Freudenthal Home Health Blog

Freudenthal Home Health salutes family caregivers in the St. Joseph, MO area who are giving wonderful care and help to their senior loved ones each and every day. Our goal with this blog is to give information and resources to help and support St. Joseph, MO area family caregivers.

The Compassion Point – Spring 2019 Caregiver Award

We are proud to announce that our very own Private Duty Caregiver Brenda Miller was selected to receive the Compassion Point Spring 2019 Caregiver Award. Brenda regularly goes the extra mile to exceed not only the expectations of her job, but also the expectations of the clients she takes care of.

Congratulations Brenda – you definitely are a great example of First-Class Care!

Check out our interview with Brenda below!

Thank you! I love my job and my clients. NO WAY can any other company have a staff, like we have, that goes above and beyond to do more than just their job!!!
— Brenda Miller

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Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women we call Mom!
May your day be blessed one!

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Congratulations to Dr. Steven Brushwood!

Dr. Steven Brushwood,  Medical Director — Hospice Division  Photo/Story Credit: Northwest Healthcare

Dr. Steven Brushwood,
Medical Director — Hospice Division

Photo/Story Credit: Northwest Healthcare

Congratulations to Dr. Steven Brushwood who was inducted as President of MAOPS (Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons). We are so proud to have you as the Medical Director for Freudenthal Hospice! You are a huge blessing to our team!

He will serve as President for 2019-2020 year. As many know, Dr. Brushwood is goal oriented, an advocate for all patients and brings strong values to the table.

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Hospice Care: 6 Things You Need To Know

There are a lot of misconceptions about hospice care and many times people miss out on important care they and their families could be receiving because of them. No matter what you’ve heard, hospice is all about providing care and comfort for both patients and their family. A recent study demonstrated that family members are more satisfied with a loved one’s end of life care if they receive hospice services, with 80% of families surveyed saying their love one’s end of life wishes were followed. The focus of hospice is improving or maintaining the highest quality of life through emotional, spiritual and physical support. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) 2015 report “Hospice Care in America,” 1.6 to 1.7 million people received hospice care in 2014.

In an effort to clear up the misconceptions, here are 6 things we think you really should know about hospice care and what it can do not only for the patient but also their family caregivers.

Choosing Hospice Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Hope

Based on the 1.2 million search results for “hospice is giving up," it’s not surprising why so many people believe this to be true. Hospice care is not giving up. Instead, hospice services are there to provide comfort and improve quality of life and to help carry out the wishes of the patient.

Hospice Is A Helper For Family Caregivers

Many families, especially among ethnic communities, adopt the idea that only family can take proper care of family. They can often see hospice caregivers as interlopers rather than partners in caring for their loved ones. Hospice care is meant to be a support not only for the patient but also for the family caregivers. In fact hospice care doesn’t end at the moment of death, the hospice team continues to walk beside the family for at least a year following the death of their loved one, providing services such as grief counseling, spiritual support, and more. Bereavement support is an important part of hospice services. The NHPCO report shows that 91.6% of hospice agencies offer bereavement support to community members.

You Don’t Have to Wait Until The Very End To Choose Hospice Care

Hospice care can begin when the patient’s physician gives a prognosis of six months or less if the disease follows the expected course. Hospice often provides such comfort and support that many outlive their expected prognosis. While the majority of hospice patients do pass away during hospice care, the truth is, hospice care does not speed up death. In fact, those who employ hospice care may live longer than those who choose not to use hospice services. While a patient is referred to hospice care when a doctor’s prognosis is six months or less, if the patient lives longer, hospice care can absolutely continue past that six month mark.

You Can Receive Hospice Care At Home

Another common myth is that you must “go to hospice.” This is not the case. Hospice care can often times be administered at home. In fact, most hospice patients tend to prefer receiving care at home. Hospice is a philosophy of care and can be received wherever the patient and their loved ones prefer.

You Can Afford Hospice Care

Hospice care is covered under the Medicare hospice benefit, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. That being said, you are NOT REQUIRED to have Medicare or Medicaid in order to receive hospice care. There are many different payment options available for hospice care. 

Not All Hospice Providers Are The Same

Hospice programs must follow a set of rules and regulations determined by the state, however support services may differ. It is important to find one that offers the right care. Since the addition of hospice to the Freudenthal family of care services, we now can give you access to a full continuum of services to match the individual needs of our patients and their families. With access to our in-home services, family caregivers can find the support they need to carry out their daily activities while knowing their loved one is being cared for right in their own home.

If you have any other questions about hospice, please don’t hesitate to call us at 816-676-8050. We are here to help and support family caregivers, especially during these times of transition.

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Social Workers: Resources for Family Caregivers


Resources for family caregivers can be hard to come by and tricky to navigate when they can be found. It can leave the caregiver wishing they had a guide to walk them through the entire process. That’s exactly what social workers do, they are a guide to resources. Here’s the Top 3 ways social workers can help you navigate the confusion of paperwork and phone calls.


Social workers know the resources that are available in your area and what needs to be done to obtain them. It’s difficult to know exactly what resources you or your loved ones may qualify for. Social workers may lead you to resources you never knew existed.


Social workers are there to help and be an advocate for their clients. It can be hard to know who is on your side. There are a lot of negative stereotypes out there about social workers, but you have to remember that first and foremost, social workers are advocates for their clients and their needs.


Along with the knowledge base comes connections to the agencies with resources and the gatekeepers who control them. those connections are important when you’re in need of resources to help care for a loved one.

Freudenthal employs some of the most amazing social workers in the St. Joseph area who are ready to help you get the resources you need to be a family caregiver. Let them help you take some of the stress out of family caregiving and give you more time to be a family. Call 816-676-8050 today and let us know how we can help you.

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The Importance of Vocal Exercises for People with Parkinson's Disease

Stephanie Stewart, MSN, RN-BC interviews Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller about her vocal exercise program for people with Parkinson's disease.

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Where To Begin: The Questions You Should Be Asking


Countless times we’ve heard the stories of families that are thrust into family caregiving situations and don’t know where to begin looking for help or even what questions they should be asking. Sometimes it even can feel like caregiving options are being forced on them or that they have to make decisions “right now” without researching their options.

Choosing care for a loved one is definitely a decision that deserves some thought and research, especially when that means hiring professional caregivers that will be working inside the home. High pressure tactics on the part of a medical facility can make it feel like there is no time to make the decision, but don’t let it stop you from asking these important questions.

The Company:

Who owns the company?
Is it owned and managed by a family or a corporation?
Are they local and a part of our community?


If I have questions who do I talk to?
Is it the same person every time or is it a call center?
Is this person a healthcare professional?
If I have questions after hours or on the weekend, is there someone I can call?


Is the company certified by Medicare and Medicaid?
Are it’s caregivers bonded and insured through the agency?
What are their privacy practices?


What process do they use to hire and assess your caregivers?
What does the pre-employment screening look like?
Do they have additional screenings each year?
How do they evaluate your caregivers?
How often do they evaluate your caregivers?
What training do they provide to the caregivers?
How do they respond to emergencies?


What specific services do they provide?
Do they provide in-home care as well as home health & hospice care?
Will my loved one have the same caregiver every time?
What happens if the caregiver doesn’t show up on time or at all?
What if my loved one doesn’t approve of the caregiver or wants a new one?


How likely is it that Medicare Part A will cover my parent’s home health care?
What insurance plans do they accept?
Do they submit claims to the insurance agency or am I expected to do so?
What expenses, if any, are excluded?

These certainly do not cover all the questions you may have that are specific to your family caregiving situation, but they give you a place to start. Having a good place to begin your search is always important and if we can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to give Freudenthal a call and let us answer these questions for you.

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Do You Know The Didiley Squats?

NO? Well, let us introduce you to the Didiley Squats!

This beautiful group not only comes to exercise with Kelly Jarrett, PTA, they have also formed a group that meets bi-weekly to exercise even more! Doing this together gives them the kick they need to stay healthy. What an inspiration!

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Does Clean Laundry Benefit Your Health?


Low self-esteem can be deeply rooted, with origins in traumatic experiences. In later life, self-esteem can be undermined by ill health, negative life events, and a general sense of lack of control. Seniors with dementia or declining mental health can often begin to neglect their personal care and hygiene. They may start to wear the same clothes repeatedly or forget to bath and wash. Personal care is an important aspect not only of maintaining good health and hygiene, but also improving self-esteem. Good personal care can also improve the mental disposition of anyone receiving care.

Colby Murphy, Freudenthal preceptor and trainer, makes sure every caregiver he trains knows the phrase “look good, feel good!” Psychology Today agrees with Mr. Murphy, listing wearing clean clothes as #4 on their top 10 list of ways to boost self esteem.

If you or a loved one can no longer manage to make it up and down the stairs to the laundry room, don’t hesitate to call Freudenthal at 816-676-8050 and talk to us about starting personal care services. Not only do we want you to receive first-class care, we also want you to feel better about yourself. We truly care for each and every one of our clients.

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These Ladies Get Up & Move!

It’s no secret that there are benefits to exercise, but maybe the biggest one is the friendships that are formed. Every week Kelly Jarrett, PTA goes across St. Joseph providing free exercise classes for free as a part of our efforts to give back to the community and to help promote healthier living. We’ve found that the exercise classes are starting to have a side effect though … they are generating friendships and blessings! We here at Freudenthal are blessed every day to get to know the people we go out to serve, and it’s no different with our exercise classes. We are proud to call each and every one of you members of the Freudenthal Family!

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A Happy Valentine's Day Craft!

Paper Plate Valentine Heart Wreath



  • Paper (card stock or construction)

  • Paper plate

  • Ribbon

  • Scissors

  • Glue




  1. Cut various sizes of hearts out of your card stock or construction paper.

  2. Cut out the inner part of the paper plate leaving the outer rim intact. You will be using the outer rim for this heart wreath craft.

  3. Begin randomly gluing hearts onto the paper plate until you feel like you have enough hearts on your heart wreath. 

  4. Add a ribbon to the back of the plate to hang the wreath. 


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Trading Spaces: Should You Move Them In?


Making the decision to move a care dependent parent into your home is never an easy decision. Each situation is different and deserves to be thoroughly analyzed before you jump in feet first. Here are some questions that need to be addressed as you’re going through the decision process.


  • How will I talk to my parent about moving?

  • How does my spouse and children feel about moving them into our home, and how will it change our lives together?

  • What things will be easy for us to negotiate in living together, and what things will be hard?

  • What are the limits of my ability to care for my parent at home, and what if I have to put them in a nursing home?

  • How will my siblings feel, and how much help will they give me in caring for our parent?

  • Will their friends come to visit them at my house, or will they be dependent on me for all her socializing?

  • What are my needs for privacy and alone time?


Adapting Your Home

  • Where will my parent sleep—in my daughter's room, convert the den, build an addition?

  • What assistive devices do I need—grab bars in the bathroom, raised toilet seat, ramps, etc.?

  • Does my parent smoke or drink, and will that be a problem for me?

  • Does my parent have a pet that will be coming with them, and how will I cope with caring for it?



  • What will the financial arrangement be? Should I charge rent? Will I have expenses for them to cover?

  • How will my siblings feel about the financial arrangement?

  • Will my work situation have to change, and if so, how will I cover the bills?



  • Will my parent need care during the day, and if so, how will it be provided?

  • How will I juggle my job, childcare responsibilities, marriage, and taking care of my parent?

  • When will I be able to make the phone calls needed to make arrangements for my parent?

  • When will I have time for myself?


Personal Care

  • How comfortable am I with helping my parent bathe or changing an adult's diaper?

  • Do I know what to expect over time as my parent’s condition changes?

  • How is my health, and will I be able to take care of myself as well as my parent?

  • Am I willing to accept respite care to get a break?

If you are facing these questions, a family consultation with a Freudenthal Social Worker can help you sort out the pros and cons of such a move and provide information and resources to make things easier for you and your family. Call us at 816-676-8050 today!

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Family Caregivers: Taking Care of Yourself

“The care you give to yourself is the care you give to your loved one…” 

The easiest thing for someone to say and the hardest thing to accept is the advice to take care of yourself as a Family Caregiver. It can be hard to see beyond the care tasks that await you each morning.

Study after study shows that caregiving compromises health. About 60% of caregivers show signs of clinical depression, and they take more prescription medications, including those for anxiety and depression, than non-caregivers in their age group. 75% of caregivers in America are women, some taking care of spouses/partners, some adult children taking care of parents, some parents taking care of adult children. Let’s look at what taking care of yourself means, why is it so hard to do, and how to do it.


Support and coping comes in many forms—prayer, talking to family, friends or professionals, taking walks, reading a book, eating hot fudge sundaes, and most of all saying “yes” to offers of help. Sadly most caregivers end up withdrawing from friends and family and feeling isolated and as if no one understands. Support groups can be an important source of understanding and connection.


“Guilt is cancer. Guilt will confine you, torture you. It's a black wall. It's a thief.”

As there is no “perfect parent,” there is no such thing as a “perfect” caregiver. And you are not selfish to sometimes think about yourself and your needs and feelings. Although we will feel guilty when we get angry or frustrated, these feelings are OK and a way to know how well you are coping.

Setting Limits

Learn to ask for help. The often-heard question, “Is there anything you need?” has but one answer: Yes. “Yes, I need a meal, I need someone to stay here so I can go out, I need some time by myself, I need flowers, I need help in the garden, I need some groceries.” Learn to say “no” to requests that are draining rather than nurturing, such as hosting holiday meals. You can still make choices about your life and what is right for you and you do still have some control.

Your Body

Not getting enough sleep is a major cause of illness and stress in caregivers. Exhaustion is one of the main complaints, leading to irritability and then inappropriate anger which then leads to more guilt. Know the limits of your own endurance and strength. Make sure you have regular check ups and that those “little concerns” about your health are looked into. Exercise is even more important as it gives you a break, combats depression, and helps you maintain health. Family caregivers often worry about what will happen to their loved one if something happens to them. Worrying doesn’t help — taking better care of your health does.


Learn as much as you can about the illness so that you can understand what is happening. Attend a workshop or support group, not just for emotional support but also to learn caregiving tricks to make caregiving easier. Contact someone, like a Freudenthal Social Worker, who can help you connect with community resources and use them.

Emotional Health and Respite

It is easy to become overwhelmed, thus the need for breaks. Without breaks, you begin to question yourself, feel inadequate, and experience burn out. Family Caregivers need time away and scheduling respite care can be exactly what “the doctor ordered.” Having a family member or even calling Freudenthal to schedule care so you can get a break from time to time is important for you health.

Another stressor of caregiving is seeing no end to the situation. Having a life and connections outside of caregiving helps you to maintain perspective, so that caregiving doesn't become oneʼs only reality. Sometimes, your best and only defense is a sense of humor. Find people or situations to laugh at daily. It refreshes the soul and renews your spirit.

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Define Your Life With Intention

…disease does not need to define anyone, a person does not need to give the disease that power.  Instead, a person with a chronic disease may need to define his or her life in a way that is different than it was prior to the onset of the disease.

Read More

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Wishing You A Happy New Year!

May 2019 be a blessed and happy year for you and your family!


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5 Well Rounded Resolutions for the New Year!

Every year we make resolutions to improve our lives during the coming year, and more often than not our galant efforts fall to the side as we manage our daily journey. Life has a way of derailing the best laid plans. This year we propose that you don’t shoot for the stars, but plan for your journey!

Drastic changes to our daily habits and routines are hard to manage and often unsustainable, but small changes made over time that augment our life can make a positive impact in our over all well being. We’ve scoured the health journals and came up with 5 well rounded resolutions that are easy and can truly make a difference in your life.


Look For The Laughs

Laughing everyday not only acts as a stress reliever, it also stimulates your entire brain! Laughing also releases antibodies that help to build up your immune system. So whether you start reading the comics in the newspaper or buy a joke book, make sure to build more laughter into your day. Remember, laughter is also contagious so, not only are you helping your health, you’re also improving the health of those around you!


Get Puzzled

Find brain teasers and puzzles you enjoy solving. From word searches to crosswords, or even more complicated things like sudoku, puzzles help you to build your brain power and improve your memory. According to research studies, regularly engaging your mind may help lower your risk for the dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. If you have a smartphone there are several free puzzle apps. You can also find free puzzles like these!


It Out

Regular stretching not only keeps you limber, it also helps prevent injury. If you are struggling with Parkinson’s make sure all your stretches are big and over exaggerated to help your body recalibrate and help you manage your symptoms. Look for natural opportunities in your daily routine to stretch, like making it a part of your routine of standing up and sitting down. Every time you stand up, stretch out your arms and do a little march in place to get the circulation going. Even putting in a side to side stretch can help you with your balance. Dr. Robert Knowles gave us some great daily exercises in a recent blog post —> click here!


A Snack

You don’t have to substitute every snack, but try to substitute one or two a day with a healthy option. If you’re more the grazing type; try to keep nuts, like almonds, around so you can eat a few here and there throughout the day. Substituting carrots for a cookie not only brings down the calorie count but increases your fiber intake. That’s a nutrition double play!


Take The Stairs

If you have the option to do a little more exercise, take it. If you can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, go for it. If that’s not possible, try parking one more spot away from your destination in the parking lot. As you build up strength, move another space away. The more you exercise the better, but do it in increments and with care.

Start your year off with these five easy resolutions and you may be surprised how healthy you are when next year rolls around!

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Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!

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Top 5 Ways To Beat The Winter Blah!

The days are getting shorter and the winds are getting colder, it’s a sure sign that winter is saying hello. For some, this time of year is a time of happiness and celebration, but for many seniors winter can be one of the most depressing seasons. Winter depression is still a mystery to scientists who study it. Many things, including brain chemicals, ions in the air, and genetics seem to be involved. However, they all agree that one major contributor to this seasonal depression is the lack of light, which leads us to number one on our list!


Let the
light shine in!

Open those blinds and turn on those lights. Get as much light as you can. You might even consider looking into lights that simulate the brightness and glow of natural light. It seems simple enough: In higher latitudes, winter days are shorter, so you get less exposure to sunlight. Replace lost sunlight with bright artificial light, and your mood improves.

Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, says it's not only a matter of getting light, but also getting it at the right time. "The most important time to get light is in the morning," he says. There are alarm clocks that actually simulate the rising of the sun and gradually fill your room with light to help you wake up in a more natural way and start your day off right.


Listen To The Music

A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks.

In the study, participants were instructed to try to improve their mood, but they only succeeded when they listened to the upbeat music. Plus, a happier mood brings benefits beyond feeling good. Lead study author, Yuna Ferguson, noted that happiness has been linked to better physical health, higher income, and greater relationship satisfaction.


Spend Quality Time

People who spend time with family and friends helps to relieve stress. A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University found that people use their family and friends as a stress buffer, talking about their problems instead of seeking negative coping mechanisms. The emotional support provided by social ties enhances your psychological well-being. One study found that people who view their friends and families as supportive reported a greater sense of meaning in life and felt like they had a stronger sense of purpose.


Make New Plans

Nothing gets your mind off of your problems like having something to look forward to. Plan something to do, whether it’s a vacation or going to local events. Consider buying tickets to a concert, plan a night out, or head to a movie. The key here is to find something that you’re really excited about doing and savor not only the experience, but the anticipation of doing it.


Cuddle With A Pet

Studies have shown that pets can be both fun and calming. These furry friends can be the perfect companion in a moment of depression and sadness. When you’re feeling down, spend some extra time petting your cat or playing catch with your dog. You’ll both be happier!


Call Out For Help

If nothing seems to help, don’t hesitate to call out for help. Call your family, friends, doctor, or Freudenthal. We are here to help you find the care you need, no matter what! We want to help you live a full life at home surrounded by compassionate care.

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Check out our new commercial!

Freudenthal Hospice is the realization of a goal to provide a complete continuum of care at home. We’ve brought together the best team of hospice professionals who care deeply about their patients and families.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from your Freudenthal Family!
May your day be filled with love and blessings!


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