Give Yourself the Gift of a Stress-Free Holiday Season

A woman shares new traditions baking with her aging mother in the kitchen and enjoys a stress-free holiday season.

Make some small adjustments to your routine this year and enjoy a stress-free holiday season with those you love most.

What do you wish for most this holiday season? Peace on earth? Good health for your family members? Financial security? What if you could have a stress-free holiday season? What a gift that would be!

Caregiving can be overwhelming any time of year; however, the holiday season can send your stress level off the charts. There are ways, however, to alleviate holiday stress and truly enjoy the warmth, beauty, and love of the season. Our care experts recommend the following small steps that can make a big difference.

  • Intentionally concentrate on the positives. Gratitude is a great tool for changing your mood and outlook. Create a simple gratitude journal in which you record what you are most thankful for, and invest some time every day reading through and reflecting on the list, adding to it as new thankful thoughts arise.
  • Be open and honest. Forget about putting on a mask to cover up what is really going on in your life. Let family and close friends in on the struggles your loved one is facing and how it is impacting you. Sharing from the heart with those you trust to listen and understand is an incredible relief in and of itself.
  • Alter traditions. If you have always been the one to host large family holiday gatherings, consider passing the baton to another person. If the thought of hauling out each and every holiday decoration is overwhelming, select several of your favorite items and leave the remainder in the attic this year. Find ways to simplify and establish new traditions that place less pressure on you.
  • Downsize gifting. Searching for the perfect gift for everyone on your extended family and friends list can consume lots of your holiday time (and money!). There are numerous fun ways to simplify the process. For example, have each family member choose a name and purchase a present for that person only. Then plan a potluck dinner with each person bringing a favorite dish and exchanging gifts.
  • Enlist help. Caregiving should never be a solo endeavor. Taking regular breaks for self-care benefits both the individual in your care and yourself. Let family and friends know exactly what they can do to help, and then do not hesitate to accept that support. Our caregivers are always available to help as well!

How Can Home Care Help Create a Stress-Free Holiday Season?

Our caregivers are alleviating stress for families like yours each and every day – during the holiday season and throughout the year! Our services are highly customized to allow seniors and their loved ones to choose the tasks they would like help with, while maintaining what they prefer to do themselves.

Contact Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 or reach out to us online for a complimentary consultation to discover how we can partner with you in caring for someone you love in Palm Harbor, Belleair Bluffs, Dunedin, and the surrounding areas. Then take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy every precious moment with those you love!

The Ins and Outs of Receiving Hospital Care in the Home

A woman provides hospital care in the home for her aging mother who is in a wheelchair.

There are some great and not-so-great aspects about receiving hospital care in the home for a loved one, but support from Generations at Home can help!

No one wants to spend any more time than necessary in the hospital. The goal is to get the necessary treatment or procedure over with as soon as possible and move on to recovering. Unsurprisingly, the growing trend in receiving hospital care in the home is one being met with open arms. Imagine being able to avoid:

  • Isolation and loneliness from short visiting hour periods
  • Institutional food
  • The bright lights, alarms, and bells that make sleeping difficult
  • The risk of infection inherent in a hospitalization
  • The need to share a room with somebody else who is ill

Hospital level care at home allows someone whose condition is serious yet stable to receive visits from clinicians and any necessary medical equipment—so treatment is provided in the least restrictive and most comfortable environment.

There’s nothing to not love about such a program, right?

The Drawback to Receiving Hospital Care in the Home

While the benefits associated with in-home hospital care are incredible, there’s one main factor to bear in mind: are you equipped and ready to serve as the caregiver for a family member who is critically ill? While doctors and nurses visit the home and are available by telehealth sessions for questions, the bulk of care falls on the family.

“In the hospital, if something happens, they know how to take care of it,” explains Clare Semling, whose husband participated in a hospital-at-home program. “Now it’s on you.”

It’s important for family members to be part of the decision-making process about a loved one receiving hospital care in the home, and to be made aware of the implications it will mean in their own lives. For instance, you will need to think through:

  • Can you handle getting up as required throughout the night to check on the individual, help them to the bathroom, etc.?
  • What will you do in the event of an emergency?
  • Are you ok with having clinical staff coming in and out of the home at regular intervals?
  • Will you be able to manage medications and ensure they’re taken as directed?

Also consider carefully your current commitments and responsibilities: caring for children, taking care of household chores and errands, working outside of the home, and other important activities, including spending time with your spouse, nurturing relationships with friends as well as other members of the family, taking part in hobbies and pastimes you enjoy, engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, etc.

It can be beneficial to create a quick estimate of how much time you actually have available to care for a loved one at home, considering each of the factors above. If it feels overwhelming or unmanageable, seek out help.

Generations at Home is here to help if a loved one opts to receive hospital-at-home care. We can provide medication reminders, run errands, prepare meals, and take the night shift if you’d like, making it possible for you to maintain the healthy life balance you need. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 for more information on how we can help with personalized in-home care services in Largo, Belleair, and Clearwater, as well as the surrounding areas.

How to Tackle Difficult Care Conversations to Strengthen Family Relationships

Two women stand in the kitchen sharing a cup of coffee and having difficult care conversations.Any time you dedicate so much time to caring for an older family member, it is natural for other relationships to take a back seat. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This may lead to additional stress, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.

The key to overcoming this obstacle is communication. This means having conversations that could be uncomfortable but permit the opportunity to share feelings, air grievances, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.

Kicking Off a Courageous Care Conversation

First, understand that a planned, formal meeting isn’t required for a care conversation to be effective. It can be a brief chat while waiting for the coffee to brew. It should not, however, be a blurted-out response to a stress-inducing incident. Attempt to speak about a problem before the stress has an opportunity to build up to an explosive level (or once you’ve had the chance to calm down).

Here’s an example scenario and how to include a courageous conversation. Your teenager is feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed about having friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly parent. Begin with this quick assessment to find the answers for yourself along with your teen:

  • What goals do we wish to accomplish from this conversation?
  • What exactly are each of us feeling and thinking?
  • What do we have to give and receive?
  • What do we need from one another?
  • What would we like each other to know?

Include in your assessment the feelings of the person in your care as well. In particular, before the cognitive decline, determine what your mom would want for you personally as well as your daughter.

With this particular framework in mind, allow yourself to be truthful, authentic, and vulnerable. Listen to each other’s perspective respectfully, offer empathy and understanding, and collaborate to create a viable solution.

Is It Better Left Unsaid?

You may feel as though it’s better to preserve status quo than to risk upsetting a family member by initiating a hard conversation. And undoubtedly, situations may arise that are best resolved through another means, such as by speaking with a professional therapist to unravel your thoughts and feelings prior to approaching someone else with them. As a general rule of thumb, however, nothing beats open, honest communication to allow you and those you care about to better understand one another.

Let a Generations at Home caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other members of the family by providing skilled, professional in-home care for the older adult you love. Contact us at 727-940-3414 for more information about our home care services.

Finding Privacy as a Caregiver

A woman smiles while holding a cup of coffee and a book, enjoying some time for privacy as a caregiver.Think back on your teen years. Remember how important it was to locate a safe spot to be by yourself, to shut out the world, turn the music up, and record your most secret thoughts in your diary?

The need for privacy that began then can become overshadowed when providing care for someone else. Yet it is still vitally important to be able to separate yourself both mentally and physically from your care role to take time for yourself.

How Can a Caregiver Make Privacy a Priority?

Honestly, it isn’t always easy. You may feel as if you need to always have at least one ear and eye open to the needs of the person in your care. There are some steps you can take to help, however. Try:

  • Determining house rules. In shared living spaces, come up with some basic rules of etiquette that are fair for everyone. For instance, take turns selecting television shows to watch, so one person isn’t monopolizing the remote. Compromises similar to this will likely make together time less stressful for all.
  • Designating a spot of privacy for yourself and the older adult. After all, they need privacy just as much as you do. Agree that whenever either of you needs some alone time, you can retreat to your chosen spot and only interrupt one another in case of an urgent situation.
  • Considering emotional privacy. Be sure to take regular breaks from care that enable you time to disconnect fully from your care role. Go on getaways, attend activities and events with other close friends and family members, take a book to the park for a stress-free afternoon. Generations at Home’s care experts are always readily available to fill your caregiving shoes when you take some time for self-care.

Special Considerations for Dementia

If the person in your care is having difficulties with the challenges of dementia, finding privacy becomes even more challenging – and more important to obtain. The person might need around-the-clock oversight to ensure safety, but this doesn’t mean that you should (or can) provide that amount of care yourself.

We often hear from primary family caregivers that there isn’t anyone within their circle of close friends and family who knows the person or the requirements of dementia care well enough to assist. This is when our highly trained and experienced dementia caregivers are an invaluable component of your care team. We can partner with you to guarantee the consistent, skilled, reliable care a person with dementia needs, as you take the regular breaks from care you need.

Contact us at 727-940-3414 to get more caregiving tips and assistance in finding a healthier life balance.