Tag Archives: Caregiver Resources

Three Steps To Combine Caregiving And Exercise

If you are a caregiver of a family member, you are among some of the busiest people around. Perhaps you provide care for a disabled relative or an older adult by spending hours making sure your loved one is safe and well cared for. You often are juggling work and other family responsibilities. Finding time to spend on your own needs is a scarce commodity. Finding the time to exercise may seem like something you can’t do right now, but, caregiving and exercise can be done at the same time.

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Artfully Asking For Assistance With Caregiving Tasks

Asking for help is not something that everyone is comfortable doing. Even if you’re comfortable asking for it, there are some people in your family who will simply not hear what you’re saying.

When it comes to being a caregiver, it is easy to take on too much especially if you’re in the Sandwich Generation (those caregivers that are caring for their own families while caring for aging parents). It is easy to suffer caregiver burnout and as such it’s crucial that steps be taken to relieve some of the burdens prior to that happening.

How can you ask your family members to become involved in the tasks of caring for aging parents? Here are some tips:

  • Ask for help prior to needing it. Set up a time to speak with all of your family members at one time, if possible, to solicit help. Ask for their ideas on how the tasks can be more evenly divided. Do you have a sibling that would be happy to do yard work but really doesn’t want to have to cook, clean or pay your parent’s bills? Then take him up on the offer of the yard work. Utilize the strengths of each of your family members as a way to help you get back some of your own time and be better able to care for yourself and your family.
  • Don’t start the conversation with accusations of who’s doing more than someone else. If possible come prepared with a list of the items you, as the caregiver, are currently      responsible for. Being armed with a detailed list makes it easier to determine who can help with what and also makes certain that major as well as minor tasks are accounted for. Use the meeting time as a way to come together for a mutually beneficial solution for your parents not as a finger pointing session.
  • Be prepared for push back from siblings and be prepared for someone to bring up the idea of “putting mom and dad in a home.” These are sometimes natural inclinations when faced with elder care. If your parents are still able to live independently, that should be encouraged. If your parents are on the borderline of being able to age in place, consider gifting them with a home medical monitoring device and a personal alert pendant; this is a way to provide peace of mind to all involved in the event of a trip or fall or other medical emergency. Perhaps the family will need to come up with a plan for hiring a personal care aid, or a housekeeper or even someone to help with meal preparation or driving them to doctor’s appointments. Once you know what your options are, you can better plan.

Even though you may be facing burnout as a caregiver, you still need to approach the meeting with siblings with focus on helping mom and dad in addition to relieving some of your burden. Because everyone in the family is working toward the same ultimate goal – caring for your parents – the conversation should flow smoothly. If not, here are some tips on how to negotiate:

  • Be prepared with what needs to be done
  • Don’t be accusatory
  • Present the problem as one that is shared by all family members
  • Ask for suggestions other than ones you may have posed
  • Be flexible in addressing issues and don’t feel you need to provide answers to all of the tasks that need addressing. Getting suggestions from family members might just open the door to a solution no one had thought of previously

Don’t forget to invite mom and dad to the conversation and get their input on the tasks they feel they can take on themselves, and those for which they need assistance.

 

Resources for the Growing Population of Male Caregivers

Within the past few decades, gender roles and social norms have become increasingly blurred. Men are more hands-on with parenting, and it is not uncommon to see men taking on the role of stay-at-home dad. More recently there has been a spike in the number of males assuming the role of caregiver to their loved ones as well. Today it is estimated that 45 percent of caregivers are male.

Recent studies on how gender affects caregiving have revealed some key differences in how men undertake the role. Males are less likely to seek outside help and are more likely to view the position as a case manager or care coordinator would. In response to the differences men experience as caregivers, a variety of resources have popped up catered to the gender. The following list provides a good place to start if you, or a male you know has recently found themselves caring for a loved one.

1. Malecaregivercommunity.com: Founded in June, the Male Caregiver Community serves as an online community for males to seek support and advice from professionals and their peers.

2. BenefitsCheckUp.org: Designed to help adults 55 and older utilize government and private programs that aid in funding prescription drugs, health care, in-home services and other needs, BenefitsCheckUp.org is a goldmine for finding aid. Adults can also look into ElderCare.gov to find resources within their own community.

3. Work benefits: Many large employers offer resources to their employees including information and referral services. Contact your employee-assistance program for more information.

4. Veterans benefits: If your care recipient served at least 90 days of active military service,  they may qualify for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ aid-and-attendance benefit, which helps pay for long-term care.

5. Caregiver Conferences: Conferences like the Fearless Caregiver Conference have seen a surge in male attendance as of late. A number of male support groups are also in existence and can be located at caregiver.com.

6. Geriatric-care managers: Social workers and registered nurses are available to help caregivers assess their loved one’s needs and determine what in-home services they may benefit from. There are various websites and message boards available to aid you in researching care managers.

Caregiving is not a job that should be undertaken alone. Utilizing as many resources as possible will make the experience much easier to navigate – for both men and women.

Mobile Apps that Aid Caregivers

Caregivers will be the first to tell you that they could benefit from more information or assistance regarding their caregiver role. Having help at the touch of button via their smartphones is a fast and effective way to gain more insight into their loved one’s situation and needs.

According to MarketWatch, more than 8,700 health-related apps are currently available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. If you are interested in receiving a little caregiver relief via your smartphone, the following apps are worth checking out:

  • Personal Caregiver: Available on the iPhone free of charge. Personal Caregiver tracks medications ensuring care recipients with multiple medications are given the proper dosage and are alerted of when care receivers need refills. This app also allows you to monitor the medications of up to three people in case you want to track your own medications or another family members. For $9.99 you can also receive FDA recall alerts and more detailed medication information.
  • Tell My Geo: Available on the Android for $9.95 a month. Tell My Geo is a personal-health-record app that allows health providers and emergency responders the opportunity to access the user’s medical history. This app also has a GPS locator so caregivers can track lost loved ones, this app is especially helpful for caregivers who are caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Pain Care: Available on the iPhone and Android free of charge. This app helps translate the pain loved ones are feeling if they can no longer talk due to a medical condition. Patients can indicate pain levels by tapping on frowning or smiling faces in addition to the location of the pain and its duration. Medical professionals can access the app in order to adjust treatments and medications as needed.
  • iBiomed: Available for iPhone free of charge. The iBiomed app is a comprehensive app that acts as a one-stop-shop for caregiving that includes all of your loved one’s medical information. There is a mobile log book for prescriptions, supplements, diets, allergies; portable medical records; and a journal so you can easily access foods, behaviors, reactions etc. You can also share your stories with caregivers through an online forum.
  • Betty Crocker Cookbook: Available for iPhone. Caregivers preparing meals can access the app for menu planning that is suited to your loved one’s specific dietary and nutritional requirements.

The bevy of apps available for caregivers today is truly amazing, check out your smartphone for more information on these apps and others. And remember, before purchasing any app it is always a good idea to reference app reviews on reputable websites to ensure their safety and reliability.

Mobile Apps that Aid Caregivers

Caregivers will be the first to tell you that they could benefit from more information or assistance regarding their caregiver role. Having help at the touch of button via their smartphones is a fast and effective way to gain more insight into their loved one’s situation and needs.

According to MarketWatch, more than 8,700 health-related apps are currently available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. If you are interested in receiving a little caregiver relief via your smartphone, the following apps are worth checking out:

  • Personal Caregiver: Available on the iPhone free of charge. Personal Caregiver tracks medications ensuring care recipients with multiple medications are given the proper dosage and are alerted of when care receivers need refills. This app also allows you to monitor the medications of up to three people in case you want to track your own medications or another family members. For $9.99 you can also receive FDA recall alerts and more detailed medication information.
  • Tell My Geo: Available on the Android for $9.95 a month. Tell My Geo is a personal-health-record app that allows health providers and emergency responders the opportunity to access the user’s medical history. This app also has a GPS locator so caregivers can track lost loved ones, this app is especially helpful for caregivers who are caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Pain Care: Available on the iPhone and Android free of charge. This app helps translate the pain loved ones are feeling if they can no longer talk due to a medical condition. Patients can indicate pain levels by tapping on frowning or smiling faces in addition to the location of the pain and its duration. Medical professionals can access the app in order to adjust treatments and medications as needed.
  • iBiomed: Available for iPhone free of charge. The iBiomed app is a comprehensive app that acts as a one-stop-shop for caregiving that includes all of your loved one’s medical information. There is a mobile log book for prescriptions, supplements, diets, allergies; portable medical records; and a journal so you can easily access foods, behaviors, reactions etc. You can also share your stories with caregivers through an online forum.
  • Betty Crocker Cookbook: Available for iPhone. Caregivers preparing meals can access the app for menu planning that is suited to your loved one’s specific dietary and nutritional requirements.

The bevy of apps available for caregivers today is truly amazing, check out your smartphone for more information on these apps and others. And remember, before purchasing any app it is always a good idea to reference app reviews on reputable websites to ensure their safety and reliability.

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Being a caregiver to your aging parents most certainly feels like a full time job and all the added responsibilities and pressures may make it seem as though giving up your day job to provide full-time care to your parents is the best option. However, before taking that giant leap, adult children should reconsider their options.

A recent MetLife study suggests that U.S. adult children should think twice about abandoning their careers in order to provide full time care for a parent due to the loss of revenue they are sacrificing both now and in the future. Around 10 million employed caregivers in the U.S. lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over a lifetime for leaving the workforce prematurely.

In the last 15 years alone the percentage of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled. Among baby boomers providing care daughters are more likely to provide basic care to their aging parents than sons who are more likely to offer financial assistance.

When adult children sacrifice work to provide care to their parents they are not only missing out on a paycheck, but also years of service required to become vested in a defined benefits pension plan, to receive matching 401(k) funds or to build Social Security benefits.

Caregivers should budget their funds carefully and examine possible freer or low-cost community services and government health programs. The following list from the American Cancer Society provides a great starting point for caregivers to find the help they need in lieu of taking a sojourn from their careers.

1. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

(800) 424-3410

Offers information on financial planning and estate planning, money management assistance to low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying bills, and reconciling bank statements. Helps prevent financial abuse of frail, older adults and enables them to remain financially viable and in their own homes.

2. Caring Voice Coalition

1-804-427-6468,  1-888-267-1440

Seeks to empower patients with life-threatening, chronic illnesses. Current programs include a financial

assistance program, insurance education and counseling, and a patient support program.

3. Dignity Resources

1-877-563-2100

Helps people understand the assets and financial options available to them during a serious or life-threatening illness, and assists them in making the most informed choices possible given their particular situation.

4. The National Council on Aging

Compares the information you give with eligibility requirements for Social Security, Medicaid, in-home services, supplemental nutrition assistance, pharmacy programs, and state programs.

5. U.S. Administration on Aging

1-800-677-1116

Provides benefits for older adults. Eldercare locator finds resources in your local community.

6. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

A federal, state, and locally funded program designed to provide assistance to those eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals who, without this care, would be unable to remain safely in their own homes.

7. BenefitsCheckUpRx

Resource provided by the National Council on the Aging for individuals age 55 and older who have difficulty paying for their medicines. Web site can find drug assistance programs as well as programs to help with rent, property taxes, meals and other needs.

8. Together Rx Access

1-800-444-4106

Helps individuals and families who lack prescription drug coverage save on brand-name prescription drugs, other prescription products, and a wide range of generic drugs. Must meet eligibility criteria.

9. American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program

1-800-227-2345

Volunteers transport patients and families to hospitals and clinics for treatment free of charge. In some places, the American Cancer Society may also provide limited assistance with the cost of gas.

10. National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Learn practical steps to get smart about money from getting out of debt and budgeting to setting financial goals and investing money to reach those goals.

Finding the time and resources to care for aging parents is no easy task, but abandoning your career is not going to be beneficial to you in the short or long term. Take some time to research other available options and consider what is at stake for your financial future.

Elderly Assistance Organizations

Organizations that Lend a Helping Hand

While at times being a caregiver may seem like an isolating job, you should not have to go it alone. And fortunately there are numerous resources available to aid both you and your loved one. While there are hundreds of organizations in operation to help the elderly, here are just a few to get you started:

Nutrition.gov lists nationwide food assistance programs for the elderly including the food and nutrition service which provides incentives to states for the effective delivery of nutritious meals to older adults, the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Elderly Nutrition Program.

Meals on Wheels is America’s oldest and largest national organization for local, community-based Senior Nutrition programs. Located in all 50 states, Meals on Wheels’ mission is to make sure no senior goes hungry.

Eldercare Locator is a public service that aids in finding local agencies in the U.S. that can help caregivers and the elderly access home and community-based services. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code to explore anything from assisted living facilities to caregiver support services.

BenefitsCheckUp.org provides information for the elderly regarding their eligibility for benefits from existing federal, state and local programs. Benefits range from heating and energy assistance to income supplements.

GovBenefits.gov hosts information on government programs your care receiver can utilize.

• The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists qualified low-income and elderly Americans with utility payments for the winter months. Each state receives federal funds which they then dole out. LIHEAP usually sends the payments directly to the utility company, making the program extremely convenient. Apply early as LIHEAP is on a first come-first serve basis.

Caregiving is a big responsibility and sometimes a daunting task. Take advantage of these resources!

Elderly Assistance Organizations

Organizations that Lend a Helping Hand

While at times being a caregiver may seem like an isolating job, you should not have to go it alone. And fortunately there are numerous resources available to aid both you and your loved one. While there are hundreds of organizations in operation to help the elderly, here are just a few to get you started:

Nutrition.gov lists nationwide food assistance programs for the elderly including the food and nutrition service which provides incentives to states for the effective delivery of nutritious meals to older adults, the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Elderly Nutrition Program.

Meals on Wheels is America’s oldest and largest national organization for local, community-based Senior Nutrition programs. Located in all 50 states, Meals on Wheels’ mission is to make sure no senior goes hungry.

Eldercare Locator is a public service that aids in finding local agencies in the U.S. that can help caregivers and the elderly access home and community-based services. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code to explore anything from assisted living facilities to caregiver support services.

BenefitsCheckUp.org provides information for the elderly regarding their eligibility for benefits from existing federal, state and local programs. Benefits range from heating and energy assistance to income supplements.

GovBenefits.gov hosts information on government programs your care receiver can utilize.

• The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists qualified low-income and elderly Americans with utility payments for the winter months. Each state receives federal funds which they then dole out. LIHEAP usually sends the payments directly to the utility company, making the program extremely convenient. Apply early as LIHEAP is on a first come-first serve basis.

Caregiving is a big responsibility and sometimes a daunting task. Take advantage of these resources!

Survival tips for the Sandwich Generation

Here are some things that can help you stay sane through all the nonsense life brings.

  1. Alone time is crucial – Taking a break from everyday life is important. Spending a little time each day focused on you can really make a difference in the overall stress level of everyday life. Trying getting up a little earlier and enjoying fresh juice while reading your favorite magazine. Or after a long day of work, unwind by taking your dog on a walk. The gym is another excellent place to unwind if you can find a cardio machine away from all the noise. Put on your head phones and walk a few miles, unwinding your mind from the days’ struggles.
  2. Family Support – As with most things in life, if you don’t have your family supporting your decisions it probably won’t go over well. Finding support and comfort within your family ties helps to make sense of the crazy stuff that happens every day. Rely on your spouse and kids to help your through your problems and create a time and place to discuss family dynamics on a routine basis. This will help solve a lot of at home issues while also bringing the family closer, building a better relationship between all parties involved.
  3. Faith – Everyone has their own definition and experience of faith.  What faith brings is a sense of commitment, fellowship and an overall feeling of comfort and security knowing that you have something to rely on other than the tangible factors in this world. If praying or meditation helps you throughout the day, do it. Increase the amount of time you spend on your faith and you will see it reciprocated in your everyday life.
  4. Employment Benefits – When it comes to today’s corporate policies, they have changed from years past. If you have added stress from taking care of a sick or again parent, many companies will provide some sort of leniency in order to provide for your loved ones needs. If you feel stressed about missing work to take your sick mother to her doctor’s appointment, just ask. You may be surprised at the new policies!
  5. Professional Assistance – When concerns do arise because of taking care of a sick loved one, or in general, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or other professionals about your problem. Expressing yourself helps not only you, but everyone around you understand what is going on and how they can help make your life easier

The overall goal is to survive! Remember that having a positive attitude and not stressing over the small stuff in life will help. Eventually, everyone needs help in life and equipping yourself with quality relationships will provide balance as you care for yourself and all those around you.