Atlanta's In-Home Care Experts for 25 Years

For Seniors and Others Needing Supportive Care

770-442-8664

Atlanta Caregiver & Home Care Articles

Cancer Support

Posted by Debby Franklin on Sep 10, 2019 12:11:43 PM

dreamstime_woman_getting_flowers

According to the American Cancer society, more than one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year.  With those numbers, many of us will experience the disease first hand or will be close to someone affected.  Cancer patients often must simultaneously fight serious illness and manage every day demands.  Family caregivers can become overwhelmed with the emotional, physical and financial challenges posed by caring for a seriously ill loved one.

Easing the burden of routine tasks can bring enormous comfort to patient and family members.  Consider adding the services of a highly trained, professional caregiver to your family care team.

Professional caregivers can provide invaluable assistance such as:

  • Run errands including prescription pick-up and grocery shopping.
  • Light housekeeping and laundry service.
  • Transportation to physician and treatment appointments.
  • Monitoring of key vital signs and changes in condition.
  • Preparation of healthy and nutritionally balanced meals & snacks.
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene tasks.
  • Companionship and encouragement.
  • Respite for family caregivers.

Cancer treatment and recovery can be a little easier with supportive care from the team at Easy Living Services.  We'll match your loved one with a compassionate caregiver dedicated to keeping them safe and comfortable at home.

                              Allow our team to help.  Call Easy Living today, 770-442-8664.

Atlanta Caregivers

 

Topics: caregiver, cancer, cancer support, caring for a loved one, cancer care

Preparing for your Parent's New Caregiver

Posted by Jill Troman on Sep 9, 2015 11:57:00 AM

Congratulations!  You have taken an important step in assisting your elderly parent to remain safe and comfortable at home.  You've done your homework, asked every question you could think of and have selected your family's Home Care Agency.  The agency has introduced you to a fantastic caregiver.  She is credentialed, experienced, and confident.   She made a great first impression and your Mom is looking forward to her companionship.  Why are you still nervous?  

First of all, it's completely normal  to feel a little anxious about a new care situation for a family member. The concerns are heightened if the elderly parent has complex care requirements. You worry something will fall through the cracks.  The best way to alleviate the worry and look forward to a successful care relationship is to prepare well for that first day.  Develop a checklist or daily task log to help guide your parent's new caregiver.   If you prefer, the instructions can be written in narrative form instead and can be set up as a CARE BINDER.  Sit down with the caregiver and review the care instructions together. Be sure to solicit input and express appreciation for her training and experience.   With all of the care essentials documented, you can relax and feel confident, knowing that you have done your part in getting the caregiver off to a great start . 

alzheimers_dementia_care_web_photo_jpg

Consider including these items when preparing your parent's care instructions:

  • Medication Instructions.  Provide a comprehensive listing of all medications that your parent is taking along with dosage and purpose.  All medications should be pre-dispensed by family members and organized in daily pill dispensing containers.   Indicate the time of day the medications should be given and any special considerations like whether meds should be given with/without food.  If convincing your parent to take medications on time has been a problem, alert the caregiver to any strategies that have been successful in the past.
  • Meal Time Preferences.   In all likelihood, your parent looks forward to sitting down for a tasty meal. If your caregiver is not especially skilled in the kitchen, make it easy for her to prepare something that your parent will enjoy.  Include a list of simple to prepare favorites with instructions, if necessary.    Specifically identify foods or ingredients that your parent doesn't like.  Of course, highlight any food allergies or dietary restrictions in your care document.  For example, if liquids are restricted in the evening to avoid night time incontinence; alert the caregiver.  
  • Assistance with Basic Tasks.    Identify the specific type and level of assistance your parent needs with routine tasks like ambulating, eating, showering, dressing, toileting, oral hygiene, and household duties. Identify critical safety concerns like choking potential, such as cutting food into small pieces,  Share insights and tips that will benefit both the caregiver and your parent. For example, if you know that your mom is extremely modest, alert the caregiver so she can take that into consideration when providing shower assistance.  
  • "Quirks".  Let's face it.  We all have them!  Prep your parent's caregiver by alerting him or her to those things that drive your parent nuts.  Perhaps your dad isn't a morning person and too much conversation in the morning sets him off.  Let your caregiver know so she can avoid this pitfall.  
  • Daily Routines.  Is there a particular way of ordering the day that seems to make things flow better for your parent?   Provide a brief outline as a guide to help structure the day, leaving room for the caregiver to make adjustments. If your parent is more independent and prefers to "call the shots", let the caregiver know that as well. 
  • Preferred Activities.  List some things that your parent might enjoy doing with the caregiver or things that he or she can be encouraged to do by himself.  Identify favorite TV shows & movies or reading material. Perhaps there are places your parent would like to go that you simply don't have time for like the movie theater, shopping, library or parks. 
  • Contact Listing.  Include an organized list of key phone numbers for your caregiver such as family members, neighbor, primary care physician, pharmacy and service providers like hair salon or physical therapist..  Identify the home address so that the caregiver can reference it in the event of an emergency.  It may also be helpful to provide driving directions to places like grocery store, pharmacy, senior center, physician office and favorite destinations. 

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but can be a great starting point for getting prepared to welcome a new caregiver. Remember to  keep an open mind and allow for alternate ways to accomplish the same task.  If the care tasks are very involved, consider arranging for a paid orientation session with the caregiver prior to the first day of service.    A little planning and prep work can help foster a great care arrangement for your parent and some freedom for you!

Get more great caregiving tips by visiting easylivingservices.com and subscribing to our e-newsletter. It's packed with valuable resources and support for family caregivers.   770-442-8664

My family needs help with a loved one. CLICK HERE.

Topics: caring for a loved one

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, caring for a loved one, Cardiovascular Disease, anxiety, senior anxiety

Confessions of a Professional Caregiver

Posted by Jill Troman on Mar 14, 2014 10:36:00 AM

We thought it might be interesting to interview several of our seasoned In-Home Caregivers and get the "lowdown" on what it's really like to care for an elderly person or disabled adult at home.  What do they love about the job?  What are their gripes?  What do they really want clients and their families to know?

 Confessions of a Professional Caregiver

Here's what some of our professional caregivers had to say on some "hot topics"...

What do you enjoy most about In-Home Caregiving?

Caregivers were unanimous in their preference for caring for an individual in a home environment over an institutional setting.  All expressed satisfaction in cultivating a relationship with their client and his or her family.  "The job is simply more personal and rewarding".  Caregivers also appreciate the slower pace of homecare when compared with the sometimes frantic pace of hospitals or assisted living facilities where nursing assistants frequently assist numerous patients. Caregivers reported that they felt a higher level of satisfaction because they felt they played a key role in their client's quality of life.  

Is it uncomfortable when family members "pop in" to observe the caregiver caring for the client?

Most caregivers indicated that they understood that family members needed to observe care tasks so that they developed a level of confidence in the caregiver and her abilities.  One caregiver stated that she "encouraged client's family members to visit and observe.  Trust develops that way and family also can see how hard we work; it's just not easy to care for an elderly person."  

What is the most frustrating thing that family members do?

 "Forgetting to tell me about a change in medical condition or medications that might alter their loved one's behavior can definitely be frustrating".  Another caregiver raised a concern that sometimes family members stick their heads in the sand and refuse to take important actions or face difficult situations with elderly parent(s) because it's uncomfortable. Sometimes family members will hire a caregiver and then step completely out of the picture, leaving the professional caregiver without support.  

If a family member has a concern about the way a caregiver is taking care of a loved one, how should it be addressed?   

One caregiver shared this recommendation,  "It's terrible when a family is disatisfied with care. In most cases, it's just a communicationproblem.  Don't wait until things snowball and become unbearable."  Provide your caregiver with specific feedback and recommendations for improvement.  Commuincate directly but respectfully and recognize the things that he/she is doing right.  Be careful not to throw the "baby out with the bathwater" if there are enough positive qualities about the caregiver.   

How do caregivers really feel about being asked to do housekeeping tasks in addition to personal care duties? 

This is definitely a "touchy" topic!  Professional caregivers and certified nursing assistants all expect to assist with light housekeeping and sanitation since their elderly clients may not be able to handle these tasks effectively.  Routine cleaning of kitchen, bathroom and bedroom is considered part of the job.  The caregivers we interviewed expressed frustration when clients requested "deep cleaning" like scouring tubs or doing laundry for an entire household.  

Do caregivers like receiving detailed care instructions from family members or do they resent it?

"I don't like step by step instructions for completing normal tasks.  It comes across as micro-managing.  However, it's great when a family member provides a general schedule of activities and a brief summary of needs and preferences."  In general, caregivers appreciate some guidance and recommendations on how best to care for the client.  However, they appreciate the opportunity to complete tasks in their own way.  All agreed that it is essential to have a solid understanding of the client's expectations in order to avoid misunderstandings. 

What's one thing you really wish you could tell your clients?

"Remembering to say 'please' and 'thank you' is very important to me!".   Expressing gratitude definitely increases a caregiver's work satisfaction.  Obviously, a caregiver who feels appreciated and valued will want to stay working for their client.  

Another caregiver secretly wishes that she could share with her client's family just how hard she works.  "Sometimes I get the feeling that family members don't fully understand how emotionally and physically exhausting it can be to care for a dementia patient all day...it's satisfying for me but some days are really tough."  

 "I am not a housekeeper for the whole family."  One caregiver for an elderly woman felt taken advantage of when she was expected to clean up after messy kids and pets.  

 If you are a professional caregiver, we would love to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to share your comments with our blog audience below.    


 

 

 

 

Topics: Caregiver Information, senior care, live in care, caregivers, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care

Caring For A Parent While Keeping Sane!

Posted by Debby Franklin on Feb 17, 2014 4:10:00 PM

Caring for a loved one, Home Care Atlanta, Senior CareCaring for an aging parent can be challenging and some of the time can make us a feel like we are losing it!  It can be one of the most emotionally difficult experiences.  Not only are we juggling our own lives, but now due to the aging process the people who once took care of us need help in caring for themselves. 

When you start taking care of your parent, they give up the one thing they have always had in your relationship together, their authority.  A person who may have been irritable can become enraged; someone who is impatient can now be demanding and impossible to please.  In many instances the parent turns on the child that is trying their best to assist with their well being. 

The aging process can bring on forgetfulness, frustration, sadness and depression, personality changes, hallucinations, personal hygiene issues, hoarding, OCD and demands that all of the your time and attention be spent on them.  It’s no wonder we hear on a weekly basis “my mother is making me crazy!’

What are some things that you can do to cope on this caregiving journey?

  • Accept the fact that life has changed and changes are inevitable. 
  • Try not to take things personally.  Learn to recognize the cognitive dysfunction.
  • Many times our parents reserve their worst behavior for those they are closest to.  Consider getting your parent involved in senior activities or adult day care, depending on their physical capabilities.
  • Always seek professional help.  Therapy and medications can help with some of the aging symptoms and changes.  Your parent could also be having a side-effect of a current mediation or the dose may need to be modified.
  • Redirection is a good technique to divert from something that is occurring that is unpleasant or inappropriate.
  • Reminiscing is always a good mood enhancer.  Using long-term memory skills will most likely help your parent shift to a happier disposition.
  • When a parent becomes demanding for all of your time and attention this usually means they have become dependant on you for all of their physical and emotional needs.  This is when you have to take steps to take care of yourself!  Bring in outside help or contact the local Senior Services office in your area to find out what programs are available that can provide care assistance and companionship to your loved one.  Churches and other charitable organizations are also a good reference source. 

You hear this over and over so hear goes it one more time….don’t forget the “me” time!  Having time to rejuvenate is critical to your overall health.  Do all the things that bring you fun and pleasure and don’t feel guilty for the time spent away from caring for your parent.  Your life still needs to have you in it!

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: taking care of a parent, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care, Live-In Caregiver