Hiring a Caregiver

Elderly hands

Image by Rosie O'Beirne via Flickr

If you are thinking of hiring a caregiver for your loved one but are not sure where to start,I would highly recommend reading this step by step guide.The purpose of this guide is to navigate  you through the hiring process and give helpful hints about screening and interviewing prospective employees,which questions you should ask and what verification is needed.

You will also find checklists,sample forms, and payment options as well as resources and information that may reduce your chances of a loved one falling victim of abuse by a caregiver.

Please take the time to read through this helpful guide and help your loved ones recieve the quality care they deserve.

 

http://www.socoaaa.org/pdf/hiring_an_in_home_caregiver.pdf

 

 

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Resources

We have added a resource directory to our blog. We will be updating and adding more as time goes on. If there is an addition or information you would like us to include please feel free to make suggestions and we will do our best to accomodate your requests. We have also added a direct link to our Caregiver Support Chat. That link is available by clicking thr Caregiver Support Chat tab at the top of our page. We are updating our blog and adding lots of new info as well as articles. Thanks as always for your continued intrest and support!

Adaptive Clothing

Adaptive pants designed for dressing a wheelch...

Image via Wikipedia

I have found that the use of Adaptive Clothing can reduce the stress involved in the daily routine of dressing those we care for. If you are struggling to dress your loved one becaues of mobility impairment, modesty or combative behavior then this type of clothing is optimal for your situation. Its design and ease of use can greatly diminish the stress created by the sometimes not so simple act of dressing.  There are several types of Adaptive clothing available. One type is designed for the caregiver to dress the patient and the other type is designed for the mobility impaired to dress themselves. I have included a video to help demonstrate the use of this type of clothing to help better understand its potiental as well as a link in the side bar to a supplier of quality adaptive clothing.

 

 

Caring for a bed bound patient(preventing pressure sores)

Hospital_Bed

Image by NoXstar via Flickr

Caring for a loved one who is bed bound can be a challenging task,especially if you are unfamiliar with the level of care that is needed.

One of the first things to consider is what type of bed your loved one will be using.You can perform all of the necessary duties in a regular bed,but it is far easier and safer if you use a hospital bed.Many times insurance will cover purchasing costs,but always check to make sure.Using a pressure reducing mattress helps to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers.Talk to your loved ones’ doctor to see what he recommends.Make sure you have plenty of pillows available as they will be used to help position your loved one and to help reduce bed sores.

If your loved one is completely immobile you must be sure to reposition them every 2 hours,alternating between right and left sides and flat on the back.This helps with circulation and also can prevent pressure sores from forming.The easiest way to do this is to cross their arms at the chest,move one leg over the other and with one hand at the hip and the other at the shoulder push gently until they are on their side.You can tuck a pillow behind their back to help them from rolling back.Place another pillow between the knees   to prevent the knees from touching and one under the ankle that is touching the bed.

You should inspect the skin at least once a day,preferably twice, to ensure that pressure ulcers are not forming.Pay special attention to the bony parts of the body-back of the head,elbows,ankles,heels,hips, and the lower back just above  the tailbone.You should look for any areas of redness that do not go away when their  position is changed.If this happens you should consult a doctor as he can implement a plan of care to treat the area.

Keeping the skin dry is a must.Damp or sweaty skin can accelerate the formation of pressure sores,so pay close attention to areas that may perspire such as the feet and  neck.

The following is a video that gives more information about pressure sores and their prevention.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfuafCEt6Pg&feature=related

Quality care and using the correct items can help to ensure that your loved one is comfortable and wound free.

Help for caregivers

Helping Grandmother Walk

Image by Rosie O'Beirne via Flickr

Caring for an aging parent in the home can be a rewarding expierence,both for you and your  loved one.While the benefits are many,the caregiver can easily become overwhelmed.

It is vital that the caregiver have a good support system of family and friends,as emotional and physical help will be needed.

There are recources available to caregivers that will lessen the stress involved in balancing work,home,family and caregiving.

Respite care allows the caregiver time to do errands or have much needed time away for themselves.Utilizing family and friends is one option while paid help is also available.

http://www.helpguide.org/elder/respite_care.htm

Adult day care is a specialized facility that provides a safe structured environment for your loved one.Many of the facilities operate 8-12 hours a day and provide meals,activities,outings and general supervision.There are many facilities that also provide counseling for the caregiver,should it be needed.

http://seniorhealth.about.com/od/eldercare/a/day_care.htm

You may also contact a social worker that can help identify and coordinate needed services.

Below I have included several links to online resources designed for caregivers that may be helpful.

Family Caregiver Alliance-  http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/home.jsp

Family Caregiving 101-     http://www.familycaregiving101.org/

Strength for Caring-   http://www.strengthforcaring.com/

Caring Connections-  http://www.caringinfo.org/

Living with Dementia

This blog is in response to a request made by Catfromhell.I hope you find the information useful and if you have any further questions,please do not hesitate to ask.

As we age we can expect to slow down both physically and mentally,but there  is a difference between normal aging and Dementia.

Dementia ia a progressive and degenerative brain disorder that affects memory and cognitive abilities.

Although the  symptoms of dementia do progress slowly,over time patients will become unable to care for themselves and will need to be supervised at all times.

Some of the symptoms of dementia are as follows:

Difficulty in perfoming more than one task at a time,solving problems,or performing routine tasks such as balancing a checkbook,learning new information or routines.

Forgetting recent events,misplacing items,becoming lost on familiar routes,forgetting events in your life history,losing sense of self.

Personality changes,losing interest in previously enjoyable activities,loss of social skills,poor judgement.

Changes in sleep patterns,speaking in confusing sentences,difficulty reading and writing.

Becoming depressed,violent,agitated,hallucinating.

Unable to understand language,feed,dress,or bathe oneself.No longer recognizes family and friends.

Dementia can be diagonosed by a skilled health care professional who will run a battery of tests to rule out any other underlying causes for the symptoms and determine that it is, in fact, dementia.

While there is no cure for dementia,there are medications that may slow the progression of the symptoms so if you suspect that a loved one may be exhibiting signs of dementia,please see a health care professional.

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous disorder that is diagnosed in over 50,000 Americans each year,with about 5 million affected worldwide.

The disease results in the destruction of certain nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for muscle control.It is a disabling disorder that over time can seriously affect a persons ability to move normally.

Trembling of the limbs and head while at rest,slowness,stiffness and impared balance are all symptoms of the disease.Over time it may become difficult to walk,talk or perform simple tasks.

Although Parkinson’s is not curable it is important to get an early and accurate diagnosis so that treatment strategies may be developed to maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible.Diagnosing Parkinson’s can be challenging,especially in the early stages as the disease symptoms can be very similiar to other movement disorders and conditions.A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders will be able to make the most accurate diagnosis.

Living with Parkinson’s can be very difficult for both the individual and their family members,but early recognition and treatment can result in slowing the progression of the disease,minimizing the symptoms and generally improving quality of life.