Tag Archives: Caregiver Resources

Three Common Challenges of Caregiving

According to former First Lady, Rosalyn Carter; “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 caregivers.”  In other words, at some point, everyone will face the challenges of being a caregiver. We at Caregivers Connections, have put together a list of three common challenges of caregiving, along with some tips to handle each successfully. Continue reading

Five Tips To Avoid Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you’ve more than likely heard: ‘take care of yourself’, ‘your health is important to your loved one’, and other thoughtful words along that line.  The problem is, many shrug it off thinking, ‘I don’t have the time to take care of myself’. The truth is, it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are five steps to help you avoid caregiver burnout. Continue reading

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.