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!

What to Do When A Senior with Dementia Refuses to Change Clothes

Adult Daughter Helping Senior Man To Button Cardigan

Learn gentle dementia care tips for difficult situations.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia requires creativity, patience, and empathy, the ability to step outside of your individual reasoning and logic and understand why a certain behavior is occurring, and then to know the best way to successfully manage it. That is certainly the case when an older adult with dementia refuses to change clothes, in spite of how unkempt or dirty an outfit has become.

There are lots of reasons why an individual with Alzheimer’s disease may insist on wearing exactly the same outfit, including:

  • Judgment or memory problems, for example, losing track of time or thinking the clothes were recently changed
  • The comfort and familiarity of a particular piece of clothing
  • A desire to maintain control
  • Difficulty with the task of changing clothes
  • Feeling stressed by the choices related to selecting an outfit
  • Physical pain and/or fatigue
  • The inability to detect scent or even to clearly see stains on clothes

Our Alzheimer’s care team has some strategies to assist:

  • Most importantly, never argue or attempt to reason with someone with dementia.
  • Purchase extra outfits that are identical to the one your loved one insists on wearing.
  • When the senior loved one is bathing or asleep, take away the dirty clothing from the room and replace with clean items.
  • Make getting dressed as easy as possible, with just a couple of choices which are simple to put on and take off, and allowing as much time as needed for dressing.
  • Offer clothing options in solid colors in lieu of patterns that could be confusing, distracting, or visually overstimulating.
  • Take into consideration any timing issues: Is the senior loved one extremely tired and/or agitated at a particular time of day? If so, try incorporating dressing into the time of day when he or she typically feels the most content and calm.
  • Establish if your own feelings are exacerbating the matter in the slightest. For instance, is it a question of embarrassment that is driving the demand for your senior loved one to dress in a certain way?

Keep in mind that wearing a comfy outfit for an added day may be preferred as opposed to the emotional battle involved with forcing a change of clothing. When it truly becomes an issue however, give us a call! Sometimes, a loved one feels more at ease being assisted with personal care needs such as dressing and bathing by a skilled in-home caregiver rather than a family member. Responsive Home Care’s experts are experienced and skilled in helping those with Alzheimer’s disease maintain personal hygiene with kindness and compassion, and they are always available to help.

Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for additional helpful tips or to arrange an in-home consultation for senior home care in Pembroke Pines and all of the surrounding areas.

Best Ways to Manage Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors of Concern

caregiver comforting senior womanAwkwardness. Discomfort. Disbelief. Shame. Each one of these feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s heart when someone you care about with Alzheimer’s disease showcases disinhibited behaviors, for example:

  • Rude or tactless comments
  • Inappropriate sexual advances or remarks
  • Removal of clothing at improper times
  • And other socially unacceptable actions

The complicated changes that occur to the brain in Alzheimer’s can cause a complete turnaround in an older adult’s personality and behaviors, for example, a formerly genteel grandma suddenly swearing like a sailor. For somebody who is disoriented, uncomfortable, confused, or has essentially forgotten social graces and skills, these behaviors are actually quite common, consequently it’s crucial to know how to best manage them if and when they develop in someone you love.

Responsive Home Care’s Alzheimer’s care specialists recommend trying the following tactics:

  • See if there’s a solvable problem creating the behaviors, such as a physical illness, medication side effects, the need to utilize the rest room, environment-induced anxiety, etc.
  • Remind yourself that the dementia is to blame, and respond patiently and gently, without overreacting or lashing out in anger.
  • Help the senior loved one remain involved in appropriate activities in accordance with his / her particular interests. If the person becomes agitated with a specific activity, switch to something else, or move to a new room in the house or outside when possible.
  • Pay attention to clothing choices if removing clothes at inappropriate times is an issue. If the older adult has been wearing pants without zippers for comfort and ease, you might want to change to something a bit more challenging to remove when out in public, for example.
  • Be certain that each of the individual’s physical needs are met to circumvent problematic behaviors. Maintain a comfy temperature in the house, keep plenty of healthy snacks and drinks handy, and recommend regular physical exercise and movement.
  • Offer proper physical contact often such as hugs, holding the person’s hand, or rubbing his/her back, when welcomed by the senior, communicating reassurance to relieve anxiety.

It is also beneficial to ensure you’ve got enough time for scheduled breaks to tend to your personal self-care needs and ease the stress that is frequently inherent in taking care of a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Responsive Home Care’s caregivers are thoroughly trained and experienced in effective, compassionate dementia care, and are here for you with as much or as little respite care as necessary. Call us at 954-486-6440 for additional helpful resources as well as to schedule a free of charge in-home consultation for more information about how we can help.

Elderly Care Tips for Deciding if a Medical Procedure Is Now Safe for a Senior

masked senior man talking with healthcare professionalThe COVID-19 pandemic put the world on pause, including, among a great many other activities, healthcare appointments and procedures. In fact, nearly 50% of all adults either canceled or delayed routine health care and elective treatments since the coronavirus crisis began, leading medical professionals to become concerned about the consequences.

As we tentatively strive for a new normal, it is important to talk with your health care provider about any procedures you might have been taking into consideration pre-pandemic, and to get answers to these questions to help you assess the safety of doing the procedures now.

  1. Is the healthcare facility where I will be taken care of also treating COVID-19 patients, and are the same medical staff who will take care of me also taking care of them? If that’s the case, what safeguards are in place to guarantee my safety?
  2. What are the facility’s cleaning/disinfecting policies?
  3. Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 before my treatment?
  4. Are medical personnel being tested for COVID-19? If so, how often?
  5. Do I need to wear a mask? Gloves? Any other personal protective equipment?
  6. Are there any items that I cannot bring with me, for example clothing, books, a phone or laptop?
  7. Can I complete paperwork ahead of time?
  8. May I wait outside or in my car until I am called in for my procedure?
  9. Can a relative or caregiver come with me?
  10. Is follow-up provided in person, or may I make use of telehealth?

In addition there are post-procedure considerations to think through. Many people face concerns with regards to the chance for contracting COVID-19 after being in the hospital, so talk with your medical professional about the need to self-monitor for symptoms, as well as for tips about any further preventative measures you might need to take, such as avoiding contact with others for some time, wearing gloves or a mask in the house when others are there, additional sanitizing measures to take, etc. Your doctor may recommend taking your oxygen levels and temperature at home. If so, make certain to obtain a thermometer and pulse oximeter.

Once you are comfortable with the answers you’ve obtained along with the assurance that the procedure is safe to schedule, contact Responsive Home Care. Our caregivers can help make sure everything is taken care of before, during, and after your procedure, including organizing transportation, picking up groceries and prescriptions, helping you get situated back at home and monitoring for any changes in condition, and much more. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

Caregiver Tips for Dementia: False Accusations

caregiver consoling senior womanIt can come seemingly out of thin air: you place your loved one’s favorite tuna sandwich on the table – light on the mayo, no onions – something which typically brings her joy. But today, she pushes the plate away and will not take a bite, insisting that you’ve poisoned the meal.

Or, you have provided the senior with a meaningful activity that links her to a significant time in her past career, sorting paperwork. Out of the blue, she charges you with tampering with the documents in order to steal money from her bank account.

How can you most effectively diffuse situations like these dementia false accusations?

  1. Keep a controlled, gentle, understanding tone. It may be instinctive to be defensive and refute the accusation, but appropriate responses may include something such as, “I see that you are feeling afraid, but I will not let anything bad happen to you. Let’s enjoy this food together,” or, “Oh no, are you missing some money? The bank is not open at the moment, but let’s go there right away tomorrow to get it straightened out.”
  2. Move into a welcomed distraction. After sharing in the senior’s concern, transition into a pleasant topic or activity that your loved one likes, or move to another area. In the case of the suspected food poisoning, you could engage the senior in going to the kitchen and helping her prepare a fresh sandwich. If you’ve assured the senior that you will stop by the bank together tomorrow, a walk outside to look at the flowers and birds, or playing some favorite music, can help.
  3. Never argue or try to reason. These approaches very often escalate agitation in someone with dementia. It might take some time and experience to develop the approach that works best, and that strategy could need to change from one day to another. The goal is to stay calm, patient, and empathetic, validating the senior’s feelings and offering comfort.

Responsive Home Care’s home care experts are highly trained and experienced in effective, creative dementia care techniques, and can help with managing challenging situations and behaviors, enabling a senior loved one to experience a greater quality of life, and providing family caregivers with relief and peace of mind. Reach out to us today at 954-486-6440 for more information about our home care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding area or to inquire about additional resources to help you better care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Top Tips for Caring for Aging Parents—Even When They Expect A Lot

A senior woman with gray and white hair crosses her arms and looks disparagingly at the camera.

Partner with Responsive Home Care for superior help with caring for aging parents.

In a perfect world, we could compartmentalize our caregiving duties, staying with a routine that met the needs of a senior loved one, while allowing enough time to manage our myriad of other responsibilities. But needless to say, life does not adhere to our desired script, and conflicting needs are frequent when caring for an aging parent. Many older adults balk at the need for help, while others can come to rely too greatly on an adult child, leading to unfulfilled expectations and ultimately irritation for both parties.

Responsive Home Care’s senior care professionals offer the following tips to help explain expectations and communicate effectively when caring for aging parents:

  • Emphasize empathy. As opposed to pulling away from a senior loved one whose demands seem unrealistic, stop and empathize. Think through the problems your parent is facing, and exactly how it might feel to be in his / her shoes. Then voice your honest concern and desire to help.
  • Enable each other to be heard. Initiate a discussion with your senior loved one, encouraging her or him to convey how it feels to be in need of care, and what kind of care is necessary. Determine what the older adult’s goals are, and then share your personal expectations and limitations in having the capability to completely meet his or her needs.
  • Compromise to come to a solution. Achieving a resolution that works well for both of you might be less difficult than you believe. For instance, in the event that the older adult expects help with transportation in accordance with a particular schedule several times a week, perhaps you can provide that assistance one day, while recruiting the help of others to cover additional days. This allows for increased socialization for the senior as well as the healthy life balance you need.

Responsive Home Care is prepared to partner family caregivers with highly skilled, carefully matched caregivers in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas who are passionate about making life the very best it can be for older adults. Working together with Responsive Home Care enables adult children to make certain their aging parents are well cared for at all times, whether by filling in with respite care where needed, through around-the-clock live-in care, or any number of solutions in between. Just some of the many ways we can help include:

  • Running errands
  • Planning and preparing nourishing meals
  • Keeping the home clean and neat
  • Offering friendly companionship to brighten each day
  • Creative and highly specialized care for those with dementia
  • And much more

Give us a call at 954-486-6440 to discuss the challenges you’re facing, and also to learn how our caregivers in Fort Lauderdale, FL families (and other surrounding areas) can help. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in Florida, please visit our Service Area page.

Managing the Common Dementia Behavior of Rummaging

Rummaging through cupboards and closets is a common behavior for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Rummaging through cupboards and closets is a common behavior for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Looking through boxes, cupboards, and closets, pulling out odds and ends from drawers, and sorting repetitively through a number of items can be frustrating for individuals providing care for a member of the family with dementia, but in fact these actions are fulfilling an objective. Rummaging can supply a degree of comfort for individuals with Alzheimer’s, along with the reassurance of identifying familiar objects and finding purpose and meaning.

The important thing then is not to deter rummaging, which may trigger agitation, but to better manage this common dementia behavior if it becomes disruptive. The following tips can help:

  • Keep rummaging to a specific area. Assemble containers of items the senior seems especially drawn to, for example, keys, paperwork, a wallet, tools, gardening equipment, sewing implements, sports memorabilia, and so on. Whenever your senior loved one starts to rummage in other places, pull out one of the bins and guide his/her focus there.
  • Establish an activity aimed at rummaging behaviors. Let the senior know you could really use his or her assistance with a particular activity that takes advantage of these behaviors, for example, folding towels or socks, sorting nuts/bolts in a toolbox, or placing paperwork into folders.
  • Identify other stimulating activities to ease boredom. Rummaging may be the response to feelings of uneasiness, loneliness, or boredom. Try out assorted activities you can do together with the senior, including arts and crafts, puzzles, going for a walk, listening to music, etc.
  • Keep valuables out of reach. Understanding that your loved one has the tendency to rummage, be certain that any essential documents, jewelry, keys, credit cards, etc. are all kept securely away. It is also a smart idea to tuck away the mail when it arrives, to be certain bills along with other items aren’t getting tossed or misplaced.
  • Step up security precautions. Now is a very good time to evaluate how hazardous objects are stored in the house, such as sharp knives, cleaning products, even certain kinds of foods, such as raw meat that the individual may unintentionally mistake for another food product and ingest. Keep all items that could potentially cause the individual injury in secure places, ideally locked away.

Responsive Home Care can assist with the professional in-home care services that offer companionship and engagement in creative, enjoyable, and fulfilling activities for those with dementia that lead to fewer challenging behaviors. Call us at 954-486-6440 for additional information or to schedule an in-home assessment for home care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.

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 our 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 home care assistance 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.

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s? Daily Journaling Helps!

Portrait of middle-aged lovely womanTaking care of a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s is a fluid, ever-evolving undertaking. One day may be calm and peaceful, with your parent enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day may be filled with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. Exactly what will today bring?

Figuring out how to best handle the challenging behaviors as well as ensure life is as satisfying and comfortable as possible for a senior with dementia can be made easier through a simple tool: journaling[MS1] . Our experts in home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL share an easy method to implement it in your day-to-day caregiving routine, and how to utilize your journal to improve quality of life for your senior loved one:

  • Track symptoms and care needs on a daily basis. Your notes don’t have to be lengthy, but record any difficulties that occur, including time of day and what might have triggered the challenges. Also include activities the person managed to execute independently, together with those that were difficult. At the conclusion of every week, review the behaviors to find out if a pattern can be noticed – such as heightened agitation before meals or bedtime.
  • Track eating habits. Take note of which foods are most appealing to the senior, which are easiest for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks tend to be consumed and at what times throughout the day, etc. Don’t forget to include beverages, to guarantee the older adult is taking in sufficient levels of water to stay hydrated. In looking at your notes, you may find that six smaller sized meals throughout the course of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for example.
  • Track safety considerations. Maintaining safety is a high concern in Alzheimer’s care, with a variety of dangers that could derive from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, such as thinking a household cleaner could actually be a sports drink. Securing hazardous items or putting them in out-of-reach places is important, and maintaining a list of changes made to the home environment for safety’s sake can be extremely helpful to notify other family and friends to potential risks.

Additionally, it is recommended to take your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns recorded to his or her attention. This allows you to be completely prepared in advance of appointments with questions you need to get answered, making the most of the short time available to consult with doctors.

Get in touch with our highly trained and knowledgeable experts in home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL for even more tips, along with specialized in-home care that increases safety while maximizing independence, purpose, and meaning – making every day the very best it can be for someone with dementia.