Our Clearwater home health agency mission is to create an environment where we set our team members up for success empowering them to provide the best in home care to the community.
EasyLiving Home Health Services Blog
Sunday, December 14th, 2014
We wanted to take the time to say a special thanks to elder caregivers this holiday season. For the elder caregiver taking care of aging parents or other loved ones, this may have been a tough year. You may get little thanks for the job you do as an elder caregiver and may have moments you feel unappreciated. The work you do can be unrelenting and the holiday season often exacerbates the stress. So, with this in mind, we pause to say thank you and remind you that you are giving something that is more precious than any material possession.
In this spirit, we’ll share a few of our favorite inspirational quotes as well as a couple key resources to help, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Inspirational Quotes for Elder Caregivers
“One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value.”–Jin Rohn
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”― Tia Walker, from The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.”— Eleanor Roosevelt
“If you find it in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded.”–Maya Angelou
Advice/Helpful Quotes for Elder Caregivers
“It is so important as a caregiver not to become so enmeshed in the role that you lose yourself. It’s neither good for you nor your loved one.”–Dana Reeve
“You can do anything but not everything.”–David Allen
“Sometimes the one who has been there for everyone else needs someone to be there for them.”–LiveHappy.com
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”–Victor Borge
Elder Caregivers’ Resources
Respite Care: If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is time for respite care. If you need to travel or take care of holiday errands, it is time for respite care. If you want to know there is someone who can help you and give you a break from time to time who you can trust, it is time for respite care. Read more about what respite care is and when you might benefit, as well as how to prepare for someone else to help care for your aging parent.
Geriatric Care Management Assessment: This is the ultimate caregiver tool for ensuring the best care for your loved one. Consider scheduling a geriatric care assessment in the new year to get things off to a good start!
Support Groups: Check out a local group (sometimes respite if offered while you attend) or find an online support group. Contact us if you need help finding one in Pinellas County/Tampa Bay, Florida.
Check out EasyLiving’s Elder Caregiver Resource Center for lots of great free resources! Call us anytime at 727-447-5845 for individualized help with your eldercare situation! Our Senior Care Consultant will visit with you and your aging parent to determine how we can help–with anything from respite care to transportation, meal prep and help with errands to a geriatric assessment.
We extend the warmest gratitude to all elder caregivers. Those you care for could not have made it through this year without you. We also want to specifically thank our EasyLiving elder caregiver team for their dedication, patience, and caring demonstrated every day in their work.
Monday, December 8th, 2014
Top Five Holiday Tips for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver
The holidays can be especially tough for the Alzheimer’s caregiver. The person with Alzheimer’s might have a difficult time with schedule changes, visits and event and the caregiver may feel sad about missed opportunities to take part in holiday traditions. The holidays can bring up grief feelings for the Alzheimer’s caregiver and can also be a time when resentments arise between various family members and the Alzheimer’s caregiver. Here are five tips and some resources to help the Alzheimer’s caregiver survive (and enjoy!) the holidays:
- Try to maintain routine as much as possible. You can incorporate holiday traditions, visits from friends and loved ones and holiday fun while sticking to the important aspects of your care routine. Keep sleeping and meal times on track to maintain the pattern of the day. Ask visitors to be respectful of this and understand the impacts on your loved one and you. Know that for people who don’t understand Alzheimer’s disease, they may not realize how simple things can be a real challenge for you as an Alzheimer’s caregiver. At the same time, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays…it’s just about timing and keeping commitments reasonable.
- Find the joy in small things (for both you and your caree). Even someone with a very limited memory will often recall songs and tastes of the holidays. Music is surprisingly embedded in the memory and can be a soothing activity. This is a nice way to enjoy the holidays, whether a specific memory of the song is there or not. You and your loved one can also enjoy holiday foods, but you may be too overwhelmed to make a large meal or bake. Consider ordering food or hiring a home caregiver to come in and help with holiday cooking. You don’t need to decorate extensively or go out to holiday parties to enjoy a festive atmosphere. Put up a few decorations you and your loved one can enjoy, listen to some holiday music, watch a holiday movie and enjoy!
- Be realistic about travel plans. Read our “Travel and Dementia: Know Before You Go” article if you are considering travel over the holidays (you might also like “Tips for a Smooth Journey with an Elder“). The holidays can be the most hectic time for travel so it might be best avoided for the sake of the person with Alzheimer’s and the Alzheimer’s caregiver. Plan shorter trips at less busy times and use technology to connect…plan a Skype/Facetime session with other family members, for example.
- Reset expectations, both yours and those of others. Obviously the holidays with your loved one will not be the same as they once were. It is natural to grieve (and you may be grieving not only the losses related to the dementia but the actual loss of other elder loved ones). Reach out to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Have a talk with loved ones or others coming to visit so they know what to expect. Also, if possible, avoid confrontational or difficult conversations during the holidays. Save those for other times (this goes along with our general holiday advice for caregivers…read more).
- Seek concrete support. People often want to do something to help, but don’t know what to do. Ask for something specific. If possible, ask for someone to relieve you so that you can take an afternoon to do holiday shopping or just take a break. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, ask for help with tasks. Very often, it is easy for someone to pick you up some items when they’re out shopping or make some extra food for you and your loved one. Maybe you have busy sisters and brothers who would be glad to pitch in to hire a cleaning person or home caregiver to do some errands or assist during the holidays (or once/week on a regular basis). We know it’s not easy to ask for help, but often people are just waiting to know how to help you.
We hope these tips help you survive and thrive this holiday season as an Alzheimer’s caregiver. Unfortunately, the realities of caregiving and health problems do not go away for Christmas or other holidays. Don’t forget, our EasyLiving/Aging Wisely team is always here to help! There’s nothing worse than facing a crisis alone. Call us any time at 727-447-5845 for crisis management, geriatric assessments, home care support, respite care and more.
Monday, December 1st, 2014
EasyLiving rounds up our educational information about holidays and the elderly (and caregiving) here for you. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season! We encourage you to reach out to us for help at any time; we are available throughout the holiday season. We can provide extra assistance with holiday shopping, gift wrapping and other tasks; caregiver respite for holiday travel; senior travel companions and elderly concierge services; help during holiday crises or to assess concerns you spot during visits with elderly loved ones and more!
Holidays and Elderly Caregivers
Tips for Senior Caregivers at the Holidays: Whether you are a family member caring for an aging loved one or a professional home caregiver or in-home senior care provider, the holidays can be a stressful time. Grief and loss may be exacerbated, whether it is literal loss of loved ones or loss of other roles due to caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers and elders might be disappointed when their expectations for the holidays are not met. We not only share tips for senior caregivers, but for anyone who wishes to help a friend or family member who is caregiving at the holidays.
Holiday Gifts for People Who Are Caregiving or Facing a Serious Illness: Ideas for holiday (and year-round) gifts that can help senior caregivers or someone who is facing his/her own illness, surgery or managing a chronic disease.
Five Creative Uses for Home Caregiver Services: Hiring a home caregiver can improve quality of life and even add a lot of fun to daily life! Brighten the holiday season with some fun activities and support by professional senior caregivers.
Holidays and the Elderly: Gift Giving Ideas
Holidays and Elderly Help, Give the Gift of Care: Give the gift of eldercare help, assistance from home caregivers, household help, transportation or senior concierge services for holiday events. Help make the holidays special and stress-free for your elderly loved ones!
Home Health Products for Holidays and the Elderly: Learn about how various home health products can make life easier for your elderly loved ones and friends this holiday season and beyond. There are great adaptive clothing options, home care products, and disability-friendly items for every day living. Gifts of time and simple things can also make life around the home better for your elder loved ones.
Aging Wisely’s Gifts for Seniors Guide: See a full list of suggestions for seniors living at home or residing in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This guide also offers some websites with special senior-friendly products.
Holidays and the Elderly: What to Watch For
When visiting your elderly loved ones during the holidays, you can pick up on clues that something may not be right. Sometimes the signs will be obvious, such as when hygiene or home care has clearly been neglected or when the person is obviously confused or malnourished. Other times, the clues may be more subtle. Our professional senior caregivers and advocates are trained to pick up on subtle signs and can help you with assessing the reality of the eldercare situation–here they share some of the signs you can watch for, which may indicate concern:
- Rotten or expired food in the fridge/pantry, increased convenience or junk food (signs that the elder is having trouble fixing meals), weight loss
- Minor injuries, bruises or cuts
- Forgetfulness, signs of missed appointments or “covering” for memory loss (changing the subject quickly when an oversight is mentioned, vague conversations, trouble finding words, etc.)
- Signs that the person is withdrawing from normal activities
- Limiting activity to one room/area
- Unsteadiness when walking or “furniture walking”
- Changes in personality or mood
- Read more: Aging Wisely’s “Warning Signs”
Contact us at 727-447-5845 for eldercare help during the holidays or any time!
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
At this time of year, we pause to say thank you to our dedicated home caregivers, who do so much to help clients. The holidays can be especially difficult for elder clients who have lost spouses and friends and perhaps live far from other loved ones. Some elders may not be able to celebrate the holidays with the same traditions as in the past, but our home caregivers try to make the time special and incorporate some of the client’s traditions.
Just this week, a professional who works with a client sent us a note expressing her thanks for the caregiver’s efforts: “I’ve been there a few times now when the caregiver is present and I think he is absolutely wonderful with Mr. F. Last visit, he brought Mr. F a slice of strawberry cheesecake. Tomorrow, he is going to surprise him with pumpkin pie and some usual Thanksgiving dinner fixings. Today, he made Mr. F blueberry muffins. I think it’s just heartwarming to see that he truly cares and wants to always do something special for his client. It made me smile.”
We are thankful for caregivers because:
- They show a great generosity of spirit and dedication. They often give up their own personal and family time at the holidays to be with their clients.
- They do little things to put a smile on the elder client’s face.
- They help us out in a pinch! Eldercare crises don’t wait for the holidays and our caregivers often jump in to help during the holidays and other times when a crisis arises.
- They do what they do not for the thanks, but for the knowledge that they might be making a client’s day a little better. But, we still want to make sure to say a big thank you as often as possible!
If you are a family caregiver or working as a home caregiver this holiday season, it is a good time to reflect on some of the reasons to be thankful. Caregiving can be the toughest job in the world, and you don’t always get the thanks you deserve. But, as a caregiver:
- You get to see the smile on your care recipient’s face when you do a little something nice. You get to see the person feeling better that day because of a small comfort you provided, or the light in his/her eyes as you reminisce or share in a favorite tradition or food.
- You get opportunities to grow as a person in ways other jobs don’t provide to people. You may find inner strength at a time when you felt worn out or gain new insight in to life or aging. You have the chance to potentially learn a lot from care recipients’ life experience and wisdom.
- Your time with the person may be short, but is all the more precious for it.
- You may not have the shopping day others have or the time to prepare the same big meal you usually do, but you have the satisfaction of giving the gift of yourself and your time.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our EasyLiving caregivers and the many family caregivers doing their best to help!
Monday, November 17th, 2014
When someone is helping you with the care of your aging parent or loved one, it is natural to extend your appreciation. You may want to get your senior caregivers a gift during the holidays. You may have friends or neighbors who have helped with your elder Mom’s care and you wish to do something special for them at the holidays. We’re here to share some caregiver gift ideas, as well as guidance about giving gifts to paid senior caregivers.
Professional Senior Caregivers Gift Ideas and Policies
Can my Mom’s caregivers accept gifts?
Generally, caregivers through home care agencies or at senior care facilities may not be permitted to accept gifts from clients or families*. Before purchasing a gift, always check with the agency or facility. Don’t ask the caregiver directly, as this puts him or her in an awkward situation. Instead, contact Human Resources or the administration to ask them about their policy. They also may be able to make alternative suggestions. Many times, the agency or facility will hold a holiday party for their staff. You may be able to send a special dish along or contribute to say your thanks.
* This is another benefit to working with an agency. If you find out your elderly parent has given a generous gift or extra cash to a private caregiver, it can be difficult to find any recourse. An agency should have clearly delineated policies and can assist in remedying the situation if something like this occurs. It can also be a helpful way to prevent the gift-giving in the first place, as you can explain the agency’s policy to your loved one.
What are some alternative caregiver gift ideas to show my appreciation when someone can’t accept presents or cash?
- Send a letter/email to the supervisor about why you think the caregiver deserves special thanks and what he/she does that is so special. At EasyLiving, such “kudos” are not only an important indicator of the caregiver’s quality work, we also give out iCARewards points for them. So, not only does this have a positive impact on their work profile, it also can help them directly earn gift cards and prizes.
- Share a special meal together or treat your loved one and the caregiver to a special holiday meal or activity. This has double impact as a gift for both your loved one and the caregiver. If you are nearby, you might be able to cook some special family favorites and enjoy a nice meal together. If not, you can either get a special meal delivered or treat to a restaurant outing. Many local restaurants will have special holiday menus and it might be a fun chance for your loved one to get out and it potentially gives the caregiver a break from cooking.
- Write a thank you note or nice card to the caregiver (even better, send a copy to his/her supervisor also or ask if you can send it to be read at the agency’s holiday party or caregiver appreciation events).
- Ask the caregiver if there is anything that you could purchase for the home/client that would make his/her job easier. Again, this has double the impact as it can also improve your loved one’s life. Maybe the washing machine is no longer working well or the client could use some easy-wear clothing or a shower chair for the tub. Maybe the client and caregiver enjoy reading together or watching movies and you could buy some additional/updated books or DVDs (or a Netflix account).
- As mentioned above, the agency or facility may hold a holiday party or caregiver appreciation event. You could send along a special treat to add to the celebration or maybe even send some flowers, balloons or something else to show your appreciation and make the person feel special while celebrating with colleagues. Check with management staff for ideas and guidance.
Caregiver Gift Ideas for Various Helpers
A friend has helped a lot since I’ve been caring for Mom. What can I get for her this holiday season to show my appreciation?
Any nice gift along with a note about how much you’ve appreciated her help will be a nice way to show her how much her help means. If she’s a person who does a lot for others, the gift of some relaxation time might be good so consider a spa gift certificate or something similar. Think about her interests or just get her a nice little holiday treat. It would be especially nice if it comes from you and Mom. Maybe there’s a homemade treat you can make for her together, or simply write/sign the card together.
One of Mom’s senior neighbors always helps her out. I don’t know her well, but I’d like to give her a gift this holiday. Any ideas?
The ideas listed above may apply. Since you don’t know her well, a homemade treat or gift card might be best. If you can find out any of her hobbies or a place she likes to go, you can get her an appropriate gift card. Ask your Mom if she knows of something she might appreciate. Sometimes you encounter someone who really feels uncomfortable accepting gifts (though usually homemade treats or something festive are accepted). Maybe you can find out if there is a charitable organization or event that this person cares about to make a donation on their behalf. This might also be a good time to ask the neighbor the same question mentioned for professional caregivers. Mom’s neighbor might have noticed something she needs, or maybe offering to pay for a caregiver to assist with certain tasks will help.
What’s a good gift for a friend who is a caregiver for her elderly parents?
The best caregiver gift ideas offer the gift of time. Would it be possible for you to stay with her parents to give her a break? You can do a combo gift, by providing her with a gift certificate for a restaurant or spa (massage can be great for the aches and pains of caregiving) or tickets to the theater, while offering to stay with her parents during that time. If she is able to, it can also be nice to take her out to lunch or for a fun day/evening out to relax and spend some time together. She might need a empathetic listener just to hear her frustrations.
Comfort gifts are also nice, such as slippers or a luxurious blanket or a good book (or gift card to purchase) or music. Preparing a meal or arranging a meal delivery service can be a nice treat. There are also many nice gifts and gift baskets online that are designed around relaxation or pampering. You also might be able to help with other areas, such as doing research for her or offering to come over and do some yard work. You have to know the person to know what is most appropriate, but your kindness will be appreciated.
For more caregiver gift ideas, check out Aging Wisely’s Gifts for Caregivers and Those Facing Serious Illness.
What are your favorite caregiver gift ideas? Do you know a great store for caregiver gift ideas? Let us know!
EasyLiving can help! We offer caregiver respite services, help with meal preparation and holiday tasks, shopping assistance, transportation and more. Give the gift of peace of mind this holiday season! Purchase a block of time, and we can help your caregiving friend make this holiday season more manageable (and enjoyable!). Call us at 727-448-0900 or contact EasyLiving online to find out more.
*Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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