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Why Becoming a Caregiver During Nursing School May Benefit You

As you make your way through nursing school or your nursing career, you may find yourself looking for ways to make extra money, as well as a job that will help you fine tune your nursing skills.

Although nursing requires you to undergo medical training and develop skills that will help clients medically, becoming a caregiver for a non-medical home care company will allow you to fine tune the skills you need in order to become a great nurse. Non-medical caregivers have the opportunity to change and impact the lives of their clients by helping them age comfortably and gracefully at home. If you have the opportunity to do so while gaining more experience for your nursing degree and career, wouldn’t you take it?

What is Caregiving? What do Caregivers Do?

If you are not familiar with the caregiving field, an in-home caregiver is simply someone who assist someone in their home with daily tasks. Caregivers are trained individuals that are capable of supporting an elderly individual or an individual with developmental disabilities. When hired to be someone’s caregiver, that person is entrusted with their well-being and happiness. A caregiver acts as the main line of defense against their client and getting injured, maintaining their health and keeping them comfortable and safe, as well as giving peace of mind to the family members that may have hired the caregiver.

Caregivers can provide a wide range of services to their clients, all of which registered nurses or nursing students are capable of executing with their nursing education and the information that they have been taught through their nursing program. Such services include personal care, medication reminders and meal preparation/nutrition. Other services that caregivers provide their clients include light housekeeping and companionship. Although these services may not directly correlate to nursing and nurse practitioners, they can teach those going through nursing school how to interact with patients in need and how to handle all types of situations.

It is also important to note that a caregiver can care for an elderly individual or a child or adult with developmental disabilities. Since there are two different types of clients, the overall experience and day to day tasks that a caregiver executes will be different. When caring for an elderly individual, a caregiver may focus more on preventing falls and ensuring that they are getting the proper care to maintain their health and well-being. On the other hand, if a caregiver is working with a child or adult with developmental disabilities, they will be working closely with their client to tailor services that benefit them depending on their disabilities and their needs that stem directly from their diagnosis. For example, a caregiver that works with an elderly individual that has Alzheimer’s will have a much different set of daily tasks than a caregiver that is working with a child with Autism. If you are interested in becoming a caregiver while pursuing your nursing degree or while working as a nurse, it is important to ask the home care agency which type of client they serve.

What is the Difference Between a Nurse and a Caregiver? Can I Be Both?

Simply put, nurses make wonderful caregivers and caregivers make amazing nurses! The nursing profession gives an individual experience taking care of others and ensuring that their clients are safe and healthy. As you make your way through your career path, you may consider becoming a caregiver because aforementioned, it will enhance your skills as a nurse practitioner or during your tenure of nursing education. However, it is important to note that there are several differences between registered nurses and caregivers.

The first main difference between the two professions is that nurses often handle medical care and situations such as treating open wounds, taking a client’s vitals and administering medications. Nurses are trained to deal with situations that require medical attention and experience. On the other hand, caregivers, specifically caregivers for non-medical companies, do not partake in medical activities or any sort of caregiving duties that require medical attention. As mentioned previously, a caregiver likely will be able to monitor medications and ensure the individual has taken their proper medications, but they are not allowed to physically administer the medications.

Another difference between nurses and caregivers is the education and training required in order to enter the field. A caregiver has to be CPR certified and go through emergency preparedness training, as well as any additional trainings that the home care company requires its caregivers to go through such as fall prevention or diagnosis specific trainings. Registered nurses on the other hand have to go through different levels of education such as obtaining their GED, a bachelor’s degree and additional clinical hours that count towards obtaining their nursing education and certification. It is important to note that being a caregiver may or may not count for the clinical hours that are needed for nursing programs. If it does not count towards your nursing program, becoming a caregiver can still help supplement the experience that you have as a nurse or a potential nurse candidate. Although the initial training and education to become each of these occupations are different, they are not completely separate. The training you go through for nursing school and to become a registered nurse will help you greatly in your caregiving career.

Overall, being a caregiver and a nurse are two very different professions that require different types of experience and training but work very well hand-in-hand with each other.  After becoming a nurse, you will likely have several opportunities to find jobs in several different atmospheres that are looking for registered nurses (RNs) and that are asking for the skill sets that you were taught through out nursing school. Although in-home caregivers may not have as many opportunities, as they only work in a client’s home, providing the care they were trained to do. These differences should not deter you from becoming a caregiver, but rather supplement your drive to gain more experience in your field of nursing by gaining more experience through caregiving.

Is Caregiving Right for Me?

As a nurse, or a nursing student, you may start to consider becoming a caregiver on the side or as a way to earn hours that go towards obtaining your registered nursing license. But, how do you know if this profession or side hustle is right for you? Simply put, caregiving can be a great way to perfect and brush up on your nursing skills and allow you to make a difference in people’s lives by providing high-quality and superior care to clients. Before you consider becoming a caregiver, finding the right home care agency can heavily influence your decision to take on the job. Nurses as caregivers are perhaps some of the most prepared and well-educated caregivers on the market – making you a hot commodity that your clients and their family will value and appreciate! Whether you are providing long term care to a client with Dementia or short term care to an individual with a chronic illness, your value in the caregiving field is felt and known. Consider becoming a caregiver while you pursue your nursing career and you can make a difference in the world!

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How to Protect Yourself from the Sun

The sun is magnificent, beautiful and powerful. It is responsible for giving us light during the day and providing a beautiful and captivating sunset at dusk. However, the sun contains ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to the chances of developing skin cancer. UV rays cause damage to the DNA of skin cells, which then allows cancer cells to grow within the skin.  UV rays are one of the top reason’s individuals decide to stay out of the sun during the summer months, as they want to avoid damaging their skin, want to avoid sunburns and simply do not want to risk their health.

There are several ways people can protect themselves against the sun, shielding them against UV rays and the dangers that come along with it. In order to enjoy the sunshine, individuals are encouraged to prepare ahead of time with a few resources available to them. During the summertime, we encourage people to remember the following tips for enjoying the sunshine.

  • Remembering to wear a hat when you are outside can help individuals avoid direct contact with the sun for both your skin and your eyes. There are several different types of hats that can help individuals stay safe while enjoying the sunshine. Not only will a hat give people the ability to stay in the shade, but they can also stay cool with a hat!
  • Cover up when you are going to be in the sun for extended periods of time. Wearing proper clothing that helps block out the light can prevent the light from damaging your skin through your clothes. Perhaps that means wearing light fabric to keep individuals cool, with long sleeves and pants to protect skin from sun exposure. Remember that you want to stay cool in the summer heat and although your heavier clothes may protect you from the sunshine, they may cause you to have heat stroke or heat related illnesses due to overheating. Avoiding tightly woven clothing and clothing with tight seams may help you stay cool while protecting yourself from the sun. During the summer, people are likely to hang out by the pool and enjoy a day in the water. Of course, if an individual is wearing a bathing suit, you should always have a piece of protective clothing when you are going to be in the sunshine for a prolonged period of time. Consider wearing a water resistant shirt or rash guard if you are going to be in the pool longer than a few minutes, such as during a water aerobics class.
  • It goes without saying that sunscreen should always be worn when you are exposed to UV rays. Especially if you are in a bathing suit or have skin exposed to the sunshine outside of a hat or protective clothing, sunscreen should be worn faithfully. Putting sunscreen on should become a part of your daily ‘getting ready routine’ so that you always have protection, whether you are in the sun for a few moments or a few hours. It is advised to wear SPF 30 sunscreen at minimum when you are exposed to ultraviolet rays, although there are a several broad spectrum sunscreen options out there for individuals to choose from. Not only should sunscreen be applied in the morning, but it should be reapplied through out the day, especially when in the direct path of sunlight such as lounging outside, enjoying a picnic with family or spending time at the community pool relaxing.
  • Don’t lounge outside in the sun if you don’t have to. Often times, people will lay on the beach for hours on end in the sun. While that may feel relaxing and temporarily feels good on your skin, your few hours in the sun may do more damage than good in the long run. In the end, it is simply not worth risking an unhealthy amount of exposure to UV rays just to get a tan or to relax for a few hours. It is advised that you limit your exposure to UV rays when you are not required to be outdoors and in the direct path of the sun. This can be done by setting up a relaxing atmosphere outdoors, but in the shade! Perhaps setting up a hammock in the shade will allow you to feel as though you are taking advantage of the sunshine and the summer weather, without exposing your skin to damaging ultraviolet rays, increasing your chances of getting skin cancer.

During the summer, it can be challenging to balance spending time in the warmth and sunshine, while protecting yourself completely. The long lasting effects of overexposure to ultraviolet rays are irreversible and can even lead to life ending damage. We hope that these tips will help you protect yourself from the sun. As you age, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself, by protecting yourself from the heat and protecting yourself against any damage that you are at an increased risk to. Happy Summer!

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SmartPlan Enrollment Guide

When making important decisions in your life, you want to have all the information you need to make the right choices for you. One of those life decisions is joining your employer’s retirement plan. You might ask yourself these questions: Why should I join? How do I sign up? What decisions do I need to make once I join?

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2019 Plan Highlights

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2019 Annual Notice

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401k Summary

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Why Safety for Seniors is Important

When an individual grows older, he or she may be at a higher risk for encountering dangerous situations that they may not have previously been susceptible to. There are plenty of risks out there for seniors, some of which they may be blissfully unaware of. Not only does aging bring up new safety concerns, but it may also heighten the typical risks that an individual may be vulnerable to. As an individual age, he or she may start to feel as though they are unable to react to such dangers in the same manner they used to. Taking this into consideration, all family members or loved ones of seniors should ensure that their elderly loved ones have a safety plan in place.

What Types of Dangers Are Out There?

There are several different types of dangers that lurk out there for seniors and elderly loved ones. Some dangers, as aforementioned, are simply as a direct result of the individual growing older. These risks may seem more complicated to deal with, as they often may be seen as more serious and as complex to find a solution. Such risks include:

  • As individuals age, driving may become more and more dangerous, especially as their cognitive abilities begin to decline. It can be challenging to know when an individual should give up their license and their right to drive, but it can be incredibly risky to have individuals with decline cognitive skills out on the road. Before taking away a loved one’s keys, consider how this will make them feel. It will likely give them the impression most of their freedom is gone with their ability to drive themselves. Preparing for this conversation may be difficult, but with the help of their medical professional, it may be an easier conversation that will have a positive end.
  • Aging brings physical limitations and struggles, which can result in bodily harm or injuries. Seniors are prone to experiencing falls, which can often lead to injuries and hospital stays. Although some accidents are unavoidable, others may be easy to prevent. Individuals can fall proof their home to keep seniors safe, as well as choosing their clothing and footwear according to their needs. Taking the necessary steps needed to protect elderly loved ones can prevent a fall that will set that individual back greatly due to their injuries.
  • Parts of the home may become more dangerous to individuals as they get older. Parts of the home that once were just simply rooms or areas of their home now lurk with danger and hazards that they may have not felt before. Such areas include the bathroom, which can bring about dangers such as issues using the toilet or trouble showering and bathing. Another dangerous place in the home can be the kitchen, which may have been the elderly individual’s sanctuary once upon a time. Aging people do not have to necessarily stay out of the kitchen, but they should use extreme precaution when entering this part of their home. The kitchen should be fit for seniors to function, while staying as safe as possible.
  • As we get older, we may find ourselves falling victim to new scams and cons from younger generations. Technology has been a wonderful asset to society, giving individuals more options and opening new doors and opportunities. However, with advanced technology comes new risks. It is imperative that seniors protect themselves against the risks that are associated with the internet. Cyber safety for seniors is important, and can ensure that they will not fall victim to a scam or scheme.

It can be challenging to know when to seek out help for your senior loved one, giving them the protection he or she needs in order to feel safe. By hiring an in-home caregiver, seniors will always have an extra set of eyes on them, ensuring that they are as safe as possible. Your loved one deserves to feel protected and you should feel confident that they are in the right hands. In-home caregivers can provide a wide variety of services to ensure your loved one is safe and is taking the necessary precautions to remain as safe as possible.

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Why is Brain Health Important?

In order for an individual to avoid cognitive decline and the development of dementia, he or she must ensure that their brain is as active and healthy as possible. Maintaining a healthy and active brain can strengthen one’s brain cells, which ultimately are the cause of dementia and impaired brain health. By maintaining a healthy and strong brain, individuals are essentially reducing the risk of developing dementia or other diseases due to damaged brain cells.

Learn How to Keep Your Brain Active

Keeping the brain active and maintaining its longevity is important, especially as individuals age and start to experience a natural decline in their cognitive abilities. There are several ways to ensure that the brain is as strong and vigorous as possible, which will greatly benefit an individual’s health in the long run. Ways to keep a brain active and healthy include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet that is filled with heart healthy foods. Heart healthy foods include: fatty fish, dark chocolate, blueberries, broccoli and nuts. Maintaining a healthy diet will not only give your brain the fuel it needs in order to work properly but will give it the longevity that it needs to maintain its functions and remain healthy.
  • Certain brain games can help an elderly individual maintain their brain health, while challenging their brain to stay strong for the long haul. These brain games include puzzles, crosswords, trivia and sudoku. These brain games should be challenging yet achieving them should be within reach. These games will test the brain in multiple ways while simultaneously keep its functions sharp and stout.
  • Learn new things, often. Studies show that learning something new can help enhance a brain’s functions and strengthen its abilities. Whether it is learning a new word, learning a new language or simply learning how to do a new hobby – just learn something new!
  • Use all of your senses, at the same time to improve brain functionality! Scientists believe that if you engage each sense at the same time, it will challenge your brain to adjust to a new experience that it may not be familiar with.
  • Stay active and exercise regularly! According to a study completed at the University of British Columbia, the hippocampus of the brain reacts in a positive and constructive way when the body engages in regular exercise. Additionally, exercise has been proven to boost an individual’s mood, sleep patterns and anxiety issues. Individuals who have issues sleeping, mood swings or high anxiety levels have been known to develop dementia down the road. It is advised that an individual consult with his or her doctor regarding what type of exercise and how much exercise they should pursue, as it will vary depending on strength levels and age.
  • Testing oneself on memory and the ability to recall information is beneficial to improve cognitive ability in the long run. Individuals who regularly test their own memory give their brain the strength it needs to recall memories as they age. Testing their memory can be done by playing memory games or simply asking themselves to recall something or a particular memory that happened in the past. Although some individuals try to strengthen their memory by repeating something that is fresh in their mind, it is more beneficial to try to recall something that happened far enough in the past where recalling the memory could be challenging.

Although cognitive impairment, to a certain degree, can be normal for elderly individuals, it does not have to lead to Alzheimer’s or dementia. By simply challenging one’s self to keep their brain healthy and active, they can preserve their brain cells, allowing their blood flow to remain optimal to continue to take care of their brain health. If an individual experiences signs or symptoms that seem to be abnormal, please contact a medical professional immediately. With the proper preparation and perseverance, dementia can be ward off by simply choosing to focus on brain health and activity.

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How You Can Be There for Dad, Just as He Was There for You

Companionship is defined as the feeling of fellowship, often times between two or more people.
When it comes to your father, companionship is best defined as the bonding between a father and his children. As your parents get older, they may long for companionship, especially if he or she is confined to their home more so than they used to be. By simply reaching out to your father and being there for him, you are providing him a sense of happiness that will go a long way for him.

How to Give Your Father the Help He Needs

Being there for your father can improve his quality of life, mood, outlook on life and even his health! Simple things, such as helping him around the home, can give him the positive attitude that he needs in order to go through this time in his life with an optimistic outlook that gets him through the days. Additionally, helping him around the home can actually have several health benefits. For example, if you take the time to help vacuum his home, you are ensuring that your father lives in a clean environment that is conducive of good health. Your companionship with your father goes a long way!

If you can physically be there for your father, spending time with him will mean more to him than you will know. You can sit and talk for hours or choose to simply help him with tasks that you know he needs help with. Spending time with him accomplishing these tasks can allow for you two to spend quality time together, while you are subtly helping him out around the house. You can help him with housekeeping or laundry, while you reminisce about the memories that you both have.

As your father gets older, there will likely be a lot of changes to his demeanor. You may notice that he wants to do things on his own, as he is trying to prove to both you and he that he is capable of still accomplishing everyday tasks. Your father may even try to overcompensate, leading him to be at risk for falls or injuries, as he tries to prove that he is not as fragile as you may think. It is important that you are there to support your father during this time of transition both mentally and emotionally, but physically as well.

What to Do if You Are Unable to Physically Be There for Dad

If you are unable to be there with your father due to geographical locations or prior engagements, an in-home caregiver may the best option for you and your family. By hiring an in-home caregiver, you are giving your father the care and attention that he needs in order to continue to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. Professionally trained and highly skilled in-home caregivers can be the support that you need during this time, while supporting your father simultaneously.

So, what will an in-home caregiver do for you and your family? It’s simple: they will provide essential nonmedical home care duties that will ensure that your father is taken care of while you are unable to physically be there. There are several different services that in-home care providers offer, including:

  • Light housekeeping, such as laundry and making sure that all the surfaces are clean, and the home is suitable for a healthy environment. Having a caregiver come in to provide light housekeeping for your father will allow him to enjoy a clean home, without straining himself to make sure that it is cleaned properly.
  • Hiring an in-home caregiver to assist with meal preparation for your father ensures that he is well nourished and is eating the proper foods. Not only will the caregiver assist with cooking the meals, but they will also assist with grocery shopping and making sure that your father eats what he is told to by their medical professional.
  • Personal care for your father gives him the ability to dress or groom with a caregiver’s assistance, as well as bathing and walking around! A caregiver could help with your father’s personal hygiene, as well as making sure that they are able to use their restrooms without issues.
  • If your father has a prescribed medication plan, he may need the assistance of an in-home caregiver to make sure he is taking the proper amount of his medicine, at the right times. Medication reminders via a caregiver can give family peace of mind that their loved one is complying by their doctors’ orders.
  • Simple companionship when you are unable to spend time with your father is beneficial for both his mental and physical health. Not only will someone be there for him to ensure he is happy and in a good place mentally, but a caregiver can provide companionship by accompanying him to his doctors appointments or outings, to ensure he is safe.

If your father needs companionship, an in-home caregiver can provide that and so much more. Your father took care of you through out your lifetime and it is time to make sure he is taken care of. Give him the gift of health and happiness by providing him with a highly skilled in-home caregiver.

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10 Fun Summer Activities the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Summertime can be one of the most enjoyable few months for families, as school is out and that leaves plenty more time for family bonding!

However, finding the right family friendly activity can be challenging if you have multiple generations in your family that would like to be included. Below you will find a list of ten budget friendly summer activities for the family, which all members can participate in or will be delighted to watch!

  1. If you live in a place where summer storms are plentiful or perhaps the weather starts to become to hot to be outside, consider hosting a movie marathon for your family! By selecting a movie that is appropriate for all ages, you can invite multiple generations to come together and enjoy a movie, popcorn or dinner included! Not only will you be able to enjoy a great film, but you can sit around and discuss the movie afterwards to spark conversation between family members!

  3. Summertime means plenty of sunshine that can help plants and trees grow! Planting a garden with your family members can give you all a sense of purpose through out the summer and will teach your children to look after something by watering the plants, checking on them periodically and how the lifecycle of plants works! Grandma and grandpa can enjoy this activity by either participating in planting or can help the children decide which plants to grow and where! We even suggest looking into growing a garden that will give the family vegetables to eat through out the summer, such as lettuce or cucumbers!

  5. If you and your family love to sit down together and have great conversation and delicious food, consider taking them out for a picnic. Weather permitting, try going to a park and setting up the perfect picnic that is comfortable for everyone, grandparents included! However, if the weather is starting to be a bit too warm for your liking, we encourage you to set up a picnic indoors! You can lay a blanket down or simply set up chairs to mimic an outdoor picnic, just in the comfort of your own home with air conditioning!

  7. Visiting a museum is the perfect way to stay cool in the summer heat and to bring multiple generations together to bond over interesting facts and artifacts. If you live near a museum, aquarium or learning center, consider bringing your whole family together for a day of learning and fun! If a grandparent is attending, consider renting a wheelchair for that day so that he or she can participate fully by being able to see all of the exhibits without fear of falling or becoming too tired too soon.

  9. Crafts are always fun for family members of all ages! Have you ever built a bird house together or considered making summer decorations for your home? Having craft time with your family is a perfect way to challenge your child’s imagination while teaching them a new craft that they can pass down to their children. Consider allowing their grandparents to teach them a craft that they may have learned as children to keep traditions alive!

  11. If your children have a summer reading list that he or she needs to keep up with, why not make it a family affair? Invite the whole family to come over for lunch or dinner to read a few chapters of the book to help them out with their summer homework and to find something to bond over. Reading is an activity that all generations of family can accomplish!

  13. If your children are of age to swim, consider going to the local pool or swimming in your own pool! Provided all family members have sunscreen and have shade easily accessible, all members of the family will love either swimming or watching the children play in the water! If you do not have access to a pool, buying some water toys and tools can help your family cool off in the summer heat and give the kids something to do to occupy their time.

  15. If the older members of your family are willing to travel for an hour or two, consider going on a very short road trip! You can find a place to stay for a night or simply go on a day trip to the nearest beach, lake or family friendly attraction. If traveling seems to be an issue, consider a staycation where you and your family rent a budget friendly hotel or rental home for a night or two to simply spend time together and feel as though you were able to get away without going too far!

  17. Cooking is an activity that the whole family will seemingly enjoy, especially if they can eat whatever they are cooking in the end! Similar to the crafts, this is a wonderful time to pass down any family secrets or recipes that you have. If your children are not old enough to cook, consider baking, as that may require less effort and may be more fun for them!

  19. Sitting around and talking to one another should always be a priority and something that you look to make time for. During the summer months, consider gathering everyone to simply chat about what is going on in their lives and make new memories by simply talking! Good old fashioned quality time together is one of the best things you can do to bring the family together.

Summer time is the perfect time to bring the family together to enjoy each other’s company, while making new memories that will last a lifetime. We encourage you to take the time to try our top 10 list of summer activities to try with your family!

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