Our home care and healthy living blog covers a wide range of topics concerning aging and health, support and guides for caregivers providing care, and articles on living a more healthy and positive lifestyle.
Hiring a caregiver to help with your loved one can be an immense relief in the long run; but at first, you may find it slightly stressful. Introducing someone new into your life is a stretching experience, and an adjustment phase is normal and expected. With a little time, communication, and patience, you’ll find that your in-home caregiver becomes a welcome support and relief for your family. The post How to Have a Successful First Day with a New In-Home Caregiver appeared first on...
Hiring a caregiver to help with your loved one can be an immense relief in the long run; but at first, you may find it slightly stressful. Introducing someone new into your life is a stretching experience, and an adjustment phase is normal and expected. With a little time, communication, and patience, you’ll find that your in-home caregiver becomes a welcome support and relief for your family.
If you’re hiring help for a loved one, whether it’s an elderly parent, a child, a disabled partner, or a recovering relative, it’s important to start things out right. Explore our tips for how to have a successful first day with a new in-home caregiver.
Discuss the Caregiver’s Arrival
Before your caregiver arrives, speak with the person in your home who will be receiving care. Depending on their level of cognitive understanding or their memory capabilities, you may have to simplify your explanation or repeat it a few times.
Talk about the person who will be coming over. Express excitement about their arrival and explain how helpful they will be. Describe each task that the caregiver will be performing so that the person receiving care knows what to expect.
You may also want to clarify what the caregiver is not responsible for. It’s important to begin the new caregiving relationship with open communication about responsibilities and boundaries.
Give a Tour of the Home
Your caregiver should have visited the home before, but if for some reason that hasn’t happened, take a few minutes to familiarize them with the layout of the home. Explain any quirks your home may have, such as hot water and cold water knobs reversed, or a fan that doesn’t work, or similar challenges.
If you don’t anticipate having enough time to give the full tour before you leave, write out the instructions or information on sticky notes. You can place these on cabinets, the fridge, the sink, or other areas where the caregiver may have problems or questions.
Talk about Family Preferences
You’ll also need to review house rules or habits that you may or may not have covered in a previous meeting. These items that aren’t necessarily directly related to the care plan—they’re more like preferences. Ideally, your caregiver should be eager to learn your family customs so he or she can make everyone more comfortable within the care plan.
Some in-home care experts suggest beginning with a basic list of top five preferences for the caregiver, and then once those become familiar, you can continue on from there. For example, if you want people to sanitize their hands or remove their shoes when entering the home, let the caregiver know. If you want the blinds left closed or open, verbalize that preference.
Keep in mind that your caregiver won’t know or remember all the details and habits of your home right away. It could take a few weeks for your caregiver to become accustomed to the way your family does things, and that’s all right. After all, the caregiver’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of your loved one. The other elements of function within the home are important, but not as vital as that primary goal.
Try to Stay Flexible
On that note, remember to allow for some flexibility. The care plan you’ve developed is a guide, but as the new caregiver evaluates your loved one’s needs from a fresh perspective, the plan may need to change a little.
If small alterations smooth out the process and enable a better bond between caregiver and receiver, allow those changes if at all possible. The new caregiver may not relate to your loved one the same way you do; and while this can be jarring at first, it can also be a wonderful thing.
Sometimes the introduction of a new person into your loved one’s life can be rejuvenating and refreshing. Other times, it may be an exhausting experience for your loved one until they adjust and accept the new presence as normal. Your loved one may need extra rest and additional reassurances of love during or after the first few shifts with a new caregiver.
Showcase Your Loved One’s Personality
The new caregiver doesn’t know all the aspects of your loved one’s personality like you do. Maybe your elderly parent accomplished wonderful things throughout their life, won awards, built companies, or pursued interesting hobbies. Feel free to share those details with your in-home caregiver!
Getting that full, colorful picture of your loved one is so valuable to a caregiver who’s working on developing a bond with a patient. With those details and facts in mind, the caregiver will be better able to engage with your loved one. They’ll have more conversation topics to explore, and who knows—maybe they will discover a whole range of shared interests that they can discuss!
A good caregiver recognizes that the people in his or her care have full lives, rich personalities, and intrinsic value. They are worthy of joy, health, love, and empathy, and part of the caregiver’s role is to enable those beautiful things. No disability or age limitation can define who a person is! The right caregiver will take a holistic approach to your loved one’s needs, going beyond the basics of physical care and ensuring a better quality of life overall.
Express Concerns Clearly and Kindly
If you notice an issue with the method of care, or if you’ve perceived a conflict or miscommunication occurring, sit down and chat with the caregiver. In most cases, such little bumps are easily navigated with clear, open communication and a positive attitude of partnership.
Don’t feel obliged to keep quiet out of reserve or politeness! Your caregiver welcomes feedback and wants to know how to improve the caregiving process and customize it to your family. Most caregivers will want to do a debriefing of sorts after the first shift, to get your opinion on how things went. If the caregiver doesn’t suggest a brief review of the day, feel free to mention it so you can dialogue honestly about any struggles or issues that may have come up.
Review the Care Plan
Following that first day, the care plan may need to be tweaked; and as the weeks or months go on, further adjustments may be necessary. It’s important to tell the caregiver if you’d like changes to be made. If your caregiver approaches you with suggestions, listen and consider the ideas. Sometimes, rather than rejecting the changes immediately, you may want to think them over for a while. A day or two of consideration may help you understand why the caregiver is suggesting that change.
On the first day with a new caregiver, clarity and kindness are vital. Respect your new caregiver’s expertise while being honest about your own needs and preferences, as well as those of your loved one. With a mutual sense of respect and openness in place, the way is clear for a healthy bond to grow between the caregiver and your loved one. And you’ll find that you feel a stronger sense of partnership and support as you and the in-home caregiver work together to ensure a wonderful quality of life for those you love.
Do you have someone in your life who needs care and companionship? Community Home Health Care features an experienced, caring staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can also visit in person or call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you may have, and we’ll be happy to help.
The post How to Have a Successful First Day with a New In-Home Caregiver appeared first on Community Home Health Care.
Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold, The post Winter Safety Tips for Seniors & Caregivers appeared first on Community Home Health...
Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold, ice, and electrical issues.
Luckily, with just a little bit of planning and caution, you can make sure that the seniors in your life are prepared to handle anything the winter throws at them—and your elderly loved ones can know the right steps to take to stay safe and healthy all season.
6 Quick Tips for Keeping Seniors Winter-Safe
Prevent falls and slips.
Yikes, those icy patches can be tricky for everyone. But for seniors, any slip or stumble can lead to serious injury, from hip and wrist fractures to head trauma, lacerations, or even bad bruising that limits mobility.
Luckily, you don’t need to stay inside to prevent a slip (but if the weather is very bad, an evening at home can be a good idea!). To handle ice and sleet safely, make sure your loved one has winter shoes with good traction and non-slip soles and, if they use a cane, replace the cane tip for best use.
Once you’ve come inside, make sure both you and your loved ones leave any wet or icy shoes at the door to prevent slippery surfaces on hardwood or linoleum floors.
Prepare for outages and storms.
Snowstorm blackouts may be exciting for the kids, but lack of electricity or downed power lines can lead to harmful situations for seniors.
Prepare for limited travel ability or black-outs by creating a disaster kit of needed supplies and food to keep on hand. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water for several days, as well as a manual or battery-operated can opener, and battery-powered flashlight, radio, and extra batteries.
And don’t forget the medicine! Make sure you have extras of your loved ones’ necessary medications and first aid essentials.
Watch your heating appliances.
Space heaters, electric blankets, and other heat sources may be cozy and warm in cold climates, but they must be handled safely.
Before using any device, check that there are no signs of damage, age, or fraying to the material or power cords. When in use, make sure that avoid covering the device and keep any heat source away from flammable materials.
If you’re snuggling by a fireplace or warming up with gas heaters, prevent dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping an updated, working carbon monoxide detector nearby.
Stay covered and warm.
Cold temperatures can be a risk of easily preventable frostbite and hypothermia—-especially for those over age 65. And since we can’t stay indoors all winter long, make facing the cold a little easier by taking note of a few important cold weather steps:
Don’t skimp on the heating bills — keep your senior’s indoor space at a comfortable temperature,
Don’t forget to check on heating appliances, boilers, and utility bill payments to avoid being left in the cold!
Don’t skip bundling up with layers: socks, heavy coats, gloves, scarf, and a hat can keep everyone cozy and warm all winter long.
Don’t forget to stay warm indoors too—remind your loved ones to dress warmly if the house has drafts, chilly bathrooms, or cold floors.
Fight the winter blues.
Feeling gloomy under the grey skies? That’s pretty common!
Cold winters, with the lack of sun and limited social outings, can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression for everyone.
To help your elderly loved one or patient beat the winter blues, make sure to maintain a regular schedule of visitors or phone calls—or consider setting up a home companion or adult daycare schedule. A daily check-in not only keeps loneliness at bay, but also ensures there’s always someone to notice any health or environment changes that may be worrisome.
Keep a healthy diet.
In the colder months, dehydration and poor nutrition are common causes of poor health for seniors.
Limited time outdoors, lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin D. And since it’s chilly outside, it’s easy to forget a daily water intake—which can lead to dehydration. Focus on maintaining sufficient fluid intake and a fortified, balanced diet to keep healthy and fight off the sniffles, all year long.
Staying safe and healthy all winter can be a challenge. But the right home care can help. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.
Without a doubt, becoming a family caregiver can have an impact on all of your other relationships. Whether you took on the caregiver role gradually or suddenly, that role becomes the main priority in your life. Before you know it, almost all of your personal obligations become secondary, but you tell yourself, “this is only for a little while”. The post Balancing Elder Care With Other Relationships appeared first on Community Home Health...
Without a doubt, becoming a family caregiver can have an impact on all of your other relationships. Whether you took on the caregiver role gradually or suddenly, that role becomes the main priority in your life. Before you know it, almost all of your personal obligations become secondary, but you tell yourself, “this is only for a little while”. However, it’s easy for a little while to become weeks, months, and eventually years. You don’t want to look up one day and find that all of your other relationships are suffering. After all, socialization is a part of self-care and not taking care of yourself can impact your role as caregiver. Here are a few suggestions to help maintain your other relationships.
The relationship you have with your significant other is one that always has to be poured into. And it’s not just for them, but you too. Studies show that full-time caregivers are at an increased risk for substance abuse, health issues, and depression and anxiety. Fortunately, self-care and balance can reduce such risks. Some ways to stay present with your partner is:
These few acts can help alleviate feelings of resentment and neglect in your relationship. Overall, you’ll need to be a team and be realistic about the changes that need to take place. A supportive partner can make it easier to get through it all.
If you happen to take care of both your parents and your children, then you are in what’s called “the sandwich generation”. Those who take on this role are not only providing financial and care support to their parents and children, but emotional support. It’s easy to always feel like your shortchanging one when you’re providing support and care to the other. However, there’s a way to help both generations and also help yourself!
The best thing you can do for your children is to explain that their elders will need help sometimes. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that they want to help, which can ease the burden on you. For instance, if your parents like to play card or board games and your children are old enough to play, then let them play together. Your children will feel helpful and your parents will feel good knowing that they taught them something new.
While not every family dynamic will work that way, the best thing you can do is to clearly communicate and set boundaries.
When you’re caring for an aging parent, it’s easy to cancel on a friend, not respond to a phone call or text message, and forego almost all social festivities. You may find that even though you want to maintain your friendships, you just don’t have the energy to do so. On top of that, you may feel guilty if you choose your friends over your parents.
As we stated about other relationships, you must clearly communicate about what’s going on. Your friends may be going through the same thing too! You’ll need your friends to occasionally vent, workout together, and just let your guard down.
Everyone on this list is considered a part of your support system. You need them and they need you. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries to refill your own cup. Be clear about your priorities so you don’t enter a downward spiral of broken relationships and ongoing burnout.
Also, don’t forget that there are professionals out there that can give your parents the quality care they need on the days you need to refresh. At Community Home Health Care, we have Personal Care Aides, Trained Companions, and Home Health Aides, who are ready to provide part-time and full-time assistance. You owe it to yourself and it’ll improve not only your quality of life but everyone else in your circle too. Contact us today to learn how we can best help your situation.
If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention. There are many forms of caregiver guilt, The post Feeling at Peace: How to Lose the “Caregiver Guilt” appeared first on Community Home Health...
If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention.
There are many forms of caregiver guilt, depending on the caregiver’s life circumstances. For many, the guilt is a result of our sense of responsibility for things we feel we could’ve changed for the better—even if the events or choices were outside our control. And when the complicated challenges of caring for an elderly loved one may not go as planned, our guilt makes us shoulder the disappointment and self-blame in how things turned out.
If you’re feeling caregiver guilt, the following statements may sound familiar:
Caregiver guilt is almost unavoidable. Our care and desire to make the best choices for our loved ones means that we can hold ourselves to high standards of behavior—and blame ourselves when the stress of caregiving shows on our careers, family life, or mental health.
But there are steps you can take to mitigate your unwarranted feelings of guilt. Relying on others, taking time for self-care, and focusing on the positive helps you balance your emotions. And a happier, healthier caregiver can provide better care.
Tip 1: Accept Help
The first step to alleviating guilt is to rid yourself of the expectation that you need to handle everything on your own. Reach out to other family members, or even consider hiring a caretaker to provide care and companionship when you can’t. If those options aren’t available, think about which errands in your personal life can be delegated or hired out. While paying for supermarket delivery or extra cleaning help may seem selfish, the benefits of your ease of mind will go a long way.
Tip 2: Remove the “Should”
As a caregiver, your to-do list is full of “shoulds” for every minute of the day, but it may be time to renovate that list. Make a chart of “shoulds” and “needs,” and categorize all your tasks honestly. You may find that some of your most difficult or time-consuming tasks are “shoulds”, such as taking Mom for her doctor appointments, that can be delegated or given up to make way for the most important needs without compromising on your caregiving.
Tip 3: Focus on the Positive
Guilt has a way of keeping you focused on the things you haven’t done right, but you can keep negative feelings at bay with mindfulness and self-reflection. Keep in mind, your goal is to keep your loved ones safe and provided for—and no one can truly “do it all”. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, to give yourself positive reinforcement, and to reassure yourself that the caregiving role is a challenging one for anyone—and your efforts go a long way to keeping your loved one happy and healthy.
Tip 4: Do For Yourself, Too.
There’s no quicker way to drain your emotional health than denying yourself the habits that keep you happy, healthy, and upbeat. When your schedule is full, it’s tempting to sideline your gym hours, social life, or even just some “me time”. But going for too long without any space for yourself will only leave you angrier, stressed, and unable to stretch yourself further. Put your self-care on your to-do list to keep it a priority, and focus on getting in your personal time—even if that means removing other tasks from the list (takeout is fine for dinner, sometimes!)
Tip 5: Find Support
Believe it or not, there are plenty of people in the same boat as you—or ready to offer an understanding ear. Search online for support groups in your area, or ask friends and family if they know a fellow caregiver. Speaking to others lets you share stories, tips, or even just enjoy the company of someone facing the same challenges with positivity and a healthy mindset.
Caregiving can be overwhelming. But when it comes to making the right decisions for your loved one, finding trusted home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.
The post Feeling at Peace: How to Lose the “Caregiver Guilt” appeared first on Community Home Health Care.
How to know when it’s time to reconsider driving for your elderly parent or patient. Telling an elderly loved one that it may be time to stop driving can be a difficult conversation. For many seniors, driving may feel like a key aspect of independent living. Asking family or friends for rides can be embarrassing or frustrating—and relying on expensive taxis or car services can add up. The post Seniors at the Wheel: Aging Health Issues that Impact Safe Driving appeared first on Community...
How to know when it’s time to reconsider driving for your elderly parent or patient.
Telling an elderly loved one that it may be time to stop driving can be a difficult conversation. For many seniors, driving may feel like a key aspect of independent living. Asking family or friends for rides can be embarrassing or frustrating—and relying on expensive taxis or car services can add up.
But if your loved one is facing physical limitations, driving can be a serious risk to their safety. While aging alone doesn’t change driving ability (there are many happy 90-year olds with licenses while their younger peers have long given them up!), elderly drivers are more likely to have health concerns or other limitations that pose a challenge behind the wheel.
Below are important tips to help you know when it’s time to ask your elderly loved one to hand over the keys—-and how to be sure you’re both making the safest choice.
If your loved one…is confused, nervous, distracted, or forgetful.
Whether your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or is simply experiencing general memory loss, cognitive health is the most important factor for safe driving. If he/she is not able to recall places or names, make choices quickly, or focus properly behind the wheel, they’re likely to be unable to navigate their vehicle or drive safely for any distance or time.
If your loved one…has recent vision changes or an eye disease.
Moderate to severe vision loss or eye diseases (such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy) can make it harder for a driver to see road signs, merging cars, or pedestrians clearly enough to respond quickly.
If your loved one…has a hearing loss.
Safe driving relies just as much on our sense of hearing as on our sight. Sirens, honking horns, or mechanical issues need to be heard right away to avoid potential crashes or unexpected break-downs.
If your loved one…moves slower or feels weaker.
As any driver can tell you, quick reflexes can often be the difference between a crash and a quick swerve away from danger. As a driver ages, they may find their response times slowing down or their muscles weakening, both of which can undermine their control over the steering wheel, brakes, and vehicle.
Medications and Driving…one more thing to consider.
Regardless of age or health, mixing strong medications and driving is a cause for concern—-and seniors may be more susceptible to negative side effects than their younger counterparts. Even if your loved one is in the best of health, check carefully with his/her health provider to make sure none of the prescribed medications’ side effects may impact their ability to drive safely. Note also that some over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines or cold medicines, may cause drowsiness or dizziness and should be double-checked with a health provider, too.
Making safe, smart choices with your aging parents can be a challenge. But choosing the best home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.
The post Seniors at the Wheel: Aging Health Issues that Impact Safe Driving appeared first on Community Home Health Care.
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