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Holiday Gifts for Senior Loved Ones

Posted by Debby Franklin on Nov 30, 2017 12:37:45 PM

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It can be difficult finding appreciated gifts for senior loved ones.  Many have down sized and lack storage space or they may be dealing with health issues and physical challenges.  At this time in life, your loved one probably doesn't need more stuff they only need things that can really be used.  

Here is a list of ideas to help with your gift giving this holiday:

  • Flameless Candles - Provides a safe alternative to the traditional candle and they can help to lift the spirit and mood.
  • Digital Picture Frames - Record a personalized greeting that can be replayed by your loved one.
  • Photo Dialer Telephones - This device is equipped with large buttons and high volume.  The photo dialer makes calling family, friends and medical professionals less challenging for those suffering with age, eye and ear related issues.
  • Technology - Stay connected and in touch by purchasing a tablet and helping them to set up user friendly apps and programs such as Facebook, email and instant messenger.
  • Lotions and Skin Care Items - These are gifts that are always useful.  Be sure to find out about allergies and favorite products. 
  • Homemade Anything - Treats, gifts made by the family or grandchildren are always special.
  • Decorate for the Holidays - Offering to bring in and decorate the sitting area for your loved one helps to share the holiday joy.
  • Schedule an Outing - Make arrangements for a visit or special outing with a favorite past time or holiday show.
  • Adult Coloring books - These are very popular for all ages and have been known to provide hours of positive brain stimulation.  The coloring books can be a creative outlet that can brighten the day for someone who may be at home or by themselves throughout the day.
  • TV Apps - Set up Netflix and buy a years subscription or call their provider and pay for the Hallmark Channels to be added to their account.
  • Comfy Things - Bathrobes, slippers, cozy blankets or throws, bed jackets and shawls are always appreciated.
  • Home Care Assistance - Purchase a gift certificate, redeemable for hours of home care service. Here are examples:
    • Give the gift of a personal driver to take your loved one on appointments, errands, shopping or outings with friends.
    • Give the gift of help with household chores. Light housekeeping, organizing and maintenance.
    • Give the gift of holiday help.  Gift shopping and wrapping, mailing packages, sending out cards,  holiday decorating, help with holiday recipes or transportation to holiday events.
    • Give the gift of respite care for a family member that is a full time caregiver.  For the enormously large number of people who care for a family member, having time to allow for self care is a most valuable gift. 
    • Give the gift of companionship and socialization. Many senors have lost spouses and close friends or may be separated from family, it can be a time of loneliness and sadness that result in holiday blues.

Time is the most valuable gift you can give to anyone, not only during the holidays but throughout the year.  The holidays are a reminder for family and friends to come together and serve one another.  It' a time to be thankful and to be selfless in giving.

About us:

Easy Living Services, Inc. has proudly supported Atlanta families by providing quality caregivers since 1994.  Affordable, flexible care plans designed to insure safety, comfort and companionship.  consult Atlanta's most trusted source for Home Care

770-442-8664.

 

Topics: Caregiver Information, senior care, elder care

Caring for the Family Caregiver

Posted by Debby Franklin on Dec 4, 2014 4:32:00 PM

dreamstime_tray_of_foodOver 29% of adults act as a family caregiver caring for an ill or disabled loved one and close to 66% of the family caregivers are women.  For many it can become a full time job caring for the immediate family along with an ailing relative. The role of caring for someone can take a toll on your health.  Over 70% of family caregivers have been reported to show significant signs of depression and the research showed that at least 17% felt that their own health became worse from caregiving.

Here are some resources and suggestions for emotional support:

Join A Support Group - Sometimes all it takes is to talk about your day to get things off your chest and to let it go.  A support group will bring you together with people who share the same day to day frustrations and the offered advice on how to cope and deal with the challenges will help the group collectively. Support groups let you discuss your issues with a group that will see you in a non-judgmental way vs. taking with a friend or another family member.   Many churches, synagogues, hospitals and local organizations offer programs that provide caregiver support.  

Online Support - With social media dominating our communication habits today, many caregivers seek online support.  There are several discussion forums and web sites designed to provide information and reassurance along with many of the specific medical condition sites.  Facebook also has groups that focus just on caregivers and their issues.

Keeping Organized - With the doctor visits and notes from the visit, medication reminders, specific nutritional requirements and just appointments in general for the person being cared for and YOURSELF, you need a system to keep it straight and to stay on top of whats important.  On Line resources can help with the organization of information.  There are apps and sites that can help such as CaringBridge.

Write It Down - For many putting your thoughts on paper can be soothing and a great release from all that is pent up inside.  Writing down your feelings and events from the day is a safe place to say what you may think but could never say out loud.  Keeping a journal can be a great stress reliever.  Along with writing about everything that is bothering you be sure to include all of the good in your life and everything that you are grateful for.  

Caring For Yourself - Having been in Home Care for over 20 years I have seen far too many times the family caregiver putting so much emotional and physical support into caring for a loved one that they in turn become ill and end up in need of care.  It is absolutely essential to take time to care for you!  Give yourself time for things that bring you comfort, pleasure and that will nourish your mind and body. Taking time away from caregiving isn't selfish it is a requirement to keep you healthy and strong.  Whatever brings to you happiness is something that you have to make the time to do daily and at minimum weekly.  

Utilize Respite Service - With the hectic pace of the holiday season this may be the perfect time to try Home Care respite service.  Respite service provides short term temporary relief with a professional caregiver assisting and filling in the gaps for the family caregiver.  Make the decision to reduce stress, ease your mind and work load by turning to a caregiver team.  A respite caregiver can help your loved one remain comfortable and well cared for at home while you prepare for the holidays!

Here is just a small sampling of the services a professional caregiver can assist with:

  • Personal Care & Hygiene
  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Shopping & Errands
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Homemaker Service (laundry, vacuum, dusting, linen change, sanitation)
  • Companionship
  • Hospital/Rehab Sitter

A certificate for Caregiver Services makes a thoughtful holiday gift for a deserving senior, a busy family struggling to care for a loved one, a neighbor or friend with a chronic illness.  If you know someone who needs a helping hand, call Easy Living today to speak with a representative about your family's specific Home Care needs.  770-442-8664

Learn more...visit our website /atlanta-home-care-services

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Topics: Caregiver Information

Understanding & Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 24, 2014 4:18:00 PM

Alzheimer's, Alzheimers, Caregiver InformationYour loved one or close friend has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the disease is important so that you will best know how to care and support someone who has it.

What is Alzheimer’s? 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.  It affects behavior, problem solving, and memory.  Most often it will progress to where it affects daily activities and all behavioral functions.  With Alzheimer’s each day can and will bring different challenges.

Alzheimer’s causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die.  Those who are affected with Alzheimer’s become forgetful, easily confused, and have a hard time concentrating. As the disease progresses they may have trouble taking care of themselves and doing basic things like making meals, bathing, and getting dressed.

Alzheimer’s can progress faster in some people, and not everyone will have the same symptoms. In most cases Alzheimer’s takes years to develop, with it becoming increasingly severe over time.

Alzheimer's disease consists of three main stages: early-stage, moderate, and severe/late-stage. Understanding these stages can help you care for your loved one and make the necessary plan’s to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Early Alzheimer’s 

In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, people often have some memory loss and small changes in personality. They may have trouble remembering recent events or the names of familiar people or objects. They may no longer be able to solve simple problems or balance a checkbook. People with early Alzheimer’s also slowly lose the ability to plan and organize.  They may begin to have difficulty with shopping, driving, keeping appointments and remembering important events.

Moderate Alzheimer’s

With moderate Alzheimer’s, memory loss and confusion will become more obvious. They have more trouble organizing, planning, and following instructions. Your loved one may need help getting dressed and may start having problems with bladder or bowel control.

People with moderate Alzheimer’s may have trouble recognizing family members and friends. They may not know where they are or what day or year it is. They also may begin to wander, so they should not be left alone. Personality changes can become more serious. For example, people may make threats, accuse others of stealing, become very agitated.

Severe/Late-stage Alzheimer’s

In the severe stage of Alzheimer's, people usually need help with all of their daily living tasks. They may not be able to walk or sit up without help. They may not be able to talk and often cannot recognize family members. They may have trouble swallowing and refuse to eat.

Additional Things to Know

At this time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can prevent some symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.  Alzheimer’s is most common in older adults bit it can and does affect those in their 30’s and up!  Known mostly for memory loss and confusion Alzheimer’s may be the nation’s third most deadly killer. 

Others often sense that something is wrong before they are told, Alzheimer’s disease is hard to keep secret.

You can help family and friends understand how to interact with the person who has Alzheimer’s.

  • Realize what the person can still do and how much he or she can still understand.
  • Give suggestions about how to start talking with the person. For example, "Hi Mary, I'm Susan. We used to work together."
  • Avoid correcting the person with Alzheimer’s if he or she makes a mistake or forgets something.
  • Plan fun activities with the person, such as going to family reunions or visiting old friends. Songs, photos and stories from the past often are most enjoyable for someone with Alzheimer's since these are memories that may not be forgotten. 

Caring for a loved one with Alheimer's Disease is undoubtedly challenging on so many levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Without proper rest and downtime, a caregiver can become "burned out" with negative implications for self and care recipient.  Consider arranging for frequent respite periods to recharge.  

At Easy Living Services, we specialize in providing secure, reliable care for Alzheimer's patients and their families.  Experienced, expertly trained professional caregivers are ready to care for your loved one for a few hours up to long term, full time care. 

Call people who understand your unique needs.  

Call Easy Living Services.

770-442-8664

In-Home Care for Alzheimer's

Topics: Caregiver Information, Alzheimers, Alzheimer's

Home Care and Dysfunctional Families

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 12, 2014 2:02:00 PM

Home Care, Dysfunctional familiesHome Care is an industry that primarily works with seniors and their families but also services younger adults who are recovering from an illness or injury. Occasionally we find that we are working with an adult who is part of a dysfunctional family. This can offer many challenges, especially for the person providing care and for the person receiving care. Of course there are no perfect families, there are always issues that someone in the family is working on and there are unique family dynamics.  Some families are able to unite in difficult times while others just dissipate farther apart.

Here are tips on how to identify a dysfunctional family and how to work through the dysfunction.

Traits of a healthy functioning family:

  • Solidarity between family members
  • Unity within the family unit
  • Committed to resolving difficulties and differences
  • Having mental and emotional resources in a time of crisis
  • Relying on an outside support system when extra help is needed
  • Creating an emotionally safe environment where everyone can state their opinions without judgment   
  • Encouragement and support of each other
  • Quick to forgive
  • Respect for each others differences
  • Pull together in the same direction
  • Open communication
  • Follow the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Traits a less functional family:

  • Family bond between members is weak or lacking
  • Little or no communication
  • Communicate indirectly through acting out or sulking
  • Extreme rigid family rules
  • There are addictions with one or more family member
  • High levels of tension and arguing
  • Extended periods of silence, blame and avoidance as the primary coping mechanisms
  • There is a shadow of unpredictability and fear cast over the family and affecting each member
  • An overall message of “don’t feel, don’t talk, don’t trust”
  • Conflicts and misunderstandings arise frequently and are not solved
  • Don’t express feelings openly or honestly
  • Family members don’t pull together to find solutions to problems; they are more likely to blame problems on each other or to leave the problems unresolved
  • Emotional abuse, chemical dependency, compulsive behavior

Tips for working with dysfunctional families:

  • Change is difficult and takes time; be patient with yourself
  • Keep in mind you are not responsible for changing of “fixing” the whole family
  • Communicate effectively, be kind, tell the truth and emphasize the positive
  • Rely on your own sense of what’s right and do what you believe is best at the moment
  • When it’s necessary to deal with the family, try to deal with the family member who is the easiest to work with
  • Suggest, guide, support and educate
  • Don’t address ALL of the challenges
  • Protect your own boundaries
  • Avoid getting caught up in the drama.  Step back and pretend you are watching a movie
  • When you leave, leave it all behind
  • Remember you can’t change behavior but you can change your response to it

Keep in mind change is something which most human beings resist and have great difficulty with.  One of the hardest things to realize is that change is up to each individual, not anyone else, including the family.  Everyone has had a conflict with their family at some time or another, but for some it is more of a lifetime struggle involving much confusion and emotional pain.  To break free, the individual must take back control over their life.  Breaking free involves developing a new, healthier support system of people who respect boundaries and changes.  Some support resources are:

  • Social events
  • Hobbies
  • Religious Affiliations
  • 12-step support groups
  • Therapy
  • Anything that makes you smile!

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  Atlanta Caregivers

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Caregiver Information, Home Care, Dysfunctional families

Is Anxiety Destroying Your Joy?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Apr 28, 2014 2:23:00 PM


 

anxiety in the elderlyFeelings of anxiety and nervousness is a common emotion for people of all ages and a normal reaction to stress.  We all have anxiety...worrying about the future is human nature and helps us plan for whats ahead.  Felling anxious often turns into anxiety and this becomes overwhelming which negatively affects all aspects of life.

Anxiety is becoming an increasingly common illness that now affects as many as 15-30 percent of our senior population. Although it is often undiagnosed, if left untreated, anxiety can lead to cognitive impairment, disability, physical health issues, and a poor quality of life.

Seniors with anxiety disorders often go untreated for a variety of reasons.  The most common reason is because they don’t recognize or acknowledge their symptoms…and when they do, they may be reluctant to discuss their feelings with their loved ones and their physicians. Some senior adults don't seek treatment because they have suffered symptoms of anxiety for most of their lives and believe that these feelings are normal. In some instances physicians can miss a diagnosis of anxiety simply because of other medical conditions and/or prescription drug use, or particular situations that the individual is currently dealing with.

Here are signs to help you recognize anxiety:

  • Feelings of excessive worry or fear
  • Ignoring routine activities OR being overly preoccupied with routine
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Overly concerned about safety
  • Experiencing a racing heart, shallow breathing, trembling, nausea, or sweating 
  • Suffering from poor sleep
  • Feeling muscle tension, weak, and/or shaky
  • Issue with hoarding/collecting
  • Depression
  • Self-medicating with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants

 Follow these Do’s & Don’ts when dealing with a loved one who is faced with anxiety:

DO

  • Spend time talking about what they are experiencing
  • Indicate that you've noticed a change in their behavior / emotions
  • Let them know that you are there to listen WITHOUT being judgmental 
  • Highlight the option of seeing a doctor or health professional and if needed assist with making an appointment
  • Go with the person to the doctor or health professional  
  • Check in with them - ask how their appointment went
  • Assist them in finding information about anxiety or depression  
  • Talk openly about their feelings
  • Encourage them to try to get enough sleep, exercise and to eat well  
  • Encourage them to use self-help strategies (e.g. breathing exercises, aromatherapy, yoga, positive reading material, etc.)
  • Encourage them to face their fears with support from their doctor / psychologist  
  • Contact a doctor or hospital, if they become a threat to themselves or others.

DON'T

  • Pressure them to "just relax" or "calm down"  
  • Stay away or avoid the person
  • Suggest that they manage how they're feeling with drugs or alcohol
  • Assume that you can make them feel less anxious on your own  
  • Assume the problem will just go away.

It is not uncommon or unusual for a family caregiver who cares for a loved one to feel frustrated, angry, guilty, or even fearful while dealing with a loved one who is suffering with anxiety.  Just remember that (1) You are not alone and help is available. Whether it’s from family, friends, a support group, or an agency specializing in providing professional caregivers….you can get help. (2) Avoid burnout.  If you don't take care of you, you can't take care of others.  Many times when caring for a loved one, it’s easy to forget about ourselves.  Take time to make time for the things you enjoy.             

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  

 Atlanta Caregivers          

Topics: Caregiver Information, Cardiovascular Disease, caring for a loved one, anxiety, senior anxiety