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"Stages of Senior Care" outlines options for elder care

Paul Hogan experienced caregiving up close as his family took on the primary care of his aging grandmother when Paul was in his twenties. His mother, one of eleven children, emerged as the one in the clan who would offer home and hearth to her mother, as so many adult children do with their elder relatives.

Seeing the remarkable change in his grandmother under his mother’s care (she lived another decade!), he took great interest in what other people did when they did not have a large family to care for older generations. Hogan told his story in “The Boss” section of The New York Times last week. “After seeing my grandmother blossom with the right care, I realized that you don’t have to be a medical professional to have a huge impact on a person’s life, especially seniors.”

Hogan was an information analyst at Merry Maids at the time. He understood the franchise model and combined that knowledge with his curiosity about home care and created Home Instead Senior Care (HISC) in 1994 with his wife, Lori. HISC is a non-medical home care company that now has 850 franchise operations worldwide and 50,000 caregivers.

After 15 years of working with families who wrestle with decisions about how to best care for their aging loved ones, Paul and Lori have written a book, "Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions." Hogan was in Denver in November 2009 at a book release event where he spoke about the inspiration for the book and the focus on assuring an objective look at all the options. Proceeds from the book go to the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation which provides financial support for activities designed to improve the quality of life for seniors, including local grants to Meals on Wheels in Fort Collins and Parkinson Association of the Rockies in Denver for medical equipment.

"Stages of Senior Care" takes the caregiver through the maze of options from aging in place, where elders age in their own homes, to skilled nursing homes which provide around-the-clock care for those who can no longer care for themselves. Chapters on family care, non-medical home care (which is the business of HISC), retirement and independent-living communities, and assisted-living offer detailed descriptions, guidelines for the caregiver about assessing the particular option, and a list of upsides and downsides of each option. The Hogans pepper the book with stories, short interviews with experts in medicine and health care, and useful definitions which help the reader navigate through the layers of important material.

Bill Dahlquist, HISC franchise owner in Denver, says that he uses the book as a resource for families who visit his franchise while they explore caregiving options. His confidence in the Home Instead model helps him and other franchise owners stay focused during this challenging economy. He boasts that HISC has the “best caregivers in the business,” providing hours of free training and coaching to ensure the highest quality of care. “Our process helps ordinary people become exceptional caregivers,” Dahlquist adds. Read more of Kathryn’s earlier conversation with Dahlquist and her notes on caregiving in the U.S.

There are over 20,000 non-medical home care companies in the U.S. each one competing for the opportunity to help families manage the myriad tasks of caregiving, such as preparing meals, providing companionship, light housekeeping, and transporting elders for doctors’ appointments and other shopping. "Stages of Senior Care" provides a solid set of questions to ask when choosing one of these companies, achieving that goal of objectivity on a subject about which they know much and in which they have great investment.

Geriatric care managers offer another avenue to assist families in sorting through elder care issues. Doctor Marion Somers , a national elder care expert and geriatric care manager, writes and speaks on the practical things families can do to manage the impact of aging on everyone. Her "Elder Care Made Easier" is a handbook of easy-to-implement tips when caring for elders. To find a geriatric care manager or elder care manager in metro Denver who can help sort through the issues of caring for a loved one, consult ElderCareLink or SeniorsResourceGuide.

Kathryn also writes as Denver Mobility Products Examiner and Denver Disability Examiner.  She writes and speaks on aging and caregivingContact for inquiries and to suggest a future topic.




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