Caregiver Information

Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One


Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Read more

The Best Spring-time Activities in the Phoenix Area


As much as you've been looking forward to springtime, there might be an elderly loved one in the family who is even more anxious for the arrival of the season. Of course, Phoenix-area residents aren't usually obliged to hibernate Read more

Tips for Keeping Seniors Connected


It's very understandable that seniors of today would feel even more disconnected from the world around them than senior citizens of past generations, especially given the fact that technology is now progressing at such a breakneck pace. AZ home Read more

Tips for Helping Seniors With Their Taxes  


When tax season rolls around, it can be a particularly anxious time for many seniors, and this is true for several reasons. First of all, any income received is often not via employment, so the tax model they were Read more

Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One

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Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Home Health, as well as Arizona health care workers throughout the state, urge you to take the time to find the right caregiver for your elderly loved one. Even those seniors who are not physically disabled, are still much more vulnerable than younger persons, so it becomes extremely important to be sure that they are getting the right kind of AZ home health care.

Here is a handy checklist you can use to make sure that your loved one receives proper treatment from a Phoenix health care aide.

Phoenix Home Health Checklist

  • The home health care agency does background checks on all its employees, especially those directly employed as caregivers.
  • Caregivers can be available during the night if needed, and on an emergency basis, should that be necessary.
  • The agency can provide the type of care needed by your loved one, and at the hours recommended by your family doctor for that kind of care.
  • Either the home health agency itself can provide extra needed services, or can help arrange for them – some examples might be for having meals delivered, physical therapy, mental health counseling, etc.
  • If your loved one lives alone, you may need some level of housekeeping services, in addition to bathing, dressing, shopping, transportation, meal preparation, possibly laundry service, navigational assistance, and medication reminders.
  • When skilled nursing care is needed by your senior loved one, any agency which you work with will need to have that kind of professional experience available, and must be properly certified for that work.
  • References or online reviews are available about the agency and individuals employed by the agency, and these references are predominantly positive in nature.
  • Any special needs which your senior might have, such as language, physical disability, hearing/vision loss, can be accommodated by the firm that you consider for AZ health care.
  • The cost of home health care with a candidate agency is within your budget, without having to sacrifice important services needed by your loved one.
  • It may be difficult to learn about a specific caregiver’s personality and his/her on-the-job manner, but this could be critical to having your favorite senior be compatible with the caregiver. If you can talk with other people who your candidate has worked with, you may be able to anticipate what to expect from them. If it is possible, both you and your elderly loved one should have a preliminary interview with a candidate to get a feel for what they’re like, and whether he/she is likely to get along with your senior.



Your Final Decision

In the end, there is bound to be a certain amount of guesswork and intuition involved with making a choice for the role of your senior’s caregiver. While you might get a strong feeling about a candidate caregiver merely from talking with them, when you get around to making a final decision, it should be based on factors more practical than how you feel about someone. By consulting the above checklist, and adding in any other important factors for your situation, you stand the best chance of making a good decision about home health care for your loved one.

If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


The Best Spring-time Activities in the Phoenix Area

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As much as you’ve been looking forward to springtime, there might be an elderly loved one in the family who is even more anxious for the arrival of the season. Of course, Phoenix-area residents aren’t usually obliged to hibernate through winter as people in the Northeast might, but the refreshing cooler atmosphere of spring is still one of the best times to get outdoors and enjoy the benefits of the season.

AZ home health caregivers have many options for spring-time activities which are appropriate for seniors, and which are sure to be much appreciated. Participating in such events can be an important part of Phoenix home health, and the professionals at MD Home Health and MD Home Assist heartily recommend that as a caregiver, you take advantage of these opportunities to enhance your elderly loved one’s quality of life.

Opportunities in April

Springtime means baseball among other things, and that means the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball are back in uniform, and welcoming fans to the ballpark. This can be a wonderful afternoon or evening of relaxing at the stadium, and enjoying the action on the field, as well as indulging in an old-fashioned ballpark feast of hot dogs and french fries. There are an incredible 182 parks in the area surrounding Glendale-Scottsdale-Phoenix-Tempe, so several of those are surely accessible for everyone, and will provide a memorable experience, whether walking or driving through.

Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Performance entertainment – you can enjoy the Gilbert Downtown Concert on April 26th, or the International Jazz Day Festival on April 18th at the Mesa Arts Center.
  • Sporting events – besides professional baseball, you might enjoy the all-girl Roller Derby Championship on April 21st, or the Glendale Family Bike Ride on April 22nd.
  • Nature events – in addition to all the available park experiences, a good idea to promote AZ health care for your senior loved one might include a trip to the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Garden.
  • Cultural – the ‘Embracing Your Journey Expo’ is held on April 22nd in Phoenix, and it’s all about holistic wellness, alternative health services, and other aspects of Arizona health care.


Opportunities in May

Before the heat of summer arrives, you can still take advantage of some May activities planned for the Phoenix area. Here is a sampling, which might include something that tickles your fancy:

  • Musical – on May 3rd, the Rancho Solano Prep School will do a presentation of the very popular musical ‘Grease’, a fun-filled recollection of a bygone era that just might appeal to your senior loved one.
  • Dance – on May 4th, the Pacifico Dance Company will be at the Chandler Center for the Arts to thrill audiences with their talent, grace, and imaginative choreography. If your favorite senior still enjoys some dancing of their own, you might enjoy East Coast Swing Night at the Fatcat Ballroom on May 29th.
  • Classics – a presentation of Victor Hugo’s famed Les Miserables will be staged on May 15th at the Gammage Auditorium.


Stay at Home Ideas

Of course, you don’t really have to venture out into the city or anywhere else to enjoy the delights of the spring season. Home health care can be very therapeutic just by volunteering to help your elderly loved one with spring garden preparation, choosing which plants and flowers to grow, and helping to get things established. After you’ve enjoyed some time outdoors, why not try something totally new inside as well? Discovering and preparing a brand new recipe can be a very satisfying way of spending some quality time with your senior, and celebrating the fresh beginnings of springtime.

Phoenix health care professionals have the same goals for seniors as do caregivers for private home health care – to keep them engaged, active, and physically and mentally fit. If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

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There’s no doubt about it – we’re right in the middle of the cold and flu season, and we still have weeks to go before the season fades away into springtime. Arizona health care professionals tell us that seniors and their caregivers are the most likely groups to be affected by the flu which is sweeping the country this winter – seniors because their immune systems are less robust, and caregivers because they are in close proximity to seniors every day. This being the case, here are some Phoenix home health care tips which should be observed to reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu, and perhaps lessening the severity of it when it does strike.

Keep the Home Germ-Free

Yes, this is impossible to do with 100% efficiency, but if you do your very best, that will eliminate much of the potential for disease. Here are a few important ways you can keep germs out of the living environment:

  • Wash frequently – you’d be surprised at how effective a simple act like washing your hands can be at killing germs. All it takes is some warm water and soap, and rubbing your hands together for 20 or 30 seconds. When you aren’t near soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer to accomplish the same thing.
  • Household cleaning – when you’re cleaning around the home, use disinfectant agents in the bathroom, kitchen, and other common areas, and give special attention to all those items, e.g. light switches, TV remotes, cellphones, door knobs, that are routinely touched or handled by seniors in the home.
  • Personal hygiene – make sure everyone in the household observes good hygienic practices when sneezing or coughing, so germs aren’t projected out into the environment. Also, it’s a good idea to minimize touching of the facial area with hands, because that has a huge potential for introducing germs into the eyes, mouth, nose, etc.

Keep Exercising

Don’t give up on exercise during the winter, because exercise is one of the best ways of maintaining a healthy immune system. If you have a senior loved one, try and get him/her to take at least a short walk as often as possible, or to get involved with an exercise program at some community center. Studies have shown that regular exercise can lower the risks of contracting colds and flu by as much as 33%, so this should be one of your most important ways of keeping healthy.

Avoid Crowds

Some of the places where germs are most rampant, and where you have far less control of any germs being spread, are in public places where large crowds of people can gather. Every time you go to a department store or grocery store, there’s a chance of being infected by some person you come in contact with, and that’s just simple math – at home, you only have family members that you’re in contact with, but in a store or other public place, you could literally be exposed to hundreds of people in a very short time.

This isn’t to suggest that you make your elderly loved one a shut-in during the winter season, but AZ Home Health professionals recommend limiting those outings to germ-ridden public settings until after flu season passes. You won’t be able to manage absolutely every possibility for removing exposure to colds and flu, but if you are vigilant about handling the precautions listed above, you’ll go a long way toward staying safe for the remainder of the season.


Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There

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How Much Help Do Seniors Need to Live Independently?

Determining the Right Amount of Support

When it comes to the issue of elder care and taking care of our senior parents, we are unfortunately torn between two somewhat extreme decisions—1) they are fine living independently or 2) they require 24/7 support and care.

Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There Send Bonus

What more likely is that there’s a spectrum of elder care needs that should be more flexible and accommodating to individuals. Respecting the need for independence while providing appropriate support is a tense balance that should be centered on safety. Knowing what the options are for senior care can help adult children and caregivers of seniors to make more informed decisions.

If you have an in-home assessment done by an AZ Home Health company, you may be surprised that your parents do not require in-home care or live-in caregiver—or, if they do, they require a lot less support than you may have initially thought.

What now fills in the gaps of having someone there full-time are technological advances such as home monitoring systems that can assist in medical emergencies such as falls, help with keeping people medication compliant through reminders, and with monitoring vital signs.

In-Home Monitoring Systems

If you’re concerned about leaving your parents all alone but want to support them in their independent living, then it may help to try an in-home monitoring system along with some in-home care. This could be especially helpful if your mom or dad is recovering from an injury or an illness. The main reason for this is that the risk for falls increases during recovery. In-home monitoring can also be helpful for elders who aren’t necessarily needing round-the-clock in-home care.

When you’re researching which in-home monitoring system will work for your parents, you should thoroughly research what each system is and is not capable of. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. The higher quality systems typically are more than just a call button and can adjust to whatever your parents specifically need.

Smart Monitoring Devices

There are other technology advances that can help older adult to be safe without the need of someone being in the home. Now there are smart stove alarms that will alert people if there’s a possibly dangerous situation in the kitchen. These devices go a step further than just a smoke detector, which detects when noxious gases are being emitted. They detect a potentially hazardous situation before smoke occurs.

Smart detection devices can also alert seniors of other air quality issues as well as water leaks. For example, there are smart bath monitors that monitor water levels in a tub, detecting when a bath tub could possibly overflow and then shutting off the water before it happens.

Remember the Clapper from the 80s that turned on and off lights? Well now, you don’t need to clap—you can just install motion-activated lights so seniors can still live independently without having to stumble in the dark. There are also smart doorbells that can provide video pictures of visitors so elders can determine if they should open their doors.

Contact MD Home Health Care Today!

Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health Care, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.


Finding the Humor in Hospice

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Isn’t one of the best things to do in life to laugh at ourselves? If we have no sense of humor, then who are we? Although we in no way are claiming that hospice care is anything to joke about, of course, one man and his good friend decided to poke fun at the home health care system and inevitabilities of death in a playful way.

93-year-old Harry Azoff, accompanied by his hospice volunteer, Morgan Thompson, set out to lift some light into the subject of aging and hospice with their “Hospice-tality” play addressing Azoff’s “impending death.” Only 30 minutes long, the play plucked at the heartstrings of Azoff’s family and friends telling stories of his life with musical hints tied in done by his favorite music therapist, Molly Hicks. Even plays on words of the ever-famous and dreaded Grim Reaper were well-received by his hospice friends. “Have you ever seen cartoon drawings of the Grim Reaper? How can anyone take that guy seriously,” his character asks in the short play. And, we have to agree, the whole manifestation of death carrying a massive scythe is a little over-the-top now that we think about it.

Finding the Humor in Hospice

Besides living a very full life, Azoff has miraculously outlived his doctors’ estimates after being diagnosed with kidney disease; maybe it’s all of the humor circulating in his veins. Although neither Azoff nor Thompson has any professional playwriting or singing experience, the two made ballads until the cows came home and enjoyed every minute of it. To make the story even more heartfelt, as if it could be, Thompson is blind in one eye and has impaired vision in the other making it almost impossible for her to even see Azoff. “Maybe I can’t see people’s physical bodies as well, but I can see their souls better,” she said. “Harry has a beautiful, beautiful spirit inside of him,” she told the Herald.

Creating joke-upon-joke of various hospice visits between himself and Thompson, they poked fun at the typical jargon spoken between patient-and-professional like “Are you having any pain issues since I saw you last?” To which Azoff would respond with “Not unless you count existential pain.” Although the two are very aware that Azoff’s time is coming to a close like their curtain eventually had to, Thompson stated to the Herald Tribune that she finds peace helping Azoff share his story. And, what a beautiful story it is.

Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more advice or questions you may have. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Animal Therapy Benefits for Hospice Care

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We have heard of therapy puppies and cats but never a therapy duck! Meet Webster, the mallard duck that wandered into Johnston’s WesleyLife as the new pet therapy volunteer. What is so interesting about Webster is that you can actually pet him! He even goes up on patient’s laps!

Webster is no ordinary duck though, and the best part about him is that he brings joys to different patients in many different ways. Based on the patient’s condition and their upbringing, Webster can reinvoke childhood memories for those that grew up in rural areas or connect to people that have never even socialized with ducks before. His low temperament and friendly demeanor definitely make him an ideal suitor for this particular business.

Animal Therapy Benefits for Hospice Care

Now, we know that patients that receive visitors and family socialization time seem to do better and sustain life longer than those that don’t, but have you ever actually read up on what animals can do for us? According to Huffington Post, “studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy can offer immediate physiological and psychological benefits, including lowering blood pressure, stress and anxiety in many patient populations, including those in hospice, the elderly, and those with behavioral health issues.” Sometimes we just need that non-judgmental, unconditional loving that we feel we cannot receive from the human race and animals are just the ones to do it.   

For those that don’t have the capacity to take care of and love for animals on their own, this type of situation with Webster is the perfect solution because they can get the quality time they want without the responsibility. It is quite a common thing to see that Hospice Care and health facilities have an animal companion or sponsor to lift the spirits of their patients through some good old fashioned pet therapy.

Here is a sweet video clip of the wonderful Webster for all of you to enjoy!

View Video: Therapy duck waddles into the hearts of Iowa hospice patients

Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more advice or questions you may have. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Natural Ways to Fight Depression This May

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Depression is the most common form of mental illness. As much as 26% of the adult population in the United States suffers from depression. Since 1949, Mental Health America has observed that May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health America is focusing this month on risky behaviors that can increase the risk of, or exacerbate depression and mental health. Here are a few ways natural ways to fight the risks and effects of mental illness.

Avoid Risky Behaviors

According to Mental Health America, engaging in certain risky behaviors can increases the chances of developing or worsening a mental health illness, such as depression. Some of these risky behaviors include prescription medication abuse, internet addiction, and even marijuana use. Avoid engaging in certain risky behaviors if you are at risk or suffer from mental illness. Consult your doctor and follow strict instructions for prescription medication use. Strictly manage time and content viewed on the internet. Avoid internet use right before bed. Although medical marijuana is becoming more popular and accessible, it is not for everyone. Consult your doctor and avoid marijuana use if you are at risk or suffer from depression.

Exercise and Proper Sleep

Make sure to get plenty of good sleep and engage in exercise on a regular basis to naturally combat the effects of depression and mental illness. A mental illness can make it hard to sleep, but a lack of sleep can make symptoms worse. Getting enough exercise can help you sleep better by tiring your body out. Exercise can also help endorphin production in your brain, which is a chemical that helps promote good moods.

Have a Routine

Mental illness can wreak havoc on the structure in your life. It is very helpful to have a daily routine to follow. Setting small goals to accomplish is also very helpful. They don’t have to be big goals. Set small and simple goals and accomplish them one at time and go from there.

Have Responsibilities

Depression, and other mental ailments can make you want to give up on responsibilities at home and work. Don’t give into the illness. Consciously take on more responsibilities to help provide that sense of accomplishment and routine. Again, starting simple and small is just fine.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t suffer from a form of mental illness, you may know someone close in your life who does. Phoenix home health care is here to help. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


March is National Nutrition Month

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March is National Nutrition Month, which is an education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme strives to help people manage their weight successfully and reduce their risk of chronic disease while promoting general health. Consuming fewer calories, getting daily exercise and making educated food choices are part of this year’s goals. There are many easy ways to engage in a healthy lifestyle.

Cut the Calories Without Going Hungry

 Cutting down on calories is an easy way to feel better and prevent unnecessary weight gain. There is more to reducing caloric intake than just simply  “eating less.” Making simple choices in what foods you eat is easier than depraving yourself from eating. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables over processed snacks and red meat is a healthy way to cut calories. Snacking on fruit before every meal is a great way to reduce cravings and eat more sensibly at meal time. Try an apple 15 minutes before lunch to curb a ravenous appetite.

Daily Exercise

 Daily exercise is important for a healthy cardiovascular system. Elevating your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes a day is a clinically researched way to promote heart health. If you are someone who needs home assistance, one of our processional caregivers would be glad to assist you with an exercise routine. Strengthening therapy is just one of many medical services provided by our Phoenix home health care professionals.

 Informed Decisions

 Making educated food choices is important to a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to know your body’s caloric and nutritional needs by talking to your doctor or a health care professional. Eating organic food is a great way to provide wholesome nutrition to your body without the risk of contamination from toxic pesticides. Eating a plant based diet is also a great way to cut down on calories and give your body the nutrition it needs. Cut down on processed and packaged foods and stick to the ones that can be found at local farmers’ market.

Cutting calories, daily exercise and making informed decisions when buying food are all stepping stones to a healthy lifestyle. The food we eat is directly connected to how we feel and the health of our bodies. Let this National Nutritional Month be an inspiration to start some new healthy habits. To find out more about our Phoenix home health services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Why Fall Prevention is So Important

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February is National Senior Independence Month, and while many are doing their part in promoting healthy living, caregiving and exercise, it is equally important to stress the risk of falls, and to join in promoting fall prevention this month. According to the CDC, one out of every three adults age 65 and over falls each year. Falling is also the leading cause of accident related deaths for this age group. This makes falling one of the single highest threats to the independence of seniors. It is for this reason that we are going to dedicate an entire blog post to the topic of fall prevention this month; in spreading awareness, and helping prevent accidents, while promoting senior independence.

Important Statistics

According to the CDC, falling is a serious and costly issue facing those 65 and older, and their website has listed the following shocking statistics:

  • 1 of 5 falls causes a serious injury–broken bones or a head injury.
  • Over 300,000 seniors are hospitalized annually for hip fractures.
  • Nearly 3 million seniors are treated in the ER for injuries resulting from a fall.
  • Over 800,000 seniors are hospitalized yearly for fall injuries. Hip fractures and head injuries are the most common.
  • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused from falling, and usually onto one’s side.
  • The most common cause for traumatic brain injuries is falling.
  • The annual cost incurred from fall injuries is $31 billion. 2/3 of this results from hospital costs.

After a Fall

After a person falls, they are likely to suffer from broken bones. Common breaks from falling include wrists, arms, hips and ankles. They may also suffer a head injury. Head injuries can be serious, and medications such as blood thinners can make them even more dangerous. If a senior has hit their head, they should see a doctor immediately to rule out brain injury. Even if the senior has fallen and was lucky enough to escape serious injury, a fall can have debilitating mental effects that could cause the person to become fearful of falling again. This is likely to interfere with their normal daily routines, and cause them to become less active. Being less active is only going to increase their risk of a future fall more in the long run, so a good therapist may be essential after a loved one has experienced a fall.

Risk Factors

The Center for Disease Control has identified the following factors for increased risk of falling. Most falls are the result of a combination of risk factors, and the more factors someone has, the higher their risk of experiencing a fall.

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Weak lower body
  • Troubles walking or balancing
  • Foot pain, or poorly made footwear
  • Medications that affect one’s balance (over-the-counter or prescription)
  • Home hazards
    • Uneven or broken steps
    • Lack of handrails next to stairs or in the bathroom
    • Throw rugs or clutter that one may trip over

Fall Prevention

The best way to help your loved one to prevent a fall is to evaluate their risk first in their home, and second with their medical doctor. You may want to ask a Phoenix home health care professional to evaluate your loved one’s home. You may even want to hire a Phoenix home care provider to visit the home of your loved one on a regular basis to clean, or assist them during daily tasks that open them up to greater risk for falling. Your doctor can help you find ways to reduce fall risk around the home, and you may want to review the medications your loved one is taking, and add a vitamin D supplement into their daily diet. The biggest factor in reducing the risk of falling is exercise. Tai Chi is great for helping increase lower body strength and balance.

For more information on preventing falls, our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.

 


Hiring a Caregiver Can Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

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Now that 2017 is here, many of us are trying to make fresh, new starts. It’s never been a better time to ask for a bit of extra help with the things you simply do not have time for, or maybe need some extra assistance with from time to time. That is why 2017 is the year to give yourself the gift of a caregiver. There is no shame in having an extra hand around the home, and it could do wonders for your psyche and physical health.

If you or a loved one have a physical or mental disability, and you’d like some assistance around your home with medical, or non-medical services, Phoenix home care professionals are available to come to your home whenever you need someone, and even offer an emergency, on-call nurse 24/7. You never have to be alone, or do things on your own again. There are several medical and non-medical services that an in-home caregiver may provide, depending upon your own personal needs.

Hiring a caregiver can make your life better, and this year better than ever in a variety of ways, for a variety of people.

If you’ve been taking care of a family member or loved one who is ill, you may simply need a break from the caretaking so that you can focus on you, and better be there for your loved one as a companion who is refreshed, and accomplishing all they wish to get done and become this year.

If you’re having medical difficulties, a caregiver can give you the relief of getting the things done that you need done in order to live a fully functioning and enriched life. You may even want to give your loved one a break if you’ve been under the care of a family member or spouse, and give each other space so that when you are together again, your relationship will be back to a state of normalcy, and you may even be able to find a new, enriching way of spending time together that isn’t based upon need.

If you simply feel like you could use an extra hand around the house because you’d rather focus your attention elsewhere, a caregiver could come and help in a variety of non-medical ways also. You could even have one caregiver helping with medical needs, and another with the non-medical needs. Non-medical needs include driving, shopping, errands, meal-planning, cooking, cleaning, companionship, tucking one in at night, helping someone with childcare, or special needs children, and even help with grooming and personal care. These are often the things that relatives become burnt out with when they are doing everything on their own every day. You don’t have to do it on your own anymore. There are Phoenix home health care professionals available to help you.

For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.