How Male Caregivers Can Find More Support

senior handicapped woman smelling flowers

Consider a partner like Responsive Home Care for trusted respite care services.

If you were asked to paint a picture of a typical family caregiver, you’d likely portray a middle-aged woman, perhaps preparing a meal, helping with bathing or getting dressed, transporting a loved one to medical appointments. And your assessment would be accurate; AARP reports the typical caregiver profile is a 49-year-old female performing acts of service such as these for a 69-year-old female relative facing long-term health concerns.

However, there’s a growing trend of men stepping into – or sometimes, falling into by default – the role of caregiver: nearly 40% of all caregivers, in fact. And while there are some trending differences in caregiving difficulties between the genders (such as a higher likelihood of discomfort for men in performing personal care tasks), all caregivers, regardless of gender, need a strong system of support.

Edwin Walker, deputy assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (and a family caregiver himself), emphasizes the importance of peer support for male caregivers, who are often reluctant to share their feelings and concerns. Carving out time to enjoy favorite pastimes and hobbies with friends, seeking the assistance of a professional counselor, or joining a caregiver support group are several ways male caregivers can maintain their own emotional and physical health in order to provide the best care for their loved ones.

And if no support system is in place for male caregivers, one option is to start a new one. One such innovative male caregiver support network was created by several men who unexpectedly found themselves in caregiving roles. The men get together on a regular basis for outings, dinners, or just a cup of coffee and conversation.

Another form of support for male caregivers to consider is to partner with a reputable in-home care agency, like Responsive Home Care, for trusted respite care services that allow for much-needed breaks from care. Call us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about how we provide the kind of home health services Fort Lauderdale, FL families recommend most. To learn more about the other areas we serve in Florida, please visit our Service Area page.

Tips to Manage Family Caregiver Stress

man relaxing listing to headphones

It can be stressful to serve as a family caregiver, so learning how to manage emotions is important.

Stress is bound to happen, and actually, not always a bad thing. After all, as the saying goes, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” However, especially for family caregivers, the level of stress can rapidly intensify and be frustrating, and when not managed effectively, lead to big health concerns.

Try these suggestions to lower family caregiver stress and obtain a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle – both for yourself and those you love:

  • Alter your self-talk. Through the course of your day, you will probably find yourself entertaining thoughts such as, “I cannot accomplish this!” or “Everything is going wrong!” Stop when negative thinking starts to intrude, and say to yourself instead, “I’m able to take care of this, one step at a time,” or “Help is available whenever I require it.”
  • Take a break. Deescalate stress through any or all of the following strategies:
    • Breathe deeply (breathe in to a count of 4; hold for a count of 4; exhale to a count of 4; hold for a count of 4; repeat as needed)
    • Take a walk or take part in some other regular exercise
    • Pray or meditate
    • Play favorite music
    • Write in a journal
    • Contact a good friend
  • Try a stress-busting activity. There are a variety of pleasing activities that will divert your focus away from what was leading to stress and onto things more positive, such as creating art, reading, enjoying pets or children, doing work in the yard or on a DIY project – the possibilities are endless, and even as little as 10 or 15 minutes invested in the activity will help.

There are even apps especially developed with family caregivers in mind to help minimize stress and restore calm. Find five which can be particularly effective here from DailyCaring.

Caregiver stress is very common for individuals who feel as though they have no support system, and have to handle everything independently. Fortunately, we have an answer! Call Responsive Home Care for an in-home consultation to learn more about how we can share in your caregiving duties, enabling you to gain important time away to destress, with services that include:

  • Planning and cooking wholesome meals
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene
  • Taking care of housekeeping chores and laundry
  • Accompaniment to medical appointments and interesting outings
  • Companionship to brighten each day with conversations, games, puzzles, hobbies, etc.
  • Medication reminders
  • And so much more

Call us at 954-486-6440 for elderly home care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas. Learn how a partner in care can make a world of difference in eliminating stress and restoring a healthy life balance for family care providers.

 

Caregiver Resilience During a Time of Crisis

happy senior woman making a heart shape with her hands

Learn caregiver tips to help you navigate a crisis.

Times of crisis can bring out the best as well as the worst in us. During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve heard stories of people hoarding items and selling them to generate an outrageous profit, together with stories of people who selflessly met the needs of others despite their own fears.

The secret to weathering the storms, which are certain to show up within our lives, is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works with families of people serving in the armed forces, and offers suggestions which will help build caregiver resilience through any time of crisis.

  1. Express your reactions. It’s common to experience various responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other very difficult situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, trouble with sleeping, irritability, issues with concentration and focus, and hypervigilance. What’s crucial is to make sure these reactions are temporary, and do not advance into longer-term psychological problems. Acknowledge your feelings, and share them with a trusted confidante, or write them in a journal.
  2. Maintain social connections. While your instinct might be to pull away from friends and relatives during a crisis, keeping in touch on a frequent basis with individuals you care about is vital. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is yet another good way to ensure you’re building and preserving social ties, allowing you to speak with other individuals in the same circumstances.
  3. Take a moment for self-care. This means something different to each individual, but should include enjoyable activities, engaging interests and hobbies, nutritious meals, lots of sleep, and exercise. If you find it is hard to carve out time for yourself as a result of caregiving duties, Responsive Home Care is always available to partner with you to provide trustworthy respite care. Caring for yourself lets you take better care of those you love.
  4. Realize what you are able to control – and that which you cannot. Letting go of what’s out of your control and concentrating instead on what you CAN control is one of the foundations of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It’s always best to seek professional counseling in the event your reactions to stressful circumstances are impeding your ability to maintain a feeling of calm and to tend to the necessary day to day activities of living. And, watch for signs that senior family members are going through undue levels of stress so that you can obtain the help they need also.

Understand that regardless of what life may bring, you can rely on Responsive Home Care to walk beside you with trustworthy, professional aging care services that empower older adults to remain resilient and independent. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about home care assistance in Plantation, FL and throughout the surrounding areas.

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

senior care research

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.

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.