Above and Beyond

Sheila

Sheila winning a door prize at the Alzheimer’s conference last year.

It’s important to highlight what makes Capability Caregivers so special. When you’re choosing someone to care for your elderly parents, it helps to know this person will go above and beyond what’s expected.

 

Take for instance our amazing caregiver Sheila.

Sheila has been caring for the same couple for over a year and a half. She provides live in care– meaning she spends 4 full days living in their home- helping them with day to day tasks (ADL’s) such as making meals, helping with bathing and dressing, personal care (assisting with toileting and catheter care) providing companionship and keeping them safe in their home.

She also takes them for walks, drives to doctor’s appointments, runs errands, takes out the trash, gets the newspaper each day, takes care of light housekeeping, keeps the kitchen stocked and more… all the tasks that we take for granted, but have to be done to keep our homes running smoothly.

Sheila has been a caregiver for 8 years- she is a trained CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and on her own time takes extra CEU classes to further her education and skill set. Last year I remember running into her at the Alzheimer’s conference- she had attended on her own so that she could learn more about caring for her clients.

Sheila says she loves working with Mr and Mrs S because she learns so much from them- they are interesting to talk to- and more importantly, they are still so in love with one another. Their love for one another brings a smile to Sheila’s face because she knows that she is helping them stay together in their home to live out their old age.

The hardest part of Sheila’s work day is recognizing that Mr and Mrs S both have dementia- and they are slowly slipping away from their former selves which makes Sheila sad.

Sheila’s passion is cooking- as was evident the day I went over to visit and interview her for this article. The house smelled delicious! She had prepared an omelet with green peppers, fresh cottage cheese with berries, sausage links, toast, coffee and juice (keep in mind she had no idea I was coming by, she cooks like that every day!).

What I noticed more than the amazing food- was that on the table were decorations for St Patty’s day. She had 4 leaf clovers scattered around, confetti strewn on the table, pictures of leprechaun and other little nick knacks on display. On a white board next to the table was written the day of the week, the schedule for the day and a little note reminding them that St. Patty’s day was coming up.

I asked Sheila about this- and she replied that she does this each month as a reminder to Mr and Mrs S about whatever holiday is coming up. It helps them stay in touch with the outside world and brings them a little joy. It also adds a festive element to their home- making it seem like a party every day!

I was so touched by this- because to me- it goes above and beyond what would be expected. She truly cares about Mr and Mrs S and treats them as if they were her own parents.  Her devotion to them is so evident in the loving way she cares for them. I know Mr and Mrs S (and their adult children) are grateful for all that Sheila does to help them live comfortably at home.

Sheila exemplifies the core values that we live by at Capability Homecare- honesty, integrity, empathy and compassion.

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10 Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

The month of March is National Nutrition Month, and a common and very serious problem among seniors is malnutrition. By not eating a nutritious diet- seniors are more vulnerable to serious health problems- including increase in falls, a weakened immune system and poor wound healing.

Early detection of malnutrition is important since it has been associated with diminished cognitive function, mobility, and a diminished ability to care for one’s self.

Some of the factors that contribute to malnutrition are:

  • medications that can lead to decreased sense of taste and smell

  • a  lack of energy to prepare healthy food

  • poor oral health (dental and swallowing) problems

  • having a monotonous diet

  • lack of resources for shopping or preparing healthy meals and

  • depression and/or alcohol usage

Capability Homecare caregivers use the following 10 tips to encourage clients to increase caloric intake and in turn lead a healthier life:

1. Offer plenty of healthy options to choose from

2. Encourage snacks to increase calories

3. Caregiver can plan, shop, prepare and clean up meals

4. By avoiding pre-packaged frozen meals, caregivers can monitor salt intake

5. Increase calorie consumption by offering supplements such as energy drinks and shakes

6. Encourage exercise– even the smallest amount can increase appetite

7. Provide access to available resources– Meals on Wheels, senior centers and adult day programs often serve hot meals every day

8. Encourage client to ask their doctor and dentist for help. Maybe change medications or have dentist treat swallowing problems

9. Caregiver can monitor alcohol intake and encourage healthier choice such as water (avoid dehydration)

10. By enjoying the meal together, caregiver models healthy eating and makes the meal a social event

If you are concerned that your loved one may be not receiving proper nutrition, consider hiring Capability Homecare to provide this essential daily need. Caregivers are available on an hourly or live in basis.

Please go to www.capabilityhomecare.com for more information.

Source:

http://nutritionandaging.fiu.edu/aging_network/malfact2.asp

 

 

Activities of Daily Living

At Capability Homecare we provide our clients assistance with Activities of Daily Living -meaning helping seniors with anything that is part of their daily lives that they can no longer do on their own. Usually this means help with bathing, getting dressed, personal care or even making meals.

I’ve recently discovered the importance of my own activities of daily living and these have nothing to do with getting dressed or having a bath.

I’m talking about activities to take care of yourself. Activties to nurture your soul. This is especially relevant at this time of year when things start to get crazy with the holidays!

One of my daily activities is to have a mantra. I use ‘Inner Peace, Outer Joy’.

When things start to seem too crazy or stresfull, I slow down, breathe deep and think this thought over and over again. Somehow, it calms my spirit and reminds me of what’s important.

I was reading on Agingcare.com and a caregiver posed the question on how to handle stress of caring for her parents. Many people responded with great suggestions, including taking daily walks,  hiring outside help, praying, practicing yoga, journaling, starting a garden, meditation…

It’s important to remember to take care of yourself before anything else. I know that seems crazy, but anything you can do that helps you remain calm, happy and peaceful will make you a better caregiver, a better friend, a better parent.

Like they say on the airplane ‘put your own oxygen mask on first!’.

If you are a caregiver and in the Seattle area, consider joining a local support group. Overlake Hospital offers one. See below or click here.

Family caregivers need support and information as they navigate the twists, turns, and responsibilities of providing care for another. Open to anyone caring for an older adult. No registration required. Free

Caregiver of Older Adults Support Group – Bellevue

  • Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Overlake Senior Health Center, 1750 112th Avenue NE, Suite A101, Bellevue.
  • For more information, call Regina Bennett, MSW 425-688-5807

Family Caregiver Support Group – Mercer Island 

  • Second Tues. of the month, 3 to 4 p.m. Overlake Senior Health Center, 7707 SE 27th Street, Suite 110, Mercer Island.
  • Call Karin Miller, MSW 425-688-5637 for more information.

Capability Homecare is a boutique homecare agency with the highest caregiver standards in the industry.