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Long Distance Caregiver

Long Distance Caregiver Tips: How to Help Older Parents Remain Safe and Independent

Living at a distance from older loved ones can make the need for home care easier to miss. As a matter of fact, many adult children of aging parents never even realize that Mom and Dad need help until they return home for a visit or spend extended time together over the holiday season. If you’re a long distance caregiver for a senior loved one, it becomes that much more essential to have a plan in place for emergency situations and care. Read more

Caregiver Burnout

Steps to Avoid Sandwich Generation Caregiver Burnout

Do you have aging parents in need of help to ensure safety at home? Are you also trying to manage caring for children and family at home? If so, you are part of the sandwich generation – a generation of people, mostly in their 30s or 40s, who have become responsible for bringing up their own children while simultaneously providing care for their senior parents. The to-do lists of this sandwich generation are loaded and caregiver burnout can quickly become reality. Numerous family caregivers not only work full-time, but they’re also taking their children to and from school, after-school activities and managing household tasks on top of their caregiving obligations. There are solutions to help caregivers though, and the first step is learning how to make the situation more manageable. Read more

Caring for Elderly Parents

Caring for Elderly Parents? Learn How to Overcome Sibling Spats & Provide Better Care

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.

When family dynamics are preventing your from caring for elderly parents to the best of your ability, these tips can help:

  • 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.

being a caregiver

Being a Caregiver Is No Joke. Reduce Stress with These Life Hacks.

Being a Caregiver Is No Joke. Reduce Stress with These Life Hacks.“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!

Caring for Parents

Caring for Parents at Home? These Tips Can Make Life So Much Easier!

Caring for Parents at Home?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.

Answers to Common Lifestyle Questions After a Heart Attack

Heart AttackWhen a heart attack strikes – and for hundreds of thousands of people, that’s going to be sometime this year – there’s no time to plan a course of action or contemplate the everyday ways in which life will change afterwards. As with anything, the best defense is a good offense, and being prepared now can (literally!) save a lot of heartache later.

Hopefully neither you nor your senior loved ones will be impacted by a heart attack or heart disease, but just in case, it’s a good idea to jot down and keep these questions handy for future reference:

  1. Will I have to give up my favorite activities? Bed rest isn’t always best, and it’s very likely you’ll be able to gradually get back into pastimes you enjoy. It’s important to let your doctor know about any hobbies, interests, and exercise regimens you’d like to resume, and he or she can help you work towards that goal.
  2. What dietary changes will be needed? It’s important to work with the doctor to put together a dietary plan that’s not only heart-healthy, but one that you can stick with long-term. Keeping salt and fat to a minimum is crucial, but doesn’t mean you necessarily have to avoid them altogether.
  3. How can my loved ones help? Select several trusted family members and friends to help hold you accountable to your lifestyle changes, and to support you emotionally as you adjust to these changes.
  4. Can I still travel? There’s really no one answer that fits all when it comes to traveling after a heart attack. A general rule of thumb is often to avoid traveling by air for at least two weeks after placement of a stent. Having a discussion with your cardiologist about when and where you’d like to travel is always a good idea, to weigh out the risks vs. the benefits.
  5. What are the long-term effects I can expect? The goal, of course, is to prevent another heart attack, which means ongoing, periodic medical appointments and testing. Following your doctor’s prescribed dietary and treatment plan will go a long way towards keeping you healthy in the years to come.

Endeavor Home Care provides expert assistance and support to heart attack survivors, including preparing heart-healthy meals, running errands such as picking up groceries and prescriptions, and offering encouragement with adhering to an exercise regimen. Contact our Arizona home care experts any time for more tips, resources, and in-home care services.

Caring for an Elderly Family Member and Feeling Overlooked? Here’s What to Do.

Elderly Family MemberThe 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.

Alzheimers Care: Stage 2 of Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimers careAlzheimer’s Disease is a condition that follows three typical stages. When you know the stage your loved one is in and how you can help them, it allows both you and him or her to feel more comfortable and get the Alzheimers care that is needed.

The first stage, mild Alzheimer’s lasts on average two to four years. As the disease progresses to Stage Two it turns into moderate Alzheimer’s and lasts an average of four years, but can last anywhere from two to ten years.

Symptoms and how you can help:

  • Sleeping disorders—Keep a routine at bedtime. This will help to signal that bedtime is coming. Do things such as wash hands and face, get on pajamas, have a snack, turn the lights on lower, and play soft music.
  • Eating disorders—Have finger foods and snacks available. Some goods ideas are fresh cut fruit and vegetables, sandwiches, cookies, tater tots, enriched drinks, and other small items that are easy to eat with the hands only.
  • Sundowner’s Syndrome—Your loved one may start to display behavior problems during the early evening hours. Try your best to keep the routine structured and the environment calm. Encourage activities that are calm starting late in the afternoon. Washing dishes, setting the table, listening to music, and washing dishes are good examples.
  • Daily activities start becoming difficult—When you see your loved one starting to have trouble doing daily things such as dressing, help them by giving simple directions with one step. Allow them to continue doing as much as they can for themselves, but you may need to mirror the required actions. For instance, brush your teeth to show them how.
  • Incontinence—Remind your loved one to use the restroom every two hours. If accidents begin happening, use adult incontinence products. Also, teach and use good hand-washing techniques.
  • Loss of communication—Your loved one will likely begin to lose the power to express themselves. They may use repetitive speech or use words out of order. Listen to the words and pick out the keywords so you can best help your family member.
  • Falls—Make your environment as safe as possible as your loved one has an increased risk for falling. Look for things that may pose a trip hazard such as footstools, throw rugs, and other things. Also, install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Stairs and hallways should be well lit to avoid falls.
  • Argumentative, angry, aggressive—Do not argue with your loved one or try to reason. Be gentle and try to distract them and remove them from the area if it’s highly stimulating.
  • Wandering—Keep your loved one’s environment safe and secure. Put locks on each exterior door, on both the top and bottom. You should also consider adding motion sensors to the doors to notify you that a door has been opened. Tell your neighbors about your loved one and tell the local police in case they see your loved one wandering around without supervision.

Stage 2 of Alzheimer’s Disease causes your loved one to need more and more supervision. We would love to help you. For information on this condition, contact us.

Memory Care: Stage One of Alzheimer’s Disease

memory care calendar

Using a calendar that’s visible helps people with memory issues feel more comfortable

Alzheimer’s Disease typically follows recognizable patterns in its progression. In each of its three stages, there are specific behaviors and symptoms that are considered “normal.” It is helpful to know these stages as a caregiver so you can make the best decisions for the memory care of your loved one.

If your family member is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, he is in Stage One that typically lasts for two to four years.

Symptoms and how you can help:

  • Time or place disorientation—Avoid arguing and don’t correct your loved one all the time. Offer a gentle reminder of where you are and what is going on.
  • Short-term memory loss—Consider using a board of some sort that shows the day of the week and date. You can place appointment reminders here, too. Also, use this area to keep glasses, keys, and other things used on a daily basis.
  • Lack of energy—Encourage naps each day during appropriate times.
  • Hard time concentrating—Don’t expect the Alzheimer’s patient to focus on a task for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Short tempered, rage, over-reaction, hysteria—Do your best to keep routines. This will help your loved one know exactly what to expect. Also, do not respond to everything, it is the disease talking. Try to stay calm.
  • Depression—Severe depression is experienced by nearly ¾ of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Watch for depressive behaviors and talk with your family member’s doctor about these behaviors you may witness. It can be helpful to use an anti-depressant to treat the depression.

Helping your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease can help you, too. For more information on this condition, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: 7 Ways to Talk About It With Others

Caregivers at home for Alzheimer’s patients face a difficult task not only of taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, but also of having to redefine roles and relationships. A once-independent spouse now needs to accept the fact that they need help. A parent must now be taken care of by the children for whom they’ve provided care all their lives. It is a world that is turning unpredictably upside down for many.

caregiversAlzheimer’s, unfortunately, is one of those “invisible” conditions. If the person looks fine, then they must be fine, right? In fact, sometimes the person with Alzheimer’s may not know that they have been diagnosed with it because even those closest to them are uncomfortable discussing it. However, talking about it is the first step to understanding it and to understanding what you can do to help your loved one. Here are seven ways to talk about it:

1. Be sure the person is aware of it. “You’ve got Alzheimer’s,” is a very blunt way to approach someone, and not the best thing to do for most people. If you are going to be taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, even if you use a phrase like “memory problems”, be sure they understand that this something that’s going to affect their lives, and that you’ll be there to help.

2. Share the diagnosis. This will help you gain support from others. It also keeps you from feeling like you have to pretend that everything is fine.

3. Talk with your loved one about how to tell others. Close friends and relatives may be told one on one. When former President Ronald Reagan chose to tell others, he did so in the form a written letter.

4. Expect that some people will not believe the diagnosis at first. Especially in its early stages, Alzheimer’s is very hard to notice. Excuses are often offered, such as “Oh, you’re (or he’s or she’s) just getting older.” Instead of trying to force them to see, just accept that they are having a difficult time accepting the diagnosis.

5. Understand that some friends and even family may become very uncomfortable at the idea. They may not know how to respond to it. If some show signs of discomfort, don’t hit them with everything at once. Ease into it a little bit at a time.

6. Let people know that cards, letters, and even visits are welcome. Let them know when good times to visit are. Even mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients can start to feel shunned by friends and family who won’t come around because they’re unsure if they should.

7. If anyone asks if there’s anything they can do, be ready with a list of suggestions. There’s no need to take this on by yourself, and if you have friends and family willing to lend a hand, accept the offer.

Alzheimer’s is a difficult condition for both the patient and the caregiver. If you can build up a support team of people willing to help, to talk, and to listen, you’ll find you have a lot more options than you may have first thought when it comes to caring for your loved one. Contact us to see how we can help and become part of your support team.