Can a Family Member Become a Caregiver?

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 17, 2020

Did you know that you can get paid to take care of family at home? Learn more about how you can become a paid, family caregiver.


Finding the best care for your elderly parents is a priority for any child. Consider how you can get paid to take care of family as a professional caregiver.

If you want loved ones to remain in the comfort of their own home, a professional caregiver might be the answer. What better way to guarantee your family member is being treated with compassion and love than you becoming that caregiver?

Keep reading to discover exactly how people can become a paid caregiver for family members and the steps you need to take.


Get Paid to Take Care of Family

Did you know you can get paid to take care of family members as a caregiver? With the proper training and certifications, you can become the certified caregiver to your parents or loved ones. All inside the comfort of their own home, so they can age in place.

A qualified and experienced company like Commonwise Home Care can hire, train, and oversee new caregivers. During this process, you will become an employee of the home care agency and receive all of the training and resources you need.

Aside from direct family care giving, even trusted housekeepers, custodians, and others can go through training to become a certified caregiver to an elderly parent. Having a caregiver that your aging parent knows and trusts helps you both feel comfortable and confident in the process.


Advantages of Taking Care of Elderly at Home

One of the biggest challenges when seeking quality care for your aging parent is finding affordable options. In many cases, families have to sacrifice quality for a reasonable price. But when you’re the caregiver, you can save both yourself and your parent’s money.

Some family members choose to care for their parents for free, out of obligation. While this is an honorable thing to do, it also causes extreme financial stress and emotional strain. 

Many people end up sacrificing their jobs when they offer to help care for their aging parents. Missed hours at work and calling out sick means reduced pay and less income.

Why not become a paid caregiver for family members instead? You’ll bring in a steady income and have no reason to take off work. After all, your job is to take care of aging adults, including your parents. 

If this seems like too big of a step to take, look at the qualities of a caregiver that we look for in our care providers at Commonwise. Caregiving is not for everyone, but our carers were born for it.


Financial Support Options

Aside from getting trained and paid through a home care agency like Commonwise, you should also explore medical support options and insurances. Find out which of these services your loved one qualifies for. 



Medicaid is a major source of income and financial support for many people over the age of 65. All 50 states offer some level of personal care assistance via Medicaid, but stipulations may vary.

States can grant waivers that allow aging adults to manage their own home-care services. This includes hiring a family member as their caregiver. Be sure to read the fine print – in some states, legal guardians and spouses don’t qualify. 

Other states require that the caregiver resides in the same house as the individual. 


Military Veterans

Is your parent a military vet? Veterans in 37 of the 50 states might qualify for services that help provide long-term care. 

Veterans receive a monthly budget to use toward their needs. This includes any foods, goods, medications, or caregiver fees related to their care. Veterans are able to hire a caregiver of their choosing, including a family member.

The Veteran’s Association (VA) will determine your loved one’s eligibility and refer you to outside services. At this point, you can explain your plans to become their paid caregiver.


Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Paid Family Caregiver

Now that you understand how to get paid to take care of family, let’s discuss a few other things to consider. Aside from finances, here are a few questions to ask yourself.


How Much Care Does My Loved One Need?

Being the primary caregiver to your loved one is a big responsibility. Before you commit yourself to the role, evaluate how much care your parent needs.

What is their current medical condition? Do they need you to administer daily medication? 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 65 have some form of dementia. If your parents are part of this statistic, it may be more difficult to care for them.

Dementia patients often experience memory loss and can become violent and combative. You’ll need resilience and plenty of patience to care for a parent with dementia. If you choose to accept the challenge, additional training can help prepare you.


What Assets Does Your Parent Have?

There’s no doubt that your parents would give you the shirt off their back – and you’d do the same for them. Sometimes, based on the budget they receive from Medicaid, care recipients can determine the rate they pay their caregivers. The home care agency you work for determines service rates and salary.

A lot depends on how much money and assets your parents have in savings. Some Medicaid home care benefits are only available if your income falls below a certain level. Research how much money your parents have to determine the level of elderly assistance they qualify for.


What State Do You Live In?

The state government controls many of the programs that pay family caregivers. In addition to other factors, your pay as a caregiver may fluctuate depending on the state in which you live.

Check your state regulations or the state in which your parent lives. This is especially important if you plan to reside with them. Take some time to research and learn more about Virginia Medicaid eligibility requirements.


Am I Emotionally Prepared for This?

Becoming a paid caregiver for your family member might seem like an easy choice, but with so many emotions involved, things can get complicated fast.

Make sure you consider the feelings of both yourself and your parents. You need to put any uncomfortable or awkward feelings aside. Have an open discussion about wages and expectations. 

You may also see your loved one in compromising and potentially embarrassing situations when it comes to their daily needs (i.e., dressing, bathing, helping them use the bathroom). Caregivers are training to provide professional, personal care services like these every day.

Bring in a third, unbiased party to help draft an agreement between you and your parent. They can offer unbiased advice and guidance. A therapist can help you sort out any worries or concerns about taking on the role of a paid caregiver.


Commonwise Home Care Supports Families and Caregivers

If you are a primary caregiver for a loved one who may just need a break, consider respite care for caregivers. It’s okay to take the load off and take time to process or simply rest. Weigh your options before deciding if professional, full-time caregiving is the best decision for you and your loved ones.

At Commonwise Home Care, we support families and caregivers alike. Whether you just need a break, want to become a paid caregiver for family, or are looking into home care for a loved one, call Commonwise Home Care at 434.202.8565.

How to Improve Blood Circulation in Old Age

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 17, 2020

Bad leg circulation in the elderly is a common health issue as their body ages. Learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.


Have you ever been to your loved one’s home and thought it was rather warm? Older adults commonly feel colder than others, especially in their hands and feet. Knowing how to improve blood circulation in old age is helpful to know as a caregiver or an aging adult.

Some older adults even complain about their hands and feet swelling, as well as being cold. All of these are telling signs that they may have poor blood circulation.

Let’s review some practical steps to learn how to improve blood circulation in old age.


Signs of Bad Circulation

Our circulatory system delivers blood, carrying vital nutrients and oxygen, throughout our bodies. When blood flow is reduced, common side effects begin to show.

Poor circulation can be a result of old age or signal other health-related issues, such as obesity and diabetes. If you are wondering, “how does poor circulation affect the body?” read the signs below.


1. Cold hands and feet

When an elderly adult’s blood is not properly circulating, the temperature of their extremities tends to fluctuate. The blood vessels in those areas constrict in efforts to retain body heat, which results in cold hands and feet.


2. Discoloration

Typically, if someone has cold hands and feet, discoloration is present. Certain parts of the body turn blue and purple when blood is not reaching those areas. The discoloration is normally seen in the nose, lips, and extremities.


3. Numbness and Tingling in the Hands and Feet

Nerve endings are negatively impacted due to poor circulation, causing numbness and tingling. This symptom is commonly referred to as having a sensation of pins and needles poking under the skin. 


4. Swelling in the Feet, Ankles, and Legs

Poor circulation can create a build-up of fluid in key areas of the body. If swelling occurs in the lower extremities, this can also be a sign of edema


How to Improve Circulation in the Legs and Feet Naturally

Improving blood circulation in the legs and feet is very important for aging adults to prevent life-threating side effects. Natural remedies for better circulation are great options for older adults. 

Consider adding in some or all of the following tips to your daily regime to improve circulation.


Exercise Your Body

Anyone who is not very active may experience poor circulation as the Vein Clinics of America points out. Walking, stretching, and generally moving your body is an easy first step to improving circulation. 

When your heart rate increases, your body pumps blood faster throughout your body, thereby improving circulation. Simple things like walking outside to get the mail or taking a stroll around the neighborhood are good places to start.


Elevate Your Legs

Some older adults are less mobile than others and walking may be too difficult or physically impossible. Low activity levels mean our hearts have to work double-time to circulate blood to the outermost parts of the body. Small adjustments, like elevation, can be a very helpful remedy.

To assist your body’s circulatory system, elevate your legs at a 45-degree angle using a firm pillow. Start elevating your legs while sitting at home, watching TV, reading a book, or even sleeping. This also helps fight against blood clots from forming in the legs. 


Wear Compression Socks

If you are wondering how to increase circulation in feet, start with socks. The best socks for seniors with poor circulation are called compression stockings. These are essentially snug, calf-high socks that gently squeeze your legs and feet to stimulate blood flow back to your heart.

Compression stockings can be purchased from suppliers like or For Your Legs. These socks are also great for those who suffer from varicose veins.


Change Your Diet

The classic culprits of nutritional health are foods high in sugar, sodium, dairy products, and trans fat. The American Heart Association is a great resource for those who want to eat a heart-healthy diet. 

Choose foods that promote blood flow by following Healthline’s 14 best foods to increase circulation:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pomegranate
  • Onion
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Fatty fish
  • Beets
  • Tumeric
  • Leafy greens
  • Citrus fruits
  • Walnuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Ginger

Blood Circulation Self-Assessment

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you may have poor circulation. Consider the following signs if you suspect you or a loved one has poor circulation:

  • Do my hands and feet often feel very cold?
  • Are my fingers, toes, ears, nose discolored (purple, blue, extra red)?
  • Do my extremities feel numb or tingly more often than not?

This is not an official assessment. Use the tips above now that you know how to improve circulation in the legs and feet naturally or contact your doctor.


Call Commonwise Home Care Today

At Commonwise, we are familiar with all sorts of physical ailments and conditions such as poor circulation in the elderly. Our caregivers are familiar with how to improve blood circulation in old age and help patients live as comfortably as possible.

Commonwise caregivers provide care management, personal care services, and other home care services. We aim to support families and compassionately care for your loved ones like they are our own. To learn more about the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Exercises to Relearn Walking

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 9, 2020

When recovering from a stroke, gaining mobility, strength, and learning to walk again is your first step to independence through rehabilitation.


If you’ve recently recovered from a stroke, learning to walk again can be a big challenge, but it’s also a crucial part of your recovery.

Whether you currently have a plan for gaining mobility or you’re in need of some help, there are several important leg exercises for stroke patients that can help you get stronger.

Read on for some exercises you can try that will help you walk again and get stronger so you can get back to living a normal life.


Exercises to Relearn Walking

There are several symptoms that people must cope with after a stroke that can affect their balance, mobility, and overall strength. Some symptoms of post-stroke include a loss of balance, weakness in the legs and lower extremities, and a general lack of coordination. You may also experience muscle fatigue, which can make walking even more difficult.

As you’re learning to walk again, your physical therapist or doctor may suggest some helpful exercises to help you relearn walking. Start off slowly with each exercise and work your way toward doing more as you start to get stronger.


Focus on the Toes and Legs

One common issue after a stroke involves problems with your toes, which can make walking extremely difficult. Try to pull your toes downward with your hands to improve their flexibility.

You can use your thumb and press into the arch of your foot to help your toes extend downward, which will strengthen the muscles over time. Hold this position for about 20 to 30 seconds and then reverse direction and repeat.

Of course, your legs and hips will also need exercise to help you regain your balance. Try some mild exercises first and then work your way toward more advanced options as you regain your balance and start to get stronger.

Start by trying a chair exercise that begins by standing up and securing your balance, then gently shift your body weight to one side. Swing your other leg up to the side, then balance yourself for about 10 seconds, using the chair as support. Repeat this and switch your legs as many times as possible.

Once you feel confident, you can try this same exercise to relearn walking without the support of the chair. The key is to re-learn how to maintain your balance and to regain strength in your legs without the help of a cane or walker. 


Stroke Rehabilitation Exercises

As you’re learning to walk again, try some leg exercises for stroke patients that will restore your body strength. This can involve anything from using a stationary bike to doing simple leg lifts as many times as possible per day.

Once you start to regain your strength and your confidence, the chances of walking after a stroke will start to increase. Remember to remain diligent and talk to your physical therapist about any concerns regarding your progress.

  • Try lifting small weights. Start light by lifting one to two-pound weights daily. Soup cans are a great alternative if you don’t have light weights at home. This will help you rebuild the strength in your upper body.
  • Simple stretches every day. Stretching can do wonders for your body’s ability to heal and get stronger. Try an exercise called “chair yoga,” which will help you stretch without having to be on the floor.
  • Take a walk every day. Once you’re ready to walk more, consider taking a leisurely stroll whenever you can to keep your muscles active. Avoid sitting for too long or else you could end up with pain and stiffness.

Keep in mind that learning to walk again will take time and your body will need some time to heal and process these changes. With some determination and help, you can eventually start to walk normally again.


Learning to Walk Again Using Equipment for Stroke Patients

Aside from these simple exercises, you can also use special equipment that will give you the additional support you need.


There are special types of wheelchairs for stroke patients that can help you when it’s difficult to walk. The best wheelchairs for stroke patients will also encourage you to use your muscles to get up from the wheelchair whenever you can.

Special Shoes

Look for special shoes for stroke patients that have a wider footbed and soft, cushioning support. These shoes will help your feet stay supported without being too restricting. Many health insurance companies cover some or all of the cost of things like shoes and other walking therapy equipment.

Walkers and Canes

A walker and a cane are other examples of ways you can use equipment to help you learn to walk again. These items give you stability and support, but they also encourage you to keep using your own muscles to walk.

You may also need to consider some in-home aids to help you as you’re learning to walk again. These items can make it easier and safer to get out of bed or get into and out of the bath and shower. With the use of feet and leg exercises for stroke patients and some equipment, you can begin to rebuild your muscles for a better quality of life.


Stay Focused on Walking Again

After you recover from a stroke, learning to walk again may seem like an uphill battle. Thankfully, with some daily strengthening exercises and helpful equipment, you should be able to get your strength back sooner than you realize.

Talk to your doctor about some ways you can use rehab to walk again. They can guide you through the process and give you a list of exercises to try at home. If you are in need of an at home caregiver to help out during the rehabilitation process, call Commonwise Home Care at 434.202.8565.

24 hour home care for your loved one is just a call or click away. Learn more about our services today.

Games for Memory Care Residents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 8, 2020

Technology has touched nearly every cornerstone of our lives, lending a hand with the best memory games for Alzheimer patients to play.


In this blog, we’ll highlight some interactive games for Alzheimer patients to play to combat cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily growing more prevalent in the aging population. Almost 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050. 

Even though it can show up during an adult’s 40s or 50s, most people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are older than 65. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help. 


Memory Games for Alzheimer’s Patients

Technology has touched almost every aspect of our lives and can be used to our advantage. Spatial recall games, in particular, are great for Alzheimer’s patients to play. Spatial memory helps us remember where things are in the short-term and long-term. 

Memory games for Alzheimer’s patients are some of the best types of treatment for a deteriorating memory.

Do you want to learn about some of the most effective games for memory care residents? Keep reading to uncover the best games for Alzheimer’s!


What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disease. It slowly destroys areas of the brain pertaining to thinking skills and memory skills. Ultimately, it decreases a person’s ability to perform daily activities, which leads to the need for 24 hour home care.

Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia. Dementia is the umbrella term for brain disorders that cause issues with memory, thinking, and behavior.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia.


Games for Alzheimer Patients to Play

For Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the disease can be extremely disheartening and terrifying. As it progresses over time, patients often find themselves feeling agitated and irritable.

A simple Dementia simulation game can do wonders for the hope of an Alzheimer’s patient. Plus, Alzheimer’s games provide cognitive help and repetition that can make living with Alzheimer’s more bearable.


Healing Spaces Is More Than Just a Game

In conjunction with the growing number of Alzheimer’s diagnoses, there is a lot of research and development being done to better serve those living with Dementia.

Healing Spaces is one of the best iPad apps for Alzheimer’s patients, and it’s much more than “just a game.”

Developed by a woman named Gabriela Purri R. Gomes, Healing Spaces is a multi-sensory experience meant to benefit Dementia patients and their caregivers. The app is an excellent choice for memory care assisted living patients.

The smart platform permits caregivers to transform spaces for their patients through the use of color, light, visuals, and sounds. It also allows patients to generally focus, engage, and relax.


Games for Memory Care Residents

Depending on the patient, Alzheimer’s symptoms can vary greatly. Whether the Dementia has just begun or the patient has been progressing for years, there are plenty of Alzheimer’s games to provide help, encouragement, and brain exercises for dementia patients.


MyReef 3D

MyReef 3D is perfect for those who have advanced Dementia. The user can interact with different types of fish. They can perform simple activities such as stocking the aquarium and do other fun things like tapping on the glass, thus annoying the fish.

Users can also sit back and enjoy the reef’s beauty making it a fun and easy-to-use game.



Dementia usually requires 24 hour care for the elderly in their own home. The inability to function individually often frustrates patients as they’re unable to do the things they used to love.

Those who love plants, flowers, and gardens can grow a garden using FlowerGarden. From planting seeds to watering plants and watching their flowers grow, there are lots for garden lovers to do using this app.



MindMate is one of the best memory games for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s almost like a friend as it helps patients stay focused through activities concerning problem-solving, attention, and memory.

There are 8 interactive games that are both fun and educational. Users can monitor their progress if they please. Through daily workouts and mental activities, MindMate stimulates the brain regularly. Plus, it’s FREE!


Luminosity: Brain Training

Luminosity: Brain Training provides fun, cognitive training. It provides brain interaction and the ability to learn about how your mind works.

This game is perfect for Dementia patients because it uses science-based games to exercise attention, memory, speed, problem-solving, and flexibility.


Other Apps for Alzheimer’s Patients

In addition to games, there are some excellent iPad apps for Alzheimer’s patients to use on the daily.


It’s Done!

It’s Done! is one of the best apps on the market for memory loss as it helps patients recall tasks they’ve done.

Everyday tasks are one of the hardest things for Dementia patients to remember. It’s Done! helps patients remember things like whether or not they locked the door or took their vitamins.


Spaced Retrieval Therapy – Memory Training for Dementia & Brain Injury

The Spaced Retrieval Therapy – Memory Training for Dementia & Brain Injury app uses a scientifically-proven method of spaced retrieval training. The technique helps people with memory impairments to recall essential information.

By recalling an answer over multiplying intervals of time, the app helps to cement the information in memory.


For Dementia Patients With a Creative Spark

The Let’s Create! Pottery app is perfect for Dementia patients with a creative spark. The user gets to throw clay onto a pottery wheel and virtually create a variety of clay pots. 

The app is fun and satisfying, and users can make a variety of pottery.


Spatial Recall Games Can Do Wonders for Dementia Patients

Living with Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia can be terrifying, both for the patients who suffer and their loved ones.

Technology, however, has graced us with a myriad of spatial recall games to provide food and fun for the brains of memory care residents.

With many levels of difficulty and apps designed for both fun and practicality, there’s no reason why Dementia patients can’t benefit from integrating smart device apps into their daily lives.

Do you have a loved one who may need full-time care? Take a look at the many services we offer or contact us with any questions or concerns. We are here to help!

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Qualities of a Caregiver

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 6, 2020

Searching for in home care to help a loved one is an important task and should be carefully considered. Learn about the essential qualities of a professional caregiver.


For some, caregiving is a choice, for others, caregiving is an unexpected family responsibility. At Commonwise Home Care, we believe caregiving is more than a job—it’s a calling. We have listed four qualities of a professional caregiver that you need to look for in the person potentially caring for your loved one.

Let’s discover what some of these qualities of a carer are to inform your search for in home care.


Qualities of a Professional Caregiver

In a previous blog, we discuss the legal caregiver qualifications for those who want to become a respite care provider. Once qualified, what skills are needed to be a good caregiver? At Commonwise, some of our Care Team joined as certified nurse aides, while others originally had no prior training or caregiver experience.

Quality home care is not only about supporting the physical needs of an older adult but caring for their emotional health as well. Good caregiver traits are not just boxes to check off or hard skills. The home care industry requires deep, indwelt character and dedication to caring for others.


Traits of a Caregiver

When someone displays ideal caregiver characteristics, we further invest time and technical training into them becoming an excellent care provider at Commonwise. Our caregivers are trained to meet the specific needs of every client.

Some skills you can’t train but are intrinsically necessary for those working in the home care industry. Take a minute to review the four traits we look for in all of our caregivers:



True compassion cannot be trained. As Brené Brown points out, the word “compassion” comes from the Latin words pati and cum, which means “to suffer with.” Compassion is a form of empathy. Compassionate people sit with others in their pain and emotional lows and experience it with them.

Care providers who are compassionate treat older adults the way they would want to be treated if their own health was declining. Not only do compassionate caregivers empathize with older adults, but they strive to care completely and wholeheartedly. Compassion is a mark of maturity, genuine care, and creates a sense of connection with the other person.



Caregiving is personal. Every person is unique and should be treated as such. Older adults who need in home care want to be seen as a person, not a job. The beauty and blessing of caregiving is the companionship it creates between the carer and patient.

Good caregivers are in tune with the personal needs of the older adult they are caring for. Whether the need is physical, mental, or emotional, personal caregivers prioritize the person in their care over the duty or task at hand. Personalized care is the standard at Commonwise, not an added commodity.


Excellent Communicator

“Excellent communication skills” is something almost every employer puts on a job description, but for caregivers—communication is crucial. Those who provide home care not only have to communicate well with older adults but also with their families. Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, especially when the majority of time is spent together, such as in a total patient care model.

A compassionate, communicative caregiver asks good questions and makes a patient feel comfortable to freely share how they are really feeling. As a family member in search of at home care: if a caregiver cannot effectively communicate with you, they are not a good fit for your loved one.



As they say, “patience is a virtue.” Patience is more than important, it’s a requirement for caregiving. Some days plans change or emotions are on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Older adults with mental illnesses, such as depression and Alzheimer’s, need special attention and plenty of patience.

Caregivers must be patient (and creative) in their approach to caring for older adults. A good example of patient caregivers in action can be seen in our Medication Management vs Medication Reminders blog. Five of our caregivers give tips on how they encourage older adults to take their pills even when they don’t want to or think they already did.

The qualities of a caregiver don’t stop here; there are countless traits that play into someone being an excellent caregiver. You want someone who will be as attentive to detail as you are. We understand; we strive to provide your loved one with the best possible care, by people who care.


Find Compassionate Caregivers at Commonwise Home Care

Are you looking for home care? Have you found anyone that fits these traits of a caregiver?

We hope you found value in the four exceptional qualities of a professional caregiver that we look for in those looking to join our Care Team at Commonwise. Home care is not a vocation for just anyone; we handpick the people we believe are made for it. Caregivers must demonstrate exceptional grace, wisdom, and compassion to fit the ethos of Commonwise.

Discover how Commonwise caregivers care for your loved ones differently by calling 434.202.8565.

Respite Care Worker Qualifications

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 3, 2020

Considering a rewarding career as a respite care provider? While requirements vary, explore the qualifications and steps to become a professional caregiver.


How Do I Become A Respite Care Provider?

Have you ever considered a career as a respite care provider? Throughout the U.S., there is a growing demand for home health care, including respite care providers. In fact, the home health aide and personal care aide fields are expected to grow by 36% by the year 2028.

But before you dive in, it’s important to know that it takes a special kind of person to do this job professionally…


Respite Care Worker Qualifications

Read on to learn everything you need to know about being qualified to provide respite care. Hopefully, this information will help you decide for yourself whether or not you’re a good fit as a respite care provider.

To provide respite care services in a person’s home, there are five particular qualifications you’ll need to meet beforehand:


1. Education

At a minimum, individuals who work as respite care providers must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. Completing this step allows you to go on to complete other necessary certifications required for this and other care-providing fields.


2. Certification

After you receive a high school diploma, you’ll need to complete additional certification courses. Some companies that provide respite care, like Commonwise Home Care, offer their employees in-house training.

Training through a home care agency ensures uniformity across the board when it comes to specific care practices and standards. Caregivers in training will learn the basics of administering care to older adults according to a predetermined set of rules and regulations. 


3. On-the-Job Training

Once your certification is complete through a respite care program or in-house training, you’ll need to spend some time completing on-the-job training.

By shadowing another caregiver, you have the opportunity to see how care providers interact with patients on a day-to-day basis. Observing the caregiver-patient relationship first-hand provides a sense of confidence and experience needed before practicing and providing care on your own.


4. Licensing

Finally, you can apply for a license from your state board after completing a specified number of training hours. The license gives you credibility and proves that you have both the skills and education necessary to provide a certain level of care.


5. Continuing Education

To keep your license current, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. You may also have opportunities to specialize in providing care to certain types of individuals, such as those with Alzheimer’s or specific dietary needs.


Respite Care Provider Services

A respite care provider helps patients in a variety of ways to give primary caregivers, usually family members, a time to rest from full-time caregiving. The responsibilities of older adult respite care vary from person to person, but they nearly always include the following:


Care Management

When primary caregivers need time away to reset, choose a respite care provider affiliated with a larger home care agency. Some patients need special care, requiring a certified nurse assistant or registered nurse, which is why it’s important to partner with a full-service, home care agency. 

Commonwise care managers do everything with compassionate care. From advocacy to medication management and reminders, we serve a range of needs to provide elderly care in the most effective, sensitive way. 


Caregiver Assistance

A respite care professional is just as helpful to the patient as they are to the family. Through respite care, those who selflessly care day and night for loved ones are able to take a break from the heavy toll of caregiving.

Respite care providers give primary caregivers much-needed relief for a short or longer period of time. In turn, the time away improves caregiver resiliency and their ability to offer long-term care without burning out.


Personal Care Services

Personalized care is at the foundation of every service we provide at Commonwise. From niche services like ambulating a patient, range of motion support, and general exercise, professional caregivers are well-rounded in their ability to care for older adults.

Some of the most basic tasks can be overwhelming or difficult for aging adults to accomplish on their own. While providing respite care, caregivers may help older adults with toileting, bathing, grooming, dressing, and/or feeding.


Home Care Services

Professional home care services, such as hospice care and total care, are specifically catered to each older adult’s unique needs. The specific types of care and assistance vary depending on the patients’ condition. 

Whether a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia or needs post surgery home care, Commonwise caregivers are equipped to serve an endless number of elderly care needs.



A new person stepping into the shoes of an older adult’s current caregiver can be nervewracking. Sometimes, the best thing a respite care professional can do is to provide a patient with a sense of companionship—talk with them, help them with basic housework, and simply be a kind presence.

Caregivers who step in for family members may also assist patients with general chores, like pet care or bill pay. Supporting patients physically, mentally, and emotionally is the job of any good caregiver; respite care provider or not. 


State Licensing Requirements (Virginia)

In the state of Virginia, to become a respite care provider, you must meet certain licensing requirements. Each state has its own rules regarding licensing, so it’s important to do your research before pursuing a career in respite care.

If you’re located in Virginia and are on the lookout for a respite caregiver job, you’ll need to meet these requirements to get licensed properly:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Able to read and write in English.
  • Able to demonstrate the skills required to perform respite care services.
  • Complete and graduate from an appropriate training curriculum.
  • Have a satisfactory work record (no evidence of abuse, neglect, or exploitation).
  • Pass a standardized test administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

You’ll also need to be evaluated on a regular basis by a supervisor.


Become a Respite Care Provider Today

Working as a respite care provider is incredibly rewarding and provides a variety of opportunities to help those in need.

Now that you know more about what it takes to become a respite care provider, as well as some of the responsibilities associated with this career, does it seem like a good fit for you? Are you interested in becoming a respite care provider or caregiver? Do you meet the requirements outlined above?

If so, check out our Careers page. You can apply for a position here at one of our locations and find out more about the Commonwise difference by calling: 434.202.8565.

Assisted Living and Memory Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


December 20, 2019

When it comes time to make living arrangements for an aging loved one in need of support, explore the benefits of memory care assisted living.


Memory Care Living

Nearly 50 million Americans struggle with dementia and over 10 million new cases are reported each year. Is an older adult in your life currently facing a form of dementia?

As difficult as the disease is on the individual, it can be equally as taxing on those around them. In many cases, dementia alters the personality of the loved one you once knew. They often experience mood swings, forget who friends and family are, and in some cases, become depressed.

Are you struggling to find the best care for your loved one? Memory care assisted living programs provide specialized, compassionate care for the aging adult in your life.

Continue reading to learn more about this beneficial resource.


What is Memory Care Assisted Living?

There are two forms of memory care assisted living – one involves your loved one entering an assisted living facility, while the other provides services in the comfort of their own home. Whenever possible, it’s recommended that you keep your loved one at home.

This is where they feel safe and comfortable. It’s also familiar to them, which plays a key role in their care and progress. The more familiar dementia patients are with their surroundings, the less agitated they become.

Memory care is focused on meeting the specific needs of someone battling dementia. While all programs are unique to the individual, some common services include:

  • Meal prep
  • Medication administration
  • Socialization
  • Personal hygiene support
  • Housekeeping
  • Basic care needs

Some facilities and services also offer outings and group activities to help promote cognitive function. These include fitness and wellness activities and different forms of therapy.

The primary focus of memory care assisted living at home is to keep your loved one calm, comfortable, and happy. Dementia patients don’t respond well to stress, so the calmer and more at peace they are, the better.


Signs Your Loved One Would Benefit from Memory Care Assisted Living

Forgetfulness is all a part of aging. But how can you tell the difference between common memory loss and onset dementia?

Let’s explore some early warning signs of this debilitating disease.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or writing
  • Confusion over time and place
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Trouble solving common problems
  • Misplacing items
  • Poor judgment
  • Inability to plan or make decisions
  • Difficulty understanding visual information
  • Unexplained mood swings

If your loved one is exhibiting any, or all, of these symptoms, it may be a sign of early-onset dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and requires personalized care. Unfortunately, while early detection is important, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s and no way to slow the process down.

Instead, you can offer your loved one the best care possible as you both navigate this difficult disease. Some relatives of dementia patients choose to care for their loved ones themselves.

As the disease progresses, this may become more difficult. Hiring in-house memory care assisted living services will offer you and the patient the support and resources you need. Trained professionals are skilled in accommodating the specific needs and demands of dementia patients.

If your loved one’s condition seems to worsen, they become more withdrawn or depressed, or become combative or even violent, it’s probably time to hire professional assistance.


What to Expect From In-Home Care

The time has come and you’ve decided to hire an in-home caregiver or assisted living service for your aging loved one. This can be a difficult decision to make. After all, you’re welcoming someone new into your loved one’s home and entrusting them with their care.

To help ease your mind and support your decision, here are a few things you and your aging loved one can expect from memory care services in your home.


More Individualized Care

One of the biggest benefits of hiring an in-home professional for your loved one is the unique, individualized care they’ll receive. While assisted living facilities try to provide compassionate care, they can’t offer consistent one-on-one interactions.

Your loved one will receive the undivided time and attention of the caregiver. Not only does this make them feel special but the in-home professional gets to know your loved one on a more personal level.

The caregiver will know first-hand, and immediately, if your loved one is exhibiting unusual behavior. This means early detection for any additional medical issues.

With only one patient to care for, your aging adult receives the best possible care.


A Personal Connection

Providing care for a loved one with dementia goes far beyond their physical health. In fact, fostering their emotional well-being, keeping them calm, and engaging them cognitively is of utmost importance.

In-home caregivers become invested in their patients. Your loved one will have someone by their side each day to lend both physical and emotional support.

Many caregivers go far beyond the call of duty and become a friend and companion to their patients. This provides family members with peace of mind – knowing your loved one is being cared for with compassion is priceless.


Reliable, Consistent Care

There’s nothing worse for a dementia patient than confusion and stress. Assisted living facilities have several staff members working on any given day. This means your loved one may have a different caregiver every day.

This can be confusing and upsetting for them.

Hiring an in-home care professional means your loved one receives consistent, reliable, and familiar care. The professional arrives each day at the same time, greeting your loved one by name.

This establishes trust and helps them remain calm. It also creates a structured routine, which reduces confusion.


Resources for All Family Members

In-home memory care isn’t just for aging adults. Many services offer support and resources for family members, as well.

Your loved one isn’t the only one struggling through their dementia diagnosis. Watching your beloved family member deteriorate is extremely difficult.

Let a professional assisted living team help you navigate the emotional, physical, and financial burden of caring for a loved one with dementia.


Give Your Loved One the Care They Deserve

You may be unsure of what to do following a dementia diagnosis. Your initial reaction may be to take care of your loved one yourself. And while this is commendable, it can become overwhelming for most.

Hiring professional, in-home memory care assisted living services can help ease the pressure and provide your loved one with the individualized care they need.

Take a moment to browse our in-home care services or call 434.202.8565 to discover how Commonwise Home Care can benefit you and your loved ones.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

In Home Hospice Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


December 17, 2019

End of life care for a loved one is the hardest to research. Learn the difference between hospice and palliative care so you know which is right for your loved one.


Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care are easily confused, similar to how Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be misunderstood. Dementia is the umbrella term for memory loss diseases, while Alzheimer’s is a specific diagnosis within the dementia category.

“Hospice” is a broader term for end of life home care that palliative care also falls under. Both forms of caregiving revolve around ensuring patient comfort after the diagnosis of a chronic disease or terminal illness:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Dementia

The biggest difference between hospice and palliative care is the time when each is provided. Let’s review the details of each so you know which type of care is right for your loved one.


What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is provided to increase the quality of life for a patient who is diagnosed with a serious illness. The purpose of palliative care is to help a patient manage symptoms and support their wellbeing during treatment.

Once a patient is diagnosed with a chronic disease, a palliative caregiver can be requested during any stage of their active treatment process. For instance, a patient may be given palliative care while they go through chemotherapy after a lung cancer diagnosis. A variety of different health care providers can give palliative care, such as doctors, chaplains, and home care agencies like Commonwise Home Care.

The approach to palliative care embraces the entire human experience during a health decline: mental, physical, emotional, social, and even spiritual if requested. Palliative caregivers do not administer medication or any form of treatment but support the patient in every way possible as the disease progresses.


What is Hospice Care?

Hospice is provided during the final stages of life, usually when an individual has less than 6 months to live. As the American Cancer Society says, “Hospice care treats the person and symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the disease itself.” Once a disease has reached a point where it is uncurable and recovery is no longer probable, hospice steps in.

Similar to palliative care, hospice care does not physically treat the patient, but helps them manage symptoms and side effects. Hospice is different than palliative care in that hospice care is not provided while a patient undergoes treatment. Hospice caregivers support and affirm the patient’s life, but there is an understanding that the illness is terminal.

Please fight the urge to believe that hospice care is equivalent to “giving up.” A patient may enter back into treatment at any point during hospice care. As a family caregiver, consider respite care before making any big decisions. The decline of a loved one is unlike any other experience and may require time away as a range of emotions and physical weariness set in.


Around The Clock Caregiver

As a chronic disease progresses, the level of care a patient may need can dramatically increase. 24 hour home care provides around the clock caregivers to actively monitor your loved one. Professional caregivers can assist in a variety of ways to support older adults from personal care services like feeding and grooming or hospital-to-home care.

End of life care isn’t just about managing pain and other symptoms, it’s about making the most of the time your loved one has left.


End of Life Care

Terms like palliative care and hospice can get confusing as you search for specific types of care for a loved one online. If you need help figuring out which type of care is right, don’t hesitate to give us a call. As a home care agency, we are here to answer any questions you may have about palliative care, hospice care, and anything in between.

Even if end of life care isn’t immediately needed, creating a care plan ahead of time can reduce stress and provide peace of mind. Conversations like these are never easy, but we support families as much as we support their loved ones. Care is holistic and we believe it starts with compassion.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, please call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Caring for Someone with Dementia at Home

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


December 4, 2019

A deteriorating memory is a common but concerning sign of the aging process. Learn how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s at home.


Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Caring for those with declining health can be physically and emotionally exhausting. In order to know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, a caregiver needs to learn about each condition. Understanding the disease a patient lives with helps caregivers compassionately work through difficult situations.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are both conditions that affect the brain’s function, particularly in terms of thinking and memory. Although similar, they are not the same diagnosis. 

Dementia is a broader term that encompasses a wide range of diseases categorized by a loss of memory and thinking skills, which affect daily life. Some types of dementia include:

Alzheimer’s is a subset of dementia; a progressive disease that impairs a patient’s memory and cognitive ability to think properly. The majority of adults, 65 years and older, suffer from Alzheimer’s—the most common form of dementia.


Caring For Alzheimer’s Patient

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that requires careful oversight because a patient’s health can decline at a rapid pace. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge for families because of their changes in personality, physical abilities, and daily functionality. Communication becomes especially difficult as time goes on.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be just as scary for the older adult suffering from it as it is for the primary caregiver. Empathy is an intrinsic part of providing compassionate care. When you are caring for someone with dementia at home, consider how they are feeling and try to meet them where they are at.

Older adults with a memory loss condition frequently forget where they are, how things work, who they are, who other people are, etc. Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t know where you were or the person in your home. Patience and empathy are necessary for working through these situations.

Patients who suffer from one of these deteriorating brain diseases may require 24 hour home care for their own safety. If not watched carefully, patients may forget to take their daily medication or controlling bodily functions like using the bathroom. Professional caregivers can help with ambulating a patient, medication reminders, meal preparation, and even short term care to give primary caregivers a break.


Respite Care

Please know, if you are a primary caregiver to a loved one—it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes, caregivers simply need to step away from their duties and rest for their own wellbeing. As a caregiver, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will not be functioning at full capacity to care well for others.

As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Respite care for caregivers provides short-term relief to those who are constantly pouring out their time and attention to loved ones. A federal Lifespan Respite Care Act has even been put in place to ensure that family caregivers are able to take time off from their full-time caregiver duties.

Self-care for caregivers is just as important as caring for the patient in need. Do yourself a favor and take some time to breathe, reset and destress. Whether you call a neighbor, friend, family member, or professional home health care agency like Commonwise Home Care, let others support you in your dedicated care for others.


In Home Care Services

In home care is not a one size fits all service. Every family’s loved one has a unique situation or need that requires intentional, personalized care. At Commonwise Home Care, our goal is to provide the highest level of care by the most compassionate caregivers. 

As a home care agency, we provide long term care and short term assistance by professional caregivers. Our caregivers know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, so you can have peace of mind. We understand that every older adult has specific health conditions that require a high-touch level of care, which is why we create a personal care plan for each patient.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

24 Hour Elderly Care

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


November 19, 2019

24 hour elderly care provides a solution to aging adults and their families who don’t want to transition a loved one into an assisted living facility.


24 Hour Home Care

Watching loved ones age is a difficult process filled with emotional decisions. As a family member or primary caregiver, you may see a decline in a loved one’s health and need to reach out for help. Not everyone caring for a dependant, older adult is able to provide the necessary care; let alone 24 hours per day.

In home care provides assistance by professional caregivers to help families care for aging adults. 24 hour care for the elderly in their home provides around-the-clock caregiver support without requiring a loved one to leave their comfort zone.

24 hour elderly home care typically provides two caregivers in 12-hour shifts to cover both the day and nighttime hours. In some cases, three caregivers will rotate for 8-hour shifts at a time. One of the benefits of 24-hour care is the constant rotation of caregivers, meaning there is no time where the patient goes unwatched. The 2-3 person rotation ensures that a caregiver is always awake and readily alert to oversee the patient’s care.

24/7 home care can be helpful for short term or long term periods of time. For instance, if an older adult undergoes an operation, 24-hour post surgery home care may be needed during their recovery. In other cases, long term older adult home care is particularly helpful. Patients who suffer from Dementia may require ongoing 24-hour home care to provide critical services such as daily medication reminders.


Live in Senior Care

Live in senior care is not the same as 24-hour home care. Elderly live in home care provides a dedicated caregiver to your loved one for daily support. This dedicated caregiver will literally “live in” the patient’s home providing close, one-on-one care. 

A benefit to live in home care is it limits the number of caregiver interactions to one person, unlike 24-hour senior care. Keeping the same caregiver day after day provides consistency for the patient. 

A primary difference between live in and 24 hour elderly care is the consecutive number of hours caregivers are actively caring. Live in caregivers receive a mandatory 8 hours of sleep per night while 24-hour care provides a new caregiver during the evening. 

In general, there are a number of risks inherent to live-in care. First, seniors place all of their trust in one person and can be left without a backup solution in the event that the caregiver’s availability changes. Second, the live in caregiver is permitted to sleep and occasionally leave the home. Therefore, an older adult will go unsupervised unless a family member steps in or additional care coverage is requested. For these reasons, Commonwise disfavors live-in care. 


Home Care Services for the Elderly

To recap, 24-hour care provides multiple caregivers in shifts for around the clock care. Live in senior care provides one caregiver who physically lives in the patient’s home for daily assistance.

Commonwise caregivers, whether they are providing live-in or 24 hour elderly care, assist with daily activities such as housework, toileting, personal hygiene, ambulation, meal preparation, and a list of other care management and personal care services. Regardless of the length of time spent with an older adult, providing compassionate, relational care is always our standard.

Additionally, our professional RN care managers play an active role in the management of 24-hour care clients. Commonwise is, therefore, well suited to deliver higher quality, round-the-clock service to clients.

Home care is not an easy conversation, but we are here to walk you through it. Whether your loved one needs total patient care by a registered nurse, or live in care by a dedicated caregiver, we are on call to answer questions and assist. To learn more about the Commonwise difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.