CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 7. Issue 3
Letter From the Editor:
It’s hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through summer! Hopefully everyone is keeping cool and staying hydrated. For those of you who did not get a chance, read our past newsletter to learn about the importance of hydration in older adults, symptoms of dehydration and ways in which you can help prevent it.
We are looking forward to the next webinar in our Healthy Longevity Webinar Series this Thursday, July 24th, at 10 AMPacific, 1 PM Eastern. Led by licensed clinical social worker and award-winning author Nancy Kriseman, the webinar will cover the most common causes of caregiver stress and ways to prevent burnout by becoming more self-aware. There is still space available, but it is filling up fast! You can register by visiting http://bit.ly/caregivermindfulness.
In this issue of our CareNotes Newsletter, we provide more information about this week’s public webinar and the August webinar which will be on the topic of heart health and led by Suzanne Steinbaum, , cardiologist, Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign. We also share five ways in which our hearts benefit during the summer months; an obvious benefit is more vitamin D which plays a key role in maintaining the ratio of our “good” cholesterol to “bad” cholesterol. We also share tips for getting the conversation around finances started with an aging loved one. This dialogue can feel complicated and intimidating, and many caregivers underestimate the influence that financial stress could have on both their loved ones and themselves. Last, but not least, I would like to congratulate our Caregiver of the Month, Holley Boyington, from Home Care Assistance of Greenville, SC! Holley’s spirit and passion for caregiving are evident in the superior care she provides to each and every one of her clients. We are lucky to have her as a member of the Home Care Assistance team!
Upcoming Webinar on Caregiver Stress and Ways to Prevent Burnout
We invite you to join us for the next webinar in our Healthy Longevity Webinar Series on Thursday, July 24th at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern. Led by licensed clinical social worker and award-winning author Nancy Kriseman, the webinar will cover the most common causes of caregiver stress and ways to prevent burnout by becoming more self-aware. In particular, Nancy will discuss mindfulness and the spirit-side of caregiving, two coping strategies presented in her latest book, The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey. This webinar will offer real time solutions caregivers can use in their everyday routines to feel more empowered and hopeful. There will be a special focus on how to help caregivers who struggle with unrealistic expectations and have difficulty letting go of how their loved ones used to be. Nancy will reserve the last 15 minutes of the webinar for a Q&A session, so we encourage webinar attendees to come prepared with questions.
Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your seat as soon as possible by registering here: http://bit.ly/caregivermindfulness.
Nancy has a Masters in Social Work and a Specialist in Aging Degree from the University of Michigan as well as a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Florida. As a licensed clinical social worker, Nancy has worked with older people and their families for more than 30 years. She is currently in private practice and presents workshops on caregiving and dementia across the country. As an adjunct faculty member at Kennesaw State University, she taught courses on aging, and death and dying. Nancy’s first book, The Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare: A Training Guide for Professionals and Families, has won national awards from the American Society on Aging, Hunter College and National Council on Aging.
The next webinar in our series will be held on Wednesday, August 27th at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern. Presented by Suzanne Steinbaum, cardiologist, Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign, and author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life, the webinar will provide insight into the health issues surrounding heart disease in women and the specific steps that can be taken to prevent it.
If you’d like to join our mailing list for weekly updates related to health, wellness and aging, sign up by visiting our website at www.homecareassistance.com and scrolling to the bottom where it says Sign Up for the Latest News and entering your email address.
The Heart-Healthy Side Effects of Summer
Summer is in full swing and with the sunny days and warm nights comes a number of health benefits. During the summer months, many of us adopt more behaviors that support overall wellbeing without even thinking about doing so! Here are just a few reasons why our hearts benefit during the warm months from June to September:
- We are less stressed. Most people take time off from work or school during the summer. Some head out of town or to the beach, and others find time to relax at home. When away from the stress of work, we typically report better sleeping schedules and experience lower blood pressure. One study found that people who took at least one vacation per year were roughly 30% less likely to die from a heart-related ailment, as opposed to those who did not take any vacation time.
- We go outside and get active. Think of all the possibilities: swimming, biking, hiking, beach games or playing catch with the kids. When the weather is great, we want to get out there and enjoy it. Exercise doesn’t seem like a chore when you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
- We get more vitamin D from all of the sunshine. While most other essential vitamins are found in our food naturally, we actually synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining the ratio of our “good” cholesterol to “bad” cholesterol. Studies have shown that, on average, levels of bad cholesterol are 8% higher in the winter, and levels of good cholesterol increase by 5% in the summertime. Since more sunlight means more vitamin D, it makes sense that our levels of good cholesterol increase during this time of year.
- We don’t celebrate holidays that are centered around sweets. The foods that most of us binge-eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner are surely unhealthier than what’s being served at your summer barbecue. Plus, when you’re out in the sun all day, pecan pie tends to lose its appeal.
- We eat fresh produce. Many fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the summer, making them less expensive and thus more accessible. They also make easy snacks to bring to the beach or neighborhood barbeque. Blueberries, in particular, are the ripest, freshest and also the cheapest during the summer, so eat up.
In honor of summer, we would like to share a recipe from one of our past newsletters for a Strawberry-Melon Summer Salad. Enjoy!
Money Talk: Get the Conversation Started
Financial planning is one of the most difficult arenas to navigate in senior caregiving. It can feel complicated and intimidating, and many caregivers underestimate the influence that financial stress could have on both their loved ones and themselves. To avoid major missteps and hurdles down the road, start the conversation early.
Erase the taboo
Many families find discussing money difficult. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the sooner you begin the discussion, the better prepared you will be for what lies ahead. You should be aware of your senior loved one’s source(s) of income, asset ownership, long-term care insurance plans, and more.
Get to the heart of it
You also need to find out what is important to your loved one. You won’t be able to cater to his or her wishes and be an advocate if you never discuss basic care preferences. Important questions to ask:
- Does he/she wish to stay at home?
- Would he/she be able to accept the idea of moving into an assisted living facility?
- Who does he/she want to be responsible for finances in the event that he/she no longer can be?
- How does he/she feel about life support?
Find an unbiased financial planner
This is an especially important step. A financial advisor, preferably experienced in elder care planning, can help you understand which assets can or should be liquidated, or provide strategies for tax management and beneficiary designation. Quick tip: a “fee for service” planner is likely to provide more unbiased advice than a “free” advisor, as they are not paid on a commission.
Seek legal advice
An elder law attorney can help you stay on top of a will, power of attorney, and health care proxy. Applying for Medicaid is no easy task—your financial planner and lawyer can work together to make the process more seamless.
Know where to find important documents and information
Have a detailed understanding of where your loved one keeps his/her bank account information, insurance policies, and legal documents. You should also probably know passwords for online accounts that you may need to manage one day.
Consider your own financial sacrifices and limits
To provide the best care, you need to make sure you have your own life under control. Keep track of how much time you take off from work or how much money you are spending to cover medical or home care expenses.
Caregiver of the Month Spotlight: Holley Boyington
July’s Caregiver of the Month is Holley Boyington from Home Care Assistance of Greenville, SC!
Holley has been a caregiver with Home Care Assistance since March of 2009. In the five years that Holley has been with our Greenville office, she has gone above and beyond to help meet the needs of her clients, other caregivers and office staff. Currently staffed on one of the offices most demanding cases, Holley is dependable, trustworthy and dedicated to providing only the best care. Even as a single mother of four young children, she always puts work first and has rearranged her personal life in the past to help accommodate her client’s needs. In addition to being a caregiver, Holley also serves as one of the on-call operators for our 24/7 staffing hotline to relieve the office staff from burnout. Anytime there has been an emergency, she has stepped in to save the day. Given her passion and dedication, we are not surprised that she was recently honored as the Certified Nursing Assistance of the Year at the 7th Annual All About Seniors Caregiver Awards!
“Holley exemplifies what it means to be a Home Care Assistance caregiver. The overwhelming feedback we receive from our clients and their families highlight the compassion that Holley brings into their households every day,” said Scott Brann, owner of Home Care Assistance of Greenville. “Holley is simply a model caregiver and a model employee. Home Care Assistance and our clients are very fortunate to have her.”