UV Safety for Aging Adults

UV safety

As we age, our bodies go through numerous changes, including an increased vulnerability to the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV safety is crucial for seniors, as it plays a significant role in their overall health and well-being. As the years go by, the skin’s ability to protect itself from UV damage decreases, making older adults more susceptible to various health issues. In this blog, we will explore the importance of UV safety in relation to seniors and aging, as well as practical steps they can take to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.

UV Safety for Aging Adults

UV radiation is an invisible part of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface and is divided into three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While the ozone layer absorbs most of the harmful UVC radiation, UVA and UVB rays can still reach us, affecting our skin and overall health.

As we age, our skin undergoes natural changes that make it more susceptible to UV damage. The production of collagen and elastin, responsible for skin firmness and elasticity, decreases with age. This leads to thinner and more fragile skin, making it easier for UV rays to penetrate and cause damage. Additionally, the number of melanocytes, cells that produce melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color), decreases, leaving older adults more vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancers.

UV-Related Health Risks for Seniors

Skin Cancer

The most significant risk associated with UV exposure is skin cancer, and seniors are at a higher risk due to the cumulative effect of sun exposure over their lifetimes. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is more prevalent in older adults and can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.

Wrinkles and Age Spots

Prolonged UV exposure can accelerate the aging process, leading to premature wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Seniors who spend significant time outdoors without sun protection are more likely to experience these visible signs of aging.

Eye Problems

UV rays can also cause eye issues, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. As we continue to mature, the lenses in our eyes become less efficient at filtering UV radiation, making seniors more susceptible to these problems.

UV Safety Tips for Seniors

Seek Shade

Encourage seniors to seek shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. This will reduce their overall UV exposure and provide a safe haven from the sun’s strongest rays.

Wear Protective Clothing

Seniors should wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection. These garments can shield their skin and eyes from harmful UV rays.

Apply Sunscreen

Regularly apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to exposed skin, including the face, hands, and neck. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

Regular Skin Checkups

Encourage seniors to undergo regular skin checkups with their healthcare provider or dermatologist. Early detection of skin changes can significantly improve the outcome if skin cancer is detected.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential, especially in hot weather. Hydrated skin is more resilient to sun damage and can better repair itself.

Related Article: Dehydration in Seniors: What to Look For and How to Help

UV safety is a critical aspect of senior health and aging gracefully. As we age, our skin becomes more vulnerable to UV damage, making older adults particularly at risk for skin cancers, eye issues, and premature aging. By taking simple precautions, seniors can safeguard themselves from the harmful effects of UV radiation. 

If you or someone you know would benefit from having oversight so that they can stay healthy and independent, reach out to us to see locations near you. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are passionate about the care they provide, and we would be honored to help!

Eating Well to Live Well: The Importance of Senior Nutrition

Senior woman cooking healthy meal Nutritional needs as we age

As we age, our nutritional needs change, and it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to what we eat. Good nutrition is essential for seniors to maintain their health, energy, and overall well-being. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of nutrition in seniors and provide some tips on how to maintain a healthy diet.

Why is Nutrition Important for Seniors?

Good nutrition is essential for seniors for several reasons:

  • Healthy Aging: A well-balanced diet can help seniors maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
  • Energy and Vitality: Seniors who eat a healthy diet are more likely to have the energy and vitality they need to enjoy life and engage in physical activities.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: As we age, our metabolism slows down, and it becomes easier to gain weight. A healthy diet can help seniors maintain a healthy weight, which is essential for preventing chronic diseases.
  • Improved Mental Health: Good nutrition can also improve mental health and cognitive function, reducing the risk of depression and dementia.

Nutritional Needs of Seniors

Seniors have unique nutritional needs that differ from younger adults. As we age, our bodies require fewer calories, but our need for certain nutrients, such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, increases.

  • Protein: Seniors need more protein to maintain muscle mass and strength. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods such as cereals and juices. Vitamin D can be obtained through sunlight exposure, but it can also be found in fatty fish and fortified foods.
  • Vitamin B12: As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy brain function and the production of red blood cells. Seniors may need to take a supplement or eat fortified foods such as cereals or soy milk to ensure they are getting enough B12.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet

  • Choose nutrient-dense foods: Seniors should focus on foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Stay hydrated: Seniors may have a reduced sense of thirst, so it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, such as water, tea, and low-sugar fruit juice.
  • Limit sodium: Seniors should aim to consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other health problems. They can do this by choosing low-sodium options and avoiding processed and packaged foods.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Seniors may find it more comfortable to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
  • Make mealtime social: Eating with others can be enjoyable and can provide social interaction, which is important for mental health and well-being.

Good nutrition is essential for seniors to maintain their health and well-being. By choosing nutrient-dense foods, staying hydrated, limiting sodium, and eating smaller, more frequent meals, seniors can maintain a healthy diet that supports healthy aging and a high quality of life.

Related Articles: 
Dehydration in Seniors: What to Look For and How to Help
Reducing the Risk of Stroke
Diabetes Awareness Month: Helping Seniors Manage Diabetes
Healthy Aging Month

Trees: A Symbol of Life & Memory

Forest, A Place At Home logo, Partner of Arbor Day Foundation

Today, we celebrate Arbor Day, a national holiday commemorating the beauty and life of trees and nature. At A Place At Home, we honor the holiday with our deeply rooted connection with the Arbor Day Foundation. 

The roots of a tree hold powerful meaning; they nourish and create stability for the tree, building the foundation for healthy growth, and give back to the land around them. When Dustin Distefano and Jerod Evanich, founders of A Place At Home, thought about how the impact they wanted their senior-focused services to have, a tree is the first thing that came to mind.

Our philosophy at A Place At Home is rooted in CARE — care for our clients and their families, care for our staff, and care for our community. We strive to be Compassionate, Accountable, Respectful, and Ethical with every interaction — these are our roots, and they’ve allowed us to create a foundation of stability and nourishment to thousands of families in need over the last ten years. 

Our CARE standards are what drive our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and their “Trees in Memory” program. For every client we have been honored to care for that passes away, A Place At Home plants trees in their memory. The trees planted in remembrance will leave a legacy for future generations, preserving the foundation built by those who came before us. 

Since April of 2021, A Place At Home has planted 620 trees to honor those that have passed. These memorials can be found growing in Chippewa National Forest, Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Superior National Forest, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Each tree will stand as a lasting tribute to those families and clients who have touched our lives.

To read more about our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, click here.  

Join in the celebration of life and nature by becoming a member of the Arbor Day Foundation. To learn more about their mission or to sign up, visit www.arborday.org.

Lena and Edwin – Part Two

This blog is the continuation of the story of Lena and Edwin Michales. You can read about their early years here. This is part two of their story.

Edwin Michales grew up poor in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It was something that Lena says he was always ashamed of, and now she thinks about how much of that contributed to the way his dementia presented. His father was a coal miner, and his mother rolled cigars in a cigar factory. Lena says Edwin never felt well-educated, and that’s because, in all honesty, he wasn’t. He lived in a coal mining community, and the schools weren’t great. When Edwin was old enough, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. One of his assignments landed him in a town on the East Coast, where he met Lena.

Throughout their lives, they traveled the world and eventually settled permanently in the Midwest. They both did work they were passionate about, and were raising two children surrounded by neighbors that were like a second family. They’d lived frugally throughout their younger years, planning to spend their golden years after retirement traveling more, visiting their children and grandchildren, enjoying their interests and hobbies. They often spent their evenings enjoying a glass of wine, looking out over their property and the trees Edwin had planted years before when they bought their house.

They both retired earlier than they’d planned to, at the age of 60. First, Edwin who was diagnosed with MS and found himself exhausted all the time. Then, Lena retired a few years later due to a cancer diagnosis that left her without both of her legs. Even so, they were both active, and were looking forward to traveling and more evenings on the porch. When Edwin first started acting odd, Lena chalked it up to the peculiarities of aging. “All of a sudden, he didn’t trust me to do his laundry anymore. I’d been doing his laundry for 50 years”. She noticed it more when his behavior became even odder.

“He would start following me in his car.”

Edwin became afraid that Lena would leave him and that every time she left the house, she was looking for a boyfriend. Whether she was going to a meeting or the grocery store, he was convinced she was searching for a new love. It was bizarre and nothing she’d ever experienced with him before. At first, Lena wasn’t sure what to think. “We had already been married about 50 years when this started, and I thought, he’s just being a fuddy-duddy in his old age. You know, you kind of put it off to that”. And she did put it off to that until his behavior became more intense.

“His behavior became dangerous – he would physically threaten me.”

It was when things wouldn’t work for him that Edwin would become upset. And it was always in the evening. Lena recalls the first time she felt threatened by him. He couldn’t understand how to use their new thermostat. It was connected by an app that they could adjust using their iPad. When Edwin couldn’t get it to do what he wanted it to do, he became furious. Lena would ask him if he wanted help, and she says you could see on his face that the rage was gathering inside him. He raged at her, telling her, “No! I don’t want your help!” before pounding on the wall as close as he could get to her head. Lena recalls thinking, “this isn’t good; there’s got to be something going on.”

Lena says that you could see how the anger in him was going to escalate into punching. She made an appointment with their primary care doctor, who advised her to tell Edwin he was coming in for his yearly checkup. While they were there, the doctor asked Edwin some probing questions and suggested that Edwin see a geriatric physician who could do further testing and maybe put him on medication to help. Edwin refused to make an appointment. Lena says that their doctor’s office told her that his behavior would not stop – it would escalate. And when it got to the point that she was physically in danger, she would need to be ready to call the police. That’s exactly what happened.

“It was when he came after me with the ax that I first took their advice.”

Lena says that the incident started because Edwin couldn’t get into his home office. They regularly kept the office locked with a key, and they both knew where he kept it. They stored his skeet and trap guns inside his office, and although those were in a locked cabinet, they often had grandchildren visiting and took extra precautions. One day, Edwin couldn’t find the key to his office. Lena went to where he usually kept it, and it wasn’t there. So, he had done something with it, lost it, forgot where he’d put it. But he became convinced that she had hidden it from him. His solution? To break the door down with an ax.

Lena didn’t realize that was what he was doing until she heard it. Weary and perplexed, she went to him and suggested they call a locksmith instead of breaking the door down. Suddenly, she says he yelled, “I should use this on you!” and came at her with the ax in his hand. In their home, you can still see the gouges in the walls, their bedroom door, and a side table, where he missed hitting her. Lena recalls thinking in the moment that she needed to figure out a way to calm him down. Luckily, she kept her cell phone in her apron at all times. She heeded the advice given by their doctor’s office and called the police.

The arrival of the police calmed Edwin down.

Lena explained the situation to them. They made an emergency appointment for Edwin at a Geriatric center in their city and told him that if he didn’t go to the appointment, they would come back and take him to jail. This threat of jail from uniformed authorities was enough to get Edwin to agree to an appointment. He was seen by a team specializing in geriatrics, including a psychiatrist, a social worker, a physician, and a group of nurses. He was diagnosed with dementia and put on a regimen of medications.

When asked if Edwin was aware that he had dementia, Lena says she thinks he knew, though he could never admit it out loud. She said he eventually adjusted to her being the only one that drove or paid the bills. In that way, she says, he knew he couldn’t do those things anymore, so he understood at some level. The change in him was heartbreaking. While Edwin didn’t have the best education growing up, he was self-taught. He was a voracious reader, and because he was so well-read, he had a vocabulary that would “knock your socks off.” Lena says he wrote beautifully and was a photographer, as well as an artist. His drawings are hung up around their home. He loved classical music, and Lena called him her “Renaissance Man.”

“He used to quote Marcus Aurelius to me when we were dating.”

As his dementia progressed, Lena lost more and more of the individual she’d had as her partner for over 50 years. Even with his medications and being seen by a team of specialists, she still found herself in physical danger from him. There were so many incidents, all fueled by paranoia, that had become a part of his reality. She says she lost count of how many times he would come at her for different reasons. One time, he had his hands around her throat and told her he could kill her. Another time, he broke a mug full of hot tomato soup over her head while she was ordering groceries online. “He was convinced that I had poisoned it.”

At the time, she didn’t know that he was also struggling with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

That diagnosis would come during an inpatient stay at an adult behavioral health center. Lena had him committed after he held a loaded gun to her head. There was a lot of violence that year. When asked how she felt at the time, having to commit her husband for the safety of both of them, she says she wasn’t feeling much. “By that time, I was numb to everything. I just did it.” While Edwin was there, they did brain scans and changed his medications. They found that his dementia had progressed to “moderate-to-severe” and that he had MDD. He was at the center for just under three weeks.

The professionals at the facility had wanted him to stay longer, but Lena was afraid for him to be there. She recalls that when she would be on the phone with him, residents there, especially women, would come and talk to him to try and get him to flirt. And when he wouldn’t, they would get violent with him. Lena was scared that Edwin would react by becoming violent back, though he never did. The incident that caused her to bring him home early? When he called her crying. Someone at the center had shown him the police reports – all of them – that had been made by Lena when he’d become violent with her. He called her, sobbing, asking, “Am I that bad of a man?” Because of his dementia, he didn’t remember any of that happening. They also told him he would become a ward of the state. Lena says she’s not sure who told him those things or why. She assumes it was part of his treatment. But she couldn’t stomach him being in that situation any longer.

“It broke my heart.”

Lena calmed him down and told him, “No, you’re not a bad man.” She called the facility after she hung up with him and told them she was bringing him home. And she did. They were both happy he was home, but that wasn’t the last time Lena would have to step in as Edwin’s advocate. Months down the road, in the middle of a global pandemic, she would have to do so again. This time, she would struggle between what the doctors were telling her and listening to her gut instinct that something was seriously wrong. Check in next week to read the final part of Edwin and Lena’s story.

Dementia is a tragic, life-changing disease that impacts not just the person diagnosed but the people who love them. If you or someone you know is struggling to care for someone they love, reach out to us. We can provide you with professional resources, support, respite, and care.

You can read Part Three of Lena and Edwin’s story here.

A Place At Home – South Portland Advocates for Inclusion in Healthcare

Jerome Philips, owner of A Place At Home – South Portland, is passionate about keeping seniors in their homes longer, with a better quality of life. That mission means providing his clients with safe and effective care and ensuring that his caregivers have a safe and inclusive environment with which to provide that service.

Over the years, Portland has struggled with racial and cultural disparity within its local healthcare system, making providing safe and quality care difficult. In the past, clients and other customers have had the option to say they don’t want care provided by someone with an accent or from a particular ethnic background. And healthcare agencies have had the option of accommodating those requests.

Cooperating with racially driven requests poses several issues. Inclusion, for one.

The first and most obvious issue is that of racism and discrimination in general. Allowing individuals to turn away caregivers because of their ethnic background perpetuates a cycle of unfounded inequity. It also impacts the quality of care that’s available in general. Caregivers are highly qualified and trained to do their job well, regardless of their background. And, from an employment perspective, it’s a problem.

“It’s a huge issue because it’s preventing those employment opportunities for entire communities.” Jerome shares that as soon as they opened their doors, they wrote policies against discrimination for his employees and clients. Even with those policies in place, it’s been necessary to express to some of his clients that they won’t make accommodations for them that are based on racial discrimination. And for families that are blatantly racist or hostile toward individuals? Jerome discontinues services.

“We do terminate services because we won’t make those accommodations. It’s not fair to our caregivers, and our caregivers know that we have their back, that we support them, and we’re willing to make difficult decisions so that they have a safe working environment.”

Thankfully, more often than not, once a hesitant family accepts a caregiver, they end up becoming attached. In Jerome’s experience, the situation goes from something the client may have found uncomfortable initially to a situation where they’ve formed a bond with that person and find comfort in the quality of care they’re being given. In addition, they find the caregivers are highly trained, efficient, and able to help in an invaluable way.

Jerome’s stance on these issues goes beyond how he operates A Place At Home. He’s committed to seeing a change from a higher level. He’s partnered with the Oregon Healthcare Association (OHCA). Together, they’ve advocated for their caregivers. They’ve had discussions with legislators at a state level expressing their concerns. “We’re talking to them and giving them very real stories because they really don’t understand what it’s like for our employees.”

OHCA has been a strong partnership, especially when it comes to fighting against racism and discrimination.

They’ve been long-time champions of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in long-term care for clients and employees. They push for person-centered care that is personalized and culturally appropriate. They also push for nondiscrimination policies when it comes to hiring and employment practices. The state has a culturally robust population that includes members of nine native tribes and those who identify as Native Alaskans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Africans, African Americans, Latin, Hispanic, and Black. The state’s population also includes asylum-seekers, refugees, and DREAMers, to name a few. To push DEI interests, the state has issued new guidelines.

These guidelines require agencies to understand the effect that accommodating racially-driven demands has on the greater community.

Operating under the old paradigm undermines the quality of care available. However, the new guidelines offer hope if other agencies get on board. Jerome believes they will, even if that means they’ll have to decline care to those clients who won’t comply. Most clients, he believes, will realize that they can’t determine their caregivers’ race. So they’re going to have to become comfortable with the idea of inclusion. And he believes that agencies changing their practices when it comes to accommodating discriminating requests will positively change the experience of home care for all parties involved.

“If the whole industry enforces these guidelines, change will come.”

Over the last year, the pandemic has brought the concept of care in the home into even greater focus. As a result, several hospital systems are testing models of delivering care to patients in their homes. The idea is that treating people in familiar surroundings will produce better outcomes from a quality of life perspective. We need a skilled, effective, compassionate, and diverse workforce to provide quality care. Inclusion policies are key. Jerome and A Place At Home – South Portland are here for it.

A Place At Home has a mission to provide compassionate care to seniors where and when they need us. If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, we want to speak with you. Reach out to us today to start making an impact.

A Place At Home Partners with Arbor Day Foundation to Provide Trees in Memory

Arbor Day Foundation Trees in Memory

A Place At Home joined the Arbor Day Foundation in a unique partnership to provide ‘Trees in Memory.’ Trees represent a powerful meaning to the A Place At Home Franchise brand and this partnership strengthens that connection through the ‘Trees in Memory’ program.

The co-founders of A Place At Home developed a logo with a deeper purpose. “We wanted a symbol that represents the strength, stability, and nourishment we bring to seniors and their families. The tree in our logo, is known as “the tree of life.” It serves as a reminder that we are deeply rooted in our C.A.R.E. philosophy and will provide Compassionate, Accountable, Respectful, and Ethical care to those we serve,” said Dustin Distefano, CEO of A Place At Home.

The Arbor Day Foundation was founded in Nebraska as was A Place At Home. “This partnership just seems natural. Not only are our services rooted in CARE, but when those we have cared for are gone, we plant trees in honor of them through the Arbor Day Foundation. The life of those we’ve served have meant something of significance to us and this small gesture will carry on their memory for future generations to provide a symbol of lasting peace and comfort,” said Jerod Evanich, President of A Place At Home.

A Place At Home has franchises nationwide that participate in the ‘Trees in Memory’ program. The trees planted serve as a living tribute that benefits present and future generations. The memorial trees are planted in National Forests. They provide long-term benefits such as cleaner air and water as well as the restoration of natural habitat. A Place At Home Franchise is proud of this unique partnership that will also make an impact on the environment.

To find an A Place At Home location near you, search here.

Omaha’s Caregiver of the Month: Jojo Agbeve

Caregiver of the month Jojo Agbeve has been in Omaha for just two years.

She’s been with A Place At Home for about seven months. Originally from Maryland, Jojo moved here with her parents, who wanted a quieter life. She’s currently a nursing student and works as a CNA and CMA for A Place At Home. Her goal of nursing stems from watching her mother, who is also a nurse.

“I’ve always loved medicine.”

We spoke a bit about her ambition to be a nurse and where she thinks she’ll work once she graduates. Her interest is in psychiatric nursing, though she says she doesn’t want to work in a facility or community setting. She appreciates working in homes with seniors, stating, “In facilities, you don’t have time to build a personal connection with your patients. When I’m working in the home, I’m like a guest in your home who’s there to help.”

Jojo prefers to be a caregiver where she can make that connection with her clients.

Jojo started with APAH just as Covid-19 was ramping up here in Omaha. She shared that at first, she was scared but soon took the position that none of it was in her hands. She said she’s just grateful to be a frontline worker, pointing out that there are many people out there who lost their jobs or weren’t able to work. The seniors she’s been serving have been at the forefront of her mind the entire time. “I just think, if this is scary for me, what are my clients feeling?”

She shared a story about a particular client who she helped last minute to get him to the grocery store during a snowstorm just before Christmas. Once in her car, they realized that they enjoy the same music. He told her that he didn’t get to see his family at Thanksgiving because of the pandemic and that sharing that time with her, jamming to the same music, really made him feel better about things.

At A Place At Home, we honor and value that empathy in our care team. It’s no wonder that Jojo is Caregiver of the Month. As far as working at A Place At Home, Jojo shares that she likes it a lot. She appreciates the flexible scheduling and takes ownership of her role and how significant it is.

“We are the face of A Place At Home – we represent the company.”

If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding career in an industry built on helping others, apply to work with us today

Caregiver of the Month: Wanda Walker

Caregiver of the month, Wanda Walker, has been a caregiver with A Place At Home for almost four years.

If you were to meet Wanda in person, it would be obvious why the team chose her as caregiver of the month. You can hear her boisterous laughter through walls, and her smile will light up a room. She’s been a favorite among A Place At Home clients over the years, and it’s no wonder.

“She’s always smiling and laughing. She has a great attitude anytime you see her, and she really cares for her clients. She rarely calls out, and she’s always willing to help.” – Rebecca Matthews, Care Coordinator

Wanda has been caring for others since she was nine years old. At the time, her mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma, which ultimately took her from this world. Wanda promised her mother before she passed that she would always help those that need help. It wasn’t an empty promise. Caring for others is something that Wanda holds dear.

“It’s in my heart – like when I cared for my mom, it makes me feel good.”

Wanda’s clients feel the same way about her – she has a profound impact on the lives of the people she cares for. One of her current clients, Mr. Hartwell, expressed his appreciation for Wanda’s time with him. Mr. Hartwell is legally blind and shares that Wanda does outstanding work for him. She takes care of his meals, makes sure his apartment clean, and orders his groceries.

“I can trust her with everything… I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

Wanda has a special gift of getting her clients to open up and engage with life. Part of that might have to do with her cooking. Every single client Wanda has cared for has shared their appreciation for Wanda’s cooking. To that, she says, “When I see my clients, there’s a smile on their face, I can get them to open up, and they eat!”

While Wanda has been caring for people since she was a child, she’s been a professional caregiver for 25 years. With all that experience under her belt, the best piece of advice she gives to new caregivers is to treat their clients like they would treat one of their family members. That outlook has served her and her clients well over the years. That, and her love of caring for others, which she says she plans on doing forever. “I enjoyed caring for others when I was younger, I enjoy doing it now, and I’ll do it until my dying day.”

If Wanda’s passion for caring for others resonates with you, apply to work with us today. Experience what it feels like to positively impact the lives of seniors in the metro area!

A Math Major, a College Roommate, and a Twist of Fate

Caregiver of the Month Alex Swanson didn’t start her college career thinking she would be working in senior care.

Majoring in Math with a minor in Business and French at UNO, Alex stays busy, studying hard and preparing for a future in data science. When she started classes, her roommate, Maddie, worked in senior care as a caregiver for A Place At Home. Maddie had been caring regularly for a long-term client. When the time came for Maddie to transfer to a different school, she had reservations about leaving. That’s when she approached Alex about applying with A Place At Home to take over caring for her client. At the time, Alex had been looking for a part-time job to make some money over the summer. That was two years ago, and Alex is still caring for the same woman every week. She’s a regular caregiver for another client, as well.

“It’s impossible now to think that it was just going to be a summer job.”

While Alex didn’t initially see herself working in senior care, she said that she was intrigued when Maddie first approached her. She shared that she didn’t have grandparents close to her, and she welcomed the opportunity to learn from an older generation. Her experience so far? Incredibly rewarding. “You care about their well-being so much that it feels like they’re your family.” Though she does admit, it can be emotionally taxing, especially when the person you’re caring about is having a bad day. Even so, the bond that’s been built between her and her clients is something Alex loves. She can anticipate what their needs are before they even have to ask her for something.

“I had no idea – you make a difference for them, but they really make a difference for you.”

Regarding her employment with A Place At Home, Alex is thankful that everyone is so accommodating about her schedule as a full-time student. “I can’t imagine any other job that would get me through college that I would love this much.” Her advice for new caregivers coming into the field? “Expect to get attached to people.”

Be aware of their kindness and the fact that you are a stranger that is being welcomed into their home.

Alex says that it will be hard for her to leave A Place At Home when she graduates. She expects in the future that she will find herself working with seniors again, likely on a volunteer basis. Working in senior care was unexpected, but she says now, “It felt like fate.”

If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding career, apply with us today. It may be one of the most rewarding things you do!