Posts filed under ‘Shepard Park Senior Campus’
“I don’t even have time to finish my caregiving tasks. Where do I find time to take care of myself?”
People who are caregivers often juggle a packed schedule that may include full-time work, family obligations, household chores, and volunteer commitments in addition to caregiving. Due to busy schedules, caregivers often ignore their own health and wellness, including their nutrition, medical, exercise, and socialization needs. As a result, caregivers often experience increased stress, sleep problems, and depression. These symptoms not only impact the health of the caregiver but can impact the quality of care provided to the care receiver. However, these symptoms can be relieved when you add taking care of yourself to the “to do” list.
As a caregiver, taking time for your own needs is easier said than done. What happens if you are caring full-time for someone who can’t be left alone? 24 hour care for a loved one can be stressful and draining. However, even when providing 24 hour care, it is possible to schedule time for self-care. To begin with, caregivers can try to set a regular “mini-break” while in the home. If the care receiver takes an afternoon nap caregivers can utilize this time for a relaxing bath, reading, browsing through a gardening catalogue, or to catch up with a friend by telephone. When there is so much that needs to be done caregivers are often reluctant to take this time for themselves. Many caregivers spend these free moments doing other related caregiving tasks, such as phone calls, paperwork, grocery lists, or calendaring. Caregivers who do take a “mini break” in their day are able to provide better care for the care receiver. Taking time for yourself is not selfish and recharges your energy and spirit to allow you to continue to provide care.
Another option for caregivers is to investigate their local respite options which provide a longer break from care. Respite can be provided formally through an organization or agency or informally through neighbors, family, and friends. Community organizations, home care agencies, and adult day programs can provide paid respite for a loved one for a few hours, an entire day, or even overnight. Many of these paid providers are also able to provide meals, showers, and other cares to reduce the workload of the caregiver. A longer break allows the caregiver time for social events, exercise, support groups, and other activities to enhance their mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Informal respite is a less expensive way for the caregiver to get some time away. Think about your support network and make a list of neighbors, friends, coworkers, members of a congregation or synagogue, and others that might be willing to assist with some caregiving tasks to alleviate your burden. Many caregivers do not like to ask for help. Alternately, many people who want to help have no idea what kind of help is needed. One way to address these issues and coordinate requests for help is to set up an online care team.
An online care team allows the caregiver or designated person to enter specific help that is desired onto a calendar. The caregiving tasks, including respite breaks for the caregiver, are added and people in the online care team can sign up to help. Activities can be one time, daily, or weekly and can cover a broad range of activities. Caregivers can add “Visit with mom from 4-8 pm” and use this time to take a break from caregiving. Other frequent activities might include transportation to doctor appointments, bringing dinner, grocery shopping, or organizing paperwork. Online care teams reduce the need for repeated calls from the caregiver to find help or for schedule changes. Medical or other updates can also be posted on the site by the caregiver or other online care team members. This saves time for the caregiver and keeps everyone in the online care team informed. Two frequently used online communities where you can set up your care team are www.carenextion.org and www.lotsahelpinghands.org .
Caregivers who make self-care a priority are happier, experience less stress, and are able to continue longer in providing care for their loved one. It is a win-win situation for the caregiver and care receiver.
Mary Cordell, LSW, Family Consultant, Eldercare Partners
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been married for 55 years, and are proud to live in their beautiful home in the suburbs. In this home they raised their two loving children, Johnny and Julie. They are in their late 80’s, and Mr. Johnson has been experiencing some physical decline, and falls often. Mrs. Johnson has symptoms of dementia, incontinence, and can no longer cook and clean like she used to. The house has an odor of urine, the dust is collecting on the furniture, and the refrigerator is always low on groceries. The sidewalks are icy, and the leaves that fell last fall never got raked up before the snow came. Johnny and Julie have noticed these changes, and are worried.
Johnny and Julie decided to learn about some local senior services, such as Lifeline service, outdoor maintenance, housekeeping, grocery delivery, and in home care. Knowing that mom and dad have plenty of savings to afford the help, Johnny and Julie decided have a conversation with mom and dad. They insist they accept all these different kinds of help in the home. Sure, Johnny and Julie can help out a little bit too, but they both have careers, families, and grandchildren to look after. They figured mom and dad would happily accept the hired help.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson became upset with Johnny and Julie, and refused all offers for help. “We get along just fine, we have each other,” said Mr. Johnson. “I can still cut the grass; I can still shovel the snow. Mom cooks for us and does the laundry every day. You just keep your ideas to yourself.”
Many of us will someday find ourselves in a caregiving situation for an older adult. Hopefully, the older adult will be accepting of the help you offer, whether it’s provided by you, or arranged with a senior care agency. It can be challenging however, when the older person or persons who need help, refuse to accept it. It’s common especially for older adults to battle with their adult children. To them, they will always see their adult children as their “child.”
Many older adults are fearful to allow “help” to come in to their home. They often fear that if someone from the outside would see how poorly they are functioning in the home, that they can be “forced” to move to a nursing home.
Here are some tips to consider, when encouraging a resistive older adult to accept help in the home.
- Bring up the conversation of getting help when they are open to hearing it. A recent health change or hospitalization may help the older adult realize they need to listen to the caring advice to accept in home help to continue to be able to live independently.
- Gentle persistence is key. Keep bringing it up, letting them know you care for them, and want them to continue to be able to live in their home. Let them know you want what they want, to be safe and healthy. Tell them your ideas to accept in home care are helping them be proactive, versus reactive.
- Start small. Sure, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson could benefit from Lifeline service, lawn mowing, snow removal, housekeeping, grocery delivery, and in home care, but starting all of those services at once may be too overwhelming. Try starting with Lifeline service or grocery delivery first. Once they see that those services are helpful and make life a little easier, they may be open to increasing services in the home in the near future.
- Let them know that you know most older people want to age in place, and remain independent in their homes for as long as possible. The state of Minnesota also is pushing for more Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) as our aging population continues to increase. No one can “force” an older adult to move to an Assisted Living facility or Nursing Home, without a lengthy, costly, and rare, court process.
Caring for older people is difficult. Look to www.eldercarepartners.org for caregiving support.
Written by: Krystal Wiebusch, LSW, Caregiver Consultant
Part 1: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Setting Boundaries in Caregiving
Caregiving for a family member, friend, or neighbor can be rewarding, but with it comes a wide range of emotions. On any given day, a caregiver may feel joy, hope, love, anger, fear, frustration, or resentment; the list goes on. What is important is learning how to own emotions, and how to balance them. This can be done is through setting healthy boundaries.
Many caregivers experience feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, or guilty. They wonder if what they are doing is enough, how they could be providing more care, or why others aren’t helping more. This is where caregiver burnout can slowly start to creep in. Taking a step back and reflecting on the current situation can be a helpful place to start. What would an ideal caregiving situation be? How do I make that happen?
Often as caregivers we don’t pause to evaluate where our caregiving journey has taken us. We may have started out doing a few things like picking up prescriptions, dropping of a meal once a week, or stopping by to check in, but somewhere along the way we started providing transportation to and from medical appointments, spending countless hours in doctors’ offices, becoming a financial manager, a social planner, a home organizer, and countless other tasks. How did this happen? Are there others helping, or providing support? Is this how I imagined my caregiving journey? Now that we’ve come this far, how can I change it? If I don’t do it, who will? All of these are common questions caregivers ask themselves.
Taking time to reflect can be helpful in setting boundaries. Making a list of all the tasks a caregiver is helping with is a good place to start. From that list, indicate which items you are comfortable doing, which are a little uncomfortable, and then the items that are most challenging for you. This serves as a guide to where boundary setting can begin, and perhaps identify the areas where you should ask for help. It’s important to remember you have the right to say no, and to ask for help.
Although it is not always clear when to set boundaries, it is important to trust your instincts. Caregivers need to have confidence that we know when we are feeling overwhelmed and need additional support. This may come in the form of asking others (friends, family, or other professionals) to step in and help, letting others know that we cannot take on any more responsibility, or perhaps giving ourselves a timeout or break for a period of time. It is of utmost importance that caregivers care for themselves first. It would be nearly impossible for us to provide good, positive, supportive care if we ourselves are unwell. Remembering that caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint, is of utmost importance. Without setting healthy boundaries and caring for ourselves, we may not be able to be the amazing caregivers we set out to be.
Article submitted by: Lisa Brown, MSW, LISW. www.eldercarepartners.org
If you are an older adult or care about an older adult, you realize that the fear of falling is real. It’s a rational response to a likely and potentially dangerous event. Too much fear can compromise the physical and mental health of an older person. Both that fear — and falls themselves — can be lessened by taking steps to prevent falling.
One-third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the U.S., says the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty to 30 percent of the falls result in moderate to severe injuries.
These injuries can be everything from fractures (hip, spine, pelvis, arm, leg, to name a few), head trauma, pneumonia, dehydration , hypothermia, cardiac arrest and pressure ulcers (commonly called “bed sores,” caused when a person stays in one position too long). Falls can cause a loss of confidence and self-esteem and reduced independence.
The goods news? Many falls are preventable. Research shows a 30 percent reduction in falls for individuals who focus on prevention. Here are some steps you can take:
1) Pay attention to your balance and movement. Using equipment such as a cane or walker — or perhaps grab bars in your shower — can keep you from losing your balance.
2) Medications can cause falling. Review all of your medications (including over-the-counter and herbal remedies) with your pharmacist at least annually or whenever you get a new prescription.
3) Look around your home for home hazards. You will enhance your home safety by simply removing scatter rugs and clutter on the floor and adding night lights.
What happens if you are diligent about prevention and still fall? Getting help quickly is vital. Putting a personal response system in your home is one way to call for immediate help if you are unable to get to your telephone. Some personal response systems offer a fall detector built in to a light, waterproof pendant worn around the neck.
Written by: Deb Valley, Manager, Fairview Response Services
For more information, call Deb Valley, Fairview Lifeline manager, at 952-885-6186. Or, you may get more information on the Web at fairview.org/lifeline, which includes an inquiry form to submit questions.
Strategies of Caring for the Person with Dementia
Nothing is more personal than physically taking care of oneself. Bathing, dressing, and feeding ourselves are examples of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These are central tasks to our independence and autonomy as adults. When older adults become dependent upon others for care, their very personhood is threatened. A strengths based approach to caregiving for a person with dementia focuses on completing cares with the person and not doing cares for the person. It is vital to involve the person in their own care process rather than delivering care to them. Modifying tasks by breaking them down into simpler steps and extending the amount of time it takes to complete a task will help a person with dementia successfully participate in his or her own care.
The following are just a few strategies that caregivers can take while assisting a person with dementia with their ADLs:
- Take a slower pace with all cares – offer one item and one step at a time
- Don’t be too concerned if clothes don’t match; insisting a person redress can lead to frustration
- Purchasing clothing that is a size or two larger may allow the person to dress more easily
- Ensure that there is enough light so the person with dementia can see what she is choosing to wear
- When assisting to bathe, always tell the person what is going to happen each step of the process
- Aroma therapy may help residents relax while bathing (for example, Lavender can be very soothing)
- Focus on life-long habits, time of the day for bathing, and if a person prefers a shower or bath
- Put underwear over incontinence products
- Do not scold or embarrass a person who relieves themselves inappropriately; use calming words to uphold their dignity
Communication between the person with dementia and the caregiver is vital. A caregiver should be able to listen and be open to all forms of nonverbal, verbal, and emotional language to understand the person. Considering previous lifestyle patterns is essential to creating a positive experience during caregiving. The attitude of the caregiver is also extremely important. People with dementia are very sensitive to mood, tone of voice and the feelings of the caregiver. Caregivers need to be aware of their own attitudes and body language in order to project an accepting and motivating image. By keeping some of these strategies in mind, caregiving for a person with dementia can become a better experience for the caregiver and the person being cared for.
By Mike Lorenz, Housing Manager at The Alton Memory Care & Edited by Emily Samsel, MSW from The Wellington Senior Living
At first glance, dementia can be perceived as a hopeless medical condition. There are no truly effective medical or drug treatments to reverse or significantly slow the progression of brain damage. The human body lives while the mind slowly deteriorates. As a caregiver it’s important to understand that it’s not our goal to cure or restore cognitive functioning, but to help create an environment for our residents to achieve and maintain the highest level of functioning (physical, emotional, and social) and best quality of life. What does all of this mean in regards to the caregiving role for a person with dementia?
As a caregiver, the most important goal of dementia care is to enable the person to remain as independent and autonomous as possible in spite of his or her losses. Traditional medical models have been unsuccessful because they focus care with the emphasis on servicing the medical needs of sick individuals. The need for basic care is certainly important, but this medical model does not address the whole person, especially the complex needs of those with dementia.
To ensure that the whole person is being cared for, caregivers should consider the following needs of a person with dementia:
- Comfort is crucial to a human’s basic needs for acceptance, intimacy, and the soothing of pain. Comforting a person with dementia helps to calm the daily stresses they feel.
- Attachment speaks to a person’s need to be connected and significant to others. Humans are social beings and require relationships with others.
- Inclusion goes beyond attachment and speaks to the desires to be part of a group. Participation and inclusion in groups where there is vitality is essential to wellbeing of people with dementia.
- Occupation understands that each person has had meaningful roles throughout life. Even if a person does not have a clear memory of all of the roles and activities they have been part of over the years, this still contributes to who they are as individuals.
- Identity must be considered within the scope that each of us needs to know who we are, what defines us and allows us to ground ourselves. This transcends the process of dementia. Those around us communicate a sense of acceptance and approval, which supports personhood. This important as a people with dementia need other to support and acknowledge them as valuable and worthy individuals.
Though a person has dementia, these basic human needs are still significant to their well-being. As caregivers, it is essential that these needs are being addressed. Please read next month’s article on Dementia & Caregiving to learn how to incorporate these concepts into daily caregiving of loved ones with dementia.
Written by Mike Lorenz & Edited by Emily Samsel, MSW
Choosing an Assisted Living Community: Crisis or Controlled Decision? Which would you or your parents prefer?
Can you imagine being told that you have to find an assisted living apartment to move into by Tuesday and today is Friday? This scenario happens frequently in Care Centers with rehabilitation wings, otherwise known as Transitional Care Units (TCUs).
If you have elderly parents or loved ones, starting conversations early about their housing wishes is a wise decision. Over 90 percent of seniors 65 and older want to remain in their own home. However, research shows that about two-thirds of seniors are unable to do so because they need assistance performing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Having a “Plan B” is a good idea just in case your loved one becomes unable to continue to live in their home. If a friend or loved one experiences a fall or becomes hospitalized, it may be a good time to start a conversation with your own parent. This conversation might go something like this: “Mom, I know that (insert name) fell and I’m not sure if she’s going to be able come back home after she recovers. If something like that were to happen to you, have you thought about what you would like to do?”
Many times a crisis occurs and there hasn’t been a conversation about what the older adult would prefer. In a crisis the senior’s options and choices are not always clear. The senior is already in a stressful situation and there isn’t the time to discover and have the control over the outcome. Even though many assisted living facilities today have vacancies, not all of them will have vacancies when your loved one needs it. If memory care is needed, finding a good option can be even more difficult. Ideally, the decision-making process of choosing a new residence should be made over a month or more. Comparing three to five communities is recommended. Narrow your choice after the initial visits and then go for a second visit. Most communities can arrange to have you dine with one of their residents so you can find out how they like living in the community.
Key areas to focus on are:
Staffing: What is the resident to staff ratio? Are the staff employees’ or contracted from outside agencies?
Costs: Rent and care. All senior communities charge differently so it is important to make sure one is comparing apples to apples. Find out if the community takes medical assistance if funds become depleted. If not, does the community ask the resident to move out if funds are depleted?
Food and Nutrition: Does the organization have a chef and dietitian on staff and can they accommodate special diets?
Care levels: Is this community able to accommodate a two person transfer or one-on-one care if needed?
Choice Connections advocates for seniors and assists them to have more control and choice in a future home decision should they need one. Choice Connections is a free referral service offering unbiased personalized advice to help seniors and their families find the best option in senior housing when home is no longer the best choice. Choice Connections is often called upon in crisis situations and can save time and energy as we are experts on local options. We also put on Senior Parade of Homes to help seniors have a “Plan B”. Contact 651-261-5379 or e-mail ENeubaeur@choiceconnections.com or visit the website www.choiceconnections.com/twincitiessouthmetro for more information.
What is Senior Move Management?
How Move Managers Help Seniors Make the Move of a Lifetime.
Many seniors have no trouble entertaining the idea of living in one of the many senior housing options which exist across the nation. Many feel it’s time to scale down and move to a smaller place close to the children. But once the decision to move is made, it’s not always easy for older adults to pull up roots. Between the emotional aspects of leaving a home of many years, increasing health issues, downsizing and the task of sifting through years of accumulating “treasures,” the task of making the move itself can be daunting! So, how does one take the sting out of the moving process? Begin planning early and utilize the many resources available to support one’s path to get to moving day!
Nationally, Senior Move Management is a rapidly growing field. Although every company has its own personality and twist on services, the majority assist with the entire move process from sorting, getting rid of unwanted items, packing, overseeing the movers, unpacking and resettling. No matter how out of the ordinary a client’s situation may seem, any experienced company has most likely run across a similar situation before and has the resources to eliminate any issue as a potential “stressor” in a move.
For older adults, making a move almost always involves downsizing. Downsizing from a home of 30, 40 or even 50 years often involves sorting countless boxes of belongings. The key to sorting is to start early, break the sorting into phases and don’t get bogged down by the minutia.
Older adults making a transition often require passing along, in one way or another, a large percentage of their possessions. How does one tell mom and dad that they need to pass along their oversized dining room table that holds countless memories of family gatherings? The answer is to find a “home” for items that holds value to the “donor”, whether it be financial or emotional. Gifting family heirlooms to children and seeing their enjoyment of its use in their home can be very satisfying.
Growing in popularity are numerous Internet options. The hugely popular bidding website of EBay (www.ebay.com) allows thousands to view an item and hopefully, bring a fair and accurate financial return. Another popular local Internet site is Craig’s List (www.craigslist.com), where one posts items at a set dollar amount, often along with a digital photo and then waiting for the calls to come in.
Oftentimes, people find themselves with white elephant items, such as upright pianos, or bulky, vintage stereo systems. Often (but not always), if it becomes next to impossible to find open arms for these items, one can resort to www.twincitiesfreemarket.org or www.freecycle.org, , which are websites that offer a free posting of items to be given away. This scenario allows one’s “trash” to become someone else’s “treasure”.
Quality packing is an art, so if you’re hiring packers, look for experience. Honesty, compassion, and integrity may also be crucial elements, as this part of the process can be delicate, involving not only the physical component, but often a large emotional factor and a dash of family dynamics.
Last but not least, moving companies are a major player in making a difference between a stressful move and one that runs as smooth as silk. Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com) offers “reports” or testimonials of personal experiences with moving companies. It’s a great resource, but most importantly, assure that your moving company is licensed, bonded, insured.
Oftentimes, people put off moves for years due to “the move” itself. Afterwards, they’ll remark that they wish they had done it years ago. If the obstacle of “the move” is removed, one can get situated in a setting perfect for their needs and interests, a “home” that offers not only a multitude of amenities, but a built-in social network that can be a valuable gift for any age group.
Submitted by Diane Bjorkman, Owner of Gentle Transitions
For More information contact: Diane Bjorkman or Bill Lehman 952-944-1028 www.gentletransitions.com.
Thank you to Gentle Transition for providing us with an excellent article!
If you’re interested in learning more about The Alton Memory Care please give us a call at 651-699-2480 or visit us on the web at www.thealton.com. For more information about The Wellington Senior Living, please give us a call at 651-699-2664 or on the web at www.wellingtonresidence.com.
A great article was published in The Villager last week titled, Shepard Park caters to all ages and stages of its residents’ lives.
We are so proud of the neighborhood feel that has been created in Shepard Park. To read the entire article visit our website, here.
As summer time approaches it is especially important to focus on staying well hydrated. It is difficult for older adults to drink enough fluids due to decreased thirst sensation, fear of incontinence and difficulty regulating body temperature when hot. Water is an essential nutrient, just as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are to a person’s overall health.
Drinking adequate amounts of fluid, especially water, is important for everyone; however as we age, our bodies lose more water due to the decrease in lean muscle mass and increase in body fat that naturally occurs. An older adult’s body is about 50 percent water by weight. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommends that females over 71 years of age consume 9 cups of fluids or more per day and men over 71 years of age consume 13 cups of fluid or more per day. This may sound like a lot of fluid, but about 20% of your daily fluid needs can be consumed from foods such as fruits and vegetables. These recommendations vary depending on a person’s body weight and medical condition. If you have a specific diagnosis such as renal disease or cardiovascular disease, talk with your health care provider about how much fluid is safe to consume daily.
Since older adults have a decreased thirst sensation, it’s important to keep a glass of fluid close by during the day. It’s recommended to drink water when first waking up in the morning and throughout the day. One way to ensure seniors are consuming fluids throughout the day is by enjoying beverages with friends and family during visits. The more visible water glasses are to you, the more reminders you will have to drink fluids! Water is the best way to consume adequate amounts of fluid. If you do not like the taste of water, try adding fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, cucumbers or lime to a pitcher of water to make it taste better. Lemonade, iced tea, decaffeinated coffee and tea, fruit juices and milk are also great sources of essential nutrients and fluids. If a person is consistently consuming the same amount of caffeine each day, caffeinated coffee and tea doesn’t have a dehydrating effect on the body. Other great summertime sources of fluids are gelatin desserts, ice cream, sherbet, fruit smoothie, and watermelon. Be creative in trying different beverages and you might find a new favorite to share with friends and family!