Beyond Weight Loss Resolutions: Meaningful Goals for Family Caregiver Support

Senior woman backpacking and exploring

Responsive Home Care provides family caregiver support

If you are among the eight percent of Americans who actually accomplish their New Year’s resolution goals, well done! However, if you’re like the majority of us, you have given up prior to even turning the calendar page to February. Although of course it’s admirable to attempt to better ourselves by resolving to get rid of 10 pounds or eat healthier foods, busy family caregivers need support, and there are several truly meaningful, achievable goals that can improve life throughout the year.

Consider these recommendations:

  • Find joy. Taking care of somebody else is a labor of love, but may result in challenges which make it hard to focus on the daily benefits that can spark joy. Take some time each day to pause and discover a reason to smile. Bring a sense of humor to your daily caregiving tasks to share laughter with your family member. Enjoy the feeling of the sun’s rays shining through the window as you’re sorting laundry. Contact a relative who lifts your spirits for a quick chat.
  • See the bigger picture. Make an effort to take one step back from the busyness of your to-do list, and view the effect your caregiving is making. Because of you, your parent can continue living in the comfort and familiarity of home. Thanks to you, life is the absolute best it can be for a senior loved one. Your contribution is priceless and it is making a difference.
  • Compartmentalize. It is extremely important to make mental wellness a priority, and one effective way to cope with the many different responsibilities associated with providing care is to be entirely focused on the present. Visualizing different rooms for different concerns can be helpful; when you start to worry about a planned surgical procedure a senior loved one is facing while watching a film with your kids, visualize setting that concern in its appropriate room until later, and being focused on today.
  • Be kind to yourself. It is very easy to slip into a pattern of wishing you could do more for a loved one, or worrying about errors you’ve made that you wish you might change. Point out to yourself you are human, and that you are doing essential work for the senior you love. Truly appreciate the sacrifices you are making, just as you would take note and appreciate them in another family caregiver.
  • Seek – and accept – help and support. Attempting to be a superhero who deals with everything independently can easily result in burnout and depression. Partnering with others to help a senior loved one is the best way to make sure his / her needs are completely met, while helping you achieve the healthy life balance you need and deserve.

As providers for home health care Coral Springs, FL residents trust most, Responsive Home Care is the perfect partner for any family caregiver. We deliver highly skilled, professional, and compassionate care for seniors according to each person’s specific needs. Allow us to help! Call our care team at 954-486-6440 and together we can develop a plan of care in order to make 2020 the best year yet – both for the senior in your care, and for yourself. To learn more about all of the areas that we serve in Florida, please visit our Service Area page.

If You’re a Family Caregiver, You’re at Risk for Caregiver Depression

Woman stressed alone in the roomThere’s no question that it’s a great honor to care for family we love. Family caregivers experience a closeness and connection with those in their care that generally far outweigh the difficulties. Yet unfortunately there are also difficulties. A continuous to-do list to make certain the person you’re providing care for is as healthy and happy as possible. Household duties and errands to manage. Career responsibilities. The requirements of other relatives and friends. And don’t leave out self-care.

The end result is an often overwhelming degree of stress, that if left uncontrolled, can quickly transform into caregiver burnout as well as depression that could manifest in any or all of the following ways:

  • Thoughts of frustration, unhappiness, hopelessness, stress
  • Trouble with falling or staying asleep during the night
  • Lack of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
  • Eating more or significantly less than normal
  • Delayed thinking
  • And if left untreated, suicidal thoughts or possibly attempts at suicide

This short online assessment makes it possible to decide if you may be experiencing depression.

The good thing is, there are a number of easy steps to take to lessen your potential for falling into depression:

  • First and foremost, schedule an appointment with your physician for help
  • Refrain from isolating yourself and ensure an abundance of opportunities for socialization apart from your caregiving relationship
  • Remain active, both physically and mentally, with activities you like: swimming, playing a sport, reading, volunteering with a cause that is important to you

While it could be challenging for family caregivers to carve out the time required for self-care, it is imperative to the wellbeing of both family caregivers themselves and the seniors in their care. And lots of times, family feel as though they need to do it all themselves – after all, they are familiar with the individual much better than anyone else, and frequently it simply seems much easier to manage things on one’s own.

An overly stressed, burned out, or depressed caregiver needs to have trustworthy, reliable support – and the great news is, it is easily available! A professional, home caregiver can provide as much or as little help as needed. Perhaps, for instance, you’d rather continue to make all of the meals for your senior loved one – but would like some help with cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Or maybe your loved one would feel much more comfortable with an experienced caregiver providing assistance with personal care needs, for example, bathing and using the restroom.

At Responsive Home Care, we understand how overwhelming life can feel for family caregivers, and we work with families to develop a strategy of care that meets each person’s individual desires and needs. Let us assist with trustworthy, professional respite care. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 any time for additional information.

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

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 each visit.

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, 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!

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.