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Lilacs & Greensleeves: Hospice and Respite Care

  • Posted On August 20, 2018
  • Categorized In Awareness
  • Written By

How Respite Care Brings Relief for Caregiver Burnout

Demands of Caregiving

Caregiving for someone who is ill can be stressful, but when that someone is in the final stages of life, caregiving takes on different challenges. Care requirements are often escalated, with medications given more frequently, special wound care that may be needed, as well as assistance with feeding and toileting. The uncertainty of when death will occur also puts emotional pressure on the caregiver.

All of this can cause caregivers to lose sleep and live in isolation and fear, which can result in depression, fatigue and anxiety, also referred to as “caregiver burnout.”¹ To deter this, it is essential that those taking care of the dying also take care of themselves by getting plenty of rest and making time for themselves away from the demands of caregiving.

End-of-life patients receiving hospice services are eligible for “respite care,” defined and covered by the Medicare hospice benefit. Hospice respite care allows a family caregiver to get a break from caregiving duties while the patient is cared for in a Medicare-certified inpatient facility.

See a list of all VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit locations

What Is Respite Care?

Medicare defines respite care as, “… short-term inpatient care provided to the individual only when necessary to relieve the family members or the person caring for the individual at home.”²

Situations that are considered necessary include:

Caregivers who may be suffering from physical or emotional exhaustion from taking care of a patient around the clock

Caregivers who would like to attend a family event such as a graduation, wedding, funeral, etc.

Caregivers who become ill and cannot take care of the patient.

Who Provides Respite Care?


In the event of these kinds of situations, the hospice benefit pays for a patient to stay in a Medicare-certified facility for up to five days and nights while the caregiver is away. Members of the hospice care team, who are in a position to notice the symptoms of caregiver burnout, can ask the team physician to provide orders to admit a patient into a Medicare-approved facility, such as a hospice inpatient unit, a bed in a hospital contracted by the hospice, or a nursing home.

Once the patient is admitted, the hospice team continues to expedite the patient’s plan of care, while the facility staff provides the care that would have been given by the family caregiver. Under the hospice benefit, inpatient respite care can be provided on an occasional basis, ensuring that the caregiver can relax and enjoy time away knowing his or her loved one is in good hands.

Not every caregiver needs a break of up to five days and nights, which respite care provides. Relief from caregiving can also be provided by other means. When a hospice care team member, including a hospice volunteer, arrives [at the home] or a trusted friend is visiting [the home], the family caregiver may utilize that time to run errands, take a walk or meet friends.

Re-energizing the Caregiver with Respite Care

Spending time with others or taking a short trip can help caregivers catch up on much needed rest, gain perspective and foster a more positive attitude. To get the most from respite care, caregivers are encouraged to plan ahead to decide how they will spend this time. The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center recommends that caregivers take regular and sufficient amounts of respite time and make this a meaningful and purposeful break from routine³.

Respite Care is One of Our Four Levels of Care

VITAS offers four broad types, or levels, of care as defined by the Medicare hospice benefit:

Routine home care. This is how we provide hospice care most often: in patients’ homes, long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

Continuous care (Intensive Comfort Care®). When medically necessary, acute symptom management is provided at home or in another facility by hospice staff in shifts of up to 24 hours/day so the patient can avoid hospitalization.

Inpatient care. If a patient’s needs cannot be managed at home, VITAS inpatient hospice units and special arrangements at other local facilities provide hospice care around the clock until the patient can return home.

Respite care. Limited to up to five consecutive days, respite care provides a brief “respite” for the patient’s primary caregiver by admitting the home care patient to an institutional setting without meeting the “inpatient” pain and symptom management criteria.

Source here>


Lilacs & Greensleeves: PS; Pamela Wright, BSW, MSW, LCSW

Care4You is very honored to feature Pamela Wright as our Professional Spotlight. Pamela, we appreciate all that you do in your assistance and education services as a VITAS Community Liaison! You a a gift that through your dedication, keeps on giving. Thank you so much!

Pamela Wright, BSW, MSW, LCSW
Senior Community Liaison
VITAS Healthcare

Pamela Wright is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Senior Community Liaison with VITAS Healthcare. In addition to one-on-one conversations about goals of care with the high risk patient population, Pam is responsible for end-of-life care education, development and outreach to underserved communities, and is a local and national guest lecturer for Conferences, Universities, Health Plans, ACOs, and the general community. She speaks often about best practices in Hospice and Palliative care, Advanced Directives, POLST, and psychosocial management of pain and suffering in end of life care.

Since 1995, Pam has worked for VITAS in clinical social work, later in community development, and has served as a member of the VITAS  West Coast Bioethics Committee. She has worked as a Clinical Social Worker for Charter for Charter Behavior Health and as a Social Worker Intern/Discharge planner for Huntington Hospital.

Pam is active in many professional organizations in the health and aging arena. She is a member of the California Coalition for Compassionate Care, San Gabriel Valley Certified Nursing Awards Executive Committee, the City of Pasadena’s annual Conference on Aging, and the San Gabriel Valley End of Life Care Coalition. She received a Senior Service Award from the Pasadena Senior Center and a Congressional Award from Representative Adam Schiff in August 2006 for outstanding contributions to the community.

Pam received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Loma Linda University in Riverside and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UCLA. She rounded out the clinical expertise from her Master’s degree by receiving her License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) from California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences in 2005.

Source here>


Lilacs & Greensleeves: CP; VITAS Healthcare

Care4You is proud to feature VITAS Healthcare as our Community Partner! Their kind and caring spirit is well known in the community. Thank you VITAS for everything that you do in service to those in need at what can be such a difficult time in their lives! It is comforting to know that you are there so willing to help!

The Best in Hospice Care in Southern California

VITAS Healthcare provides end-of-life care for adult and pediatric patients with life-limiting illnesses. We work with patients and families to provide comfort and preserve dignity in the face of terminal illness.

Comfort Care at the End of Life

Hospice is about living with comfort and dignity during the last months, weeks and days of life. It is a commitment to caring for those who have a life-limiting illness. By promoting comfort, palliative care allows people near the end of life to live more fully at home, wherever that might be, surrounded by family, culture and tradition.

Hospice is not about losing hope or about giving up. Hospice is about redefining hope: hope for a richer, more peaceful end-of-life experience; hope for an easier transition for your family through sensitive grief support.

Hospice Care at Home

When everything is changing, VITAS helps things stay familiar. We help patients stay home and in the Southern California area whenever possible—whether home is a private residence, an assisted living or long term care facility, or even a hospital room. We work with patients’ personal physicians, so patients keep the doctors they know and trust. No matter where care takes place, we coordinate closely with all caregivers, spiritual advisors, families and friends to ensure the patients’ optimal well-being.

Palliative Care

VITAS is experienced in palliative care, a field of medicine that focuses not on curing illness but on actively managing pain, symptoms and spiritual and emotional needs so patients can have the best quality of life possible. Palliative care is a component of hospice care. As a palliative care pioneer, VITAS has developed effective protocols that are customized for each patient and family.

VITAS Website here>


Lilacs & Greensleeves: Preventing Fraud and Abuse

  • Posted On July 12, 2018
  • Categorized In Awareness
  • Written By

Written by Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey:

One in five seniors has been the victim of a financial crime. Some lose money to fraudulent loan investment schemes and others fall prey to crooked telemarketers, phony charities and dishonest contractors.

It happened to my mother. A man called and told her he was a police officer and that her grandson was in jail. He told my mother that she needed to wire money overseas. He also told her not to tell anyone. If she did, his criminal activity certainly would have been uncovered. If this can happen to my mother, it can happen to anyone.

I am committed to prosecuting these cases and making sure criminals are punished. But I also want to prevent these kinds of financial crimes before they happen. The best way to stop fraud is through education.

Seniors and their families can reduce their chance of becoming victims by being informed and following basic rules to protect themselves. This information includes tips on fraud prevention that are simple but effective.

If you or a senior you know has been a fraud victim, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-(877) 4-R-SENIORS or 1-(877) 477-3646. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at
Jackie Lacey
District Attorney
Los Angeles County
CON ARTISTS USE MANY SCAMS: Con artists use a variety of ways to get their hands on your hard-earned life savings. They know that seniors possess an enormous concentration of wealth. They know that seniors, who were raised in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, were taught to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits. Often, seniors who live alone are targeted.
Scams take many forms and criminals use numerous ruses. Sometimes the criminal seems to be a friend – even a romantic interest. Unfortunately, in many cases, the people defrauding seniors are family members. Many con artists go door-to-door to find victims, running home-repair scams, investment schemes or soliciting donations for phony charities. Other criminals make their ill-gotten gains through the phone or Internet.
Some of these criminals may use friendly chatter or will drop the name of someone you know. Others use high-pressure tactics to get you to divulge your Social Security number, birth date, debit or credit card account and personal identification number or PIN.
Some phone scammers pretend to be police officers or government employees, and they concoct a variety of clever ploys. Others get to know their victims intimately, working over the course of months or years to get access to their assets. In some cases, family members take control of seniors’ finances for their own personal gain.
PREVENTION: It takes vigilance and preparation to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. You need to be aware that there are unscrupulous individuals who are trying to get rich by stealing from your life savings. Simple steps can be taken to make sure you do not become a victim of fraud. Often, it is as easy as hanging up the phone or saying: “No, thank you.”
Here are a few tips:
Don’t wire money to strangers, even if they say they are a police officer.
Don’t share identifying information such as Social Security and bank account numbers with unsolicited callers. An actual bank or credit card company will not ask for such information.
Don’t unlock or open the door to unknown, uninvited visitors.
Don’t let them in your home, even if they claim to be a police officer, utility worker or government employee. Use peep holes or intercoms to identify visitors before unlocking or opening a door.
Call police if a stranger lingers or refuses to leave your property or doorway area.
Screen your calls through an answering machine or caller ID system. Hang up the phone if you don’t know the caller.
Never buy anything over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Never open any email from an unknown sender, no matter what the subject line says. That email may allow the sender to hack into your personal information.
Shred unwanted past credit card bills, investment records, insurance policies, medical and tax records. Identity thieves dig through trash for these documents.
Verify the identities of strangers before starting a business transaction or making a donation. Don’t be fooled by deals that sound too good to be true.
LOOK FOR DANGER SIGNS: If you know or care for an older adult, here are some warning signs that may point to financial abuse:
There is unusual activity – such as withdrawals or new names added – on the person’s financial accounts.
The senior suddenly appears confused, unkempt and afraid. Essential bills are going unpaid.
The caregiver will not allow others access to the senior.
The residence contains many sweepstakes mailings, magazine subscriptions or free gifts. 
This may indicate that successful con artists previously have victimized the senior.


Lilacs & Greensleeves: PS; Jackie Lacey, D.A. Los Angeles CA.

Care4You is quite honored to feature District Attorney Jackie Lacey as our Professional Spotlight! Thank you D.A. Lacey for everything that you do to serve our community well! We appreciate you!

D.A. Jackie Lacey

District Attorney Jackie Lacey has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 3, 2012, she was sworn in as the 42nd District Attorney. She was re-elected four years later without opposition.

Her top priority is keeping the streets of Los Angeles County safe from violent and dangerous criminals. She is committed to safeguarding our children from human sex traffickers, our seniors from financial elder abuse and our communities from environmental crimes that threaten our health and our livelihood.

District Attorney Lacey has worked with business leaders on how best to protect consumers from computer network intrusions that jeopardize our bank accounts and credit ratings. She also remains committed to prosecuting government officials who violate the public’s trust.

A Los Angeles native and graduate of the University of Southern California Law School, District Attorney Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation, with a workforce of approximately 1,000 lawyers, 300 investigators and 800 support staff employees.

She is the first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County District Attorney since the office was established in 1850.

Read D.A. Lacey’s Full Bio here>

Elder abuse is a rapidly growing criminal problem. As the baby boom generation grays and life expectancy increases, incidents of physical, emotional and financial abuse against elders are expected to grow unless steps are taken. Detection of abuse, neglect and fraud is critical. One of District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s top priorities is safeguarding seniors from financial crimes. Her mother was the victim of a telephone scam.

She initiated a public education campaign in partnership with the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, in which the District Attorney’s Office trains and equips Rotary Club volunteers to educate seniors on how to protect themselves against fraud.

As part of the campaign, the District Attorney and her mother made public service announcements warning elders about the dangers of financial scams. The office also produces twice monthly Fraud Alerts to warn the public about new and ongoing scams in Los Angeles County. You may view them here. The office also created a new pamphlet, Safeguarding Your Future, filled with tips to help seniors avoid being defrauded.

For these efforts, the District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Financial Abuse Outreach campaign was presented in October 2014 with the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission’s Top Ten Award and Plain Language Award.

Excellent…well done, D.A. Lacey!

Lilacs & Greensleeves: CP; Office of the District Attorney, Los Angeles, CA.

Care4You is proud to feature the Office of the District Attorney Los Angeles as our Community Partner! We very much appreciate the work being done in this very important office for the safety of everyone in our community!!


The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is the largest local prosecutorial office in the United States.

Members of the District Attorney’s staff strive to vigorously, effectively and fairly prosecute all those who break laws in Los Angeles County and see that those convicted are appropriately punished.

The office’s top priority is the prosecution of violent and dangerous criminals – murderers, rapists, gang members, child abusers and robbers among them.

Nearly 1,000 attorneys, known as deputy district attorneys, prosecute more than 71,000 serious crimes called felonies throughout Los Angeles County each year.

They also prosecute roughly 112,000 less serious crimes known as misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the county’s 88 cities. Ten cities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Pasadena, have city prosecutors who handle misdemeanor crimes and municipal code violations that occur within their jurisdictions.

Deputy district attorneys are prosecutors who represent the people of the State of California. They review investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies and decide whether there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. They also decide what charge or charges, if any, are appropriate based on the evidence presented. Prosecutors handle court proceedings, including trials, that may follow the filing of criminal charges.

The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases in a large geographical area covering 4,083 square miles. Its jurisdiction stretches from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach and from Pomona to Malibu. Los Angeles County, with more than 10 million residents, is the nation’s most populous county – larger in population than 42 states.

Continue reading here>

Elder abuse is a rapidly growing criminal problem. As the baby boom generation grays and life expectancy increases, incidents of physical, emotional and financial abuse against elders are expected to grow unless steps are taken. Detection of abuse, neglect and fraud is critical. One of District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s top priorities is safeguarding seniors from financial crimes. Her mother was the victim of a telephone scam.

She initiated a public education campaign in partnership with the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, in which the District Attorney’s Office trains and equips Rotary Club volunteers to educate seniors on how to protect themselves against fraud.

As part of this campaign, these web pages include important information about the warning signs of possible criminal activity involving financial fraud. There also is important information on physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

If you are concerned that a senior is being victimized, please contact your local law enforcement agency and/or the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline 1-877-4-R-SENIORS (1-877-477-3646). You also may report elder abuse online at this Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services website (

View additional resources on keeping seniors safe.

Source including an excellent brief video here>


Lilacs & Greensleeves: Preventing Dehydration

  • Posted On June 19, 2018
  • Categorized In Awareness
  • Written By

“Everyone needs water to survive. Water delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout our bodies. It protects and moistens organs and tissue, and carries wastes out of the body. Water also controls body temperature by making sweat to cool you down when you become hot. Our bodies lose fluids every day through urination, perspiration, and even when we breathe. These fluids need to be replaced. While every person’s body is different, most adults should drink about 8 glasses (1 glass = 8 ounces) of fluids every day, and most children over age four should drink about 6-10 glasses every day.

What is dehydration?

When your body does not have enough water or liquid, it cannot work the way it should. This is called dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the body loses liquid more quickly than it is replaced. This can happen as a result of:

  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Increased perspiration caused by fever, exercise, or hot and humid weather
  • Drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages that increase urination (coffee, tea, or soda)
  • Taking certain medications that increase urination (diuretics, antihistamines or blood pressure medications)
  • Bladder infections or urinary tract infections
  • Eating certain foods (especially salty foods or broths)
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • The same things that commonly cause dehydration – diarrhea, vomiting, and increased sweating or urination – also cause your body to lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals (including sodium, potassium and chloride) that dissolve in your blood. A proper balance of electrolytes is necessary for cells, organs and the nervous system to function properly. Losing electrolytes during dehydration can cause your blood pressure to drop, and make you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

How can I tell if someone is dehydrated?

Symptoms of dehydration can be mild or severe. If someone is dehydrated, he or she may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Thirst
  • Dizziness, especially when moving or standing up
  • A dry, sticky mouth
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark urine
  • An inability to produce sweat or tears
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry, shriveled skin
  • Sleepiness, tiredness or confusion
  • Chills

Unfortunately, thirst isn’t always the best gauge of the body’s need for water, especially in children or older adults. The color of a person’s urine may be a better indicator. Clear or light-colored urine usually means that a person is well-hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color signals they are not drinking enough water.

What should I do if someone I support is dehydrated?”

Read more here>


Lilacs & Greensleeves: PS; Donna Castrejon, Community Service Specialist

Care4You is so honored to feature Donna Castrejon, Community Service Specialist, Senior Events & Funds Development at Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga as our Professional Spotlight. Thank you so much Donna, for everything that you do on behalf of those whom you serve day to day in your community. Well done!

Donna Castrejon

Donna C has been an integral part of the Senior Center team for over 13 years. Her passion and commitment have made a valuable contribution to the Center’s success in making memories for the seniors who call the Center their 2nd home. Over the past 13 years, she has been a part of the growth and development of the Center’s broad offering of services, events and activities. As the Community Services Specialist, she is constantly challenged with finding new and exciting programs to bring into the Center. To Donna, it’s all about the smiles on the faces of the 500 plus seniors coming through the doors each morning eagerly anticipating another great day spent with friends and the wonderful Center staff.

As Donna recently told Sausha Sherbin, our community liaison during a recent visit to the Center, “I love this place – It’s not a job, it’s a dream come true. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Unless I’m spending time with my grandson.”

Contact Donna through her email address or phone:

[email protected]s

(909) 477-2780 ext 3807

Lilacs & Greensleeves: CP; Central Park, Rancho Cucamonga

Care4You is very proud to have Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga as our Community Partner. Thank you to everyone there for all that you do to contribute your time and talents for the benefit of the Seniors in your community!

Central Park
One Roof, Two Centers

Central Park is a 57,000-square-foot facility located at the North West corner of Milliken Avenue and Base Line Road, just a short distance west of the Interstate 15 in between the 10 and 210 Freeways in Rancho Cucamonga. The 2005 dedication of the James L. Brulte Senior Center and Goldy S. Lewis Community Center at Central Park marks the completion of the first phase of their 103 acre Central Park project. Additional Phases will be planned as funding becomes available.

The James L. Brulte Senior Center and Goldy S. Lewis Community Center are two centers, built under one roof. The building was designed with a warm and welcoming feel with an “early California” motif. Together with inviting fireplaces, comfortable conversation seating areas and a wide variety of flexible rental space; the facility provides for endless possibilities as a venue. Their two main event halls can be combined with their open courtyard area to accommodate an expo or conference.

Whether you’re hosting a business meeting, wedding or large conference, their stunning interiors, event spaces and on-site services will help you create a memorable event.

Visit the Central Park, Rancho Cucamonga’s website here>