- Diabetes Care: A Family Affair
November 25 2014 by Carol Renaux
With diabetes on the rise in the U.S., most people have heard the word but have a hard time wrapping their mind around what it truly means. For people who require around-the-clock care, receiving a diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis can be paralyzing, and generally means that more life changes are to come...
- How To Be Your Own Advocate
October 29 2014 by Andrea Galvin
There are times when caregivers need to advocate for themselves or for the person they care for. Situations may range from advocating for better educational services for a child with special needs, changing medical protocol, making an insurance claim, obtaining a VISA to visit another country, acquiring Social Security benefits for a person with disabilties, or settling an unscrupulous business transaction...
- Cultural Sensitivity and Medication Management: Reconciling Personal Beliefs with Care Plans
September 22 2014 by Douglas Castellanos
In Spanish we have a funny joke, which I think is universal: There’s a girl who is always praying to God to win the lottery. “I’m a good person,” she cried. “I really need this. Help me win the lottery, please.” One day, she got really upset about it and asked God why she hadn’t won yet, since she prayed every day. All of a sudden, she hears the voice of God say, “Maria, buy a ticket.”
In my work as an RN, I care for people of all cultures, heritages and religions, and sometimes I’ve seen prayer replace medication adherence. Personal beliefs sometimes feel in conflict with care plans for some consumers. By listening, educating, and creating an ongoing dialogue, care teams can be sensitive to different cultures and respect consumers’ faiths, while also giving them the best care possible.
- Memory Box: How Consumers with Dementia Benefit from the Comforts of Home
September 19 2014 by Judith McGrath
When I worked in a facility that specialized in caring for individuals with memory loss, I witnessed countless people feeling disoriented, nervous, and confused. One particular day, I noticed a tearful woman anxiously wandering up and down the hallway. She appeared to be looking for something or someone. Her dementia was in an advanced stage, and she was almost completely nonverbal. As I pondered the best way to help, I saw a staff member named Anna gently taking the woman by the hand and seating her on the couch next to a "memory box"...
- The Power of Family: A Full Circle Caregiving Story
June 25 2014 by Tom Riley, CEO
Her name is Harriet Lyons, and she was born in 1926. She has six children, 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 3 great, great-grandchildren. She's done many remarkable things in her life but few more important than taking her granddaughter Charlene in when Charlene's mom became unable to take care of her. That was 22 years ago. Today, Charlene, age 23, is Ms. Harriett's caregiver. Their uncommon bond is a remarkable testament to the power of family and to life coming full circle.
- Dealing with the Diagnosis When a Disease Hits Home
June 23 2014 by Rochelle Mills
In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Dementia. This diagnosis confirmed what my brothers and I had suspected for a number of years: something was wrong with mom. She got lost on her way to my brother's house on Christmas Day. She would say, "I have never been here before," as we made our 100th trip to the Dairy Queen for her beloved chocolate cone...
- Remembering Cinderella: How Elders Can Benefit from Pets
May 28 2014 by Sue Gregg
Cinderella was a very smart cockapoo with brown and white curls. Born on January 12, 2000, she was a Y2K puppy. Cinder, as we affectionately called her, was also a dog with a remarkable story and life journey...
- The Importance of A Good Night's Sleep: 10 Tips for Caregivers
May 28 2014 by Rachael Lee McCowen
Tossing and turning late into the night. Checking off mental to-do lists before bed. Sleep can sometimes feel like a luxury, but getting adequate rest is essential, especially for those who provide around-the-clock care to others.
- 10 Ways Elders Can Get Active This Spring
April 28 2014 by Deborah Dorsey
Exercise is good for us. We hear this all the time. But how can you effectively exercise as you get older? Is it safe? The truth is, it is never too late to start exercising, and the benefits will help you in every way possible as you age. Exercise has been shown to help maintain bone mass, reduce blood pressure, alleviate symptoms of arthritis, and improve immune and digestive functioning. People who are active may also have improved posture, balance and flexibility. Increased activity levels during the day can help people fall asleep faster and more deeply. As though these benefits were not enough, endorphins produced when exercising can also reduce feelings of sadness or depression. So how can you get started?
- Shut-in But Not Shut Out: How I Live a Full Life at Home
April 28 2014 by Linda Sweet
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.
- How Care Teams Can Help Consumers Improve their Nutrition
March 20 2014 by Kathy Swiderski
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.
- Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy
March 20 2014 by Rachael Lee McCowen
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...
- 10 Tips for Elders to Meet Their Nutrition Goals
March 19 2014 by Kathy Swiderski
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.
- Having a Heart to Heart About Caregiver Health: Recognizing the Risk of Heart Disease
February 19 2014 by Rene Snook
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...
- The Value of Caregiver Mentorship
January 15 2014 by Mary Gill
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.
- Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery Begins At Home
January 09 2014 by Julian Hills
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.
- Caregiving Tips for Extreme Cold Weather
January 08 2014 by Linda Morreale-Steele
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.
- Top 3 New Year’s Commitments for Care Teams
January 08 2014 by Christine Kristanich
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.
- Overcoming Caregiver Guilt, One Day at a Time
January 02 2014 by Flora Torres
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.