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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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:
- Maintain a realistic viewpoint, knowing that all family caregivers are faced with challenges. We are all human.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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!
Many people are trying to juggle various important responsibilities, and for family caregivers, it can feel the same as trying to juggle flaming swords and knives. It’s natural for family members to become overwhelmed and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when trying to provide the best care for a loved one.
Guilt can show up in so many different ways. You could be feeling like you’re not spending enough quality time with the person in your care. You may be feeling guilty about contemplating a nursing home for the senior. The guilt may arise after the senior’s dementia-fueled repetitions caused you to snap. Or perhaps you feel like you’re not balancing your care well between the aging adult you love and your own children.
When caregiver guilt builds up, try to keep this statement top of mind: You are doing your best, and it’s ok to request help.
Let’s look a little more closely at that statement. First: you are doing your best. You would probably agree, but do you truly believe it? Reminding yourself about the following truths if you’re doubtful might help:
- My loved one appreciates me, even if they can’t or refuse to say so.
- I am doing the best that I can.
- I cannot change or correct the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- Mistakes will likely happen.
- I am doing enough.
It could be even more helpful to place these and other affirmations on sticky notes around the house, such as on the kitchen counter or a medicine cabinet. And if there’s a specific statement that really speaks to you, utilize the calendar app on your phone to set it as a daily reminder.
Second: It’s ok to ask for help, whether that means professional help through San Diego Home Caregivers, or help from other relatives, your own personal friends, or the senior’s friends.
Try starting by contacting the older adult’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Just let me know what I can help with.” But it can be very difficult to actually take them up on that offer. And on the other hand, an older loved one’s friends in the neighborhood may refrain from helping so as not to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific help, such as, “Would you come visit with Mom every Monday for about an hour?” You might be surprised to discover how willing people are to help out — they just need to find out what you need.
You could also consider asking siblings or other family members for help. Bear in mind, if you’re able to find help for even a couple of small tasks, you will definitely feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Ruth can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Alan can go with Grandpa to church.
If family members live out of town, ask them to help with tasks that can be taken care of over the phone or online, like researching activities for seniors, or figuring out the most cost-effective drug store for the senior’s prescription medications.
The ideal solution, however, is partnering with San Diego Home Caregivers for customized in-home care assistance. We are here to help with services such as:
- Regular respite care
- Planning and preparing healthy meals
- Light housekeeping services and laundry
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and fun outings
- Specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions
- Companionship for socialization through conversations, hobbies/interests, exercise, etc.
- And more
San Diego Home Caregivers is here to help you during your caregiving journey. Our trained and experienced home care team can meet a wide range of needs particular to the challenges a senior is experiencing. Our caregiving professionals can make sure your loved one has everything needed, providing you with vital time away for self-care. Contact San Diego Home Caregivers, the leading provider of in home support services in San Diego and the surrounding communities, online or at (619) 487-9000 for more information.
Most people go through times when they simply want to be by themselves for a while with their thoughts, to sort out issues in their lives without any distractions, or just to experience some downtime. For older people, however, being isolated for an extended period of time might be indicative of a more concerning condition: depression.
At San Diego Home Caregivers, a provider of professional home care services in La Mesa and nearby areas, our team has shared the journey through depression with many older adults, and we want to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the older person’s doctor right away if you believe he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression in seniors is treatable, and the sooner, the better.
Watch for these signs of depression in your senior loved ones:
- Loss: A variety of kinds of loss can trigger depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing the desire to eat, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or hobbies that were formerly enjoyed, or a reduction in time spent with family or friends.
- Slowing Down: Notice if the older person’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than usual to talk about or recall memories, or if drive or energy are reduced.
- Sleeping Changes: Depression in seniors can have significant effects on sleep patterns, causing trouble with falling or staying asleep, issues with awakening, or struggles with being alert and awake for the duration of the day.
- Forgetfulness: Watch for differences in how the senior takes care of herself; for instance, if she was always careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly begins to ignore personal care, or any other critical changes like forgetting to take medicine, to eat a well-balanced diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions may also make depression worse. Be especially mindful if the senior has been affected by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect depression in a senior loved one, it’s crucial to take action and not to disregard it as something the senior will get over in time. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover.
And keep in mind, you are not alone! The caregivers of San Diego Home Caregivers are here to help older adults, and their family members, through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for older adults, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare appetizing, healthy meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more.
Home is where the heart is, and it’s for that reason so many older adults make the decision to continue to live at home for a lifetime. But many times wheelchairs come to be a part of life when older adults or those with particular disabilities lose mobility. This can be a unique challenge when it comes to making sure the home is a safe place. But a few key home modifications for wheelchair users can considerably improve safety for aging adults.
Following are just a few modifications recommended to incorporate a wheelchair into the home:
- Ensure that walkways and driveways are smooth, but not slick.
- Install a ramp to the front door with landings at the bottom and the top.
- Doorways ought to be 32-36 inches wide with enough floor space near the doors to maneuver a wheelchair.
- Thresholds on doors should always be ¼ inch or less.
- Cabinet shelves should ideally be no more than 10 inches deep.
- Kitchen stove controls should be located at the front.
- Be sure that there is knee space underneath all sinks.
- Oven doors should ideally be able to swing open to the side.
- For deeper shelves, utilize a Lazy Susan to permit the person to easily reach all items.
- Bathrooms ought to have either a wheelchair maneuverable tub with a 60-inch turning radius or T-turn space, or a stand-up shower that is curbless and at least 36 inches wide.
- There should be plenty of room to transfer from wheelchair to toilet.
- Walk-in closets are great for wheelchair-bound individuals, but a closet organizer that gives the person the ability to reach all items is also a good option.
- Additionally, floors should be free of clutter and furniture should be arranged for maximum maneuverability.
San Diego Home Caregivers, offers experienced in-home caregivers in San Diego and the surrounding areas, who can also assist with home modification ideas and coordination. The first step is our complimentary in-home evaluation, where we will put together a customized care plan to address the individual’s unique care needs and wishes, and then we monitor that plan ongoing and modify as needs change. Our in-home care services in San Diego are available for just a few hours each week, up through 24/7, around-the-clock care. You can reach us any time via our online contact form or at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about available services!
Providing care for an aging loved one, while incredibly rewarding, can also bring about a high amount of caregiver stress. The full-time pressure of meeting a loved one’s care needs can swiftly escalate to become caregiver burnout – a dangerous condition that can lead to a loss of patience and emotionally charged outbursts, impacting not just the caregiver personally, but the senior as well.
It’s important to determine if you could possibly be in danger of developing caregiver burnout, and to locate help if needed. The quick questionnaire from our home care staff can help uncover whether you may have crossed the line from caregiver stress to caregiver burnout:
- Are you no longer finding joy in activities or hobbies/interests?
- Do you struggle with back pain, headaches, fatigue, and/or feeling sad or depressed?
- Are you getting sick more often than before?
- Is your temper shorter recently, either with the senior or other friends and family, in private or in public?
- Are you lashing out at your senior loved one when she or he displays concerning behaviors?
- Are you more emotional lately? Are you crying for little or no reason?
- Are you gaining or losing weight without trying?
- Do you have problems with falling or staying asleep?
If your answers to these questions are concerning, it might be time to think about finding help, for both yourself and the senior in your care.
At San Diego Home Caregivers, our thoroughly trained and experienced providers of La Jolla senior care can share the load by providing in-home respite care services – for several hours each week, full-time, around-the-clock care, or anything in between, offering a much-needed break to take care of your own personal needs, enjoy some downtime to rest and recharge, and to help you to be better prepared to provide the highest quality care for your loved one.
Just some of the countless ways we can help include:
- Friendly companionship for conversations and fun pastimes
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Assisting with household chores and laundry
- Grocery shopping and running other errands
- Providing transportation to medical appointments and outings
- And much more
To learn more about our personalized home care services, call San Diego Home Caregivers at (619) 487-9000. Partnering with our professional care team means you’re never alone! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Communities Served page.