Tag Archives: Caregiver

Links for the Caregiving Community

Posted by on March 31, 2016 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiver Links

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP “More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.” That’s a lot of people! The caregiving community needs all the support it can get, and with that we’d like to offer up some helpful links:

A Place for Mom – Senior Living Blog

A Place for Mom “Connects Families to Senior Care” but their blog is full of articles that anyone living wtih, caring for or even just interacting with a senior will find helpful.

Caregiver Action Network

From their About Us: “CAN (formerly the National Family Caregivers Association) is a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.”

Family Caregiver Alliance

“Family Caregiver Alliance is first and foremost a public voice for caregivers. Founded in the late 1970s, we were the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. We illuminate the caregivers’ daily challenges to better the lives of caregivers nationally, provide them the assistance they need and deserve, and champion their cause through education, services, research and advocacy.”

National Alliance for Caregiving

“Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. The Alliance conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues.”

Our Parents – Care Topics

Our Parents is “a free and unbiased service focused on helping families with aging parents find the best senior care solution that meets their loved one’s unique needs, be it an in-home caregiver, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.” Their Care Topics page contains many great articles about senior care, along with links to the #ElderCareChat on Twitter.

Today’s Caregiver Magazine

This magazine operates as both a print magazine and an informative website. Today’s Caregiver is “a leading provider of information, support and guidance for family and professional caregivers.”

Conflicts in Caregiving: Self-Awareness

Posted by on September 17, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Conflicts in Caregiving Self-Awareness

One of the many conflicts that can arise when caregiving for an older adult is how self-aware they are. How much do they feel they are capable of versus how much they are capable of?

My friend had grandparents who were in their 80s and doing alright for themselves, but definitely not heeding what their bodies were telling them. The grandfather insisted on getting up on the roof and cleaning the gutters – until his children convinced him not to (mostly by doing it themselves). This was part of what led to a larger discussion about whether or not owning a house was still a good idea for them. They had much more space than they needed, but the couple still enjoyed owning a home. This argument continued in the family for months, before the grandfather slipped on the front step while it was covered in ice and broke his hip.

At that point, the grandparents agreed that perhaps it was time to move into an assisted living facility. And they love it. The complex is large and has several different levels of care. They’re in the lowest level of assistance and have complete independence. This complex even has a few guest rooms where family members can stay for free when they visit.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a tragedy to open the eyes of a senior, to help them realize that while they may feel and act young at heart (and they should!) they do need to understand their limits. A time of crises is not when you want to be making life-changing decisions. If possible, gently, and without any specific timelines, speak to your senior about what their plans are when they are not as capable as they currently are. If you approach the topic with love, they may just listen.

Conflicts in Caregiving: In-Laws

Posted by on July 30, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiver parents

Today is actually National Father-In-Law Day. Do you have father-in-law that you love? Are you currently caring for one of your parents-in-law? Helping to care for the person or persons who raised your spouse, welcomed you into their family and have been a wonderful grandparents can be the perfect way to give back and help. But sometimes conflicts can arise from helping those outside of your immediate family.

Oftentimes, a married couple will be a team, helping to take care of one or another’s parents. But depending on careers, personalities and traditional roles, the wife can be the one more likely to end up caring for her husband’s parents. And that in turn can lead to resentment. What can be done to help with couples make the best of these situations?

All caregivers should know that some people take to caregiving better than others. Caregiving is not for everyone. Each spouse needs to be aware of this and try to determine if they are capable of providing care for an elderly parent. If they discover that the work is more than hard (all caregivers, even if they love their role, find the work hard) but is making them miserable for a variety of reasons, they need to have an open discussion about that with their spouse, and the other spouse needs to respect their feelings on providing care.

If one spouse is determined to be able to care better for the elderly parents, and agrees to do so, the other spouse needs to be extremely supportive to them. Keep this mantra in mind: If you can’t BE a caregiver, SUPPORT a caregiver.

Social Wellness Month

Posted by on July 16, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Taking time for yourself

July is Social Wellness Month, a month where everyone is encouraged to nurture their relationships with friends and focus on taking care of themselves.

So what does this mean for busy caregivers, who can barely find time as it is? Here are some tips for sneaking in some time for yourself and time to spend with friends, among all the demands on your time:

  • Buy some plants and water them while doing other things
    Plants can bring new life into a house and make things a little more vibrant. But watering them can be a pain to remember. Try combining two activities, like watering in the morning while brushing your teeth. This way you can watch the plants grow during the couple minutes of brushing time.
  • Chat during dinner
    The speaker mode on your phone can be a life-changer. Assuming you’re not eating anything too crunchy or slurpy, a very good friend likely won’t mind if you chat with them over a meal. Hopefully they’ll just be thankful that you found a few minutes to catch up with them.
  • Include your friends in your caregiving duties
    Do you take a stroll everyday with your caree, either walking or with them in a wheelchair? If not, you may want to try to add that to your routine – it can do wonders for both of you. And if you do, could you invite one of your friends to join you on that walk? And maybe stick around for an afternoon cup of coffee? Even if you only have time for a half-hour visit, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to drop by. They probably have been hoping they could, but don’t want to impose.

Even if you’re not able to fit these ideas into your busy schedule, try and focus on the fact that you need time for yourself and you are worth it. Even entertaining fantasies of doing things alone or with friends is better than getting stuck in the idea that everyday is crazy.

What will you be doing for Social Wellness Month?

Caregiving Glossary

Posted by on February 17, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiver Caregiving terms

This post was inspired by Ai-Jen Poo, MacArthur Award recipient, co-director of Caring Across Generations and author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America. In a recent interview, she said that caregivers with children, who are often called The Sandwich Generation, should be called the “Panini Generation,” since they’re being squeezed so much by both their kids and their parents. What other definitions are out there that caregivers deal with every day?

Caree/Charge – The person the caregiver is caring for. But if it’s their husband, wife, father, mother or sibling, that is the title that should come first.

Carer – Another term for caregiver.

Caregiver Burnout – What can happen to a caregiver when they are over-burdened or do not take enough time to care for themselves.

#CaregiverMonday – A hashtag that’s used across social media platforms to call out caregivers on the first day of the workweek.

Caregiver Syndrome – “Caregiver Stress Syndrome is a term used to describe the physiological and psychological changes experienced as the result of chronic stress due to ongoing caregiving activities,” as defined by HubPages.

IEP – An Individualized Education Program/Plan is a term you might here a caregiver/parent for a disabled child use. It helps the parent/caregiver, aides, teachers and school determine what the child is currently capable of, what their goals should be and how to accomplish those goals.

Self-care – Taking time for one’s self that is necessary for the mental and physical health of the carer.

Do you have any suggestions for additions to this glossary? Let us know – we’d love to post another list of caregiving definitions!

Help with Building a Care Team

Posted by on September 19, 2014 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

About care teams, or integrated care management

A care team for an elderly person consists of the people who are interested in the health and well-being of that person, and are an active part of their life.

Who is in a care team?
The main caregiver and the senior are the focus of the team. But as a caregiver, you’re still a part of it: communication needs to happen between yourself and the rest of the team, and of course the senior. In addition, there is also the main doctor and the specialists. The physical therapists and pharmacists are in there, too. And then if there are secondary caregivers, or elder daycare helpers, they’re part of the team as well. Include anyone who is in regular contact and communication with the senior about their health.

What is the goal of the team?
The goal of a care team is to keep the senior as healthy and as comfortable as possible. Happiness is also a good ideal, but may not always be possible. The way they accomplish these goals is through communication. In the best cases, each team member would be in contact with one another. But it may not be possible for the dentist to be in contact with the physical therapist to let them know that they may be less focused at their next session because of some residual tooth pain. Or the secondary caregiver may not be in contact with the primary doctor to discuss a change in incontinence products. That’s why the caregiver has to be the main input and output of information. And that information has to be explained in a way that is clear enough to them for them to be able to share it with others.

Remember, if someone in your care team makes either the caregiver or the caree uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with reevaluating whether or not that person should be there. Everyone should feel able to communicate freely within the team. We here at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com would love to hear about your best practices in a care team, and we wish you and your teammates much luck!

Different Types of Care-es

Posted by on September 16, 2014 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

The charges all the great caregivers out there take care of.

In a recent blog post, we highlighted the different types of caregivers out there. This time, we thought we’d talk about the people who need the care those caregivers provide.

Those with Intellectual Disabilities
Individuals out there with ID may be unable to properly care for either their basic needs or non-essential needs. They may need a live-in caregiver, a day caregiver or just specific help during certain tasks. Intellectual disabilities can vary from birth (such as some iterations of cerebral palsy) or happen because of an accident later in life.

Those with Physical Disabilities
Physical disabilities can make a surprising amount of activities more difficult. For instance, did you know that there are fifty pairs of muscles involved in chewing? Many physical difficulties can be overcome with the right equipment or physical therapy, but sometimes a caregiver does need to step in.

The Elderly
Many elderly individuals do just fine on their own for many years. But with old age, illness can often be close at hand and sometimes those illnesses can be more debilitating than they would be for a younger person. The elderly may need someone there who can help with basic needs (such as using the bathroom or help with incontinence products). Or someone who’s just there to make sure they’re safe (not leaving the stove on or wandering). Some caregivers of the elderly are more of a friend than a caregiver, someone to socialize with. Others may have to help with more intensive tasks, like lifting their caree out of bed.

All caregivers to these carees should be thanked for all they do. And the cares should be given the respect they deserve as individuals. Here’s a nod of thanks and respect to both.

Caregiving in Other Countries

Posted by on August 19, 2014 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiving all over the world!

The ways in which older adult caregiving differs between countries depends on that culture’s view of the elderly. Are they respected? Are they ignored? Are there laws in the country that require children to regularly visit their parents? These issues and more can influence how caregivers interact with their charges.

In several Asian countries, the elderly are held in high regard. In Korea, the celebrations for 60th and 70th birthdays are a huge event. In China, they recently passed a law that says children of the elderly must visit their parents, or face fines  and even jail time. In Japan, most old folks live with their children. Japan has a comparatively large elderly population, meaning most adults have their parents living with them. There is such a huge aging population, in fact, that adult diapers in Japan now outsell baby diapers.

Italy has an influx of Ukrainian caregivers, who may be leaving their own families, that come take care of Italy’s elderly. Because of this, Ukrainians make up the fourth-largest immigrant population in Italy, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

In India, the smaller villages often have few opportunities for young people, who move away to cities or overseas. A company called UberHealth has recently offered a way for the children of India’s elderly to monitor their parents’ health. These long distance caregivers are able to use the software UberHealth provides to keep up with their parents’ medical records and even order cars to take them to doctor’s appointments, all from a computer thousands of miles away.

No matter which country caregivers and their charges are living in, there needs to be more support for caregivers, and there are several international organizations who are trying to provide that support. We here at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com would love to hear about any experiences you may have with caregiving outside of the US.