5 Ways to Prepare for Homecare

Once you’ve made the choice to provide in-home care for an elderly member there will be many things you need to take care of. At first, your decision may overwhelm you and create a lot of stress. But with a little knowledge and planning, some of this stress can be relieved. Here are some tips that will help you provide better and hopefully make the transition a pleasant experience for everyone involved:

Accept the Change

The very first step is to accept that there will be a change. Depending on the level of care there may be dramatic changes to your lifestyle, or negligible ones. Whatever the case may be, it is necessary that you accept and embrace the change that will soon be coming your way.

Keep Your Family Involved

Your decision to provide in-home care needs to be discussed with your family. The effects of ageing in an in-home care situation are very prominent, and will affect your family members in different ways. Take into account everyone’s opinions on the matter, so that you can prepare for any potential challenges. Make sure responsibility is divided equally so that no one person is stretched beyond their limits.

Eliminate Clutter

A messy environment in general makes it hard to get things done. This will become more of a hassle in an in-home care situation. Obstructed pathways and all round clutter pose challenges and risk the safety of your loved ones. Thus, a good way to prepare for in-home caregiving is to minimize clutter, and organize your surroundings. Having a neat space will make caregiving much easier for you, and will also be greatly appreciated by your elder family members.

Modify the Home

Sometimes, your home may need certain adjustments to make living more comfortable for your elder loved ones. Consider what modifications you may need, from installing a walk in-tub to investing in grab bars to promote stair safety.

Remember Yourself

Caregiving can take a toll on anyone. In the process of giving care, make sure not to neglect yourself. Caregiving is very demanding, even if you are helping your own family members. Neglecting oneself often happens subconsciously, but can have negative repercussions. As a care provider, it’s important to look after yourself so you are in the best condition to provide care for others. Remember to eat and sleep well, stay healthy, and take a break every now and then, giving yourself the attention and care you rightly deserve.

Keeping these things in mind will lessen the anxiety and stress that often accompanied in-home care giving in its initial stages. Ultimately, you will find that in-home care giving is a wonderfully fulfilling process – not only for your dearly loved elders, but also for you.

Written by Akshata Mehta, who has also written for Not Now Mom’s Busy, The Small FootPrint Family, Family Groove

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Everyone Has a Story to Tell

merleA fascinating man lives in Redmond, WA- and I had the pleasure of meeting him last week. His name is Merle Fister, and he is a 3 time war veteran, having served in WWII, the cold war, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Pentagon.

Mr. Fister, or Merle, as he would like me to call him, came from humble beginnings. He was born in 1921 to a farming family in Nebraska. As a child growing up on the farm he was surrounded by 160 acres; which included horses, cows, chickens and pigs. However, when the dust bowl hit- his family was forced to move west, landing them in CA. There, his father worked for GE and Merle started a lawn care business.

After finishing high school, Merle got a job working for Northup Aircraft building airplanes- which turned out to be a stepping stone for a career in the military. He enlisted as Army Air Corp and was assigned to Atlantic City as a permanent party guard. He spent his nights on the boardwalk, carrying a WWI rifle with a bayonet looking for German spies.

A few months later, he applied for Ariel Gunnery School- but ended up in pilot training instead. Once he learned to fly- he discovered a passion for it and loved flying acrobatics in his tiny single engine open cockpit plane. In Salt Lake he learned to fly the B 24 and also merle 3met his crew of 10 men. They were sent to Italy to fight in WWII. Their  mission was bombing bridges. His regiment, the 454th Bomb Group, was part of the famous bombing of the Polesti Oil fields. This was a very dangerous mission- and his plane barely made it out in one piece. They were hit by enemy fire and lost multiple engines, having to do an emergency landing with little fuel, no brakes and only one working engine. Miraculously, no one was hurt! His group went on to fly over 50 more missions in three months.

His career went on from there- he went to radar school, then on to Germany to run radar for the military, including during the infamous Berlin Air Lift. He became an Engineering Officer, an instructor in air science and tactics for ROTC cadets, and also became Commandant of Cadets. He then went to advanced radar communications training in Mississippi and then became a Captain in the Korean War working as an advisor for electronics command. He traveled all over the world serving as Electronics Commander and was responsible for controlling the B52’s that were in flight daily to protect the US.

From there he went on the Turkey to be the Long Haul Communications Director- collecting information on Russians. Then he went to Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma City and provided communications for central air command- controlling all air traffic for military flights in central US. He also went to school and finished is bachelor’s degree. During this time, Vietnam broke out- and Merle was sent to Hawaii to work with the Navy to stop the spread of communism.

The Pentagon was next on his career path- where he worked with high level planning and programming communications for troops around the world. We worked on the Worldwide Command and Communications System providing a secure voice of teletype in Vietnam. Finally, after a long and distinguished military career, he retired in 1970 as a full Colonel from the Pentagon.

Rather than simply rest and enjoy retirement, he then went on to get his Master’s degree in Public Administration and started a completely new career as a business man- owning a tax and accounting firm and then eventually owning beauty shops, rental properties and dry cleaners. He had a successful career as a businessman and helped develop a major housing community in Tempe, AZ that had over 1500 homes. He served as the Director of the Homeowner’s Association for two years.

Merle is a man who is extremely intelligent, extremely humble and clearly a very hard worker. Even in his retirement- he stays active and involved in his community of Fairwinds– a senior community in Redmond, WA. Here he runs the Men’s Breakfast Club, Chairs the Garden Club, Serves on the World Affairs Club, created the People Helping People Club and also started a Resident’s Association- of which he wrote the by-laws for.

Unofficially, he is called ‘the Mayor’ of his community- and it is evident why! He knows merle 2everyone, has a smile for everyone and works harder than any 94 year old I’ve ever seen! Merle is so well liked and welcoming- that he would make a perfect mayor! His mission in life is to serve; he is constantly looking for ways to make things better, get people involved and to give back to his community.

What’s fascinating to me about Mr. Fister is that he truly exemplifies what many refer to as the best generation. He is an excellent example of hard work, street smarts and perseverance. With only a high school education- he later went on to get several degrees- including his Master’s Degree and served our country in a long and distinguished military career- starting as a Private and ending his career as a Full Colonel in the Pentagon. It was such a joy to hear his life’s story.

 

When Ho, Ho, Ho feels More Like Ho Hum

This is the time of year when it seems like everyone is full of cheer- but truth be told, not everyone you see is feeling joyful. In fact, depression is actually quite common during the holidays- especially among the elderly.

Sadly,  the elderly population ranks 2nd in the nation for the highest suicide rate.*

During this holiday season, if you notice things that make you concerned about a loved one, there are a few signs to look for if you fear they may be suffering from depression:

  1. Mental exhaustion
  2. Loss of interest in normal activities
  3. Recurrent thoughts of death
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Loss of energy
  6. Socially withdrawn
  7. Insomnia
  8. Lack of personal hygiene

If you notice that they exhibit more than one of these signs, it is suggested you seek professional help.

Some of the risk factors for suicide and depression include**:

  1. Alcohol or substance abuse
  2. Current use of a medication associated with a high risk of depression
  3. Hearing or vision impairment severe enough to affect function
  4. History of attempted suicide
  5. History of psychiatric hospitalization
  6. Medical diagnosis or diagnoses associated with a high risk of depression
  7. New admission or change in environment
  8. New stressful losses, including loss of autonomy, loss of privacy, loss of functional status, loss of body part, or loss of family member or friend
  9. Personal or family history of depression or mood disorder

If you are concerned about a loved one, it is important that you talk to them and get them to their primary care doctor for PH2Q evaluation.

The good news is that depression can be treated in a variety of ways. Including Psychotherapy, Pharmacotherapy, and in some cases ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy).

For those who have minor depression- helping them find purpose and meaning in their life can often be beneficial. Brookdale Communities offer an Optimum Life program that focuses on all aspects of one’s life, including physical, emotional, social and intellectual stimulation.

Eating a healthy diet can also help increase mood. Encourage your loved one to eat foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats and get plenty of vitamin D. Often seniors who live alone rely on frozen foods to get by, hiring a Capability Caregiver to prepare healthy, nutritious meals can make a huge difference. Even just having a companion to eat meals with can help alleviate loneliness.

If you are worried about your loved one, have faith, patience and seek help.  With the proper care- depression can be treated and you can turn ho hum into ho, ho, ho!

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Walking in the Park

*http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

** http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=32668

Capability Homecare Acquires Peace of Mind Home Health

Capability Homecare Acquires Peace of Mind and Names New Director of Operations

Bellevue, WA

Locally owned Capability Homecare has made two strategic moves to further ensure their place as the premiere homecare agency in the Greater Seattle area.

Effective November 14th, 2014, Capability Homecare acquired Peace of Mind Home Health and will assume all of Peace of Mind’s current operations.

Additionally, Laura Henrichs has been named Director of Operations of Capability Homecare. Laura has over 14 years working in the homecare industry and joined Capability Homecare last February. The transition will be seamless, as Laura has been leading Capability Homecare’s client services efforts for the past nine months.

Capability Homecare was established by Daniel and Megan Bigbee in 2008. Since then, they have been committed to providing superior home care services for clients in the Greater Seattle/Bellevue area.

Capability Homecare’s screening methods exceed industry standards to ensure their caregivers meet the high expectations of their valued clients.

Capability Homecare is committed to maintaining the dignity, respect and independence of clients while creating peace of mind for their families.

Services include assistance with Activities of Daily Living, Personal Care, Medication Management, Meal preparation, Transportation, Companionship and Nurse Delegation. More information can be found at www.capabilityhomecare.com.

 

Alzheimer’s- a New Reality

photoOne of the most challenging things about living with someone with Alzheimer’s can be the constant confusion.

Often, the person isn’t in touch with reality and may not realize where they are, or what year it is, or who you are- and that can be heartbreaking and frustrating.

“No Mom, that’s not Suzie, it’s Karen- your daughter”, or “No Dad, we aren’t going to church today- it’s Wednesday. We don’t go to church on Wednesday”… and so on.

Unfortunately, these types of (well intentioned) responses can often illicit an argument- and actually add to the confusion and anxiety that the person is already feeling.

I distinctly remember having these exact kind of conversations with my grandmother- she would get confused and when we would try to gently correct her- she would become visibly agitated and sometimes even downright angry.

I only wish I had heard of the ‘yes, and’ approach then.

I first heard of the ‘yes, and’ approach on the radio (KUOW). I was driving to work and listening to a story about a comedian who’s mother in law suffered from Alzheimer’s. She was often confused- and sometimes even delusional- but rather than correct her, he used a technique he had learned in an improv class- that of always saying ‘yes, and’ to whatever was thrown at him on stage.

He decided to try this same approach at home. The example he gave was one day his mother in law looked out the window and mentioned something about seeing monkeys in the trees. Instead of telling her how ridiculous that was (as some family members felt the need to do), he just went along with it;

Yes, I see the monkeys, and don’t you think it’s a bit early in the season for monkeys?” Upon hearing this response, she immediately lit up and the two of them went back and forth in a crazy conversation- one that left a lasting impression on both of them.

By saying ‘yes, and’ to whatever his mother in law would say- he  was engaging her in a conversation (no matter how silly or outrageous) which allowed her to feel connected and in turn, gave her joy.

Over time the family began to see that she clearly favored the son in law over anyone else. Her face would light up when he would enter the room and she would get excited to converse with him. They recognized that the change was due to his ability to meet her where she was, and eventually they all adopted the ‘yes, and’ approach.

Sometimes it was easy, other times not so much… but it reminds us that by entering into the reality of the person with memory loss- you are giving that person the opportunity to connect with you.  That connection and social engagement is far more important than ‘being right’.

Through patience, humor and creativity- you can change your interactions with the person you are caring for.

Capability Homecare has trained and experienced caregivers who work with Alzheimer’s and Dementia clients daily.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease

0039486-R1-018-7AThe Seattle Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Sept 20th. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and help fundraise for this terrible disease. Capability Homecare will have a team there this year and we are looking for your support. Please consider joining our team- or donating! If you are interested, click here.

Many of you know that my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Over a short period of time, the disease  took over her body and changed her into a stranger.

My family watched as this incredibly friendly, outgoing, social butterfly turned into a shy, frightened and sometimes angry old woman.

Her easy laugh was replaced by tears and her friendly smile was replaced by a look of confusion. She knew something wasn’t right in her brain- but became defensive and angry when she recognized that she couldn’t figure things out.

It was heartbreaking for our family to witness. We tried to be patient, tried to not get frustrated that she asked the same question over and over again, and we tried to calm her fears by keeping things familiar for her.

Eventually, her disease progressed to the point that it was more than we could manage and we needed to find help.

In home care is a great option for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  Being surrounded by things that are familiar and comfortable can help reduce the stress and anxiety caused by memory loss. Capability Homecare offers live in or hourly care to help families keep their loved ones safe at home.

We can help with:

  • personal care
  • housekeeping/ homemaker services
  • transportation
  • meal preparation
  • life enrichment
  • personal safety
  • managing behavior
  • ambulation and mobility
  • companion care
  • To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one, call one of our care advisors today-

    425 679 5770.