“Regardless if you are a caregiver for a family member or it is your profession, it can be overwhelming if you have additional worries about your own finances and personal responsibilities,” said Ron D’Aquila, RN, Co-Founder and CEO of Assisted Living Services, Inc. (ALS) in Cheshire. “We understand the demands of caregiving and have spearheaded multiple initiatives to elevate pay and recognition within the industry.”
D’Aquila highlights a state program that can alleviate the financial burden of family caregivers who often have to cut back on working hours, take a leave of absence, or quit their job entirely. The CT Department of Social Services added The Adult Family Living/Foster Care Program in 2013 under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) and the Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Waiver Program. Assisted Living Services, Inc. is a credentialed provider for this program, which means the company provides the oversight that helps caregivers succeed including on-going support by a Registered Nurse with the “tools” needed to be comfortable with caregiving, along with the financial compensation that they deserve.
To be eligible for the CHCPE, applicants must meet certain criteria, such as being a Connecticut resident, be at risk of nursing home placement, as well as meet certain financial criteria. Adult Family Living / Foster Care is defined as personal care and support services that are provided to participants who reside in a private home by a principle caregiver that lives in the home. The direct provider may be a relative of the participant as long as they are not a legally liable relative (such as a spouse).
There are four different levels of care that depend on the complexity of care needed. When a referral is made to DSS, a representative visits the home for an assessment and to determine eligibility and level.
Under the program, the caregiver can receive a tax-free stipend of over $500 per week. Direct foster caregivers can care for up to three individuals in a household.
In addition, ALS is a champion for their employed staff as well, by offering competitive wages, specialized training, and a unique and generous monthly award program. The company’s Platinum Caregiver Award recognizes caregivers who exhibit exemplary care and stellar service by presenting them with a beautiful crystal statue, a certificate of merit and $5,000 every month. Employee Linda Papaspliliotopulus was the award honoree in April and used her winnings for a dream trip to Italy for a family reunion.
“Linda was born in Italy and she told me that this was a big reunion with family from all over, many of whom had not gotten together for years,” said D’Aquila. “We are thrilled that our monthly award can enhance the lives of our valued team members and proud that there is truly nothing like it in the entire country!”
D’Aquila stresses the importance of taking time away as just one thing caregivers need to do in order to practice good self-care. He shares some other strategies:
Engage in regular activities as a reminder that you are more than just a caregiver.
Give yourself permission to take short breaks. Get out of the house throughout the day, even for 10 minutes. Visit with friends.
Take care of yourself. Don’t skip your own doctor’s appointments because you’re too busy. Exercise, eat well and don’t sacrifice sleep.
Get up 15 minutes earlier and use the time just for you. Journal about your struggles and feelings, meditate or stretch.
Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help.
Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs!
Technology can also help a senior maintain independence while providing peace of mind. Through the ALS sister company, Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. there are automated medication dispensers to improve compliance, home safety devices that shut off a stove that is inadvertently left on, fall avoidance technologies, and Personal Emergency Response Systems that can help augment or supplement care.
For nearly 25 years, award-winning home care agency Assisted Living Services, Inc. in Cheshire with branch locations in Clinton and Fairfield has provided quality care to residents across Connecticut. Their award-winning CarePlus program blends personal care with technological safety and monitoring devices from sister company Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. Learn more by visiting www.assistedlivingct.com or calling 203.634.8668.
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