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.

Strengthen the Diaphragm With Breathing Exercises for COPD

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These breathing 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 breathing 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, recommends these 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

Watch for These Signs of Depression in Senior Loved Ones

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Senior woman with sad expression

Be aware of the signs of depression that could present in senior loved ones.

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:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • 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. 

Reach out to us any time online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in La Mesa and the surrounding communities.

Understanding the Differences in Depression and Dementia

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Elderly woman looking out a window

Would you recognize if a senior loved one had depression or dementia?

Visiting Mom recently revealed a number of concerning signs. Though she has always been up and out of bed before 7 a.m., now it’s difficult to wake her before noon. Rather than going to great lengths to prepare an elaborate home-cooked meal, she would rather merely warm up a can of soup; and can barely finish a small bowlful. On top of that, she’s lost interest in enjoying time with her best friends from her knitting club. Could she be suffering from depression or dementia? 

There are a number of similarities between the two, like:

  • Eating and sleeping changes
  • Reduced interest in formerly enjoyed interests and hobbies, and spending time with others
  • Reduced memory and the ability to focus

There are, however, a number of distinguishing differences to help identify whether depression or dementia could be at play:

Dementia:

  • A slow, progressive decline in mental functioning
  • Noticeable problems with motor and/or language skills
  • Difficulty with memory, without being aware of these problems
  • Confusion in knowing the correct date, time, and surroundings

Depression:

  • A more rapid decline in mental functioning
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • A bit slower, but still normal motor and language abilities
  • Difficulty with memory issues, but being aware of the problem
  • Awareness of correct date, time and surroundings

Sometimes, both conditions can impact a person simultaneously. Brent Forester, MD, director of the mood disorders division in the geriatric psychiatry research program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, shares, “40 to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease get depression, but depression also may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”

If you suspect either depression or dementia in a senior loved one, arrange for an appointment as soon as possible with his/her doctor. Receiving a correct diagnosis and beginning a treatment plan is imperative. 

Help for depression can include an antidepressant along with therapeutic counseling, or hospitalization if the difficulties are severe and require more intensive treatment. Dementia care usually involves medications that help with specific symptoms, like sleep problems, memory loss, or changes in behavior. 

If a senior you love has been diagnosed with either depression or dementia, or is struggling with any other difficulties of aging, San Diego Home Caregivers can help. With our skilled dementia and elder home care services, we’re here for whatever specific needs your loved one is facing. Contact us online or at (619) 487-9000 for more information on dementia care in La Mesa, CA, or to request a free in-home consultation. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Communities Served page.

Help for Seniors Who Want to Stay in Their Own Homes

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Portrait of a beautiful smiling senior woman

Portrait of a beautiful smiling senior woman

The great majority of seniors wish to remain at home for a lifetime, rather than relocating to an assisted living facility or nursing home – nearly 90 percent of them, according to research conducted by AARP. And who can blame them? The comfort of familiar surroundings, the freedom to go wherever, whenever you would like, the opportunity to prepare the meals you want when you want them are all priceless commodities. 

But although it seems like the perfect plan for growing older, there are some real concerns to think through as well: 

  • Will the older person stay safe?
  • How will the older adult get around once driving, or even walking, becomes a challenge?
  • What happens if the older person gets sick or injured and no one’s close by to help?

Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever for seniors to stay safe and well at home. Considering the following can assist you in taking the necessary precautions to ensure the senior you love is prepared for these needs and any others, now and in the future: 

  • Assess the home, both inside and out, from the viewpoint of the senior’s safety. Check to verify that: 
    • Grab bars are in place near the tub and toilet. 
    • Throw rugs and any other fall hazards are removed. 
    • There is plenty of lighting, including in hallways and stairways. 
    • Commonly used items are located within easy reach. 
    • Emergency numbers are posted in a highly visible location. 
  • Create a transportation plan, so it is ready to implement when driving is no longer possible: 
    • Look into public transportation choices that are available and easy to access. 
    • Put together a volunteer tree of reliable people the older person can turn to for transportation when needed: friends, family members, neighbors, religious organizations, local senior centers, San Diego Home Caregivers, etc.
  • Make sure the senior has access to the technology that can be used in an emergency to reach out for help when alone, such as a PERS (personal emergency response system). 

The perfect way to ensure older individuals remain safe and well cared for at home, however, is by hiring a professional home care agency, such as San Diego Home Caregivers. Our caregivers are trained and have experience in providing elder help for San Diego seniors such as personal care services, transportation, meal planning and preparation, and companionship, and are available to help for as much or as little care as needed. 

Our San Diego in-home caregivers start with the development of an individualized plan of care to address the senior’s particular needs and wishes, and then we continually monitor that plan and adjust as needs change – ensuring that the senior remains safe and can live life to the fullest, where it’s most comfortable: at home. 

As the leading providers of senior companion care in San Diego and nearby areas, we invite you to contact us online or at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how we can provide help for seniors in multiple ways.