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.

Understanding Boredom’s Effect on Dementia

A senior woman feels anxious due to boredom’s effect on dementia.

Aggression, anxiety, wandering, and more can manifest in a loved one due to boredom’s effect on dementia, but these tips can help.

Salt and pepper. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Some things are just supposed to go together. One combination you want to avoid, however, is dementia and boredom. Studies have revealed that boredom’s effect on dementia can lead to an increase in:

  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Wandering
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • And more

In addition to that, boredom in family members providing care for a person with dementia is also troubling, resulting in an increased risk for depression and burnout.

How to Prevent Someone With Dementia From Becoming Bored

Clearly, preventing boredom is a must. These proven strategies are a great starting point.

  • Provide plenty of meaningful activities that build a feeling of purpose and self-worth. This might include helping with folding laundry, preparing meals, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox, or whatever provides a connection to the individual’s past occupation or passions.
  • Since boredom and loneliness often occur together, be sure there are regular opportunities for socializing in accordance with the person’s comfort level. If large groups of visitors are stressful, for example, ask friends and family members to visit one or two at a time.
  • Take sufficient time for reminiscing. Use scrapbooks, photo albums, and home movies. Search the internet for top news articles from a particular time period to discuss together.
  • Know what sparks interest, and seek out opportunities for engagement accordingly. For example, if the individual’s face lights up whenever they see a dog, explore pet therapy or arrange for regular visits with friends and family who have dogs.
  • Play the person’s favorite music through a variety of means: the radio, a playlist, videos of concerts, outings to local school musical programs or the individual’s religious organization to enjoy spiritual songs. Perhaps even plan a karaoke night with family, or a guitar or piano singalong.

Maintain a journal of which activities were most well received, as well as the ones that seemed to be of less interest.

A companion from Generations at Home is a great way to bring a breath of fresh air into the day of a person with dementia. Our caregivers are experienced and highly skilled in creative techniques to boost contentment and engagement for someone with dementia. A caregiver from Generations at Home will add much-needed socialization for your family member, while providing you with the opportunity to step away and take time for yourself.

A few of the various ways we can help include:

  • Engagement in ability-appropriate activities that offer purpose and help boost memory
  • Conversations and reminiscing
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene
  • Providing transportation and accompaniment for fun outings
  • Planning and preparing nutritious snacks and meals
  • And so much more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our customized care solutions in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Seminole, and the surrounding areas.

How Dementia Affects All Five Senses

An older man and his daughter sit at a dining table outdoors.When we think about dementia, the first thing that typically comes to mind is the loss of memory. Cognitive decline is a hallmark effect of Alzheimer’s disease along with other forms of dementia, but there are so many other areas of life which are impacted as well. In fact, each of the five senses may be altered in many ways that are important to understand.

What Sensory Changes Are Common in Dementia?

Following are some of the changes you could notice in a family member with dementia:

Taste and Smell: These senses are frequently the first to change. The decline in the ability to smell and taste could lead the individual to eat food that has spoiled, drink a cleaning fluid or some other toxic substance, and remain unaware if something is burning on the stove or in the home. Lock cleaning supplies and other hazardous materials safely away, check the person’s food supply routinely to make certain food is fresh, and also make sure smoke detectors are operational throughout the home.

Hearing: While the person may be able to hear just fine, auditory processing changes may make it hard to understand what’s being said. In addition it can result in anxiety when there are loud background noises and distractions in the environment. Speak clearly and slowly, using short, one-thought statements, and make use of pictures along with other visuals as needed for more effective communication.

Vision: The brain’s ability to interpret what the person is seeing may cause confusion. It can also lead to a heightened likelihood of falling, as patterns on the floor, shadows, and lighting may be mistaken for three-dimensional objects. Depth perception is often also impacted. Whenever possible, use contrasting colors to lessen these effects.

Touch: The person may lose the ability to detect cold and hot, putting them at risk for burns as well as other injuries. Safety-proof the stove, lower the hot water heater temperature, and ensure the individual is dressed appropriately for the air temperature, both in the house and outdoors.

An in-home caregiver is the perfect addition to the care plan of someone with dementia. Our experienced and trained professionals can decrease safety hazards while improving total wellbeing. We are able to help effectively manage and defuse the many challenging and intricate effects of dementia, including:

  • Wandering
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Sundowning
  • And much more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our specialized dementia care and how we are able to make life the very best it can be every day for someone you love.

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.

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.

A Sudden Decline in Dementia: Causes and Remedies

What a sudden decline in dementia could mean (senior Alzheimer's man with adult daughter)

If you see a sudden decline in dementia in someone you love, take action right away.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was an Alzheimer’s care manual, with step-by-step details on what to expect at each and every stage of the disease? While there are a few general commonalities during the progression of dementia, each person’s experience is unique. This makes it difficult to know what to expect on any given day.

Even with the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s disease, there are particular situations that are beyond the typical array of expectations to watch for. For example, dementia typically progresses slowly and steadily, so a sudden decline in dementia is cause for concern. This might occur for a plethora of reasons:

  • An underlying illness such as cancer or prion disease
  • Disruption to normal routine from a move, change in caregivers, hospitalization, etc.
  • Sundowning
  • Stroke or a brain injury, such as from a fall
  • Delirium, caused by an infection, hospital stay or surgery, medication side effects, lack of sleep, dehydration, or even constipation

What Are the Typical Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and as of now, incurable. Therefore, a decline in condition is to be expected. An abrupt shift in the person’s condition, however, is atypical. In general, the condition progresses through the following stages:

  • Early: The initial detectable signs of Alzheimer’s are usually very mild, including short-term memory lapses, forgetting a word, or getting lost.
  • Middle: In the middle stage of the disease, cognitive difficulties progress to the point that the person struggles with independently performing activities of daily living.
  • Late: The last stage of Alzheimer’s, which can take years to reach, involves a lack of response and recognition of both people and the environment, as the body begins to shut down.

If You Observe a Sudden Decline in Dementia…

Seek medical help right away if a rapid decline is noted so that the cause can be pinpointed and addressed.

A dementia care journal is often a very helpful tool, before, during, and after worsening symptoms. Daily journaling can help you keep track of:

  • Sleeping and eating habits
  • What works and what doesn’t work in helping the person manage challenges
  • Medications taken and any side effects detected
  • Any challenging behaviors noted, with particulars on time of day and possible triggers or contributing circumstances
  • The individual’s overall demeanor on any given day

These kinds of details will be invaluable in helping to piece together what might have caused an abrupt change in condition and how to remedy it.

Generations at Home’s caregivers are highly trained and skilled in caring for individuals with dementia and detecting any changes in condition. Contact us at 727-940-3414 and let us walk beside you on your dementia care journey with customized services in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gulfport, and nearby 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.