Nancy Pye knows she's fortunate to have someone by her side to help her with daily living tasks she cant do on her own anymore.
An outfit and jewelry are selected each night. A steadier hand than her own helps with her lipstick in themorning. Doors are opened so she can keep a good grip on her walker.
Best of all, theres the camaraderie she and her home health aide, Maybelle McDonnough, have when they sing a Patsy Cline song in the dining room of Pyes independent living community for seniors in Naples.
McDonnough is a rare breed working in the home health care business for 30 years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic caused worsening vacancies in an industry notorious for low pay, Home health agencies can't find workers who left the industry during the pandemic and found better paying jobs elsewhere, industry officials say.
Frail seniors are losing the option of staying independent in their homes or staying home safely if they cant access home care services. There are ripple effects where senior injuries will increase and they will require hospital stays and some may be forced into nursing homes or assisted living earlier than necessary. Home health aides are really the building block that keeps people in their own home, said Maureen Albertson, a volunteer board member of the Home Care Association of Florida, the trade association for the industry.
Florida will have a projected 101,000 openings for home health aides by 2029 due to an aging population and more people moving into the state, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Thats more than double the 73,000 individuals in 2020 working as home health aides across a variety of healthcaresettings.
Health issues derailed plans Pye, 76, has lived in the independent living side of Aston Gardens, a senior community in North Naples, since April 2021. Aston Gardens also has assisted living and a memory care program.
She relocated to Naples from northern Virginia with her daughter, Debra Keenan, who had retired and moved to Bonita Springs.
A stroke at the age of 60 derailed Pyes plans to travel with her husband, which led her to developing vascular dementia and her vision became impaired.
Chemotherapy from cancer caused nerve damage and now she uses a walker. Her husband was her primary caregiver until his death in 2017.
I am trying to keep her in independent living with caregiver support as long as I can, said Keenan, 58, who was an executive in northern Virginia with VITAS Healthcare, a hospice organization, before retiring.
McDonnough, who works for Discovery at Home, an agency based in Bonita Springs, comes to Pyes apartment five days a week, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
They have a rapport that leans more toward friendship than client and caregiver. They tease each other and giggle often.
I dont know what I would do without her, Pye said.
McDonnough, 73, helps her get ready for breakfast and escorts her the short distance to the dining room and back to her apartment. On Friday, she helps Pye in the shower.
If I start to make my bed, she starts yelling at me. She doesnt want me to fall, Pye said.
McDonnough returns late afternoon and goes with Pye to dinner at 4:30 p.m., where the two occasionally start singing and others nearby join in, she said.
We are really liking the companionship,Keenan said. I feel better knowing Maybelle is here during dinner andhelps her get ready for bed.
Home health care: It is hard work.
Roughly 350,000 seniors in Florida use home care agencies, where 90% say they want to stay independent as long as possible, according to the home care association.
Home health aides provide assistance to people with activities of daily living, like dressing and bathing, buttypically not medical care, said Dan Cundiff, president of Discovery at Home.
It is hard work, Cundiff said. People who do this work have a calling. They likely relate to the seniors. They had some experience in their lives and they feel a connection to help seniors.
The bulk of home health care is an out of pocket expense for families for their elderly loved ones, he said.
The average hourly wage for a home health aide is $12.22, data from the state Department of Economic Opportunity shows.
Besides the need for more home health aides, the state will need nearly 90,000 more certified nursing assistants by 2029, a different classification of workers who can provide medical care and a step above home health aides.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many home health aides to leave their jobs due to exposure risk or other factors and have changed the type of work they do, said Albertson, the board member of the home care association.
Many found they can earn more at Target and other big-box stores.
Home health aides are the lowest on the wage scale, she said.
McDonnough, the home health aide for Pye at Aston Gardens, acknowledges she could earn more at Target.
I have a grandson who works at Target and makes more than I do, she said.
Still, she has no plans to leave the profession.
I just love my people, McDonnough said.
Without home health aides, people cannot age in their homes as desired and may have to be placed in a setting, Albertson said.
People do best in their home, they age best in their home, she said.
Right now, agencies are not able to accept new clients for home care because they cant find the workers, or they have to shorten the hours, she said.
That means they cannot provide the two to four hour blocks of time during the day that was typical before the pandemic,she said.Cundiff, of Discovery at Home, said the industry faced an almost two year drought of workers due to the pandemic but hes now seeing positive signs people are becoming available.
Very few are full time, he said. They want flexible hours.
It is hard work. People who do this work have a calling. They likely relate to the seniors. They had some experience in their lives and they feel a connection to help seniors.
President of Discovery at Home
With stores putting out holiday decorations well before Halloween, it is hard to avoid the hype surrounding the holiday season.For most people, it is an anticipated time of year with traditions, memories and family gatherings. But for older residents, these same reasons may result in the blues, making the holidays a challenging time. Sometimes beloved traditions and family gatherings become out of reach as we age and may be isolated from friends and families. Holidays may remind us of the passing of time, who is missing in our lives and who is not nearby. The loss of holiday traditions and gatherings often changes the way we feel about the holidays. Sometimes reminiscing on traditions that have gone can fuel feelings of loneliness.An AARP study found that 31% of respondents felt lonely during the holiday season. Additionally, another 41% worried about a family member or friend feeling lonesome. Whats more, more than 12 million Americans over age 65 live alone, according to the American Psychological Association. As children grow up and move away, neighborhoods change, and friends pass, the opportunities for close connections sometimes become limited. Financial constraints and loss of independence and mobility can change looking forward to the holidays to dreading them. To help avoid the holiday blues, here are some steps you can take to restore holiday joy. Find new ways to connect, such as video chat and email. Write letters, cards and call. You do not have to wait for family members to reach out. Take initiative. Connecting with others is one of the best ways to relieve loneliness. It is heathy to feel sadness about missing family and friends. It is important to acknowledge your feelings. Volunteer and help others. If you are able, you can help with daily tasks that may seem overwhelming or share a meal. If you are feeling lonely, maybe your neighbor is, too. Being available for someone else is good medicine. Be kind to yourself. Continue your wellness routines and healthy habits. Rethink how you do things this season. Joy is not limited to the last two months of the year! Every day can be treated as a holiday! Consider trying a new activity or hobby or teach someone something you are good at. Limit screen time. A constant diet of bad news creates anxiety. Resolve to make the best of the holidays but adjust your expectations and adopt realistic goals. While the holidays may look different over time, they can still be meaningful. The most important thing to make someone feel special this season is to simply spend time with them. If you cannot participate in person, FaceTime or Zoom also work.Here are other ways you can help others (and yourself) find joy in the holidays and help banish the holiday blues: Share your traditions with others and enjoy theirs. Reflect about past holidays as you unpack cherished decorations. Listen to the stories of others and ask about special pieces. Make a conscious effort to be available for those who might be feeling isolated. Plan a regular call or visit or reach out with a video call or old-fashioned letter. For anyone who might be struggling with holiday loneliness, provide a comfortable space for them to talk. Save judgments or problem solving and simply have a genuine conversation. As you plan your celebrations, look for ways to be inclusive. Extending an invitation may not be enough to make others feel included. Being with a crowd of strangers who have little in common can still feel very lonely. Being recognized and honored goes a long way in combating loneliness. Be open to asking about and including favorite memories such as treasured decorations, traditional treats and meaningful music. Religious organizations often offer extra social and/or spiritual support. Just talking with someone can go a long way. Bring or send familiar treats that represent holiday customs for elders to enjoy and share. Often, holiday blues are temporary. However, if symptoms last for more than two weeks, they can indicate clinical anxiety or depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), socially isolated older adults are at higher risk for depression.It may be time to seek help if you or someone you love is experiencing any of these common symptoms of depression: Feeling so down you cannot shake it off Too little or too much sleep, or interruptions through the night Changes in appetite; eating more or less than usual Difficulty concentrating Lack of interest in the things that typically make you happy Irritability Lack of interest in socializing or engaging with others. Plan to look for and spread cheer this season, but if the holiday blues linger well beyond the season, discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Courtney L. Whitt, Ph.D. is Director of Behavioral Health at Healthcare Network, which offers behavioral health services as a routine part of comprehensive care and traditional counseling services. Healthcare Network provides quality primary care services for children and adults in locations throughout Collier County. To learn more or make an appointment, please call 239.658.3000 or visit HealthcareSWFL.org.
When your friend is grieving, you want to do everything you can to be there for them and support them during this difficult time. But you may wonder are you overstepping? What if you say the wrong thing? Its common to second guess ourselves when we have the best intentions for supporting a friend after a loss.Grief is something we all experience at some point, but without some guidance, it can be difficult to know how to best support someone when theyve lost a loved one, said Erin Smith of The Terraces at Bonita Springs, a senior living community in Bonita Springs, FloridaWere starting a group for widows in our community called The Terraces Vita Nova Social Club. This will be a space where people in our local community who have lost their significant other have an opportunity to connect and socialize through new friendships, Erin continued.Vita Nova gives members the opportunity to talk about their experiences, their challenges, and enjoy the shared support of the people around them. The group will also focus on moving forward and finding joy in the next chapter of their lives through engaging gatherings and new friendships.Vita Nova aims to provide ladies with a space where they feel encouraged to venture away from isolated homes to spend an afternoon with others who have gone through a similar experience.As a friend, keep these simple ways in mind so that you can be there for a grieving friend.1. Reach Out to Your FriendReach out with a phone call or a text message to express your condolences. This small action lets them know youre there for them and will support them through this difficult time. Remember to keep reaching out, even after the initial wave of loss has settled.2. ListenYou may be with your friend when they feel like they want to vent about their emotions or talk about their loved one. A study examining grief support showed that allowing the grieving person to discuss their loved one and not rush them through their feelings felt emotionally supported.One key thing to remember is to not advise or interrupt your friend. Simply listening and letting them get anything they want off their chest can be a huge help to their grieving process.3. Validate Their FeelingsWhen your friend is discussing how theyre feeling, its important to validate them. While grief is a process, its not always a straightforward process. Your friend may have had a good couple of weeks, only to feel their grief all over again. Being there to validate their feelings and that its okay for them not to be okay can provide them with comfort and assurance.4. Show UpShowing up is one of the best ways to support your grieving friend.You cook a meal, drop it off to them, and its ready to go in the oven.You stop by with groceries.You take their dog for a walk or mow the lawn.Often, when you say, Let me know if I can do anything for you, your friend may not feel comfortable reaching out and asking. By showing up with a plan, you can alleviate some of the most difficult parts of going through the grieving process keeping up with everything else.Use the phrase Id love it if youd allow me to to increase the odds of them accepting your assistance without shame.5. Help Your Friend Find SupportWhile there are many ways you can support your friend, they may benefit from other types of support as well. A support group for people who have experienced loss, like your friend, can help them connect with others and hear from others who are further along in the grieving process. They may not be ready for quite some time, but gently remind them that they may find comfort in like-minded individuals.6. Plan an ActivityWhen your friend is going through the grieving process, some days or times of the week may be particularly difficult. For example, the demands of the workweek and running a house may keep your friend occupied Monday through Friday, but they struggle with Saturdays.Taking them out for coffee, to walk around a farmers market, or to their favorite restaurant can give them something to look forward to and get through the more difficult days.7. Keep in TouchMany people may be in touch with your friend immediately following their loss. However, when life starts to get back to normal, those people may stop reaching out. Keeping in touch with your friend will show them that youre there for them and available to give them support during the grieving process.Get Support at The Terraces at Bonita SpringsNavigating the loss of a loved one isnt something you should have to face alone. Fortunately, at The Terraces at Bonita Springs, youll have friends and associates to hold your hand and help. Give us a call at 239-949-7848 to learn more about our groups dedicated to those who have experienced the loss of a significant partner.
We all make mistakes in many areas of life. These mistakes are usually fairly harmless we took a wrong turn while driving, used the wrong ingredients in a recipe and so on. But sometimes, our mistakes can be costly especially those connected to investing.Here are some of the most common investment mistakes: Too much buying and selling Some people find it exciting to constantly buy and sell investments in the pursuit of big gains. Yet, frequent trading can work against you in a couple of ways. First, it can be expensive if youre always buying and selling investments, you could rack up taxes, fees and commissions. Perhaps even more important, though, excessive purchases and sales can make it difficult to follow a unified, cohesive investment strategy. Such a strategy requires, among other things, careful construction and management of an investment portfolio thats appropriate for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Heavy trading can disrupt this strategy. Failing to diversify If you only owned one type of asset, such as growth-oriented stocks, your portfolio could take a hit when the financial markets go through a downturn. But not all investments will respond the same way to the same forces for example, stocks and bonds can move in different directions at any given time. And thats why its usually a good idea to own a mix of investments, which can include domestic and foreign stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs) and government securities. Keep in mind, though, that while diversification can help reduce the impact of market volatility, it cant guarantee profits or protect against losses in a declining market. Trying to time the market Buy low and sell high might be the original piece of investment advice, but its pretty hard to follow because no one can really predict when an investment will reach low or high points. Also, trying to time the market in this way can lead to bad decisions, such as selling investments whose price has dropped, even if these same investments still have good business fundamentals and strong prospects. Not understanding what youre investing in If you dont know the nature of investments when you buy them, you could set yourself up for unpleasant surprises. For example, some companies, by the very nature of their business and the type of industry theyre in, may consistently pay dividends to their investors even though their stock prices may only show relatively modest price gains over time. If you bought shares of this stock, thinking it had the potential to achieve quite substantial appreciation, you might end up disappointed. Making the wrong comparisons Youre no doubt familiar with some of the most well-known investment benchmarks the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite. But it might be counterproductive to compare your results against these indexes. If you have a diversified portfolio, youll own an array of investments that wont fit into any single index or benchmark, so you wont get an apples-to-apples comparison. Youre better off comparing your portfolios performance against the only benchmark that really matters the progress you need to make to help achieve your goals.Investing will always have its challenges but you can help make it easier on yourself by staying away from as many mistakes as possible.Chad Choate III, AAMS828 3rd Avenue WestBradenton, FL firstname.lastname@example.orgThis article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.Edward Jones, Member SIPC