Comfort Keepers celebrates ten years of serving clients in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH – For the past ten years, the owners of Comfort Keepers in Plymouth have dedicated themselves to providing seniors and other area residents with exceptional in-home care services, while establishing themselves as one of the leading service providers of in-home care. Martha Swats and her team have helped nearly a thousand seniors live independently and safely within their own homes and are proud to announce the company's ten-year anniversary this month.

Swats believes much of her success can be traced back to the mission of Comfort Keepers: to provide clients with the highest level of quality of life that is achievable. Because their caregivers, whom they call Comfort Keepers, are more than happy to devote hours of their lives to help others, families in the Plymouth and the general Lakes Region area can live their lives with the peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are in the hands of compassionate and trustworthy individuals who have a genuine concern for others.

Since Comfort Keepers of Plymouth opened in 2006, it has grown substantially each year, and now provides services for nearly 200 seniors throughout the area. Its inspiring success could not have been achieved if it wasn't for the staff members' commitment to the company's mission.

"We owe our success to the families of Plymouth who initially made the decision to put their trust in Comfort Keepers to care for their senior loved ones," said Swats. "We are very proud of the growth and success that our organization has had over the years. Our hard work is truly paid off at the end of each day when we settle in at home knowing that our office has made a difference in the lives of so many."

Swats serves on the Board of Directors for the Pemi-Baker Home Health Agency as well as other boards and various support groups that benefit seniors and their families.

Comfort Keepers is a growing international franchise that provides in-home care services for aging adults and others needing assistance with daily activities, enabling them to stay in their own homes. Services include personal care such as bathing, toileting, and transferring, as well as companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, incidental transportation, recreational activities, nursing services and more.

About Comfort Keepers
Comfort Keepers is a leading franchise network in the in-home care market for senior and other adults needing care. Since its founding in 1998, the network has grown to more than 700 franchised locations around the world by staying true to the founders' goal of providing quality, caring in-home care services that allow clients the opportunity to age in place. In August of 2009, the brand was strengthened even further by the purchase of the franchisor, CK Franchising, Inc., by Sodexo, one of the world's leading food and facilities management services companies and the global leader in the health care and seniors markets. For more information, visit www.comfortkeepers.com.

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Belknap Buzz

By Brenda Twardosky

Director of Recreation, Belknap County Nursing Home

 

The residents and staff here at Belknap County Nursing Home recently held our first Wii Bowling Banquet.
Our Wii bowling league started in November. 18 teams, comprised of one staff member and one resident, signed up to compete. The teams bowled one string, per person, per week, for eight weeks. They picked team names, and agreed on times to meet and bowl. Staff members came in on days off, bowled during breaks, and encouraged their resident partner throughout the season.
We set up the Wii in our family room, which made it available for everyone's use. Some residents had never used a Wii before! After getting used to the controller and how to throw the ball, they were on their way! Residents and staff enjoyed the camaraderie, the competition, and the exercise. Staff mentioned, not only at the banquet, but throughout the season, how neat it was to interact with the residents outside their scope of employment. They enjoyed the opportunity to do something fun with the residents. All the bowlers would look forward all week to their time to bowl together.
Prizes were awarded for best team score over the eight week season; best average, female and male; best high game, female and male; and most improved. T-shirts were made and donated to all 36 players by Piche's Print Shop. Thanks Piche's! The T-shirts were given out at the banquet, and are amazing.
The room was packed for the awards. Staff came in on their time off, some with their children, to attend the banquet. The residents really enjoyed seeing all the kids. Most of the teams sat together, and everyone waited for the winners to be announced. After the awards were handed out and we learned who had won, we had several kinds of chips and dips, salsa, and party mix.
The teams, and other residents who didn't compete, cheered each other on as the winners were declared. It was very exciting! Residents were asking, "When can we do this again?" Residents are looking forward to starting another bowling league, but also just bowling together for fun.

Sound like fun? Want to join us? Come volunteer with us at Belknap County Nursing Home! Come help with a snow ball fight, Wii bowling, making bird feeders, or just making a difference in someone's day. Volunteers are always wanted! Contact the activity department to sign up today.

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Seniors and the positive impact of social media

By MARTHA SWATS

Owner/administrator, Comfort Keepers

 

Despite the myth that older people can't manage technology because of cognitive deficits, seniors are flocking to social media at a rapid pace. In fact, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (and Hangouts), Pinterest, and Instagram all note higher adoption rates among adults 65 and older ─ and see seniors as their fastest growing audience.
Seniors benefit socially, mentally, and physically
Older adults who have had positive experiences on social media have reported elevated moods. An American Psychological Association study found that seniors who spend time on social media sites were more likely to participate in activities that can lead to greater health, such as cooking healthier recipes, and finding easier ways to clean and maintain their homes. The study also indicates that they have lower blood pressure and fewer instances of diabetes, and less negative health habits such as smoking, depression, or disease. This is attributed to the ability for self-education on any number of topics, and remaining in-the-know about the latest technology trends.
Social media keeps the family together
Facebook is particularly useful for linking up with loved ones. It makes for more frequent conversations and helps close the generation gap.
Sharing current photos allows seniors to see their grandchildren change and grow, and creates a closeness and involvement that may not have existed, especially if the family isn't living close by. Video chats also are a great way to communicate in "real time". There is also the opportunity to share fond memories or create new ones through postings of photos and home videos.
Family peace of mind
When a family lives apart, there can be stress and anxiety on both ends. Social media allows seniors and their families an easy way to check in as often as they wish. This is especially important if the senior is living alone and may experience ill health, a fall, or may not be eating or sleeping well, taking medications, or getting any form of exercise. Family caregivers can use social media to ask critical questions that will let them know what's occurring in their loved one's life.
Community engagement and a sense of belonging
Feeling connected is very important to any senior's well-being. Social media allows the senior to make plans with others to meet up outside of the home. It also allows seniors who are unable to leave home to socialize online to combat loneliness.
Shopping online offers convenience and savings
Even if a senior can't venture out of the home – due to physical limitations, inability to drive, or inclement weather, for example – he or she can always shop online and enjoy the ease of home delivery. In addition, there are lots of money-saving coupons and online sales, which can be especially convenient and sensible for those who are penny-pinchers or on a fixed income.
Some precautions should be taken
As a caregiver, you may want to monitor the senior's activities. You may want to make sure that the loved one is not falling for phishing scams and the like. You may also want to make sure they are connecting with trustworthy people – especially if they are conversing in chat rooms and through blogs. Also watch their monetary spending – you don't want your senior overspending on items they don't need.
Learning how to use social media
A great source for seniors – and family members – is AARP's Social Media Education Center. There, you can find out about how to use specific (and commonly used) social media websites, apps, and blogs. Visit http://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/tek/social-media-education-center/
Comfort Keepers caregivers also help families look after their loved ones. Our unique approach to in-home care, Interactive Caregiving, can help by keeping senior clients engaged physically, mentally and emotionally while living independently at home.

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When faced with care needs, take a closer look at in-home care

By JENNIFER HARVEY, RN, BSN, CPD

Clinical Director, Live Free Home Health Care

 

NEW HAMPTON — Deciding what type of long-term care loved ones need when they are no longer able to live totally independently is an important decision that should not be considered lightly. If given the option to live one's golden years in an institutional setting or in one's own home, the majority of people would choose their own homes. There are many instances when home care is a perfectly appropriate and less expensive care choice than nursing home placement or a permanent move to a retirement or assisted living facility.

"When making a long-term care decision for a sick, elderly or frail family member, it is useful to understand the benefits of in-home care services," explained Jason Harvey, co-owner of Live Free Home Health Care. "Whether only a small amount of assistance is needed to help avoid a future crisis, or home care is required in the aftermath of a fall or acute illness, home care enables one to reside and recuperate in comfortable, familiar surroundings. Live Free Home Health Care wants to help educate the local community on the advantages of choosing home care in these types of situations."

In-home care helps a frail person to live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of his/her medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and often delays the need for long-term nursing home care or serves as an aging in place solution to help seniors stay in their homes. Home care services can include:

• Household chores such as cleaning and preparing meals;

• Personal care such as bathing, dressing or moving around the house; and,
• Health and medical care, such as through a nurse, home health aide, or physical therapist

 

There's no place like home
You don't have to be Dorothy and Toto to understand this concept. Homes are often havens to people, representing an environment of familiarity and comfort. Home care promotes healing – research demonstrates that patients heal more quickly and comfortably at home versus in a hospital or nursing home setting and there is significantly less chance of re-hospitalization when recuperation is at home. Additionally, making a decision to move into a facility and sell a home is an unalterable decision, once completed.

More for your money
According to the Genworth 2014 Annual Cost of Care Survey, on average, the annual cost to stay in a private room in a nursing home in New Hampshire is $118,625; the annual cost for home care, however, is between $52,624 and $56,056. A good rule across the board is that eight hours a day or less of home care will be less expensive than moving elsewhere. Many people fail to realize that nursing home care and other types of long-term care are not covered by Medicare.

Providing peace of mind
Home care services are delivered one-on-one, assuring more private attention than in a nursing home or a facility. There is no "waiting for one's turn" when care is needed. Also, using a home care agency such as Live Free Home Health Care that carefully screens and trains all caregivers and provides ongoing supervision can help provide families with peace of mind that their loved ones are in good hands.

Assurance of a healthy lifestyle
A home caregiver can be effective in promoting and ensuring a healthy lifestyle. Home caregivers produce healthy and nutritional meals that appeal to the individual and can also keep a close eye on the amount of food eaten. In addition, a personalized daily exercise program can be implemented and followed through, with the added safety of a qualified professional being present.

Dignity + Independence = Higher quality of life
In-home care fosters dignity and independence, important ingredients for a happy lifestyle. Home care (in particular, private pay home care) can offer personalized care tailored to the needs of the family and individual on any given day, whether the needs are as simple as companionship or more complex, such as personal care. With the additional benefit of accompaniment on transportation to and from various appointments, social activities or errands, home care allows families more free time together.

Determining the best options for a loved one's care can be a difficult process, but there are many resources available to aid in the decision. For more information on in-home care options available and guidance on whether in-home care is an appropriate option for a particular situation, contact Live Free Home Health Care.

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Senior Safety Day is a proven life saver

LACONIA — In conjunction with area fire departments, LRGHealthcare is getting ready for its 15th Annual Senior Safety Day set to take place Saturday, October 17.

Senior Safety Day is a chance for local seniors to have a free home visit from their local fire department where they will supply and change smoke detector batteries free of charge. No need to search for which smoke detector is beeping and trying to figure out how to make it stop...my gosh make it stop! And, balance on that stool or chair no more to try to change out the batteries. LRGHealthcare and your local fire department will get it taken care of.

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For 15 years, LRGHealthcare has raised money to provide the batteries and smoke detectors and worked with area fire departments to offer this program. It has helped keep seniors across the region safe and independent in their homes. Last year alone, they visited 300 homes on Senior Safety Day. Participating communities include Franklin, Tilton/Northfield, Sanbornton, Belmont, Hill, Andover, Bristol, New Hampton, Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Laconia, and Gilford.
"Senior Safety Day has proven to be such an important opportunity to partner with our area fire departments for the safety of our seniors," stated LRGHealthcare Community Educator, Melissa Lee. "It gives emergency response workers a chance to get to know their community members at a non-emergent time where they can focus on preventing emergencies. We're making homes safer and more importantly, keeping people safe."
Earlier this year, it was proven that Senior Safety Day is, in fact, keeping seniors safe. At the end of 2014, Gilford Fire Department visited a home to do an inspection on a new oil burner that had been installed. While there, they noticed that the home was lacking in smoke detectors and they recommended to the home owners they get more installed and get signed up for Senior Safety Day. The homeowners took their advice and had their detectors taken care of on Senior Safety Day that November.
Just a few months later, the same homeowners were awakened by one of their smoke detectors. A fire had started around their chimney and wood stove and it was burning fast. They quickly called 911 and a police officer was first on the scene where he forced entry to save the homeowners who both struggle with mobility issues. Thankfully, they made it out safely. The home has since been rebuilt in the same location where the couple continues to live today.
Gilford Fire Chief, Steve Carrier commented, "It's nice to be able to link a save directly back to a program we work on and see the benefits of it."
Smoke detectors are an early warning that you don't want to be without. They are critical to give those in the home an opportunity to get out. But, detectors have to be maintained. Carrier recommends if your smoke detectors are more than 10 years old, they should be replaced. And, general rule of thumb is to change the batteries in your detectors when you change your clocks (twice a year). So, when you fall back or spring ahead, that's the time to change the batteries.
If you'd like to take advantage of Senior Safety Day Saturday, October 17, contact the LRGHealthcare Community Education Department at 934-2060 Ext. 8329. And, remember, this program is free. Deadline to sign up is Friday, October 9.

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