Blog – Community Home Health Care https://commhealthcare.com Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:03:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 Caregivers and Seniors: How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency https://commhealthcare.com/caregivers-and-seniors-how-to-prepare-for-a-medical-emergency/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:03:53 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15827 Caregivers and Seniors: How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency

Seniors or people with physical disabilities are more likely to experience some kind of accident or medical emergency. That’s why it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to have a plan in place to deal with an emergency when it happens. Let’s review some steps you can take to prepare for a medical emergency and to ensure that you react calmly and purposefully when a crisis occurs.

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Caregivers and Seniors: How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency

Seniors or people with physical disabilities are more likely to experience some kind of accident or medical emergency. That’s why it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to have a plan in place to deal with an emergency when it happens. Let’s review some steps you can take to prepare for a medical emergency and to ensure that you react calmly and purposefully when a crisis occurs.

Preparation and Prevention

You may have heard the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The phrase simply means that being careful and methodical in your daily routine can often forestall unfortunate incidents, like a medical emergency or accident. Preparing in advance for the possibility of a medical emergency is just as important as reacting to the incident.

Have a List of Emergency Contacts

First of all, make a list of anyone you may need to contact in an emergency. Since you are caregiving for a senior citizen, this would include any children or adult grandchildren who may need to know about the situation. It might also include a specialist or therapist, as well as friends or neighbors. The emergency contact list will look different for each person. If your client has memory issues, consider including the 911 number at the top of the list in case he or she forgets those important digits.

Know Your Client’s Allergies

If your client has allergies to shellfish, peanuts, medications, or anything else, you need to know those risk factors right upfront. You may even want to keep a posted list of the allergies in the home and in your client’s personal belongings, perhaps in their purse or wallet. If the allergies are so severe that they would require an EpiPen, make sure you have one on each level of the home if there are multiple stories. Carry one with you if you and your client go out anywhere.

Practice Your Life-Saving Techniques

As a caregiver, you have probably been trained in life-saving techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, CPR, and the like. It’s important to maintain these skills by watching training videos again periodically, and by practicing on a dummy. Also, if your care recipient has heart problems, familiarize yourself with the emergency measures you could take to preserve their life through a heart attack or other heart failure incident, including chest compressions or administering life-saving medication or injections.

Establish Meeting Points

What if the medical emergency also involves a crisis event like a tornado, fire, earthquake, or flood? Plan ahead and identify safe spots to shelter in place from events like an earthquake or tornado. Map out safe exit paths to escape a fire and appoint a meeting place outside the home, such as the end of the driveway or a neighbor’s front porch. In the event of a severe crisis event, identify a spot where you could meet up with your care recipient’s family members, and communicate that plan to them.

Have a “Go Bag” Ready

It’s a good idea to have a “go bag” or “bug out bag” ready, in case emergency forces you and your care recipient to evacuate. A small rolling suitcase is excellent for this since you or the senior in your care can easily roll it along when you leave. In it, you can stow a 3-day or one-week supply of medications, bottled water, nonperishable food, contacts or glasses, and medical devices with extra batteries. You can also include travel-sized cosmetic and hygiene supplies, as well as spare cell phone chargers. Every three months, review and update the contents of the “go bag.” The emergency kit can also include copies of important documents sealed into a waterproof bag. And don’t forget first aid items as well!

Write Down the Emergency Plan

Every part of your emergency plan, whether for a natural disaster or a medical emergency, needs to be written down. Some parts of it may also need to be posted throughout the home, perhaps in the kitchen, in the bathroom, or beside the front door. Seniors often struggle with memory issues and with remembering a series of instructions or a particular sequence of events, so it helps them to have a written record of any emergency plans you have designed together. Be sure to share the emergency plans with your care recipient’s family as well, so you can all be on the same page in case of an emergency.

These are just a few of the steps you can take to be prepared for a medical emergency. Other precautions and preparedness measures will be unique to your situation as a caregiver, and to the specific health struggles that your client has.

Action and Implementation

So you’ve prepared and planned, and you’ve posted the emergency contacts, allergies, and steps to follow in an accessible place. What if a medical emergency actually happens? What can you do to move through it safely, with the best possible result for your care recipient?

Keep Calm

It’s really tough to stay calm when you’re faced with a serious medical emergency. However, yielding to panic will not help anyone, so it’s important to stay as calm as you can. Take a second to breathe deeply, and then act. Use your common sense and follow the emergency plan you have laid out.

Help Others Remain Calm

Even if you manage to calm yourself, those around you may not be able to control their emotions in the situation. Speak in a calm, even tone and gently but firmly direct anyone who isn’t emotionally ready to help the situation. Ask them to sit down, or give them a simple task to do.

Do Not Move an Injured Person

If your care recipient has fallen, unless the individual is in immediate danger from something in the vicinity, do not move them. Call 911 or another medical emergency number and wait for trained medical professionals to evaluate your client’s condition and determine if it’s safe to move them.

Remain with Your Care Recipient

If possible, avoid leaving the care recipient alone. If you need to step out of the room to grab a phone to call 911, that’s acceptable, but otherwise, try to stay right beside your care recipient until professional medical help arrives. Having you nearby, providing whatever care you can and speaking in calm tones, will help the senior in your care to stay calmer and wait more patiently for the help that’s coming.

Collect Necessary Items

If you and the senior in your care need to leave the home or residence to go to a hospital, or if you need to evacuate due to a flood, hurricane, or other critical events, be sure to grab the emergency kit and important documents bag that you prepared. In case of fire or an immediate threat, you can leave those items behind, but if you have a few moments before an evacuation or before departing for the hospital, take that time to collect any essential items and medications for the person in your care.

Sometimes, the items that seem least essential can bring the most comfort to someone going through a medical emergency or some other crisis. Whether you’re heading for a hospital or evacuating for another reason, try to bring along comfort items that will help your charge feel more at peace, such as framed family photos, small heirloom items, a soft sweater, or a favorite pillow.

If you’re looking for a caregiver for a beloved senior in your life, consider getting in touch with Community Home Health Care. We have an experienced, caring staff of trained in-home caregivers, including registered nurses, personal care aides, and home health aides. On our website, you can fill out the online form and we’ll send you additional information about the assistance we offer to seniors. And feel free to visit in person or call (845) 425-6555 so we can answer all your questions. 

 

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Mental Health for Seniors: How to Identify Problems and Get Proper Care https://commhealthcare.com/mental-health-for-seniors-how-to-identify-problems-and-get-proper-care/ Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:25:35 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15805 Have you noticed that an older adult in your life is sleeping more than usual, seems angry and irritable, or is having suicidal thoughts? Did you know that these could be signs of a mental health problem?

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four older adults—about 7 million—are living with a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety.

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Have you noticed that an older adult in your life is sleeping more than usual, seems angry and irritable, or is having suicidal thoughts? Did you know that these could be signs of a mental health problem?

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four older adults—about 7 million—are living with a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety. By 2030, NCOA expects the number to double to 15 million.

The sad fact is that two-thirds of older adults with mental disorders do not receive treatment for their conditions. Untreated mental disorders can lead to poor overall health, higher health care costs, disability or impairment, compromised quality of life, increased caregiver stress, a higher risk of suicide, and death.

For these reasons, it’s important to recognize the warning signs and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety—and know how to get treatment for your aging loved one.

Depression in Seniors

The most prevalent mental disorder among seniors is depression, according to a brief released by the Healthy Aging Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). Depression in seniors can lead to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the condition can make it difficult for the sufferer to seek treatment.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Depression in Seniors

As a caregiver, it’s important to know the signs and risk factors of depression to ensure that the senior in your life receives treatment as quickly as possible. As with most mental health disorders, depression has numerous symptoms. Some seniors may only experience a few symptoms, while others may show signs of several.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists the most common warning signs of depression in seniors as:

  • Persistent Sad, Anxious, or “Empty” Mood
  • Feelings of Hopelessness or Pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of Guilt, Worthlessness, or Helplessness
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Hobbies and Activities
  • Decreased Energy or Fatigue
  • Moving or Talking More Slowly
  • Feeling Restless or Having Trouble Sitting Still
  • Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering, or Making Decisions
  • Difficulty Sleeping, Waking Early in the Morning, or Oversleeping
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Changes in Weight
  • Thoughts of Death or Suicide
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Aches or Pains, Headaches, Cramps, or Digestive problems—Without a Distinct Physical Cause

Do you think an older adult in your life for is suffering from depression? If they have experienced any of these symptoms for a majority of the days over a two-week period, their health care provider should screen them for depression.

In addition to the warning signs, there are a few risk factors associated with depression in seniors. These include:

  • A Personal or Family History of Depression
  • Major Life Changes, Stress, or Trauma
  • Certain Physical Illnesses and Medications

Anxiety in Seniors

Anxiety is another prevalent mental health condition for seniors, and it often is associated with depression. In fact, nearly half of older adults who are diagnosed with depression also experience anxiety, according to the CDC and NACDD brief.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Anxiety in Seniors

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety. Seniors with GAD are typically over-anxious and worrisome for a majority of days for at least six months. From personal health and everyday routines to work and socialization, GAD can affect nearly every aspect of a senior’s life.

Like depression, there are numerous warning signs when it comes to anxiety. According to the NIMH, caregivers should be aware of the following signs and symptoms of GAD in seniors:

  • Feeling Restless, Overly Excited, or On-Edge
  • Being Easily Fatigued
  • Having Difficulty Concentrating
  • Mind Going Blank
  • Irritability
  • Experiencing Muscle Tension
  • Difficulty Controlling Feelings of Worry
  • Having Sleep Problems (Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep, Restlessness, or Unsatisfying Sleep)

Besides these signs and symptoms, chronic health problems such as thyroid conditions or heart arrhythmias can lead to or increase anxiety symptoms. Drinking caffeinated beverages, substance abuse, and certain medications can also cause anxiety.

According to the NIMH, research has shown that genetics and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing anxiety. A few of the common risk factors associated with anxiety disorders are:

  • Shyness During Childhood
  • Exposure to Stressful or Negative Life or Environmental Events
  • A Family History of Anxiety or Other Mental Illnesses

Treating Depression and Anxiety in Seniors

The typical treatments for both depression and anxiety in seniors include medication and psychotherapy—or a combination of both. Caregivers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of each condition since treatments are generally more effective when they begin during the early stage of either condition.

Whether you’re a caregiver in a long-term care facility, assisted living facility, or a home health care provider, several activities can help promote the mental health and wellbeing of seniors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends enhancing your caregiving routine with the following types of activities:

  • Healthy Activities: Walking, exercise classes, interactive games, gardening, relaxation classes, yoga, Quigong, or Tai Chi.
  • Intellectual Activities: Reading books, discussing current events, crossword puzzles, card games, chess, or strategy games.
  • Artistic Activities: Arts and crafts, creative writing, music, drama, and dance.
  • Skill-Building Activities: Classes to learn about computers, cooking, sewing, carpentry, gardening, finances, or grandparenting.
  • Spiritual Activities: Attending religious services or prayer groups, celebrating religious holidays, or meditation classes.
  • Volunteer and Mentoring Activities: Intergenerational activities with children, teens, and young adults.
  • Coping Activities: Classes on loss and bereavement, caring for a spouse, problem-solving, or socialization.

If you’re an older adult living with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, there are a number of things you can do to while you’re being treated for your condition to help improve your quality of life:

  • Be Active and Exercise Regularly
  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Spend Time with Friends or Family
  • Don’t Isolate Yourself—Reach Out for Help
  • Know That Your Mood Will Improve Over Time—Not Right Away
  • Postpone Major Life Changes (Getting Married or Divorced, Changings Jobs, Etc.)
  • Discuss Major Decisions with a Trusted Relative, Friend, or Your Caregiver
  • Educate Yourself About Your Condition

Do you have a loved one that is living with a mental health disorder? Community Home Health Care has a dedicated staff of experienced and trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. To learn more about our services, visit our website and fill out our simple online form. You can also visit us in person or call (845) 425-6555 to speak with a caring representative today. Whether you need medical assistance, personal care, or friendship, we’re here to help!

 

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How to Overcome Isolation When You Are a Caregiver https://commhealthcare.com/how-to-overcome-isolation-when-you-are-a-caregiver/ Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:41:41 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15794 Being a caregiver is sometimes a lonely job. You may feel confined, restricted, shut away from the activities, the people, and the mental stimulation that you enjoy. As the companion for someone with unique challenges and needs, you may not see friends and other family members for long periods of time; and as a result,

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Being a caregiver is sometimes a lonely job. You may feel confined, restricted, shut away from the activities, the people, and the mental stimulation that you enjoy. As the companion for someone with unique challenges and needs, you may not see friends and other family members for long periods of time; and as a result, your own mental health may suffer.

It’s important to recognize the dangers of isolation and to take steps to provide yourself with an outlet and some relief, so you can continue to live a full, satisfied, and happy life. Discover how to overcome isolation when you are a caregiver.

Find a Support Group

Sometimes, just talking about the caregiving experience can be a relief. You need some people around you who understand exactly what you’re going through, who have been there too or are currently living the same experience.

Check online to find a local support group for caregivers, and try to attend meetings in person if those are offered. If not, connecting with other caregivers in an online support group can be just as helpful.

Reconnect with Relatives and Friends

When you first began your role as a caregiver, you may have been so overwhelmed with the new reality that you let other relationships slip. Now that you’ve gotten used to the tasks of caregiving, try to reestablish some of those relationships.

If you’ve drifted away from certain friends or relatives and you want to reconnect, try reaching out with a text, a phone call, or an email. You may be able to find time to meet for coffee or lunch. If you can’t leave the house due to caregiving responsibilities, see if the person would be willing to come over for a visit. Skype, video calls, and social media provide ways for you to stay in touch with loved ones even if they’re far away or unavailable to meet in person.

Develop a Hobby

Hobbies can be expensive, and some caregivers are struggling with a lack of funds as well as a feeling of isolation. However, there are a number of hobbies you can pursue that don’t involve a lot of upfront cost.

Writing can be an outlet for a variety of emotions and experiences. You may find it therapeutic to journal, jot down some poetry, or begin crafting a novel. Whether you do it just for fun or treat it as a more serious creative effort, writing is an excellent way to keep your mind active and engaged during long, isolated hours in the home. You can also find writers’ groups, both local and online, to provide extra social interaction. If you’d rather read than write, seek out a local book club.

Crafting, knitting, or sewing are other hands-on hobbies that provide tangible results without too much up-front cost. You can find supplies at thrift stores or dollar stores, and if you practice enough, you may even be able to sell some of your work on websites like Etsy to make a bit of extra income. You may even find local art fairs where you can enjoy some social interaction and sell a few items. The best part is, you can easily set aside your crafting work to return to caregiving duties, and then pick it up again later when you have more time.

Painting, model-building, wood-carving, jewelry-making, music, reading, calligraphy, origami, photography, cooking, crocheting, and leather-crafting are all hobbies you can do from home. Experiment with a hobby you enjoy as a way to give yourself a mental outlet and connect with others who share the same interest.

Attend Local Events

If you have a bit of disposable income, and you’re able to get away from the house now and then, try to find some interesting events to attend. Does your city have a community theater? You can probably find fun plays, musicals, and other performances to enjoy at a reasonable cost, and you just might meet a delightful new friend.

Many cities and towns have local spots where you can enjoy live music, good food, and a few laughs with friends, old or new. Karaoke nights, poetry slams, and local band performances are all fun ways to interact with others and meet new people.

If you or the person you care for has a dog, you can find ways to become part of your local pet owners’ community. Parks, boardwalks, doggie play zones, obedience classes, and pet competitions all provide outlets for connection and activity.

Participate in a Faith Community

Some caregivers find comfort in being part of a religious community. You can participate in services, interfaith gatherings, and church potlucks or barbecues. Just being around people who share your faith or worldview may give you the emotional boost you need to continue caregiving throughout the rest of the week.

Exercise Regularly

Did you know that exercising regularly boosts your mood and energy levels? When you’re weary from caregiving, you may not feel like exercising—but trust the research, because once you begin a regular exercise regimen, you’ll actually gain more energy instead of feeling wiped out. Your mood may improve, and you may notice that you’re sleeping better. Plus, your heart and lungs will benefit.

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring! In fact, you can make it interactive or entertaining for you and the person you’re caring for. Put on some peppy music or a dance video and dance around the room! Play an engaging exercise video or try a YouTube yoga channel. If there’s a treadmill or exercise bike available in the home, watch a favorite TV show while running or riding. Even something as simple as going up and down the steps a few extra times or taking a walk can be healthy, releasing tension and relieving a little of the sadness or lethargy you might feel as a caregiver.

Take Time to Celebrate You

As a caregiver, it’s easy to make it all about the person you’re caring for. Selfless, kind-hearted caregivers are rock stars in our book, and we believe that it’s healthy to celebrate yourself occasionally for the difficult, important work you’re doing.

When family or friends praise you, accept those compliments. Celebrate daily moments of success. Identify milestones in your caregiving experience and assign a celebratory activity or personal reward to those achievements. You deserve recognition for the hard work you’re doing every day.

Find Reliable Respite Care

For many of the out-of-the-house activities, you may need to find someone to take over your duties for a couple of hours so you can take a break and get some much-needed socialization. Finding respite care can be difficult for many at-home caregivers, due to cost, availability, and other concerns. However, it’s important to remember that prioritizing your own mental health and happiness is well worth a bit of extra investment.

If you need a break as a caregiver, it’s okay to hire someone to take over the responsibilities for a while. At Community Home Health Care we have an experienced, caring staff of highly trained in-home caregivers. Our registered nurses and home health aides are happy to provide medical assistance, along with kind-hearted personal care. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about our services, or call (845) 425-6555 and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have.

 

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How to Have a Successful First Day with a New In-Home Caregiver https://commhealthcare.com/how-to-have-a-successful-first-day-with-a-new-in-home-caregiver/ Mon, 06 Jan 2020 09:21:44 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15769 Hiring a caregiver to help with your loved one can be an immense relief in the long run; but at first, you may find it slightly stressful. Introducing someone new into your life is a stretching experience, and an adjustment phase is normal and expected. With a little time, communication, and patience, you’ll find that your in-home caregiver becomes a welcome support and relief for your family.

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Hiring a caregiver to help with your loved one can be an immense relief in the long run; but at first, you may find it slightly stressful. Introducing someone new into your life is a stretching experience, and an adjustment phase is normal and expected. With a little time, communication, and patience, you’ll find that your in-home caregiver becomes a welcome support and relief for your family.

If you’re hiring help for a loved one, whether it’s an elderly parent, a child, a disabled partner, or a recovering relative, it’s important to start things out right. Explore our tips for how to have a successful first day with a new in-home caregiver.

Discuss the Caregiver’s Arrival

Before your caregiver arrives, speak with the person in your home who will be receiving care. Depending on their level of cognitive understanding or their memory capabilities, you may have to simplify your explanation or repeat it a few times.

Talk about the person who will be coming over. Express excitement about their arrival and explain how helpful they will be. Describe each task that the caregiver will be performing so that the person receiving care knows what to expect.

You may also want to clarify what the caregiver is not responsible for. It’s important to begin the new caregiving relationship with open communication about responsibilities and boundaries.

Give a Tour of the Home

Your caregiver should have visited the home before, but if for some reason that hasn’t happened, take a few minutes to familiarize them with the layout of the home. Explain any quirks your home may have, such as hot water and cold water knobs reversed, or a fan that doesn’t work, or similar challenges.

If you don’t anticipate having enough time to give the full tour before you leave, write out the instructions or information on sticky notes. You can place these on cabinets, the fridge, the sink, or other areas where the caregiver may have problems or questions.

Talk about Family Preferences

You’ll also need to review house rules or habits that you may or may not have covered in a previous meeting. These items that aren’t necessarily directly related to the care plan—they’re more like preferences. Ideally, your caregiver should be eager to learn your family customs so he or she can make everyone more comfortable within the care plan.

Some in-home care experts suggest beginning with a basic list of top five preferences for the caregiver, and then once those become familiar, you can continue on from there. For example, if you want people to sanitize their hands or remove their shoes when entering the home, let the caregiver know. If you want the blinds left closed or open, verbalize that preference.

Keep in mind that your caregiver won’t know or remember all the details and habits of your home right away. It could take a few weeks for your caregiver to become accustomed to the way your family does things, and that’s all right. After all, the caregiver’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of your loved one. The other elements of function within the home are important, but not as vital as that primary goal.

Try to Stay Flexible

On that note, remember to allow for some flexibility. The care plan you’ve developed is a guide, but as the new caregiver evaluates your loved one’s needs from a fresh perspective, the plan may need to change a little.

If small alterations smooth out the process and enable a better bond between caregiver and receiver, allow those changes if at all possible. The new caregiver may not relate to your loved one the same way you do; and while this can be jarring at first, it can also be a wonderful thing.

Sometimes the introduction of a new person into your loved one’s life can be rejuvenating and refreshing. Other times, it may be an exhausting experience for your loved one until they adjust and accept the new presence as normal. Your loved one may need extra rest and additional reassurances of love during or after the first few shifts with a new caregiver.

Showcase Your Loved One’s Personality

The new caregiver doesn’t know all the aspects of your loved one’s personality like you do. Maybe your elderly parent accomplished wonderful things throughout their life, won awards, built companies, or pursued interesting hobbies. Feel free to share those details with your in-home caregiver!

Getting that full, colorful picture of your loved one is so valuable to a caregiver who’s working on developing a bond with a patient. With those details and facts in mind, the caregiver will be better able to engage with your loved one. They’ll have more conversation topics to explore, and who knows—maybe they will discover a whole range of shared interests that they can discuss!

A good caregiver recognizes that the people in his or her care have full lives, rich personalities, and intrinsic value. They are worthy of joy, health, love, and empathy, and part of the caregiver’s role is to enable those beautiful things. No disability or age limitation can define who a person is! The right caregiver will take a holistic approach to your loved one’s needs, going beyond the basics of physical care and ensuring a better quality of life overall.

Express Concerns Clearly and Kindly

If you notice an issue with the method of care, or if you’ve perceived a conflict or miscommunication occurring, sit down and chat with the caregiver. In most cases, such little bumps are easily navigated with clear, open communication and a positive attitude of partnership.

Don’t feel obliged to keep quiet out of reserve or politeness! Your caregiver welcomes feedback and wants to know how to improve the caregiving process and customize it to your family. Most caregivers will want to do a debriefing of sorts after the first shift, to get your opinion on how things went. If the caregiver doesn’t suggest a brief review of the day, feel free to mention it so you can dialogue honestly about any struggles or issues that may have come up.

Review the Care Plan

Following that first day, the care plan may need to be tweaked; and as the weeks or months go on, further adjustments may be necessary. It’s important to tell the caregiver if you’d like changes to be made. If your caregiver approaches you with suggestions, listen and consider the ideas. Sometimes, rather than rejecting the changes immediately, you may want to think them over for a while. A day or two of consideration may help you understand why the caregiver is suggesting that change.

On the first day with a new caregiver, clarity and kindness are vital. Respect your new caregiver’s expertise while being honest about your own needs and preferences, as well as those of your loved one. With a mutual sense of respect and openness in place, the way is clear for a healthy bond to grow between the caregiver and your loved one. And you’ll find that you feel a stronger sense of partnership and support as you and the in-home caregiver work together to ensure a wonderful quality of life for those you love.

Do you have someone in your life who needs care and companionship? Community Home Health Care features an experienced, caring staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides. Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can also visit in person or call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you may have, and we’ll be happy to help.

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Winter Safety Tips for Seniors & Caregivers https://commhealthcare.com/winter-safety-tips-for-seniors-caregivers/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 09:36:43 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15761 Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold,

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Brrr! When temps drop and the roads get icy, it can be tempting to snuggle under the covers for the whole winter. But although the cold season may not be pleasant for anyone (sled rides excluded), winter weather can be particularly dangerous for the elderly—and caregivers and seniors alike need to be prepared and winter-smart to avoid the risks of cold, ice, and electrical issues.
Luckily, with just a little bit of planning and caution, you can make sure that the seniors in your life are prepared to handle anything the winter throws at them—and your elderly loved ones can know the right steps to take to stay safe and healthy all season.

6 Quick Tips for Keeping Seniors Winter-Safe

Prevent falls and slips.
Yikes, those icy patches can be tricky for everyone. But for seniors, any slip or stumble can lead to serious injury, from hip and wrist fractures to head trauma, lacerations, or even bad bruising that limits mobility.

Luckily, you don’t need to stay inside to prevent a slip (but if the weather is very bad, an evening at home can be a good idea!). To handle ice and sleet safely, make sure your loved one has winter shoes with good traction and non-slip soles and, if they use a cane, replace the cane tip for best use.
Once you’ve come inside, make sure both you and your loved ones leave any wet or icy shoes at the door to prevent slippery surfaces on hardwood or linoleum floors.

Prepare for outages and storms.
Snowstorm blackouts may be exciting for the kids, but lack of electricity or downed power lines can lead to harmful situations for seniors.
Prepare for limited travel ability or black-outs by creating a disaster kit of needed supplies and food to keep on hand. Your kit should include non-perishable food and water for several days, as well as a manual or battery-operated can opener, and battery-powered flashlight, radio, and extra batteries.
And don’t forget the medicine! Make sure you have extras of your loved ones’ necessary medications and first aid essentials.

Watch your heating appliances.
Space heaters, electric blankets, and other heat sources may be cozy and warm in cold climates, but they must be handled safely.
Before using any device, check that there are no signs of damage, age, or fraying to the material or power cords. When in use, make sure that avoid covering the device and keep any heat source away from flammable materials.
If you’re snuggling by a fireplace or warming up with gas heaters, prevent dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping an updated, working carbon monoxide detector nearby.

Stay covered and warm.
Cold temperatures can be a risk of easily preventable frostbite and hypothermia—-especially for those over age 65. And since we can’t stay indoors all winter long, make facing the cold a little easier by taking note of a few important cold weather steps:
Don’t skimp on the heating bills — keep your senior’s indoor space at a comfortable temperature,
Don’t forget to check on heating appliances, boilers, and utility bill payments to avoid being left in the cold!
Don’t skip bundling up with layers: socks, heavy coats, gloves, scarf, and a hat can keep everyone cozy and warm all winter long.
Don’t forget to stay warm indoors too—remind your loved ones to dress warmly if the house has drafts, chilly bathrooms, or cold floors.

Fight the winter blues.
Feeling gloomy under the grey skies? That’s pretty common!
Cold winters, with the lack of sun and limited social outings, can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression for everyone.

To help your elderly loved one or patient beat the winter blues, make sure to maintain a regular schedule of visitors or phone calls—or consider setting up a home companion or adult daycare schedule. A daily check-in not only keeps loneliness at bay, but also ensures there’s always someone to notice any health or environment changes that may be worrisome.

Keep a healthy diet.
In the colder months, dehydration and poor nutrition are common causes of poor health for seniors.
Limited time outdoors, lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin D. And since it’s chilly outside, it’s easy to forget a daily water intake—which can lead to dehydration. Focus on maintaining sufficient fluid intake and a fortified, balanced diet to keep healthy and fight off the sniffles, all year long.

Staying safe and healthy all winter can be a challenge. But the right home care can help. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family.

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Balancing Elder Care With Other Relationships https://commhealthcare.com/balancing-elder-care-with-other-relationships/ Sun, 10 Nov 2019 09:12:31 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15754 Without a doubt, becoming a family caregiver can have an impact on all of your other relationships. Whether you took on the caregiver role gradually or suddenly, that role becomes the main priority in your life. Before you know it, almost all of your personal obligations become secondary, but you tell yourself, “this is only for a little while”.

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Without a doubt, becoming a family caregiver can have an impact on all of your other relationships. Whether you took on the caregiver role gradually or suddenly, that role becomes the main priority in your life. Before you know it, almost all of your personal obligations become secondary, but you tell yourself, “this is only for a little while”. However, it’s easy for a little while to become weeks, months, and eventually years. You don’t want to look up one day and find that all of your other relationships are suffering. After all, socialization is a part of self-care and not taking care of yourself can impact your role as caregiver. Here are a few suggestions to help maintain your other relationships. 

Maintaining Your Marriage as a Caregiver

The relationship you have with your significant other is one that always has to be poured into. And it’s not just for them, but you too. Studies show that full-time caregivers are at an increased risk for substance abuse, health issues, and depression and anxiety. Fortunately, self-care and balance can reduce such risks. Some ways to stay present with your partner is:

  • Keeping the lines of communication open and judgment-free
  • Doing simple acts such as complimenting them 
  • Setting aside time for a date-night, even if it’s just snuggling up watching movies in the living room
  • Actively listening to your partner

These few acts can help alleviate feelings of resentment and neglect in your relationship. Overall, you’ll need to be a team and be realistic about the changes that need to take place. A supportive partner can make it easier to get through it all. 

Maintaining Your Relationship With Your Children

If you happen to take care of both your parents and your children, then you are in what’s called “the sandwich generation”. Those who take on this role are not only providing financial and care support to their parents and children, but emotional support. It’s easy to always feel like your shortchanging one when you’re providing support and care to the other. However, there’s a way to help both generations and also help yourself! 

The best thing you can do for your children is to explain that their elders will need help sometimes. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that they want to help, which can ease the burden on you. For instance, if your parents like to play card or board games and your children are old enough to play, then let them play together. Your children will feel helpful and your parents will feel good knowing that they taught them something new. 

While not every family dynamic will work that way, the best thing you can do is to clearly communicate and set boundaries. 

Maintaining your Friendships as a Caregiver

When you’re caring for an aging parent, it’s easy to cancel on a friend, not respond to a phone call or text message, and forego almost all social festivities. You may find that even though you want to maintain your friendships, you just don’t have the energy to do so. On top of that, you may feel guilty if you choose your friends over your parents. 

As we stated about other relationships, you must clearly communicate about what’s going on. Your friends may be going through the same thing too! You’ll need your friends to occasionally vent, workout together, and just let your guard down. 

Overall, You Don’t Have to do it Alone

Everyone on this list is considered a part of your support system. You need them and they need you. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries to refill your own cup. Be clear about your priorities so you don’t enter a downward spiral of broken relationships and ongoing burnout. 

Also, don’t forget that there are professionals out there that can give your parents the quality care they need on the days you need to refresh. At Community Home Health Care, we have Personal Care Aides, Trained Companions, and Home Health Aides, who are ready to provide part-time and full-time assistance. You owe it to yourself and it’ll improve not only your quality of life but everyone else in your circle too. Contact us today to learn how we can best help your situation. 

 

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Feeling at Peace: How to Lose the “Caregiver Guilt” https://commhealthcare.com/feeling-at-peace-how-to-lose-the-caregiver-guilt/ Wed, 02 Oct 2019 13:00:58 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15708 If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention. 

There are many forms of caregiver guilt,

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If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention. 

There are many forms of caregiver guilt, depending on the caregiver’s life circumstances. For many, the guilt is a result of our sense of responsibility for things we feel we could’ve changed for the better—even if the events or choices were outside our control.  And when the complicated challenges of caring for an elderly loved one may not go as planned, our guilt makes us shoulder the disappointment and self-blame in how things turned out. 

If you’re feeling caregiver guilt, the following statements may sound familiar: 

  • We feel guilty we don’t spend enough time without loved ones, or that we spend too much time with them at the expense of others.
  • We feel guilty for moving our loved ones into a senior facility or assisted living, or that we’re hurting them and others by keeping them in their own home or moving them into our family’s home. 
  • We feel guilty for own feelings: for resenting the burden of caregiving, for frustration at our parent’s limits, and for being selfish if we do prioritize our own needs.  

Caregiver guilt is almost unavoidable. Our care and desire to make the best choices for our loved ones means that we can hold ourselves to high standards of behavior—and blame ourselves when the stress of caregiving shows on our careers, family life, or mental health. 

But there are steps you can take to mitigate your unwarranted feelings of guilt. Relying on others, taking time for self-care, and focusing on the positive helps you balance your emotions. And a happier, healthier caregiver can provide better care. 

Tip 1: Accept Help

The first step to alleviating guilt is to rid yourself of the expectation that you need to handle everything on your own. Reach out to other family members, or even consider hiring a caretaker to provide care and companionship when you can’t. If those options aren’t available, think about which errands in your personal life can be delegated or hired out. While paying for supermarket delivery or extra cleaning help may seem selfish, the benefits of your ease of mind will go a long way. 

Tip 2: Remove the “Should”

As a caregiver, your to-do list is full of “shoulds” for every minute of the day, but it may be time to renovate that list. Make a chart of “shoulds” and “needs,” and categorize all your tasks honestly. You may find that some of your most difficult or time-consuming tasks are “shoulds”, such as taking Mom for her doctor appointments, that can be delegated or given up to make way for the most important needs without compromising on your caregiving. 

Tip 3: Focus on the Positive 

Guilt has a way of keeping you focused on the things you haven’t done right, but you can keep negative feelings at bay with mindfulness and self-reflection. Keep in mind, your goal is to keep your loved ones safe and provided for—and no one can truly “do it all”. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, to give yourself positive reinforcement, and to reassure yourself that the caregiving role is a challenging one for anyone—and your efforts go a long way to keeping your loved one happy and healthy. 

Tip 4: Do For Yourself, Too.

There’s no quicker way to drain your emotional health than denying yourself the habits that keep you happy, healthy, and upbeat. When your schedule is full, it’s tempting to sideline your gym hours, social life, or even just some “me time”. But going for too long without any space for yourself will only leave you angrier, stressed, and unable to stretch yourself further. Put your self-care on your to-do list to keep it a priority, and focus on getting in your personal time—even if that means removing other tasks from the list (takeout is fine for dinner, sometimes!) 

Tip 5: Find Support 

Believe it or not, there are plenty of people in the same boat as you—or ready to offer an understanding ear. Search online for support groups in your area, or ask friends and family if they know a fellow caregiver. Speaking to others lets you share stories, tips, or even just enjoy the company of someone facing the same challenges with positivity and a healthy mindset.

Caregiving can be overwhelming. But when it comes to making the right decisions for your loved one, finding trusted home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 

 

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Seniors at the Wheel: Aging Health Issues that Impact Safe Driving https://commhealthcare.com/seniors-at-the-wheel-aging-health-issues-that-impact-safe-driving/ Mon, 02 Sep 2019 20:36:33 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15701 How to know when it’s time to reconsider driving for your elderly parent or patient. 

Telling an elderly loved one that it may be time to stop driving can be a difficult conversation. For many seniors, driving may feel like a key aspect of independent living. Asking family or friends for rides can be embarrassing or frustrating—and relying on expensive taxis or car services can add up.

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How to know when it’s time to reconsider driving for your elderly parent or patient. 

Telling an elderly loved one that it may be time to stop driving can be a difficult conversation. For many seniors, driving may feel like a key aspect of independent living. Asking family or friends for rides can be embarrassing or frustrating—and relying on expensive taxis or car services can add up.

But if your loved one is facing physical limitations, driving can be a serious risk to their safety. While aging alone doesn’t change driving ability (there are many happy 90-year olds with licenses while their younger peers have long given them up!), elderly drivers are more likely to have health concerns or other limitations that pose a challenge behind the wheel. 

Below are important tips to help you know when it’s time to ask your elderly loved one to hand over the keys—-and how to be sure you’re both making the safest choice. 

If your loved one…is confused, nervous, distracted, or forgetful. 

Whether your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or is simply experiencing general memory loss, cognitive health is the most important factor for safe driving. If he/she is not able to recall places or names, make choices quickly, or focus properly behind the wheel, they’re likely to be unable to navigate their vehicle or drive safely for any distance or time. 

If your loved one…has recent vision changes or an eye disease.

Moderate to severe vision loss or eye diseases (such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy) can make it harder for a driver to see road signs, merging cars, or pedestrians clearly enough to respond quickly. 

If your loved one…has a hearing loss.

Safe driving relies just as much on our sense of hearing as on our sight. Sirens, honking horns, or mechanical issues need to be heard right away to avoid potential crashes or unexpected break-downs. 

If your loved one…moves slower or feels weaker. 

As any driver can tell you, quick reflexes can often be the difference between a crash and a quick swerve away from danger. As a driver ages, they may find their response times slowing down or their muscles weakening, both of which can undermine their control over the steering wheel, brakes, and vehicle. 

Medications and Driving…one more thing to consider.

Regardless of age or health, mixing strong medications and driving is a cause for concern—-and seniors may be more susceptible to negative side effects than their younger counterparts. Even if your loved one is in the best of health, check carefully with his/her health provider to make sure none of the prescribed medications’ side effects may impact their ability to drive safely. Note also that some over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines or cold medicines, may cause drowsiness or dizziness and should be double-checked with a health provider, too. 

Making safe, smart choices with your aging parents can be a challenge. But choosing the best home care shouldn’t be. Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 

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July Aides of the Month https://commhealthcare.com/july-aides-of-the-month/ Wed, 07 Aug 2019 17:26:26 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15675 The post July Aides of the Month appeared first on Community Home Health Care.

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Preventing Memory Loss: Exercises & Steps to Keep Your Mind Active https://commhealthcare.com/preventing-memory-loss-exercises-steps-to-keep-your-mind-active/ Thu, 01 Aug 2019 09:48:33 +0000 https://commhealthcare.com/?p=15668 We’ve all walked into a room and paused, forgetting why we got up from the couch. Or let an appointment, phone call, or errand slip from our mind. But when an elderly loved one starts forgetting names, places, or regular activities, harmless memory slip-ups can become a reason for concern. 

Fortunately, moderate memory loss is a typical sign of aging—-and not necessarily a reason to worry about Alzheimer’s or dementia.

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We’ve all walked into a room and paused, forgetting why we got up from the couch. Or let an appointment, phone call, or errand slip from our mind. But when an elderly loved one starts forgetting names, places, or regular activities, harmless memory slip-ups can become a reason for concern. 

Fortunately, moderate memory loss is a typical sign of aging—-and not necessarily a reason to worry about Alzheimer’s or dementia. And while memory loss is to be expected, studies show there’s plenty of steps you or your loved ones can take to improve memory, boost cognitive skills, and possibly even slow the effects of dementia. 

These steps, which include mental exercises and brain games, help our minds improved neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is how well our mind can adapt, change, and react to new situations or information. The more we work on mental gymnastics, the healthier we can keep neuroplasticity —and the more we can continue to remember, learn, and recall. 

These mental exercises fall into one of two categories: skill developing and skill retaining. Studies point to learning new things as a key way to keep our mind sharp and developing at any age. At the same time, your elderly loved ones may be struggling to recall skills or abilities they once had, and retaining those skills is crucial for a quality of life. 

Here are a few mind (and body) steps you can take for yourself or with an elderly loved one to prevent memory loss and increase mental activity.

  •  Pick up an instrument, or a paintbrush.  

Learning a new skill, especially a more complex one, is a sure way to give your brain a workout. Encourage your elderly loved one to join a class or take a few lessons on a topic that interests them. In addition to building brain power, learning new skills can keep your loved one feeling motivated and occupied. Motivation and a positive attitude also go a long way to keeping our minds healthy, so consider a local pottery class a 2-for-1! 

  • Test recall, or leave the list at home.  

“Recall” is an important mental factor that, with our phones and shopping lists at hand, we don’t exercise often enough. Try testing recall in small, stress-free ways to encourage focus and sharpen mental skills. Leave your shopping list in your pocket as you wander the aisles, or ask your loved one to describe a childhood home or pet to engage memory and visualization skills. 

  • Use your senses, or smell the roses. 

Our senses tie closely to our minds’ ability to learn and remember, so utilizing our sense can keep us engaged and ready to learn. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to experience the senses around the home. Encourage your loved ones to help you in the garden or try something new in the kitchen to enjoy new smells, touches, and tastes together. 

  • Get moving, or even dancing. 

Even while you exercise your brain, don’t neglect the benefits of giving your body a light work-out. Not only does moving reduce stress and improve your mood (both of which are great for mental health), it also increases oxygen to your brain for healthier neuroplasticity and reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Non-strenuous workouts, neighborhood walks, or even putting on your loved one’s favorite dancing music are great ways to boost mental and physical health. 

Facing memory loss can be difficult for an aging loved one, but there are key steps you can take to improve their mental health and increase their quality of life.  Learn more about finding compassionate caregivers focused on dignity and quality of life by reaching out to Community Home Health Care at 845.425.6555. We’re always happy to answer any questions and connect you with the right care for your family. 

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