Recognizing Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month. Make a commitment to honor the loving people who dedicate countless hours and resources caring for a chronically or terminally ill relative.

It’s not unheard of for a family member to care for an invalid loved one at home, but these days family caregivers are being asked to shoulder immense responsibilities while balancing work and home obligations. These caregivers are often unprepared to manage the complex nursing required for someone suffering with a serious chronic condition. The physical and emotional demands of long-term caregiving can lead to anxiety, depression, compromised health, and financial hardship. .

Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice provide services that can assist family caregivers. Many of these services are eligible for Medicare and private insurance coverage with physician referral. Be sure your marketing resources inform families about the in-home services available to help with: skilled nursing, symptom management, pain management, nutritional support, wound care, diabetic care, IV therapy, respite care, companionship and homemaking services.

Here are some promotional ideas:

  • Call on Human Resource agencies in your service area about promoting your care services on their employee portals. Explain how your agency can help caregivers achieve better work-home balance. Ask them to link to your website for detailed information and a one-on-one assessment. 

  • Sponsor a family caregiver event in your community. Discuss long-term planning, care options, and home care services. Invite financial planners, lawyers, social workers, and the full spectrum of home health and private duty providers to speak.

  • Family caregivers usually accompany their loved ones to doctor visits so be sure to provide your referring physicians with information about your respite care services.

  • Add a link to the Caregiver Action Network’s Family Caregiver Story Project on your website to show your commitment to helping caregivers find the resources they need. Visitors can read about the experiences of other family caregivers and find condition specific information to help them in their care giving role.

Visit the TAG Web Store for all your Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice marketing materials.

Boost agency awareness with diabetes education

Make diabetes education a priority this November. Not only is it American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month, but World Diabetes Day is Nov. 14.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects about 25.8 million Americans. Of those, about 7 million are undiagnosed. Even more shocking is the fact that about 79 million American adults have prediabetes — that’s 35 percent of adults age 20 and older! If the current trends continue, the CDC estimates that one-third of all American adults could have the disease by 2050.

And the illness is no laughing matter. Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is too high because your body either doesn’t make enough insulin to help the sugar get into your body’s cells or can’t use the hormone as well as it should. It increases a person’s risk of stroke, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and leg and foot amputations.

Such a serious and widespread health problem deserves your agency’s attention.

  • Start with a visit to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ education website. There you’ll find tons of free posters, fact sheets, videos and other useful materials.
  • Partner with a local optometrist and spread the word about the importance of regular eye exams to help make an early diabetes diagnosis. Optometrists can detect whether unexplained blurry vision or changes in prescriptions may be caused by narrowed blood vessels. Jointly host a discussion at a local senior center about this important issue. Be sure to take the doctor and the facility director to a healthy lunch afterward.
  • Volunteer to teach a diet and nutrition class in a local ALF with your favorite activity director. Tout the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in the prevention of diabetes. Bring along healthy snack alternatives to add to the discussion and promise a follow-up class on sensory changes as we age. Call 866-232-6477 for individual component pricing.
  • Post an item on your municipal government’s meeting agenda seeking to proclaim November as American Diabetes Month in your community. Be sure to sign up to speak during the agenda item’s reading or during the public comment portion of the meeting. View this sample proclamation for reference as you create your own.
  • Visit all the general practitioner offices in your market and educate them about your agency’s efforts in caring for diabetic patients. Leave behind disease-specific flyers or brochures.
  • Donate current diabetes books to your local library and insert a bookplate identifying your agency’s donation.
  • Give diabetic patients helpful tools to manage and monitor their condition. Zone flyers are an easy way to let them know whether their symptoms are normal, warrant a call to your agency, or are an emergency. Glucose logs help patients keep a clear record of their blood glucose levels and important screenings.

Your next home care marketing opportunity: Aphasia Awareness Month

Living with aphasia can be frustrating for both patients and their loved ones. June is National Aphasia Awareness Month.

Make it a point to educate your community about aphasia, its common causes, and how people with aphasia can benefit from your services. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Host an educational session on aphasia and ways to improve communication. Find tons of tips and tools at the website of the National Aphasia Association.
  • Educate your referral sources and patients about the role speech-language pathologists play in assisting those with common medical conditions, including aphasia.
  • Visit the Aphasia Awareness Month webpage hosted by the American Stroke Association and stock up on tons of ready-made resources to reach out to your community about this language disorder. Be sure to add their infographics to your company's website.
  • Post an item to your municipal government’s regular meeting agenda seeking to recognize June as Aphasia Awareness Month. Invite your speech-language pathologists to participate. Be sure to speak during the reading of the agenda item or during the meeting’s public comment period about the important work these professionals do. See page 2 at this link for a sample proclamation.
  • Contact your local television morning talk show producers and ask to be featured in a segment about aphasia awareness. Ask one of your agency’s speech-language pathologists to join you. Prepare yourself for the appearance by learning aphasia statistics, common conditions that cause aphasia, and tips to cope.
  • Create a word search puzzle using aphasia terms and personalize it to your agency. Leave stacks of them in the rehabilitation facilities in your area.
  • Locate a patient who is a stroke survivor who has made strides in overcoming their aphasia with the help of your speech-language pathologist. Secure the appropriate releases to speak with the media and then contact your local newspaper for a feature story about this patient, her progress, and how your agency has helped.

Make plans to recognize Senior Citizens Day

Senior Citizens Day is Aug. 21, and it’s an occasion you don’t want to miss. It’s a time to celebrate the nation’s fastest growing demographic and all of the contributions they continue to make to our communities.

Help celebrate the spirit of the day by recognizing the efforts of the seniors in your area. Here are some tips to get started.

  • Contact your local chapter of Service Corps for Retired Executives, or SCORE. This agency matches volunteer mentors with small businesses. Offer to support the group by facilitating meeting space, providing refreshments, or hosting a small-business networking event. By supporting these seniors, you are reaching a vital, active section of the community with great connections of their own.
  • Remind your community about the vibrancy of your senior community by printing out meaningful quotes from notable people about seniors and aging. Post them on bulletin boards and in the offices of referral sources and senior communities throughout your area. Don’t forget to include your agency’s name and contact information. Find great examples of these quotes at the Emily Fund's website.
  • Team up with a local gerontologist’s office and offer an on-site mini senior fair with about six noncompeting local vendors in a doctor’s office parking lot. Have food, marketing brochures and promotional items at the ready. Call TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 or email to discuss options for promotional items, such as stress balls, hand fans or mini flashlights.
  • Contact the producers of a local television morning news show and offer to speak on the air about the importance of aging in place and ways to help seniors do this. Don’t forget to highlight your services.
  • Organize and host a caregiver resource fair to help those who are caring for a spouse, parent or other loved one at home. Get tips on organizing the event here.

Spread happiness and build relationships this August

August is Happiness Happens Month, an observance initiated by the Secret Society of Happy People.

The idea behind the month is to make happiness a habit for a month and allow it to take root as a great attitude change all year long. Spread the cheer throughout your community, your client population, and your organization. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Start by visiting the sponsor organization’s website for the observance.
  • Make an appointment with your favorite assisted living facility activities director. Plan an event centered on residents telling stories about their happiest or most uplifting day. Offer a small treat to those who participate and share their happy stories.
  • Send out fun e-cards to all your contacts and remind them to stay happy. Be sure to tell them to call you when they see clients who may need a consultation visit for your services. Here are some fun and free e-cards.
  • Host a happiness seminar at a local civic meeting place or church. Ask inspirational speakers with positive messages to address the group, and invite church and civic groups from your entire market to attend. Hand out refreshments and happy-themed promotional items and spread the good news about your services. Contact TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 or email to discuss promotional items and signage ideas for your event.
  • Launch a contest to find the happiest person in your physician referral sources’ offices. Take in a ballot box with entry forms and encourage the entire office to vote on the happiest person. Come back during the first week of September and count the votes. Award a happy face button and a small gift basket to the winner. Make this an annual event in all your referral sources’ offices.
  • Organize a “happy moments” essay contest open to all patients and their family members. Ask them to write about the happiest time in their lives. Publish the winning stories in your newsletter and website, and contact your local newspaper and television news stations about this truly feel-good story.