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.

How to Talk About Aging Care With Your Parents

Discover how to talk about aging care with your parents

Learn how to talk about aging care with your parents effectively to make sure you’re all on the same page.

Perhaps you recall having “the talk” with your parents about those cringeworthy pre-teen topics. If you thought that was uncomfortable, brace yourself for “the talk” with older parents about concerns you’re noticing and the need for care at home! Knowing how to talk about aging care with your parents isn’t easy, for a number of reasons:

  • Your parents may resent what appears to be a reversal of roles or being told what to do
  • They could be in denial that there’s a problem at all
  • They could feel threatened and fearful of losing independence and the freedom to make their own choices

How can you overcome these very valid feelings to come to a place of acceptance about home care services? Try these recommendations as a starting point:

  1. Plan the conversation: what you will discuss, who will attend, where you can best talk without distractions.
  2. Think through what it could be like to be in your parents’ shoes and how you would want the conversation to go.
  3. Resolve to stay calm and respectful through the entire discussion, never trying to parent your parent.
  4. Listen to their concerns with an open mind and without preplanned responses.
  5. Realize there could be more than one solution – and, that it frequently takes more than one conversation to achieve agreement.

Before approaching your parents, practice what you intend to say with someone you trust to give you straightforward feedback. Role-playing is a great way to refine your presentation and words and to help you gain confidence.

When you are ready to talk to your parent, be ready for any outcome. In an ideal world, they will agree with your concerns and be open to having the support of a home care professional. It’s certainly conceivable that they share your concerns, but were unsure how to broach the subject with you. But likewise be ready for resistance, defensiveness, and perhaps even anger.

If the discussion is leading to heightened emotions and you’re heading for an impasse, pause the conversation and try again later. It could be helpful to include someone your parent respects and trusts in a future conversation, such as a close friend or medical professional.

When you’re ready to explore home care options for your parent, contact Generations at Home. We can start off with minimal support, such as meals, transportation, or light housekeeping, and gradually work up to more care once your parents feel at ease with their caregiver.

We know how difficult it can be for someone to accept the need for help at home. Our goal is always to foster an environment of independence in which each individual in our care continues to be as much in control of all of life’s decisions as possible.

You can contact us 24/7 at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our highly customized home care services and for more tips on how to talk about aging care with your parents. We proudly serve St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Gulfport, and the surrounding areas.

Can a Caregiver Get PTSD?

Can a caregiver get PTSD?

Can a caregiver get PTSD? The answer may surprise you!

If you think PTSD only happens to those who have experienced life-threatening danger, think again. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can arise after any traumatic event or experience. So, can a caregiver get PTSD? It may surprise you to learn that providing care for a loved one is, in fact, among the main factors behind PTSD. Nevertheless, the condition frequently goes undetected, and thus untreated. This is because the individual receiving care is usually the primary focus of both healthcare providers and the family at large.

As a family caregiver, it’s essential to be aware of the red flags of caregiver PTSD – which are distinctly different from other forms of PTSD – and to seek help if you are experiencing them. These include:

  • Anxiety: Heightened anxiety regarding your family member’s health and wellbeing may be especially noticeable at night, and can lead to night terrors.
  • Pain: Both physical and emotional pain can be overwhelming and unrelenting. This can include stomach upset and headaches as well as feelings of hopelessness and anguish.
  • Apathy: You may feel empty, numb, and emotionally detached from loved ones. This can occur in conjunction with compassion fatigue.
  • Flashbacks: Reliving a distressing experience can result in the same degree of emotion as when the event occurred.

Why Are Caregivers at an Increased Risk for PTSD?

There are several factors that can come into play to create the perfect storm for caregiver PTSD, including:

  • Hospitalizations and other emergency situations that arise
  • Grief over a range of losses: watching a loved one’s health diminish, experiencing a relationship shift from simply being a family member to being in a caregiver role, being unable to live life as it used to be, and much more
  • The overwhelming responsibilities involved with caregiving: from day-to-day care tasks to managing life-changing medical and financial decisions on a loved one’s behalf
  • Difficult family dynamics and complex emotions like remorse, guilt, hopelessness, and helplessness

What Should You Do if You Believe You May Have Caregiver PTSD?

The first step should be to talk with your primary care physician to explain the symptoms you’re encountering. You will want to rule out any other medical conditions, particularly if you are experiencing any physical pain.

It’s equally important to locate a therapist who is specially trained in treating individuals with PTSD. There are effective treatment options, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapy, as well as individual, family, or group counseling.

Taking regular breaks from your caregiving role is also extremely important. Let friends and family members know that you’re struggling and that you could use more support. Caregiving should never be a one-person responsibility. Permitting others to step in and help benefits the person you are caring for as well, providing them with additional opportunities for social connections.

How Does Home Care Help?

Generations at Home’s in-home respite care services allow you to take the time away you’ll need for self-care while knowing a loved one is receiving high quality care. Taking care of yourself is key to providing the best care for your family member. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 for additional information.

Follow This Checklist After the Death of a Loved One


After the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to do next.

After losing a loved one, the last thing you want to do is complete a list of to-dos. The pain and loss alone are overwhelming enough. Taking the time to sort out your grief is very important. Yet there are, unfortunately, a number of tasks that need to be taken care of, at various intervals after the person’s passing.

To help ease this process, we have put together a straightforward checklist and timeline of items to address.

What Do I Need to Do After My Loved One Passes Away?

Just after death:

• Obtain the legal pronouncement of death by a medical professional. In a nursing home or hospital, this will automatically be taken care of. In the case of death at home, call 911 for transport to the hospital for the pronouncement.

• Notify friends and family. Use whatever method is most comfortable for you. You can contact one individual and ask them to spread the word, or it could be more cathartic for you to speak with each individual yourself. Use email or social media if that works for you. There’s no right or wrong way to accomplish this.

• Contact the funeral home of your choice (or, if final wishes were preplanned, your loved one’s choice) to advise them of the death.

Within a few days:

• Work with the funeral home, the individual’s religious organization, and, if applicable, the Veterans’ Administration, to finalize plans for the service.

• Determine who you would like to assist with funeral-related tasks, such as writing the obituary, helping with thank-you notes, serving as pallbearers, and making arrangements for a post-funeral gathering.

• Lock up any valuables in the home and remove any perishable food.

• Make long-term arrangements for any pets.

• Contact the post office for a forwarding order for the person’s mail.

In two weeks:

• Obtain ten copies of the individual’s death certificate (or, ask the funeral home to manage this for you).

• Close the person’s email account, and either close or memorialize their social media account(s).

• Take a copy of the will to your city or county probate court office to begin the process of ensuring the person’s wishes outlined within the will are followed and that all outstanding debts are resolved.

• Notify the Social Security Administration, bank and financial advisors, life insurance company, a credit bureau such as Equifax, and the DMV. Most of these organizations will need a copy of the death certificate.

• Speak with an attorney to discuss estate settlement.

• Contact a CPA to arrange for a final tax return to be filed.

• Locate the person’s will and determine who the executor is.

• Make a list of all assets and bills, and cancel accounts: electric, phone, internet, streaming services, etc.

Generations at Home is here to assist you through this difficult time, especially if the person leaves behind an elderly spouse. Our caregivers can step in to fill any gaps in care while you take care of the many final tasks and arrangements needed. Reach out to us any time at 727-940-3414 for assistance.

The “Questions to Ask Aging Parents” Checklist for the Holidays

happy-senior-lady-drinking-coffeeIt’s been quite some time since you’ve had the opportunity for a nice, long visit with Mom. Now that the holiday season is here, you will have some uninterrupted time to catch up. Of course, you’ll want to make the most of this time together, but it’s also the best time to evaluate how she is really doing, and if you can detect any changes in her health that perhaps have gone undiscovered through phone calls and FaceTime.

To help you think through areas of potential concern to evaluate, we’ve provided a list of questions to answer. Some of these questions you may wish to ask the senior directly, while others may be answered by observing the home environment and the senior herself.

Physical/Mental Health

  • Is she eating more or less than usual?
  • Has she gained or lost weight?
  • Is she having trouble falling or staying asleep?
  • Does she seem short of breath?
  • Do you notice any bruises or other injuries that could indicate a fall?
  • Does she seem happy and content?
  • Is she stumbling or holding onto furniture or the wall to get around?
  • Does the senior seem to be moving more slowly and cautiously?
  • Is she spending time with friends?
  • Is she actively engaged in enjoyable activities?

Cognitive Health

  • Are you noticing any unusual behaviors?
  • Is she misplacing items, only to find them in unexpected places, such as the car keys in the refrigerator?
  • Is she struggling to remember the names of familiar people or objects?
  • Is she repeating questions or statements in conversations?
  • Are there pieces of mail and bills that have not been opened?
  • Does the senior seem more forgetful or confused than usual?

Financial/Elder Abuse

  • Does the senior seem more timid or anxious than usual?
  • Does she suddenly have a new “friendship” with someone whose motives may be questionable?
  • Is she communicating with strangers online?
  • Has she cosigned for a loan for anyone?
  • Are there any changes in her banking activity?
  • Has she provided anyone with personal information over the phone or internet?

Home Maintenance

  • Is the yard maintained?
  • Is there clutter in the home that could pose a fall risk?
  • Are there any hazards you’re noticing, such as scorch marks on pans or the countertop that could indicate inattention to cooking?
  • Is the home cleaned to the senior’s typical standards?
  • Is the laundry clean and put away?
  • Are the bed linens being changed regularly?

If you are in any way concerned about a senior’s safety or wellbeing, regardless of how small, home care can help. Reach out to Generations at Home for more information.

A Guide to Preserving the Relationship While Caring for a Spouse


Caring for a chronically ill spouse can change routines and expectations, so good communication and support are essential.

If you are in a successful, long-lasting relationship, you recognize that it requires commitment, compromise, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are the ones where both parties selflessly take care of each other. This balance shifts, however, if the person you love encounters a serious health concern. And this shift into the role of care provider can have a devastating effect on the dynamics of your relationship if you’re not careful.

Naturally, you want to do whatever you can to help when caring for a spouse. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure you’re not losing your romantic connection along the way. Trying to parent your spouse can cause resentment – for both of you. To keep healthy boundaries, keep the following at heart:

  • Enable your partner to remain as independent as possible. While you undoubtedly have the best of intentions in wanting to help, it is easy to cross the line into more of a parenting role, which can damage a person’s self-esteem. Plan extra time, incorporate adaptive tools, and step back whenever you can to permit him/her to do whatever they can on their own.
  • Convey your love for your partner in ways that have nothing in connection with the care you are providing. Write love letters, provide small, thoughtful gifts, tell the person just how much you admire specific qualities in them.
  • Have an open, honest conversation about how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm approaches to find a new normal that will be fulfilling for each of you, and realign new, attainable goals and dreams together.
  • Be deliberate in creating opportunities to focus on your relationship apart from the injury or illness. Continue to participate in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, adapting along the way if needed.

If all of this seems easier said than done, there are some specific steps you can take to make sure you’re maintaining appropriate boundaries in your role as caregiver for your partner:

  • Place some favorite memorabilia or photos from prior vacations you’ve taken together in areas where you’ll see them frequently, to remind each of you of the happy times you’ve shared together.
  • Offer hugs, hold hands, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact apart from touch that is a required component of care.
  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. The activities you participate in with relatives and friends may need to be modified, but should never be eliminated altogether.
  • Focus on resolving any conflicts in a healthy way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if required.

An at-home caregiver is a perfect solution to make sure your partner has all the help and support needed, enabling you to focus on spending quality time together as a couple. Contact the care professionals at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our respite care in Clearwater and the surrounding areas.

How to Take a Break from Caregiving (And Why You Need to)

break from caregiving“You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.” – Betty Ford

We all know that no individual can function as an island, something that especially holds true when caring for a parent with dementia. Yet many family caregivers stumble when it comes to asking for or accepting the help they need. As a result, stress is intensified as there’s little, if any, time for self-care – a necessity for anyone in a caregiving role.

Why are we frequently so determined to address such an extraordinary undertaking independently? The following are several common reasons for this behavior and some insight on why we must rethink:

  1. It is too complicated to try and find a caregiver I am able to trust. At Generations At Home, we background check and fully train all of our caregivers, ensuring key character traits such as flexibility, reliability, kindness, and more. Generations At Home is bonded and insured for your additional peace of mind. We also artfully match each client with the ideal caregiver who will be most compatible. Additionally, if a primary caregiver is on vacation or ill, we are equipped to provide an equally qualified replacement caregiver.
  2. Mom would never want someone else caring for her. Many of us would resist if we were told that someone was coming over to give us a bath; that is a very common sentiment. But having someone come and assist with housework and meals is a good approach to introducing a new caregiver, working your way up to additional necessary services after the caregiver becomes a trusted friend and accepted. The wording you utilize will make a big difference as well. Having a “salon day” sounds significantly more inviting, for example.
  3. I’m doing just fine on my own; I don’t need a break. Simply put, science disagrees! A research study shared in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry revealed that a particular stress hormone was depleted in caregivers whose stress was prolonged and chronic – such as in providing dementia care independently – while those who engaged just 2 days each week of respite care realized an increase in the hormone, as well as a brighter outlook and elevated mood.
  4. No one else could care for Mom like I do. While you are most certainly not replaceable, the objective of enlisting help is certainly not replacement, but respite. A loved one with dementia will benefit from the socialization provided by someone besides yourself, while you gain the benefit of a much-needed break – ultimately allowing you to provide better care to the senior when you return.

If you would like to explore in-home respite care for a person you love with Alzheimer’ or other chronic conditions, reach out to Generations At Home to begin the discussion. Our fully trained, experienced, and compassionate caregivers are here to help you reduce stress, improve life for an older adult you love, and provide you with the opportunity to take a brief break from caregiving. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more about options for respite care in Largo, St. Petersburg, and surrounding areas!

Effective Strategies to Advocate for Aging Parents

Advocate for Aging ParentsTrusting someone you love to be cared for by someone else is never easy, especially for a senior family member. Whether at home or in a facility, you’ll have questions that need to be answered. You’ll also want to be prepared to advocate for your loved one to proactively manage any potential problems and also to immediately resolve issues that come up.

For example, review the following common situations and how to most effectively advocate for aging parents and loved ones:

  • You live far away. Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to stay close to a long-distance relative and to keep a finger on the pulse of how things are going. Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype with the senior regularly to check in. If a family portal is available for the care provider and family members to share notes and comments, make the most of this communication tool. And in case you are unable to visit in person, ask a friend or other member of the family who lives close by to drop in routinely.
  • Your loved one has dementia. A loved one with dementia might not be able to effectively communicate their wishes and needs. For example, a new caregiver may not realize that Dad wears inserts in his shoes and she may put his shoes on each morning without them. Dad may not know how to express this need or could have forgotten about this need and start to become uncomfortable that day. Or he might act out because he is experiencing related discomfort, which may result in other issues. As the older adult’s voice, make certain to share even the seemingly small details about the person’s preferences with the care provider to ensure transitions are a smooth experience for all.
  • You’re concerned about challenging behaviors. In the event the older adult is susceptible to wandering, aggression, angry outbursts, hoarding, or any one of a variety of other difficult behaviors, you might feel embarrassed or ashamed. Though some may prefer not to discuss the issue, it is better to share this openly with the care provider. More likely than not, they have knowledge about effectively working with an array of personalities and personal nuances, and will be able to incorporate strategies that will work most effectively together with your loved one.

Generations at Home partners with families, working together to ensure the highest quality of care and independent living for seniors, through customized services such as:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Companionship for enjoyable activities and conversations
  • Running errands
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care for safe baths/showers, getting dressed, etc.
  • Transportation and accompaniment
  • And much more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 for a complimentary in-home consultation and learn more about options for senior care in St. Petersburg and surrounding areas. Please allow us to get to know one another and to develop a care plan to best meet the needs of a senior you love.