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February Newsletter - Relieving Stress and Saving Your Heart

Thank you again to all for your continued support in keeping everyone safe and doing your part not to spread the virus!!!

Maximum Care is here for all workers and clients. If there is any need for PPE (supplies such as gloves, mask, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and more) do not hesitate to call into the office. Our goal is to keep everyone as safe as possible.


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February, as we all know, is the month of Love. Did you know it is also American Heart Month?
We will be discussing how you can reduce stress and keep your heart healthy. In this newsletter, you will know how to help yourself and how to help seniors with their stress.

Top Ways to Reduce Stress and Save your heart

Stress. We all experience it, and everyone can benefit from reducing it. Stress can wreak havoc on your health - including your heart health. And reducing stress can go a long way to helping you prevent and maybe even reverse conditions that can lead to heart disease. So, what can you do to reduce your stress and save your heart?

Here are some tips for reducing the stress that can have the added benefit of improving your heart health.


EXERCISE

Getting regular exercise and making it a point to increase your activity level throughout the day can reduce stress. Exercise reduces your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. It also releases endorphins, which are known as the body’s feel-good chemicals. But they don’t just make you feel good, and they also help combat stress.


The key to incorporating regular exercise into your life is to find activities you enjoy. If working out feels like a chore and is just another thing you have to do, the stress-reducing benefits may not be as great. But if you enjoy the activity, you’ll experience a double benefit.


I started by taking a walk at the Allentown rose garden. I loved the atmosphere. I loved the view, the smell. At first, it was just a stroll, and it turned out to be 3 miles walk, three times a week. I enjoyed it, and I looked forward to it. It can be ice skating, roller skating. It doesn’t have to be typical exercise. Make it yours, make it fun!


LAUGH

Laughter is a great way to reduce stress hormones. It also helps reduce inflammation and can increase your HDL (the good cholesterol). Here’s what laughter does to your body: It increases the oxygen level throughout your body; it helps relieve tension by relaxing your muscles; it reduces your stress response, and it can help improve your mood and your immune system. Laughter makes us feel good. So, try to look for humor in everyday life (it’s okay to laugh at yourself), spend time with people who make you laugh (we’ve all seen how laughter can be contagious), or watch a comedy movie or show.


PRACTICE YOGA

Yoga helps relax and strengthen your body, calm your mind, and center your thoughts. It’s an excellent exercise for your heart. It helps reduce blood pressure and lower other risks for developing heart disease. And it can also help you manage the inevitable stress in your life.



GIVE THANKS

Keeping a gratefulness journal or just spending a few minutes each day thinking about what you’re grateful for can have numerous benefits and enormous health effects that can protect your heart health and reduce stress. It can improve your mood, boost your immune system, reduce the effects of aging on the brain, help you sleep better, and reduce stress. One study showed that grateful people had about a 25 percent reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.


MEDITATE OR PRAY

Meditation and prayer have been shown to reduce blood pressure and other risks for heart disease. In addition, they can help you focus on what’s important to you and manage stress more effectively.



LISTEN TO MUSIC

Music can help you relax, and some music types can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol level. Soothing music likely has the most significant relaxation effect, but just listening to music you enjoy can help you feel better and manage stress more effectively. The sounds of nature, like waves crashing, thunderstorms, birds singing, can also be calming and effective.


BREATHE DEEP


Deep breathing and relaxation exercises are suitable for your body and your mind. They bring more oxygen into your body, and they have been shown to decrease the levels of cortisol in your body and even temporarily reduce blood pressure.








GO FOR A HIKE

Combining exercise with time spent outside can be a great stress reliever. While you’re walking, pay attention to the world around you. Listen to the sounds of nature, look at all the color and texture, touch leaves and flowers, feel the ground beneath your feet. Let nature fill your senses. You don’t have to walk fast or far to get the stress-relieving benefits of spending some time outside. If you can, leave your screens behind and enjoy the natural world.


WRITE

Many people find that keeping a journal can help them reduce stress. Write about anything that comes to mind. Some people reflect upon their day, write about their plans, or, as we mentioned earlier, keep a gratefulness journal. Some people find that writing down their goals helps them feel less stressed and more motivated. Writing with a pen or pencil and paper can also help you relax and take you away from screens, which is another benefit of writing.

January’s monthly newsletter goes over journaling. Please take a look at it!


GET SOCIAL

Spending time with friends and family can improve your mental and physical health. One study showed that spending time with friends and children helps release the natural stress-relieving chemical oxytocin. Many studies have shown that people with a strong social network tend to live longer and recover better after health crises, such as a heart attack.

With all the new rules the pandemic has brought, many are going through life without support. I have found there are other ways that we can still be social. Try facetime as often as you need to or can with that close friend you have not been able to see. Other ways can be Facebook groups. I joined a Fribromalgia group, and it has helped me navigate and know that I am not alone in this journey. There are many more ways to stay connected, use it, don’t be alone!


TAKE A NAP

Napping can feel good, and it can also help reduce your body’s cortisol levels, which can help relieve stress. Besides, napping may also help ensure you get enough sleep, helping keep stress at bay.



GET A CAT OR A DOG

Spending time with animals helps lower stress hormones, and petting cats and dogs can reduce blood pressure temporarily. At least one study showed that spending time with dogs can increase oxytocin, making you feel good. Also, if you have a dog, you’re more likely to get exercise since your dog will encourage you to grab a leash and go for a walk, so you get a double benefit!


Stress Reduction Tips for Seniors

Stress is a part of life at any age. When you’re younger, daily stressors include managing and establishing your career, juggling your children and spouse’s schedules, and making sure your household runs smoothly. This is why so many people look forward to their retirement years, picturing long, open days full of possibility and relaxation.


However, older adults still face stressful situations as they age. For instance, they are coping with the loss of a loved one. Or, some seniors worry about a possible decline in their health, mobility, and independence. Younger individuals often find it easier to get through those stressful times and move on, but for seniors, the way you deal with stress and how your body manages it can change, making proper stress management essential.


The Impact of Stress on Their Health

During stressful times, your brain reacts by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which give you the energy and focus you need to get through the situation at hand. However, over time, the brain can begin to have a more challenging time regulating those hormone levels, producing larger amounts that make them harder to shut down. Cortisol has been shown to damage the hippocampus, which is responsible for retrieving and storing memories.


Stress hormones can also negatively affect your physical health. Studies have shown that high levels of stress are linked to heart disease conditions, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. As older individuals are already more susceptible to these health problems, managing stress levels becomes even more critical.


Managing stress is essential to recognize the most common signs of stress, so they can find some relief and protect their overall health. These signs include:

  • Experiencing mood swings, increased irritability, or depression

  • Becoming forgetful, experiencing memory problems

  • Lacking concentration or exhibiting poor judgment

  • Changes in sleeping patterns or insomnia

  • Withdrawing socially or from activities you once enjoyed

  • Having frequent tension headaches or heart palpitations

  • Overeating, frequent indigestion, weight loss, or gain


Simple Ways to Reduce Stress in Their Life

People who have a positive outlook on life tend to deal with stress better as they age. Try to find joy every day, even in the smallest moments. Here are a few stress management techniques and tips all seniors should follow:


Pinpoint their stressors. First, help them identify what’s causing the stress in their life. Knowing the root of their stress will help them figure out how to eliminate it. Please write it down, talk to them, speak to someone, and think of different ways to assist them in getting past it.


Keep moving. Aim to get the senior’s heart rate up for at least 30 minutes every day, as exercise is a known mood-booster. Find a physical activity they enjoy, whether it’s walking, biking, swimming, or taking an exercise class with friends.


Maintain strong social connections. Friends and loved ones provide a shoulder to cry on during difficult times, and sometimes merely sharing their feelings with others helps ease some of the stress they’re going through. Some of them do not have that shoulder. Be the shoulder for them!


Take a break from the norm. Try something new with them! Instead of having them sleep in, a morning walk, help them experiment with a new dish, or have them take up an exciting hobby. Sometimes, simply switching up your daily routine can help with stress management.


Experiment with innovative stress relief techniques. Stress relief techniques such as meditating, deep breathing exercises, or even yoga all provide a way to let go of tension and anxiety.


Laugh daily. One of the easiest ways to manage stress? Enjoy a belly laugh! A good sense of humor can go a long way in reducing your stress levels. As they say, laughter is the best medicine!


“The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed.”

- Sebastien Roch Champfort


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New Announcement

We have implemented new steps!

When the app fails to work correctly, the new EVV Policy and Procedure will guide you step by step on what steps to take. We have sent the new EVV Policy and Procedure Revised and a Self-Monitoring Acknowledgement form policy via DocuSign.

It will be your responsibility to read, sign and adhere to the new policy as it may affect/delay your payment. If you are having any problems understanding the current policy, call Yenica “Jen” to review.


Make sure that you are putting the duties being done at the end of every shift. Including when calling from the client’s home. If you need instructions on how and a duties list, please contact the agency. It can be mailed, emailed, or text to you.


If you fail to put in the duties performed, it can affect your payments.


If you are having any problems with the system, call the agency for assistance.

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Make sure to check out our:

Facebook

page!!!! All you have to do is go to the homepage at maximumcare.online and click on our f (Facebook)!! you are welcome to like our page. You can also let me know if you like the Information I am putting out through the website. Feedback is always welcomed. You can even send me a personal message.

Get involved, have a voice!

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Incentives

Activities:

Help us come up with creative things to do with our elderly! What do you do for your clients?

We would like the caregivers to take 20 min of their shift if possible, to do creative things with their clients. We are the first and maybe the last person our clients see in the day or even week. Loneliness is a big part of their lives. Let’s take some time to show them that we are not just personal care or home care but show them that they are not alone and we really do care.

Creative Based Incentive Contest:

1. Come up with a creative and fun activity to do with your client

2. Call, text or email Yenica with the activity (610-264-2353, 484-781-4603, or yenicamaximumcare@gmail.com)

3. The office staff will vote

4. Winner will receive a gift card


Refer a caregiver to Maximum Care Inc.:

You will receive $50 after 100 hrs worked. (At least within 2 months).

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Travel Recommendations:


The Pa Dept of Health has recommended that if anyone travels to quarantine. Due to the daily changes from CDC and Pa Dept. Of Health, call into Maximum Care for instructions in regards to your travel plans and the impact that they may have.


Maximum Care Inc is following the recommendations at this time. If any changes come up, we will be posting our training/communications on the website Maximumcare.online. It is your responsibility to make staffing aware if there is any clients that will need to be covered while you are out either in quarantine or vacation.


Follow the following steps to request any time of:


  1. Give us as much notice as possible.

  2. Either request “The time off request form” or your letter for time off should include the following: Name of Cl, day of service, and time. State where you will be going and for how long.

  3. Email or mail the requested time off. Take note that we must put everything in the new system, even if time passes, we need everything in writing.

  4. If is due to quarantine call the office immediately and informs the office of why you will be in quarantine and how long will you be in quarantine.

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Reminder:

At this time due to the use of the EVV system, we understand that documenting is difficult. Call the agency with any concerns you may have that you would like it to be documented. Especially if a client is refusing personal care or assistance of any kind. Call the agency if you need guidance with a client or have any questions about the care that you are providing or feel that needs to be provided.


Maximum Care has also developed a form that is recommended to DCW to fill out when taking any kind of payment for items from clients. Call and request the form to be mailed to you or come into the office to get the form.

GPS

Maximum Care Inc is under state regulations to follow strict guidelines to pay DCW and to bill for all visits.


Maximum Care’s Inc's responsibilities are to make sure that everyone is using EVV properly, pay all DCW properly, and bill for the properly authorized hours allotted to the participant. We also supervise all clock in & clock out within the range and schedule time.


The system alerts Maximum Care if you clock in or out when you are not within GPS range. For example, you cannot clock in from the LV Mall when you are supposed to be in the client’s home. It will alert us and show us an address and map of your location when you clock in or out. If you are out of range this may cause a delay in payment. If for any reason you need to clock in or out of range due to a participant, you must call the agency and make us aware. For example: If participants have therapy, Dr appointments, dropping them off or picking them up from a program, etc. Call Maximum Care for special instructions to ensure contractual permission.


It is your responsibility to inform the office, it is not Maximum Care Inc's responsibility to call and confirm the “Why’s”. Maximum Care can reject the visit until further investigation is done which will delay your payment.


STAFFING REMINDER:

Make sure you communicate with the Staffing Department of any changes that need to be made to your schedule, availability, address, email, phone number, etc. It is important to keep all parties informed and the lines of communication remain open.


PAYROLL REMINDER:

EVV system must be used to make sure that there is no interruptions, delays, or problem with direct deposit. In the future, your pay will not be able to be processed if you are not using the system.

If your schedule changes for any reason it is your responsibility to call it in. This way we can fix any discrepancy to your schedule without any delays to your pay.

SAFETY TRAINING

Read the Fire Safety Training Monthly Newsletter to develop safety at the forefront of client/employee daily activities.

Keep an eye open for the Direct Care Worker (DCW) Safety Implementation Form. The form is mailed out to the DCW to give us an honest assessment of the clients they serve. Remember you are our eyes and ears; with your assistance, we can continue to keep everyone safe.


COMPLIANCE REMINDER:

Make sure that your employment file is within compliance to continue employment with Maximum Care. Compliance is no longer waived with all the contracts. Examples of things that must be up to date are all car information, CNA license, annual TB, annual physical. If any concerns or questions regarding your file please contact Yenica “Jen” Buskirk at 610-264-2353 or yenicamaximumcare@gmail.com.



Maximum Care Inc has written a self-monitoring acknowledgment form that all Direct Care Worker is expected to read and sign off on it. The form must be returned to Yenica “Jen”.


All direct care worker is mandated to wear mask and shields while servicing clients.

If you need PPE please do not hesitate to contact the office.

Reminder to:

  • Continue to use social distance (6ft), from clients when possible, public.

  • Increase sanitation methods.

  • Monitor yourself and client. Keep an eye on family members that come in contact with the client and yourself. It does affect the client, as it can affect you.

  • Clients must wear a mask. If they are in need of a mask call the office and we will send it to them or you may pick up a mask for clients.

DO NOT DROP YOUR GUARD!!!!!
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