The Surprising New Recommendations Related to Low Blood Sugar and Senior Diabetics

The latest recommendations from the Endocrine Society regarding the elderly and diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar isn’t always best. And for those who’ve been maintaining a regimen of finger pricks, insulin injections, and careful monitoring of food intake, this change of course may be a bit hard to swallow.

Known as de-intensification, geriatricians are now often taking the approach with older adults that the benefits to be gained by striving for strict blood sugar control aren’t outweighing the health risks inherent with aging and illness. When A1c and glucose levels are kept at very low levels in the elderly, for instance, it can lead to an increased frequency of hypoglycemia and even kidney failure.

With as many as one in three seniors currently diagnosed with diabetes, these new guidelines are poised to have a staggering impact on the treatment and management of the disease for older adults, requiring a shift in mindset for many.

And not surprisingly, many older diabetics are reluctant to embrace this change. In one patient’s words to Dr. Pei Chen, a geriatrician at the geriatric clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I can handle it.”

The new guidelines recommend an increase in A1c from 7 to 7.5% for older adults who are in good health; and up to 8 – 8.5% for those with dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, or poor health. It’s important to note, however, that recommendations are highly individualized based on a variety of factors, and that at no time should high blood sugar be ignored in the elderly.

Generations at Home can help older adults adhere to doctors’ recommendations to manage diabetes and a variety of other conditions with professional, customized, in-home care services for seniors. Just a few of the many ways we can help include:

  • Grocery shopping to ensure the senior has plenty of healthy food options readily available
  • Meal planning and preparation in adherence to any prescribed dietary plans
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Encouragement to engage in doctor-approved exercise programs
  • Medication reminders to ensure prescriptions are taken at the proper time and in the correct dose
  • And more!

Contact us online or at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home assessment and discover a healthier lifestyle for a senior you love.

Help for This Common Alzheimer’s Care Concern: Resistance to Personal Hygiene

Towel LifestyleOf the many challenges related to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons: Read more

How to Keep Motivating Seniors from Crossing the Line to Bullying

Married couple argumentAs a family caregiver, you no doubt encounter a range of emotions throughout the day: shared laughter over a joke with your loved one; worry over a health concern; and certainly, from time to time, frustrations. We want only the best for those we love, and when an older adult is resistant to doing something we know is best, it can be challenging to determine the most appropriate response.

The key is to offer motivation and encouragement, while being careful not to cross the line into bullying the senior. These tips are good to keep in mind:

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all. An approach that works on one occasion may be completely ineffective in another. If the senior refuses to take a bath, for instance, you may simply want to let the matter slide and try again tomorrow. Or, maybe reframing bath time into a soothing spa activity will hold more appeal. Incorporating humor may work well one day, while using a gentler, softer tone of voice may be the solution on another. Having a variety of strategies at the ready can help reduce frustration for both of you.
  • Empower the senior to remain in control. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with the senior during a calm, peaceful moment to solicit feedback on how the caregiving relationship is going, and what he or she would like to see changed. It’s important to then take to heart the older adult’s feedback and incorporate it into your caregiving approach.
  • Be mindful of incremental bullying. While we certainly would never set out to bully a loved one into compliance, it’s possible to gradually progress from encouragement and motivation into pushiness and forcefulness without realizing it. Take an honest look at your tendencies in communicating with your loved one, and then take steps to improve upon them if needed.
  • Remember the overarching priority. Above and beyond the many tasks required in providing care for a senior loved one, maintaining a healthy, positive and fulfilling relationship with each other is paramount. If you find that the frustrations of providing care are outweighing the benefits for either of you at any time, there’s always the possibility of exploring alternate care options, allowing you to place your focus on spending quality time together with the senior you love.

Generations at Home is the perfect partner for family caregivers. Our caregiving staff are fully trained and experienced in the many facets of senior home care, and can provide the assistance family members need to maintain healthy relationships with those they love. Contact us online or call 727-940-3414 and request an in-home consultation to discover the difference respite care can make in both a senior’s quality of life and yours.

You Are Not Alone: Study Reports Many Family Caregivers Fear Providing Inadequate Care

Senior woman and husband visit with doctor

A serious senior woman sits between her unrecognizable female doctor and her husband. She gestures as she speaks with her doctor.

“Absolutely Dad can move in with me!”

Family care providers are making this commendable choice more often, signifying the beginning of changes in lifestyle they can only fully understand once immersed in them. And even though the rewards of providing care for an older loved one are immeasurable, they are not lacking multiple challenges as well.

It may seem natural to manage everyday activities for a senior loved one; however, it’s much less instinctive than it initially seems. As an example, helping a senior in the shower or bath the wrong way can cause a fall. Inadequate incontinence care may cause skin damage and infection. Noncompliance with a recommended nutritional plan can bring about a number of health complications.

It’s not a surprise that in a current report provided by AARP, “Home Alone Revisited,” a lot of family caregivers reported stress over the chance of making an error in the care they provide. The report features answers from a study sent to over 2,000 family caregivers, who revealed that even though they believed their caregiving was enabling their family members to remain at home over a move to an assisted living or nursing home setting, they expressed concern over their proficiency to complete the tasks needed.

Participants in the survey identified that the most emotionally stressful part of caregiving is incontinence care. And, nearly ¾ of family caregivers surveyed are routinely undertaking medical duties associated with pain management – responsibilities for which they wished they’d been given better training and assistance from the senior’s medical care team.

Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis (and co-author of the report) points out that, “Too often (family caregivers) are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles.”

Asking for guidance and training in new tasks is vital for family caregivers. Those who partner with a knowledgeable in-home care provider, like Generations at Home, can decrease the trepidation and uncertainty in managing care at home successfully. Our caregivers are fully trained in the countless intricacies of aging care, and can provide family members with valuable guidance and education. We also offer trusted, reliable respite care services that enable family caregivers to step away from their care duties while knowing their senior family member will be safe and well cared for.

Call us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home consultation to learn more.

Wandering and Alzheimer’s: Why It Happens and How to Help

dementia care experts

Wandering is a common side effect of Alzheimer’s disease.

Of the many effects of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering as well as the potential dangers that may occur if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Wandering can take place when the older adult is:

  • Scared, confused or overwhelmed
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Bored
  • Seeking to keep a familiar past routine (such as going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a basic necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep the senior safe, and to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to attempt to prevent the need to wander to begin with. Try the following safety measures in case your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Be certain that the residence is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is unable to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be bought, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats that will sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS devices which can be worn, and more. It’s also a great idea to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, setting temporary folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for individuals who wander is the additional risk of falling. Look over each room of the house and address any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles that may be obstructing walkways, adding extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It is important to keep in mind that with supervision and direction, wandering is not necessarily an issue. Go for a walk together outside anytime weather permits and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the extra advantage of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

While often tricky to manage, the dementia care team at Generations at Home has been specially trained to be equally watchful and proactive in deterring wandering and to utilize creative strategies to help seniors with dementia stay calm and happy. Email or call us at 727-940-3414 for more information!

 

Why Is Dad Being So Irrational? Tips To Understand and Respond to Senior Paranoia

St. Petersburg FL home care

Dementia can cause irrational thoughts.

“I’m telling you, there is a dog in my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We have got to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one express worries such as this that you know to be untrue is unsettling – yet not abnormal. Your very first impulse could be to attempt to rationalize with the person with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s not a chance a dog may have gotten into the closet!” All the same, for several different reasons, this can be the least successful option to handle irrational ideas and behaviors within the senior population.

Alternatively, at Generations at Home, we suggest the following strategies to help restore a feeling of calm and wellbeing:

  1. First and foremost, schedule a check-up with the senior’s doctor. It’s important to identify any cognitive problems and to make certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if necessary. There also could possibly be prescription medication side-effects taking place.
  2. Seek out the thinking behind the irrationality, and then decide how to solve the issue. For instance, possibly the heating and cooling vent in the closet is loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and bringing about a strange sound.
  3. Instead of wanting to correct the individual, react lovingly with assurance and empathy. Focus on acknowledging the feelings being expressed, as well as on letting the person know that you’re going to be there to assist. Accompanying the senior into a different area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help you restore calm.
  4. One of the most helpful ways to conquer any obstacle is by determining what has helped others in a similar situation. Consider joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of insightful recommendations and information. A wide range of choices are readily available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver forum.
  5. Enlist the support of a professional in-home care provider, such as Generations at Home. Our caregivers are proficient at helping aging parents remain active and engaged, as well as helping to decrease challenging behaviors. Partnering with a trusted caregiver also gives you necessary respite, to take a break from caregiving duties while knowing your loved one is benefiting from superior care.

For additional suggestions about assisting your parent through obstacles with aging, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the senior care experts at Generations at Home. We’re always available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free of charge in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve quality of life for a senior loved one. Reach out via our online contact form or call us any time at 727-940-3414.

How Caring for Aging Parents is Causing Many People to Quit Their Jobs

businesswoman looking out of an office window

Family caregiving can have a large impact on work performance.

Recently, actor Rob Lowe brought family caregiving into the spotlight by sharing his story of caring for his mother and the toll it took on his own life. He explains, “When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career.”

Of course, this is nothing new to the vast majority of the U.S. workforce (3 out of 4 employees) who are simultaneously providing care for someone at home. And according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business School, 80% of those family caregivers are struggling to keep up with their career commitments as a result of their caregiving duties. And nearly a third of them end up relinquishing their careers to focus more on the care their loved one requires.

Yet conversely, employers seem to be less aware of the challenges faced by their employees, and the stress that results from juggling responsibilities between home and work, noting in the survey excuses such as, “It’s none of our business,” and “The volume of use of caregiving benefits is low enough that it is not necessary to track it.” And the majority of those employees are in agreement that their organization’s culture is not as supportive as they’d like with regard to meeting needs on the job as well as at home.

So how can employees help to drive the workplace changes needed to ensure that the ever-growing army of working family caregivers receives both the understanding and resources needed for a successful work/life balance? It begins with speaking up to create the necessary awareness of the issue. Employers need to understand the impact family caregiving has on their staff in order to retain the employees most likely to leave over caregiving stress: younger workers, higher-ranking workers, and higher-earning workers. Research and recommend caregiving benefits the employer can offer, and then don’t be afraid to use those benefits when offered.

Additionally, keep in mind that Generations at Home in St. Petersburg, FL provides a highly personalized care solution that allows employed family members to focus more fully on their careers, knowing their senior loved ones are receiving the high quality care they need at home. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 to arrange for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional in-home care services for seniors, and how we can partner with your employer to explore caregiving benefit offerings for employees.

Making Your Marriage a Priority as You Care for an Aging Parent

Mature couple holding hands

Caregiving for a senior can impact your marriage relationship. Learn tips to keep your marriage intact here.

In marriage, we agree to stick together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness as well as in health – but what does not come up in our vows to each other is the way to preserve marriage while caregiving as our parents age.

Nevertheless, with our life span increasing, it is essential to put together a strategy based on both the needs of our parents as they age, as well as the multitude of day-to-day needs, all while honoring our cherished relationship with a spouse. It is a challenge that is contributing to anxiety and strain for 80% of couples surveyed, leading to detachment and much less quality time together. The following areas in a marital relationship are especially impacted by caregiving for a senior parent:

  • Finances. Still retaining the top spot for the reason cited for divorce, fiscal stress is magnified if the senior has not executed a financial arrangement for long-term care. Truthfully discussing frustrations with one another and working together to examine choices to pay for services can help.
  • Exhaustion. As gratifying as it might be, meeting the needs of an elderly family member calls for a great amount of time and effort – leaving little left over at the end of your day for your spouse. Agree to accept the help of others or hire professional in-home senior care help, so you can be sure to provide for quality time with your significant other.
  • Frustration. Mounting frustration and decreased patience are a couple of frequent side effects of fatigue, and sadly, we tend to lash out at those we love the most when feeling overwhelmed. Allow imperfection, practice understanding, and look for professional assistance if needed.

So how else are you able to try to avoid these issues and keep a strong and healthy marriage? These tips may help:

  • Make sure your spouse is always a high priority. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way towards this end, such as writing a note of love and appreciation, getting up a couple of minutes early to share a cup of coffee together before the day becomes hectic, or setting aside time at the conclusion of the day to talk and unwind.
  • Joining an online support group for family caregivers can allow you the opportunity to share irritations with individuals in similar situations, relieving concerns.
  • Seek out the services of a certified counselor, either for you separately or for the two of you as a couple.

An additional great way to accomplish a healthy life balance is through partnering with an established and trusted in-home care provider, like Generations at Home. We provide customized respite care solutions that allow loved ones to take time away from caregiving, while providing seniors the opportunity for enhanced socialization with a helpful and fully-trained caregiver. Contact us at 727-940-3414 to explore our senior care options today!

Life with an Aging Parent: Are You Becoming a Helicopter Child?

helicopter parents sandwich generation

Are you guilty of hovering too closely over your senior parents when it comes to home healthcare?

We’ve all known helicopter parents, particularly when a son or daughter goes off to college. The fact is, we might be guilty of hovering a tad too closely ourselves. Discovering that appropriate balance between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not very easy.

And now, due to the added number of sandwich generationers providing care for both aging parents and children, we’re at risk of acquiring an additional badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s not uncommon for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal in regard to their senior parents, with the very best of intentions, of course; obviously, we would like to keep our loved ones safe. Nevertheless, this could lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or frustrated at their newfound loss of control.

If you believe you are infringing on your elderly parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here is insight on how to come in for a landing, and resolve to step in only when absolutely necessary.

Discuss expectations. Engage your parent in a conversation about aging expectations, and exactly how she would want you to help with obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to move into an assisted living facility, or stay at home with support? If the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she picture her healing experience? Would she be happy getting assistance with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a skilled caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is jeopardized, it is crucial to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative mind-set. The objective is to ensure that the senior preserves as much self-sufficiency as is feasible. If she’s hesitant to accept assistance or even to make prudent decisions, such as using a walker when needed to avoid a fall, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of her medical doctor or a geriatric care manager to offer suggestions.

Otherwise, step back. If you want to control circumstances that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is far better to let those concerns go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Get in contact with Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for expert senior care assistance which is always geared towards ensuring as much independence as possible for senior loved ones, permitting family caregivers the opportunity to step back and give their parents the independence that they need while remaining safe.

Get Out and Play at Any Age! And Then Reap the Health Benefits

Happy and funny senior couple playing hulahop in park

Learn the senior health benefits of good old fashioned play, in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

Do you recall that feeling as a young child once the school bell rang, signifying the conclusion of science and the start of the best part of the day: recess? There was clearly an immense sensation of freedom bounding out onto the playground, leaving behind the stress of school work for a quick period of unstructured play.

Unfortunately, for the majority of adults, this is nothing but a fond but distant memory. Yet is it feasible, as well as beneficial, to recapture the happiness of playing? Experts like Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, answer with a resounding YES. As he explains, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

The primary advantages of play, no matter a person’s age, include:

  • To be connected: Particularly in our smartphone-driven society today, taking time to engage with others in person is key to our social wellness – whether through sports activities, card clubs, weekly board game competitions, or other shared pastimes and interests.
  • To sharpen your mind: While the jury is still out on the success of memory games in decreasing the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is certainly benefit to be gained in enhancing thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • To improve relationships: The everyday challenges inherent in most of our relationships are eased when a sense of playfulness is included, making it possible for more powerful bonds as well as the capacity to better conquer difficulties should they arise.

Carving time out from a busy schedule to just play can seem impossible. However, with a little assistance from Generations at Home, an even more fulfilling lifestyle can easily become a real possibility. We are available for as much or as little assistance as needed, offering an array of services for older adults, such as:

  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Food shopping, picking up prescription medications, and any other errands
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care assistance such as aiding with bathing and dressing
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and fun outings
  • Companionship to take part in discussions, reminiscing, exercising, games, and enjoyable interests
  • And much more

Maintain a healthy life balance by permitting us to help, while you have some fun. Call us now at 727-940-3414 to learn more!