July 1, 2014

The Roller Coaster of Caregiving

By Carol Carbutti

 

The decisions to become a caregiver are usually made in crisis situations. We rarely have time to consider the ramifications of these decisions nor do we really fully understand that there are any ramifications. What could be so difficult about caring for someone we love?

In the ideal situation a family meeting should be called to get an understanding from all involved as to what the primary caregiver’s role will be. What are each family member’s expectations and understanding of caregiving? What is the family’s plan for support to the caregiver? Scheduled assistance and relief to the caregiver should be routinely incorporated into the weekly schedule from the onset.

The caregiving role is a pivotal one: You become the center person, the “expert” in the care of someone. Everyone else in the family is required to go through you to find out what is now needed for this person. Your new position forever changes your role with each family member.

It’s a little like working with the same group of people on your job for 20 years and suddenly being promoted to the boss. People who were your equals and usually trusted support system are now being very critical and judge all of your actions.  They don’t want your job but they’re jealous that you have it. They may also feel that through your new caregiving role you now hold control over their actions to some extent.

Family who is not available or does not want the responsibility to caregive may misunderstand your motives. Often this is rooted in their guilt over not taking on this role themselves. They begin to question………”what is your hidden agenda for caregiving?” Be upfront.  Get everyone to understand why you are the point person.

You must want the estate or checking account, etc. If this is allowed to brew you may find yourself in the midst of serious family conflict.

You think everyone should be so grateful to you for the incredibly generous gift you are providing the family and suddenly you become very hurt by these knives of jealousy and misperceptions.

Usually caregivers are by nature giving people. This additional responsibility seems natural to them. These persons occasionally suffer from co-dependency. This means that they have had a history of setting poor boundaries and healthy limits to protect themselves from being victimized or exhausted.

Others, not attuned to this, often misunderstand. They may have healthier boundaries and would never allow themselves to do more than they feel they can do. Therefore, they assume that the caregiver is not going to work harder than they can tolerate. If an exhausted caregiver continues to try to provide everything needed without asking for help, those around them assume that they are fine. If they weren’t fine they would stop and ask for help. The caregiver may become angry and feel abused and victimized. They feel that others should know that they need help but if you don’t ask, no one will know. The people around you may not be unwilling or uncaring; they just aren’t mind readers. No one enjoys being related to a martyr.

When a dependent family member first moves into your home for care giving there is often a “honeymoon” period.

Everyone is polite, friendly and appreciative. This new change in the family dynamics can temporarily make even old persistent family problems seem like they have been resolved or forgotten. Everyone puts his or her best foot forward.

However, as many of you are aware, this is often short lived. The “new” family member may offer “suggestions” about how your family should do things; especially concerning how you should raise your children. There is no longer just you and your husband watching TV in the evening. His mother is sitting in between. Your children compete for attention by fighting with each other while you’re changing grandpa’s diapers. They may let you know how they feel about the new member in their home by acting out at school; grades may drop. All these wonderful things add to your exhaustion and frustration. Your mother-in-law may re-arrange your furniture or your kitchen closets. And just to make life more interesting, you are up every 3-4 hours to take your new family member to the bathroom only to get there and have them say, “I guess it was just a false call.”

There are many positive gifts to be had by participating in caregiving. You have the unique opportunity to get to know the dependent person in a very intimate and wonderful way. You can experience tremendous satisfaction from caregiving. You become the model for family members and others who take on the caregiving experience.

You provide the gift of allowing the dependent person to live in a home environment and to be taken care of by someone who loves them and who will honestly work to maintain their privacy, security, and personhood.
Family caregivers have history with the dependent person. They knew them before their many losses. They knew and respected the personhood of their past. Therefore they don’t only see them as who they appear in the present. This provides a connection and intimacy that is very comforting.

Family caregivers also provide a sense of comfort and relief to the other family members of the dependent person by the fact that they now have the peace of mind that their dependent loved one is being cared for by someone who really cares for them.

We have mentioned: Anger, Ambivalence, Exhaustion, Frustration, Guilt.

Scorekeeping—Who did what, when? Who did more? Whose turn is it? Who never takes a turn? Who is the most exhausted? There is no equality in caregiving as in parenting. Be careful not to fall into this pit. It will only add to further family discord.

Advise Givers—Sometimes those family members who, for various reasons, are not the primary caregivers attempt to make themselves feel less guilty or more involved than they actually are by stopping by weekly or monthly to loudly advise the caregiver regarding all the things you aren’t doing adequately for “Mom” or all the ways in which you need to improve your caregiving.

Don’t allow yourself to be hurt by these people. Just let them vent. They are only trying to take care of themselves. It’s not really about you or the quality of your caregiving. You may choose to respond by saying, “I know it must be very hard for you to not be able to be here as often as you would like to be and not to be able to do the things for Mom that you wish you could.”

Overcoming Losses

One thing that is often overlooked by the caregiver and other family members is the impact of the losses for both the caregiver and the dependent family member. A wife may miss the husband she has known and loved for many years. She experiences the loss of the friend with whom she has shared interests and confidences. Who was her companion for parties, grocery shopping, going to church or just taking a walk or watching TV together. Not only have you lost your friend but now you may have to take on the roles that this person used to hold within the relationship like financial responsibilities and household jobs.

You may feel guilty, angry, and sad for feeling like “this isn’t the person I married.”

The dependent loved one experiences many losses as well. Their lifestyle, their independence, their jobs (at home and/ or at work), their health, friendships with co-workers or others are now cut off. Others now see them as invalids but they may feel like screaming “I’m in here and I’m a person!” It’s very hard to tolerate a constant state of dependence.

On whom do we find it easiest to take out our frustrations? The person we love, of course. When we are totally dependent on that person, we often take out our anger and frustrations. This can make for very difficult times.

Ambivalence—We may find ourselves saying “I want to do this…I don’t want to do this…..I wish this was over…” Does that mean I don’t love this person? “Sometimes I daydream about their funeral. Sometimes I wish they had died while they were independent and not survived to be in this state. What’s wrong with me….sometimes I wish they were dead.” Does that mean I’m terrible?
You are not terrible for thinking these thoughts. You are not wishing the person you love is gone; you are wishing this state of constant caregiving and decreased quality of life for your loved one are gone. You are wishing your exhaustion and frustration are gone. That is why you need to improve your self caregiving. Your dependent loved one is counting on you to be there for them but you can’t do this if you don’t take care of yourself.

What you can do to assist in caregiving and to care for yourself.

  • Allow others to help you.
  • Be assertive of your needs.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Use respite services.
  • Participate in support groups and church activities.
  • Exercise.
  • Take time out for yourself and your family; take vacations.
  • Make sure you have planned caregiver relief routinely into your weekly schedule. (i.e. Every Tues. from 2-5 my sister Mary comes in to care for Joe. Or my friend from the church comes in every Wed. 1-3.) Don’t wait until you are exhausted to ask for relief!
  • Maintain your own health. Keep routinely scheduled doctor appointments, counseling appointments; get adequate sleep and nutrition.
  • Use a “baby” monitor so that you have peace of mind while working in the yard or doing anything out of ears’ length of your loved one.
  • Use a monitor if applicable so that you can safely leave your loved one for short periods.
  • Invite friends in.
  • Create a private space for you and your family within your home for socialization away from the dependent person.
  • Allow yourself to vent your frustrations.
  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt.
  • Compliment yourself for the tremendous caregiving job you are doing.

And always remember Comfort Keepers can help when you need respite care.

 

Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Communication, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy, Uncategorized | No Comments »

May 1, 2014

Mom, Please Give Me the Keys!

By Carol Carbutti

 

 

When is it time to take the keys away?

I read this the other day and thought it was worth sharing.  I am so sure as adult children we have all experienced this fear and have not known what to do about it.

Standing at the bay window in our front room, I watched a small silver Toyota drive up on our front lawn and just miss hitting one of the large maple trees. The car then peeled backward, leaving about six feet of tread marks across the grass. The frightening entrance hadn’t unnerved the driver; he simply hopped out of the car, grabbed a bag from his back seat and started walking toward our house.

Half way to the porch he stopped and looked around him and I watched a look of confusion wash over his face. It was Mr. Murphy, my neighbor’s dad, and I knew instantly he had forgotten where he was. Unfortunately, I’d seen that look on my mother’s face before. I waved to him and he waved back regrouping from the shock. Sadly, I knew it was time to print his daughter a membership card to the, “adult children of aging parents,” club.

“I knew the time had come.”

The last time Gwen and I talked she admitted she was worried about her dad’s driving because he was getting so forgetful. I knew what lay ahead for her, but I also knew she had three young kids, her husband had died unexpectedly two years before and it was time to just listen, not dwell on the subject. However watching Mr. Murphy return to his car and cautiously roll it two houses down the street and disappear, I knew the time had come.

Picking up the phone, I felt like a tattler. I didn’t want to be the one adding more stress to my friend’s life, or begin the process of taking a man’s link to freedom away. In so many ways Mr. Murphy was still sharp, but it looked as if his days behind the wheel might be coming to an end. Of course that was my opinion. For all I know, it could have been the first time it happened, but then again, it could have been the twentieth.

What I do know, from the past experience with my mother, is once you get that funny feeling watching your parent as they drive away, its time to have the “conversation,” probably one of the worst you will ever have with them. However ignoring a parent’s waning mental or cognitive capacity isn’t an option because eventually someone will end up getting hurt, or worse, and the fault will lay with those who had the opportunity to remedy the situation and didn’t.

“…once you get that funny feeling watching your parent as they drive away, its time to have the ‘conversation’ …”

My family’s opener with our mom included every sibling in the area armed with well-rehearsed arguments. And no matter how non-accusatory, empathetic, or honest the conversation will (and should) be; get ready for any reaction. Flying keys, yelling, denial, tears, understanding or maybe even relief; they’re all possibilities. We’re talking about the last bastion of a person’s independence here, not moving to a smaller place.

I was glad my mom gave us a fight, I was proud of her. Since the day she handed her, “I Love Florida”, keychain over, there have been endless conversations referencing, “the day we took her car away,” but it’s okay. She’s safe and that’s all that matters.

Comfort Keepers Wallingford has some wonderful caregivers that can help with transportation to Doctor appointments, grocery shopping, hairdressing appointments, etc.

Reference:  Family Bridge

http://wp.me/ps97g-3w

 

Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

October 23, 2012

Avoid Caregiver Burnout

By Carol Carbutti

Caring for an aging parent or loved one is a very challenging task. It requires a lot of time, patience and understanding.

Most of the time, caregivers become very busy taking care of others that they tend to forget to take care of themselves. This can result in to stress, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion, which may eventually lead to “Caregiver Burnout.”

Caregiver Burnout can occur when a caregiver becomes overwhelmed and tired emotionally, physically and mentally. This makes it more difficult for caregivers to continue care and constantly meet the demands of their elderly loved one.

Prevent Caregiver Burnout

If you start to feel very stressed and tired, it will be best to sit down and analyze your feelings and situation. You need to understand your feelings and the reasons behind them. This will help you recognize whether you show early signs and symptoms of Caregiving Burnout so you can address it right away and prevent it from happening.

The most important thing to remember to avoid Caregiver Burnout is to set aside time and give yourself a break. Whether it is taking a day off to go shopping, watching a movie, spending time with friends, going on vacation or simply relaxing or sleeping the whole day. When you do this, do not feel guilty at all because you deserve a break for your dedication in taking care of your aging parent or your loved one.

Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout:

1. Sleep deprivation- having sleepless nights

2. Significant weight change- losing too much weight or gaining too much

3. Hopelessness- when you feel very helpless and end up being too emotional

4. Frustration- when you feel that everything is out of control and can’t do anything about the situation

5. Overreacting to minor things- being unable to control patience

6. Isolation- avoiding any social events with friends and family

7. Increased Anxiety- not being able to relax

8. Physical and Mental Exhaustion- getting very tired to the point that you are not able to concentrate and think

9. Thoughts of hurting oneself or the person you are caring for

10. Feeling of Failure for constantly not being able to meet caring demands

If you are experiencing Caregiver Burnout or feel like you are about to develop this, don’t be scared, you are NOT alone. In fact, lots of caregivers experience this too. The important thing to do right now is find ways on how to prevent or deal with your situation.

Here are some ways to help prevent Caregiver Burnout:

1. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically- Be sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise

2. Make time for yourself- Take a day off and do something you really enjoy. Have lunch or watch a movie with a friend.

3. Join a support group for caregivers- This will allow you to share your feelings and experiences with other people who are in the same situation

4. Know your Limits- Ask for help, if necessary. You have to accept the fact that you cannot do everything.

5. Research more about your loved ones medical condition- the more you know about the illness, the more effective you will be in providing care.

6. Share your feelings with someone you trust as bottling them up inside can lead to unreasonable outbursts. Also, it’s always good to hear things from another perspective, especially from someone not in the situation.

In conclusion, be sure to take care of yourself so you can be a loving and effective Caregiver. As the saying goes: “You cannot love others until you know how to love yourself.” The same principle applies to taking care of others as well.  You can also seek advice and help from local home care agencies that can take away some of the stress by providing a caregiver to help you with the things you do for your loved ones on a daily basis.  Comfort Keepers provides caring, dependable, professional caregivers that can assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and companionship.

Let us help.

Topics: Alzheimer's Care, Dimentia Care, Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Resources, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy, Uncategorized | No Comments »

October 4, 2012

Talking with your Elderly Parents

By Carol Carbutti

Caring for your elderly parents can be a challenging task. As the body gets older, it falls victim to a number of health problems, which can be difficult for us to cope with. Seniors often become depressed and upset over small things because their bodies are unable to keep up with their minds. Other seniors will have mental health problems, which takes its toll on them and everyone around them. You will need to make some simple modifications to their home and shop for things that you may not have imagined like incontinence pads and enemas.

In order to properly care for your elderly parents, you need to learn how to communicate with them. Here are 5 simple ways you can open the lines of communication and build a strong and healthy relationship with your parents:

  1. Show them respect. Just because you need to come over every morning and get them ready for the day does not mean they are a child. Your parents want you to still look upon them as the parents, not as an infant that needs care. Show them respect by treating them as your equal. You still need to sit down with them and ask them for advice and their opinions. Give them the opportunity to share their opinions instead of making it for them. They need to make their voice heard; even if you think what they have to say is a little odd.
  2. Learn how to listen to your elderly parents. Parents like to be heard by their children, no matter what age they are. You need to respect them by listening to what they have to say. Truly listen to them instead of pretending to listen. When they are talking, give them your complete attention. Sit down with them and let them tell stories for hours and engage in fun conversations. Sometimes listening can be difficult and you may not hear exactly what they said, so you need to follow up with clarification questions. This is a great way to make their life a little easier and to make your care giving time more enjoyable.
  3. Remain calm. Elderly parents may be slipping into the early stages of dementia and sometimes they say things that they don’t mean. Many researchers have found that some elderly people tend to think they can say whatever is on their mind and people cannot combat it because they are “old”. Be mindful of things that your elderly parents may say that are hurtful. Instead of lashing out at them when they say something hurtful, take a deep breath and walk away. If they continue to exhibit this behavior, kindly confront them about it and express your feelings. You may need to talk to their doctor about it because they may have dementia or it could indicate that they have suffered a small stroke.
  4. Have rules and boundaries. As a caregiver you are giving up a large part of your life for your elderly parents. They will recognize this sacrifice and devotion to them so you don’t need to constantly tell them. It is important for you to set some boundaries and rules with your elderly parents to keep your relationship strong and healthy. Let them know that some of their requests are unreasonable and learn how to tell them no. If your elderly parents cause too much stress on other loved ones, try to limit your visit at that person’s home. Keeping it short and sweet may be easier for some of your siblings that do not understand dementia.
  5. Love them. The best way to open up the lines of communication with your parents is to simply love them. Acknowledge when they do things that try to help you out. They may not be able to do things the way you want, but they are trying. Always tell them how much you appreciate them and love having them in their life so they know they are needed.

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September 7, 2012

Baby Boomers Get New Recommendation from CDC

By Carol Carbutti

According to a press release by the CDC this August, they are changing their stance on testing for Hepatitis C.  Previously, the recommendation was that only people who were categorized as at risk be tested for the disease, but now they say all baby boomers (someone born between 1945-1965) should receive a one-time test for it.  The rationale behind the change is that 75% of all American adults living with the Hep C infection are of that age group, and many don’t know it!

How could they not know?  Because largely, Hepatitis C is asymptomatic, meaning without symptoms.  So, people can live with the disease for long periods of time without knowing it.  Meanwhile, the disease can lead to very serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.  In fact, liver cancer is on the rise for this very reason.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Hepatitis C is treatable and the CDC believes that 75% of the cases can be cured if only people would get this simple blood test at their next check-up.

What if there are symptoms?  Some people experience temporary jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.  Others may experience abdominal pain in the upper right of their abdomen, gray or pale colored stool, abdominal swelling, dark urine, fatigue, fever, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.  However, in many cases, no symptoms appear until the damage to the liver is done and many of these symptoms are common with other diseases and illnesses.

What can you do?  Get tested!  Make it part of your healthcare checklist.  Your doctor may not automatically run this test, so it’s important that you are your own advocate and request it.

To see the CDC’s press release, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/HCV-Testing-Recs-PressRelease.html

Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

June 28, 2012

Rising Temperatures Spell Trouble for Seniors

By Carol Carbutti

While many of us welcome the sunshine and warmer weather, these two factors can increase health risks for Seniors.  Those over the age of 50 are more susceptible to heat related illness than their younger counterparts and are often the ones reluctant to recognize a need for a cooler environment due to the physical changes our bodies go through with temperature tolerance.  This is also sometimes complicated by budget constraints, causing them to not want to use the air conditioning.  Unfortunately, for the elderly, heat can be deadly.

Heat Exhaustion

The less severe heat related complication is Heat Exhaustion, caused by exposure to high temperatures and depletion of either salt or water in the body.  A Heat Index of 60% or greater increases your risk.  Signs and symptoms include:

  • confusion
  • dark-colored urine
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • pale skin
  • profuse sweating
  • rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these signs or symtoms in yourself or a loved one, you should take the following measures:

  • Drink fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Remove excessive or tight clothing
  • Take a cool shower
  • Utilize a/c, fans, and ice packs

If  symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes, seek emergency medical care, as heat exhaustion can easily progress into heat stroke, a life threatening emergency.

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke’s most defining sign is a core body temperature above 105 degrees F and is deadly.  Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you see these signs in a loved on, call 911 and provide first aid until help arrives.  First aid includes moving the individual to an air conditioned environment or shady spot, removing clothing, wetting the body and fanning, as well as placing ice packs in places such as the armpits and groin.

Additional Risk Factors

Falls.  When a senior falls and is unable to call for help, this leaves them vulnerable to their environment.  A fall on a cool night can quickly become deadly as the sun rises the next day and the heat index increases.  We recommend reducing this risk by checking the home for tripping hazards, ensuring they wear proper footwear, using assistive devices such as a cane or walker, and installing a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) to call for help, should a fall occur.

How We Can Help

Comfort Keepers offers many services to help keep your loved ones safe.  We provide a free in-home assessment where we can identify their needs and make suggestions on how to make the home environment more senior friendly and to reduce fall risks.  On that visit, we can bring a PERS to the home and demonstrate how it works.  We can offer competent, caring Comfort Keepers to visit with your loved one and assist them in the tasks they can no longer perform on their own.  And lastly, we offer daily TLC Phone Calls as a service, placing a call to your loved one each day to check-in and see how things are going.  Want to find out more?  Just give us a call at 203-697-1030; we’d be happy to answer any questions you have!

For more information on heat related emergencies, please visit WebMD at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heat-stroke-symptoms-and-treatment

 

Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, In-Home Care Services, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

May 22, 2012

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus- The Truth About Heart Attacks and the Sexes

By Carol Carbutti

If you were to do an informal poll asking what the symptoms of a heart attack are, chances are that cumulatively, you would get the “common” symptoms of radiating pain in the chest, neck, jaw, and left arm, a heaviness or crushing feeling in the chest, and shortness of breath. But did you know that women can experience heart attacks differently? In fact, many female victims of heart attack report having symptoms up to a month before seeking medical care! Knowing how a heart attack manifests for women could help save your life, or the life of someone you love.

While women can and often will experience the same symptoms as listed above that men do, many women complain of a persistent nausea. Others feel the source of their discomfort is in their back, between the shoulder blades. Women are more likely to ignore their symptoms, especially because they may not get the hallmark pain in their chest, neck, jaw, and left arm.

If you experience ANY of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical help (list courtesy of The American Heart Association):
-Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
-Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
-Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
-Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
-As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

For more information, visit: http://www.goredforwomen.org/about_heart_disease_and_stroke.aspx

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March 9, 2012

Senior Citizens and Medications

By Carol Carbutti

It seems that the older we get, the more medications we’re on.  You may start with one medication, and then require a second medication to mange the side effects of that one, and then a third to manage the side effects of that one and the list grows longer and longer.  Combine that with the fact that many people take medications prescribed by different doctors, known as polypharmacy, and the potential for a mishap increases.  In fact, it is estimated that 10% of all hospital admissions are due to medication mis-use!  These admissions are both unfortunate and preventable!  Another staggering number is that approximately 40% of all patients entering nursing homes is due to the inability to self-manage their medications.  That statistic can be very disheartening to someone who intends to stay in their own home as long as possible.  So what can be done?

  • Family members can do a med-pour; that is to pre-portion out the meds needed each day and throughout the day into a pill organizer
  • Start a medication diary to keep a log of what medications are taken when
  • Caregivers can provide medication reminders or prompts at the proper time to take a dose
  • Use an automated pill reminder/dispenser such as Comfort Keepers’s Safety Choice TabSafe device

With proper medication management, we can help our Seniors stay in their home longer!  To speak with one of our in-home care specialists, please feel free to call our office at 203-697-1030.  We’re here to help!

For more information, see this article from Comfort Keepers: http://www.comfortkeepers.com/information-center/news-and-highlights/manage_medications

Topics: Healthy Aging Issues, Senior Safety, Seniors Staying Healthy | No Comments »

March 11, 2011

THE SNOW IS MELTING AND THE SENIORS WHO SPENT THE WHOLE WINTER IN DOORS MAY BE LOOKING TO THEIR SENIOR CENTERS FOR SOME RELIEF FROM THE WINTER BLUES

By Carol Carbutti

Senior centers offer independence for aging adults and play a very important role in the lives of our elderly parents today. But most of all, senior centers allow seniors to become and remain social.

Getting out of the house and making new friends can prevent in home seniors with depression. Now many parents will not want to go to the senior center since many shy away from something new.  What we can do to make it easier for them is to go along for the day to introduce them to this new environment and then afterwards take them out for lunch. Any aging adult who is 60 years old or older can join a senior center. While you are there you can check all the events a senior center has to offer that mom or dad might be interested in.  Family caregivers will feel less stress and anxiety knowing that mom and dad are not home alone all the time. The most important thing is to encourage your parents to look forward to going out a few times a week.

Senior centers allow seniors to develop a social network. They can make and meet new friends. Senior centers offer programs and services like crafts, bingo, fitness, dance classes, travel to theatres, daily meals, birthday luncheons and more. All you have to do is check the senior center calendar that is usually published monthly.  This will allow your aging parents to pick and choose their daily activities or programs. If they show an interest in the centers activities, all you need to do is sign them up.  They can start by going once or twice a week.  This will prevent them from feeling pressured.  Soon you will notice that mom or dad will be visiting the senior center on a daily basis. The conversations you have now will be about all the fun things they did and the people they met. They will not have time to watch television at all.

I feel seniors centers are the best thing around for seniors today. They allow our parents to keep in touch with their peers and feel important and independent as well as give meaning to their lives. For information on a senior center near you contact your local township.

 

This story is from the office of Comfort Keepers, a non-medical in home caregiving agency of senior citizens of Wallingford, New Haven, Hamden (Zip Code 06514), North Haven, Cheshire, Durham, Middlefield, Middletown, Meriden, Waterbury, Southington, Kensington, Berlin, Newington, New Britain, And Bristol.  Carol Carbutti, the owner/manager, would like to mention that we could help seniors stay living independently in their own home by providing services for as few as 3 hours weekly to live in care.  If you have any questions please call (203) 697-1030 or email us at denisegryzbek@comfortkeepers.com

 

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March 3, 2011

BREATHE EASIER THIS SPRING – Apply A Few Helpful Tips For Seniors, Their Family Members And Personal In Home Caregivers About Helpful Ways to Manage Asthma

By Carol Carbutti

If you have ever had a nasty dream where you are drowning and can’t resurface to catch your breath, then you wake and hear squeaks and wheezing, you may be experiencing an asthma attack.  Always remember that it is possible to catch and manage your labored breathing. 

 

It is important to identify some common frequent asthma triggers such as perfumes, cold or dry air, flour, coffee, tea, exercise, laundry detergents, air pollutants, wood dust such as red cedar and oak, alcoholic drinks, stress or an emotional time and allergens like pollen, molds and animal dander.

 

For a few seniors, the asthma symptoms may be something new, but for others who have suffered for years, they know an attack can be pretty scary.  If you have encountered one or more of these asthma triggers, then you should contackt your doctor and find out what treatments are available

 

Even though it is easier said than done, the first thing an elderly asthmatic needs to do is relax as much as possible.  A good way to try to relax is to sit down and have a few sips of water or a flavored drink because you can’t drink if you are really upset.  This exercise will help calm you and your breathing will begin to slow down.

 

You can also sit down and place your folded hands on your upper abdomen.  Take breaths (as deep as you can) and then exhale slowly through pursed lips.  Now for seniors who use inhalers it is best to wait till you are calm so it can work more effectively.  Learn to control an asthma attack,  then learn to be proactive in preventing your asthma triggers.  This starts in your home.  Here are some tips:

 

Once a week you need to wipe down all hard surfaces with a diluted bleach solution.  These cleaning solutions will clean any microscopic mold or mildew.  Be sure to wear a breathing mask while you do this so you don’t irritate your lungs!  Another good idea is to find a vacuum cleaner that releases very little dust back in to your home and use this often.

 

During the fall and spring remember to keep your windows closed due to the pollen.  A good way to clean the air in your home is by using your air conditioners and don’t forget to change the filter each season to keep you air conditioner working at its peak effectiveness.  Now when the windows are open you can get an air filterer for the room you spend the most time in.  It will help to filter out any asthma-triggering agents that make it into your home. 

 

If you are still experiencing severe asthma symptoms you may need to go back to your doctor for more ideas on how to manage the problem.  Remember always try to relax and best that you can since anxiety and fear only compound the issue.

 

Spring is almost here and we are all so thankful for its renewal of life and growth.  Let us all be in a healthy state to take our first deep breaths of sunshine.  Keep these tips top of mind.

 

This story is from the office of Comfort Keepers, a non-medical in home caregiving agency of senior citizens of Wallingford, New Haven, Hamden (Zip Code 06514), North Haven, Cheshire, Durham, Middlefield, Middletown, Meriden, Waterbury, Southington, Kensington, Berlin, Newington, New Britain, And Bristol.  Carol Carbutti, the owner/manager, would like to mention that we could help seniors stay living independently in their own home by providing services for as few as 3 hours weekly to live in care.  If you have any questions please call (203) 697-1030 or email us at denisegryzbek@comfortkeepers.com

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