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Long-Distance Family Caregiver

Posted by Debby Franklin on Nov 7, 2018 1:28:49 PM

iStock_african_american_mother_daughterOne of the most time consuming tasks a family caregiver may face is communicating. Communicating with your loved one, other family members, the medical team and the list goes on.  Providing assistance from afar can assist and relieve the work load placed on the primary caregiver in many ways.  Here are ideas for supporting your sibling caring for a loved one:

Make phone calls and take care of paper work - Schedule doctor appointments and keep a record of health issues, medications, and treatment options.  Plan your loved ones monthly calendar and send reminders. Make phone calls and line up contractors for home repairs.  Review the estimates for repairs and assist your loved one in making a decision.  Be the designated "research person".  Pay bills and become the money manager.  All of these tasks can be a major time saver for the primary caregiver.

Take the call - Whenever possible, be there to listen and offer emotional support to your siblings when it is needed.  You may be the only person in the world who truly "gets it".  I have found that just listening and validating emotions goes a long way.  Often, the primary caregiver just needs someone to hear what they are going through and to agree that they have the world's most difficult job.  

Diffuse tension - Many times our loved ones become stressed at having to make difficult decisions.  Loved ones with diminished cognitive skills, can have a very difficult times with decision making and this can lead to frustration, confusion and anger which may be taken out on the primary caregiver.  Because of the distance it can help you to remain calm and dispassionate, guiding your loved one through the decision making process and listening to concerns which all parties appreciate.

Show appreciation - Caregiving is a difficult job and often the rewards are few and far between.  Sincere appreciation goes a long way in sustaining a sibling who is handling most of the care responsibilities.  Consider a gift certificate for a relaxing spa treatment or a gift card to a movie and dinner.  This will give your sibling something nice to look forward to and let then know how much you value the sacrifices they are making to care for your loved one.

Schedule respite care - Out of town siblings simply must make the time to take over for the primary caregiver from time to time.  Besides, providing much needed respite, it is important to stay current on a parent's changing needs.  The holidays are a great time to visit and relieve an overtaxed sibling.  If personal circumstances prevent travel, consider making arrangements with a Professional Caregiver Agency to provide respite care.  A small investment in giving a tired family member the rest needed to sustain them as a caregiver is truly worthwhile.

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Topics: elder care, caregiver, taking care of a parent, Live-In Caregiver, Caregiver Support

Guardianship of an Elderly Parent

Posted by Debby Franklin on May 29, 2014 4:43:00 PM

guardianship guardian When a senior loved one loses the ability to make rational decisions that protect their own safety and finances, a guardianship may be the next necessary step.  What can a family member do when a parent should stop driving but refuses?  What if your loved one is eating irregularly and is losing weight but refuses to accept help?  Is your parent’s home cluttered and in disarray presenting concerns for fall risks, sanitation, and cleanliness? 

A guardianship has a legal duty to act in the best interest of the person they are appointed to serve.  Sadly, it takes away your loved ones legal rights, but it might be the only way to make the necessary decisions that your loved one can no longer make.  Guardianship is an option when your elderly parent does not have a power of attorney or advanced directive in place. 

The process for acting as someone’s legal guardian is handled by going to court to have your loved one declared incompetent based on expert findings.  In guardianship rulings, a court declares a person incompetent and appoints a guardian.  The court then transfers the responsibility for managing finances, where your loved one will live, as well as health care and medical decisions to the guardian. 

The process can be lengthily especially if family members disagree about the need and who should act as the guardian.  It can end up being a long, painful and costly process which includes court, doctor and legal fees. 

Some of the responsibilities that may be required of the guardian are:

  • Decide on the living location and living arrangements
  • Monitor your loved ones residence
  • Consent for medical treatments and services
  • Decide who will manage the finances
  • Release confidential information
  • Maintain expense records
  • Make end-of-life decisions
  • Annually report to the court the guardianship status

Often guardianship can be avoided through estate planning while your parent is healthy and competent.  By appointing personal representatives through durable powers of attorney, health care proxies and trusts, and individual can choose who will make decisions for them before they are no longer capable of doing so.  

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.  

Topics: taking care of a parent, guardianship, guardian

"My elderly aunt isn't bedbound; How did she develop a bedsore?"

Posted by Jill Troman on Mar 7, 2014 10:29:00 AM

Pressure ulcers, more commonly referred to as "bedsores" are primarily a concern for bedbound, hospitalized or immobile individuals, TRUE or FALSE?

Caring for bedbound senior

The correct answer to this question is FALSE.  While its certainly true that immobile persons are at higher risk for developing a bedsore, other, less likely candidates may also be at risk. 

During a recent physician's appointment, my friend, Kate, was surprised to learn that her elderly aunt had developed a bedsore even though she is mobile and for the most part gets around independently.  The sore, located, in the tailbone region,  was classified as Stage II, not an insignificant matter.  How did Aunt Pat, develop a bedsore?  It turns out that a couple of key risk factors were present.  Aunt Pat, is 90 years old, very thin, diabetic and lives a sedentary life style.  Her skin is very thin, almost transparent looking.  She is prone to sitting for long periods of time in her favorite arm chair while she reads or knits.  Getting in and out of her chair is sometimes uncomfortable so she tends to "stay put".  In addition to weak skin, stressed under the pressure of sitting for long periods, reduced blood flow to the area probably exacerbated the problem.  Since she is also a diabetic, sores are slow to heal and frequently become infected.  My friend recalls her aunt mentioning once or twice that her backside was sore but  didn't take it seriously.

Kate's aunt complains of aches and pains so often that she just assumed it was nothing out of the ordinary.  Fortunately, Aunt Pat's case was treatable with topical ointment and did ultimately heal well.  As a result of this incident, Kate has becoome very diligent about checking Aunt Pat's skin regularly for signs of breakdown.  A practice which is recommended for anyone charged with caring for an elderly loved one.   

Bedsore Basics 

Pressure ulcers or "bedsores" can develop when a person stays in any one position for a long period of time.  Sores most commonly develop over pointy, bony areas like the tailbone, heel or hip but can develop anywhere on the skin. The blood flow to the area slows down or stops, causing the skin tissue to die, resulting in the pressure ulcer.  The ulcer starts on the inside and works its way out to the skin's surface.  Pressure uclers can start forming within several hours but may not be visible until 3 to 7 days later.  Any changes in skin condition or color (redness) over bony areas can indicate the start of a pressure ulcer. Prompt reaction is essential!  Simple pressure ulcers can quickly progress to life threatening open sores. At the first sign of skin breakdown, contact your health professional for guidance. 

Prevention Tips

  • Seniors who are mobile should get up from bed or chair every couple of hours to increase blood flow.   
  • Bedbound individuals must change their position every 2 hours.  Keep ankles and knees from touching each other using a pillow or air cushion.  Use a heel cushion to protect this  pressure point.  Never drag or pull the body to change positions. Consider purchasing a specialty mattress or overlay designed to stimulate circulation and reduce pressure.    If the primary caregiver is not able to handle the repositioning either physically or due to scheduling issues, consider hiring an In-Home Care Provider to assist with this duty.  Certified Nursing Assistants are trained in proper positioning technique along with other essential personal care tasks.                                            
  • For those who spend large periods of time in a chair or wheelchair, weight should be shifted every 15 minutes to reduce risk of pressure ulcers.  Consider purchasing a specially designed seat cushion to minimize pressure on sensitive areas.

  • Do your best to ensure that your loved one maintains a balanced diet.  Diets rich in protein, vitamins A,C, E,  Zinc and Iron all promote wound healing.  Small, frequent meals are generally recommended. Adequate fluid intake (primarily water) is also essential.  Offer small quantities of liquids throughout the day.  Seek the advice of a qualified dietician for special dietary concerns or needs.  

  • Individuals with bladder or bowel control problems are at increased risk for pressure ulcers.  Contact with urine or bacteria from stool can weaken the skin tissue or cause skin infections.  Make sure skin is kept clean and dry. Use mild or hypo-allergenic cleaning products.  Check with your physician about the possibility of using skin barriers and ointments to help keep moisture away from the skin.  Use absorbent pads or adult diapers to assist in keeping skin as dry as possible.  Always remove these products immediately when soiled and cleanse the area thoroughly.  

  • Inspect the skin on a daily basis for signe of redness or breakage.  Feet are often overlooked.  Do not forget to remove  coverings and check feet, especially heels for signs of pressure sores.  Look for redness, warmth, swelling, sores, or complaints of tenderness.  Report  conerns promptly to a medical professional.  

Bedsores can lead to serious infections and even death.  They should be taken seriously and treated by a medical professional.  Caregivers should be vigilant about bedsore prevention. However, it is important to recognize that not all cases of pressure ulcers are preventable. Sometimes sores develop despite the best efforts of a conscientious caregiver.   

Are you struggling to care for a loved one at home?  Don't become overwhelmed!  Contact the team at Easy Living Services for a prompt consultation.  We'll help you to create an affordable care plan for your loved one.  Call us today...770-442-8664.












Topics: senior care, taking care of a parent, pressure ulcers in seniors, bedsores

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

Caring for an "undeserving" parent

Posted by Jill Troman on Nov 29, 2013 4:06:00 PM

caring for an abusive parent "When you are young your father puts his coat on your back. There comes a time when you put your coat on his”.  Japenese proverb

There comes a time when most of us face the reality that a parent is declining and requires assistance.  As a society, we generally expect that adult children bear the resonsibility for caring for elderly parents or at least making arrrangements for outside care. For many, this responsibility is readily accepted and becomes a normal extension of a loving parent/child relationship.  For some, however, the choice is not simple. Maybe yours was a neglectful, self absorbed, distant or even abusive parent. What then?  Are you obligated to care for a parent that didn't care for you well?

The answer depends on the degree of relational dysfunction and the emotional health of the adult child.  For some, the scars and trauma of an abusive relationship run too deep, precluding their ability to effectively care for the parent.   For those who are able, caring for this parent may offer the reward of making peace and finding acceptance.   Another potential positive comes in breaking the cycle of abuse and allowing grandchildren to experience what it means to love another unconditionally.  

Making the Decision to Care

When an adult child from a dysfunctional family returns to care for a parent,  it’s critical for him to be prepared for old issues and emotions to return to the surface.  He may feel like a young child again, filled with the same confusion, fear, and anger he felt all those years ago.  The adult child caregiver will have to navigate complex family dynamics without resentment, while trying to muster up empathy for the failing parent.  A tall order, rightExperts offer the following tips for adult children in this situation:

*Seek counseling.  Consulting with a trained counselor, even if attempted years ago, can be helpful in this new phase of the relationship.  It can help some caregivers “take the edge off” the feelings of resentment and allow them to go about the business of caring for a parent.  

*Secure outside help.  If you do not feel able to play an active care role, consider hiring an In-Home Care Provider to assist you in identifying the type of care needed, selecting qualified caregivers and managing the care schedule.  Agency care is available on an hourly or 24 hr/Live-In basis depending on level of care required.  You will have peace of mind knowing that your family member is being cared for by a screened and credentialed caregiver under the supervision of agency personnel.  

*Appoint a Legal Guardian.  If you are finding that it is virtually impossible for you to assist your parent with his or her needs in any way then consider having a court appointed guardianship established.  The court transfers the responsibility for managing finances, living arrangements, and medical decisions to the guardian.   Guardianship is an option when your elderly parent does NOT have a power of attorney or advanced directive in place AND has been declared incompetent based on expert findings.  

*Look for the “silver lining”.   View this process as an opportunity rather than a hardship.  There is the possibility that some healing may take place as you work to make care arrangements for your parent.  This healing may open the door to forgiveness and an acceptance of your parent’s limitations and flaws.  It may enable you to reach their bedside in time to say goodbye and have peace after he or she passes on.

Need help caring for a family member?  Contact the care team at Easy Living Services.  We'll be there to help when you can't be with a trained, experienced caregiver.   Hourly rates $15.95 to $17.95 and Live-In Services from $175 per day.      Call us!    770-442-8664.

Source: Carol Bradley Bursack


Topics: Caregiver Information, taking care of a parent, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care, Atlanta Caregivers