Caregiving is a rewarding job, but, too often, caregivers receive little recognition for their kindness and compassion. Caregivers uniquely engage the older adults in their care, recognize and support the dignity of elders, and take on a difficult professional role with little glory. That’s why, when Caring.com approached me and asked if I would like to judge their 2014 Caring Champions program, I immediately said yes.
This fabulous program recognizes professional caregivers for seniors in the United States. I was honored to be chosen as part of an exclusive panel of senior care experts to provide insight about senior care and identify the professional caregiver nominees who have gone above and beyond based on their submitted stories. As Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com, notes, “This program highlights stories of extraordinary professional care, rewards caregivers, and helps families find the best service providers for their loved ones, too.”
Having owned a geriatric care managed in-home care agency, and worked in the home care industry for decades, I have seen firsthand the dedication of professional caregivers and witnessed the ways in which lives are changed by the companionship and friendship that caregivers can provide.
Yesterday, Caring.com announced the winners of their Caring Champions program. Take a moment to read through the winners and learn more about what makes them exceptional caregivers. I am so proud to have been a part of Caring Champions and I extend heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and a sincere thank you to all the nominees. You truly know what it means to care.
Click here to read more about all the Caring Champions nominees and find out more about the Caring Champions program.
Well, Howdy, Partners in Home Care! I am beyond delighted to announce that I have been asked to present two educational sessions for the 45th Annual Meeting of the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice (TAHC&H) that will take place next month in San Antonio. The theme for this year’s meeting and conference is “Home Care and Hospice: Ingredients for Success.” (Notice those hot peppers on the meeting graphic? Those undoubtedly represent the passion it takes to run a successful aging care services business.) On Wednesday, August 20th, I will be speaking about two topics that are near and dear to my heart and absolutely essential ingredients for any aging care services business to succeed in today’s challenging new marketplace. The session descriptions are listed below:
Marketing Aging Care in this Mobile Device Era
Remember when the best we had in our lead generation tool box was the Yellow Pages? Those days are LONG gone. If potential customers can’t find your business in an Internet search, chances are good they won’t find you at all. Searching the Internet is the number one way aging services providers get found today. What does all of this mean? It means your company needs to have a strategic plan for making sure your website gets found when customers are searching. This presentation will focus on the essentials of digital marketing strategy, including, but not limited to search engine optimization (SEO), blogging and authorship, social media, email marketing, and creating systems that reach out to both the consumer and referral partners in real time and on the go. Mobile devices have created even a more important role for the agency website: calls to action and inquiry that funnel the interested person into the site for more action steps. Bonus? Physicians are adapting mobile devices at an even greater rate than other professionals!
Make It Meaningful: Mutual and Active Engagement in Care
As aging care providers in pursuit of providing the best “care” we often overlook providing active engagement with clients. In so doing, we sacrifice the greatest care need of all – having meaning in one’s life. Today there are a host of tools, kits, resources, and technologies that help caregivers make meaningful use of time with clients. Putting these into action can help create better client and family satisfaction, as seen in this video from the Music and Memory organization’s Alive Inside documentary, premiering this month. These tactics also can be used in marketing, since a top concern of adult children is that caregivers will spend time watching TV or otherwise disregarding their parent when not performing necessary tasks. You can learn to gauge client special interests, match activities to interests, and create activities designed to actively engage clients in meaningful ways. A variety of conventional, innovative, and technological engagement tools will be discussed.
In any aging care business, the key ingredients for success are marketing your services through the right channels to reach the right audiences, and delivering the best quality services to your clients so that they are well-served, satisfied, and say wonderful things about your company to others. It will be invigorating to speak about aging care service from both the marketing and operational perspectives while in Texas next month. I can’t wait!
To reach out to me about marketing your aging care services business, or if yours is a business that interacts with the aging care services industry and you’d like some industry insider advice on marketing, email me or call 1-800-370-6580.
This month the Home Care of Association of America (HCAOA), the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHCH), and the International Franchise Association (IFA), joined forces to file a lawsuit contesting a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption rule by the Department of Labor that could restrict access to crucial services for millions of older adults in need of care and assistance in their homes.
The new rule, set to go into effect in January 2015, will reverse a long-standing FLSA rule that allows home care agencies to be exempt from paying overtime and minimum wage to employees providing “companionship services” to the elderly and disabled.
While on the surface the new rule might seem to make things better for home care workers, it could be a health care disaster for the millions of America’s elderly citizens who rely on in-home care services, and it could create instability in this vital and rapidly growing industry. Simply put, when you raise wages and overtime, you raise the cost of doing business, which ultimately gets passed onto the consumer. In the case of home care, the cost of doing business is already high and the consumers who use home care services are already financially strapped. Another cost increase could push many of them over the edge.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people 65+ has been forecast to increase 101 percent from the years 2000 to 2030, when there will be an estimated 71 million people between the ages of 65 and 83 years old. In stark comparison, the number of family caregivers is only expected to increase 25 percent over the same period. The higher percentage increase in the number of older adults over the number of family caregivers will lead to an intensified demand for home care workers in the United States.
HCAOA President Peter Ross has urged U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez to take action on requests from the National Association of Medicaid Directors and the National Council on Disability to extend the deadline for compliance with the FLSA rule for 18 months beyond the current deadline of January 1, 2015. Ross warns that many home care agencies will not be able to afford overtime pay and will need to augment their workforce to accommodate providing care to clients when caregivers have exceeded 40 hours of service in a week. The overtime provision of the new rule will further add to the increased demand for home care workers.
“These new regulations will drastically change the home care industry to the detriment of small businesses, patient comfort and worker wages,” cautions Susan Eckerly, Senior Vice President of the National Federation of Independent Business. The cost of doing business will surge so high that many home care agencies will simply go out of business. Those agencies who are able to remain open will have no choice but to pass the cost of overtime and inflated wages onto elderly clients whose income is already restricted.
The home care industry has grown exponentially in the last ten years as the population lives longer and more consumers demand the ability to age in their own homes versus opting for facility-based care. Reports estimate that there are around 2.5 million home care workers in the United States. The new rule stands to make home care unaffordable for those who most need in-home care and who do not have family members to provide caregiving assistance, as well as make the cost of doing business far too high for many home care providers.
To read the full copy of the lawsuit filed by the HCAOA, click here. The HCAOA is asking home care agencies to join together in support of the suit and write their members of Congress using this link.