Prioritizing Making Time for Self-Care as a Caregiver During the Holidays

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Making time for self-care as a caregiver may seem impossible during the holidays, but these tips can help!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! However, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who is providing care for an older loved one, the upcoming holidays may seem more like the most overwhelming time of the year. Finding time for yourself may have dropped to the very bottom of your to-do checklist, but the aging care professionals at San Diego Home Caregivers would like to encourage you to rethink and reprioritize caring for yourself! Self-care as a caregiver is important to help you and the person you care for during the holidays and throughout the year.

What Are Some Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Caregiver?

Taking care of yourself permits you to take better care of your loved ones. San Diego Home Caregivers, a leading provider of home care in La Mesa, CA and the surrounding areas, shares five simple recommendations that can help:

  1. Eat right
    When you’re stressed out, you may have the inclination to eat too much. When you’re fatigued, it’s easy to choose whatever is handy; fast food, tea and toast, cheese doodles and a soft drink. You need healthy food to perform well.
  2. Get regular exercise
    Physical exercise is the original “feel good” tonic. It helps you sleep better and wake up rejuvenated and ready to face another arduous day. Regular exercise elevates both your mental and physical wellbeing, keeping your mind alert and body fine-tuned and energetic.
  3. Get enough sleep
    This might be easier said than done, particularly if you’re caring for a person who tends to wander during the evening. Still, most people need to have six to eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health. Catch up with brief naps if necessary, or call San Diego Home Caregivers for evening caregiver support.
  4. Take time out for yourself
    Regardless of whether you’re caring for a parent, spouse, or other family member or friend, you need time for yourself. You need time to enjoy outside interests, to see other people, and to find a means to take a break from the constant strain of caregiving. It’s easy to let friendships lag when you have important things to do, but friends can support you through some tough times, just by being there. San Diego Home Caregivers’ respite care services can help family caregivers take the break they need during the holidays and all through the year.
  5. Join a support group
    It’s common to feel isolated in your role as a caregiver. That’s why it’s important to talk to others, specifically other caregivers. They will know what you’re up against, they’ll comprehend where you’re coming from, and they may even have some great advice.

Need some time to take care of your holiday to-do list? Contact the dedicated care providers at San Diego Home Caregivers. We can provide the attention and care your loved one needs while providing you with the time you need to accomplish your to-dos and take a little time for yourself. Call us today at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in La Mesa, CA and the surrounding areas.

Tips for Helping a Loved One Living With COPD

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COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is the term for two lung diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Essentially, for people living with COPD, breathing is severely affected by an airflow obstruction. Common symptoms include an excessively wet cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.

By 2030, the World Bank and World Health Organization estimates that COPD will be the third leading cause of death globally. COPD as an economic problem is a top cause of disability-induced unemployment.  

You, as a family caregiver, are on the front line of relieving this burden. Even though there is no cure, COPD can be treated, and your caregiving is crucial to an effective treatment program. San Diego Home Caregivers, a provider of home care services in La Mesa and the surrounding areas, recommends diet, exercise, and environmental maintenance as ways in which you can substantially assist someone who is living with COPD. 

Diet

A healthy diet provides people with COPD with the energy and extra calories necessary to combat chest infections and to deal with their more labored breathing. Planning and preparing meals and otherwise advising your loved one concerning which foods to include are important ways you can help.  

Lethargy often prevents those with COPD from consuming enough calories. Starting the day with a more substantial, more nutrient-dense meal when the individual you love has the most energy to eat can be helpful. Following that with smaller meals during the day will not only help maintain calories, but also prevent the person from feeling too full, which can make it more difficult to breathe. 

Although a morning cup of coffee may once have been the normal routine, unfortunately caffeine can react negatively to COPD medications and cause restlessness or nervousness, leading to exacerbated symptoms. Additionally, help the senior stay away from foods high in salt, as water retention caused by salt also makes for tougher breathing.

Exercise 

Regular physical activity is fundamental for effective COPD symptom management. Generally, it enhances endurance and increases blood circulation, making for better use of oxygen. Upper body exercises help with breathing and the ability to perform daily activities. Lower body exercises such as stair climbing and treadmill or track walking have also proven to benefit those with COPD. 

Breathing exercises, such as pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, result in stronger breathing muscles, increased oxygen, and all-around easier breathing. An ideal plan consists of sessions of five to ten minutes, three to four times each day.

Environmental Maintenance

Finally, it’s also wise to think about environmental concerns in the senior’s home, especially as they relate to air quality. A good place to start is to keep the individual’s home properly ventilated through exhaust fans, open windows, and filtration systems. However, windows should remain shut during poor air quality days and dusty conditions, such as construction projects. Also, sustaining a balanced humidity level counters dry air from home heating systems and discourages irritating pests that are attracted to more humid conditions.

Avoiding or managing very cold air, fireplace and cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants are ways you can best serve a loved one with COPD, as does reducing the use of personal care products like perfumes, hair sprays, and lotions.

Housekeeping can go a long way towards minimizing irritants in the home. Eliminate and properly store dust-collecting clutter. Weekly bed linen laundering minimizes dust mites, as does keeping rugs and carpets vacuumed and floors clean. At the same time, reducing exposure to harsh household cleaning products and other chemicals, including air fresheners, is essential. 

Find more tips on helping a person living with COPD to enjoy the healthiest possible life and how our in-home caregivers can work together with you to ensure quality, seamless care. Contact us any time at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care services in La Mesa and the surrounding areas.

Diaphragmatic Strengthening Exercises for COPD

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These diaphragmatic strengthening exercises for COPD can help ease symptoms of the disease.

COPD can make the daily tasks of life feel like a struggle. The positive news is that there are diaphragmatic strengthening exercises for COPD that may help ease the symptoms and enhance quality of life.

San Diego Home Caregivers, a leading provider of in-home care in Carlsbad and the surrounding areas, outlines how to breathe from the diaphragm along with recommended exercises to help strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, so those with COPD can take in more oxygen and put less effort into breathing.  Read more

Answer These Questions Before Moving a Senior From Assisted Living

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Moving a senior from an assisted living facility requires careful consideration of a number of factors.

The rampage of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was devastating, as the virus spread throughout our most vulnerable population in such close living quarters. As a result, many families considered moving a senior from assisted living into their own home, which raised a number of challenges.  Read more

How to Ensure a Safer Recovery at Home for Seniors

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Recovery at home for seniors after a hospitalization is safer and more comfortable with the help of home care services.

Recovery at home for seniors after a hospitalization takes time. Not merely do older bodies take more time to mend, but there are further considerations that can arise: reduced mobility and numerous instructions to follow for dietary restrictions, medications, follow-up appointments, and physical activities, just to name a few.  Read more

Simple Fall Prevention Exercises Seniors Can Do at Home

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Reduce the risk of falls with simple fall prevention exercises.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares that as many as one-third of seniors experience a fall each year, and surprisingly, only half of them bring those falls to the attention of a doctor. When an older adult falls, even if it does not cause a serious injury, it can lead to an elevated fear of falling again. This can cause the person to begin to limit activities and exercise, which leads to reduced mobility and eventually, a greater risk of another fall.  Read more

Senior Fall Prevention Tips for the Home

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Try these senior fall prevention tips and simple home modifications to make life safer for older adults.

Experiencing a fall can be painful for anyone, but for older adults, falling can have devastating results. One of the common effects of a senior fall is a fractured hip, which can lead to even more health problems. Alarmingly, one-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip die in a period of just six months from the time of the injury – a sobering, yet preventable fact. This shows how important it is to take senior fall prevention measures to keep loved ones safe at home. Read more

How to Recognize and Overcome Compassion Fatigue

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Learn to overcome compassion fatigue, which may come on suddenly and negatively impact your health and ability to thrive in a caregiving role.

Family caregivers dedicate so much of themselves to those they care for – both emotionally and physically. It’s easy to become worn down and begin to experience unexpected feelings such as indifference, weariness, and a detachment from the person in your care. Identified as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, it may be detrimental to your own wellness but could also impact your ability to be as caring, warm, and nurturing as you should be for the person you’re caring for. Read more

Simple Solutions to Reduce Caregiver Stress That You Can Start Today

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It is important for caregivers to manage caregiver stress for their own wellbeing.

Caregiver stress is inescapable, but realistically, not always a bad thing. They say, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” But is that true for caregivers? In particular for family caregivers, the level of stress can rapidly worsen and become overwhelming, and if not handled correctly, result in significant health concerns. Read more

Healthy Ways to Deal with Family Caregiver Guilt

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Learn these helpful ways to deal with family caregiver guilt.

Family caregivers give a lot of themselves to the people they care for, which often means leaving behind their own desires and needs in the process. It may seem normal, then, to presume that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-worth and sense of purpose.

However, that is not always the case. Family caregiver guilt is prevalent, and many family caregivers wish they possessed more patience, the answer for all of their loved one’s problems, or the capability to accomplish everything on their own without needing help. They give themselves unattainable and unrealistic goals, which can lead to:

  • Feeling trapped
  • Bitterness
  • The desire to get away
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Heightened stress
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Lacking good quality time with a senior loved one
  • And more

If you have been feeling the effects of family caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be extremely liberating:

  1. Maintain a realistic viewpoint, knowing that all family caregivers are faced with challenges. We are all human.
  2. Admit your feelings of guilt along with the particular reason causing it; as an example, “I am feeling guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repeated questions.”
  3. Change your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad laugh this morning, or how much he loved the lunch you prepared.
  4. Be sure to put aside plenty of time for soothing, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with friends, family and pets, etc.
  5. Exchange your internal “should have” dialogues with a more encouraging slant: “It is difficult to respond to the same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the best that I can.”
  6. Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be means ongoing, scheduled breaks from care to take care of your own needs.
  7. Follow a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious meals, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, giving up smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.

Reach out to San Diego Home Caregivers at (619) 487-9000 for top-rated home care in Point Loma and the surrounding areas. Our professionally trained at home caregivers allow family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an integral aspect of effective elder care. We’re available based on your preferred schedule and routine, with as much or as little care as needed, up through and including 24/7 care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself helps you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always on hand to assist!