Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Family Caregiving: Finding Balance

One thing is for certain if you’re a family caregiver–you are not alone. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving’s 2015 report Caregiving in the U.S., over 34 million U.S. adults have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50+ in the last year. Many of these caregivers are helping loved ones with chronic physical conditions or memory loss, and few have any professional training or experience providing this kind of care. The report also highlights the tremendous time these caregivers devote to their loved ones–on average caregivers are spending 23 hours per week on caregiving tasks–but many spend nearly twice that. Many of these caregivers are also still employed full or part time, and their caregiving responsibilities require them to take time off of work.

The physical and emotional stress of caregiving often takes its toll on the health of the caregiver. Caregivers often neglect their own doctors appointments and preventive care when they are responsible for caring for a loved one. In addition, healthy eating and exercise can also take a backseat to their loved one’s care. The good news is that we can help! Our trusted team of professional, compassionate caregivers can help share the caregiving load. If you work full or part time or just need some time to care for yourself, our dependable caregivers can give you peace of mind that your loved one is being well taken care of. We would love to help you and your family–give us a call today at 843-628-3642!

Thanksgiving Day, the Healthy Way

Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Corn

People often use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge. Holiday travel and stress can take a toll on your emotional reserves and leave little willpower left to make healthy choices at the table. It is possible to survive Turkey Day without the excess though, and making a conscious effort to start the holiday season off with healthy choices can leave you lighter and with less regret come the New Year.

It may not seem like it can make a difference, but small tweaks to your recipes can really add up. Try cutting the sugar in your sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie recipe in half—you really won’t notice the difference. Season your food with fresh herbs and spices and olive oil, which are all heart-healthy choices, instead of butter and salt and sugar. Help yourself to the turkey and veggies and serve yourself smaller portions of the buttery, starchy and fatty sides. There will be leftovers, so eat in moderation and then enjoy your favorites again the next day, in moderation!

Build a little extra movement into your day. Get up early and go for a run, walk or bike ride. After your big meal, toss a football around in the yard or shoot some hoops with the kids. Research has even found that exercising after a high fat meal can help lower triglyceride levels. Every little bit counts!

Suffering From Caregiver Burnout? We Can Help!

Woman Comforting Senior Man With Depression

Woman Comforting Senior Man With Depression

Caregiver burnout can manifest itself in different ways, but most of the signs can mimic those of depression. If you are losing interest in your once-loved hobbies, bailing on evenings out with friends on a regular basis, or experiencing any of these complaints on a regular basis, it might be time to seek help. Talk to friends, loved ones or your doctor about your feelings, and seek out help. Whether it be asking more help from siblings in the care of your elderly parents or hiring an in-home caregiver for a certain number of hours a week, addressing your own needs will ultimately help you better care for your loved one.

The Staggering Cost of Being a Family Caregiver

Mother and daughter

How can you quantify the work of a family caregiver? The countless hours spent cooking, cleaning, shopping, bathing, paying bills, navigating the health care system, driving, worrying, loving, crying, stressing? A recent study by the AARP, entitled Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update, estimates that the economic value of unpaid family caregiving approached $470 billion in 2013. To put this number in perspective, that’s on par with the annual sales numbers for Walmart, the world’s biggest store! (AARP, Valuing the Invaluable, 2015)

Simply put, a lot of unpaid work is being done by family members out of love, respect, a sense of obligation, and yes, necessity. Many of these family caregivers also work part or full time jobs on top of their caregiving responsibilities. The toll their “second job” takes on their mental and physical health is profound; research has shown family caregivers suffer from poorer health, higher stress levels and an increased mortality rate as compared to non-caregivers (AARP, Valuing the Invaluable: 2015).

Family caregivers need better access to resources to help them navigate this increasingly complex role. Acceptance is important too—at some point your loved one may require more skilled care than you can provide, or supervision around the clock, or both—and it is ok to ask for help any step of the way. A trusted in home care company like Home Care Plus can help you shoulder the caregiving burden and give you peace of mind that your loved one is being properly cared for by a professional, highly trained, compassionate caregiver.

For more information on the economic impact of caregiving, its toll on family caregivers, and caregiving resources, visit the AARP’s website. For more information on how we can help you and your loved ones, visit the Home Care Plus website!

January Newsletter: New Year, Same You–Only Better!

Composite image of this year i am going to

Our January newsletter has tips for helping your resolutions stick this year, advice for making small, healthy diet and lifestyle changes, warning signs of caregiver burnout, how in-home senior care can help and much more! Click here to read our newsletter.

Enlighten Your Season: Advice for Caregivers of the Elderly

This article is courtesy of the National Care Planning Council. Visit the NCPC website at longtermcarelink.net for more helpful information about caregiving.

December 16, 2016 | by Lynda Neuenschwander, NCPC

Taking care of elderly loved ones can be very exhausting, especially during the holidays.Care.com talks about things to help lighten the load during the busy season, like decreasing amounts of gifts, taking breaks, and exercising, while talk-early-talk-often.comencourages one to “unplan” the holiday to make room for some true relaxation and memory making. Agingcare.com talks of reducing loneliness for the elderly in your life and gives tips to enhance their experience, while easylivingfl.com promotes being realistic about traditions, making modifications, and seeking help from family members. All good and sound advice, to be sure.

Lighten up your to-do list, lighten up on outside commitments, and lighten up on yourself. So, how do you lighten up? Makeuseof.com says, “Research has shown that the mere physical act of smiling, without actually feeling like it, triggers internal biological reactions that stimulate emotions and contribute to a better mood – in you and others. In other words, when you feel down, fake a big fat smile and you will lighten up automatically. But be careful, it also works the other way around, so remember to keep smiling.”[1] Here is a funny story to get you started.

Frasier Crane [Kelsey Grammer], a character in the famous sit-com, “Frasier,” had a new life, a new chapter, a new job, and a new apartment in his hometown of Seattle, Washington when it became necessary for his elderly father Marty to move in with him. What began as a very bumpy relationship eventually became a very enlightening and even quite rewarding one. With life’s lessons intermixed, Frasier and Marty forge their bond throughout the years learning to deal with major change and trying to still implement some traditions.

One particular episode called “Bla-Z-Boy” is where Frasier and his dad have been butting heads about Marty’s run-down recliner. The chair squeaks incessantly, and it’s enough to make Frasier insane. Frasier and Marty have harsh words before Frasier storms out of the apartment. Later, while Marty is oiling the squeak in the chair with an oilcan, Frasier’s brother Niles finds him crouched on the floor and fears the worst. Marty reassures him he’s just oiling the chair, and Niles notices a few drops of oil that had dropped onto the light-colored carpet. As Marty goes to get a towel from the kitchen, he accidentally steps on the oil can and it squirts a large amount of oil out onto the carpet just in time for Frasier to come back and see what had transpired.

Outraged, Frasier accuses Marty of subconscious hostility towards him and claims that Marty made the oil stain on purpose. Marty tries multiple times to tell Frasier that it truly was an accident, but Frasier, ironically, would not listen. It’s ironic because on his radio show, Frasier tells his patients, “I’m listening.” So, as Frasier insists that what Marty did was malicious and not accidental, Marty finally had it and said, “For the last time, this was not malicious, it was an accident!” Frasier retorts with, “I don’t think you know the difference!” Marty’s response, “Yes, I do! That was an accident! [Squirting oil all over the front of Frasier] THIS is malicious!”

In replacing the carpet, all furniture had to be moved out onto the balcony until new carpet was laid down. While Frasier and Niles are discussing difficulties relating to their father, the sun hits a telescope lens just right and starts the recliner on fire. After Frasier and Niles notice something burning, they try to put out the fire with a drop cloth, but in the process end up shoving the burning recliner off of the balcony, only to land on the sidewalk right next to Marty and Daphne, the home health-care worker. Can you imagine? You’re out for a leisurely stroll with your dog and a recliner aflame comes crashing down at your side! This, in turn, gets Marty to accuse Frasier of sabotaging his chair on purpose, and the cycle begins all over again with misunderstood motives. This unfortunate series of events is all-too-common in our own lives in different ways, is it not? This whole sit-com includes many elements that apply to all families as they grow into the phase of having an aging parent that needs to be taken care of, and gives us all a good laugh.

On a more inspirational note, there is a story about a small truce on Christmas Eve during WWII in 1944 that will set one to ponder. Elisabeth Vincken and her son, Fritz, were waiting at a hunting cabin in the woods for Fritz’s father to return before they ate their Christmas meal. Three American soldiers stumbled upon their cabin in desperate need of warmth and food, one of their comrades — wounded. Immediately, Elisabeth started making dinner, the one they were saving for her husband. Eventually, another party fell upon the cabin, but this time it was four German soldiers. Elisabeth told them there were Americans inside and that they were welcome also, but with this warning, while they were all there, there would be no shooting because it was a holy night. The boys all complied and left their weapons outside in the snow.

Tension softened as the smell of home-cooking took over and the soldiers actually talked with each other. The wounded American was looked after by a German former medical student, and when they all left, the Germans told the Americans the best way to get back, gave them a compass, and they all shook hands. Years passed while young Fritz grew up and searched for any of those soldiers that had been at his cabin as a boy. Finally, in 1995, the TV episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” aired the story and told of a man in Northampton Manor Nursing Home in Maryland, who had kept the story alive for years. Fritz found out about it and sought out the man. He met the man, Ralph Blank, in 1996, and Ralph told Fritz that his mom had saved his life. Fritz said, “Now, I can die in peace. My mother’s courage won’t be forgotten and it shows what good will do.” Fritz passed away six years later.

In the midst of your holiday season, don’t forget to laugh along the way and find the inspiration in the little things. “No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” – Greg Kincaid.

Happy Holidays!

Citation:
[1] makeuseof.com/tag/8-best-daily-jokes-sites-to-lighten-up-your-mood/

Other Sources:
talk-early-talk-often.com/holiday-stress-tips.html
brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_christmas.html
easylivingfl.com/caregiver-tips-making-the-best-of-the-holidays
kacl780.net/frasier/transcripts/season_9/episode_7/bla_z_boy.html
unnamedharald.hubpages.com/hub/About-World-War-2-A-Small-Christmas-Truce
the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Jan/11/ln/ln37a.html
talk-early-talk-often.com/holidays-with-elderly-parents.html
assistancehomecarestlouis.com/St-Louis-St-Charles-Senior-Home-Care-Resource-Center/holidays-and-special-events–engage-the-elderly-in-the-festivities-

Why Family Caregivers Resist Help

The physical, mental and emotional toll family caregiving takes on a person is enormous. So why do so many caregivers go it alone? Read AgingCare.com’s article “Why Caregivers Refuse Help” for insight into this behavior. Chances are, if you are a family caregiver, you will be able to relate and hopefully see the value and necessity of seeking help and how it can ultimately make you a better caregiver to your loved one.