Thrive In Place Blog

How to Choose a Senior Caregiver

For seniors who choose to age in their homes, seeking the assistance of a caregiver becomes a necessity at some point. For various reasons, some seniors prefer the services of an individual private caregiver rather than a home care agency.

Private-duty caregivers are sometimes referred to as home health aides or custodial care workers, and some are licensed as certified nursing assistants. They provide vital daily services such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals, along with activities relating to medical care such as transportation to doctor’s appointments and assistance with medications.

Depending on the needed level of assistance, seniors may choose to hire a caregiver for only a few hours a week or full-time. To choose a qualified senior caregiver, consider the following steps.

Determine the services you need

The services that the caregiver will need to provide and the time on site per day will contribute to cost. Before interviewing prospects, create a timeline of daily activities, and pinpoint those for which assistance is required for you or your parent.

Medicare and private health insurance typically do not include coverage for long-term care at home. If you have a long-term care insurance policy, check to find out the level of in-home care covered, along with other requirements for coverage.

Seek referrals and conduct interviews

Before interviewing candidates, ask your doctor, friends and neighbors for referrals. To narrow down the field, conduct phone interviews, then schedule personal meetings with the top two or three candidates. Make a list of questions to ask regarding prior work experience and services offered.

Support your caregiver with technology

To provide support to a private-duty caregiver, consider the benefits of IndependaTV™. With IndependaTV™, an aide can conveniently track health metrics and get reminders for appointments and medications. The simple-to-use interface also makes it easy for caregivers to communicate with patients’ adult children through video chat and messaging.

IndependaTV™ enhances the services of a qualified caregiver to provide you or your parent with the highest possible level of care in the environment of your choosing.

How to Choose a Home Care Agency

As seniors age, everyday tasks can become more challenging. For those who choose to remain in their homes, assistance from a home care agency can help with continuing to accomplish vital daily tasks. While most home care agencies can assist with food preparation, bathing and basic medical care, the chosen agency also should demonstrate a strong commitment to patient safety.

Identifying an exceptional home care agency requires research on the part of patients or their adult children and should focus on competency of agencies’ staff and quality of care provided. The following steps can prove helpful in selecting a reputable home care agency in your local area.

Seek recommendations

An Internet search likely will yield multiple options for home care agencies in your area. Asking extended family members, friends and acquaintances for recommendations can help you narrow the field before you begin your in-depth due diligence. In addition, your primary care doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend agencies.

Ask the right questions

With the names of several potential agencies in hand, ask them questions to uncover more information about their services and methods for working with you. Important questions to ask include:

  • How long has the agency served your community?
  • What training does the agency provide to employees?
  • What are the policies regarding medical care, including the use of nurses or therapists, working with the patient on the plan of care and documenting treatment?
  • How are employees supervised?
  • How does the agency handle emergencies?
  • Does the agency incorporate the use of IndependaTV™ to assist with medication reminders, check-ins and video chat sessions between the agency, the patient and family members?
  • Is the provider Medicare-certified and properly licensed by state and local agencies?
  • Does the agency belong to state and local national home care groups?

  • Tech Designed for Seniors Can Extend Living At Home

    A recent study found that approximately two-thirds of people age 65 and older need assistance from either a mobility device or another person to go about their daily activities. For adult children providing support to their aging parents, a technology solution like Independa™ provides a number of benefits.

    A simple interface that seniors enjoy

    Does your dad delight in watching his favorite programs? If so, he’ll love Independa™. Using only a familiar TV remote, your parent can access a full range of helpful functions.

    The simple interface of Independa™ even has a friendly name: Angela. Many older adults have health issues that make using some technology difficult. Pressing small buttons and seeing tiny type on a small screen can be a real chore. Smartphones and other mobile devices also require tedious and difficult maintenance — including virus protection and software updates.

    But with Independa™, every aging American can access technology that enhances their quality of life and independence.

    Monitoring of health metrics

    If your job takes you far away from your parents, you probably worry. Did Dad remember to take his new medications? How is Mom’s blood pressure today? With Independa™, there’s no need to worry or wonder.

    Independa™ tracks a variety of health metrics, and you can check in anytime. Using your smartphone or desktop computer, simply access the convenient dashboard to check the status of medication reminders, appointments, health metrics and much more.

    An easy way to stay connected

    Loneliness and isolation are problems for many elderly adults. When your parents use Independa™, you won’t have to worry that they feel alone.

    Using convenient features like video chat and messaging, your parents can easily stay in touch with you and other loved ones. Grandchildren can check in anytime to tell your mom and dad about school or just to say hello. And using Independa™, you can “transport” your parents to any number of family events, from a ball game to a wedding or graduation. Participating via video chat, your parents won’t miss one important moment.

    User-friendly support from Independa™

    If your parents need support to thrive in their preferred aging environment, consider a technology solution like Independa™. With its user-friendly interface, monitoring of health metrics and multiple ways to connect with loved ones, Independa™ is an indispensable tool for healthy aging.

    How will the “Internet of Things” give seniors more aging options?

    With the rise of the so-called “Internet of Things,” seniors will have more options for aging where they wish. From enhancing safety to monitoring health and communicating with caregivers and loved ones, this connected network of physical objects will benefit seniors in a number of ways.

    What are some of the new connected technologies seniors can incorporate as part of a vibrant aging lifestyle?

    Wearables and health monitoring

    In the past few years, the use of health monitoring devices has surged. Experts have projected sales of 50 million wireless consumer devices for monitoring health by 2017. The growing demand reflects a desire by consumers to record and analyze their own health metrics and to manage their care in their choice of environments.

    Meanwhile, more seniors are embracing wearable personal monitoring devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch. As the devices evolve, they have significant potential to provide functionality like security and fall monitoring for seniors. In addition, such devices already can monitor a variety of health and fitness markers, including sleep quality, heart rate and steps taken each day.

    Smart home tech

    Big-name technology companies are racing to capture the smart-home industry, and seniors constitute a major market for the resulting innovations. Smart doorbells, Internet-connected intercoms, smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and smart lighting are among the many options that now can be controlled with a smartphone app or from a computer.


    Few activities in life are more important to seniors than staying connected to loved ones. IndependaTV™ provides seniors with a high-technology solution that’s as easy to use as watching a favorite television program.

    As the first and only TV that provides a range of services specifically for seniors, IndependaTV™ incorporates a user-friendly interface known as Angela to help seniors communicate with loved ones through video chat and messaging. Seniors also can easily access services like medication and appointment reminders. Family members, meanwhile, can check in on their senior relative through a convenient dashboard accessible via smartphone or desktop computer.

    The Internet of Things: Providing options for seniors

    By 2020, the network known as the Internet of Things is expected to comprise some 212 billion connected devices and contribute $8.9 trillion to the global economy. Seniors can expect increasing levels of security, convenience and comfort as they embrace these amazing new technologies.

    The future of the senior care industry – Part #5

    While the senior care industry may currently be in its infancy, it will be forced to grow and adapt quickly to meet the skyrocketing demand soon to come from the Baby Boomers. Already, the industry is providing a means for seniors to receive complex care at home rather than in a skilled nursing setting.

    But the senior care industry is also experiencing some growing pains, such as finding and keeping high-quality caregivers, lost provider productivity due to the need to travel from home to home communicating effectively with medical providers, and overcoming confusion in the marketplace. What’s next for this growing industry?

    Future Senior Care Technology

    The senior care Industry is in the early stages of using technology effectively, experts note. Communication about a patient between medical providers is not always shared electronically. And even when it is, the exchange doesn’t always function as intended.

    Many medical providers still communicate primarily via telephone, fax and e-mail rather than with modern telehealth technology. Few make use of beneficial video technologies to communicate with patients and their families. Experts anticipate that in coming years, a network dedicated to caring for senior patients will make information available across medical providers regardless of geographic boundaries.

    In addition, the industry will make better use of existing technologies, including smart home computer systems and dedicated wireless networks that provide patients with mobile support. Headline-grabbing technologies like personal care robots are expected to revolutionize senior care in the future.

    Meeting needs in the present

    How can senior care providers solve the challenges they and their medical professionals face today? IndependaTVe™ is a forward-looking technology solution that can provide home health care professionals with valuable technology-based assistance now. With its consistent, user-friendly Angela interface, IndependaTVe™ has a minimal learning curve. Professionals are up and running with IndependaTVe™ immediately.

    Medical providers can take advantage of the built-in video chat functionality to actually show patients how to take their medications, meaning fewer potentially dangerous errors. IndependaTVe™ also allows professionals to monitor many more patients in shorter periods of time, reducing workloads and the resulting stress. It allows them to provide health education videos in easy to understand graphic format. And the simplicity of communicating through IndependaTVe™ encourages patients to get in touch quickly with information that caregivers need to know.

    Senior Care: The Coming Evolution

    With the Baby Boomers vastly underprepared for the costs of long-term care, an increasing number of seniors may choose to age in place longer than their predecessors. To accommodate significant increases in demand, the senior care industry will need to quickly improve patient monitoring and education, communication between providers and the ability to retain exceptional caregivers. IndependaTVe™ provides solutions for many of the challenges confronting senior care providers.


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    • Our guests use the video chat and photo and message sharing features of Independa to stay connected with their families. In fact this week we admitted a guest who has a daughter in Georgia and another in Italy. I spoke with the daughter about how to share photos and messages and to make video calls from her Independa device, and later went to see the guest about how it was going. She said to me “Kelly this video chat is so cool! I don’t care how long I have to be in here now because I can see my daughters!” It’s just amazing to see one of our guests be able to connect with a loved one all the way from Italy!

      Kelly M., Director of Rec Therapy
    • You don’t need to keep calling me now to remind me, my TV just told me to take my medication!

      93 Year Old Independa User
    • I love that Dad can get digital photos now. He didn’t want a Facebook account so the only time he would see any photos was when we came over to visit and we’d show him on our iPhone. Now he gets them himself on the TV all the time, and when people come to visit him he proudly shows them his photo album on the TV.

      HUD Building Developer/Operator
    • I’ve been using video chat and it has opened up my world – my family who live close by still visit once a week, but now I get to see them every day. I also get to see the rest of the family who live interstate and can’t come to visit. I also video chat with old friends who I haven’t seen for years. It has made such a big difference to my life, I don’t feel isolated anymore. I highly recommend this to other people; it really does change your life.

      HUD Building Developer/Operator
    • I live in California, my 80 year-old dad lives in Texas and my 21 year-old daughter lives in Colorado. My daughter spends all her time on social media using her smart phone, whereas my dad spends all his time watching TV, he doesn’t understand social media and doesn’t have a smart phone. Independa is great because not only does it bring us closer despite the geographical distance between us, it bridges the gap between the generations because it uses the technology they are most comfortable with.

      Independa User
    • We use the video chat feature in the resident’s TV to get the entire circle of care together at once; we will have the nurse and the physical therapist in the room with the resident, and we will then video call their family. That way everyone who is involved in their care gets the same message at the same time and can ask questions while we are present so there is no confusion. One time when we were working with a deaf resident, we were able to arrange for her daughter to sign via video chat and translate what we were saying and the questions her mother had; it made such a huge difference.

      Short-term Rehab Operator
    • My dad was on the Honor Flight to DC today. An amazing trip for a veteran. I was able to meet him at the Korean War Memorial. He is a Korean War veteran. I was able to send pictures of the entire experience to my mom at home throughout the day. Mom was thrilled, and when my dad gets home he has all the pictures from his trip on his TV and can even play a slideshow. Amazing!!! Thank you!

      Daughter of Independa User
    • Video chat on the TV is great! I was using FaceTime on my iPad to see the grandkids and I thought that was the greatest thing, but seeing them all on the big TV is truly incredible, it’s like they are in the room with me. I love it!

      HUD Building Developer/Operator
    • When Lillian broke her hip a week before her Grandson’s wedding, she and the family were broken hearted because they thought she would have to miss this very special day. Thankfully, she had chosen Wellbridge of Brighton for her short-term rehab. “I’m going to my Grandson’s wedding” she proudly told the staff as she received the video call through her TV and was instantly ‘seated’ in the front row for the ceremony!

      Short-term Rehab
    • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using Independa. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

      Daughter of Independa User