Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 29, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 29, 2012 



Dear Savvy Senior:

What’s the best way to find a good in-home caregiver for my elderly mother? Looking for Care

Dear Looking:

Finding a good in-home caregiver that’s dependable, 
likeable, trustworthy and affordable can be 
challenging, to say the least. Here are some tips 
and resources that can help.

Know Your Needs

Before you start the task of looking for a caregiver, 
your first step is to determine the level of 
care your mom needs (see NCLneedsassessment.
org for a checklist). If, for example, she only needs 
help with activities of daily living like preparing meals, doing laundry, bathing or dressing, a “homemaker” 
or “personal care aide” will do. 

But, if she needs health care services, there are “home health aides” that may do all the things a homemaker 
does, plus they also have training in administering medications, changing wound dressings 
and other medically related duties. Home health aides often work under a nurse’s supervision.

Once you settle on a level of care, you then need to decide how many hours of assistance she’ll need. 
For example, does your mom need someone to come in just a few mornings a week to help her cook, 
clean, run errands or perhaps bathe? Or does she need more continuous care that requires daily visits 
or a full-time aide? 

After you determine her needs, there are two ways in which you can go about hiring someone. Either 
through a home health agency, or you can hire someone directly on your own. 

Home Health Agencies

Hiring a certified home health agency to supply and manage your mom’s care is the easiest but most 
expensive option of the two. Costs run anywhere from $12 up to $40 an hour depending on where 
you live and the qualification of the aide. This is also usually a better way to go if your mom requires 
a lot of in-home health care.

How it works is you pay the agency, and they handle everything including an assessment of your 
mom’s needs, assigning appropriately trained and pre-screened staff to care for her, and finding a fill-
in on days her aide cannot come. 

Some of the drawbacks, however, are that you may not have much input into the selection of the caregiver, 
and the caregivers may change or alternate, which can cause a disruption in care and confusion. 

You also need to know that while Medicare does cover some in-home health care services if it’s ordered 
by a doctor, they don’t cover homemaker services, nor will they cover personal care services, 
such as bathing and dressing, provided by a home health aide if that is the only care required. But, if 
your mom is low-income and qualifies for Medicaid, some services are covered.

To locate and compare Medicare-approved home health agencies visit, 
and call 800-633-4227 and request a free copy of the “Medicare and Home Health Care” publication 
(#10969) that explains coverage and how to choose an agency.

Hiring Directly 

Hiring an independent caregiver on your own is the other option, and it’s less expensive. Costs typically 
range between $10 and $20 per hour. Hiring directly also gives you more control over who you 
hire so you can choose someone who you feel is right for your mom. 


But, be aware that if you do hire someone on your own, you become the employer so there’s no agency 
support to fall back on if a problem occurs or if the aide doesn’t show up. You’re also responsible 
for paying payroll taxes and any worker-related injuries that may happen. If you choose this option 
make sure you check the aide’s references thoroughly, and do a criminal background check. 

To find someone, ask for referrals through friends, doctor’s offices or hospital discharge planners, 
check online job boards like, or try or Some states even 
offer registries ( to help you locate good caregivers. Or, for a fee, a 
geriatric care manager ( can help find someone. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 By Pat Birdsall

FYI: As I write this, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa have come and gone, but the New 
Year is still looming. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore because they end up being a futile 
exercise of unrealistic expectations. One however, I know I can and will keep…stay tuned.

 Years ago I wrote a Bird’s Eye View column that expressed my views on what I call, the “conveyor 
belts” of life. The largest conveyor belt of all is of course, the “Holiday Season.” Usually right after 
Columbus Day the retailers break out the Halloween decorations and from that point on the snowball 
effect never stops, it just picks up speed. Before the Halloween decorations are even off the shelves it’s 
time to move on to Thanksgiving, hustle, hustle, hustle! Here’s the Butterball hotline number…don’t 
put the stuffing in your turkey while it’s cooking or you’ll kill your entire family. Dinner over, good! 
Cue the Black Friday sales blitz people. Move it, move it people, this merchandise has to sell to make 
ready for the Christmas gifts that just arrived from China. Then, you hear it…Chi, chi, chi, Chia…
God help me; the Clapper ads can’t be far behind. Next, the Little Drummer Boy plays ad-nauseum 
wherever you go. Rat-a-tat-tat …Before the actual day arrives we have to wade through some very 
time-worn Christmas specials on television…Burl Ives and his “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” 
and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire? My wish for some new Christmas 
specials would imply that I still believed in Santa Claus wouldn’t it?

Christmas Day is over in a flash…The gifts are opened, smiles flashed, hugs proffered, etc. Then the 
gifts are re-packaged, receipts exchanged and the presents are “good-to-go” for return to the stores. 
Of course, bigger and better sales will be taking place. Whew!

 I remembered how I scoffed when my mother told me that when she was a little girl in Omaha, 
Nebraska, she was so happy to receive an orange in her Christmas stocking. Hmm,progress, ain’t it 

There are many spaces left for new plaques at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall. If you or a 
friend, family member or neighbor served in any of the United States military branches 
the criteria for inclusion is simple: You must have lived in Sierra Madre for at least one 
year sometime in your life and have a picture of yourself in uniform. Please call Dave 
Loera, Commander of VFW Post 3208, to be included and for more information: (626) 355-3382. 
We’d be proud to have you!

This is the last segment in this series…There are so many veterans groups that need your help and 
there are so many veterans groups that can help you. For starters go to I’m 
sure you will find the perfect match!


HELPFUL HINT: ~ Make giant ice cubes in muffin tins or plastic margarine bowls. These 
are perfect for that New Year’s Eve punch bowl. They keep your drinks cold longer and of course are 
great for the picnic cooler in the summer.



 Finding a bottle on the beach, Jake uncorked it and released a genie. “You get three wishes,” 
the genie said. “Yes!” Jake replied. “First, I want one billion dollars.” Poof! A bank account statement 
appeared in his hand. “Next, I want a house in Hawaii.” Poof! He was holding the deed to property in 
Hawaii. “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! Jake turned into a box of chocolates. 

 ~ ~ ~

 A couple was discussing buying a new automobile. He wanted a new pickup truck. She said, 
“Tomorrow is my birthday and I want something that goes from zero to 190 in 5 seconds.” The next 
day he gave her a bathroom scale. Services are set for Friday…



HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … December Birthdays…

Pat Karamitros, Joan Hufnagel, Marie Pedersen, Mary Alice Cervera, Carole Horejsi, Shirley 
Anhalt, Mignon Grijalva, Helen Reese, Levon Yapoujian, Toni Buckner, Bonnie Garner, Lottie 
Bugl, Pat McGuire, Sheila Woehler, Arlie Hahn, Nan Murphy, Eleanor Hensel, Sylvia Curl, 
Elizabeth Levie, Gayle Licher and Cindy Baran. *To add your name to this distinguished list, please 
call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required.


Quote of the Week: Keep your Christmas-heart open all the year round. ~ Jessica Archmint 

ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House (Senior

 Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256


The Intervale Lunch Cafe will be

closed for the holidays on the

following days:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse 
from Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 am-11:45 am Volunteer Teryl Willis offers 
this class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of the 
month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours. * Conflicting court schedules 
can occasionally cause cancellations.

Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of our patrons at 12:30 pm. 
Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are provided due to a 
generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-
kind chess table is anxious for players.


Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. 
Weights are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to 
socialize with your peers. (Gossip included)

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday-at the Hart Park House (Senior Center) Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat at 626.355.7290

NEW! On the Move Physical Therapy- Join local physical therapist, Shannon 
Vandevelde, at the Senior Center on Monday, December 17th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 
PM for a free consultation. Shannon will be volunteering her time once a month to 
help seniors identify any possible physical therapy needs as well as providing basic tips. 
To make an appointment call the senior services desk at (626) 355-7394. 


 Senior Movie Program: Free Movies are shown on the 2nd and 4thWednesdays of the month. The 
films, one contemporary and one vintage, are chosen by the seniors themselves. 


 2012 is winding down. By now your tree is probably browning on the curb, 
waiting to be recycled. You’ve already exchanged the gifts that didn’t quite make 
the mark. You’re tired of Christmas. But I’m writing this on 12/24, so please bear 
with me as I revisit this topic. One nice thing about Christmas shopping this year 
was that I didn’t have to wrack my brain to come up with gift ideas. My husband 
showed me the exact helmet and pump he wanted to go with his new bike. My mom sent me links 
to the weaving video she wanted (at least I knew I wouldn’t need to duke it out with other shoppers 
for that one). And my dad is easy. I always buy his favorite beer, a special tar-black concoction from 
a micro-brewery available only in a few select locations. He’s requested that I not share its name, for 
fear he’d have competition.

 Yes, for the most part, I didn’t need to worry about presents. But then I recalled that my cousin 
from the Netherlands was visiting. It’s not as if I had no idea what he likes, but it gets complicated 
when you consider the TSA rules for carry on luggage. That blew my first idea, Waldo Ward’s garlic 
stuffed olives, out of the water. I could just imagine some 
airport employees gleefully popping the confiscated olives 
into their mouths. Hmm...

 What about getting him a gift card for an American shop 
in the Netherlands? I was pondering this during work on 
the Friday before Christmas. Usually I barely have time to 
check the Yahoo headlines at work, but this was a very slow 
day. Searches for American stores in Holland produced a 
couple of markets boasting American fare for expatriates. 
“Barbeque sauce, Tinned Campbell’s soups, Aunt Jemima’s 
maple syrup, Rotel salsa, and Jell-O!” These are just a 
sample of the great variety offered at several of these places. 
Great, I’ll order him a gift card! Then I imagined my 
credit card number floating around Amsterdam. Visions 
of Dutch people selling my identity to some Eastern Block 
country flitted through my mind. Maybe an international 
transaction wasn’t the best way to go... 

 The minutes ticked by. My typically bustling office was 
eerily quite. After a while my meandering searches brought 
me to a truly hilarious blog written from an American 
point of view, “ Stuff Dutch People Like: 16,629,200 people 
can’t be wrong, right?” I learned, generally speaking, that 
the Dutch are blunt and enjoy lively debates about politics, 
religion, and any other delicate topics us wussy Americans shy away from. American indirectness in 
the land of windmills is seen as dishonesty and hypocrisy.

 Dutch food, the blog claims, can be summed up in any one, or combination of, these three cooking 
methods: Boil it to lifeless mushiness, Mash out any remaining fibrous bits, or Fry the life out of it. 
The Dutch are also apparently fond of fitting their homes with impossibly steep stairs. There were 
a couple pictures of staircases that could’ve passed for a Navy Seal obstacle course. A little history 
offers explanation. Back in the day, canal houses were taxed according to their width. So, thrifty 
homeowners built tall, skinny and cheap homes, rather than low, wide, and expensive ones. 

 The author went on to describe the Dutch’s propensity for suspending bikes, strollers, and other 
wheeled objects from the ceiling in a network of carefully knotted ropes. I’m even afraid of carpeted 
stairs, having taken a few tumbles in stocking feet. But to daily risk falling and having a three-kid 
stroller crush you, that’s just too much! I’m not one to laugh a lot at jokes. I rarely even open forwarded 
“funny” emails. But there was something about being alone, reading about 16 million people proudly 
mashing their fried food and traipsing up near vertical staircases. It was probably the first time I was 
actually cracked up over a blog. And I had no one to share it with --until now! Happy New Year and 
see you in 2013!