Family Caregiver Support
There are several activities an individual needs assistance with after undergoing a heart related surgery or incident. A caregiver can provide the comfort, care, and support to make the process easier for them and their family. A caregiver should:
· Remind an individual to perform temperature checks at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily for two or three weeks. Inform a physician if the temperature is above 100°F.
· Remind an individual to weight themselves every day. Weight loss is normal for about three weeks after surgery. If an individual gains more than three to five pounds, the caregiver should notify their doctor. They may be retaining fluid.
· Assist with lifting or retrieving objects. Lifting objects over 5-10 lbs. after surgery is not recommended since the breastbone will not have had time to heal.
· Watch for warning signs of a heart attack or stroke:
o Heart Attack
§ Chest Discomfort
· Can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
§ Discomfort in Upper Body
· Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
§ Shortness of Breath
§ Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
§ Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
CPR and AED training is encouraged while caring for someone with cardiovascular disease.
· Medication reminders o Long-term treatment after a heart attack usually requires medications including; statins, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and aspirin. Caregivers can remind patients to take their medication at the appropriate time.
o Caregivers can also become educated on these drugs, their side effects and interactions, and the proper dosages.
· Manage Stress and Depression
o It is normal for heart attack survivors to feel extremely fearful of another heart attack, or upset and resentful at having to rely on others for primary care. It is important to maintain good cardiovascular health and avoid a heart attack by minimizing stress, anger, and depression. A caregiver can encourage an individual to:
§ Keep a journal. Often, writing about feelings can help a victim feel better.
§ Arrange for counseling if depression, anger, or withdrawal persists for more than four weeks.
§ Have a social life. Get out and make new friends. A local place of worship or community center is an excellent place to connect with other people in his/her age group.
The American Heart Association recommends that you seek professional help if he or she is exhibiting signs of severe depression, talk of suicide or there is a continuous interference with daily activities.
· Transportation Assistance
o Individuals should refrain from driving until their sternum heals and their reflexes improve. Usually this takes up to six or eight weeks. Transportation assistance is important in getting individuals to follow-up appointments with their physicians, transporting them to a cardiac rehabilitation program, and general errand assisting.
Doing these things care help you and your family on the way to a speedy recovery!
posted by Rita Ude on November 22, 2011, Right at Home Blog
The holiday season is a time of year to enjoy, not dread. Baking, shopping and decorating are fun tasks, but preparing to celebrate with family and friends may increase your stress level, which could lead to health issues. Follow these tips to make your holidays merry and less maddening.
Reflect – What does the holiday season mean to you? Display a favorite decoration or photo to remind you of the wonder and meaning of the season
- Relish – Take in the smaller joys of the holidays: Phone or visit a friend, attend a concert, listen to carolers, or look at holiday lights; these delights cost little but allow you to interact with others and fill the season with memorable moments
- Rank – Make a list of what you want to do to get ready for the holidays and rate each item on a scale of 1 to 10; complete your important tasks and skip the remainder
- Rest – Do as many chores as you can each day but don’t let them interfere with nap time; if you overdo it, you will become too tired and may get sick
- Eat right – Food is a highlight of the holidays but use common sense, or you may pay the price in the form of a stomachache or spike in blood pressure; to keep yourself in check, pretend your doctor is sitting down to dinner with you
- Relive a Ritual – Indulge in a holiday tradition special to you, whether it is making cookies, watching a holiday movie or building a snowman
- Rejuvenate – If you get depressed, listen to upbeat seasonal music to lift your spirits
How do you enjoy the holidays?
Yesterday we did an education day for our caregivers. We did four sessions, Hospice Care, Emergency Preparedness, Assisting with Medications and Proper Hand Washing. Kelly Joplin from Hospice did a wonderful job introducing us to the different aspects of Hospice care and the history of the company.
The three other sessions were prepared by HHPC's Administration. Steward Framer presented the Emergency Preparedness plan. This is a detailed plan of action that our company has been working on over the past few months. We know that it is best to be prepared for any kind of situation. We focused this session on winter weather, since that is the most likely scenario in our area.
Our session on Assisting with Medications was presented by our Clinical Director, Diana Williamson. She explained how our caregivers are allowed to assist clients in taking medications. She also taught them how to properly assist clients with inhalers and hot and cold compresses.
The final session on Proper Hand Washing gave tips on the best ways to get rid of germs. Three easy things to do are; 1. Choose liquid over bar soap. 2. Choose air dryers over paper towels. 3. Use hand sanitizer. We are already planning for our next education day!
-There are over 65 million caregivers in the United States.
-80% of home care in the United States is provided by unpaid (usually family) caregivers.
The following article was paraphrased by HHPC and can be found at www.jenerationshealth.com/blog
Caregivers of older adults are some of the most selfless people in the world. However, is it possible that they are being too selfless? Once a caregiver commits to caring for an older loved one, it is common for the caregiving to consume that person's life. Eventually, some caregivers believe they are the only ones who can care properly for their family member. Too much selflessness leads to martyr syndrome. Martyr syndrome occurs when caregivers experience negative consequences in multiple areas of life as a result of caregiving. There are consequences to sacrificing your time and health to be a caregiver.
Physical Consequences- Caregivers may struggle with headaches, stomach problems, muscle tension and excessive fatigue. The caregiver is likely not sleeping or eating well. Instead of seeking help from a professional, the caregivers are frequently cancelling and rescheduling their own regular check-ups. Many caregivers of older people are also elderly. Of those caring for someone over 65, the average age is 63 years.
Financial Consequences- Caregivers employed outside the home are more likely to reduce hours or even consider resigning to ensure care for the loved one remains uninterrupted.
Spiritual Consequences- Caregivers regularly experience interruptions to their plans for religious services or spiritual routines. While providing care, people need their spiritual practices more than ever.
Social Consequences- If a caregiver cannot remember the last time they did something fun with friends or family, social consequences have developed. Caregivers who have abandoned previously enjoyable activites like golf, biking, movies, book club or playing cards are in the process of isolating themselves.
Emotional Consequences- Caregivers often experience feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, frustration, sadness and loneliness.
Psychological Consequences- Caregivers with a history of mental health concerns like depression and anxiety disorders find themselves susceptible to increased symptoms while providing care for a loved one.
Many caregivers are in denial about their "over-commitment" to caregiving. It is important for friends and family members to point out the areas of concern. It may take several offers of help before the caregiver accepts. Friends and family can contact the caregiver's physician, financial planner, clergyperson or psychotherapist to share their concerns. Helping Hands Personal Care, LLC. can assist in providing respite care to caregivers and give them the break they need and deserve.
On Friday, November 18th, the Caregivers In Action group of Russell Springs held a 1st Annual Family Caregiver's Day Out at the Russell County Senior Citizens Center. Active Day offered complimentary care for loved ones while caregivers attended a day of pampering. Activities offered included: massages, manicures, skin care, make-up, refreshments, and bingo. Here are some pictures from the event:
Natalie Winstead of HHPC helped distribute the BINGO prizes
The center was transformed into a serene spa area
Refreshments were provided
Haircuts were provided free of charge
The tables were decorated with floating candles and the refreshment menu
On November 9th, 2011 at The Barn at Redgate, a fun day for family caregivers was held. The fun day out provided free activities including: massages, manicures, skin care, make-up, haircuts, bingo and refreshments. Our own Helping Hands Personal Care employees, Sarah Drake and Natalie Winstead, even provided manicures and painted nails. Here are a few photos from the event:
Bubbles Girdler with Sunrise Manor and Sarah Drake with HHPC
Bubbles Girdler from Sunrise Manor and Sarah Drake from HHPC
Christy, from Lifeline Home Health, giving a hand massage
Debbie, from Lifeline Home Health, giving a hand massage
Matthew Jenkins, from Intrepid Home Health, giving hand scrubs
Natalie Winstead from Helping Hands Personal Care painting nails
Bubbles from Sunrise Manor and Sarah Drake from HHPC painting nails
Do you have any expired or unused medication that you would like to get rid of? DO NOT flush these medications down the toilet or down the sink. This could contaminate our water system. Partners in Prevention of Russell Springs are offering the opportunity to dispose of unwanted medication on National Drug Take Back Day. It will be held this Saturday, October 29th, 2011 from 10:00am-2:00pm CST at the Russell County Auditorium. That would be 11:00am-3:00pm for those in Eastern time zones. For more information, please see the flyer by clicking here.
Alzheimer's Disease affects each person differently, but there are several common traits that are shared by many. The most common early sign is difficulty remembering newly learned information. Symptoms could include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, language breakdown, and long-term memory loss. To help your loved one cope with these symptoms, a high level of caregiver trust is essential. As memory and functioning declines your loved one will rely more and more on you, the caregiver, to help with aspects of daily living. It is important to keep frustration and outbursts to a minimum with your loved one. There are several things you can do to keep their frustration and outbursts to a minimum:
-Adhere to a daily living routine will help minimize confusion and give your loved one a sense of security.
-Make sure that emergency numbers are kept near the phone or with you at all times.
-Keep familiar items around- old pictures, favorite books, etc. This will help hold onto as many long-term memories as possible.
-The most important thing to remember if your loved one has an outburst is to remain calm and try to help them regain a sense of familiarity with people or places around them.
Remember, taking care of an aging parent takes a lot of patience and sacrifice. At Helping Hands Personal Care, LLC. we want to provide you with as much assistance as possible. Contact us if you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease and find that you need a helping hand.
If you or anyone you know is worried or experiencing sleep or appetite changes, feeling down, or recently experienced a loss (job, livelihood, relationship), expressing anger, unresolved grief, feelings or being "on edge", or displaying memory changes - Senior Life Solutions is accepting new Patients 55 and over! No Doctor Referral required. Transportation is provided within 40 mile radius. Senior Life Solutions is located in the Medical Arts Building on Dowell Road, behind Russell County Hospital in Russell Springs. Call Mary Lynn Bailey at (270) 866-4546 and tell them Helping Hands Personal Care sent you!
The National Private Duty Association recently hosted a free webinar: Addressing Legal Issues that Impact Seniors. The web conference discussed topics such as guardianship, wills and trusts, special needs trusts, informed consent and much more. If you would like to listen to the webinar you may do so by clicking this link.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kentucky is offering courses for adults 50+ in the Somerset area. There is a $10 membership fee and classes typically run around $10. The courses for Fall 2011 include...Industries of Pulaski County- History, Future & Industry Tours...Vines, Wines & Wineries.....Writing Your Family History....and many more! If you are interested in signing up for a course, please attend the OLLI Open House on September 20th from 1:00-3:00 at Pulaski County Public Library. There will be a special program at 1:00 featuring Daniel Boone: The Siege of Boonesboro. Please see the flyer for more information (click here). Also, do not hesitate to contact Sarah at Helping Hands Personal Care, LLC for more information.
This Sunday (1st Sunday after Labor Day) is National Grandparents Day. Make sure to do something nice for your grandparents or the elderly around you. The American Red Cross has some suggestions for how to do something special for them. You can find that information by clicking here. It is also important to inform them about a scam that is currently happening to senior citizens (especially grandparents). It is called the “grandparent’s scam”. You can find information from the Office of Attorney General by clicking here.
Keeping elderly parents or grandparents involved in day-to-day activities lets them know that they're an important part of the family. It is essential to be prepared for each trip to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips to keep your trip stress-free:
- Bring an extra set of clothes.
- If the elder is on oxygen, always check the portable tank before you leave the house, and bring an extra tank with you.
- Bring their next dose of medications. Accidents happen, and you could be away from home longer than expected.
- Request a wheelchair when possible, or bring one.
- Carry a list of doctors' phone numbers and a list of all medications with you at all times.
- Allow extra time in your trip. Getting your loved one in or out of the car could take longer than expected.
- Keep your loved one involved in what you are doing. Allow them to pick out items at the grocery store to prepare their favorite meal.
Taking care of an aging loved one can be rewarding, if you are prepared. Planning ahead is the best way to make errands an enjoyable experience.
If you, or someone you know, is an older Kentuckian (age 60 and older) seeking legal advice then you should contact the Legal HelpLine for Older Kentuckians. They offer free answers to legal questions as well as referrals for legal services. The statewide toll free number is 1-800-200-3633. The Helpline is available from 9 am- 5 pm Monday through Friday.
June is National Safety Month and it is important to stay say during the summer months. Many elderly venture outdoors into the sunshine to enjoy the summer weather. However, you are at greater risk for sun damage to your skin and eyes, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. It is important to stay safe during the summer while enjoying yourself. Helping Hands Personal Care has developed a flyer on water safety for adults. That flyer can be found here. The Lexington VA Medical Center has issued some information regarding summer safety. That information can be found by clicking here.
The Pulaski County Elder Abuse Council is hosting an event at the Dairy Queen Grill and Chill in Somerset. Please join Helping Hands Personal Care and the Council at the South Highway 27 location, in Somerset, to raise money to continue our efforts in raising awareness and preventing elder abuse in Pulaski County. The fundraiser will be on Tuesday, June 21st, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. A portion of all sales will go to the Pulaski County Elder Abuse Council. Please see the attached flyer for more details.
Osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is the most common chronic condition of the joints. According to Arthritis Today magazine, it affects approximately 33 million Americans. It can occur in people of any age, but is predominant in people older than 65. During osteoarthritis, there is a breakdown of the cartilage covering the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint and allow movement. As cartilage wears away, the bones become exposed and rub against each other. The joints no longer move smoothly. Fragments of bone or cartilage may float in joint fluid, causing irritation and pain.
The most common symptoms are chronic pain, fatigue, inflammation and stiffness. The symptoms are particularly worse first thing in the morning or after resting. The most commonly affected joints are the lower back, hips, knees, feet, neck and fingers.
There are several factors that contribute to the causes of osteoarthritis:
-Genes:Certain people may have a defect in the gene that produces collagen (the protein that makes up cartilage). Other genetically based traits may result in slight defects in the way the bones and joints fit together so that cartilage wears away faster than usual.
-Weight:Being overweight puts additional pressure on hip and knee joints. Every pound that you gain means three more pounds of added stress on your knees. Some research has also shown a link between being overweight and having an increased risk of osteoarthritis in hands, but the reason is unclear.
-Injury and overuse: Repetitive movements or serious injuries to joints can lead to osteoarthritis down the road.
The pain, swelling or stiffness may make it difficult to perform ordinary tasks at work or at home. Simple acts, like tucking in your bed sheets, can become nearly impossible.
There are simple ways that you can protect your joints:
-Losing weight if you are overweight or obese and getting regular exercise are important ways to take pressure off overburdened joints.
-Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your joints. Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, dancing) keep your heart healthy and muscles strong while controlling weight. Strength-training exercises, such as lifting weights, strengthen the muscles to support joints. Stretching increases flexibility and relieves stiff joints.
-Applying cold or heat to achy joints will relieve some pain.
-There are several medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aleve, Motrin, Advil, aspirin), that can provide pain relief for osteoarthritis. Consult with your doctor if these medications are not strong enough.
-Helpful devices can help you get around more easily and take stress off your joints. A brace around your knee redistributes weight and relieves some of the pressure on the joint. An orthotic device called a wedge inside your show can help correct imbalances in your knees. Using a cane to help you walk can take some of the weight off a painful hip or knee and slow the damage from knee osteoarthritis.
It is always wise to consult with your doctor before taking any medication for your osteoarthritis. If you are unsure if you have osteoarthritis, or another type of arthritis, please consult the Arthritis Today website. They have a map of arthritis symptoms by body part that can assist you with more information.
Falls are reported by one-third of all people age 65 and older. Two thirds of those who fall will fall again within six months. The Center for Disease Control estimates that by 2020, falls may cost the nation $43.8 billion in direct and indirect costs. Every 35 minutes an older American dies as the result of a fall. These statistics are scary, but very real. Some of the frequently reported risk factors for falls in the elderly include muscle weakness, a history of falls, gait and balance deficits, use of assistive devices, visual deficits, arthritis, impaired activities of daily living, depression, cognitive impairment, polypharmacy, and age of 80 and older. Fall prevention planning and programs are a multidisciplinary approach to decrease the likelihood of falls in the clients we serve. The first step in preventing a fall is to determine the risk each client has. A client should be questioned about their history of falls, vision, continence, familiarity of environment, use of assistive devices, and medications. The single greatest predictor for falls is a history of a previous fall. There are home safety measures that can be taken to prevent falls including; arranging furniture for safe walking pathways, keeping pathways free of clutter, avoid using electrical cords across pathways, keep stairs well lit and install handrails on both sides, use nightlights and a shower chair for safe showering. At Helping Hands Personal Care, we train our employees on mobility assistance (with a gait belt) and how to maintain a safe environment for our clients. We also distribute safety information to our community. Please click on the link below to view the handout we distribute to our community regarding dangerous falls.
The MetLife 2010 Market Survey of Long-Term Care costs compares nursing homes, assisted living, adult day services, and home care. Findings showed increased costs for all except home care, which was unchanged from the previous year. The study can be found at the link below:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers assistance to caregivers. Caregivers allow individuals to remain in their own home and also play an important role in supporting Veterans who are hospitalized or living outside their home. The VA has provided the "Top 10 Tips" for caring for yourself as a caregiver. Although caring for someone can be very rewarding, it can also be stressful and exhausting. It is important that you take good care of yourself so that you can provide appropriate care for your loved one. The tips can be found at the link below.