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New Study Reveals Startling Facts about In-Home Caregivers

A recent study conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine discovered many home aids who care for the elderly have no training and do not undergo careful background checks or drug tests. In some cases the caregivers receive no supervision from the agencies that hire them, neglecting to use any formal training that can lead to your loved one being neglected and even physically hurt in some cases.

Even more disturbing, several agencies appeared to lie about their employees’ screening or education. One agency stated that it used an assessment called the “National Scantron Test for Inappropriate Behaviors,” while another claimed it relied on the “Assessment of Certification of Christian Morality” -neither which actually exist. Without proper screening and quality control measures, the elderly are completely vulnerable to fraud, abuse and neglect.

The study, published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, reported:

  • Only 56 percent of agencies said they performed background checks
  • One third of the agencies tested employees for drug use
  • Many caregivers were sent to work with little to no training
  • Two thirds of the agencies said caregivers could assist in financial transactions
  • The average aid is a female immigrant who earns $7.25 an hour or less

The right questions lead to Better Quality Care

Asking agencies the right questions is also very important. The study’s authors recommend asking specific questions regarding background checks, drug screening, training, experience, and policies.

If you have concerns about the quality of care your loved one is receiving, consider using Exceptional Service Home Care agency. They offer reliable, safe, dependable and professional home care.They conduct extensive background checks and make sure your loved one is truly cared about by providing caregivers that are patient, friendly, responsible and compassionate.

Don’t let your elderly relatives fall victim to fraud, neglect or abuse. Call Exceptional Service Home Care Agency today to have peace of mind knowing your loved one is safe and taken care off.

Call 800-619-0114 or visit us at

Debunking 15 Crazy Home Care Myths and Misconceptions

How much do you know about in-home care?

While the popularity of in-home care continues to grow, many people aren’t sure exactly what home care entails or how to secure in-home services. Fortunately, these problems are easy to fix! By debunking the most common home care myths and misconceptions, you and your loved ones can ensure that you’re getting the most that home care has to offer.

15 Home Care Myths Most People Believe

Home care: it’s important, life-changing, and very, very misunderstood. These 15 myths are the most common that surround the home care industry. Here’s what you need to know about them:

1) Home care is only for very sick people

While home care can certainly be helpful for terminally ill people, not all home care recipients are very ill. In fact, there are two very distinct types of home care services: medical and non-medical care. Medical care is often utilized by people who are recovering from an illness or injury or for people who need help coping with chronic conditions.

Non-medical care, on the other hand, offers help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, personal care, and transportation. Non-medical home care aides may help their clients shop, prepare meals, clean, or complete housework. In some cases, non-medical home care simply provides companionship, which can be helpful in avoiding depressive symptoms and elevating an individual’s mood.

2) Home care is very expensive

For families that have never utilized home care, the thought can be intimidating. Many people believe that hiring an in-home care aide will be far too expensive, but fortunately they’re wrong! According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care Network, the average family overestimates the cost of hiring a non-medical home care aide by about $6 an hour.

This means that hiring in-home care is actually far more affordable than most people believe. In stark contrast, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey from 2011 states that the price of a private room in a nursing facility has jumped about 3.4% – to a total of more than $77,745 annually! With those numbers in mind, it’s clear that hiring in-home care may actually be more affordable than a nursing home.

3) Caregivers aren’t trustworthy

Any reputable in-home care service provider will do its absolute best to match seniors to caregivers who display similar interests and personalities. Additionally, most caregivers are required to pass measures like background and competency tests before interacting with clients. This helps ensure that the senior is matched with a quality caregiver that can meet the senior’s needs while also being trustworthy and reliable.

4) Home care is for people who lack independence

Hiring an in-home care aide doesn’t mean sacrificing your independence! In fact, in many cases, the introduction of an in-home care aide can actually help an individual maintain independence. By handling things that may be difficult, like cooking and cleaning, an in-home care aide can help make daily life easier and support the senior’s efforts to live independently for as long as possible.

Additionally, in-home caregivers can help clients maintain independence by preventing common nonfatal injuries like falls and fractures, which the CDC reports are the leading cause of injury death among those 65 and older.

5) In-home care is basically adult babysitting

Think again! While many seniors worry that hiring an in-home caregiver means having a watchful and disproving attendant around at all times, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In many cases, seniors form strong bonds with their in-home caregivers, which creates an environment of fun and closeness every time the caregiver visits.

6) Home care isn’t helpful for people with low or moderate needs

If you only need help conducting your shopping, but you can manage your housework and personal care just fine, don’t write off home care just yet. Home care is a widely varied market and there are professionals available to help you, regardless of what your needs may be. Whether you need an hour or 40 hours of help each week, you can find a caregiver that will provide this for you.

7) I don’t need home care – my family is already helping

As you age and your needs become more pronounced, the burden on friends and family can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring an in-home caregiver can allow your family and friends to participate in your care without stretching themselves too thin. The introduction of an in-home care aide ensures quality care, relief for family and friends, and a balanced care plan for everyone involved.

8) Home care is only for seniors

Just like home care isn’t only for people with limiting illnesses or disabilities, it’s not only for seniors. Home care is often utilized by parents with newborns or people recovering from surgical procedures. Home health care can be individualized to fit your unique needs, so you’ll always have access to a provider that can give you exactly what you need for your unique situation.

9) Home care is dangerous

While we certainly don’t recommend undergoing surgery at home, home care aides are trained professionals. If you require in-home medical care, you’ll be matched with a medical caregiver who can help administer a plan of care that is safe and medically sound.

For individuals who need high levels of in-home care, it’s often possible to secure the assistance of an in-home RN or other highly trained medical personnel. This ensures that your in-home care is just as safe as it would be in a hospital.

10) Seniors who need 24/7 care aren’t qualified for home care

Again, home care is highly individualized. This means that clients who need high levels of home care can find providers to offer it while those who need lower levels of home care will be matched accordingly. Home care agencies often put together 24/7 care teams and can work with you to ensure that you get exactly the services you need.

11) Home care doesn’t accommodate long-term needs

For seniors or other individuals with long-term care needs, home care can be a fantastic option. By matching the individual in need with a qualified individual or team of in-home caregivers, it’s easy for in-home care to accommodate long-term care needs.

12) The client has no say over who the in-home caregiver is

Just like all things, it’s possible that finding an ideal in-home caregiver may take some experimentation, but you as the client always have the final say. If you find that a caregiver and you don’t get along well, that you don’t trust or feel comfortable with the caregiver, or that the caregiver isn’t meeting your needs, you always have the option to replace the caregiver with one who works better. This ensures that you always find a great in-home care match and that you’re satisfied with your in-home services.

13) An in-home caregiver will replace the role of my friends and family

While an in-home caregiver can certainly provide a much-needed break for friends and family, it’s untrue that the presence of in-home care will replace the importance of friends and family. An in-home caregiver can supplement the care your friends and family provide, while at the same time deferring to the care preferences that you and your family agree upon.

14) An in-home caregiver will take over my loved one’s care plan

In-home caregivers are ideal for providing an extra set of hands and some medical expertise. Aside from that, however, they don’t dominate the in-home care situation. Depending upon the need of the client, an in-home caregiver will work with the client and his or her family to develop a care plan that meets the client’s needs while also working closely with the family and the client to ensure that the family feels involved to their desired level. This helps ensure an active role in the care of a loved one and prevents an in-home caregiver from providing more services than are needed or wanted.

15) In-home caregivers don’t care about their clients

While it’s important to hire a reputable in-home caregiver from a reputable home care agency, most caregivers enter the business specifically because they care about clients and want to do everything in their power to serve them.

When the match between a caregiver and a client is good, caregivers and clients often become friends. Most caregivers care deeply about their clients and will do everything in their power to help their clients feel happy, healthy, and independent.

If you have concerns about the quality of care your loved one is receiving, consider using Exceptional Service Home Care agency. They offer reliable, safe, dependable and professional home care.They conduct extensive background checks and make sure your loved one is truly cared about by providing caregivers that are patient, friendly, responsible and compassionate.

Don’t let your elderly relatives fall victim to fraud, neglect or abuse. Call Exceptional Service Home Care Agency today to have peace of mind knowing your loved one is safe and taken care off.

Call 800-619-0114 or visit us at

The 20-Minute Total-Body Cardio Workout

When it comes to cardio, sometimes it seems like we’re stuck between a rock (thetreadmill) and a hard place (spin class). Both are effective, but both can get boring, fast. Fortunately, there’s a better way to burn calories without even stepping foot in a gym.

Say hello to high-intensity bodyweight exercises. In this 20-minute video, Dana McCaw, certified trainer and Grokker expert, shows you how to perform a variety of exercises that work your entire body, burn major calories, and make you break a serious sweat—without any weights or equipment. You’ll start with a quick lower-body warm-up before moving into two rounds of five heart-pumping moves, from front lunges to lateral hops, that target evey muscle in your body, from legs to abs to back. Ready to feel the burn? Just press play.

Here’s the full recap:

3-Minute Warm-Up
  1. Air squats
  2. Walk-outs
  3. Front lunges

Complete 2 rounds of the following moves, performing 15 reps in round 1 and 25 reps in round 2:

  1. Alternating front lunges
  2. Dancing crab
  3. Skaters
  4. Side planks
  5. Lateral hops

An Amazing Thing Happened When I Surrounded Myself With Junk Food

My holiday season was a nutritional doozy. I fell out of the Thanksgiving tree and hit every pie, stuffing, and cookie-dough branch on the way down. After New Year’s, along with the rest of humanity, I prepared myself to do a complete 180 with green juices, salads, and veggies galore—not a sprinkle in sight. But instead of continuing down the dieting freeway as I do every January, I decided to try a new route to healthy: intuitive eating. All it took was asking myself a simple question: What if the real issue isn’t the food I’m eating but rather my mindset about eating?Intuitive Eating 101

I first heard about intuitive eating from Refinery29’s "Anti-Diet Project" and the book When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s the gist: Traditional diets with all their food restriction and calorie limitation set you up to fail. Your body is no dummy. It has powerful biological and psychological forces that will drive you to consume the very foods you're avoiding, often in excess. (Ever played “keep away” with a brownie, only to find yourself eating the whole pan later?)

This isn’t a lack of willpower. It’s your body fighting against perceived starvation, nutritional deficiencies, and restrictions onpleasurable foods . You can win the battle and white-knuckle your way past the office candy bowl, but you’ll lose the war. Engage in this behavior often enough, and a dangerous diet/binge cycle can emerge.

So what’s the solution? Admit defeat, face-plant into a bowl of Skittles, and never surface again? Not so much.

Intuitive eating teaches that the solution is to actually listen to your body. Using a hunger scale, you tune in to whether you biologically need food. When you feel hunger, you allow yourself whatever you want, and if that’s Skittles, then go ahead and taste that rainbow! (Trust me, you can only make a meal of candy for so long before you desperately crave greens and lean protein.) You also tune in to your fullness and stop before overdoing it.

Following these guidelines day after day, your body will finally trust that it's not under the threat of deprivation, your metabolism will return to normal, and you’ll find your naturally healthy weight. (Studies have shown that people who eat intuitively have lower BMIs .) But perhaps most importantly, you can finally trust your body rather than fight its every impulse .

When you feel hunger, allow yourself whatever you want, and if that’s Skittles, go ahead and taste that rainbow!

Easy as (unrestricted) pie! Or so you’d think. There are a few roadblocks on your way to the intuitive eating promised land—namely that people eat for reasons other than hunger. We eat out of anxiety, boredom, or theblues. I’m guilty of doing these things, despite knowing there's not much comfort to be found at the bottom of a pint of Chunky Monkey. And we eat out of what’s been dubbed “last supper syndrome.” Here’s where my struggles began.

The Last Hurrah

Intuitive eating expert Theresa Kinsella, R.D., describes last supper syndrome as “the underlying beliefs that promote fear that certain foods won't be allowed or available down the road.” Over the holidays, "last supper syndrome" was my M.O. Here’s a classic example: You know Nana’s Thanksgiving pie won’t come around for another year, so you do a swan dive directly into that lattice crust. And if you’re called away, you can barely focus on a family game of Pictionary because you have tunnel vision on that pie and can’t rest until every crumb is consumed.

But last supper syndrome isn’t only in effect during the holidays. It can also strike with Super Bowl nachos, restaurant outings, or even bagel Friday at the office. Unfortunately my last supper eating was bleeding into all those situations and more. Groundhog Day? What’s-her-face’s birthday? Opening weekend for 50 Shades of Grey? All these occasions were cause for primo eats! Because who knows when life will grant another chance for treats, right?

Facing Down My Demons, er, Muffins

How do you put your last supper syndrome to rest? By convincing yourself (and your body) that there are many more suppers to come! “When someone knows they have complete permission to eat previously forbidden foods and the confidence that food is always going to be available to them, cravings and overeating subside,” Kinsella says. That means the typical approach—playing keep away with the celebratory food because you’ll overdo it—will only increase its appeal. I had to change my mental script that says, “Hurry up and get it while I can and get it now before it’s too late!” to, “Oh, there’s that food again.”

As backward as it may sound, the solution from an intuitive eating perspective is to surround myself with my “one-time-only” foods until they lose their "specialness" and become just another item in my kitchen, no more tempting than an apple on the countertop. But could I do it with something as tantalizing as...muffins?

Oh, muffins! You little doughy puffballs of joy with a cap of buttery crumbs and a soft cakey inside oozing with fruit. My dietary kryptonite! Could I really defuse my urges to eat all the muffins, all the time?

I nervously went to the bakery to submit myself to the ultimate test. Facing the counter, I boldly ordered two... of every flavor. I ordered so many muffins that I lost count somewhere around eight. The baker must’ve thought I was hosting brunch for all of Arcade Fire. But I was giddy. Muffins! Muffins for days! I laughed hysterically as I brought the jumbo bag home and set it on the counter next to the fruit bowl.

There were so many that I couldn’t possibly eat them all, which was the point. They were to be a fixture in my kitchen. In fact, I tried to think of the bag as bottomless. The aim was to imprint the message deep in my psyche: There are unlimited muffins whenever you want them.

As expected, the first day I circled the bag like a shark, occasionally catching a doughy whiff. And I happily ate them—pumpkin walnut, carrot cream cheese, berry bonanza—when I was hungry. Every so often I’d check and see that yes, the muffins are still there on standby for whenever hunger strikes. (Phew!)

By day two, my brain and body were slowly receiving the message. It was like a neon light from a diner: “Muffin Bag Open, 24-Hours a Day.” Little by little, my frenzy around them calmed. And yes, in those first two days, those muffins were my breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and even midnight nosh. If I was hungry, I had permission to eat whatever I wanted, and I wanted muffins.

The first day, I circled the bag like a shark.

By the third day, the muffins were still delicious and (amazingly) not stale, but they did begin to feel a little less special. The food I’d once limited to birthdays and upheld as The Treat to End All Treats was actually starting to feel like bread by another name, and it was not as sweet. I started passing the muffins on the counter for other foods. And I occasionally forgot the muffins were even there. At times I’d look up from the TV, catch sight of the muffin bag, and think, “Oh yeah. That.”

That’s how the muffins of my dreams, the food that I saved for rare celebrations, the food I overate to the point of pain whenever they were near, became just food. I finally began to realize muffins would be in my life, and there was no panic that I would lose them. They would be there, on the counter, to the point of boredom.

At the Heart of My Last Hurrah

Last supper eating comes from issues with permission and abundance, Kinsella says. That’s the diet mentality: Better overdo it on that muffin now because tomorrow it’ll be gone and it’s back to nonstop kale.

But my last supper habits came from an even harder place. For years I’d struggled with caring for a terminally ill parent. It had eroded away my natural optimism and given a dark tinge to joyful events. Death can give you the feeling that everything is temporary and could be snatched away at any moment. I began to look at life like a series of endings, whether that was the life of a loved one or the simple pleasure of food. I felt all the good things would be taken away from me.

Ending last supper syndrome was about rebuilding the trust that more goodness awaits.

What happens when you know something will end? You fear.You panic. You cling with all your might and gobble up everything you can. But here’s the thing about clinging to things tightly: You’re so focused on the inevitable end that you can’t enjoy the moment. You’ve already fast-forwarded to being without the person or thing you love.

And that mentality isn’t accurate. Goodness is abundant. And good food is abundant. There will be many meals and sunny days ahead. For me, ending last supper syndrome was about rebuilding the trust that more goodness awaits, every day. This won’t be my last supper. It’s one of many with the people I love. And yes, I might serve muffins.