lives, where we’re focused on different aspects. We’re focused on our career, we’re making sure our kids are well taken care of, and education is going well. And we obviously love and care for our parents, and we want to make sure that they’re safe and well taken care of. So that’s important for someone to understand that, hey, even if they’re just minimal phone calls, or they’re paying bills from mom or dad, they are in that family caregiver role, and they should consider the right time to bring in extra help. That’s one of the hardest things for me is when someone calls in more of a reactive mode to say mom fell broke her hip. She’s coming out hospital need a lot of help. And that’s hard for me because I know that if we would have been there a little bit sooner, even a few weeks or a few months earlier, we could have monitored and looked at what the risks were at home. That’s a big aspect of what we do is looking at risk for our seniors. And if we could have avoided a fall or kept them well hydrated or taking medications properly, eating balanced meals, we could avoid a lot of non unnecessary hospitalization. So that’s where, you know thinking of when to bring in help, consider bringing it a little bit sooner, and not in a sense of an urgent matter, after something happens. So if as a family caregiver, you have concerns about mom or dad and you’re a little bit worried, now is probably the right time to start looking at that and understanding your options.


Liz Craven  21:42

I agree with that wholeheartedly. You’ve probably heard me say before, know it before you need it. I just believe that it’s so important to educate ourselves about everything that’s coming. The truth is that we can’t stop the train from rolling down the tracks. We We’re all aging. And we all have parents or loved ones who are aging. We can’t stop that from happening. But the way that we approach aging and the process of aging, and the way that we approach the challenges that accompany aging can make all the difference in the quality of life for both the person who is aging and the caregiver. So that is a great segue into the next thing that I wanted to touch on, and that is the changing landscape of aging. We are embarking on an environment that we’ve never seen before with the baby boomers who are aging right now. I believe that it still sits at something in the neighborhood of 10,000 people a day who are turning 65 in the United States, and by the year 2030. There will be more people who are 55 and older. Then there will be 18 and younger. And that’s a really big shift. And so as we move in that direction, that will put a severe strain on the companies that are catering to older adults now in the sense of assisted living and nursing home accommodations. So how do you see businesses like yours shifting with that demographic shift?


Unknown Speaker  23:28

And that’s a great statement. Part of my background that I’ve shared before, that I have a heart for this, I really care about our seniors. I also studied finance and business. I have an MBA in finance. And one of the thought processes before we bought the business is I wanted to buy something and be in something that was going to be around for a long time and to be honest in 2008 was a hard time to open a business. We were getting into the recession at that time. And it turns out that Senior Helpers and the in home care business is recession proof because we grew even through that time. So in my mind, looking at the numbers of seniors and specifically baby boomers, as they’re aging, the older age, baby boomers are now getting to a point where they’re needing support as well. During these last 10 years, we’ve been catering to the parents of baby boomers. But now, as you mentioned, between now and 2030, the tip of the baby boomers are getting to that age where they’re going to need more support. And that’s around age 80. At age 80, someone is probably a 5050 chance that they have dementia and a form of dementia, could be Alzheimer’s, it could be other types. But that’s a very challenging to go through. So in my mind, I’ve always thought of at age 80, there’s a 5050 chance that they need some help in the home to maintain their independence. So as we’ve grown through these years, and in our community, we work very well together with with some of the other companies that are in our in our space, we value them, we treasure them. We think that as a whole we need to work together to protect and take care of our aging population. That’s just going to increase the need and the demand is just going to continue to skyrocket over these next 10 years. And so from my mind that that was always a goal with my business and our staff. We always Hold them, that’s perfect our systems, that’s great. Well, that hiring, taking care of our caregivers put out the best programs, whether it’s dementia or Parkinson’s, and just normal caregiving so that we can do a good job for our community, because they’re going to need us. And it’s it’s going to be a challenge. And I’ll tell you, the challenge really is having enough staff having enough CNAs and home health aides to care for all these individuals. And that’s not just for Polk County, Florida. It’s not just for Senior Helpers. This is across the board, sister livings, that’s nursing homes, that’s hospitals that need these type of folks. And this is across the country, baby boomers have created industries, such as in home care, and they’re going to continue to change that industry over time. So we do need to be prepared and think ahead of what their needs are going to be and how to best meet those needs of our aging population.


Liz Craven  25:45

That sure sounds like an entirely different episode talking about the career opportunities that are available because of the growth of this industry right now. That was a really great point. So you mentioned a couple of things. That I want to make sure we talked about and that was Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Now I know that your company has some really incredible things going on and some fantastic programs that are related specifically to those. Do you want to talk about that?


Jorge Giraldo  26:17

I think that’s a great topic to discuss a lot of our family members that are out there listening, they may have either a diagnosis of a loved one that has a form of dementia. Or they may be wondering if that person has a form of dementia because they haven’t really gone through the steps to understand the diagnose the full disease. What we’ve done as Senior Helpers, we partnered with Teepa Snow. She’s an occupational therapist, she’s out in North Carolina, an amazing, amazing person, amazing educator. She’s someone that just understands the disease process, and it’s hard because she understands it both professionally But personally, she’s also cared for her mother in law that had dimension so she’s just unbelievable, unbelievable resource for those that have dimension what we’ve created as a Senior Gems program within Senior Helpers, and what that is, it’s a tool to train our caregivers to understand how an individual is affected by dementia. And what people created were these different gem levels. And so as someone who’s progressing through the disease, he’s assigned this just a beautiful gem. Because a lot of times dementia is looked at as someone that’s losing skills, losing abilities. And what we like to think of is differently, we like to think of what they still can do, what’s the positive there? How do we support them and love them and nurture them and protect them, so they can do the best they can? Because in all honesty, anyone would dimension like I’m speaking as a family caregiver for my mother at 80. They’re doing the best that they can, you know, it’s hard. It’s frustrating at times, even, but she’s really doing the best that she can. So it’s up to me to actually understand that and meet her at her level, not in my expectations of how they should go or the things you should or should not do. It should be based on what’s her diagnosis, how is she doing and how can I support her at that level. And so that’s something that senior gems has really brought front and center for our industry, it’s a leading program. It’s won awards throughout the country. And it’s pretty amazing program. On top of that, our corporate office has also worked on a Parkinson’s program for us. And it’s similar. We’ve we’ve partnered with experts in Parkinson’s, and we’re able to train our caregivers. So they understand the disease process, they understand the struggles that offending caregiver is going through the individual with Parkinson’s is going through, and how to best support them, how to meet them right at their need, take care of them, keep them safe, and make sure that they’re thriving, that’s important for us that our clients are happy. I mean, nothing better than receiving reports of clients that are doing the best that they can in their moments. You know, they’re struggling, and it’s hard to age. But if they’re content and they’re taken care of, and they’re safe, I mean, that’s just the epitome of what we do. That’s, that’s why we lead with our heart to take care of these folks and keep them safe.


Liz Craven  28:47

And so those programs can people find out more about those on your website, and are those programs available nationwide?


Jorge Giraldo  28:56

That is correct. Senior Helpers, we’re a franchise. We’re actually all throughout the United states, we’re in Canada and Australia as well. If you go to Seniorhelpers.com, you can type in your zip code and get local resources. We have free Senior Gems DVDs and pre Parkinson’s DVDs that we can send out to you. And that information is all on our website as well. And on top of that, we actually have some other innovative programs that our corporate office has been working on. One of them is called Staying Home Safe. And what that program is, it’s really a transition from a hospital setting into the home. We recognize that individuals are at risk of readmitted into a hospital when they get home because they don’t understand their discharge instructions. That’s a challenge. Sometimes, they don’t make that follow up appointment to their primary care physician as soon as possible. And that may mean that they’re missing or have extra medications. That means that they’re not really looking at their diet at home as well. So this thing home safe program is meant to bring an individual home and really for those first 30 days just really focus on the areas of risk. What do we know that causes someone to readmit to a hospital? How do we prevent that And then beyond the 30 days, how do we sustain that we maintain them as healthy as possible. And that’s something that senior helpers corporate has come out with, in a sense to support us. And the name is pretty interested in staying home safe. It’s hit us at a time where we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and people are struggling with understanding what the right level of care is for them. And so it’s intuitive that the name came out of staying home safe many, many months ago that we were planning it and kind of hit at a time where the name rings true today.


Liz Craven  30:28

It certainly does. I bet that program is well embraced by medical facilities like hospitals so that their readmittance rates are much lower.


Jorge Giraldo  30:40

And that’s what I mean we are we’re a business. There’s no doubt about our business. We’re here to take care of folks. But we are business also. And we recognize that hospitals have potential ramifications for someone being readmitted back into the hospital with bits within 30 days those penalties can be steep. So we recognize that you know, bottom dollar for hospital is important as well. So these programs are meant to To not only take care of that individual, make sure they’re safe. That’s number one. But number two is that we’re meeting the needs of our partners in our community. We look at what are assisted living or nursing homes or hospital partners, what do they need? How do we become a good partner for them? where not only are we taking great care of these individuals, these clients, these patients, but how do we meet the needs of our partners in our community, that’s always been very important for us as a company.


Liz Craven  31:23

And just a note for our listeners, anything that we’ve mentioned here, as it relates to websites and resources, you’ll be able to find those in the show notes, both on stage aging.us. And whatever podcast platform you use, you’ll find the show notes there as well. So don’t worry about trying to scramble to scribble those names down. We’ll have those links available for you to help you access those. So one last question before we close this out. And I think it’s a pretty important question. What are some of the key questions that someone should ask When they’re considering a care provider,


Jorge Giraldo  32:04

I think that’s a wonderful question. And the one thing we actually mentioned to all the families that call in is to make sure that they’re comfortable with who they choose to provide care for their loved ones, I encourage them call the company’s, you might connect very well with someone and call somewhere else and find that you have a better connection there. In my mind, it’s not all for Senior Helpers. It’s not It’s not like that in my head. It’s understanding your options, call around, feel comfortable with the companies that you’re talking to. And some of the main questions to ask, in my mind are around the staff themselves. For senior helpers, all of our staff are w two employees of our company. That means that we’re they’re licensed, they’re bonded and insured by us, and that protects you as a family and your loved ones as well. And that’s important. So make sure that your staff coming into your home are licensed, bonded and insured. I think that’s a very key aspect to always ask about care. Also ask about any issues that if something comes up, how did how are these staff supervised? And for us, we have client service managers, we have caregiver mentors individuals that are out there, making sure that the staff is well supervised, that they’re following the plan of care doing their job as best as possible. So look at that support system within the company, every company is structured a little bit differently. So it’s important that you’re comfortable with that level of care as well.


Liz Craven  33:14

Those are great points. It makes the case for using an agency or a company as opposed to just hiring someone to come and sit with mom and dad like a sitter, because those folks are not insured and are not trained, and could open you up to all kinds of issues.


Jorge Giraldo  33:33

That’s a great point. That’s one of the pitfalls of hiring an independent person. Whereas let’s say you just hire, I don’t know the neighbor’s daughter to come in and provide care. Many times they’re not certified nursing assistants or home health aides. And they should be because that those individuals have been trained to provide proper care and that could be as simple as how to transfer someone from a chair into bed. There’s a lot of risk there if that person isn’t trained. Beyond that, if you hire someone privately, your family is looked upon as the enemy employer. So in essence, you should be taking out employer taxes and providing those to the government, the IRS. And if you don’t do that, something happens down the road, you can be liable for back taxes on that. So the agency model is key because we’re providing all of that the licensed bonding and insurance, but also we’re taking care of their taxes. So that way, there’s no risk to you, as a family, for the IRS ever come back and say, Hey, are you the employer of record? And did you take out their proper tax employers taxes and provide those to the IRS? Because many families don’t think about that. So that is a very important part. And I’m glad you brought that up as well.


Liz Craven  34:34

George, this has been so enlightening and I hope, and I believe it has, been very helpful to people who are listening. In home care is one of the largest points of confusion for caregivers, especially when they’re first embarking on this caregiving journey. So now we know the difference between in home care and home health. We know what types of payments are available. You know whether or not your insurance will cover that we know what to look into there. And we know that the training and the background checks and the special programs are all in place there. So thank you for enlightening us. Thank you for sharing with our audience. And I hope that sometime you’ll come back and do this again.


Jorge Giraldo  35:20

Well, Liz, it’s been such a pleasure. I enjoy our time together, whether it’s in person, or whether it’s over the phone, we always have a great conversation. And, you know, it’s always for the for the good of our community. It’s always to enlighten folks. It’s to teach them to help them and support them. So it’s been my pleasure to spend these this time with you. Thank you so much, Liz.


Liz Craven  35:38

Thank you.


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Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.