Beyond Losing 10 Pounds: Meaningful Resolutions for Family Caregivers to Inspire Hope

Senior woman backpacking and exploringIf you are one of the 8% of Americans who actually accomplish their New Year’s resolution goals, well done! However, if you are like the majority of us, you’ve given up well before even turning the calendar page to February. Although of course it is admirable to strive to improve ourselves by resolving to get rid of 10 pounds or eat healthier, for busy family caregivers, there are some truly meaningful, attainable goals that will improve life throughout the year.

Consider these recommendations:

  • Find joy. Taking care of another person is a labor of love, but can bring about challenges that make it hard to spark joy. Take time each day to pause and discover a reason to smile. Bring humor into the daily caregiving tasks to share laughter along with your family member. Take pleasure in the feeling of the sunlight shining through the window as you are sorting laundry. Call a relative who lifts your spirits for a brief chat.
  • See the bigger picture. Attempt to take one step back from the busyness of your to-do list, and view the overall effect your caregiving is making. Because of you, a senior loved one is able to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of home. Thanks to you, life is the absolute best it can be for your loved one. Your contribution is priceless and is making a significant difference.
  • Compartmentalize. It is really important to make mental wellness a priority, and one effective way to cope with the numerous different responsibilities associated with providing care is to be fully focused on the present. Visualizing different rooms for different concerns can be helpful; when you begin to worry about a planned surgical procedure a loved one is facing while watching a show along with your children, contemplate placing that concern in its appropriate room until later, and being focused on the present.
  • Be kind to yourself. It is easy to succumb to a pattern of wishing you could do more for a parent, or thinking about errors you have made which you wish you could change. Emphasize to yourself that you are human, and that you are performing essential work for the individual you love. Acknowledge the sacrifices you’re making, just like you would take note and appreciate them in another family caregiver.
  • Seek – and accept – support and help. Attempting to be a superhero who handles each and every thing independently can easily result in burnout and depression. Working with other people to assist the senior is the best method to be sure his / her needs are completely met, while helping you realize the healthy life balance you need and deserve.

Generations at Home is the ideal partner for family caregivers, offering highly skilled, professional, and compassionate care for older adults in accordance with each person’s specific needs. Allow us to help! Give us a call at 727-940-3414 and together we can develop a plan of care in order to make 2020 the greatest year yet – both for the senior in your care, as well as for yourself.

Are you Experiencing Family Caregiver Depression?

Woman stressed alone in the roomThere’s no question that it’s an incredible honor to care for people we love. Family caregivers experience a closeness and bond with those in their care that usually far outweighs the difficulties. However, there are challenges. A perpetual to-do list to be sure the senior loved one you’re providing care for is as happy and healthy as possible. Household chores and errands to manage. Job obligations. The requirements of other members of the family and friends. And don’t overlook self-care.

The result is an often daunting degree of stress, that if left uncontrolled, can quickly become caregiver burnout and even depression, which could appear in any or each of the following ways:

  • Feelings of anger, unhappiness, despair, stress
  • Difficulty with falling or staying asleep during the night
  • Lack of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
  • Eating more or significantly less than usual
  • Delayed thinking
  • And if left untreated, suicidal thoughts or even attempts at suicide

This brief online evaluation will allow you to determine whether you might be suffering from depression.

The good news is, there are a number of easy steps you are able to take to lower your potential for falling into depression:

  • To start, make an appointment with your health care provider for help
  • Refrain from isolating yourself and ensure lots of opportunities for socialization apart from your caregiving relationship
  • Remain active, both physically and mentally, with activities you love: swimming, playing a sport, reading, volunteering with a cause that is important to you

While it could be challenging for family caregivers to carve out the time essential for self-care, it’s vitally important to the health of both the caregivers themselves and the seniors in their care. Lots of times, family relations feel as if they should do it all on their own – after all, they understand the older adult much better than anyone else, and quite often it just seems easier to manage things independently.

An overly stressed, burned out, or depressed caregiver requires dependable, reliable support – and the great news is, it is easily obtainable! A knowledgeable, home caregiver can provide as much or as little care support as needed. Perhaps, for instance, you’d like to continue to make all of the meals for your senior loved one – but would love some help with tidying up the kitchen afterwards. Or perhaps your senior loved one would feel more comfortable with a professional caregiver providing help with personal care needs, for example, bathing and assistance in the restroom.

At Generations at Home, we appreciate how complicated life can feel for family caregivers, and we work with families to develop a plan of care that meets each person’s individual needs and desires. Let us help with trustworthy, professional respite care. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 any time for additional information.

St. Petersburg, FL Home Care: Top Ways to Avoid Caregiving Injuries

Nursing home – home caregiver helping an elderly man out of bed

Avoid caregiving injuries with Generations at Home’s expert services.

While the ultimate goal is to improve health and safety for the seniors they love, family caregivers, unfortunately, often end up compromising their own in the process. In fact, an astounding 94% of caregivers in a recent study conducted by Ohio State University reported musculoskeletal pain in at least one part of their body – and 66% reported this pain impacting their quality of life.

And know that a “caregiver” can represent anyone in the family who assists another person with daily activities. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, this means that 34 million Americans are at risk of becoming injured through the care they provide.

At Generations at Home, we know firsthand the degree of lifting, bending, and weight-bearing required in meeting the care needs of an older adult, which is why each of our professional caregivers is trained in techniques that safeguard both themselves and the seniors in their care. Injuries can result from even the simplest of tasks that require more physical strength than you may realize: shopping and running errands, cleaning the home, performing laundry chores, even cooking.

To help family caregivers reduce the risk of injury, we offer the following recommendations:

  • Let assistive devices do the lifting. For older adults with mobility issues, transfers, such as from bed to chair, represent one of the most common causes of injury to those caring for them. Not only that, but the risk of the senior falling and obtaining an injury are heightened. Caregivers should look into equipment such as a Hoyer lift to assist with safe transfers (but note that proper training will be required).
  • Exercise safe movement practices. We’ve all heard the adage, “Lift with your legs, not with your back,” but before lifting a finger, caregivers should take a quick assessment of their own physical status. If any pain is felt in any of the joints or back, it’s a sign that the body has been pushed beyond its capacity – and an alternative means of assisting the senior should be explored.
  • Seek help. The best way to avoid injury in caregiving is by knowing your limitations, and calling in professionals when warranted. The caregiving team at Generations at Home is fully experienced and adept in providing a full range of senior care assistance, allowing family members and seniors alike to remain safe and well.

Contact us at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home consultation. We can perform a safety assessment of the home, provide resources to help in your caregiving journey, and offer the highly customized, expert in-home care services that allow families the opportunity to simply enjoy quality time with the seniors they 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:

  • Reduced sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort found in familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes over and over again)
  • The complexities of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Fear of falling, the sounds and sensations of the water, and more

Cajoling, arguing, and reasoning are rarely effective tactics with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Instead, try these creative approaches if your loved one resists maintaining proper hygiene:

  • Prepare the bathroom in advance so the room will be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle gathering up supplies in conjunction with assisting the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and place soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, as well as remove any throw rugs or other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer often make a more comfortable bathing experience for those with dementia. Face the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover parts of the body before and after they are cleaned to keep the senior warm and to avoid feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior assist with bathing tasks as much as possible to promote independence. It may be as simple as offering a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold.
  • If hair washing is difficult for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and arrange for weekly trips to the salon.
  • Plan a special outing with the senior, such as a lunch date with a friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the recommendation of a medical professional, who can advise the senior about the increased risk of infection or skin problems without proper hygiene. Sometimes hearing from a trusted third party carries more weight than from a family member.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, allowing the senior the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a family member.

At Generations at Home, each of our caregivers is adept in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specialized training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to discover effective solutions to the concerns you and your loved one are facing!

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.

Don’t Spiral Downward: Daily Steps to Increase Positivity in the Life of a Caregiver

Woman relaxing at the beach

Learn practical daily habits to implement that can help reduce caregiving stress and provide a positive outlook.

Our facial expressions expose so much to people around us, and if you are encountering an abnormal degree of stress, well-meaning family members will surely pick up on it, possibly encouraging you to essentially, “Cheer up, buttercup!” The truth is, of course, it will require a lot more than a couple of words to turn our mood around.

However, new research does support the idea of positive thinking as a method to eliminate degrees of depression and anxiety that may develop when we are overloaded with stress – something critical for busy family caregivers to take to heart to decrease the potential for burnout.

Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the research study who consequently established a program to combat the downward spiral of emotions so common in people providing care for a loved one, says, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”

The core techniques in her program include the following:

  • Keep a journal of things for which you’re thankful – even the little things.
  • Recognize a minimum of one positive event every day.
  • Talk about this occurrence with friends on social websites.
  • Identify one new milestone each day, and keep an eye on your progress in achieving it.
  • Identify one of your talents and contemplate how you’re applying that strength.
  • Undertake one daily small act of kindness for someone else.
  • Think about a negative event, and then discover a way to see it in an optimistic light.
  • Engage in focused breathing and mindfulness to recover a sense of peace.

For the people providing care for a senior with dementia, the need to concentrate on positives is often even more imperative to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study in which the effectiveness of these coping skills were analyzed reported a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.

Together with the ideas above, it is necessary for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties alone, which can rapidly lead to caregiver burnout and various other significant health complications. Working with an established in-home care agency, like Generations at Home, is the perfect method for obtaining a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Life is stressful, but we’re able to help! Contact Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for the dependable St. Petersburg home care services that allow you a chance to focus on self-care and high-quality time with those you love.