Managing Long-Distance Caregiving

Taking care of ill or elderly relatives is a complicated and stressful situation. That stress is compounded in the case of long-distance caregiving. As more and more adult children care for their elderly parents, this issue is becoming more common.

Health visitor with smartphone and a senior man during home visit. A female nurse or a doctor making a phone call. long-distance caregiving concept

According to a survey conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, long-distance caregivers experience negative impacts on their time, finances, and work schedules. Despite this, over half of these caregivers see their loved ones at least a few times a month, and over 75% help with basic services such as shopping, cooking, and transportation, spending 22 hours on these aspects of caregiving alone.

If you are managing long-distance care, here are a few things to keep in mind.

 

Recognize the Added Strain

Caregiving can cause major stress. Compounding this stress with the addition of travel, finances, and schedule increases the load for the long-distance caregiver. It is important to ensure that caregivers, as well as the patient, have the support they need.

In order to receive this support, the long-distance caregiver must acknowledge their added stress. Once the problem is recognized, steps can be taken to help relieve the pressure. Consider support groups, in person or online. These meetings can be an important source of comfort. Regular, healthy meals and exercise can also help reduce stress levels.

Remember: you can only care for others if you care for yourself first.

 

Gather Information

When medical emergencies arise, it’s important to have all the information you’ll need. Make copies of insurance documents and medical information, including medications and doctors’ orders and phone numbers. Keep these documents handy, so you don’t have to find them during stressful moments.

One important document to have is a durable medical power of attorney. This is particularly important if there are multiple siblings or you are taking care of an in-law. It is extremely important to clarify your right to make medical decisions if the patient is unable to do so.

DYA has handy publications for organizing you essential documents on our website.

 

Keep Communication Open

When possible, it’s a good idea to attend doctor’s appointments with the patient. They may not remember everything the doctor says or feel comfortable talking about the visit. If you can be there to hear the doctor’s orders and keep notes, it can help you see that the patient is getting what they need.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to keep lines of communication open. Some of the things they recommend are:

  • Speak with your loved one’s healthcare providers. A release signed by your loved one will allow their doctors to talk to you about their treatment. See if you can set up conference calls or log into their online medical records to stay fully informed.
  • Get support from friends. People who live nearby can check in on your loved one. Having a few people look in periodically can give you insight on how they are doing.
  • Consider hiring help. Someone to help with tasks such as meals and bathing can ease the burden on both of you.
  • Prepare for emergencies. Save time and money in case there is a crisis. Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act, which can provide you with unpaid time off with no threat to your job.

 

Maintain Your Relationship

Finally, remember to spend time visiting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the tasks of caregiving and forget the relationship. Try to set time aside for sitting and talking, or doing an activity you enjoy together, such as taking a walk. The reason you are doing this monumental task is that you care so much about this person. Remembering that can ease the strain on both of you.

 

There are many difficult choices to make when taking care of a loved one. Living far away complicates those decisions. If David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers can help you in this process, please contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Caregiver Stress Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Caregiver Stress Needs Serious Attention

Caregiver Stress is Real

Caregivers experience stress just as frequently as anyone else. Unfortunately, they are often dismiss it. It’s assumed that caregiver stress is an expectation that comes with the job. People feel that the stress should be tolerated, like learning to cope with long, boring commutes.

Caregiver Stress Has Medical Consequences

In fact, caregiver stress can cause demonstrable medical problems. Those who take on the responsibility of caring for aging or ailing individuals need to stay healthy themselves. They should not fall into the trap of denial. Just because they’re helping others does not mean they won’t need help themselves. Round-the-clock care can lead to running on lack of sleep or lack of food – both causes of declining health. Caregivers do not receive the amount of healthcare monitoring they themselves deliver, so self-care is exceedingly important.

Patients Can Suffer As a Result of Caregiver Stress

When caregivers deny their own health needs, it isn’t just negative for them. According to some recent research from UC Berkeley, patients suffering from dementia will have a shorter life expectancy if their caregivers experience persistent untreated anxiety or depression.

As many as 40 percent of dementia caregivers suffer from depression. Though the problem is widespread, it is rarely discussed. Those who experience caregiver stress should not feel as if the problem is unusual or that it reflects poorly on them as people. The job is fraught with emotional and physical realities that are often sad. These sad realities naturally lead to stress often culminating in depression. This occupational hazard is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Working Through Caregiver Stress

There are many resources available for caregiver stress, including groups that provide social support and therapists who specialize in helping people cope with caregiver stress. Of course, many people will be able to overcome caregiver stress if they reach out to others in order to get some help with their responsibilities.

Home health aides can work with caregivers in order to provide the best possible standards of assistance for the patients. Being a caregiver is difficult, and getting more support can make all the difference in the world.

An Additional David York Agency Service

David York Home Healthcare can refer you to an agency to help you work through the caregiver stress and feelings of depression you may be experiencing. We can also recommend services that target depression in the elderly, should your loved one be experiencing mental health problems. Please contact us for more information on caregiver stress and related issues.

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.

How to Manage Stress When Providing Ongoing Care for a Loved One

how to manage stress

Becoming a caretaker is almost always a rewarding experience. Being able to care for a loved one who needs you is an enriching and satisfying feeling. However, taking on the role of permanent or even part-time caregiver for a family member or friend can quickly bring on feelings of immense stress, helplessness, anger, and fatigue. Caregiver stress is a serious issue.

It’s crucial to take the time to care for yourself when you have taken on the caregiving role. There are stress relief exercises for caregivers that, if followed, can help reduce the stress that is more than likely to occur when you feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.

Support Groups

A great way to get some stress relief in your life is to talk with other caregivers who can relate to your struggles. Online support groups offer caregivers a place to vent, cry, ask for advice, and just read about what others are going through. You may also want to talk to your loved one’s doctor to find out if there are actual support group meetings in your area that you could attend. Many churches offer support groups for caregivers, as there are generally many elderly folks in their congregations.

Pamper Yourself

Remember, being a caregiver isn’t just about the person who needs help. You need to take care of yourself so that you don’t feel like it’s all about everyone else. Take the time that you need to pamper yourself in whatever way you desire. Get a manicure, take a hot bubble bath, schedule a massage, lay out in the sun with a good book, or whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Don’t feel guilty for including “me time” in your schedule.

Ask for Help

It’s easy to want to take on the role of full-time caregiver, especially when it is a very close relative, such as your mother or father. But it is almost impossible to do everything for someone else and still take care of yourself. Asking for help from others will reduce a great deal of stress, especially when you see that you don’t have to do it all alone. Accept help from those who offer, and don’t be afraid to ask. You can’t do it all by yourself and expect not to get stressed.

Open Your World

Consulteering (see previous DYA post), taking on small consulting gigs or volunteer assignments, give you an opportunity to remain in touch with the outside world and contribute to society. It is a great, productive distraction that also keeps you fresh with stories to bring home to the person you are caring for.

Caregiver stress is a normal occurrence—even for professionals. When you’re feeling stressed, the key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with your feelings.

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 you need.

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

 

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 caregiver frustration and resentment for a caregiver, particularly among siblings in situations where one sibling feels they have been forced into the caregiver role.

Families can alleviate caregiver frustration. 

Family members can help alleviate this frustration. Develop a plan for other family members to occasionally step in to relieve the primary caregiver. The sacrifice can be as little as a few hours a week. It can make an enormous difference to a caregiver. As well, this is especially true if you feel you are unfairly shouldering the burden of caring for a loved one on your own.

The emotional state of the person cared for is another leading cause of frustration among caregivers. Remember, it is very common for a senior in long-term care to become depressed. This can manifest itself in anger, emotional outbursts, or refusal to cooperate with the caregiver. As a result, the caregiver may experience increased exasperation and frustration. 

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?

Also, caregivers need to remember to take the time to care for 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. They can lead 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. Our aim is 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 inspirational quotes to 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

Statistics on Caregiving

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 individuals. 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. Caregivers must make a concerted effort to manage and cope with that stress. Otherwise, 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. Therefore, 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. Consequently, 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. Our aim is 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.

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. You must take steps to relieve caregiver stress. 

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. Shake out that caregiver stress. 

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. Perfect for relieving caregiver stress. 

 

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.

4 Ways to Cope with Caregiver Stress

caregiver-stress

Even if you only provide care for a loved one on a part-time basis, you know that the undertaking can be stressful. Strategies for coping with caregiver stress early on are essential. You need to find time to rest and nurture yourself or you may find yourself facing both emotional and physical side effects of long-term stress. Not only are you facing the stress of providing physical care, but you are also dealing with a type of loss of the loved one you knew in the past who has now become dependent.

Here are some ways to cope with the changes caregiving may throw at you.

  1. Take Time for Yourself First.

When you are on an airplane, the flight attendant will tell you to put on your own oxygen mask in case of an emergency, before you assist anybody else. This is because you cannot help others unless you have helped yourself first. Eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and treat yourself to a fun evening every once in awhile.

  1. Communicate While Building a Support System.

Never be ashamed to ask for help. If brothers, sisters, parents, and other loved ones do not know that you need help, they cannot offer it. You may just need to vent to somebody who cares, or perhaps it would help you to have somebody come over and cook dinner once or twice a week. Let people know what you need.

  1. Seek Mental Health Care for Yourself.

The power of weekly or bi-weekly therapy becomes quickly apparent when you begin regular sessions. Therapists and psychiatrists are often well-versed in stress management techniques, especially if you find a professional who specializes in this area. If you yourself are an elderly caregiver, make sure to find an appropriate therapist that is fully acquainted with that situation and that you can relate to.

  1. Hire a Home Health Aide.

In her book, To Survive Caregiving: A Daughter’s Experience, A Doctor’s Advice, Dr. Cheryl Woodson describes her own experiences with caregiver stress. One of her biggest pieces of advice is not to forget that you have needs. You cannot be Superman and do it all, and there is no shame in hiring help when you need it. Professional home health aides can provide excellent, compassionate care for your loved ones.

Caregiving can be burdensome when you are stressed out and struggling to balance that role with your life, but when you are refreshed and taking care of yourself, it can be a wonderful way to bond with your loved one. For more ideas on how to care for yourself or your caregiving friend, contact us.

At the David York Agency, we are dedicated to providing the resources, advice, and high-quality home healthcare services that can make caregiving more manageable. 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 and the support you need to manage.

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

5 Signs You Might be Suffering from Caregiver Stress

For many caregivers, it is in their very nature to care selflessly for another, putting their own needs, feelings, and problems aside to ensure the safety and healing of their loved one or friend. But, too often, caregivers reach damaging and unhealthy levels of stress before they come to the point of reaching out for help and support. It is so important that caregivers are mindful of the signs that point to caregiver stress and that they seek the help of a friend, support groups, or a physician, before their struggles become severe.caregivers

We’ve compiled a few of the key signs that point to caregiver stress and offer ways to seek the support and assistance you need.

  1. Anger

It is important to recognize if you are feeling anger toward your ill loved one or others who don’t seem to understand what you’re going through.  Resentment toward those whom you are caring for, can lead to damaged relationships, self-neglect, and further stress. You might consider enlisting the help of a home health aide who can release you from some of the burden of caregiving. You may also want to find a support group in your area for individuals experiencing similar situations.

  1. Denial

This is a tricky one. While it’s important to remain optimistic, positive, and hopeful, it is damaging to live in denial of the severity or progression of your loved one’s illness. It’s important to keep a realistic view of the situation at hand, in order to prepare for the next steps and provide appropriate care for yourself and your loved one. Denial might make the short term easier to deal with, but may be detrimental in the long run preventing you from seeking appropriate care and do proper planning.  

  1. Isolation

Do you find yourself making excuses to not attend social gatherings, meet a friend for coffee, or even leave the house for a walk? These are signs of caregiver stress and can lead to depression. Keeping active socially and physically reduces stress and provides an outlet for the rollercoaster of feelings that come with caregiving. Keep in contact with friends, neighbors and relatives. Join a walking group or regularly attend a group class at the gym. Social interaction and physical activity are essential to keeping a healthy mind and body.

  1. Depression

Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, fear and worry should not be taken lightly. Depression is a medical condition and affects a person both physically and mentally. Seek medical attention if feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed persist for longer than two weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if thoughts of hurting oneself or others are present. Medication may be needed to lift the fog.  However, care must be taken to avoid what has become all too common – prescription drug abuse. Talk therapy with a social worker or psychologist can help you work through the unique challenges one feels as a caregiver.

  1. Exhaustion

Fatigue is your body and mind’s way of letting you know that you are not taking care of yourself. Are you living on caffeine, falling further and further behind on routine tasks, forgetting appointments or never feeling fully rested? Take note. Maintaining a healthy diet and quality sleep patterns are paramount for your body and mind to stay sharp, functioning, and healthy. Again, it is important to reflect from time to time on internal cues telling you the load is too heavy. If there seems to be no time for self-care, performing daily tasks, or maintaining social relationships, consider seeking outside help to share the responsibilities of caregiving. It is important for the care of your loved one that you are capable of making sound decisions and can perform care tasks accurately and effectively.

To find support groups, visit the websites of national organizations to find a group that meets near you. There are many organizations serving the elderly and catering to the various diseases common to them.  Also, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and seek specialized care as directed.

To learn about the possibilities of acquiring outside assistance through a home health aide or nurse, please contact us. We can help you understand your options for in-home care and assistance. Most importantly, don’t take these signs lightly. Your health – physically and mentally – is important to your ability to provide the best care possible for your loved one.

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