kindness. comfort. compassion.
We provide caregivers, old-fashioned kindness, and neighborly support to older adults
who want to live at own home safely, comfortably, and as independently as possible. Since 2010
we’ve helped more than 250 families in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, and neighboring
Southern California communities live safer, happier lives.
“If your loved one needs care, you cannot do better than Coral Tree.”
“Coral Tree truly care’s about their clients. They were quick to respond to our needs and sent us a very caring and attentive caregiver.”
Coral Tree’s in-home care and senior care services allow older adults to safely maintain their independence and health in the comfort of their own home. We offer both hourly and live-in care and are happy to accommodate any non-medical special needs. Read more.
Home Care Organization Number 304700001
Help with Daily Routines
“Our home is everything”
The Importance of Aging in Place
A 2014 study conducted by Merrill Lynch shows that for the vast majority of retirees – 85% – the preference for receiving extended care is in their own home. The study also found that the emotional importance of one’s home increases as we age. “Prior to age 55, more homeowners say the financial value of their home outweighs its emotional value. As people age, however, they are far more likely to say their home’s emotional value is far more important than its financial value.”
Said one focus group participant: “Our home is everything we put into our house materially and emotionally over the years. It’s us.”
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” – Dalai Lama
Coral Tree’s caregivers are the heart of the in home and senior care services we offer here in Newport Beach and throughout Orange County. We have a wonderful team of experienced, loving caregivers, who help our clients continue to live meaningful lives, feel loved and valued, and maintain their health and well-being.
The late great Tibetan Buddhist teacher Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche (1926 – 2006), answers questions about death and dying put by Ven. Pende Hawter, founder of the Karuna Hospice Service in Brisbane, Australia, in Dharamsala, India, in May 1990. This piece was excerpted...read more
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”– John 15:13 Through our work, our family has the great privilege of getting to know elders in our community, and to hear stories from their lives. We’ve had the opportunity to care for...read more
“Remember Barbara,” begins a wonderful poem by Jacques Prevert about love and war: the Second World War and the destruction of the French port, Brest; the love of Barbara and the desolate loss of that love. It reminded me of my friend, Barbara, and the Alzheimer's...read more
Why Choose In-home Care?
Nine out of 10 Older Adults Would Prefer to Receive Extended Care & Support at Home
There’s no place like home, and 9 our of 10 older adults say that would prefer to receive extended care in the familiarity and comfort of their own home, rather than in an assisted living facility. According to a 2014 Merrill Lynch study, the emotional importance and significance of one’s home increases as we age. “Prior to age 55, more homeowners say the financial value of their home outweighs its emotional value. As people age, however, they are far more likely to say their home’s emotional value is far more important than its financial value.” Said one focus group participant: “Our home is everything we put into our house materially and emotionally over the years. It’s us.”
In-home Care Supports Loved Ones with Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Being able to receive care and support at home, in the comfort of familiar things, sounds, smells, and routines can help ease the stress and anxiety of a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s even said that being at home, where you have memories and associations, can help impede the progress of the disease.
Moving Is Stressful!
Moving is stressful at any age –– some research even suggests that moving is more stressful than divorce –– but moving is especially stressful for seniors, and can result in Relocation Stress Syndrome or “transfer trauma,” leading to a dramatic decline in mental and physical health. Older adults with memory loss are particularly susceptible.
In-home Care Is Flexible
As your loved one’s health and personal care needs change, you can always increase or decrease the amount of care. At Coral Tree, we offer short hours up to 24-hour and live-in care.
In-home Care Is One-to-one Care
As opposed to assisted living or board and care facilities that have just a handful of staff overseeing the myriad needs of all residents, in-home care allows your loved one to have one-to-one care: one caregiver dedicated solely to their well-being, supporting them, and caring for their personal needs.
In-home Care Allows for Greater Freedom & Independence
In-home care allows your loved one the greatest sense of independence, freedom, and control. Changing bodies and cognitive struggles can lead to intense physical and psychological stress in older adults. On top of that, a sense of losing one’s independence is often a cause of deep frustration. Accepting care in our later years is something seemingly universally challenging in our culture – so much of our identity is tied up in an unrealistic notion of independence – whereas, in reality, we have survived by the kindness of others since birth. Being able to receive care in the comfort and privacy of one’s own home – in one’s own castle – can help soften the challenges of aging. In-home care allows seniors to continue their own personal daily routines, personal meal and medication schedules, and personal hobbies on their time, in their way. Psychologically this can provide our loved ones with an invaluable sense of control over one’s life.
In-home Care Promotes Healing & Well-being
Research has shown that we heal more quickly and comfortably at home. Seniors who live at home, despite needing help with personal care or dealing with chronic conditions, report greater life satisfaction. Patients who receive in-home care are also less likely to be re-hospitalized.
In-home Care Is Safe
Coral Tree’s caregivers are kind, experienced, carefully screened, and covered by our liability and workers’ compensation insurances. As a small agency, we get to know everyone who works with us personally. Many of our caregivers have worked with us since we started Coral Tree in 2010 and have decades of experience caring for older adults. Our caregivers understand the inclinations and sensitivities of older adults; providing care for seniors is their profession and life’s work. Cassidy and Megan also oversee all of our client care, liaise with families, and make regular visits to our clients to ensure they are receiving the best possible care, as well as that our caregivers have any support they might need.
In-home Care Is Personal
We provide a high level of personalized care and get to know our clients and their families well. We understand what a huge step it can be to accept help and support, but we also know that the rewards far out-weigh initial fears. “When you get to the point where you need in-home care it can be very scary,” said the granddaughter of one of our clients. “The team at Coral Tree not only eased the pain of what we were dealing with emotionally, but more importantly became part of our FAMILY… My grandmother emphatically used to say she didn’t know what she would do with out her ‘best friend.’ I could not recommend a better company to take care of our loved ones.”
Working with Coral Tree vs. Hiring Private Care
We’ve worked with hundreds of families throughout Orange County and understand all of the nuance and thought and sensitivity that goes into the decision to hire someone to work in your home. And all of the questions that might arise, and things you’ll want to consider.
Working with us (as opposed to hiring someone privately) reduces so much of the stress and anxiety on a variety of levels. For one, our caregivers are people we know. They have experience working with older adults and are dedicated to the work of caring for others.
Many of our caregivers have worked with us since we started Coral Tree in 2010, and we personally interview all new hires; we run background checks; and only hire caregivers that have a minimum of four years experience providing one-to-one care for an older adult. Our caregivers also do training every year, and are all registered with the state of California. Many have decades of experience providing care for older adults, have been trained in safety and the myriad aspects of elder care.
While this is still a new person coming into your home, you can rest assured that they aren’t someone who would take advantage of your parent or family in any way. For our caregivers, caregiving is their career and life’s work. They are sensitive to the needs and desires of older minds and bodies.
Your family also always has our support: Cassidy and Megan make regular visits to our clients. Also, if the caregiver working with your parent becomes sick, or needs time off, we will introduce, train, orientate, and send another of our caregivers to work with your parent. Any scheduling needs that might arise are always our responsibility.
Working with us also protects your family from significant legal and financial risk. Our caregivers are our employees, and so covered by our workers’ compensation and liability insurances.
Did you know that if your family decides to hire a caregiver privately, that you are legally required to pay both workers’ compensation insurance and payroll taxes?
Caregivers rarely qualify as independent contractors; they would be considered an employee of your parent or loved one.
If the caregiver you’ve hired privately is injured while working for you, (they sprain their back, for example), and they aren’t covered by a worker’s compensation policy, your family would be personally responsible for all of their medical expenses related to their injury.
Many people mistakenly think a caregiver would fall under the category of “residential employee” as covered by homeowner’s insurance, but this is not the case. (You can find “residential employee” in the the definitions part of your policy.) Caregivers do not quality as residential employees as defined by the law.
In California workers’ compensation insurance is open-ended. That means there is no fixed amount that is paid out in the event of an employee getting injured, and you would be responsible for their workers’ compensation and medical expenses for the life of the injury.
Because of the nature of the work caregivers do: transferring, lifting, and assisting often involved, they are more susceptible to injury than people in other lines of work.
Another risk to your family, if you decide to hire a caregiver privately, is the caregiver claiming unemployment after the job has ended. If you haven’t been paying payroll taxes, you would be personally responsible for paying their unemployment and also subject to a fine. You would also be required to pay back taxes for the time they were under your employment, as well as interest on those back taxes.
Compassionate Communication for the Memory Impaired
© 2008 Liz Ayres, Alzheimer’s Support Group Leader, former Caregiver, Orange County, CA, care of Alzheimer’s Association of Orange County
Don’t remind them they forget.
Don’t question recent memory.
Don’t take it personally.
Give short, one sentence explanations. Allow plenty of time for comprehension, then triple it. Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way. Eliminate ‘but’ from your vocabulary; substitute ‘nevertheless.’
Avoid insistence. Try again later. Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity. Accept the blame when something’s wrong (even if it’s fantasy.) Leave the room, if necessary, to avoid confrontations.
Respond to the feelings rather than the words. Be patient and cheerful and reassuring. Do go with the flow. Practice 100% forgiveness. Memory loss progresses daily. My appeal to you: Please elevate your level of generosity and graciousness.
They are not crazy or lazy. They say normal things, and do normal things, for a memory impaired, dementia individual. If they were deliberately trying to exasperate you, they would have a different diagnosis. Forgive them…always. For example: they don’t hide things; they protect them in safe places…and then forget. Don’t take ‘stealing’ accusations personally.
Their disability is memory loss. Asking them to remember is like asking a blind person to read. (“Did you take your pills?” “What did you do today?”) Don’t ask and don’t test memory! A loss of this magnitude reduces the capacity to reason. Expecting them to be reasonable or to accept your conclusion is unrealistic. (“You need a shower.” “Day care will be fun.” “You can’t live alone.”) Don’t try to reason or convince them. Give a one sentence explanation or search for creative solutions. Memory loss produces unpredictable emotions, thought, and behavior, which you can alleviate by resolving all issues peacefully. Don’t argue, correct, contradict, confront, blame or insist.
Reminders are rarely kind. They tell the patient how disabled they are––over and over again. Reminders of the recent past imply, “I remember, I’m okay; you don’t, you’re not.” Ouch! Refer only to the present or the future. (If they’re hungry, don’t inform them they ate an hour ago, offer a snack or set a time to eat soon.) They may ask the same question repeatedly, believing each time is the first. Graciously respond as if it’s the first time. Some days they seem normal, but they’re not. They live in a different reality. Reminders won’t bring them into yours.
Note: For vascular dementia, giving clues may help their recall. If it doesn’t work, be kind…don’t remind.
Ethical dilemmas may occur. If, for instance, the patient thinks a dead spouse is alive, and truthful reminders will create sadness, what should you do? To avoid distress, try these ways of kindness: 1) distract to another topic, or 2) start a fun activity, or 3) reminisce about their spouse, “I was just thinking about ___. How did you meet?” or you might try, “He’s gone for a while. Let’s take our walk now.”
Open ended questions (“Where shall we go?” “What do you want to eat/wear/do?”) are surprisingly complex and create anxiety. Give them a simple choice between two items or direct their choice, “You look great in the red blouse.”
They are scared all the time. Each patient reacts differently to fear. They may become passive, uncooperative, hostile, angry, agitated, verbally abusive, or physically combative. They may even do them all at different times, or alternate between them. Anxiety may compel them to shadow you (follow everywhere). Anxiety compels them to resist changes in routine, even pleasant ones. Your goal is to reduce anxiety whenever possible. Also, they can’t remember your reassurances. Keep saying them.
Patient: “What doctor’s appointment? There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Don’t: (reason) “You’ve been seeing the doctor every three months for the last two years. It’s written on the calendar and I told you about it yesterday and this morning.”
DO: (short explanation) “It’s just a regular checkup.” (accept blame) “I’m sorry if I forgot to tell you.”
Patient: “I didn’t write this check for $500. Someone at the bank is forging my signature.”
Don’t: (argue) “What? Don’t be silly! The bank wouldn’t be forging your signature.”
DO: (respond to feelings) “That’s a scary thought.” (reassure) “I’ll make sure they don’t do that.” (distract) “Would you help me fold the towels?”
Patient: “Nobody’s going to make decisions for me. You can go now…and don’t come back!”
Don’t: (confront) “I’m not going anywhere and you can’t remember enough to make your own decisions.”
DO: (accept blame or respond to feelings) “I’m sorry this is a tough time.”
(reassure) “I love you and we’re going to get through this together.”
(distract) “You know what? Don has a new job. He’s really excited about it.”
Don’t remind them they forget.
Patient: “Joe hasn’t called for a long time. I hope he’s okay.”
Don’t: (remind) “Joe called yesterday and you talked to him for 15 minutes.”
DO: (reassure) “You really like talking to Joe, don’t you?”
(distract) “Let’s call him when we get back from our walk.”
Don’t question recent memory.
Patient: “Hello, Mary. I see you’ve brought a friend with you.”
Don’t: (question memory) “Hi Mom. You remember Eric, don’t you?…What did you do today?”
DO: (short explanation) “Hi Mom. You look wonderful! This is Eric. We work together.”
Don’t take it personally!
Patient: “Who are you? Where’s my husband?”
Don’t: (take it personally) “What do you mean–who’s your husband? I am!”
DO: (go with the flow, reassure) “He’ll be here for dinner.”
(distract) “How about some milk and cookies?… Would you like chocolate chip or oatmeal?”
Do repeat exactly.
Patient: “I’m going to the store for a newspaper.”
Don’t: (repeat differently) “Please put your shoes on.”… “You’ll need to put your shoes
DO: (repeat exactly) “Please put your shoes on.”… “Please put your shoes on.”
Do eliminate ‘but’; substitute ‘nevertheless’.
Patient: “I’m not eating this. I hate chicken.”
Don’t: (say ‘but’) “I know chicken’s not your favorite food, but it’s what we’re having for dinner.”
DO: (say ‘nevertheless’) “I know chicken’s not your favorite food, (smile) nevertheless I’d appreciate it if you’d eat a little bit.”
Life, Death, and Love
Susan Macleod, Lion’s Roar
Artist and writer Susan MacLeod observes the foibles, humor, and caring of life in a nursing home. There, she and her mother finally came to know each other. “When I slowed down to be fully with Mom, I also saw more depth in the nursing home experience than I had expected. People who live in nursing homes are full of life. Beneath the restrictions of their diminishing physicality and cognition, their spirit is often strong; I know my mother’s was. And the more I visited her, the stronger and more loving she became.”
April 18, 2019
Oliver Sacks: The Healing Power of Gardens
This is an excerpt from “Everything in Its Place,” a posthumous collection of writings by Dr. Sacks.
As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In 40 years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.
Local Organizations & Support
OASIS is a large Senior Center dedicated to meeting the needs of all seniors and their families. Many educational, recreational, cultural and social services are offered, aimed at helping older adults live an enriched, active and independent life. The Center is owned and operated by the City of Newport Beach and is staffed by a core of professionals who are responsible for planning classes and activities, working with seniors in developing new and exciting programs, providing support services and counseling, and helping family members who are concerned about their parents.
Founded in 1975, Laguna Beach Seniors was one of the first senior service nonprofits in Orange County. Since 2009, our home has been the Susi Q, a warm and welcoming center where our fastest-growing demographic is living it up and finding the help they need. The Susi Q also is the heart of an ambitious vision called Lifelong Laguna: a community and a nonprofit working together to make the town we love a better place for the rest of our lives.
The Coral Tree
The coral tree, Erythrina, is the official tree of Newport Beach (as well as Los Angeles) and also a royal tree to the Zulu, believed by many, particularly in Africa, to have medicinal, healing properties. The Zulu planted coral trees on the graves of their chiefs, and also used these colorful, flowering trees to create natural walls for their kraals, or villages. It’s said that coral tree bark applied as a poultice can be used to treat wounds and arthritis; and in South Africa, coral tree seeds are said to be good-luck charms. The coral tree represents home and healing to our family — that which we hope to bring to you.
kindness. comfort. compassion.
Serving Newport Beach | Laguna Beach | Newport Coast | Neighboring Southern California Communities
If you are considering in-home care for a family member or loved one, you can submit your initial information online here.
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