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Seniors Helping Seniors?
Old 08-24-2016, 01:08 PM   #1
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Seniors Helping Seniors?

DH was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia a month ago and, although he's being treated for it, he's in the expected stage where things get worse before they get better. Right now he's weak and unsteady on his feet. He has a doc appointment on Monday so I can get his take on whether this has any chance of getting better since he's about to start a second course of meds (Vidaza).

What I can foresee, though, is a time when this will NOT get better because the Vidaza stops working or never does work. It's not a cure and DH is 78, so I'm not expecting remission, either. As DH slides into the next life, I can see that it will eventually be dangerous to leave him by himself for even a few hours as I do the grocery shopping or go to the gym. I am NOT giving up the gym.

With that prologue- there's a franchise called Seniors Helping Seniors and there's one in this area. It seems like a decent business model; healthy seniors who need extra income do things for seniors who need extra care. From their Web site it appears that they provide the kind of service I see us needing- someone to be with DH when I'm out, lend a hand if needed when he gets up to walk, getting him something from the kitchen if he's hungry... but there are no prices. Just the "give us your information and we'll call you" form.

Does anyone have any experience with this firm or know of good alternatives? I don't need the cheapest, but I do want reliable and honest. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2016, 01:26 PM   #2
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If you want the most reliable and honest use a agency that has a good reputation . You will probably need a home companion . I have hired them for my Mom and they were great . The woman would come for a few hours and help my Mom . You could have them do your laundry while they watched your husband .The cost at the time I used one was $18.00 an hour .The other agency to consider is hospice . They really want you to contact them sooner rather than later . They were excellent in the last few months of my Mother's care . They helped bathe her since she was getting unsteady . They really will provide all the care your husband may need and it is totally covered by Medicare . There is also Palliative care . Your Doctor needs to request it . They send a case worker to see what he needs and they supply the people . If they feel he is ready for hospice they will arrange for that service . Palliative care is also covered by Medicare . The good thing about using these services is you will have a case worker who will guide you through all the services and what is covered by insurance .
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Old 08-24-2016, 01:47 PM   #3
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Thanks! He's not at the hospice care point yet but he certainly will be when the Vidaza stops working, which it will sooner or later, or if it's determined that it's not working at all. In an unhappy coincidence, my 85-year old mother is getting in-home hospice care for cancer right now so I'm familiar with that route.


In the meantime, it's good to know the going rate for the type of care we might need- thank God, money isn't a big issue. (We cancelled a trip to Iceland we were planning for earlier this month and just cancelled at a favorite B&B nearby for next month because DH just isn't up to anything. The travel budget has taken a significant dive.) Knowing that I could be spouse-less within a year, I want to keep up my outside activities so I'm not totally without a network when that happens.
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:35 PM   #4
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Knowing that I could be spouse-less within a year, I want to keep up my outside activities so I'm not totally without a network when that happens.
That is a smart idea . Two of my friends husband's were in hospice for a year and they used that time to take a break and go to the gym or out to lunch . My late husband was in Intensive Care for two months before he died and some days I would just leave the hospital and shop or have a glass of wine . Anything to get a break from the constant medical stress.
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Old 08-24-2016, 03:18 PM   #5
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I'm not familiar with the SHS but I like the sound of the model. Regardless of which service you contract, the most important person in this situation is the one with whom you'll have the most contact: the caregiver. In my experience, you might have to switch caregivers a couple times to find one that meshes well with the patient. When you find one you like be sure to tip generously.

The caregivers are there for the patient. Some have told me stories of how at other locations various family members would ask the caregiver to do other tasks, taking them away from the patient. A j*b with too many bosses creates conflict, and is something that will interfere with a caregiver's primary task.

Whichever firm you choose, review the contract for liability insurance. The firm should have insurance to cover a caregiver injury so that you do not become liable.

In my experience there are some very caring people out there, and I hope one finds their way to you.
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Old 08-24-2016, 03:37 PM   #6
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We cancelled a trip to Iceland we were planning for earlier this month and just cancelled at a favorite B&B nearby for next month because DH just isn't up to anything.
Sincerest sympathy for your situation.
I would suggest that you consider prodding your DH occasionally to think about what he would really like to do (which may be nothing). It's all about him at this point, and that should be the priority (consistent with your own mental health of course).
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Seniors Helping Seniors?
Old 08-24-2016, 03:41 PM   #7
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Seniors Helping Seniors?

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My late husband was in Intensive Care for two months before he died and some days I would just leave the hospital and shop or have a glass of wine . Anything to get a break from the constant medical stress.
Thanks. Sometimes I feel guilty and I know I shouldn't. Last weekend we were scheduled to visit my son and his family, a 3-hour drive away. DH felt lousy but appeared OK to stay home by himself, so I went. He WAS OK, thank God. I stayed only one night instead of two, but what a difference. My 2-year old granddaughter is a little ray of sunshine (although it warmed my heart that she had a meltdown when I left). I didn't have the subject of cancer front and center 24/7 although it was great to have DS and DDIL to be a sounding board when needed. It really replenished me.

Fortunately my stepson will be here for a week which will include the time I'll be in Ohio next month for a HS reunion.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:07 PM   #8
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Sincerest sympathy for your situation.
I would suggest that you consider prodding your DH occasionally to think about what he would really like to do (which may be nothing). It's all about him at this point, and that should be the priority (consistent with your own mental health of course).
Right now it's definitely nothing- in fact he's considering cancelling an optician's appointment Friday because he feels so weak. I keep asking, though, and I tend to nudge him in the direction of a little more activity (e.g., a walk up and down the stairs with me nearby) so he doesn't deteriorate further.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:43 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your DH. As tough as this is for him, it can even be tougher on the caregiver. Take care of him as best you can, but take good care of yourself as well.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:52 PM   #10
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My niece just bought the agency she worked for that sends caregivers. She charges $285 a day for a 24 hour a day service but less for part time. The person comes and stays for 3 full days then they send replacement person. If the caregiver is sick they replace them so you aren't stuck with nobody. The caregivers take care of the person and will clean a little or cook if needed. They are to work 8 hours in broken times so sleep 8 and have 8 hours to relax, you aren't to work them all waking hours. We hired her agency for our mom but we had a house full of family and a housekeeper so we didn't ask them to do any extras except clean mom's room and take care of mom. The only one who cooked was on a special diet the rest ate what we cooked. They are supposed to bring their own food but didn't except that one.
Since your husband isn't down in bed he may not need skilled care so a unskilled senior or local housewife might give you a cheap rate just to do light care. You might also think of senior daycare if they have it. You drop off the senior for a few hours where they stay in a daycare with other seniors and have activities or entertainment.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:16 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear about your DH. As tough as this is for him, it can even be tougher on the caregiver. Take care of him as best you can, but take good care of yourself as well.

There's a reason that airlines instruct passengers to don their own oxygen mask first. You're no good to anyone blacked out...

Wish I had some words of wisdom, but alas...
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