How to Set Yourself Free from Caregiver Guilt

Caregivers can let go of caregiver guilt with these tips.

Family care providers give a great deal of themselves to take care of their senior loved ones, often sacrificing their own individual needs and desires during the process. It seems normal to assume then that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.

However, the exact opposite is usually true, with many family caregivers dealing with feelings of caregiver guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their loved ones’ dilemmas, or the power to do everything by themselves without the need for help. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic guidelines, that could result in:

  • Bitterness
  • Feeling trapped
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Loss of pleasure in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on high quality time with loved ones
  • And more

If you are dealing with feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt and also the particular cause of it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Maintain a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are encountering challenges. We are all human.
  3. Switch your internal “should have” dialogues to a more positive slant: “It is challenging to answer the same questions repeatedly, and I’m doing the best that I can.”
  4. Turn your focus to a positive accomplishment. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad chuckle this morning, or how much he enjoyed the meal you prepared.
  5. Be sure to put aside enough time for comforting, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with friends, family and pets, etc.
  6. Adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes healthy eating, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best care provider you can be calls for routine, regular breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.

Contact Responsive Home Care, the top-rated provider of home health care in Plantation and surrounding areas, at 954-486-6440 for dependable respite care which enables family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an essential component to effective elder care. We’re available in accordance with your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through 24/7 care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the older adult you love, and we are always here to help!

Problems with Memory: Could It Be Dementia?

Problems with memory could indicate dementia, or could simply be a normal part of aging.

You entirely forgot about the doctor’s appointment scheduled for last Monday, misplaced your glasses for the umpteenth time, and can’t remember the name of the new neighbor for the life of you. Are these problems with memory just a regular part of getting older, or could they signify the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?

The fear of developing Alzheimer’s is common; and growing, as dementia has garnered increasing awareness, resulting in anxieties about our own potential loss of independence and functionality, in addition to memory difficulties. Furthermore, it brings up questions regarding future care and living arrangements, if the time should come that support is necessary to remain safe and to tend to daily needs.

Yet it is important to understand that there are a number of reasons for forgetfulness which happen to be totally unrelated to dementia, and some level of problems with memory are simply part and parcel of aging. Recently available statistics show that only 5% of older adults ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia, though that number increases to 37% for people aged 90 and over.

The initial step is to speak with your primary care doctor about any cognitive impairment you’re experiencing, so you can receive a precise diagnosis and treatment. Before your appointment, pay attention to details such as:

  • When the impairment began
  • Whether it was a gradual or sudden decline
  • If it is impacting day to day life: eating, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.

The physician will want to rule out issues that can mimic dementia – such as depression and delirium – as well as determine whether the issue might originate from medication side effects. Dementia progresses slowly, and in addition to memory deficits, can impact the ability to:

  • Communicate
  • Reason, judge, and problem-solve
  • Focus and pay attention

For anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that affects the capacity to manage day to day life independently, Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding areas, is always here to provide as much or as little assistance as necessary by well trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the many ways we can help seniors with dementia or other challenges remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:

  • Assistance with personal care needs, like showering and dressing
  • Running errands
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Household chores
  • Engaging activities and socialization
  • And a lot more

Call us at 954-486-6440 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about how our home care services can help.

Senior Health News: 5 Myths About Aging Debunked

Road sign symbolizing decision between Myths and facts

Responsive Home Care is your go-to source when it comes to senior health news.

Feed a cold, starve a fever. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And for goodness’ sake, never go outside with wet hair or you’ll catch your death of a cold! While some may swear by old wives’ tales like these, it’s important to separate truth from fiction when it comes to senior health news.

Likewise, there are a number of myths accepted as fact related to growing older. The experts in home health care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL at Responsive Home Care wants to help seniors and their families separate fact from fiction to achieve the highest quality of life throughout aging. For instance:

Serious memory loss is not a normal part of aging. Although some mild forgetfulness may be common in older adults, severe memory loss, especially related to recent occurrences, may be indicative of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

Falls are preventable. Falling should never be accepted as an inevitable part of aging. Senior falls can cause serious harm to older adults, and steps should be taken to prevent them, such as ensuring the senior maintains a routine of balance and strengthening exercises, receives vision checks, and has the home evaluated and modified to reduce fall risk. (Responsive Home Care can help with this!)

Nursing homes are not inevitable. In fact, the vast majority of seniors, given the choice, would prefer to remain at home throughout aging, and with the assistance of a professional home care agency, like Responsive Home Care, this is a viable option for many.

Engage hospice services early. While the tendency may be to consider hospice as a last resort, put off until the very end of life, it’s most beneficial to bring in hospice services as soon as possible. Research shows that individuals receiving hospice care experience a better quality of life, are more comfortable, and even live longer than those who do not.

For more resources on senior health news and aging, contact Responsive Home Care. It’s our goal to ensure that families are equipped with as much education and support as possible to help their senior loved ones. Call us any time at 954-486-6440 to learn more about how we provide the kind of home health care services Fort Lauderdale, FL families trust most. To learn more about all of the areas that we serve in Florida, please visit our Service Area page.

Why Diabetic Seniors Need to Take Another Look at How They Are Managing Blood Sugar Levels

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Doctors are rethinking the treatment and management of diabetes in seniors and the dangers low blood sugar levels can cause.

The most up-to-date guidelines from the Endocrine Society regarding the elderly and diabetes are surprising, to say the least: lower blood sugar isn’t always best. And for individuals who have been maintaining a regimen of finger pricks, insulin injections, and careful monitoring of food consumed, this alteration may be rather hard to swallow.

Known as de-intensification, geriatricians are now commonly using the approach with older adults that the advantages to be achieved by striving for meticulous blood sugar control are not outweighing the health risks inherent with aging and illness. When A1c and glucose levels are kept at very low levels within the elderly, for instance, it could possibly result in an increased occurrence of hypoglycemia and even kidney failure.

With up to one out of three older adults currently diagnosed with diabetes, these new recommendations are poised to have a staggering influence on the treatment and management of the disease for seniors, requiring a shift in mindset for many.

And not unexpectedly, many older diabetics are unwilling to welcome this change. In one patient’s words to Dr. Pei Chen, a geriatrician in the geriatric clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. You don’t need to tell me what to do. I can handle it.”

The latest guidelines recommend an increase in A1c from 7 to 7.5% for seniors who are in good health; and up to 8 – 8.5% for all those with dementia, multiple chronic illnesses, or poor health. It is critical to note, however, that suggestions are extremely individualized centered on a variety of factors, and that at no time should high blood sugar be ignored in the elderly.

Responsive Home Care can help seniors stick to doctors’ guidelines to control diabetes and a number of other conditions with professional, customized, in-home care services for seniors. Just a few of the countless ways we are able to help include:

  • Grocery shopping to guarantee the senior has a good amount of healthy food choices easily accessible
  • Meal planning and preparation in adherence to your prescribed dietary plans
  • Accompaniment to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Encouragement to engage in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Medication reminders to ensure prescriptions are taken in the correct time as well as in the appropriate dose
  • And more!

Contact  Responsive Home Care, the home health services Hollywood, FL leaders, at 954-486-6440 to inquire about an in-home assessment and access a healthier lifestyle for a loved one you adore.

Best Ways to Avoid Crossing the Line From Motivation to Bullying with Aging Parents

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Sometimes the words we use when speaking to our elders can do more harm than good. Learn how to uplift seniors with these helpful tips!

As a family caregiver, you no doubt encounter a variety of emotions during the day: shared laughter over a joke with your loved one; worry due to a health concern; and of course, occasionally, irritations. We want only the best for people we love, and if an older adult is resistant to doing something we know is beneficial, it may be hard to choose the most appropriate reply.

The important thing is to try to supply motivation and encouragement, while also being cautious not to cross the line into bullying the senior. These tips are important to remember:

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all. An approach that has worked in one situation is possibly altogether ineffective in another. In the event a loved one refuses to take a bath, for example, you could simply prefer to let the matter slide and attempt again another day. Or, maybe reframing bath time into a relaxing spa activity will carry some more appeal. Including humor may work nicely one day, whereas using a kinder, softer tone of voice may be the answer on another. Having a number of strategies at the ready can help cut down on irritation for both of you.
  • Encourage the senior to remain in control. Have a heart-to-heart chat with the older adult during the course of a relaxed, peaceful moment to obtain suggestions as to how the caregiving relationship is going, and what she or he wishes to see modified. It is essential to then take to heart the older adult’s feedback and incorporate it into your caregiving approach.
  • Be careful to avoid progressive bullying. Although we certainly would not set out to bully a loved one into submission, it is possible to slowly move from encouragement and inspiration into pushiness and forcefulness without noticing it. Take an honest look at your inclinations in speaking with your loved one, and then take steps to improve upon them as needed.
  • Remember the overarching priority. Apart from the many tasks required in delivering care for a loved one, preserving a healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship with one another is vital. If you realize that the worries of providing care are outweighing the rewards for either of you at any time, there is always the possibility of exploring alternate care options such as in-home respite care, letting you place your focus on spending quality time together with the older adult you love.

Responsive Home Care is the ideal partner for family caregivers. Our caregiving staff are highly trained and skilled in the many areas of senior home care, and will provide the assistance family members need to preserve healthy relationships with those who they love. Contact us online or call us at 954-486-6440 and request an in-home consultation to discover the difference respite care can make in both a senior’s total well-being and yours.

The Power of Positive Thinking: How to Overcome Caregiver Stress

Responsive Home Care is the ideal solution to achieve a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Our facial expressions reveal so much to people around us, and when you are experiencing an abnormal degree of stress, well-meaning friends will certainly notice it, perhaps encouraging you to essentially, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it requires a lot more than a few words to turn our mood around and to help us overcome caregiver stress.

Recent research supports the idea of positive thinking as a method to decrease levels of depression and anxiety which occur when we are flooded with stress – something essential for busy family caregivers to take to heart to reduce the possibility for burnout.

Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the research project who subsequently created a course to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so frequent in individuals providing care for a senior loved one, says, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”

The primary techniques in her program include the following:

• Keep a journal of things for which you’re grateful – including the small things.

• Identify at least one uplifting event every single day.

• Talk about this occurrence with your family on social networks.

• Establish one new goal every day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.

• Identify one of your talents and contemplate how you’re making use of that skill.

• Undertake one daily simple act of kindness for another.

• Think about a negative event, and then discover a way to view it in a positive light.

• Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to bring back a sense of calm.

For those of you providing care for a loved one with dementia, the need to concentrate on positives can be much more vital to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent five-week study where the effectiveness of these coping skills was evaluated documented a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.

In addition to the strategies above, it is necessary for family caregivers to stop isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can very quickly bring on caregiver burnout along with other significant health problems. Partnering with an established Sunrise elderly care, like Responsive Home Care, is the ideal solution to help in achieving a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Life is indeed stressful, but we are ready to help! Contact Responsive Home Care, the leader in home health care in Pembroke Pines, and let us help you overcome caregiver stress so that you can concentrate on self-care and good quality time with those you love.

Top Tips to Use Your Time Wisely at the Doctor

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At Responsive Home Care, we’re always available to help seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways.

On any particular day, a physician usually has close to 20 patients to see – in addition to calls, paperwork, and other administrative duties. It leaves precious little time spent with each person, which is why it is essential to take advantage of that time and ensure you clearly understand the outcome of doctor visits for seniors.

At Responsive Home Care, our caregivers provide accompaniment for seniors to medical appointments, and suggest the following strategy:

Don’t be reluctant to ask questions. With such a time crunch, your physician may tend to communicate information to you quickly, that’s why it’s up to you to hit the pause button to make sure you fully comprehend everything that is being said and to speak up with any questions you may have, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem they are.

And, strategize in advance for those questions. It can be tricky to absorb everything being shared with you in the couple of minutes spent together with the doctor. Preparing a list of problems ahead of time will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Several questions to consider include:

  •  Exactly what are the long and short term effects of my condition?
  •  What could be the reason for this disorder?
  •  Is there a remedy?
  •  Where may I obtain additional resources?
  •  Will I need any medical tests?
  •  Are there any kind of possible negative effects from those tests?
  •  When can I receive the test results?
  •  What medications exist to help with my health problem?
  •  What are the potential adverse side effects of these drug treatments?
  •  Are there any kind of lifestyle changes I ought to think about making?

Take excellent notes. Bring along paper and a pen, or utilize the notes section of your smartphone or tablet, and jot down responses to your questions along with additional information the doctor provides. It may be helpful to have a dependable family member or professional caregiver from Responsive Home Care with you during the appointment to make sure all things are understood.

Include other medical experts. Bear in mind that although the information provided by the physician is important, other individuals within the senior’s medical team could possibly offer valuable insight as well: nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, dieticians, physical therapists, etc. Check in with these professionals for additional assistance with carrying out the doctor’s guidelines if warranted.

At Responsive Home Care, a top senior care company Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding areas trust, we’re always available to assist seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways, as well as to help carry out doctors’ recommendations after returning home. We’re able to provide accompaniment to appointments, medication reminders, preparation of meals that are in adherence with any prescribed dietary plan, and many other tasks to ensure optimum health for seniors. Contact us online or call our care team at 954-486-6440 for more information about how to make the most of doctor visits for seniors!

Broward County Family Caregiver Common Stress Point: Making a Mistake

Partnering with an agency like Responsive Home Care can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully.

“Of course Grandma can move in with me!”

Increasingly more family caretakers are making this commendable choice every day, signifying the beginning of lifestyle changes they can only truly have an understanding of once immersed in them. And even though the positive aspects of providing care for an older parent are immeasurable, they’re not without a variety of dilemmas as well.

It might seem second-nature to take care of daily activities for a senior loved one; yet it’s not quite as intuitive as it seems initially. As an example, helping a senior in the shower or bath the wrong way may lead to a fall. Poor incontinence care could cause skin damage and infection. Noncompliance with a prescribed dietary plan can lead to a variety of health problems.

It is not a surprise that in a newly released report shared by AARP, “Home Alone Revisited,” a lot of family caregivers mentioned anxiety over the possibility of making a mistake in the care they provide. The study features responses from a survey sent to over 2,000 family caregivers, who revealed that although they believed their care was making it possible for their family members to stay at home instead of moving to an assisted living or nursing home setting, they expressed anxiety over their experience to do the tasks needed.

Respondents in the study divulged that the most emotionally frustrating element of caregiving is incontinence care. And, nearly ¾ of family caregivers surveyed are regularly performing medical duties in relation to pain management – tasks for which they wished they had obtained better training and recommendations from the senior’s medical care team.

Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis (and co-author of this report) explains that, “Too often (family caregivers) are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles.”

Asking for help and training in unfamiliar tasks is critical for family caregivers. Those who partner with an established in-home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care, can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully. Our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL are professionally trained in the countless intricacies of aging care, and can provide family members with valuable guidance and education. We also offer trusted, reliable respite care services that make it possible for family caregivers to step away from their care responsibilities while knowing their senior loved one will be safe and well cared for.

Call our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL at 954-486-6440 or contact us online for a free in-home consultation to find out more.