It is always better to be honest with others, right? Even so, there are times when some truths are better left unsaid or at least worded more positively, especially when talking with aging family members. Although we might have the best of intentions in attempting to help seniors navigate life, we could help alleviate problems with hurt feelings in our loved ones by rethinking statements such as the following: Read more
Let’s be straightforward: providing care for an aging loved one can be draining, stressful, and isolating. As caregiving requirements progress, especially when a chronic condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease is at play, family caregivers could feel that they’re in over their heads, and getting through the standard elements of the day – taking a bath, preparing of food, running errands – can seem to be a barrier too high to leap.
According to Carey Wexler Sherman, a gerontologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, “Caregiving is done with a lot of love and affection, but there’s a lot of loss involved. People talk about friends disappearing, about even family members not wanting to be involved. It’s a lonely business.”
Because of this, a large number of family caregivers have been found to sequester themselves. It’s tricky to schedule social excursions without knowing what sort of day Mom or Dad will be going through. It’s likewise difficult to invite friends over and face the potential need to cancel plans at the last minute. Sometimes it just seems easier to attempt to deal with everything alone. Senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, Barbara Moscowitz, shares responses she hears from family members taking care of a senior with dementia: “They say, ‘I’m exhausted trying to explain to people why she’s doing what she’s doing, why they shouldn’t be angry or afraid. It’s just easier to stay home.” It seems seniors get the care they need, but who is caring for the caregiver?
Unfortunately, we know that social isolation and loneliness are connected to serious health risks : heart disease, stroke, depression, and also a greater prevalence of developing dementia or dying prematurely. Caregiver assistance is a must, both for the individual being cared for and the family members providing that care.
Endeavor Home Care provides dedicated home care solutions to families throughout much of Arizona as well as San Diego, CA, and our team is on hand to help in so many ways, through hands-on assistance with all areas regarding elder care, preparing meals, keeping the home tidy, running errands, and so much more – allowing family members much-needed time to themselves to spend with friends and in pleasant, relaxing activities – ensuring the wellbeing of all family members.
Call us at any time for the professional in-home care help you can trust, giving you the ability to attain a healthy life balance while knowing your senior loved one is in the very best hands.
Although we would rather turn a blind eye to it, family friction is generally prevalent in some form for most of us, and within a time of crisis, is frequently exacerbated. Whenever stress levels are heightened, it’s natural to search for a target to serve as an outlet for all of those emotions; and sadly, that target is often people we’ve shared the most with over a lifetime: our brothers or sisters.
- Talk to Each Other. Even though it sounds rudimentary, it really is worth emphasizing that good communication is key to understanding different positions and getting on the same page. Documenting key points, such as financial choices, your parents’ plans, and who has decided to give assistance with each aspect of care is always a good strategy.
- Accommodate. Share with one another what types of tasks you may be available to assist with; however, recognize that compromises may need to be made in an effort to ensure that all bases are covered. Recognize that sacrifices will likely be necessary from all individuals involved in care, and come together to identify a solution that’s as fair as possible to each person.
- Delegate. Recognize that there is additional help available that can assist families in keeping their senior loved ones safe and thriving. Partnering with a qualified professional home care agency, such as Endeavor Home Care, provides families much-needed time to manage their own personal lives while knowing their family members are getting the very best possible care.
Planning as much in advance as possible before a care need appears is essential for cutting down on family friction later. Pull together details on how your parents would want to handle certain situations as they grow older. Would they wish to age in place at home, or move to an assisted living facility? If they’d like to remain in the home, what basic safety and accessibility modifications should be made? How would they prefer daily tasks to be managed when the need for assistance develops, such as with taking showers, getting dressed, maintaining the home, etc.?
At Endeavor Home Care in Phoenix, AZ , we recognize that complicated family dynamics are often at their highest when being confronted with care needs for a senior family member. Contact us at (623) 428-2100 in Phoenix, (480) 535-6800 in Scottsdale, or (520) 314-2600 in Tucson to learn how we can help alleviate worry and supply the solutions to care that can restore peace to you and your family.
“If only there were a few more hours in the day!” If you are in the “sandwich generation,” most likely you can relate to this sentiment, as you are constantly juggling the needs of your children and the needs of your aging parents. The following tips, however, may help to shave just a few minutes off your to-do lists and make your role of being a caregiver a little bit easier.
- Plan tasks strategically. Generate a plan for recurring duties to enhance efficiency. For example, map out all of your stops in the most well organized manner, and combine jobs such as laundry and grocery shopping for your senior loved one with your own.
- Keep the car stocked with supplies. Stash a container of useful items in the trunk to have accessible at all times: comfortable walking sneakers, a fleece or sweater, toiletries, snack food items with a long shelf life – all that you feel might come in handy for the particular scenarios you might find yourself in on any given day.
- Skip urgent care facilities. Urgent care visits may lead to several hours of time lost spent in the waiting room. Consider getting in touch with the physician instead to get a same-day appointment, in particular mid-morning, when the day’s cancelled appointments have yet to be filled.
- Keep paperwork organized. Keeping copies of all important paperwork together, perhaps in a brightly colored, easily identifiable folder, is essential in the event of an emergency. Documents in the folder should include: medical insurance information, list of medications, emergency contacts, advance directive, health care proxy, and power of attorney.
- Keep a positive outlook. Enjoying a few quiet moments the first thing in the morning to reflect on the things you’re grateful for may go a long way towards alleviating stress and setting the stage for a more productive and positive day. Repeat as time permits during the day, especially when feelings are running high.
The most beneficial tip we can suggest is partnering with a professional Scottsdale, AZ home care company, like Endeavor Home Care. We can help in more ways than you might realize, including running errands, shopping and meal preparation, light housework, and more, along with hands-on personal care and companionship. See our full service area and contact us at (480) 535-6800 and discover a stress-free life for both yourself and your older loved one!
Now that Mom has sold her car, is no longer driving and it is harder for her to get around on her own, it has been decided that you and your siblings will divide up her care needs. One of you needs to take her to the doctor’s office, beauty shop and grocery store. One of you needs to help with her housework and laundry. And certainly, the yard needs to be kept up. But there are a few additional necessary aspects to caring for parents which need to be dealt with but often go unnoticed until there’s a problem.
Consider this to-do list when assembling a plan of care for your senior loved one:
- Keep all important personal information together, including power of attorney paperwork, advance healthcare directives or do not resuscitate orders, wills, trusts, financial information on all assets, insurance information and more.
- Check to see if your employer offers a flexible work schedule to accommodate time required to care for the senior, or paid or unpaid leave. Contemplate the financial consequences of employment-related changes.
- Realize the financial implications of providing care for a family member. Studies show that family caregivers spend over $5,000 every year for care needs, over and above any lost income.
- Have all family members and friends who will be involved in providing care, as well as yourself and your senior loved one, agree upon a written agreement of care. Though it could seem unnecessary, obtaining care details outlined in writing helps eliminate future disputes.
- Create a strategy for ongoing support for yourself, to allow for needed time for self-care and to provide a safe, trusted channel for your personal feelings. Consider available options, to include not just immediate family and close friends, but also a counselor or therapist, your place of worship, web based or in-person caregiver support groups, and disease-specific organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association.
Skilled Arizona in-home care providers are one more excellent source of support for older persons in need of help with proper care, as well as for the family members caring for parents or other senior loved ones. Supplemental care services allow family members to take much-needed breathers from care to take care of their own needs and to relax with some downtime. The best way someone can take care of another is to first care for himself/herself.
Endeavor Home Care has additional suggestions about putting a plan in place for senior care in Phoenix, Scottsdale and the surrounding areas, and is also here to help fill in any gaps with our full range of professional in-home care services. Call us at (480) 535-6800 for assistance.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has reported that family caregivers are “routinely marginalized and ignored within the health care system.” With about 18 million family members providing care for senior loved ones, this report is alarming, as it points to the possibility that these seniors are at risk for harm due to possibly inadequate, uninformed family care.
Here’s what can be done to ensure you are seen, heard, and given the right information and tools to help care for your elderly family members and keep them safe:
- Be sure to list your name and phone number in your senior family member’s medical records as an emergency contact.
- Tell your elderly loved one’s physicians what you are and are not capable of handling pertaining to his or her care.
- Set realistic expectations for care – i.e., if your work schedule leaves your loved one without care for a period of time, that needs to be addressed.
- Ask for training in the senior’s specific care requirements, such as dressing wounds or catheter care.
- Look for and access resources like disease-specific associations, the local Area Agency on Aging, and a trusted professional Arizona home care agency for supplemental/respite care.
It’s also important to clearly understand HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. There is a common misconception that as a result of HIPAA, family members are unable to obtain access to their older loved one’s medical records. The truth, however, is that if the older person has designated someone to serve as durable power of attorney for health information, it’s the obligation of doctors and hospital staff to share all medical records with that relative.
The final conclusion? Make certain you stand up for yourself and your elderly family member. Richard Schulz of the University of Pittsburgh suggests, “Advocate for your rights and make sure your caregiving contributions are recognized and supported to the extent they can be. You’re an important person in the health care system.”
Call on Endeavor Home Care at (480) 535-6800 for additional suggestions about providing the best care for your senior loved one, as well as support in filling in the care gaps with properly trained and skilled in-home senior caregivers.
The commitment you made to care for your elderly parent probably means a lot to them but it doesn’t mean you have to do all of the caregiving 24/7 every day of the year alone. The most important thing for any caregiver to learn is that to be able to give yourself to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself first. Burnt out caregivers can’t give the same level of care. The stress can make them prone to depression and illness that would leave them unable to care for the ones who depend on them. Caring for a parent is hard work.
Taking a well deserved break from caregiving is not a failure in your commitment to care for your parent like they cared for you. Arranging safe, qualified, respite care on a regular or occasional basis can allow you to balance your parent’s needs with the other parts of your life. Everyone will be happier.
If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, juggling the care of your parents and the care of your dependent children, you may need respite care for your parent for only a few hours at a time while you are busy with your children’s activities or while you take your children on an active vacation that wouldn’t be suitable for a senior. If you don’t yet have children, maybe you need someone experienced in the special needs of caring for seniors so that you and your husband can enjoy an evening alone or a weekend getaway. It’s okay to get help to care for your parent no matter what you plan to do with your free time.
Planning for summer vacations can be complicated at times, especially when a person’s list of responsibilities includes caring for an ailing loved one. Think about it. There are many healthcare problems that may prevent a person from being alone for any extended length of time. Examples include people with dementia, paralysis, advance stage cancers and neuromuscular diseases.
So, what are the alternatives to traveling with an ailing loved one whose health would be further compromised by participation in long distance, summer vacations? For many Americans, the answer is respite care. Respite care comes in many forms. Sometimes it is provided by long-term care facilities, which may be traumatic for individuals accustom to living at home.
Other times, services are delivered in the ailing individual’s home, either by the hour or as part of live-in, in-home care. Live-in care is often the preferred method because it allows medically compromised individuals and their families to build relationships with their caregivers. This is a vital part of the respite care process, especially when trust is an issue.
In order for family members to feel safe and comfortable while on vacation, they must be able to trust surrogate caregivers implicitly. And we all know that such a high degree of trust is not achieved instantly. It is built upon over the course of continuous care. Families must also have time to work with live-in, in-home caregivers to ensure that their surrogates fully understand their loved ones needs.
In some instances, respite care includes medical services and other times it does not. Therefore, it may also be necessary for families to hire additional staff to help care for their loved ones’ medical needs during the course of a family vacation. With that said, to learn more about the types of respite care services available in the State of Arizona, please contact us atEndeavor Senior Care. We offer one-on-one, in-home care services to individuals and families living in the Phoenix Valley.
Caregivers are a special breed of people who put the needs of others before their own. Caregivers can also become overwhelmed at times. Being responsible for the care of another can become all-consuming, and it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Here are some things that you can do to help overcome this issue so that you can enjoy your work and your life once again.
Educate Yourself – Take the time to research the disease or condition that the person under your care is experiencing. When you understand, for example, that an Alzheimer’s patient can go through periods of lucidity immediately followed by confusion, it helps you manage better.
Realize You’re Not In Control – One of the hardest things to deal with is the lack of control over anything in our lives. As a caregiver, you must understand that things change almost hourly and you have to accept it. No matter how much you wish the situation was different, you truly cannot change it, that is not your responsibility.
Acknowledge Your Stress – Being a caregiver takes a lot out of you every day. It’s physically, emotionally and mentally draining at times. It’s okay to admit that you’re feeling the pressure and that it’s affecting you. Remember that you are only human and the emotions that you feel are only natural.
Talk To Someone – You will find a great deal of relief if you can talk about your feelings. Even if they cannot help you directly, just being able to say what’s on your mind without worrying about how it sounds can be freeing. Join a caregiver support group, talk to a friend, clergy, doctor or even a therapist if you need to.
Eat Well – Sometimes stress can rob you of your appetite and it’s hard to eat. When you deprive yourself of the proper nutrition, your body and mind will not able to cope with the stress as well. A good breakfast that features proteins and fresh fruit will set the tone for the day. Have a solid lunch and a light dinner and, if you need a boost, grab a snack.
Drink Right – Feeling run-down and irritable is a sign of dehydration. One of the most effective ways of keeping yourself energetic and feeling good is to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for the most part, since they will actually dehydrate you.
Get Some Rest – You simply cannot function properly without adequate sleep. But, it’s a sad fact that sleep deprivation is a major problem for many caregivers. The truth is, without adequate rest, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and it will add to your stress.
Go Have Some Fun – There’s nothing more effective for raising your spirits than laughing and playing with friends and family. Being a caregiver does not mean giving up everything that you enjoy. Watch a funny movie, sing karaoke or whatever it is that makes you smile.
Ask For Help – One of the hardest things to do is to admit that you cannot handle everything yourself. But, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of strength. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say that you’re in over your head. If you can find someone to fill in for a day or even a few hours, it will help ease your load.
Caregivers first have to care for themselves in order to be able to take care of others. Contact us you are a caregiver that’s feeling the pressure, we can help. We look forward to helping you provide the best care for your loved one.
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