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Skills Fair Wrap Up

SKILLS FAIR Wrap-Up
Julie Ferguson, Administrator

And, it’s over.  The 2017 Skills Fair, “Lifting Each Other Up”, was a tremendous success.  Nearly 100 of our caregivers shared this day with us and enjoyed the following stations:

  • Clinical Skills – where they reviewed skills and learned new techniques
  • Self Care – where they took a yoga or meditation class and talked about empathy
  • Brain Training – our guest speaker, Linda Terry, offered a stimulating class
  • Scheduling – met with the schedulers; updated schedules and availability
  • Payroll and IT – where they reviewed payroll, online access, and had questions answered
  • Photo Booth – funny photos for all to enjoy
  • ProCare – where they learned about educational opportunities at our CNA School
  • HR – where all their credentialing and personnel questions were answered
  • Information Table – various handouts, flyers, and brochures, as well as opportunity to purchase or donate gently used work clothes
  • Food and Beverage – breakfast, lunch and snacks were provided

We had door prize drawings every half hour with winners selecting from a variety of interesting and useful gifts.  All employees received a monogrammed Advanced Health Care lunch bag – handy for taking lunch to work!  Three people won grand prizes (2 $50 and 1 $100 gift cards), and nobody went home empty handed!

The success of this Skills Fair is once again owed to our fantastic administrative staff, who have collaborated on this event since last year.  Many meetings, endless lists, and ongoing coordination of schedules, supplies and materials all came together last Friday.  As we prepared Thursday evening, after a full work day, I couldn’t help but appreciate the happy, positive people around me.  As they worked into the evening, blowing up balloons, setting up stations, assembling posters and materials, knowing that they would be back in a few short hours, I couldn’t have been more proud.  To work with people who embody the spirit of caring and compassion in all they do is humbling and rewarding.  I am so very grateful to work with such special colleagues at Advanced Health Care as we serve together.  Thank you for a fabulous event.

Skills Fair Week!

My office is unusually “full” this week.  There are boxes of prizes, gifts, games and decorations.  And balloons.  Lots of balloons.  It’s Skills Fair week – the week we, as administrative/support staff, come together to devote a day to caring, coaching, teaching, and mentoring our employees.  We’ve been planning this event for a year – since last June’s Skills Fair – and now we’re nearly ready.

The theme we selected for this year’s Skills Fair is “Lifting Each Other Up” – loosely based on the popular 2009 Disney Pixar movie “Up”.  If you haven’t seen this adorable movie I encourage you to do so – or at least watch the first 10 minutes.  It’s a love story, and an adventure.  It’s encouraging and empowering.  It’s a film about getting old, about regret, and about realizing that life is messy and out of control, as much as you might try to make it otherwise.  But it’s also a film about love, compassion and making sure that every day counts. 

Advanced Health Care employees embody this spirit of caring, compassion, and love in their work. They help our clients “make every day count” in endless ways.  A small task, such as a trip to the store, becomes an “adventure” as caregivers assist with unsteady gaits, canes, walkers, wheelchairs and portable oxygen.  They do this with a smile – and patiently stand by while the client looks for just the “right” birthday card for their grandchild, or searches for a specific brand of salad dressing, or the perfectly ripe apple.

In the office we strive to “lift each other up” by recognizing and honoring our devoted employees.  We know so many clients could not stay home without the support of these dedicated caregivers.  We are humbled by what they do, and the difference they make in so many lives.

It seems truly appropriate this week to have a “full” office, as our hearts are also “full”- knowing we truly work with the best of the best.   We are grateful to have the opportunity to “Lift Up” our employees – because they have already “Lifted Us.”

Memorial Day 2017

Monday was Memorial Day. As is our family tradition, I went to the cemetery with my daughter, my two young granddaughters, and my mom. As my daughter and I went from gravesite to gravesite, bringing flowers and pausing to remember loved family members, the two-year-old ran freely, pausing occasionally to admire a trinket or bright flower. We carried the baby who reached and grabbed for anything she could touch, and my mother, slowed by age and discomfort, observed from the car. When we came to my father’s grave my mom said to us, “I hope he has a flag. It would mean so much to him.”

Yes, it would mean so much to him. Like many others of his generation, my father was a WWII veteran. He served proudly and honorably. To serve his country was a privilege, and as a first generation American, my father was conscious of that privilege every day of his life. He was also conscious of his fellow soldiers – those who did not come home. Memorial Day was special to him – a time to remember and reflect – and to show respect. We grew up knowing how sacred this day was to my dad.

I think about the many veterans we serve at Advanced Health Care. Like my father, each one of them sacrificed for their country. And, like my dad, each of them had friends and fellow soldiers who did not come home. And like my dad, they never forget their fallen comrades.

It is an honor for us, at Advanced Health Care, to serve our military veterans and their families. And while we are serving those who served us, we pause and remember those we cannot serve, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and did not come home. Honoring and respecting them would mean a lot to my dad.

And yes, he had a flag.

Julie Ferguson, Administrator

Counseling Awareness Month

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Counselors, psychologists, support groups, share groups?  When you see these words, what immediately comes to mind?  Is it feelings of being afraid, uneasy, or connectedness and hopefulness?  Your answer might reveal your internal attitude toward sharing your grief, sadness, or life experiences with another human.  For some of us, it comes naturally…this connecting to others by way of sharing our experiences and feeling.  For others, it’s an uncomfortable thought to express our feelings to “strangers”.  No matter where you stand on the matter, I think we can all agree that counselors play an important role in our society.

April is designated as “Counseling Awareness Month”.  The American Counseling Association designates this month each year as a time to recognize the difference that professionals in this field make in our communities.

Counselors play an important role in healthcare, as well.  Whether it is helping navigate people through the aging process, guiding us through the death and dying process of a loved one, or helping us face an unexpected health crisis/diagnosis.

clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-45842Throughout this month, Advanced Health Care will be posting information on local resources that can help you connect to support groups, counselors, and other ideas for sharing life with others who may be dealing with the same issues you are facing.  We were made for community and sharing our experiences with others can greatly enrich our lives.

If you are a family or professional caregiver in need of a break so that you can better care for yourself or attend a support group, it is a worthwhile investment.  Let us help you get the break you need by calling Advanced Health Care at 800-690-3330.

My Mom

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By Julie Ferguson, AHC Administrator

My 95-year-old mother has always been active and very health conscious. As she becomes more frail and debilitated with age she works hard to maintain a level of activity and good physical and emotional health. Although she is dependent on a walker for mobility, and is stooped with painful arthritis, she still participates in daily exercise and is able to live alone in her own home relatively well. Since so often we hear from our clients that they “can’t” get around and “can’t” do anything, I wanted to share some of the things my own mom does every day.
• She greets the day with a positive attitude – whether she has had good, fair or poor sleep – she is grateful for another day. She has a morning routine, which takes a long time, but includes personal care, dressing, and making her bed.

• She has a nutritious breakfast that includes whole grains (typically oatmeal), fruit – usually an orange and/or a banana, and occasionally an egg. She usually enjoys a cup of coffee or tea a little later in the morning, with another piece of fruit, often while doing the daily crossword puzzle from the newspaper.

• She knows she has trouble drinking enough fluids, so she keeps a water bottle nearby at all times (it hooks to her walker – check out Amazon.com for lots of options).

• She schedules and participates in daily physical exercise. “Sit and Be Fit” https://www.sitandbefit.org/ is a great television show that she enjoys every day at 9am. She sits on a chair in front of the television and does her chair exercises, as she is able, along with the instructor.

• She reaches out to family and friends. Every day my mom makes a point to call one person just to chat. She is very hard of hearing so we have purchased an amplified phone that is portable and she can keep in the basket of her walker. Check out the internet for phone options – there are many varieties and we tried several before we found one that worked for her and didn’t interfere with her hearing aids.

• She stays current. Every day my mom watches the news, she reads the newspaper, and glances through magazines. She knows how to use the internet and emails with family and friends. She knows the status of all the local sports teams, basic pop culture, and fashion and fads. She can hold her own in a conversation with just about anyone!

• She wears a lifeline. This was a reluctant agreement. She knows she is a fall risk, and has had several falls. None of us want her on the floor for hours or even a day, before we find her. The lifeline gives us all peace of mind.

Even though most days my mom suffers severe and disabling pain, and is basically housebound, she enjoys her life, and is an important and positive contributor to our family. A positive attitude, healthy routines, and contact with other people keep her going, despite her limitations. Aging can be difficult, but as with all challenges, difficulties can be overcome if you look for and practice the positive!

Advanced Health Care works with many people like my mom – helping them to stay active and independent in their own homes. We have lots of ideas that can help! Call us for suggestions!