Caregiver Stress: How to Manage Common Caregiver Frustrations

caregiver frustration

According to a joint study by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 44 million Americans provided caregiver services for an adult family member in 2015.

While many of them took the responsibility of providing care for a family member willingly, an overwhelming number of them believe they had no choice in assuming the role of caregiver. This can cause enormous frustration and resentment for a caregiver, particularly among siblings in situations where one sibling feels they have been forced into the caregiver role.

One way for family members to alleviate this frustration is to develop a plan for other family members to occasionally step in to relieve the primary caregiver. The sacrifice of as little as a few hours a week can make an enormous difference to a caregiver who feels they are unfairly shouldering the burden of caring for a loved one on their own.

Another leading cause of frustration among caregivers is the emotional state of the person being cared for. It is very common for a senior in long-term care to become depressed, and this can manifest itself in anger, emotional outbursts, or refusal to cooperate with the caregiver.

Caregiver stress is a very normal occurrence—even for professionals.

While you can’t control your loved one’s emotions, you can control how you respond to them. Staying calm and in control can help defuse the situation and prevent escalation. Take a deep breath and try to fully assess the situation from the perspective of the person receiving the care. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel at that moment?

Caregivers also need to remember to take the time to care of themselves, both physically and mentally. Many caregivers ignore their own personal needs, skipping medical appointments, not eating regular meals, and not getting adequate sleep. The long-term effects of those choices can be devastating, leading to poor health, increased frustration, and an inability to provide adequate care.

Understandably, when the elderly lose their independence and mobility, it can be difficult to come to terms with. They often vent frustrations on a family member even more than on a professional caregiver. The key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with and reduce your stress.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a loved one, remember that help is available. At David York Agency, we provide full and part-time support for caregivers and their families to lessen the burden of ensuring their loved one is safe, happy, and healthy. .

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.”

 

8 Inspirational Quotes for When You’re Feeling Caregiver Stress

inspirational quotes

Being a caregiver is a very fulfilling and worthwhile task. However, sometimes, in the day-to-day challenges that arise, it can be easy to lose sight of that and let the stress and frustration get the best of you. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out…. and you’re not alone.

Here are 8 quotes that will hopefully provide some caregiver inspiration and give you a much-needed boost of positive energy.

  1. “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing.” –Mother Theresa
  2. “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” –Lee Iacocca
  3. “Family is the most important thing in the world.” –Princess Diana
  4. “The simple act of caring is heroic.” –Edward Albert
  5. “Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.” –Senator John Hoeven
  6. “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” –Michael J. Fox
  7. “If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” –Amy Tan
  8. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

At David York Agency, we know, first-hand, the challenges and the stress of being a caregiver. Often, those responsible for helping others end up neglecting their own needs because they are stretched so thin. We’re here to provide families with the additional support and care they need to keep everyone happy and healthy.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.”

Preventing Caregiver Stress From Turning Into Caregiver Burnout

caregiver stress

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ― Rosalyn Carter

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months. Of those numbers, 85 percent are taking care of a relative, while 15 percent care for a friend, neighbor, or other unrelated individual. About 49% care for a parent or parent-in-law, and most report that they spend at least $5,000 in non-reimbursed expenses.

Caring for a loved one that requires assistance is an act of love, but it can also be very mentally, physically, and financially stressful. If caregivers don’t make a concerted effort to manage and cope with that stress, this act of love can quickly turn into caregiver burnout.

Not only does caregiver stress and burnout hurt you and put your health at risk, but it also puts your loved one and their health at risk, as it affects your ability to provide proper care. Learning to spot the signs of caregiver stress allows you to step back, recharge, and get back on the right track before it turns into a more serious problem.

Signs of Caregiver Stress

  • Health problems that are new or begin to get worse
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Excessive feelings of fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Increasing feelings of resentment
  • Drinking, smoking, or emotional eating

caregiver burnout

Finding healthy ways to manage stress before it turns into burnout is important. Some effective techniques for stress management include:

  • allowing others to help with caregiver duties;
  • getting regular exercise;
  • meditating or doing relaxing breathwork;
  • eating consistent, healthy meals;
  • taking time for yourself;
  • and finding support groups.

Failing to deal with caregiver stress can and will eventually lead to burnout. Once you reach this stage, taking care of your loved one is no longer healthy for you or them.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Unable to relax when given the opportunity
  • Neglecting your own needs due to being too busy or just not caring
  • Becoming more irritated by or impatient with the loved one you are caring for
  • Getting sick with colds or other illnesses very easily

If you feel you may be experiencing caregiver burnout, the first and most important thing to do is to speak up. Tell your family and friends how you’re feeling and come to terms with the fact that you need help. See if another family member can assist you with caregiving responsibilities or consider enlisting professional help a few days a week so you can have more time to yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that, in order to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life, your life cannot revolve around caregiving alone. Hobbies, physical activity, social outings, and free time for relaxation are all important parts of a balanced life. Pay careful attention to your needs, check-in with your mental and physical wellness, and take the time to show yourself appreciation and love.

If you’re having trouble finding the time you need to properly manage caregiver stress, David York Agency is here to help. We provide families with the additional support they need to care for both their loved ones and themselves.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.
If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Preparing Your Home for an Elderly Loved One

elderproofing

When you have a loved one coming home to live with you, or you are helping prepare their home when returning from a hospital or rehab stay, you need to ensure that they come home to a safe environment. While we have covered a few of these tips in the past, they are worth reiterating due to their importance for the safety of your loved one.

Walking

Mobility can be one of the largest issues facing the elderly, and it’s important that the home is set up so that walking is as safe and easy as possible.

  • Make sure walkways throughout the home are clear and wide.
  • If there aren’t handrails on both sides of a stairway, make sure to have them installed.
  • Tripping hazards should be removed. This includes throw rugs, electrical cords, and even furniture. A table or ottoman can easily be a dangerous obstacle for an elderly person, and electrical cords should be tucked away out of tripping distance.

Bathrooms

Bathroom visits can also present challenges for the elderly. Floors can be slippery or wet, and the person may have difficulty sitting or standing unassisted. Take special precautions to make the bathroom friendly to an elderly user.

  • Make sure you have grab bars for showers or tubs.
  • Consider a toilet surround to help with getting up and down, especially if a grab bar is not an option.
  • Place something on the floor to make it non-skid, but be careful if considering rug. It can be a tripping hazard. If that doesn’t seem like a good choice, you can opt for anti-skid scuba socks for your loved one, especially for bathing.

Living Areas

Common living areas should be set up so as to minimize the movement and effort of your loved one. These are some useful tips for creating an elder-friendly living space.

  • Be sure remotes for televisions and other often-used items are going to be within reach of your loved one.
  • Night lights are important so that your loved one can see when it’s dark. They may get more disoriented, so seeing is more important than before.
  • Make a printout or handwritten sheet with large letters spelling out emergency numbers for your loved one to have by the phone.
  • Another sheet with medications, family member contacts, and doctor’s information is important to have on-hand in case of an emergency situation.

If you have an elderly loved one living at home, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of falls or injuries. Implementing the above tips will ensure your loved one comes home to a safe and comfortable place. For additional information on preventing senior falls, check out our handout and our resource page.

David York Home Healthcare Agency now offers elderproofing services from our Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) professional. Call for a free consultation and estimate.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Easing the Transition of Moving the Elderly to a New Residence

moving the elderly

One of the biggest difficulties when moving the elderly to a new residence is the sorting through all their possessions. These are things they’ve accumulated over their lifetime, and many have emotional attachments and cherished memories connected to them. While de-cluttering can have a freeing feeling, it can also signal the end of the life they’ve known and shines a spotlight on their mortality.

According to an article on Next Avenue, it can take up to two years to sort through all of a person’s belongings and make decisions about whether to sell, donate, or take individual items with them. These types of decisions can take a psychological toll on the elderly. Surrounding them with love, care, support, and compassion during the process can help ease this emotional transition.

Once your loved one has chosen their next residence, you can zero in more clearly on what can be taken, which can offer some comfort. By drawing the rooms of their new home on graph paper according to scale and cutting out pieces of paper to represent furnishings they’d like to take, you and they can easily visualize what will fit and how things can be positioned ahead of time.

Since many baby boomers look at downsizing as a fresh, new start, why not start the process way before it becomes necessary. Start the discarding process before the need becomes immediate and while in your 50s or 60s when you are physically stronger and more capable of decision making.

If your loved one is considering downsizing or has recently moved to a smaller home, contact us. Our caregivers can help make the transition easier and give them the attention and care they need during this potentially difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, call us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

The Importance of In-Home Healthcare for Seniors with CHF

Seniors with CHF

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can be fatal, and seniors are at an especially high risk. In people over the age of 65, heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admissions, with 900,000 people being hospitalized in the US each year.

CHF does not mean that the heart is literally failing. The heart just has a difficult time pumping blood throughout the body and has to work harder. This results in buildup of fluid throughout the body.

There are many potential causes of CHF: coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that weaken the heart, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and birth defects. CHF can be managed and treated by working with a physician, using medications, and also utilizing non-medical treatments such as in-home caregivers

In-home care can be very beneficial to the CHF patient. Having a caregiver in the home who has knowledge of CHF can help the patient to get the fastest and best possible treatment. CHF needs to be promptly treated in order to avoid complications or more serious issues. If potential symptoms of CHF present themselves, a well-educated caregiver can contact the patient’s doctor, and treatment can be obtained immediately. The patient’s normal senior care routine can be modified to include protocol for CHF.

Warning Signs of CHF

  • Congested Lungs: Fluid may back up in the body due to a weak heart. The patient may experience shortness of breath when exercising and/or difficulty breathing when at rest or lying flat. A dry, hacking, or wheezing cough may also be present.
  • Fluid and Water Retention: The patient may experience swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen (edema). They may also experience significant weight gain in a short period of time. An increased urge to urinate may also be present. Bloating in the stomach may cause nausea and/or loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness, Fatigue, and Weakness: Decreased blood flow to the major organs of the body may cause these symptoms to arise.
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat: With fluid buildup in the body, the heart may have to work harder to pump blood to major organs.

In addition to recognizing warning signs of CHF, in-home caregivers can assist the patient in the following ways:

  • Assisting the patient with maintaining fluid balance by keeping a daily journal of fluid intake
  • Ensuring the patient follows a low-sodium diet
  • Helping the patient with weight maintenance
  • Monitoring of symptoms and notifying the doctor when needed
  • Ensuring the patient takes medications as prescribed

 

If your senior loved one suffers from CHF or other severe heart problems, they may benefit from the added care and expertise of an in-home care provider. A knowledgeable caregiver will maintain consistent communication with the patient, his or her doctors, the family, and all other involved parties, in order to ensure the patient’s medical needs, health, and safety are met.

At David York Agency, we offer home healthcare services from highly trained and vetted professionals who you can trust. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA can provide your family with a level of in-home assistance that meets your needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Visiting Seniors to Beat the Winter Blues

senior care tips

When seniors become stuck at home because of their age or physical limitations, it is easy for them to become bored and lonely. If you have a friend or a loved one who is cooped up inside this winter, you can help lift their spirits and provide some much-needed company by bringing the fun to their home.

Here are a few senior care tips to help you come up with a fun activity you can enjoy with a senior loved one this winter.

1. Ask Them About What They Enjoy

Don’t just assume your elderly friend or family member is eager to knit or play backgammon because you see it on TV. Talk to them about their life, what they used to do, the activities and sports they enjoyed in their youth, or what interests them today. While many of the activities they used to do may very well not be possible now, it’s a good conversation starter.

Based on your conversation, brainstorm some ideas of fun things you can do together that would actually interest and engage your senior friend or loved one. For example, if they were an avid basketball player, they may enjoy having you over to watch professional basketball games with them. If they love to bake, get together to make and decorate cookies. Get a feel for what they would enjoy most before you decide on an activity.

2. Let Them Do The Teaching

In your conversations, you may find that your senior loves to play a certain card or board game. They may also enjoy making handcrafted items. If one of their passions is outside your comfort zone or something you don’t know how to do, ask them to teach you!

If they are into knitting, crocheting, or sewing, request that they show you a thing or two. If your senior loves to cook, find out their favorite dish and bring the ingredients for you both to cook together. Even talking about your own issues in life and asking for their advice is a way to get seniors involved. Feeling useful and needed is a great way to cheer someone up and boost their confidence and sense of purpose.

3. Arrange Family “Socials” in the Home

Seniors, especially those who are widowed, may feel lonely much of the time. However, family members sometimes feel awkward visiting their elderly aunt or grandparent because they don’t know what to do or say, so they avoid them.

Ask your senior loved one if there is any family around that they would like to see, and get their contact numbers. Be proactive and invite these relatives over for a small get-together for coffee, lunch, or even just snacks. It may be easier for some members of the family to get together when they are in a group setting, rather than one-on-one.

Depression and loneliness in the elderly is an all-too-common issue that is often overlooked by friends and family members. You can do a world of good in the life of a lonely senior simply by giving them your time.

If you need a little (or a lot) of support caring for an elderly individual in your life, a home health aide from David York Agency can provide the high-quality, personalized care to help seniors through the challenges they face in the lonely winter months.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn. To find out more about hiring an aide for your loved one this winter, contact us today.

 

3 Exercises to Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Relieve Stress for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is one of the most stressful jobs a person can have. The mental and physical energy involved is enormous and often underestimated and unrecognized by other not directly in this situation. To devote yourself to caring for others is truly admirable, but it is also important to take time to care for your own mental and physical wellbeing.

Here are three great stress-relieving exercises to help you relax and focus on you for a little while after a hard day of devoting your time to others.

1. Stretching

Stretching your muscles can leave you with a feeling of relief and relaxation:

Start with your legs. Stretch them one at a time, then extend them out in front of you (while in a seated position) and stretch them together. Next, stretch your back by standing and bending at the waist, trying to put your hands on the floor, or simply holding your elbows and letting your body hang loose. Then, work on your arms and shoulders. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, then move on to the next position. Be sure you never push yourself beyond what is comfortable.

2. Walking

Whether it’s a walk around the block or on a nature trail, the important thing is that you get some fresh air and start moving. If you want more of a meditation boost with your walk, head to the park to surround yourself with nature and greenery. If you absolutely cannot get outside, get the blood flowing by doing some laps around the house.

3. Tai Chi

The movements in Tai Chi are slow, intentional, and controlled. This extremely relaxing exercise helps you focus on steadying and controlling your breath while you perform the motions. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art form that helps you clear your mind and enter a more meditative state.

These are just three types of exercise you can do to help rid your body of negative feelings and stress. But, whatever you decide to do, just be sure to get out and move! Physical activity is not only a powerful way to clear your mind, but it also helps your body to release mood-lifting endorphins that combat stress.

At David York Agency, we understand the challenges and stress of being a caregiver. When we focus so much of our time and energy on caring for others, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves. That’s why we’re here to provide families with the additional support and care they need to keep everyone in their family happy and healthy.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide which services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

What You Need To Know Before Choosing a Home Healthcare Agency

Choosing a Home Healthcare Agency

Handling the increasingly complicated needs of an aging loved one can be a daunting task. Knowing when or how to address concerns isn’t easy, especially if you are busy with work and family obligations of your own, unable to devote the time they require. Perhaps you live in another city or lack regular access to a loved one in need. There comes a point where further coverage is required.

If you’re considering additional in-home care for someone you love, this guide will help you establish what you need to know before choosing a home healthcare agency.

Consider the Mental & Physical Health of Your Loved One

The first thing to consider is how much and what type of help your loved one may need. There are certain signs that indicate the mental or physical ailments that might require in-home support. This quick checklist will help determine the overall health of your loved one.

Is your loved one:

  • becoming more forgetful?
  • unable to run errands on their own?
  • leaving scorch or burn marks on dish towels?
  • more reclusive, engaging less in social activities?

 

Has Your Loved One:

  • become physically/verbally abusive?
  • been left with extra/not enough medication left each month?
  • become negligent in terms of personal hygiene habits?
  • had vision/hearing impairment that interferes with daily activities?

 

The truth is, if you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, it’s probably time for additional care. Once you’ve made that decision, the next step is to figure out the extent and kind of care to provide.

Needing assistance doesn’t necessarily mean going to a nursing home or having round-the-clock help. In fact, research suggests that the longer seniors are able to stay active and engaged in activities, the higher their energy levels remain. This can help seniors maintain better overall health and a better quality of life.

What Types of Assistance are Available?

There are various types of home care services a home healthcare agency can provide. From accompanying loved ones on errands to reminding about medications to more hands-on help, like bathing or medical nurse assistance, a wide range of services is possible.

It’s important to find an agency that provides consistent, high-quality, reliable care. Establishing steady, long-lasting relationships with home healthcare providers helps relieve any stress felt when leaving a family member in someone else’s hands. Additionally, the strong personal connections your loved one establishes with a caregiver can have a powerful impact on their well-being. With compassionate in-home care, seniors can remain healthy and continue to age with dignity and grace.

Establishing the care needed and finding the right agency to supply quality assistance are two important steps for ensuring there is a high level of care administered in your absence. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA will provide the level of home healthcare your loved one needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

5 Simple Ways to Combat Senior Loneliness

senior loneliness

Isolation at any age can be detrimental to emotional health, but studies suggest that the effects of loneliness can be much more far-reaching. Dr. John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago Neurosciences program ran a 30-year study on the effects of isolation in seniors and his discoveries were startling. Loneliness affects mental health as well as emotional well-being and has proven to be a risk factor for cognitive decline, long-term illness and a shortened lifespan.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are many ways to help isolated seniors socialize and have more human contact. A few simple solutions can reverse loneliness, improve long-term health, and create a happier tomorrow for you or your loved one.

1. Get Out and About With Available Transportation

It can be difficult to find convenient transportation, especially in small towns. In fact, 41% of seniors feel that transportation options in their area are inadequate to meet their needs. However, utilizing transportation when and where it is available can help you make great strides in feeling less isolated.

Even a quick cab ride to a park only minutes from your home can make a big difference. Take the time to learn or discuss with a loved one the public transportation routes in the area so you are familiar with them when you need them.

Contact your local government agency to discover transportation options for the elderly in your area. Many churches and other charitable organizations are also willing to help if you only ask. If these options do not appeal to you, consider asking family and friends to take turns helping you get from A to B. While it may be hard to ask, most people are more than happy to help.

2. Volunteer and Make a Difference

Seniors have a deep reservoir of life experience and talents which has the potential to make them incredibly valuable as caring volunteers. Not only does giving back help others, but it can help seniors too. Volunteering helps you create a growing social circle while improving your own mental health and well-being. It’s a win-win for everyone!

3. Get Moving With Exercise

Exercise is known to increase feel-good hormones and decrease anxiety. In fact, even 5 minutes of walking has been shown to decrease stress. The good news is, the longer you move the more benefits you will receive. From stretching to even seated movements, there are exercises for every fitness and mobility level that can be beneficial to your health—both physical and emotional. It’s even better when you get out to a class adding an important element of socialization to the mix.

4. Enroll in a Class of Any Kind

Studies reveal a surprising truth: one of the most effective ways to combat loneliness—at any age—is to join a class and improve education. Classes not only help you to interact with the world around you, but they also serve as a great way to improve cognitive function. Striving to learn something new every day keeps your mind active and you young and healthy. Even a class on a hobby like art or bridge or writing can keep you active and in touch with people of similar interests.

5. Consider Home Care

Home care agencies are much more than just helping hands. They also serve as a support system and window to the world for seniors and their loved ones. Isolation is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s digital world. If a senior is isolated from the world, chances are their friend or family member who provides their care may be isolated too. A senior care expert can free up time for both seniors and those they love to make time for relaxing, getting out, or doing something fun for awhile.

Loneliness is never permanent if we care enough to shed light on it. The solution doesn’t have to be difficult or require large amounts of effort. Efforts, even small, can make a huge difference and create a better, brighter, and happier future ahead.

Establishing the care needed and finding the right agency to supply quality assistance are two important steps to ensuring there is a high level of care administered in your absence. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services. From home health aides to RN’s and LPNs, DYA will provide the level of home healthcare your loved one needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.