Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is the End to Summer Vacation Near??

Will and his favorite things: computer, printer, papers to show all the things he wants. Read more ...

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Issues That Caregivers May Come Up Against. wrote about 5 things that can sabotage a family caregiver and possible solutions. All are things that you hear people talk about constantly; things that I too came up against. Being an only child, I found it hard sometimes to find someone to take my place with mom -- my boys were teenagers, with one being special needs, so they found it uncomfortable when they would stay and have to POSSIBLY contend with a bathroom issue. They were good with the helping of snacks or the extra hand or arm to move around but the fear was there for personal toileting. Needless to say, I never wandered too far. I had a couple of female friends who could help, but they had their own family issues.

Anyway - back to the story. Here are the 5 issues that 'can sabotage family caregivers':

1 - lack of privacy: there is mental and physical privacy. There should be spots to go to for personal time and time for the rest of the immediate family outside of the person/parent you are taking care of. This may be hard to do if the parent/person is living with you. Also if this person has dementia or Alzheimer's, there are times when the loved one may do inappropriate things due to the his/her mental status, disinhibition. Possible solutions?? If possible, the live-in person may be able to have his/her own space to sleep, watch TV, or make household rules for using TVs, radios, the kitchen, etc. Make sure you make time for your own immediate family (the parent or whoever does not always come first) and make sure you still take vacation time - use respite care or other relatives to share in the caretaking. If there is a problem with disinhibition or aggression, use locks or check with the physician to discuss medications or ways to help with these issues. Depending on how serious these become and the safety of the rest of the family, you may need to consider placement.
2 - sleep deprivation: for the live-in elderly family member or the caregiver, this can be hard on everyone's mental and physical health. The elder whose sleep issues are addressed will experience better mood, more energy, and less pain; sleep is closely connected with all three conditions. And the caregiver who makes his or her own sleep a priority will be better able to cope with caregiving stresses and will have more energy for every part of life. Possible Solutions?? No stimulating beverages, electronics, have a dark and quiet room with a bed. Check medications with a doctor. While a mixed-up sleep cycle is NOT normal for aging, it may be an issue with dementia.
3 - the lone soldier syndrome: a lot of people feel like they are on their own, without a way to 'vent' or be themselves. Possible solutions?? Needing other people to help is NOT a sign of weakness - ask!!Join a caregivers group either through a local organization or online. See a counselor if you find yourself depressed. Finally - again - find ways to get time for yourself on a regular basis.
4 - not anticipating what is coming next: you need to step back and see the big picture and not just handling issues as they come uup. Possible solutions?? Make contingency plans - if this happens, then that should happen. Make a list of people or organizations to contact if you need an answer. Talk to your parent's doctor about their condition and what may happen down the
road; ask others who done the same thing. If there is dementia, check program for advice. Consider a support group.
5 - overwhelming care tasks: heavy lifting, incontinence, and wandering take their toll. Possible Solutions?? Check with your parent's doctor for possible help with incontinence. Find locks, alarms or ways to reduce anxiety for wandering. Get help in the home and brainstorm with others for ways to solve your issues. Don't feel guilty if you are thinking about placement out of the home.

Think about your issues and I hope that some or all of the above can help or lead you to help.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Checking in on Part D Prescriptions.

If your elderly parent(s) have a Medicare Part D plan, now that we are halfway through the yea, you may want to check on how they are doing with it. Make sure they are getting the discounts they are entitled to. Read on ....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ticket to Work.

(picture from the SSA website)
I received a phone call from the Social Security Administration today. The person wanted to see if Willie wanted to be a part of the 'Ticket to Work' program - something I had not heard of. I stated that he is still in school and we will look into it later in the fall, since he will be out in December. In the meantime, I wanted to take a look at it. As the woman from SSA said, since Will receives SSI, he pretty much qualifies for Ticket to Work. People aged 18 through 64, who receive benefits, qualify. "The career development services and support you need are unique to you. The Ticket program can connect you with the right mix of free employment support services and approved service providers that will best fit your needs." There are work incentives that will help the disabled person keep their cash benefits and health care --
.you may keep your Medicaid/Medicare while you work.
•You have access to individualized support services.
•You can select part-time or work-from-home alternatives to help you reach your goal of financial independence.
•You can try work with confidence, knowing your benefits continue during your transition period.
To find help in your state, please click on search for help.
There are webinars to gather information, both upcoming and archived, please click on WISE , Work Incentive Seminar Events.
The document library will have materials to read for the program, click here.
In the meantime, I think I will be calling ORS (Office of Rehabilitative Services) to get their take on this since they too offer job help and employment.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Caregiver Apps.

A Place for Mom asked a caregiver writer, Ann Napoletan, to review some apps for caregivers that might help families. Ann had taken care of her late mom who had Alzheimer's. Just a little information before I list the 7 Best and Worst Apps: To support our fast paced lives, Americans are downloading mobile apps to help us track everything from our personal spending and productivity to our diet, exercise and mood. More than 44 million health-related apps were downloaded in 2012, so it should come as no surprise that apps for caregivers are a fast growing market. More than 50 million Americans care for an aging or disabled loved one a year according to a study by National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare.

I will list the apps with the devices they are available for. Just click on this link to get the reviews. There are some costs in some of these but some are free. Read them carefully to see if any may help with your caregiving issues. I can also see these apps being very useful some someone taking care of a special needs child who may have multiple issues - may even be a great way to share information with a school nurse.

BALANCE: FOR ALZHEIMER'S CAREGIVERS -- iPhone & iPad: yes; Android & Webapp: no.
CAREGIVERS TOUCH -- iPhone & Webapp: yes; iPad & Android: no.
CAREZONE -- iPad & iPhone & Android: yes; Webapp: no.
CARING TIES -- iPhone & iPad & Android: no; Webapp: yes.
MOBICARE -- iPhone & Webapp: yes; iPad & Android: no.
RX PERSONAL CAREGIVER -- iPhone: yes; iPad & Android & Webapp: no.
UNFRAZZLE -- iPhone & iPad & Android: yes; Webapp: no.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Managing Incontinence.

(picture from NAFC site)

According to the article in the recent July/August Healthy Living Magazine from Sams Club, the types of incontinence are stress, urge, reflex, overflow, functional, & mixed. The National Association For Continence can help you understand what type you may be dealing with. The first step in helping someone with this problem is to acknowledge it. Hold private conversations with your elderly parent or whoever you are taking care of if you suspect the issue - they may be too embarrassed to talk about it. Mom was pretty open with me and we tried to make time for bathroom stops, extra time to leave home or wherever we were, making sure we took 'extra supplies' - just in case. You have to be patient and supportive.

A clinical nurse, Michelle Mongillo, who wrote the article has tips for managing incontinence:
.. prepare a clear path to the bathroom -- remove clutter, furniture or rugs.
.. assemble sturdy arms or rails to assist the person getting out of bed or a chair. Mom had bed rails that she loved!!
.. provide adequate lighting and night lights.
.. dispense adequate fluids so urine will not become concentrated and irritate the bladder.
.. establish a pattern to take the elderly parent to the bathroom, start at 2 hour intervals.
.. supply incontinence products that correlate with the problem; the smallest/most minimal will be more dignified for the wearer. Try various brands and sizes -- it took mom a few tries until she found the ones that fit the best and were comfortable, without showing, under her slacks.

If you have any concerns, the NAFC site has an online forum that will provide resources for you.

Saving on Prescriptions at Sams Club.

I received my Sams Club magazine and it had a lot of great information. I know I try to get information out there regarding different health plans so people can take a look at options that they might not be familiar with. As many people know Walmart has a pharmacy, so does Sams Club. There was an article written by a customer sharing her story of her savings. At one time, she was spending a monthly total of $322.97; after visiting her local store, using the Extra Value Drug List, she now spends $69.51 saving$253.46 a month. You many want to make a call or stop by to see if the plan many help you and your family with your prescriptions.

Popular Posts

4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink


You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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