Reduce Family Caregiver Stress With These Tried and True Time Management Tips

A woman who has learned how to reduce family caregiver stress smiles as she writes a note in her daily planner.

Reduce family caregiver stress by implementing these tips to more effectively manage your time.

How much extra time do you have on your hands? If you are like most family caregivers, carving out sufficient time to meet each day’s basic requirements could be hard enough. The idea of having regular intervals of downtime may seem unattainable.

Caregiving is definitely a time-intensive commitment. But what if there were steps you could take to reduce family caregiver stress and manage your time more effectively, allowing each day to run more smoothly and even providing you with time for yourself? It is not quite as far-fetched as it might seem! These suggestions are a good place to start.

  • Prioritize Tasks: Begin every day by determining the most important tasks. Be reasonable about what you can achieve, and set aside lower priority tasks that can wait for a less hectic day. Remember, it is okay to prioritize and postpone less urgent tasks to maintain a manageable workload during the day.
  • Break Down Tasks: Divide larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. This strategy makes it easier to allot time efficiently and helps prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. This helps make the workload more manageable and also allows for a sense of accomplishment while you complete each step of the process, reducing the overall stress of the task.
  • Take Breaks: Schedule regular breaks to recharge. Whether it’s a quick walk or just a moment of quiet reflection, self-care is vital for maintaining your well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself enables you to provide better care to others.
  • Delegate Responsibilities: Don’t hesitate to involve other family members, friends, and a professional caregiver in the caregiving process. Delegating tasks can provide you with much-needed support and prevent burnout.
  • Learn to Say No: Recognize your limits and be comfortable saying no when needed. Overcommitting can lead to fatigue and compromise the quality of care you provide. Understand your limitations and embrace the power of saying no when necessary. Prioritize your well-being to ensure sustained, high-quality caregiving.
  • Create a Schedule: Develop both a daily and weekly routine that incorporates your caregiving duties, work, and personal time. Design a schedule that features dedicated time for caregiving responsibilities, work commitments, and personal activities. Having a structured routine not only ensures you fulfill all of your responsibilities but also helps maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.
  • Seek Community Support: Connect with local support groups or online communities for caregivers. Sharing experiences with others who can relate to your challenges can provide emotional support and valuable insights, creating a supportive network to navigate the complexities of caregiving.
  • Establish Boundaries: Set clear boundaries to distinguish your caregiving responsibilities from your personal life. Communicate these boundaries with friends and family, fostering understanding and support. This ensures a healthier balance between your personal life and your caregiving role.
  • Stay Organized: Keep essential information, including medical records and contact details, organized and easily accessible. Easy accessibility to this information reduces family caregiver stress and promotes seamless communication with healthcare professionals, ensuring that you are able to provide the most effective care for the person you love.
  • Utilize Technology: Explore caregiver apps and tools that can help streamline tasks, track appointments, and organize medications. Technology can be a powerful ally in managing caregiving responsibilities. Embrace the ease of technology and caregiver apps to simplify your responsibilities, giving you more time to focus on providing quality care.

One of the best strategies to better manage your time as a caregiver is by adding Responsive Home Care to your care plan. We are here to work with you to ensure the best care for someone you love, while you maintain a healthy life balance. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our home care services in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas.

How to Help an Older Adult Who Is Grieving

An older adult who is grieving clutches a photo in her arms as she gazes sadly out the window.

An older adult who is grieving needs lots of support to get through this difficult time.

By the time we reach our golden years, we’ve had many years of building deep connections with family and friends. These bonds are crucial to our quality of life, and when they are severed, it inevitably leads to feelings of deep loss.

You may feel hopeless to help an older adult who is grieving, but there are steps you can take. It begins with understanding more about this powerful emotion.

What Should You Know About Grief in Older Adults?

Grief Is Complex

  • Grief in older adults is a complicated emotional reaction to a variety of losses, including the passing of family members, declining health, or changes in independence.
  • Acknowledging the unique nature of each older adult’s grieving process is essential for offering individualized support.

Grief Effects Mental Health

  • Grief can manifest in a variety of ways, impacting mental health and well-being.
  • Seniors may experience feelings of loneliness and sadness, as well as physical symptoms such as changes in sleep patterns or appetite.

Grief Is a Process

  • The grieving process is non-linear and unique to each individual, encompassing stages such as denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance.
  • Seniors may revisit these stages at different times, necessitating patience and empathy from caregivers and loved ones.

How Can You Help an Older Adult Who Is Grieving?

Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms. Engaging in activities that bring joy and comfort is important for dealing with grief. Encourage the person to pursue hobbies, take part in social interactions, and practice mindfulness. In addition, emphasizing a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and nutritious meals, contributes to their resilience and overall well-being during challenging times.

Seek Professional Support. Grief is a complex emotional experience, and professional support can offer valuable guidance. Encourage the individual to explore counseling or join a support group tailored to their needs. Professional resources offer tools for managing emotions, coping strategies, and also the comfort of a supportive community, aiding in the healing process.

Maintain Open Channels of Communication. Grieving seniors often face the struggle of expressing their emotions. Encourage open communication, providing a safe space in order for them to share their feelings. Be a compassionate listener, offering understanding and reassurance without judgment. Creating an environment where emotions can be expressed fosters a sense of connection and healing.

Strengthen Community Connections. Building a supportive community is crucial for someone facing grief. Create opportunities for social interactions, and make certain they maintain connections with family, friends, and community resources. Establishing a network of support can provide a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of isolation and fostering a supportive environment for healing.

We’re here to assist older adults who are struggling through times of bereavement. Our compassionate, kind care professionals provide both a listening ear and engaging activities to help make each day a little brighter. Contact us online or give us a call at 954-486-6440 for assistance and support in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lighthouse Point, or the surrounding areas.

Reality Orientation in Dementia: The Pro and the Cons

A caregiver helps guide a senior with dementia through reality orientation.

Reality orientation can help loved ones with dementia through confusion.

Did you ever wake up in the middle of a dream and wonder, just for a moment, if what you were dreaming about was real? It can feel very disorienting until you open your eyes and take in your familiar surroundings. An experience like this can give you just a brief glimpse into the ongoing disorientation for a person with dementia. When confusion about time, place, and even identity settle in for a person you love, you’re faced with two options for responding: either stepping into their reality with them, or practicing reality orientation for someone with dementia.

Which Reality Is Best?

In a nutshell, each approach has its place in dementia care. However, there are specific cautions to understand when using reality orientation for someone with dementia. It is important to first understand what is involved with both options and when they could be most appropriate.

Accepting Their Reality

Living in an alternate reality is quite typical for a person in the mid to later stages of dementia. The individual may believe they are a young adult engaged in their previous career (or a different one altogether), with a spouse and young children to look after. Going along with their perception of reality helps them maintain a feeling of self-worth and purpose. It instills comfort and peace, and it is often the recommended approach.

Orienting Them to Your Reality

On the other hand, reality orientation involves providing cues and prompts about the current time, date, and place. Studies have shown that it can improve cognitive functioning, especially when combined with donepezil, and help with some of the more difficult aspects of dementia.

However, reality orientation should be handled gently with compassion, skill, and awareness of the person’s emotional state. For example, if the person asks where their mother is, it could be extremely harmful to respond, “Why, she died 40 years ago! You are 95 years old, so there is no way your mother could still be alive.” In contrast, reality orientation may be effective in ordinary conversations. For instance, if the individual wakes up and asks what day it is, you might respond, “Today is Friday, the day you have your exercise class and then dinner with Steve.”

If the person seems to become agitated or anxious with reality, it’s always best to join them in the perceived reality that feels comfortable to them.

Our specially trained caregivers are pros at knowing how to effectively engage someone with dementia and make each day the best it can be. We utilize imaginative, customized approaches that help with memory, communication, safety, and comfort, while encouraging independence and a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 for more information on our dementia care in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas.

 

Are You Prepared for the Responsibilities of Hospital Care at Home?

A woman in a wheelchair receiving hospital care at home is assisted by her adult daughter.

It’s important to understand and prepare for your role before agreeing to hospital care at home for a loved one.

No one wants to spend any more time than needed in the hospital. The aim is to get the necessary treatment or procedure over with as quickly as possible and move on to recovering. Unsurprisingly, the growing trend in hospital care at home is one being met with open arms. Imagine being able to avoid:

  • Isolation and loneliness from short visiting hour periods
  • The risk of infection inherent in a hospitalization
  • The need to share a room with somebody else who is ill
  • Institutional food
  • The bright lights, alarms, and bells that make sleeping difficult

Hospital level care in the home allows someone whose condition is serious yet stable to receive visits from clinicians and any necessary medical equipment—so treatment is provided in the most comfortable and least restrictive environment.

There is nothing not to love about such a program, right?

The Downside to Receiving Hospital Care at Home

While the benefits of in-home hospital care are incredible, there’s one main factor to take into consideration: are you ready and equipped to serve as the caregiver for a family member who is critically ill? While physicians and nurses visit the home and are available by telehealth sessions for questions, the majority of care falls on the family.

“In the hospital, if something happens, they know how to take care of it,” explains Clare Semling, whose husband participated in a hospital-at-home program. “Now it’s on you.”

It’s important for family members to participate in the decision-making process about a loved one receiving hospital care in the home, and also to be made aware of the implications it will mean in their own lives. For instance, you’ll need to think through:

  • What will you do in the event of an emergency?
  • Can you handle getting up as required during the night to check on the person, help them to the bathroom, etc.?
  • Are you ok with having clinical staff coming in and out of the home at regular intervals?
  • Will you be able to manage medications and ensure they’re taken as directed?

Also, think about your current commitments and responsibilities: caring for children, taking care of household chores and errands, working outside of the home, and other important activities such as spending time with your spouse, nurturing relationships with friends and other friends, participating in hobbies and pastimes you enjoy, engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, etc.

It can be helpful to create a quick estimate of how much time you currently have available to care for a family member at home, considering all of the factors above. If it feels unmanageable or overwhelming, seek out help.

Responsive Home Care is here to help if a loved one chooses to receive hospital-at-home care. We can provide medication reminders, run errands, prepare meals, and take the night shift if you would like, enabling you to maintain the healthy life balance you need. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for more information on how we can help with personalized in-home care services in Fort Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood, and the surrounding communities.

Why Providing Care for Your Spouse Can Cause Resentment – And How to Overcome It

A woman who knows that providing care for your spouse can cause resentment hugs her husband as they both look out the window.

Providing care for your spouse can open up a new realm of emotions you may not have expected.

You both promised to look after each other through better or worse, in sickness and in health. When these cherished sentiments are first spoken on your wedding day, it is difficult to imagine how it will feel to actually live them out when providing care for your spouse. It may come as a shock to you that anger, frustration, and resentment can go hand-in-hand with fulfilling your vows when caregiving for your spouse.

How Can I Resent Caring for the Person I Love the Most?

In a nutshell, providing care for your spouse is overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. You may feel:

  • Unappreciated and taken for granted
  • Concerned about your spouse’s prognosis
  • Frustrated from insufficient time for self-care
  • Stretched too thin
  • Angry or irritated for inexplicable reasons

All of these feelings are valid and completely normal, even if unexpected – and there are things you can do to overcome them while strengthening your relationship with your spouse.

How to Conquer Spousal Caregiving Resentment

Set and maintain boundaries. Remind yourself that you are human, and you cannot (and shouldn’t attempt to) do it all. Setting an unattainable bar for yourself as a caregiver will quickly result in depression, burnout, and a reduced quality of care for your spouse. Identify realistic expectations that are in line with your strengths and abilities, and bring in help for the rest.

Face your emotions. You might be trying to cover up how you feel to keep the peace, but it’s important to find a safe space to vent. Caregiving is stressful on many levels, and identifying a strong network of support is a must. Speak regularly with a trusted friend or family member, counselor, or spiritual guide.

Explore couples therapy. A professional marriage counselor can be helpful to both of you individually and as a couple. You will gain the tools you need to resolve disputes in a healthy way, to better understand each other’s perspective, to better manage feelings of resentment, and to improve communication. The therapist can also provide you with referrals to other helpful resources as appropriate.

Take care of YOU. If you think of self-care as selfish, think again. Taking care of yourself empowers you to take better care of your spouse. Carve out and prioritize time for pastimes you enjoy, socializing with friends and other family members, and stress-relieving activities: exercise, reading, journaling, listening to music, being outdoors.

Responsive Home Care is here to serve as your partner in care to help you restore a healthier life balance and to rediscover the joy of spending quality time with your spouse. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 to ask about our respite care services and to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about the many ways we can help. Our services are available in Fort Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood, and the surrounding areas.

Having Hard Conversations While Caregiving

Two women stand in the kitchen with cups of coffee, having hard conversations while caregiving.

Having hard conversations while caregiving is key to maintaining healthy family relationships.

Any time you dedicate so much time to caring for a senior member of the family, it is natural for other relationships to take a back seat. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This may result in additional stress, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.

The answer to overcoming this obstacle is communication. This means having hard conversations while caregiving, which may be uncomfortable but allow the opportunity to air grievances, share feelings, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.

Having Hard Conversations While Caregiving

First, understand that a planned, formal meeting is not necessary for a conversation to be effective. It can be a quick chat while waiting for the coffee to brew. It should not, however, be a triggered response to a stress-inducing incident. Plan to talk about a concern before the stress has an opportunity to build up to an explosive level (or when you’ve had the opportunity to settle down).

Here is an example scenario and how to include a courageous conversation. Your teenage daughter is feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable bringing friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly parent. Begin with this brief assessment to gauge the answers for yourself along with your teen:

  • What do we need from each other?
  • What goals do we wish to accomplish from this conversation?
  • What do we have to give and receive?
  • What do we want each other to know?
  • What exactly are each of us feeling and thinking?

Include in your assessment the feelings of the individual in your care as well. In particular, prior to the cognitive decline, determine what your mom would want for you personally as well as your daughter.

With this framework in mind, allow yourself to be honest, authentic, and vulnerable. Listen to each other’s viewpoint respectfully, offer empathy and understanding, and collaborate to create a viable solution.

Is It Better Left Unsaid?

You might feel as though it’s simpler to maintain status quo than to risk upsetting a family member by initiating a challenging conversation. And certainly, situations may arise that are best resolved through another means, like speaking with a professional therapist to unravel your feelings and thoughts before approaching someone else with them. As a general rule of thumb, however, nothing beats open, honest communication to allow you and those you care about to better understand one another.

Let a Responsive Home Care caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other members of the family by providing skilled, professional in-home care for the person you love. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for more information regarding our home care in Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas.

How Caregivers Can Prioritize Privacy

A woman who knows how caregivers can prioritize privacy smiles as she reads a book and holds a cup of coffee in a sunny room.

It’s vitally important to know how caregivers can prioritize privacy to achieve a healthy life balance.

Reflect back to your teenage years. Remember how important it was to find a safe place to be on your own, to shut out the world, turn the music up, and write your most secret thoughts in your diary?

The desire for privacy that began then can become overshadowed when providing care for someone else. Yet it is still extremely important to know how caregivers can prioritize privacy, both physically and mentally, to take time for self-care.

How Can a Caregiver Prioritize Privacy?

Frankly, it isn’t always easy. You might feel as though you need to always have at least one ear and eye open to the needs of the person in your care. There are several steps you can take to help, however. Try:

  • Designating a spot of privacy for both yourself and the older adult. After all, they need privacy as much as you do. Agree that whenever either of you needs some alone time, you can retreat to your chosen spot and only interrupt one another in case of an urgent situation.
  • Determining house rules. In shared living spaces, put together some basic rules of etiquette that are fair for everyone. For example, take turns choosing TV shows to watch, so one person isn’t monopolizing the remote. Compromises similar to this can make together time less stressful for everyone.
  • Considering emotional privacy. Make sure to take frequent breaks from care that allow you time to disconnect completely from your care role. Go on trips, attend events and activities with other friends and family members, take a book to the park for a stress-free afternoon. Responsive Home Care’s care experts are always on hand to fill your caregiving shoes when you take some time for self-care.

Special Considerations for Dementia

If the person in your care is struggling with the challenges of dementia, finding privacy becomes more challenging – and much more vital to obtain. The person may need 24/7 oversight to ensure safety, but this doesn’t mean that you should (or can) provide that level of care yourself.

We frequently hear from primary family caregivers that there is not anyone in their circle of close friends and family who knows the senior or the requirements of dementia care well enough to assist. This is when our specially trained and experienced dementia caregivers are an invaluable part of your care team. We can partner with you to ensure the seamless, reliable, skilled care a senior with dementia needs, while you take the regular breaks from care you need.

Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for further tips on how caregivers can prioritize privacy and find help in acquiring a healthier life balance. Our personalized home care services are offered in Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and the surrounding areas.

Can You Handle Embarrassing Dementia Behaviors in Public?

An older woman stands in the grocery store, leaning on her cart with a calm expression on her face.

If you’re not sure how to handle embarrassing dementia behaviors in public, these tips can help.

Dementia is unpredictable, to say the least. It can transform a person’s mood, personality, and behaviors in the blink of an eye. When you’re at home caring for a person with dementia, these changes can be hard enough to manage. But what happens when embarrassing dementia behaviors arise when you are at a grocery store, restaurant, or hair salon?

Simple Tips to Change Cringeworthy to Calm

Fear of a public outburst can make you want to eliminate venturing out at all with someone with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. However, being out in the community is very important. It gives someone with dementia a feeling of purpose, eases loneliness and isolation, offers opportunities to socialize, and much more.

Understanding how to cope with an uncomfortable situation before going out is key. These recommendations can help.

  • Keep calm. Your demeanor and attitude are highly contagious to a loved one with dementia. Take a deep breath and give yourself a pep talk before stepping out the door. Remind yourself to remain calm and patient, regardless of what happens.
  • Carry cards. If you are worried about how embarrassing dementia behaviors may impact others around you, create some small business-sized cards that you can discreetly hand out. They can simply state, “Please forgive any impolite actions or outbursts. These are the result of dementia.”
  • Track triggers. Keep a journal to make note of details on difficult behaviors in public and then look for commonalities. You might find, for example, that the individual does well in a small store or restaurant, but becomes distraught when there are large crowds, too much noise, or bright lights. There might be a specific time of day that is more distressing to be out, or physical needs could be an issue, such as hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, or the need to use the restroom.

How In-Home Care Can Help

Our dementia care experts are available to help manage the effects of the disease, with patience, skill, and creativity. As seasoned experts who are fully trained in a wide range of dementia care needs, we have seen it all! We understand just how to restore calm to somebody who is distressed or agitated, ensuring respect and dignity throughout an outburst.

A few of the many challenging symptoms of dementia we are able to help manage include:

  • Aggression
  • Sundowning
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Wandering
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • And more

Whether you are looking for just a couple hours of respite care to allow time for you to take a break, overnight support or live-in care to ensure safety and wellbeing while you get much-needed rest, or anything in between, we’re here for you.

Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for more tips and resources, and to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care in Tamarac, Parkland, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas.

New Caregiver Nervousness? Relax…These Tips Will Ensure a Smooth Transition to Care!

An older man is standing by the front door, shaking hands with a new caregiver as he welcomes her into his home.

Try these tips when inviting a new caregiver into the home to ease the transition to care.

The big day has arrived: Dad’s first day with his new caregiver! If your family is similar to many, you might be feeling a variety of emotions: relief, uncertainty, and anxiety, to name a few. These emotions are typical and perfectly normal. A little advance preparation and planning for this important milestone can help ensure a comfortable and smooth transition for everyone.

It’s important to bear in mind that your Responsive Home Care caregiver is fully trained and experienced in senior care in the home. Their one and only goal is to make life better for the individuals they serve. They do not need or expect to be entertained, something that is surprisingly often a concern for care recipients.

What Can You Do to Encourage a Rewarding Caregiving Bond?

There are steps you can take to help a new caregiver feel welcomed in a senior loved one’s home and start the relationship off on the right foot. For instance:

Give the caregiver a tour of the home, pointing out any noteworthy items such as the closet with cleaning supplies, emergency contact information, medicine cabinet, etc. Do not be concerned about over-explaining details that are important to your parent. If they like their sandwiches lightly toasted, always watch a specific game show at 11 am, and enjoy a walk to visit with neighbors after breakfast, let the caregiver know. Remember that your feedback is very important – both positive and negative. Reach out to our office and let us know about anything the caregiver is doing especially well, or anything you would like to see done in another way. We’re happy when you’re happy! We work hard to make sure each person’s needs are fully met, and that includes incorporating changes when necessary.

About Our Caregivers

We want you to be able to relax and have the confidence in knowing a family member is in the absolute best hands with our caregiving services. Each of our caregivers has been extensively interviewed, background checked, and trained. They are also carefully matched to each individual in their care based on likes, dislikes, personality type, and more. Each member of our team is someone we would thoroughly trust caring for our own loved ones. And if at any time, for any reason, you’d like to request a different caregiver, we will honor that request; no questions asked.

Contact Us to Learn More

Although the transition can be tough, know that your loved one’s caregiver will be providing enhanced opportunities for socialization, safety, and enjoyment in life, offering you much-needed peace of mind. For more information about our in-home care services in Davie, Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas, contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

Here’s What to Avoid During Chemotherapy

: Do you know what to avoid during chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is, without a doubt, a potentially life-saving journey. However, during the process of destroying harmful cancer cells, noncancerous cells can be in the crossfire, leading to challenging side effects. The physician will offer guidelines on what cancer patients should do to minimize these effects, but it’s just as important to know what to avoid during chemotherapy. Read more

Keeping a Sense of Purpose for Seniors Leads to a More Fulfilling Life

Learn the importance of maintaining a sense of purpose for seniors.

What motivates you to push forward every day? If you are part of the sandwich generation, taking care of both older and younger loved ones, your list is probably quite long! However, for aging adults, as the nest empties, it becomes important to redefine their identity and learn new ways to bring meaning to each day. Read more

Starting Home Care: What to do When Family Is in Denial

When a family member refuses the need for parents starting home care, we have tips to help.

Once you realize that an aging loved one could benefit from starting home care services, it’s not uncommon for the aging loved one to be resistant to the idea. After all, acknowledging the need for assistance is not easy, especially for an individual who values their privacy and independence. However, it gets more challenging when another family member is the one in denial about starting home care. When you’ve reached an impasse within your family in regards to the need for senior care, there’s one very likely culprit to consider: denial. Read more