Month: March 2016

2. What Aides Do Right

Imagine getting your arms and legs, feet and hands rubbed with soothing cream. Imagine having your favorite meals prepared, served and cleaned up after you.  Imagine having your laundry done and put away, your bath or shower facilitated, your clothes laid out and put on.  No, you are not Marie-Antoinette, or even Maria Shriver.  You could just be Mary Blake, or Maria Gomez or Mariah Washington.  As an elderly or disabled individual you are entitled to these services and more as part of your daily plan of care by a health care aide.

Health care aides may be the heroes and heroines of this decade and those to come. Sometimes poorly paid, often uneducated, frequently immigrants from third world countries, health care aides are helping to manage and extend the lives of tens of thousands of Americans suffering from chronic illness, temporary physical disability or dementia.  In your home (or in a facility), health care aides do the heavy and frequently dirty work of cleaning up after us, providing meals and maintaining our health.

In addition to what’s written on the “care plan,” aides may provide us company, encouragement, emotional support, solace in our loneliness, and tolerance for our moods and frustrations. For many individuals, their health care aide is just about the only social contact they have.  Aides initiate outings, arrange doctors’ visits, keep families and friends informed about our well-being and sometimes act as mediators with family members when there is tension or discord.

As a psychologist specializing in aging and disabilities issues, I’ve seen hundreds of health care aides in action, either in my office or when I’ve made home visits. The extent and complexity of demands made on them is astonishing.  At their best, aides can become the mother, sister, best friend or confidante of their dependents.  They can make life worth it to those who have lost their will to live, enable others to function as they would have before disability struck, and cushion the blow those disabilities take on formerly independent and self-sufficient people.  To be a health care aide is to be trusted with the greatest responsibility of any civilization, that of taking care of its weakest and most dependent individuals.

(1) Seniors; Beware of Scams

It seems like every time you turn around, there is some new type of scam to take advantage of you and separate you from your money. In this series, I will talk about types of scams and what to do about them.  I will be focusing on senior scams, because older people are less aware of these fraudulent actions and more likely to be victimized by them.  The response, in most cases, should be the same:  “Don’t respond!”

Scam artists take advantage of our insecurity, ignorance, loneliness and greed. This series of blogs can do something about the first two (insecurity and ignorance) but relatively little about the third and fourth (loneliness and greed) except to remind you that very little is free in this world.  The probability that your soulmate is waiting for you in Jamaica or that a Kenyan millionaire is eager to give you millions of dollars is unlikely in the extreme.  ANY stranger asking for money is likely to be doing so under false pretenses.  Here is a sample scame.

This scam is perpetrated through a phone call informing you that you owe the IRS money and that if you do not respond it will be an indication that you are blatantly violating your responsibilities and that severe action will be taken. Late in 2015, I received three of these solicitations in a week.  The first time it happened it briefly alarmed me, until I realized that the IRS NEVER calls.  The second and third times I erased the messages without a thought.  I did, however, inform ALL my senior patients to be on the alert for such calls and a surprising number had already received them.  I take the opportunity, here, to warn you readers, as well.  Ignore these calls.  Hang up if someone attempts to shake you down in the name of a government agency.  If you owe money, you will be alerted through a letter, not a phone call.

Whether a scam artist approaches you by email, text (rare), telephone or snail mail (also rare) the best thing to do is ignore, delete and Don’t Worry about it!”

[If you are a family member or close friend reading this, it is important to alert the senior to the scam.]

11. How Patients See Home Health Aides – The Aide (or Patient) as Bully

Continuing the theme of Concerns and Issues with home health aides, I would like to talk in this post about bullying. A very …

10. How Patients See Home Health Aides – The Aide as Persecutor (3)

In this blog I want to discuss aides who are actually deliberately malicious in their behavior. These are serious situations …

9. How Patients See Home Health Aides – The Aide as Persecutor (2)

In this blog we will continue talking about ways in which aides can impair the lives of their charges. Aide as Reorganizer …