CareNotes:The Home Care Newsletter Vol 3. Issue 10
Letter from the Editor:
We want to wish you safe travels and the gift of health and happiness this holiday season. Home Care Assistance wishes you a Happy New Year!
Tips to Provide the Proper Care for Your Loved One!
For those who decide to take on the role of caregiver, you have made a great choice! However, if this is a new responsibility for you, we have several tips to help you provide the proper care and attention for you elderly parent or loved one:
1. Don’t rush an older person. They aren’t as strong as they used to be. They are more fragile. Rushing a senior can cause them feelings of frustration, confusion and unhappiness.
2. Become a more attentive listener. This quality will make you more endearing to your elder.
3. Respect your elder. They have lived longer than you, and therefore, you should show regard and interest in their livelihood.
4. Keep your elders routine. As one ages, he or she becomes more set in his or her ways. If seniors deviate away from their normal routine, they can become irritable.
5. Never criticize. If your elder is moving slowly and has trouble understanding simple concepts, do not criticize him or her as it is all part of the natural aging process.
Another tip for you as a new caregiver is to be mindful of non-verbal communication when interacting with the senior. Gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice can create a potential miscommunication or understanding. For instance, speaking to them without giving eye contact can sometimes communicate lack of interest or annoyance.
So if you are newly transitioning into the caregiver role, keep these tips in mind!
The Loss of a Loved One Affects Everyone
When a loved one passes family and friends grieve over the loss, but what about the caregiver who took care of the individual?
Home care aides and hired caregivers develop very close relationships with their clients as they are often times with them multiple days a week for a number of hours. Some caregivers even provide 24/7 live-in care. When a client passes, it is important to make sure the caregiver is coping with the loss. Many times their grief goes unnoticed. The majority of caregivers develop an attachment to their client(s) overtime, and like immediate family members, feel saddened by the loss.
Caregivers many times lack the proper network, or support system, to cope with the stress brought on by caregiving and the loss of a client. Leonila Vega, head of the Direct Care Alliance which represents aides in nursing homes, assisted living and home care facilities, told the New York Times, “They work in very intense situations for years,” she said of her constituents. “One reason they burn out is that they have no real support system and they’re dealing with very emotional things. They can get depressed.”
Vega further went on to say, “Families want to hire aides who will treat their elderly clients like family. That sort of intimacy means that those caregivers, too, will ache when the people they’ve grown close to are no longer in their care.”
So if your parent or loved one passes and has been receiving care from a caregiver, take a few minutes to reach out to him or her to ensure they are dealing with the loss in as healthy a manner as possible. This gesture will most likely mean more to the caregiver than you realize.
Traveling With Seniors, Tips You Should Know
- Get the “green light” from your elder’s physician to travel.
- Keep all medications in their original bottle and carry them with you, not in their luggage.
- Bring a notebook with current insurance information, medical history, current medications and other important information because you never know if a trip to the hospital lies ahead.
- If traveling with an elder that suffers from dementia, make sure he or she is wearing an I.D. bracelet, medical alert or GPS device, so that you can find the senior if he/she wanders off. Or, if authorities intercept him or her first, they will know how to get in contact with you.
- Bathroom breaks are a must of seniors. Depending on the way in which you are traveling, allow a number of breaks. However, restricting the amount of fluid intake is not the answer to decreasing their number of bathroom breaks. Doing this can cause a urinary tract infection.
- Try to book seats toward the front, whether you are in an airplane or bus. This way, the senior will not have to walk through any narrow aisles.
- Call the airport ahead of time to arrange for a wheelchair and an airport helper.
- Hopefully these tips will prove helpful and your holiday travels are safe!
Caregiver Spotlight: Diane Hollingsworth
Diane Hollingsworth has been a compassionate caregiver for over 16 years and an outstanding employee for Home Care Assistance of Indiana/Western Michigan since January 2010. Diane started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) in a nursing home. One day, a friend asked her if she would ever consider an in-home care profession. This question prompted Diane to pursue becoming an in-home care provider. Since she made this decision, she has never been happier. Diane has always been passionate about helping people, especially those that cannot care for themselves. As a caregiver, Diane does what she loves to do and she is also great at it!
Diane has a wonderful relationship with all of her clients. Not only does she perform the necessary duties that go along with being an exceptional caregiver, but she is also a good friend to her clients. In fact, many of Diane’s clients consider her part of their family. They know they are safe and in good hands under her watch. Another example of what makes Diane an exceptional caregiver is that she calls her clients on her days off to check-in and see if they need anything.
Diane has a husband and two children. She likes being a caregiver primarily because she loves helping others, but also because it allows her to have a work-life balance. Diane's clients always look forward to seeing her and she always looks forward to seeing them.
Thank you, Diane, for all of your hard work, dedication and most important, the exceptional care you provide for Home Care Assistance clients!