Monday, March 30, 2015

Alzheimer's & Dementia Specialists Provide Home Care with Heart

Home Instead Senior Care is a national private duty homecare organization with the strength of around 1,000 branch offices behind them. From professionalism to that personal touch, they have a formula that really works when it comes to providing the highest level of compassionate service to their clients. We had the chance to sit down with Community Service Representative Nicole Pearch from the local Northeast Ohio office and learn more about what Home Instead Senior Care is all about.

“Private duty,” Nicole shared, “is just another name for non-medical home care. Non-medical home care is where we come into the home and provide assistance with activities of daily living … [such as] getting up out of bed, getting a shower or a bath, getting dressed, getting something to eat—all those normal activities. … We’re really there to keep that senior safe, happy, and [to help them] live long in their home.”

The company provides a variety of ADL (activities of daily living) support elements, including meal preparation. “We have some clients,” said Nicole, “that want us to just come in once or twice a week and cook a week’s worth of diabetic meals that somebody can get out of the freezer or the fridge and then heat up. So, meal prep, light housekeeping, … transportation to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, anything along those lines.”

Home Instead Senior Care makes personal care their business. In fact, their motto is, “To us, it’s personal.” From bathing, to grooming, to safety, the company prides themselves on catering their support to their clients’ needs. “Personal care is [a] big need,” Nicole said. “I have clients that still want their own independence in the bathroom, but just want us there to make sure there’s not a fall. We can [also] do the bathing and the showering and grooming. [And something] that people may not think of is assisting with exercise. It’s very easy for seniors to sit all day in their lovely chair recliner and watch TV, but we can also do exercises while we’re sitting. So, it’s having somebody there to do those leg stretches with them. It’s always more fun I think overall, for anyone, to have somebody to work out with than exercising by yourself.”

Physical safety and stability is a main reason that seniors or their family members seek out in-home care. This issue may be particularly front-of-mind for those who have recently had a fall or injury. “Another big piece is mobility assistance,” said Nicole, “and making sure that the senior is safe. If somebody had a recent fall and just came home from a stay at a rehab facility, it’s a [big] transition getting back [into the] home and moving around, [or] learning to use a different walker. We can be there to reduce the risk of falls. … [We also do] medication reminders. While we’re in the home, we’re making sure that they’re not missing those medications because we want to prevent a missed medication that will have a senior end up back in the hospital or the doctor’s office.”

Highly Trained, Compassionate Caregivers

What about quality assurance? We asked Nicole what kind of training and accountability Home Instead Senior Care guarantees with their staff. “At Home Instead Senior Care,” she said, “we only hire about 14% of the people that actually apply to work with us. [We] really go above and beyond to hire the best of the best. … Our caregivers have a lot of training that they’re given before they even go into the home, and then as they’re with us, there [are] still monthly education [sessions].”

Home Instead Senior Care is one of the few private duty homecare companies in Northeast Ohio to employ nurses in addition to their regular caregivers. “[We] have nurses on staff who go in and do quality checks [for] all of our clients,” said Nicole, “and that’s one way that we’re able to monitor what’s going on in the home. There [are] daily logs [where] our caregivers have to document what was done that day, so when the nurses come in to do their quality check, we’re making sure that what we’ve committed to the family is actually being done in the home. … We are one of the only non-medical homecare companies in Northeast Ohio that actually employs nurses. … The families can have access to call the office and actually talk to the nurse if mom and dad are not feeling well. That’s something extra; we go above and beyond.”

Affording In-Home Care

Ah, the age old question: What does it cost? Sadly, non-medical home care is currently not covered by Medicaid. However, Home Instead Senior Care works with their clients to fund solutions. “There [are] a couple different options of how we help families pay for this service. [One] avenue they can use is VA benefits. If a senior himself or herself [is] a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, they can get a benefit called Aid and Attendance to help supplement for homecare assistance. … Another way is if they have long-term care insurance. We can submit a claim and work with their long-term care insurance company and then handle it all from there. And then lastly, one thing that people don’t realize [is that families can] apply for a grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. They do have funds available for certain circumstances, and we’ve helped two families recently get some funds. … So we really look at the families overall situation and then find the best avenue for them.”

Going the Distance

We wondered how Home Instead Senior Care differentiates themselves from other private duty care options. “Number one,” Nicole said, “we specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia, and we actually offer a lot of free family workshops … around [these two diseases], being that resource for the family. Our caregivers are trained and certified as Alzheimer’s and dementia specialists. They know ways and techniques to best work with that client. … [W]e put [our caregivers] through so much training, offer them so much education, to really give them the resources and tools that they need to be so successful. And when we hire our caregivers—one of the biggest questions we get asked by the families is do we do the background checks, and we do. We actually fingerprint our caregivers, and they are drug tested frequently; it’s not just once. … We pull their car insurance records and their driving records to make sure that it’s safe. … There’s a lot of extra attention to detail. And one of the best things is that we’re available 24/7. So, you can call on a Saturday afternoon and start services, or at 9 o’clock on a Friday night if Mom has fallen and needs help. We’re there for the families.”

While Home Instead Senior Care offers many helpful services, no one company does it all, but they aim to do all they can to help clients find the services they need. “We like to be a resource for families and the community,” said Nicole, “where they can call and ask if [there] is something we can help with. If we can’t, we definitely pride ourselves on giving resources for the families, other avenues that might benefit their needs. Call our office and we can come out and do a free assessment, or [we can] help somebody out over the phone.”


Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or schedule a free assessment, you can reach them at 440-287-7658 or find them on the web at

To listen to the full audio of this interview, please click on the player below...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Long Term Care Detective Work : Care Patrol Digs Deeper

Securing a long-term care option that is best for you or your loved one can seem like an overwhelming process. Where do you begin? What are your options? How do you know which facility is the right choice? Thankfully, there is a free local service that helps people answer these questions and sort out the details with patience and compassion. We sat down with Cilla Buck of the Northeast Ohio branch of Care Patrol to find out how they help seniors and their families find the right fit.

Care Patrol was started about 21 years ago in Phoenix, AZ by a social worker named Chuck Giovanni. There are now more than 100 locations across the country, including the local branch run by Cilla and her husband Kevin. “We help families of seniors find assisted living, independent living, memory care, or in home care,” said Cilla. “We try to match them by location, by their care needs, and how much they can afford. [W]e actually look at the care violations of the communities … to find the safest care options. We don’t just shotgun names out there; we actually tour with the families. We take them to about three or four different communities that would match what they’re looking for, much like a realtor shows families new homes. And best of all, we are a free service to the families, so they don’t have to pay us anything.”

People have a variety of needs and preferences, from wanting to bring a pet with them into assisted living, to dealing with limited private pay funds. Care Patrol works to match facilities with the needs of the their clients. “Maybe they have a pet,” said Cilla. “To seniors, their pets are like their children because their children are … grown up and moved out. If they have a pet, we only look at places that allow pets. Or maybe they only have three or four years of private pay. We will only take them to places that accept the Medicaid waiver after spend down. Those are some of the categories we look at.”

Memory issues are also, sadly, a common challenge that families face when looking at long-term care options. “If their mom or dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” Cilla shared, “or they have dementia and they’re not remembering, they need a secure memory care community. A secure memory care community is one where you have to press a number to get in and out. It’s locked down so, if they’re wanderers—and I’ve had calls from families where their mom or dad has wandered off out of the house and they found them down the street. … It’s very scary for the family members. Sometimes we say it’s like drinking from a fire hose, and we put it down into a drinking fountain. We walk them through the process, and we’re a free service.”

Levels of Care Options

Some people want to stay in their homes. Others want the community and ease of living found in an independent or assisted care situation. Care Patrol works to help their clients find a safe and happy living situation that will best suit them. “We help them find in-home care providers if they’d like to stay in their home,” said Cilla. “Or, if they’re just not safe in their home, maybe they’re looking for independent living; they’re just tired of taking care of all the responsibilities of the home, getting the lawn mowed, getting your driveway plowed, shoveling, all those responsibilities. … We have a lot of seniors that are still driving, but they’re just tired of taking care of all the responsibilities of the home. [With independent living,] they have an apartment—sometimes it’s one bedroom, sometimes it’s two bedrooms, it might be even three bedrooms. It’s their apartment, but they’re still in a community where they get one or two meals provided. … But they’re still driving, they still have their independence, they can come and go as they please.”

Cilla went on to describe how assisted living offers a higher tier of personal support while still providing independence. “Then you have assisted living,” she said, “where maybe they need some help with those ADLs [activities of daily living]. They still have their apartment in a community, but there are now nurses [and] caregivers available. They can come into your apartment, they can help you get dressed, they can help you shower … and even get you down to the meals. And usually with assisted living, three meals are provided.”

An Ongoing Relationship

One of the best things about Care Patrol besides the fact that they are a free service is that they stay in touch with their clients. “Even after they pick a community and they [move in],” Cilla said, “we stay in touch with the family … to make sure they’re happy with where they chose [and to see that] things are working out the way they had planned. … You might go into a community with a beautiful chandelier, but we want to know how they treat their residents.”


Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about Care Patrol or schedule a consultation with Cilla or Kevin Buck, you can reach them at 330-315-2895 or find them on the web at or Like them on Facebook at CarePatrol of Northeast Ohio.

To listen to the full audio interview, please click on the player below...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Moves Made Easier - Taking the Hassle & Stress Out of Residential Relocation

Don’t Dread That Move!

As we age, it’s natural to consider downsizing, often for ease of movement around a smaller square footage, sometimes for the purposes of cost saving, and sometimes it is with the intention of moving into an assisted living situation. Whatever your reasons for looking to move, one thing you can now take off your stress list is the move itself thanks to local innovative moving firm, Moves Made Easier. They’ll not only organize the heavy lifting, they’ll also help you plan the move from start to finish so that you’re walking into your new home with everything in its place, ready to be lived in. We sat down with company owners Ted and Debbie Forthofer to find out exactly how it all works.
Moves Made Easier, shared the Forthofers, is what is known as a senior move management company. “Senior move management,” said Ted, “is a relatively new part of the industry. It’s a lot less like a traditional moving company—like a Mayflower Van Lines, or someone like that—and it’s closer to what a family member would probably do to help their parents when they’re in a time of residential transition.” Moves Made Easier is with their customers every step of the way, from planning a move through to when they step through the door into their new home.

“What we basically are,” Ted went on, “is a project manager that can do, really, anything that needs to be done before and after the heavy lifting of the move. What that means is [that we] plan a step-by-step process helping determine what folks should be moving, and then get all those things packed up. We hire and supervise the furniture movers, and then we unpack everything and get it set up, all the way to the point of hanging pictures on walls and connecting electronics and making sure they work. … We actually go the extent of taking photographs of china cabinets and book shelves and large-volume pieces of furniture so that we can set them up and put the things back in them exactly where they were before they were packed in the first place, which is really helpful. You’re in a new home and you want to know where things are located, and they’re right probably where they were in the old home.”
The Challenge of Downsizing

You’ve been collecting knickknacks and clothing and kitchenware and more for years and years, and now it’s time to move to a smaller place. But what to do with all that stuff? Moves Made Easier helps you determine what you’re going to keep and what you’re ready to let go of. “It’s usually easy to tell when you meet someone for the first time,” said Ted, “and just by taking a tour of their home, what their interests are, what brings them joy, what things contribute to their daily activities, [versus] the things that collect the most dust that are maybe even left behind from when they were raising children, or things that maybe they don’t really have as much use for anymore. Once you talk to them, it’s easy to tell what things really mean the most to them and what things don’t.”
Moves Made Easier supports their clients in identifying the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and then they take care of what needs to find a new home. “We ship things—either boxes or furniture pieces—out of town to family members or friends,” Ted said. “We arrange for temporary storage, we handle the donations to charities, and we also sell excess household items.”                                          
So, Can I Afford This Service?
Sounds like a premium service, right? It certainly is that, but the good news is that the cost is more reasonable than you might think. The company’s services are billed hourly, so you are in control of how many hours of their time you call in for support. “There are several things we can do to keep costs down for our clients. … More planning up front—[to avoid moving too much and having to pay to move some things back out to a temporary storage unit, then possibly again to their final destination]—saves them that possible cost in the long run. … Another thing we can do is sell their excess goods for them. If they have things they don’t need anymore and no family member wants them and it looks like there’s value in those excess items, we can certainly arrange for them to be sold.” The money that comes back from such a sale helps to defray the cost of the move.
Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.
If you’d like to learn more about Moves Made Easier or schedule an initial consultation with their team, you can contact them at 440-724-8965 or visit them on the web at

To Listen to our full interview audio, please click on the player below...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Motorcars Mobility - Local Dealership Creates New Mobility Options for Drivers

Historically when it comes to those facing mobility challenges, driving a car has often been one of the first freedoms to go, but one local dealership is doing all they can to change that. Motorcars Mobility, part of the Motorcars family of dealerships, is dedicated specifically to helping those with mobility challenges stay safely behind the wheel.

“The community has supported us for a number of years,” said Jennifer Ross of Motorcars Mobility, “and as we are all aging, we’re realizing that there are special needs for individuals who are aging or who may have some mobility challenges. [So, we] decided to support the community [with] a service that would be inclusive to all, and that’s Motorcars Mobility. … Our philosophy is ‘customers for life,’ and as individuals age or may have different challenges, we want to be able to still support them. With Motorcars Mobility, we’re offering wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and also adaptive driving assistance to those who traditionally have not had a lot of choice in the marketplace.”

The focus is on personal attention and individualized action plans, Ross outlined. “The best thing someone can do,” she said, “is either call or come in and just engage us and we’ll have a conversation talking about, well, what type of needs to you have? What challenges do you have? And then we look for solutions specific to that individual. There may be a medical condition—maybe someone has Cerebral Palsy, or maybe someone has ALS or maybe multiple sclerosis—and they may be able to drive, they just may need some adaptive equipment, or they may need a vehicle to allow them the access they need with the adaptive equipment that they’re using. That’s what we focus on: finding the exact right solution for each individual.”

When it comes to investing in a customized adaptive vehicle, many people may not know exactly where to start. Then again, some people have dealt with mobility challenges long term and know exactly what they need. Motorcars Mobility serves people across the gamut, Ross said. “There are some people who have had
 a need for years and come in and know exactly what they want. They have a specific prescription from their driving rehabilitation specialist. They know exactly what type of vehicle, [and] how many seats they’re going to need. They are basically just looking to fill their need. Then there are others who may be recently diagnosed or have some new mobility adaptive equipment and don’t know where to start. We can walk them through the entire process step by

Some of you may be wondering if any vehicle can be adapted to suit. Many can, but not all. “Someone can come to us with an existing vehicle and they might be able to pursue having that vehicle converted, but not every vehicle has that availability,” said Ross. “Generally, people are coming to us looking for a new or used vehicle that has already been converted. And what makes Motorcars really great is that we are the exclusive MV-1 dealer in Northeastern Ohio. That is a 100% American made, already converted, out of the factory mobility vehicle that has been specifically designed for a specific purpose.”

Temporary disability may also require adaptive driving needs, and Motorcars Mobility is about to launch a rental service to fill those needs. “Starting April 1st,” Ross shared, “we are going to have a rental fleet of mobility vehicles available to the general public fir short-term use.” To go a step further, the dealership also offers 24/7 roadside assistance to all of their customers. “We have an emergency line for any of our customers. If they become stranded, all they need to do is call us—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and we’ll send help within a half an hour. … We make sure that when a family becomes a part of the Motor Cars family, we really take care of them.”

Motorcars Mobility will be at the Cleveland Auto Show through March 15, 2015 showcasing a selection of their MV-1 vehicles. You can also visit them online at, or call 216-932-2400.


Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

Please click the player below to listen to the full conversation!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Aging Into a Financially Stable Future - RetireSafe Advisors Shows Us How to Start Small to Live Well

Retirement has turned into something of a myth for all too many Americans. The reality of not having enough income from Social Security means that millions of elderly Americans are forced to continue to work long into old age. Even if you’re already at or past retirement age though, Ed Palisin from RetireSafe Advisors says he can help. Sure, it’s easier if you start saving when you’re 18, and it’s certainly never too early to start, but Palisin shared that even a few dollars a week can make a difference years down the road. With so many of us living longer, you may still have time to create a financially stable long-term care situation and leave something for your loved ones after you pass.

“You can start with a plan, and … it may be to put away five dollars a week,” Palisin said. “There’s no age limit—you can start when you’re 18, you can start when you’re 58—but you can’t adjust a plan until you have one. You want to sit down and put some sort of strategy together that will help you and fit your situation when you retire to … supplement your retirement living so you can maintain the lifestyle you want to maintain.”

We hear a lot about the concept of asset protection, but why do we really need it? What practical purpose does it serve? Ed Palisin had this to say: “Number one, inflation. If you took 100 dollars ten years ago, that same hundred dollars is not worth what it’s worth today. Basically, you would want to have some sort of a plan going forward that addresses the possibly detrimental effects that inflation could have on somebody’s retirement plan. If you’re younger, you do have more time to adjust that plan. As you get older in life, you have less time to adjust that plan, so inflation could be more damaging to someone who is closer to retirement than somebody who is not so close to retirement.” Darn! There goes the old money-in-the-mattress technique.

Each of us comes to retirement and elderhood with a unique set of circumstances. Ed shared that his job is to meet people exactly where they’re at to determine what approach will best suit their unique needs. “My investment approach,” he said, “is to put the round pegs in the round holes and the square pegs in the square holes for people. You want to really sit down and see what the goals of that individual person, couple, or family may be and then try to fit a strategy around something that will help them achieve that goal within the framework of what they can afford financially. Everybody is unique. There’s no two specific people, or couples, or families that are alike. So, we’re about building relationships, and that’s an essential part of going forward. In building relationships, we sit down with you at a minimum once a year to give things a review and see if the plan we put together is still on track or if should be adjusted in any direction. And again, we just keep the communications open.” The open line of communication allows Palisin to understand people’s needs and refine his recommendations to provide ongoing high-level support for his clients.

The RetireSafe Toolkit

Palisin described a variety of tools that RetireSafe Advisors has to offer, with life insurance, retirement savings plans, and long-term care insurance at the top of the list. “Life insurance is very important, Palisin said, “because there is one thing for certain: we’re all going to die at some point. I hate to say that in that way, but hopefully it’s a lot later than a lot sooner. … You can never replace a person, but as far as replacing the financial aspect of burden or responsibility that person has to the family, to the couple, to his or her loved ones, you want to be able to put that family in position where they’re not financially burdened by the loss of a bread winner. … So that’s one very, very important thing. Two, it would be a good thing to sit down and do some minimal planning—if not total planning—for some sort of retirement in the future. A couple dollars now will be worth a lot more money later.” 

One of the best offerings Ed shared was a life insurance policy that included three benefits in one: “We have a type of life insurance where you get a death benefit if somebody deceases; you get a lump sum benefit to your beneficiary, presumably your loved ones or family. But, if you keep living and you don’t die, there’s an inside component of that policy called ‘cash value’ which you could also use as deferred compensation as you approach retirement, or at some point later in your life. So, you can have both a life insurance where it covers a death benefit and keeps your family in financially better straights, but inside that policy there’s something like an account building up for you called ‘cash value’ that you can use as deferred compensation, tax free, at some point in your life. And taking that one step further, you can also get a long-term care rider within that policy to cover your long-term care expenses. In that scenario, a person would get three benefits for one particular action.”

In the end, Ed said, it’s all about caring for people: “You want to put people in a better place, and you want to really make sure that they’re doing the things that are possible for them, the things that put them in a better financial position doing things they can afford. If they have a problem and you have a solution they can’t afford, then you really haven’t solved the problem. So, it has to be something they need, something they want, and something they can afford. If any one of those three things isn’t in the equation, it’s not going to work.”


Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about RetireSafe Advisors, you can find them on the web at, or reach them by phone at 440-221-2151. They offer free initial consultations. To listen to our full conversation, please use the player down below...

Interview Audio Part One :

Interview Audio Part Two :