At Green Tree Home Care, we are happy to answer any questions you have about choosing the right home care agency for mom or dad. Call us today if you live the San Diego and Orange county areas. 

You live far away from mom or dad and you need to find the right home care agency.

You want to pick an agency that will help them continue to enjoy the comforts of home while getting the care they need.

We know that finding and picking the right home care agency for your loved one is hard; but it is not impossible.

In today’s post, we’ll share some tips on how you can find and pick the right home care agency for your loved one.

Choosing the right home care agency for mom or dad

Do your research

These days, rating websites like Yelp or Google Reviews or A Place For Mom make researching a business easy.

Note however that people usually don’t rate a business unless they have had a bad experience. So while we recommend starting here, it’s also important to take the worst reviews with a grain of salt.

Most of these websites are based on a 5-star system with 5 stars being the best.

Our recommendation is that you can read the 3-star and 4-star reviews and find out what the complaints of these individuals were.

This should give you some insight into what the particular home agency does well and what may be lacking.

Check out their website

Once you’ve found out what other people have to say, go and find out what the home care agency has to say about itself.

You will find a lot here too.

If you cannot find all (or almost all) the information you need about a home care agency on their website, this could be a red flag.

A business that is marketing itself online needs to make answers to potential clients’ questions easy.

They can do this easily via their website and if they are not, we recommend that you pass.

If the home care agency has social media channels, these would be good to check as well.

Talk with the home care agency

By this point, you would have made a short-list of home care agencies to pick from for your aging loved one.

Our next recommendation is that you call the home care agency and speak with someone.

Questions you can ask while on the call with them include:

  • How do you vet your employees?
  • Does your company have a license? Is there a website or place I can call to verify this information?
  • What kind of training do you give your caregivers?
  • Do you have caregivers who know how to deal with people with disabilities?
  • When can you start providing services?
  • Will my elderly loved one have the same caregiver(s) each time? If you have to change caregivers, how much notice will I get?
  • Do you an external monitoring of your caregivers to ensure my loved one is not being abused?
  • How do your caregivers handle emergencies?
  • What happens if a scheduled caregiver doesn’t show up?
  • If I have concerns about my loved one’s care, who should I report this to?

Any good home care agency will happily answer each of your questions and make sure to allay any fears you have.

Choosing the right home care agency for mom or dad, doesn’t need to be hectic when you follow these steps.




January 21, 2020 Aging In Place0
Need volunteering ideas for retired people? You’ll love these.
Your contribution to society didn’t end with your retirement party.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to break up the monotony of your day. And it’s a powerful way to keep your mind engaged.
In fact, I know that you are reading this post because you’re thinking of ways to volunteer and need some ideas.
You’re in the right place!
In today’s post, I will go over volunteer ideas that work for all ages. They will especially work for you if you’re recently retired.
Let’s go!

10 volunteering ideas for retired people in 2020

Volunteer at your local school

Schools are constantly looking for volunteers to help in various capacities. You could help in the classroom, on the playground, or in the dining area.
If you love children and don’t mind working with them, this is an excellent way to contribute.
Most schools will need you to apply to volunteer and also to get clearance before you would be allowed to volunteer.

Special needs volunteer at local facilities

Various people with special needs – young and old – receive services in the community and sometimes the truth is that, resources are stretched
If you volunteer at these facilities, it will benefit both of you.

Nursing home volunteering

Perhaps a nursing home is not in your future but you would like to interact with older adults and help them thrive in a nursing home?
This is an excellent volunteer opportunity for retirees as well.

Soup kitchen/food pantry volunteer

Is it just me or do you just feel good about yourself when you help others?
One of the most powerful volunteering opportunities I’ve ever participated in has involved giving food to people.
Soup kitchens and food pantries typically rely on the goodwill of other people to run smoothly.
You might be one of those good people.

Hospital volunteering

You can volunteer at a local hospital in many capacities.
Reading books to sick children and delivering hospital bedding to floors was something I saw volunteers do all the time when I practiced nursing.
You can find out more about volunteering at your local hospital by walking into the hospital or by going onto their website

Volunteer with relief organizations

Relief organizations also depend heavily on volunteers like you.
If you are a retired medical professional, you can get involved in groups like Doctors without Borders or Nurses without Borders or the Red Cross.
Church and religious organizations routinely organize groups that travel to areas hit by disasters to help out the affected communities.
This is something to look out for as well. 

Volunteer at youth centers

Youth centers around the country are looking for mentors to help children with homework and to keep them in a safe environment.
These places also depend on volunteers and goodwill to keep running.

Teach career skills

You thrived in your career and now there are thousands of young people who want to thrive in their careers like you.
This is a golden opportunity to share the secrets of your success with the generations after you.
College career centers, youth centers and church organizations are all places to consider as places to teach your skills
Once you find the right place to volunteer, people will be willing to learn everything they can from you.

Community clean up volunteer

You’ve lived in your community for years and love it.

You can contribute to it as a community clean up volunteer.

Be a companion

You’d be surprised to know that there are people in your community who need your companionship.

These could be other retired people, people on bed-rest with a chronic illness or even people who have just had a baby.

This could be a great way to volunteer as well.


There you have it.
10 volunteering ideas for retired people.
Did any of these resonate with you?
Do you know someone who is retired and itching to volunteer? 
Share this post with them.


Is your elderly loved one using a walker?

In this post, I will go over 7 walker safety tips to ensure that your loved one is getting the best use of of their walker while staying safe.

Walker safety for the elderly

Make sure the walker is the right fit for needs and height

As a caregiver, it is important to ensure your loved one’s walker fits their needs and height.

Not having the right type of walker or having one that is not right for your height can cause pain in the wrists, in your back and opens your loved one up to injury.

So make sure to talk to a healthcare provider so that you get the right one.

Get a foldable walker.

A foldable walker is helpful because you will be able to pack it up into the car.

At night, if you want to keep it out of the way, it is easy to do so with a foldable walker as well.

Keep it out of the way at night (but accessible)

To prevent falls, it is important that you keep the walker out of the way for your loved one at night.

For older adults, a simple fall can lead to broken bones, a concussion or even death. Thus it’s always to keep “fall hazards” out of the way.

And for your loved one, leaving a walker in the way during the night could prove to be a fall hazard.

At the same time, it’s important for you to place the walker in an accessible spot so that when your loved one does wake up at night, they can grab the walker easily and transport themselves.

Use the walker properly on a staircase or steps

Climbing the stairs is inevitable.

Most places will have an accessible ramp that makes it easier for people using a walker.

But this is not always the case.

Here’s a video on how to climb the stairs with a walker.

The right footwear

It’s important to wear the right kind of shoes when using a walker.

Flat shoes with a firm grip on the bottom are the best choice to shoes to wear with a walker and prevent injury.

Remove any other fall hazards from the path of your loved one

Frayed rugs, wires that crisscross and other objects in the way of your loved one’s walker can pose an unsafe situation.

Make sure all of these are kept of out the path of your loved one.

Report any discomfort to your doctor

Is your loved one experiencing pain in their legs, arms or back when they use their walker?

Talk to your doctor about it so the right adjustments are made.


Found this post on walker safety for the elderly helpful?

Consider sharing it with someone else.



If you live in the Greater San Diego or Orange County area then you know we’ve been hit with some cold nights lately!

Some parts of the county have fallen to 30 degree temperatures over the last few weeks.

This is nothing compared to what our friends in the Midwest have to deal with.

Nonetheless, they are cold temperatures and if you’re caring for a loved one, there are precautions to take.

Let’s look at safety precautions you and your family should take as the weather gets colder.

4 health and safety precautions to think of as the weather gets colder

Adequate heating

Do you have enough heating in your home?

People cite cost as a reason why they may not turn on their heat.

If this is the case for you, get in touch with SDG&E (or your local electric company if you live outside San Diego county).

Gas and electric companies have special programs for the elderly and those that fall below certain income levels.

Your rates could get adjusted based on these factors so you pay an affordable rate.

You could also find out about county and government programs that could help you and your family cover heating costs.

Helping your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s

If you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you might want to put extra precautions in place in case they wander off.

A whopping 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander.

We have heard media stories about children or older adults with dementia who have died in the cold because they wandered off.

Even though we don’t have to endure harsh winters, this is something to keep in mind.

Keeping your loved one out of the cold can protect them from respiratory tract infections, for instance.

Practical tips to do this would include:

  • Install locks/latches at high and low points especially to protect your loved ones at night.
  • Help your loved one with calming language when they feel disoriented. Instead of becoming impatient with them, assure them that they’re safe.
  • Make sure to meet their basic needs. Your loved one may wander when a particular need -food, water, toileting-is not provided. Make sure to help them here so they don’t wander off.

Here are even more tips from the Alzheimer’s Association on how to keep your loved one from wandering.

Check on them

If you don’t live with your loved one, check on them.

Elderly adults who live alone are more likely to sustain a life-threatening injury.

You wouldn’t also know if for some reason they are unable to heat their home unless you check on them.

So check on them especially now that the weather is colder.

Pre-existing health conditions that worsen with the cold

Some people tend to get more joint pain as it gets colder.

People with any type of lung disease may also be affected by cold weather.

Make sure to check in with their doctor if there are any steps you or your loved one needs to take to prevent these episodes.


Following these health and safety precautions as the weather gets colder will ensure you enjoy an incident-free holiday.

Enjoyed this post?

Consider sharing it with a caregiver.





November 29, 2019 Aging In Place0

Mom is moving in with you.

And you know there are probably adjustments you need to make to your home to accommodate her and keep her safe.

But you’re not sure which adjustments you should make?

In today’s post, I am sharing different home adjustments you can make if you have an older loved one moving in with you.

First of all, it’s important for you to know that as people grow older, they are more likely to fall and injure themselves because of that fall.

Each year that costs millions of dollars in hospitalization costs and can become a financial burden for most families.

Thus, the suggestions I’ll be making in this post will center around keeping your aging parent safe.

Let’s get into it.

5 home adjustments to consider before mom moves in


Does your elderly loved one uses a wheelchair or walker? Consider building a ramp to the house so it’s easier for them to come in and out of the house.

Ramps can vary in cost.

Here’s a video on how to create a simple accessible ramp.

Stair lift

If you plan on having mom in an upstairs bedroom, you might want to consider a stair lift that helps them move up and down the stairs.

Bathroom railings

People are more likely to fall in the bathroom. Life-threatening injuries can happen as a result of these falls.

Therefore, anything you can do to make your bathroom more safe is always welcome.

If your bathtub or shower doesn’t have railings, consider building 1-2 railings in the bathroom that your loved one can hold on to.

A bathroom or shower chair is another helpful piece you can have in the bathroom to prevent falls.

Night lights

We’ve all woken up at night to use the bathroom only to bump our toes painfully against the edge of the bed.

Or worse, step on a child’s toy!

These seemingly innocuous accidents could prove dangerous for a loved one.

So having night lights that come on when your loved one gets up to use the restroom is helpful.

A better lit pathway will reduce the probability of a fall.

Consider a downstairs bedroom

If trekking up and down the staircase will be a problem, you might consider building a downstairs bedroom.

This is an expensive undertaking but could be helpful for your loved one.


Found this post useful?

Share it with someone who needs to prepare before Mom (or Dad) moves in with them.


November 27, 2019 Aging In Place0

Preparing to live with aging parents?

Your parents are not getting any younger.

And you’d like to keep them out of a nursing home. Or perhaps, they want to continue enjoying their family while they can.

And so the choice is clear: your parents will be coming to live with you.

How do you prepare for something like this?

What can you expect?

In today’s post, I will share how you can prepare emotionally to live with your parents in their old age.

How to prepare emotionally to live with your aging parents

Discuss your differences openly

The reality is that we are all individuals with personalities as different as each snowflake in a snow storm.

This is important to come to grips. It is common for children and parents to butt heads about opinions and how things should be done.

Secondly, you and your parents come from different eras.

The ways things were done in the 60’s is very different from how it’s done now. It doesn’t always necessarily make a thing right or wrong.

And so having an open discussion with your parent or parents about these differences in tastes, personality and choices is something you might want to do before and during the time your parents live with you.

Settle past squabbles

Life is hard enough.

Add in a constant quarrel or unresolved matters and it gets even more complicated.

Almost every person on the planet has had a disagreement with their parents that didn’t go well.

If your parents are coming to live with you, now might be the time to hash the issue out and let forgiveness reign.

This sounds that a lofty goal but I promise it will reduce a lot of stress once you’re living with your parents.

Speaking to a counselor may help in some instances.

Talk about money

Do your parents have outstanding debts to pay off?

Do they have money in a retirement account?

Life insurance? Assets you don’t know about?

Now may be the time to talk to them about finances.

It’s important to know about all of these for several reasons including:

  • These finances could help pay for certain home care and medical needs your parents have. This will reduce financial stress on you.
  • If your parents have outstanding debts, it will give you the opportunity to talk to them and perhaps the financial institutions involved on a how to resolve it.
  • If there are still bills your parents are paying off, it will help you and them make decisions when it comes to paying those bills.

Health conditions

If your parent is coming to live with you with a medical condition, this is something to prepare for as well.

Cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia can take a serious toll on family members.

Educate yourself as much as you can on the condition your parent has.

Look in your community for resources like support groups for people who are dealing with similar conditions.

Looking for community resources can also lead you to find resources that will help your parents as well.

For instance, you may find an adult day care center or a service that offers respite so you can take time off for yourself.

Take it one day at a time

Remember the phrase: Rome wasn’t built in a day?

Well, it is true of many situations and preparing to live with your aging parents is one of them.

When you walk into a new situation, realize that things could be difficult at first.

However, as the days go by and you get better at caring for your loved one and hiring the necessary help as needed, things will get better, overall.

So give yourself space and time to grow into this new situation of living with your aging parents.

Did you find this post helpful?

Share it with someone as they prepare to live with aging parents.



November 13, 2019 Aging In Place0

Staying active as you age is crucial for many reasons.

First of all, it can delay cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Secondly, it helps to keep your heart healthy which can also mean you stay at a healthy weight.

And then of course, staying active is really great for your mental health as well. Scientists show in several studies that endorphins are a group of brain chemicals released when we exercise. These chemicals interact with your brain cells to give you a sense of well-being.

This is why you usually feel great after an exercise regimen.

Additionally, staying active could be a great way for you to meet new people. Every human being needs meaningful human interaction to thrive.

Retirement and getting older usually means kids have moved away and you’re not talking to as many people any more during your day.

This is where staying active could fill in the gap and have you meeting people throughout your day.

So how exactly can you stay active?

Let’s explore some of those ways.

Staying active as you age – Tips and resources to help you get it done


Ah, you thought I was going to suggest some type of exercise first, huh? That will come later but I first wanted to talk about volunteering as a way to stay active.

When you no longer have to dress up and go to work, it can feel that there’s something missing in your life.

It’s common to see people become depressed and even develop health conditions that had been at bay right after retirement.

The truth is, we all need a sense of purpose.

And even though we don’t like to admit it, for most of us, a job gives us a sense of purpose.

If you treat volunteer opportunities like a job, it can become the thing you look forward to when you wake up each morning.

Apart from that, volunteering is a great way to meet new people and build relationships.

And let’s not forget the impact you’ll be making with your volunteer work!

Looking for volunteering ideas? Check out this post I wrote on volunteer ideas for seniors if you live in San Diego.

You could volunteer for/at:

  • Local events – They usually need help setting up and tearing down and all kinds of odd jobs. You can help here.
  • Hospitals are always looking for volunteers to fill in various roles.
  • Some cities have volunteer police departments that are staffed by seniors
  • Your local church, community center or charitable organization.

Sign up for an exercise class

A local gym or community center near you may have exercise classes you can sign up for.

Some of these places have deeply discounted prices for seniors. You might even find that these classes are free for seniors.

Signing up for a class that will start and end on specific dates will give you something to put on your calendar to look forward to.

Sign up for a local sports team

Are local sports teams looking for team-mates to play?

You can stay active by joining a local sports team.

Start a new hobby

Knitting and gardening are not the only hobbies out there.

Have you always wanted to learn to play an instrument?

This is your chance. Learning something new creates new pathways in your brain and can contribute to your cognitive health.

With more people getting online and at older ages, there are people who will appreciate your perspective if you started a blog, YouTube channel or podcast!

Join or start your own book club

Love books? Join or start your own book club around a genre of books or just any type of book in general.

The conversations that are stimulated around reading books can be very stimulating.


These are just a handful of ideas for staying active as you age.

Did any one of these spark some ideas for you?

Share it with someone else looking to stay active as they age.





You’re worried about Mom or Dad living alone.

You live far away and have a job that won’t allow you to provide the care they need.

And they want to be able to continue in the home they’ve known for years.

How do you reconcile all of these?

One of the best ways is to work with a professional and licensed home care agency.

But just like anything else, it’s important to count the cost before you hire a home care agency.

And perhaps you’re reading this because you’re worried that home care will be expensive.

If this is you, you’re in the right place.

In this post, I’ll go over 5 ways you could get the money you need to pay for home care.

5 ways to pay for home care


Depending on the state and whether your loved one meets income and medical needs requirement, Medicaid could pay for home care.

In those states where Medicaid does pay for in-home care, your loved one may have to have severe physical or mental limitations to qualify.

If you think your aging loved one meets these requirements, you can call Medicaid directly to find out what you’ll need to get that assistance.

Long term insurance

Ask your loved one or investigate to see if they have long-term health care insurance. This could pay for some of your home care costs.

The PACE program

PACE stands for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

It is a Medicaid and Medicare program that is aimed at keeping the elderly out of nursing homes.

In order to qualify, your loved one has to “in need of nursing home-level services”.

If you live in an area where PACE is offered and your elderly loved needs to meet the following criteria to be eligible.

  • You must have Medicaid or Medicare to join PACE
  • Age must be 55 or older
  • Must be able to live safely with the help of PACE
  • And as I mentioned above, they must need nursing home-level care

PACE will cover:

  • Home care
  • Adult day care
  • Nursing home care
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription drugs
  • Preventative services
  • Social work counseling

So if your loved one already has Medicaid or Medicare

Veterans Benefits

If your loved one served in any section of the United States Armed Forces, they may qualify for services including home care services.

Call the Veteran Affairs Administration directly for details on how to access those benefits.

State and community-based services and waivers

Your state or local community may have services that allow your aging loved one to continue to thrive at home.

This can include financial assistance.

Your state’s and local department of health and human resources can help you locate these services.



Do you need home care? Or is it home health care you need?

Even though people have historically used these terms interchangeably, they are not.

You are probably doing the research and finding it overwhelming.

Which one do you need? What does each entail?

You’re in the right place!

In today’s post, we will look at home care versus home health care, what each one of them means and what you can expect depending on the path you need.

The Difference

Home care

Home care focuses on helping you or your loved one to age in place. As more people age and more choices become available, people want to be able to continue to stay in their homes instead of going to live in a nursing home or assisted living community. The benefits of choosing a professional home care agency that sends home care aides to your home include:

    • You receive personalized care and assistance. Nobody is rushing off to help someone else.
    • You can get help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing up and toileting.
    • Depending on the home care agency, you can also get transportation assistance.
    • Light-housekeeping is also something you would be able to enjoy with the right home care agency.
    • Companionship – Need to go to the store, a home care aide can help with that.

And so essentially, home care allows you to enjoy your life they way you’ve lived it for years…but with extra help so you can get it all done.

It is important to know that while home care aides typically have some training, they are not medical professionals and so cannot perform those duties.

If there is a medical condition for which you or your loved one needs the corresponding medical care, home health care is the choice you would make.

Home Health Care

Home health care is an excellent choice for you or your loved one if you have a medical condition that requires it and a doctor prescribes it.

That’s right.

In most states, you need a doctor to prescribe home health care in order to get it.

In this instance, you will most likely to be interacting with healthcare professionals such as registered nurses, physical therapists and certified nurses’ aides.

With home care, you can expect the following types of care:

  • Medication administration
  • Wound care
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical equipment monitoring
  • Nursing care – a registered nurse under the direction of a medical doctor will set up a plan of care for people recovering from an illness or who need in-home medical monitoring
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medical social services – A medical social worker may be assigned to a case to be the case manager. In this case, they will help to coordinate all the services you or your loved one needs.
  • Nutritional support
  • Pharmaceutical services

And this is just a handful of services you can receive when you receive home health care.

As you can see, home health care is involves a lot more than home care.

How do I know if I need home care or home health care?

If you have recently been admitted to the hospital or had surgery and need extra care at home to help you recover, you will most likely need home health care.

Home health care is usually a short-term solution unlike home care which could be a long-term arrangement.

On the other hand, if you just need the type of care that allows you to continue thriving in your home and need minimal medical assistance, home care is the choice for you.

I hope this will be helpful to you and clarifies which type of care; home care and home health care; you might need.


“Check on your friends who are caring for their aging parents. We are not okay.”

This was a post a Facebook friend of mine created recently.

This friend is in her late twenties and is currently caring for her parents.

Her statement made me sad, however, her situation is very common.

According to the National Alliance on Care-giving and the AARP, 48% of caregivers are between the ages of 18-49 years old. 

You’d like to enjoy your youth but at the same time, you have the responsibility of taking care of a loved one who depends on you.

What should you do?

How do you cope?

In today’s post, I’ll discuss some of the steps you can take to ensure you’re taking the best care of yourself while caring for your loved one.

Caring for the caregiver – Tips for younger caregivers

Join a support group

Whether you realize it or not, we all need support. We all do.

And especially when the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one is one you bear.

So look for support communities both online and offline where you can interact with other people going through the same things.

You will find resources in these communities you never knew about.

Plus there is the potential to form meaningful relationships that will help your mental health.

Speak to a counselor or therapist

Seeing a counselor or therapist does not mean there is something wrong with you.

Just like you get regular check ups for your physical body, it is good to get regular check ups for your mind as well.

This is where a trained mental health professional like a counselor or therapist can help you.

While there are several frameworks a mental health professional can guide you through, it does help to know that there is someone you can chat with about what you’re going through emotionally.

Look for resources from your local and state governments

Your local and state governments may have resources you can tap into.

As a caregiver, your ability to take certain jobs could greatly affect how much money you can make.

This can definitely put a financial strain on the family and be stressful.

Your local and/or state government may have resources like respite (so you can take some time off for yourself) or financial incentives for people like you. It’s worth doing your research on these types of resources.

Discuss your situation with your boss

It doesn’t hurt to discuss your situation with your boss and come to an agreement about what your work hours and responsibilities should be.

During this time, you may still need to depend on your job for an income to support yourself and your loved one.

Remote work is becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace.

If your work is something you can carry out from home, discuss it with them.

If remote work is not something they’re willing to consider, how about switching your hours?

Here’s the deal: if there is anything that can be done about your work situation to support your caregiver role, don’t hesitate to ask.

You just never know what could come out of that conversation.

What financial provisions does your aging loved one have? Find out.

Do they have a retirement fund? A savings account? Some other financial investment that could support your care-giving role?

How about healthcare plans like Medicare and Medicaid?

Ask your loved ones and work with them so that you can use this money to support them as well.

Take time out to do things for yourself.

I know.

This suggestion is a difficult one.

Between your work life and taking care of your loved one at home, where are you supposed to find the time to take care of yourself?

This may require some creativity on your part.

You may ask a friend or another family member to help out.

You could depend on respite services for help.

Or you could hire a professional home care service like our care aides at Green Tree Home Care to help you out.

Whichever path you choose, you have to realize that doing things for yourself will rejuvenate you so you can be a better caregiver.


Those are my tips for younger caregivers.

Are you a younger caregiver? Do you know someone who is? Did you find these tips for younger caregivers useful?

Share this post with someone so they know they’re not alone.




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