Amada Senior Care provides top-notch home care, and they’re experts at helping clients get the most from their long-term care insurance. But who are the hands-on practitioners of all their services?
“We love our caregivers. They are the face of our whole company to our clients. Caregivers who have the right heart are the most important thing. We want somebody who’s going to show up on time, take care of our clients and treat them like their grandparents,” said Amada CEO/Owner Ken Jenson.
Jenson then recalled a story about a client with dementia who was agitated, and how a caregiver diffused the situation. “Even with dementia, they know when something’s amiss. Our caregiver looked around, and said, ‘Gosh, everything seems okay…’ and then she looked at the front window and realized it was filthy. So she cleaned it inside and out.” Afterward, the client completely calmed down. “When you have a caregiver who cares enough to know what’s wrong, that makes a big difference in people’s lives.”
Services caregivers provide
All the clients Amada serves have different physical or cognitive limitations, but Jenson described common tasks that caregivers handle.
• Fall prevention: “Falling is probably the No. 1 thing that changes lives. If we can keep a client from falling, they’ll maintain the same quality of life for a long time. When people start falling, that’s when they lose muscle tone because they’re in rehab or the hospital. Most people can stay at home until they start falling.”
• Cooking: Oftentimes, seniors don’t want to cook healthy meals due to the effort it requires and because they’re cooking for fewer people. That usually means opting for not-so-healthy frozen and processed foods. “They’re filled with fat and salt and sugar; they have all this stuff in there that seniors just don’t need. Our caregivers come in and they start cooking great meals again.”
• Bathing: “One of the things that people stop doing is bathing. Their biggest worry is that they don’t want to fall in the bathtub. Our caregivers are there to make sure they get a shower or bath, and they’re clean. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body, so when you’re not bathing, your skin starts to break down and that changes life.”
• Outings to keep clients active: “Our caregivers take clients shopping; they’ll take them to doctor’s appointments. We had one client that we’d be with for about six hours a day, and they were going to Cripple Creek every day. Finally I had to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to have to start charging you mileage. That’s a lot of miles to go to Cripple Creek every day,’ but that’s what the client wanted to do.”
• Cleaning: “When you’re 92 years old, you don’t clean bathrooms the way you used to when you were in your 30s. When you’re 30 it’s no big deal, it’s just part of life. But when you’re 92, it’s a decision that you have to make. Cleaning up the house is a big deal.”
Amada caregivers provide respite
Caregiving for an elderly family member is stressful. Being on call 24/7 every day and constantly worrying about a loved one takes its toll. In fact, statistics show that a significant number of family caregivers pass away before the individual they’re providing care for.
Jenson related what a relief it was for his own mother when he enlisted Amada’s services for his parents. “My dad’s study was downstairs, and it was the ricketiest old set of stairs you’ve ever seen in your life, and she was deathly afraid he’d try to go down there and fall. And, as soon as she was out of the house, what do you think my dad did? He’d go downstairs into his room and listen to old records. So when we had a caregiver there it actually increased my mom’s freedom tenfold. They thought they were going to lose their independence by having a caregiver there. What they realized was, it increased their independence.”
They are recruiting
Amada hires eight to 12 new caregivers every week. Trainees go through a seven-hour orientation, followed by another seven-hour PCW (Personal Care Worker) course, learning how to safely transfer clients and more. “We also have the only Teepa Snow dementia trainer in Colorado. So every one of our caregivers has the opportunity to come back and learn how to redirect people with dementia,” said Jenson.
And although they’re always seeking caregivers, Jenson said, “We don’t just take a caregiver off the street. We do a nationwide background check. We want to know if they’ve got anything in their past. And if they do, we don’t hire them. I tell my recruiters, ‘If you wouldn’t put this person with your family, don’t put them with our families.’”
Amada strives to pay above-average compensation, they honor caregivers of the month and caregivers of the year, and offer opportunities to move up within the company.
Then there are the intangible benefits. Said Jenson, “The thing that’s always shocking to our caregivers, is when they get to know our clients they realize how much knowledge these seniors have. Their life experience is incredible, and so that’s one of the best things about meeting with our clients, is that they are amazing people.”
For more information on Amada Senior Care or to learn about employment opportunities for caregivers, call 719-377-9121 or visit amadacolorado.com.