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This is where we provide helpful information and tips for caregivers as well as professionals. Here you can find insights and commentary about caregiving and related topics from our leaders, nurses, and care experts.

Shut-in But Not Shut Out: How I Live a Full Life at Home

I am often asked by social workers, nurses and even psychologists if I am depressed. They all find my response hard to believe. Arthritic knees, obesity, breathing problems and diabetes have left me a shut-in. Our house at the top of a hill accessible only by unrailed stairs combined with my own disabilities keep me housebound. While this is occasionally inconvenient, I am, for the most part, cheerful and active–not depressed.

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How Care Teams Can Help Consumers Improve their Nutrition

I remember visiting a consumer I support during lunch time, as her family was making a meal. I was able to learn about their cultural preferences and traditions and see the types of foods in their diet. They have a limited income, but they find ways to add fresh ingredients to their meals, like growing their own tomatoes in their garden. This family was already finding their own ways to balance their diets, but they struggled to cut back on some of their staple, high-carb foods. Through the support of a care team, we helped them see the importance of portion control, which has helped them eat better without depriving them of their favorite foods.

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Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes often has no recognizable symptoms. I have frequently heard people say, "I think my blood sugar is a little high," or, "I think my doctor said I might be pre-diabetic," without fully understanding the impact elevated blood sugar has on their bodies. They continue to consume chips, soft drinks, and sugary cereals on a daily basis. Although they may not be feeling the impact directly, high (or even moderately high) blood sugar can cause long-term problems...

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10 Tips for Elders to Meet Their Nutrition Goals

Elders who have diabetes, heart disease, or a weight loss goal may be on a nutrition plan. People who suffer from arthritis or fibromyalgia should also pay close attention to their nutrition because they may not get enough exercise. Before making any changes to diet or activity level, it is always advised that people consult with their primary care physicians to plan the right approach. In many cases, a physician may refer people to a nutritionist. Some benefits to practicing better nutrition include improved health, increased energy, and weight loss.

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Having a Heart to Heart About Caregiver Health: Recognizing the Risk of Heart Disease

Caregivers often feel guilty about prioritizing their own health. I know this because I actually was a caregiver who did not take care of herself. I neglected my health and saw the impact it had on my well-being. For eight months, I ignored my nausea and gall bladder pain, as I juggled working full-time, parenting, and caring for my husband who was battling cancer for four years. It became clear to me that I needed to take my health seriously when I was rushed to the emergency room for pancreatitis and to have my gall bladder removed. As part of my work supporting consumers, I always make sure to remind caregivers that they need to consider their own health. One serious health risk professional care teams can educate caregivers on is heart disease...

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The Value of Caregiver Mentorship

When someone decides to become a full-time caregiver, there are many new challenges and emotional considerations, especially when the caregiver is providing support to a family member. There are changes to the family dynamic, which is combined with medical diagnoses and disease progression that are often foreign to the caregiver. Caregivers enter into a situation where they are now fulfilling a different role in their loved one's life, and the experience can feel daunting. Care teams offer support, advice, and training, but sometimes in addition to this team, caregivers could really benefit from a mentor.

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Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery Begins At Home

Hip replacement is a procedure that is typically performed on elders in their 60s or older. People often undergo the procedure when their hip problems significantly interfere with normal activities. This is usually due to severe pain caused by arthritic conditions. This deterioration can get so bad that it affects a person's mobility. It can be difficult for people to feel or be independent at home when an individual is struggling with mobility issues and unable to complete everyday routines. When a person has hip replacement surgery, the home becomes an important part of returning to normal life after the hospital stay. Caregivers and care teams play a major role in the consumer's recovery after the surgery.

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Caregiving Tips for Extreme Cold Weather

This winter, many parts of the country have experienced some of their coldest temperatures in nearly 20 years. Consumers, especially elders, face serious risk during this extreme cold weather. Without proper care, elders can experience significant health complications and sometimes even death due to frigid conditions. Safety is the main concern in times of extreme temperatures, so preparation and planning are important for caregivers, consumers and the care teams that support them.

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Top 3 New Year’s Commitments for Care Teams

The New Year is a great time to reflect, acknowledging your accomplishments and observing the opportunities to improve in the year to come. As members of care teams who support caregivers, elders and individuals with disabilities, the beginning of a new year is a chance to find ways to improve care management and planning. It is also a time to consider new approaches to relationship building in order to achieve quality, person-centered care.

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Overcoming Caregiver Guilt, One Day at a Time

My mother had a double stroke 8 years ago—she had one in her home, and then one in the emergency room after waiting many hours to be seen. The first stroke made her speech difficult; with the second, she lost her ability to speak completely. The night before, she told me she was having a bad headache. We had just had a great day of shopping. She asked me to spend the night at her house so I wouldn’t have to drive home. It wasn’t a long drive home, so I decided to leave. I still wonder what would have been different if I had stayed with her. I carry that with me.

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Post-Hospital Syndrome: The Return to the Community After Hospitalization

Earlier this year, Harlan Krumholz, MD, a cardiologist at the Yale New-Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, published a provocative article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Post-Hospital Syndrome: An Acquired, Transient Condition of Generalized Risk". In the article, Dr. Krumholz reminds us that recently hospitalized patients are not only recovering from the illness or condition that prompted the hospitalization but are also experiencing a period of generalized risk for a range of adverse health events. He calls this an acquired "syndrome" that involves a temporary period of extreme vulnerability for other health problems.

 

Naturally, the post-hospital syndrome will vary from patient to patient based on a host of factors. However, care providers – notably those providing Home and Community-Based Services – should be on the lookout for changes in behavior that could include: heightened stress, sleep disturbance, medication changes, cognitive changes and deconditioning that can alter the ability to perform daily living activities. These changes often occur regardless of the original cause for hospitalization; it is a syndrome that can apply to all recent discharges in consumers– both young and old.

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