5 Qualities That Separate the Best from the Rest in the Eldercare Service Industry

 

qualities eldercare industryCaregivers who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty possess the traits that most people might expect. They demonstrate patience, compassion, and responsibility on a daily basis. However, they also possess five lesser-known caregiver qualities that are instrumental to their success. These qualities include stamina, vibrancy, tolerance, strength, and composure.

Stamina: The Key to Enduring Support

Providing eldercare service requires a person to be supportive every minute of the day. Being in constant support mode is physically and emotionally draining. The most skilled caregivers possess a high degree of stamina.

Vibrancy: Inspiring Happiness and Optimism in Others

Effective caregivers exhibit vibrancy throughout each day. They display energy, passion and excitement even when they are in the midst of a bleak situation. By exhibiting vibrancy, caregivers can inspire senior citizens to find happiness and optimism in their own lives.

Tolerance: Combining Patience and Empathy on a Daily Basis

The most effective caregivers have higher-than-average tolerance levels for just about everything that comes their way. From their ability to look past a childish remark to their efforts to try to understand how the people for whom they are caring may feel, the best caregivers will react only after assessing the full situation, and generally will let many things roll of their shoulders.

Strength: An Illustration of Physical and Mental Fortitude

Sometimes it is easier to maintain physical strength than it is to display mental fortitude. The best caregivers display both physical and mental strength on the job. They are just as adept at handling an emotionally draining situation as they are helping to lift a person for whom they are caring.

Composure: Helping to Instill Serenity in Senior Citizens

When people enter the later chapters of their lives, they are often comforted by serenity. When caregivers effectively maintain their composure in the face of a difficult situation, they help instill a sense of serenity in the senior citizens for whom they care.

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.”

Eldercare Conversation With A Resistant Senior by Anita Kamiel, R.N., M.P.S.

couple having serious talking in home interior

We talk a lot about how important it is to have those serious end-of-life discussions with your elderly loved ones as they enter their golden years. It’s so important to hash out their preferences for care while they are still fully cognizant, before any decline in mental capacity. We also know that under the best of circumstances this can be awkward and, when emotions kick in, even painful to the family to face these issues head-on.

All this can feel downright impossible if the senior is not cooperative. This intractability can be the result of their age accompanied by lessened patience, a personality shift due to an underlying disease condition, or it may just be an extension of a lifelong contrariness.

While we usually dismiss their resistance as “a phase,” we must understand that the elderly have much to lose. Their diminished physical capacity leaves them vulnerable to many losses, especially the loss of their independence as the captains of their fate. They fear these conversations may mean yielding their housing, financial, and day-to-day decisions to third parties they don’t necessarily fully trust or respect. Understandably, they don’t want to deal with that. This is only exacerbated when relationships with potential caregivers have been rocky in the past.

So, how do we get the critical conversation going? How do we get recalcitrant seniors to engage? Each case is unique. I don’t pretend that my suggestions will work in every case. These are just pointers I have picked up from years of studying and dealing with the elderly.

First and foremost, I always find it best to approach the elderly with the respect they deserve. They need to know their opinions matter the most here. You must make it perfectly clear that they have a voice and your desire is to comply with their wishes. I cannot stress how crucial real and deep listening is in this situation.

Threats and scare tactics are unduly harsh and totally counterproductive. See your role as one of facilitator with agenda questions. You should be hearing their voice much more than your own.

Ask how they would like you to handle any hospital stay and follow-up care. What kind of insurance do they have in place to cover all this? The David York Agency website has an excellent checklist on our resources page that can be used as a guide for end-of-life planning.

Gently broach the subject of what they would like you to do if they are suddenly ill. I would back away immediately if there is any resistance. It may take a few tries to get through this conversation, but that is OK. These get them to start thinking. The failed attempts are warmups to the successful one.

In certain cases, you might want or need a family meeting with the senior included. On the other hand, you may not want to make a “federal case” out of the whole thing by calling a potentially intimidating meeting. If you call a meeting, make sure not to muddy the process by holding it during a holiday. Holiday time doesn’t lend itself to the focus required to get this task done and may just end up ruining everyone’s celebration.

In some instances, a third-party facilitator such as a geriatric care manager or another geriatric professional might be quite useful. This is true whether you have solid family relationships or not. These neutral advisers help to keep fears and emotions in check, everyone on track, and the atmosphere non-threatening.

These conversations must be predicated on trust and there is no place for any ill will. Be fair and evenhanded. You will gain a lot more trust if you are honest about the pros and cons of every type of available care and residence option. People are much less likely to get defensive if they feel you are not trying to manipulate them.

It may take some time to build that trust—even months—which is why planning is so important here. However, I realize that in many situations time is of the essence, so if you missed out on this lead time, you can still make it up in the end game.

Emotional stroking can help a resistant senior be coaxed into engaging. Remind them how much you love them. Tell them how caring for them would be your pleasure as compensation for all they have done for you all these years.

You need to be patient. The world they mastered as they grew from scared child to adult can seem like a scary place again. Emphasize how you are not going to abandon them and will be there for them always.

Again—really listen! Repeat their wishes aloud for clarity and so they can confirm what you said. It will calm seniors to know you understand them. Also, it will build the bridge to ease subsequent conversations that may be necessary.

I suggest ending with a big group hug. It wipes away any mistakes made during the discussion—and even in years past. Let me know if I can help!

Anita Kamiel, RN, MPS, is the founder and owner of David York Home Healthcare Agency, licensed by the State of New York. She holds a master’s degree in gerontological administration and is fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and the latest guidelines for seniors. Thirty years ago, she realized the need for affordable, quality home health aide services provided and supervised by caring individuals. You can contact her at 718-376-7755 or at www.davidyorkagency.com. David York Agency is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and 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.

How to Give Caregivers the Care They Need

You probably know somebody who has taken on the role of caregiver, or you might be one yourself. This means you know firsthand how much time goes into the labor of love that is caregiving; time that can eventually drain a person’s physical and mental well-being if it isn’t balanced by activities that keep the caregiver happy and healthy. Caregivers often think of themselves last, and they frequently need a push from somebody to take a break.

If you know a caregiver who could use some rejuvenation, or if you are a caregiver yourself and feel burnt out, here are some ideas to recharge.

Get active

caregiversCaregiving can be exhausting, and it can require quite a bit of physical strength and endurance. But, that doesn’t mean it is as fulfilling as sticking to an enjoyable exercise regiment. Some ideas for fun activities include dance classes, walking in a scenic park, or taking a leisurely bike ride alone or with a friend. It’s important to stay healthy as a caregiver and, when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercise, it’s essential to do activities that are enjoyable so you can get a mental break at the same time as you do something good for your physical health.

Be alone

Sometimes all a caregiver needs is some time alone to read a book, watch a good movie, or just meditate in stillness. If you are a caregiver who needs a break, seek out somebody to help you in your role as caregiver. Enlist another family member or hire a caregiver to take charge of dinnertime or some other time of day a few nights a week so you can get away undisturbed. And if you are friends with a caregiver who seems stressed out, step in to help. Don’t just offer to help, though. Be assertive by saying something like “I’ll come over to take care of dinner on Thursday night so you can go see that movie you’ve been talking about.” Caregivers often feel like they need to handle everything on their own and can feel guilty for handing over what they feel are their duties. Stepping in authoritatively will ease the guilt and help your friend. In the meantime, you will get a chance to bond with the person needing care, which will be rewarding for both of you.

Stay connected

It is crucial during this chapter in your life to stay connected to your caregiving friend, or, if you are the caregiver, to keep connected to your outside world. It can be easy to get drawn into caregiving and neglect your other relationships, but this can lead to anxiety, resentment, and depression. If you are a caregiver, make a point to see friends once a week, or if that’s not possible, talk on the phone with at least one friend a week. If you have a friend who is a caregiver, be sure to give him/her a call frequently to check in, and listen when your friend needs to vent.

Caregiving can be burdensome when you are exhausted 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 with the support you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For additional information about the risk factors of heart disease or about getting in-home care for a loved one, contact us today.

Reversals in Parenting

A recent article in the Deseret News,  recounted the writer’s final months with her father, noting how the roles had suddenly reversed as she found herself taking care of an aging parent. Through it all, it’s important to remember that we are still dealing with the person who raised us and took care of us when we needed them. It can be gratifying to repay them by being there for them as much as possible.

Not only are we living longer, but we are leading healthier and more independent lives. Yet inevitably, there comes a time when we start to slow down. Mobility becomes restricted and sometimes it is even dangerous for an aging parent to be left alone. As eyesight decreases and bones become fragile, moving around safely becomes more of a concern. Aside from physical ailments, mental capacity can also diminish, whether as a consequence of Alzheimer’s, other health issues or medications. As a result, we can often feel that we are parenting our parent.

When the proverbial handwriting begins to “appear on the wall”, sit down with your parent and have a discussion with open and honest questions about choices, so that you can do your best to ensure that your parent’s autonomy is respected. Autonomy is one of the most important factors in an aging person’s life. They worked hard, ran businesses, raised children and took care of homes. They earned the right to make as many decisions for themselves as possible and within reason. This role reversal should not compromise anyone’s dignity.

Parenting our parentsWhen we are caring for a parent, we often find that the time we spend with them is filled with doing laundry and housekeeping, checking to make sure the pantry is properly stocked and ensuring that all their medications are in order and being taken. This can be a difficult time, both for you and for your parent. It’s okay to acknowledge that, but remember that this is also a time to share as many moments together as you can.

That quality time is so important and should be made a priority when possible. “Parenting” activities such as discussing a favorite book, watching a movie or reminiscing over the past can bring a lot of joy to a parent who endures a lot of alone time and can even help them keep alert. Research points to an active mind staving off ill effects of encroaching dementia. Sometimes it’s possible to coordinate with other available family members to ensure that your loved one is not just taken care of, but feeling valued.  Professional caregivers can also free up all involved from mundane tasks in order for you to enjoy quality time with your parent.

Sudden illness in an elderly parent often requires us to rearrange our lives in order to help out. Unexpectedly, our schedules are disrupted. We worry whether or not Mom or Dad is being taken care of or safe when we are not able to be there. Additionally, our parent may live outside our normal radius of travel, meaning that we may need to take some time off work to help out. If we can’t take time off, we need to help make alternative arrangements for doctor’s appointments, trips to the pharmacy and grocery store, and assistance with personal grooming. With so much to think about, frustrations and tensions can often run high, not only for us, but also for the parent who suddenly feels that he or she is a burden.

Try to remember that there is help out there. There are support groups available for those who find themselves caring or helping to care for an aging parent. These groups can offer advice and support when dealing with scheduling, finances, medical care and respite care. And, a home healthcare agency can help find caregivers for all or some of the time. Hiring a professional does not completely remove the burden of the responsibility, but it can be a lifesaver. Professional caregivers are also trained to spot signs of concern about their health. It’s always best to research home healthcare agencies until you feel comfortable with your decision.

When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services. David York Home Healthcare Agency is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors and can satisfy all your questions. We would be happy to give you more information and discuss your case with you. Visit our website at David York Agency – providing healthcare professionals to the elderly and infirm, with the highest degree of personal service. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any of your questions concerning elder care, contact us.

 

The Elderly and Hospital Re-Admissions

Hospital Re-admissions is a persistent problem amongst the elderly and reforms by hospitals and other health related agencies enacted to date have done little to make a real impact. 

457344351The truth is healthcare policy makers are not even sure where the problem lies.  Are the hospitals discharging patients too early or is the post hospital home care inadequate thereby forcing the cycle of re-admission?  Is the follow-up care by professionals to blame or is the patient and relatives unable to handle the care at home? 

A recent New York Times article raises the issues, but admits that no address has been identified for placing blame.  Medicaid and Medicare have tried to shame and create incentives for hospitals to reduce their re-admissions rates through publicity of re-admissions rates by hospital and the imposition of fines all to no avail.  While patients may receive the best of care and attention during their hospital stay, post hospital home care may fall short for several reasons.

The elderly may forget or ignore discharge instructions, may live in homes that do not accommodate their compromised health (i.e. stairs, distance from the bathroom) and they just may be too plain weak to organize meals or eat.  Relatives may also be unable to lift or move them properly. 

This is where the help of a home health aide would be most beneficial.  These are professional caregivers who are specially trained and certified to care for the elderly in the home setting.  These caregivers can meet the patient at the hospital and escort them home, help them with meal preparation and feeding, assist them in toileting, bathing and grooming and help relatives monitor that the discharge instructions are followed. 

Finding a home health aide can be burdensome, but luckily there are many licensed home healthcare agencies like David York Home Healthcare Agency out there to help relieve you of that task.  They screen the home health aides and make sure they are properly credentialed and able to deal with your particular situation. 

David York Agency is always available to help you sort out your situation and aid you in developing a care plan to suit your senior loved one.  David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for in-home healthcare for elderly patients.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website at http://davidyorkhomehealthcare.com/ or visit us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages.