Processing the Mixed Emotions of Caregiving

homecaremnCaring for a senior loved one in Minneapolis can come with a contradiction of emotions. For example, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis points out that nearly three-fourths (74%) of family caregivers who hide their feelings are overwhelmed, but that same percent of people caring for their Mom or Dad also feel loved. In addition, 64% feel anxious while these same caregivers feel satisfied. A key finding of the research: hiding one’s feelings increases the risk for caregiver distress. As we noted in last month’s blog post, caregiver distress is a situation where the stress of caring for a senior in their home makes one more susceptible to health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and  stroke. Watch the video below to learn what Home Instead Minneapolis is doing to uncover this issue and provide home care assistance.

emotions_caregivingHome Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis’ Family Caregiver Stress Relief program is designed to assist caregivers in better identifying their potential for distress in an effort to help avoid its adverse impact. Resources featured here can help family caregivers learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand. One U.S. study of 38 years of research revealed that surveyed caregivers had a 23% higher level of stress hormones and a 15% lower level of antibody responses than did non-caregivers. That’s why it is important for a person to first recognize that they’re a caregiver by taking our quiz.

Next, one should take an honest look at their emotions.  Caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix says caregivers should try to avoid classifying emotions as good and bad. “Just recognizing it’s normal to feel many emotions when you’re a family caregiver helps take the power away from the emotion.” She offers that other major life events also bring conflicting feelings. Who wasn’t scared to walk down the aisle and what Mom didn’t grab a tissue when they proudly dropped their child off at the University of Minnesota? Two attributes set caregiving apart: the intensity of caregiving situations and the lack of planning that generally precipitates the need for care. Dr. D’Aprix offers these tips to help caregivers overcome the anxiety of the unexpected need for caregiving.

  1. Look at your situational concern. What can you control? If your Dad is diabetic, you can control the food you serve. What you cannot control is what he eats. Other common worries such as passing away before your senior loved one are things you can’t control, so try not to worry.
  2. Have an outlet. Find someone you can talk to without judgement. This could be a friend, support group or home care provider. Caregivers who repress their feelings are most likely to feel frustration over increasing demands on their time (56%), experiencing the physical demands of caregiving (41%) and lacking control over their emotions (34%).
  3. Recognize your limitations. Be realistic about what you can do. While you might be the perfect person to make a meal for a senior, you probably shouldn’t be providing medical care services. Set priorities and get help from a home health care provider when needed.


home care mn If you’re showing signs of caregiver distress, consider talking with a healthcare professional that can help you to evaluate your situation. Remember, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a family caregiver. In fact, it is important that you take initiative with your own physical and emotional care so that you can best assist the person you are caring. Approximately 74% of caregivers who hide their feelings report fatigue, 53% report difficulty sleeping, 37% report depression, and 30% experience weight gain or loss. Take the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for the Home Instead Senior Care network  to learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand.

Are you in Caregiver Distress? Take This Quiz and Learn the Risk Factors.

personal_careNearly one-third of adults living in Minneapolis, MN are family caregivers to seniors and could be at risk for diabetes, depression, heart disease and various other conditions. This is a result of caregiver distress which is a potentially dangerous condition brought on by the pressures of caring for a senior loved one in their home. Studies indicate that caregiving is a leading stressor for families. In fact, one U.S. study revealed that more than half (52.8%) of those caring for individuals with diseases including cancer or Alzheimer’s had signs of depression.

In response to this growing issue, Home Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis has launched a public awareness campaign – Family Caregiver Stress Relief. Over the coming months, we will offer tools to help you determine if you are in distress, resources to overcome the challenges associated with caregiver distress and advice on preventing and treating surrounding issues.

Are you a Caregiver?

More than 44 million individuals in the U.S. and Canada provide caregiver services to a senior in their home. Yet few people identify themselves as caregivers. Why? Because often the things that make you a caregiver just seem like natural things to do for a loved one such as light household cleaning and making meals. Failing to recognize yourself as a caregiver can cause you to fail to recognize the challenges and responsibilities placed on you, and to overlook the impact caregiving may be having on your health and welfare. Research conducted on behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care® network reveals that caregivers who hid their emotions are more likely to experience depression, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue. In addition, people who don’t self-identify as caregivers may not realize the magnitude of what they do. According to AARP, in 2009, family caregivers provided over $450 billion worth of caregiving services including home care.

Take this quiz to determine if you are actually a caregiver.

What is Caregiver Distress?

Caregiver distress goes beyond the typical stressors of providing home care services for a senior. It actually impacts your health and manifests itself by increasing your risks of health complications. According to a 2010 study by Met Life Mature Market Institute, employees who provide senior care are more likely to report suffering from depression, diabetes, hypertension, or pulmonary disease. Research conducted by Dr. Peter Vitaliano, a Professor at the University of Washington, reveals that caregiver distress can manifest itself by increasing the risks for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Ulcers
  • Heart problems
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weight gain/loss and obesity

Caregiver distress can spill over into other areas of life, potentially creating relationship problems, exacerbating addictions and causing job issues. If you or a loved one are a caregiver and experiencing any of the above health conditions, consult your Minnesota health care provider.

What are the Risk Factors?

Since the average demographic of a caregiver is a 45-54 woman caring for both an aging loved one as well as their own family, it’s easy for a caregiver to assume that the above symptoms are a typical sign of aging or that they’re just “stressed out and busy”.

“Stressors include too many caregiver demands, not enough help caring for a loved one, feeling alone, financial problems, and work loss. These all can lead to caregiver distress and burden,” says Dr. Vitaliano. Some risk factors for developing caregiver distress include:

However, even as you lovingly provide support to a senior, you may have problems managing and balancing that support with your own busy life. The responsibilities can impact you physically, mentally and emotionally. And that could lead to the kind of distress that could result in serious health problems.

Are You in Caregiver Distress?

home care mnTo identify the home care tasks that might make caregiving more challenging for you, and learn what you can do to address those challenges, take the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for the Home Instead Senior Care network by Dr. Vitaliano. The assessment allows caregivers to determine their risk for distress and resulting emotional and physical issues, including depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Even if you learned from the quiz that you’re not providing care services to a senior, you probably know someone who is. Recommend this assessment or take it for them so that you can watch for warning signs.

Caring for an older adult can be a fulfilling experiences for any family caregiver. So many tasks bring pleasure as you give back to someone who may have given you so much. By identifying yourself as a caregiver and understanding the risk factors, you can decrease your changes of becoming distressed and, instead, enjoy the experience of caring for your Mom or Dad in their Minneapolis home.

Enter to Win our Contest!

alzheimers care mn

Contest

In conjunction with the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference and our support of organizations that provide education and assistance to those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, we’re offering a chance to win a $100 gift card to Parasole Restaurants PLUS a $100 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in your name.

Enter by June 28!

UofMHome Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is committed to making coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues, such as memory loss as easy as possible. That is why we were a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN held on Saturday, June 1st. According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., coordinator of the conference, “The Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference is designed to share tools, skills, resources, information, and wisdom with families and care professionals about the most effective ways to care for persons with memory concerns. With more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and 15.4 million people provided care for these individuals, the need to share relevant, effective care approaches and ideas to improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss is more critical than ever. To this end, our June 1st, 2013 Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference will touch on several key topics including different types of dementia, family dynamics, art therapy, and abuse issue in person with memory loss. As this conference is a community education event and free for families, the kindness of sponsors such as Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is critical to help us provide speaker honoraria, offer copies of presentation materials to attendees, provide refreshments to attendees, and live stream and record the conference for future viewing by attendees and others.”

The conference was a huge success! Thank you to Joseph Gaugler and others for providing this valuable education and awareness to people caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Conference Committee

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, is an Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the School of Nursing and Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, family caregiving, and clinical interventions for these individuals.

Mark Reese, MA, LPC, LAMFT, is a study counselor at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on enhancing clinical services for families caring for relatives with memory loss.

University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry

As Dr. Gaugler’s research program continues to grow, he would like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider being a part of the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry. Becoming part of the registry does not enroll you in any study, but it provides Dr. Gaugler with permission to contact you in the future about any upcoming opportunities to participate in his research as well other basic information. Filling out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry form should not take more than 5 minutes. If you have already done this for us and nothing has changed since you filled it out, there is no need to fill out another form. However, if something has changed since you last filled out a Registry form, please feel free to fill out a new form:

If you are a family member or friend who knows someone with memory loss or is helping them, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Family form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=97146&lang=um

If you are a professional who cares for persons with memory loss or their families, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Professional form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=36229&lang=um

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss (CPWML) Annual Conference was Streamed

The CPWML conference recording will be made available on the virtual library site at: http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources after the conference. This live stream will be interactive, meaning you can participate in Q & A with presentation speakers.

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference Virtual Library

If you would like to revisit the information presented in this or past Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences, please visit our virtual conference library at http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources. There you will find Power Point slides and handouts of each presentation, information on how to access recorded presentations, speaker contact information and other resources from past conferences. We have held Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences since Spring 2008, and there is a lot of great, free information in the virtual library for you, your family members, or clients!

Related articles

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference

UofMFree Annual Educational Conference

Saturday, June 1, 2013
8:00am to 4:30pm
Mayo Memorial Auditorium
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is committed to making coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues, such as memory loss as easy as possible. That is why we’re a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN. According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., coordinator of the conference, “The Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference is designed to share tools, skills, resources, information, and wisdom with families and care professionals about the most effective ways to care for persons with memory concerns. With more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and 15.4 million people provided care for these individuals, the need to share relevant, effective care approaches and ideas to improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss is more critical than ever. To this end, our June 1st, 2013 Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference will touch on several key topics including different types of dementia, family dynamics, art therapy, and abuse issue in person with memory loss. As this conference is a community education event and free for families, the kindness of sponsors such as Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is critical to help us provide speaker honoraria, offer copies of presentation materials to attendees, provide refreshments to attendees, and live stream and record the conference for future viewing by attendees and others.”

alzheimers care mn

Contest

Register today then stop by our booth! In conjunction with the conference and our support of organizations that provide education and assistance to those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, we’re offering a chance to win a $100 gift card to Parasole Restaurants PLUS a $100 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in your name. Learn more and enter today!

Registration

There is no cost for this conference for participants who do not want contact hours, but pre-registration is required. To RSVP your attendance, click here. If you RSVP on behalf of others, you must complete a new form for each person to be registered for the conference.

Contact Hours

The event will provide 6.5 American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) contact hours, 6.75 Minnesota Board of Social Work contact hours, and 7 Minnesota Licensed Nursing Home Administrator contact hours. A certificate of attendance will be provided so that all health professionals may submit it to their respective organizations for accreditation . Attendance for the full day is required to receive the certificate. There is a $50 registration fee to cover processing costs. Please complete the online registration form (http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLregistration) to learn more about payment options.

Refund Policy

If you need to cancel your registration, a refund will be issued if you cancel in writing to Dr. Gaugler at gaug0015@umn.edu by May 17th, 2013 (2 weeks prior). If you cancel after this date, you will not be eligible for a refund.

Program Schedule

8:00-8:30 am – Welcome
Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, Associate Professor/McKnight Presidential Fellow
University of Minnesota School of Nursing/Center on Aging

8:30-10:00 am – Different Types of Dementia: Clinical and Practical Considerations
Siobhan McMahon, PhD, GNP-BC, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

  • Define dementia and its various subtypes/causes
  • Describe clinical differences in various types of dementia
  • Discuss the approaches to most effectively treat and manage different types of dementia

10:00-10:15 am – Break

10:15-11:45 am – What Family Members Need From Each Other
Patricia Schaber, PhD, OTR/L, Associate Professor
University of Minnesota Program in Occupational Therapy

  • How do family members interact? (Family FIRO Model)
  • Changing needs in family members with memory loss
  • Strategies for promoting daily, positive interactions

11:45am-12:45pm – Lunch Break

12:45-2:15 pm – Dancing – Interactive Connections for Healthy, Enriched Lives
Maria DuBois Genné, BSEd., MEd, Founder and Director of the KAIROSalive!

  • Through experiential processes learn how dance, music, and story can enliven and nurture our bodies and minds
  • Through experiential processes learn how the shared experience of dancing transforms each participant and can help build a sense of belonging and community.

2:15-2:30 pm – Break

2:30-4:00 pm – Elder Abuse and Dementia
Deb A Holtz, JD, MN State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, Minnesota Board on Aging

  • Provide an overview of the State Ombudsman’s role and responsibilities
  • Discuss key issues related to elder abuse and dementia, using case examples where appropriate
  • Provide information, suggestions, and tools for families of at-risk loved ones with memory loss

4:00-4:15 pm – Thanks and Closing Remarks
Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD

Conference Committee

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, is an Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the School of Nursing and Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, family caregiving, and clinical interventions for these individuals.

Mark Reese, MA, LPC, LAMFT, is a study counselor at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on enhancing clinical services for families caring for relatives with memory loss.

University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry

As Dr. Gaugler’s research program continues to grow, he would like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider being a part of the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry. Becoming part of the registry does not enroll you in any study, but it provides Dr. Gaugler with permission to contact you in the future about any upcoming opportunities to participate in his research as well other basic information. Filling out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry form should not take more than 5 minutes. If you have already done this for us and nothing has changed since you filled it out, there is no need to fill out another form. However, if something has changed since you last filled out a Registry form, please feel free to fill out a new form:

If you are a family member or friend who knows someone with memory loss or is helping them, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Family form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=97146&lang=um

If you are a professional who cares for persons with memory loss or their families, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Professional form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=36229&lang=um

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss (CPWML) Annual Conference will be Streamed Live June 1, 2013!

Please share the following with those you know that won’t be able to attend the conference, especially those out of state:

We are going to stream live and record the conference presentations! The CPWML conference can be accessed live from a remote location with a computer and internet access (highly recommend doing so with T3 or LAN line, as opposed to wireless) as well as via a recorded version after the event. The CPWML conference will be broadcast here: https://umconnect.umn.edu/pwmlc/ and the recording will be made available on the virtual library site at: http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources after the conference. This live stream will be interactive, meaning you can participate in Q & A with presentation speakers.

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference Virtual Library

If you would like to revisit the information presented in this or past Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences, please visit our virtual conference library at http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources. There you will find Power Point slides and handouts of each presentation, information on how to access recorded presentations, speaker contact information and other resources from past conferences. We have held Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences since Spring 2008, and there is a lot of great, free information in the virtual library for you, your family members, or clients!

Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Family Education Workshop

We’ve all heard at least some of the statistics. Maybe you already knew that one in eight seniors aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. But did you know that by 2030, the number of adults living with dementia will almost double (according to the World Alzheimer’s Report, Alzheimer’s Disease International)? Maybe you don’t need to hear these statistics to realize the impact of Alzheimer’s on people’s lives because you’re living it. Are you caring for an aging parent or relative in Minneapolis with Alzheimer’s disease? Do you want to find out more about what causes dementia, and the signs to watch for? Are you familiar with the behaviors – such as wandering and aggression – that can be caused by Alzheimer’s and other dementias? You need to know that there is support for you and your loved one. Home Instead Senior Care developed a unique training program called CARE so that our CAREGiversSM  can provide the highest quality of home care service, changing the way people live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. CARE stands for Changing Aging through Research and EducationSM and we’re excited to bring this program to family members of those with Alzheimer’s through our Family Education Workshops.

Next Workshop!
Date:  Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 6-8:30pm
Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis in Maple Grove, Minnesota
If you are interested in attending, please call us at  763-544-5988 or RSVP on our Facebook page.

We will briefly discuss the causes of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, the symptoms and how they are diagnosed. The focus will be on understanding the behaviors and learning to engage your loved one. Our workshops are audience guided and interactive so you’re sure to have your questions answered.

Topics include:
• Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias
• Capturing Life’s Journey
• Techniques to Handle Challenging Behaviors
• Activities to Encourage Engagement

Capturing Life’s Journey

This workshop will help you:
1. Discover how capturing your loved one’s life’s journey can help you and others provide the best care for your loved one.
2. Learn techniques to encourage your senior loved one to share their stories and memories.
3. Become familiar with the format of the Life Journal and how to record information about your loved one’s past.
4. Find out how to use the Life Journal in partnership with professional caregivers.

Techniques to Handle Challenging Behaviors

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn more about the challenging behaviors that may be displayed by those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
2. Discover techniques to help handle these behaviors.
3. Determine what techniques work best to manage different types of behaviors.

Activities to Encourage Engagement

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn about the benefits of staying active for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
2. Learn about three types of activities – for mind, body, and soul.
3. Discover various techniques to encourage your loved one to engage in an activity.
4. Become familiar with activities that are suitable for late stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, to stimulate your loved one’s five senses.

Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias

This workshop will help you:
1. Learn about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
2. Recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
3. Discover how Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are diagnosed.
4. Understand more about the behaviors that can be caused by the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is committed to making coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues, such as memory loss as easy as possible. That is why we’re a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN.  According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., Associate Professor, McKnight Presidential Fellow, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Applied Gerontology, School of Nursing, Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota and coordinator of the conference, “The Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference is designed to share tools, skills, resources, information, and wisdom with families and care professionals about the most effective ways to care for persons with memory concerns. With more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and 15.4 million people provided care for these individuals, the need to share relevant, effective care approaches and ideas to improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss is more critical than ever. To this end, our June 1st, 2013 Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference will touch on several key topics including different types of dementia, family dynamics, art therapy, and abuse issue in person with memory loss. As this conference is a community education event and free for families, the kindness of sponsors such as Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapols is critical to help us provide speaker honoraria, offer copies of presentation materials to attendees, provide refreshments to attendees, and live stream and record the conference for future viewing by attendees and others.”
The conference is free and will be held Saturday, June 1st at the at the Mayo Memorial Auditorium in Minneapolis, MN. To learn more or to register, click here!

Mom is home from the hospital, now what?

Once a loved one comes home from a Minneapolis hospital, family caregivers soon realize that reaching a nurse with a push of a button or accessing the social worker down the hall is a thing of the past. Now, it’s time for medication reminders, transitional care & doctor appointments. But, you’re not alone! Family members, neighbors & professional home care providers are usually willing to provide assistance, they just need assembled & organized. Most faith communities have a parish nurse or care team that are just a phone call away. And Home Instead CAREGivers can provide a consistent level of compassionate care while you get some respite. Before you start your calling tree, ask the senior how much information they’re comfortable sharing about their health. Find out if they have certain people they’re more comfortable with doing personal tasks like washing their hair or providing assistance dressing. Once you have your list ready, it’s time to access some caregiving help.

Often times, family conflicts or even sibling rivalry can get in the way of caregivers asking for help which can lead to hostility or caregiver burnout. To avoid this situation (or at least get through it), watch Laurie Owen, a trainer with Home Instead Senior Care, as she covers “The 50/50 Rule: Managing Sibling Dynamics.

Maybe one of your siblings has volunteered to drive your Mom to medical appointments. This is a crucial task  in order to keep her recovery on track. To bridge the communication between yourself, your siblings and possibly a home care provider, keep a large desk or wall calendar handy and write in follow-up visits using a bright colored ink such as red or green. It’s also good to keep the appointment calendar by the phone so as new appointments are scheduled they can be easily added in. Before going to the doctor’s office or other follow-up appointment in the Minneapolis area, make sure your senior has a current list of all prescriptions, over the counter medications and supplements they are taking. You should also make sure they have a list of any symptoms they are experiencing such as nausea, constipation, breathing difficulties, rashes, lack of appetite, etc.

create-plan-of-care-480x450Once at the doctor’s office, the National Transitions of Care Coalition advises that it’s important for your senior to ask several questions including:

  • Why am I meeting with a health care provider today?
  • Should I see another health care provider?
  • What medical conditions do I have?
  • What else do I need to do?
  • May I have a print out of any newly scheduled or upcoming follow-up visits?
  • Do all of my doctors have my medical care or discharge plan?
  • Who should I call if I have questions or problems?

Use this doctor’s visit worksheet (PDF 600k) to keep track of the information you need both before and after your visit.

Download_ReturningHome_Guide_

From the excitement of your senior loved one leaving their Minnesota hospital to the hectic pace of providing constant care, you may have forgotten about the most important person in this process…you! Even a fully prepared family caregiver can get overwhelmed with creating the plan of care, learning about medications and making sure the proper foods are in the refrigerator. Home Instead Senior Care is here to help. If you can break away for an in-person workshop, you’re sure to enjoy our Family Caregiver Training Workshop held at the Home Instead Minneapolis office. We could even provide home care assistance while you attend! If you prefer a webinar, view these topics ranging from caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease to understanding Diabetes.

Focusing on the specific needs of your loved one and accurately following the doctor’s discharge instructions is critical to a successful recovery. Monitoring care once the senior has returned home by documenting progress and warning signs will help limit the risk of readmission. This will also help “share the care” with family members, neighbors & home health care professionals.

Returning Home

If your mom or dad is about to be discharged from a Minneapolis hospital, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Will he or she be able to stay home in Minnesota alone? If not, how much home care will be needed and for how long? Will insurance cover their care? A great place to start is our FREE Returning Home Guide developed by Home Instead Minneapolis to help make the transition from hospital to home a smooth one.

Download_ReturningHome_Guide_

Next, talk to your loved one’s doctor or discharge coordinator to create a plan of care. Key issues to discuss with the discharge planner include:

  • Expected date of discharge
  • Type of aftercare required including the level of skilled care
  • Staff recommendations for discharge options

Options for Services and Rehabilitation After a Hospital Stay

There are three primary transitional care or rehabilitation options available and each has its own rules, regulations, and entrance requirements.

  1. Inpatient—Nursing facility/rehabilitation hospital – This option is typically necessary if your family member will benefit from specialist treatment following the hospital stay, such as intense physical therapy and requires a doctor’s order.
    Time spent in a Minneapolis skilled nursing facility or rehab center typically lasts for weeks not months, and if continued rehab is required beyond the inpatient stay it usually takes place at home or an outpatient center.
  2. Home—Certified home health care agency or in-home health care services—If your family member only needs part-time rehab or skilled health care services such as wound care or monitoring of medications and equipment, then home health care may be the right option for them. Depending upon need, care can be provided by nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants or certified home health aides.
    If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia care, there are a wealth of resources for you to consider. Often, a non-medical but trained home companion will be able to assist with mobility, medication reminders and special dietary issues.
  3. Outpatient—Rehabilitation center or adult day health center—In order for your senior loved to utilize this care option, they must be able to travel to the center in order for his or her after care needs to be met. Typically outpatient rehabilitation centers provide physical, occupational and speech and language therapy.
    Often, a combination of in-home care services and outpatient rehabilitation services works well in this scenario. For example, caregivers provided by an in-home senior care agency like your local Home Instead Senior Care® office could assist with transportation to rehabilitation. Also it is common for top rehabilitation facilities to have waiting lists so start early to find a center that will accept your loved one when he or she is ready to be discharged.

Guidelines: Determining Service Options After Discharge

  • What level of skilled nursing care or specialist rehabilitation services are required and for how long?
  • Are these after care services covered by Medicare or other insurers and if so, for how long?
  • Does your loved one need full-time/around the clock, daily or intermittent care?
  • Will transportation be a factor for both inpatient and outpatient options?
  • Does the Minnesota facility (outpatient or inpatient) have extended hours of operation, convenient visiting hours and are meals/snacks provided?

As the primary family caregiver there are also many personal factors for you to consider as well:

  • How much time do you have to help out?
  • Will you need to take time off from work?
  • Do you have a back-up caregiver in the event of an emergency?
  • Are you physically able to lift or move your family member?
  • Can you handle additional tasks such as picking up medicine and taking care of your loved one’s home?

Once you have answered these questions your loved one’s medical providers and you can decide which post-discharge care option is best for your loved one. Knowing what options are available and weighing each against your loved one’s desires and needs can help you make a well-informed decision that will help to ensure a successful recovery.

power-of-attorney-480x450What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A health care power of attorney, also called a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care, helps protect your loved one’s end-of-life wishes. It is a document that appoints a trusted individual to make decisions regarding your loved one’s medical care, and it becomes effective when he or she can no longer communicate effectively or coherently with others.

The person designated as your loved one’s health care power of attorney, also known as an “agent,” should be a trusted individual who knows your senior loved one’s religious beliefs and has the ability and time to act on his or her behalf.

Your loved one can give a health care agent as much or as little power to oversee his or her health care wishes and make medical decisions as feels comfortable. However, many people give their health care agent comprehensive power to supervise their care.

Each state has unique health care power of attorney laws and due to potential conflicts of interest, most do not allow medical providers or their employees to be named as agents. Many states also have free health care power of attorney forms that you can download from their websites.

What Medical Wishes Does a Health Care Power of Attorney Cover?

Seniors and their health care power of attorney discuss the following items:

  • Does your loved one want aggressive health care measures or life-prolonging treatments in the event of a chronic and debilitating illness?
  • Does he or she want to be resuscitated in the event of heart failure or stopped breathing?
  • Are there any medical treatments to which he or she has a religious objection?

How to Help Your Loved One Appoint a Health Care Power of Attorney

Most of us do not like to consider the possibility that we may become incapacitated and unable to make our own decisions anymore. When discussing the need for a health care power of attorney with your loved one it is important to be considerate, patient and not demanding.

Below are some issues to consider when helping your loved one legally appoint a health care power of attorney:

  • Make sure your loved one understands that the health care power of attorney document is intended to ensure that his or her wishes will be respected.
  • Be careful about adding restrictive language to a health care power of attorney document as it is important that the agent is able to respond to changing medical needs as they develop, even ones that cannot be foreseen.

How to Assess the Amount of Care Needed

Below is a checklist below to help family caregivers determine how much care they might need to provide.

  1. Patient Restrictions and Activities: Will your family member be able take a bath or shower, lift heavy items or walk up stairs? Can they be left alone? Are you prepared to help your loved one with exercise instructions?
  2. Equipment and Supplies: Make a list of items you will have to shop. They might include a hospital bed, shower chair, oxygen supply, disposable gloves or special skin care items.
  3. Home Safety: Do you need to move out items that might cause a fall such as area rugs or electrical cords? Do you need to make room for a hospital bed and other large equipment? Download the Returning Home Guide which includes a Home Safety Assessment.
  4. Health Care Tasks: What tasks will you have to perform and will you need any special training to accomplish them? Plan on receiving the training, such as wound care or taking and recording vital signs, while your family member is still in the hospital.
  5. Special Diets: Will you need to purchase and prepare any special foods? For example, your loved one may be on a liquid diet for some period of time.
  6. Medication Management: Will you be able to monitor your family member to ensure he or she takes the correct medication at the right time in the right amount? Will medications cause side effects?
  7. Follow-Up Care: Will you or another family member arrange for follow-up care and appointments? How often and where will they need to take place?
  8. Medical Expenses: As the primary caregiver you may have to manage your family member’s medical expenses including correspondence with the hospital, Medicare and insurance companies.
  9. Other Financial Issues: Are you prepared to manage your loved one’s finances, deposit retirement payments, balance his or her checking account and pay bills? There may be additional financial issues including taxes and home maintenance and repairs as well.

In addition to managing your loved one’s care, be sure to factor in time for yourself. It is important for family caregivers to take care of themselves while taking care of others. Remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own; hiring professional in-home caregiver services for even just a few hours per week can give you the time you need to focus on your own needs.

understanding-what-insurance-provides-480x450Understanding What Health Insurance Covers

One of the most common ways to finance medical care and health services for seniors in the United States is through Medicare which covers almost all Americans over the age of 65 for a large share of their medical expenses including hospitalizations, doctors’ bills, x-rays and therapies. The following steps will help family caregivers obtain the information they need to better understand their senior loved one’s insurance policies and programs before they return home from the hospital.

Contact Insurance Representatives Before Bringing Your Loved One Home

Make sure the insurance provider understands all the services and equipment that your loved one needs and ask them to provide information on what they will approve, why and for how long.

Conduct Research and Build a Support Network

  • Discuss your loved one’s insurance needs with a bank trust officer, financial planner or other investment adviser. While these individuals do not provide legal advice they can often help with insurance, retirement plans and many other issues on behalf of their clients.
  • Get to know your local pharmacist, who may be an excellent and readily available resource for information about insurance as it relates to prescription coverage.
  • Discuss insurance options and information with friends and acquaintances who have experienced similar health care situations.
  • Have family members help with sorting bills, reviewing current and potential supplemental insurance policies and conducting research.

These tips and resources will provide you a positive start in your loved one’s journey home from the hospital but it only touches the surface. Download the Returning Home Guide, then check back in the coming months as we provide more advice on bringing a senior home from the hospital.

Preserve Family Memories of Senior with Alzheimer’s to Stay Engaged

alzheimersIf maintaining independence is a goal of your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, strive to keep them engaged with their family, Minnesota community and their surroundings. A senior’s home in Minneapolis or surrounding suburbs might just be the best place to accomplish this.

Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center says, “At home, they will be engaged in self-care, they will be more active and do more for themselves.” As an expert panelist who helped develop content for the Home Instead Senior Care® network’s free Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE Training Program, Potter advises, “The course of losses accelerates if you put seniors with dementia in restrictive environments where people do more things for them.” Potter developed this program with Dr. Amy D’Aprix. View the recent Facebook photo of Dr. D’Aprix with Home Instead Minneapolis’ own John Stuck!

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is here to help you with that goal. Following are important tips on how family caregivers can continue to engage seniors with Alzheimer’s in everyday activities:

• Exercise can help keep seniors active longer. Talk to their home care provider about simple exercises they can do, take them for a walk or even just encourage movement.

• Simplify the task. Allow the senior to dress themself as much as possible. Make it easier by laying out clothing in sequential order, with the underwear and socks on top.

• Allow seniors to do as much as they can, but step in when you see that they’re not physically able so they don’t get frustrated. Give clear instructions, one step at a time.

• Make activities easier or change the activity. If your Mom with Alzheimer’s used to love to bridge but can’t remember how, play war or another card game instead.

• Remember, it’s more than just about the task. Turn a bath into an opportunity to smell different soaps or, when picking out clothing, discuss fashion or special colors.

• Start an activity and then ask the senior to help. If your mom has forgotten how to make that favorite family recipe, begin the process and have her help with whatever she can.

alzheimers memoryOne way to preserve the memories of those families dealing with Alzheimer’s is by creating a scrapbook. Brian Olmstead, President of Archiver’s says, “A scrapbook is a great way to preserve your family’s special stories and memories, and can be as simple as gathering your photos, putting them into an album, and writing down the important details. At Archiver’s, we’re passionate about memories and are here to make it easy to preserve and share yours.” Archiver’s has seven Twin Cities locations including one near our Home Instead Senior Care office in Maple Grove. Organize a family scrapping session in their free workrooms. Feel free to utilize their classes, in-store copier for making copies of delicate heritage photos, helpful store associates, and archival-quality products.

To accommodate your family member’s cognitive ability level and make sharing memories in a positive, meaningful experience, keep the following considerations in mind:
1. Spread photographs out on the table in their home and casually discuss them. Try to select ones that spark your loved one’s interest or memory.
2. Ask personal questions about their family and Minneapolis area upbringing but don’t interrogate.
3. Involve other family members so the senior with Alzheimer’s isn’t on the spot.
4. Focus on general memories and emotions instead exact facts and details. Incorporate their favorite color or mementos from of Lake Minnetonka.
5. Share your memories as well, especially the more recent ones which a senior with Alzheimer’s will be less likely to remember.
6. Work on the project is short increments and record the discussion.

The activities should focus on what that senior can and wants to remember. You can help to minimize frustration by paying attention to your loved one’s limitations and adapting opportunities for reminiscing accordingly. The goal is to give your family member with Alzheimer’s the opportunity to share cherished memories and preserve them for generations to come. For more information, go to https://www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com/AlzheimersandMemory/

10 Tips to Help Minneapolis Families Cope with Alzheimer’s

Issues related to aging can add stress to even the most stable Minneapolis families. Taking turns caring for a senior after surgery, deciding who’s going to mow the lawn and who’s going to assist with doctor appointments and hiring elderly home care are all typical (yet time and energy consuming) tasks for Minnesota family caregivers. Adding behavioral changes related to Alzheimer’s and dementia can push families to the brink. Watch Laurie Owen from Home Instead Senior Care and Dr. Jane Potter from the University of Nebraska Medical Center discuss the lifestyle changes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

“Regular communication – whether it’s by email or phone – is the single biggest key to helping families cope with Alzheimer’s disease,’’ said caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix, who developed Caring Cards exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care to engage families in meaningful communication. Here are 9 more tips from Dr. D’Aprix and the Home Instead Senior Care network to helping families stick together through the ups and downs of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Get an accurate diagnosis: Get several opinions, if necessary, to ensure that all family members, doctors and home health care professionals caring for your loved one know and understand the situation.
  2. Hold a family meeting: Often times, the main caregiver becomes the only person who has the important information needed to care for the person with Alzheimer’s. Gather family members together with a professional  to ensure that everyone shares the same information and gets the resources they need.
  3. Learn to manage change: Dementias are ever-changing conditions. Find a support group in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area to share with others who are facing similar challenges.
  4. Learn skills and techniques: The behavioral changes that come with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be difficult to manage. The resources of the e-learning Family Caregiver Training can help. Find memory activities and puzzles here.
  5. Ask the primary caregiver if they need help: The main day-to-day caregiver can harbor resentment towards others who they feel should be doing more. Look at what needs to be done and ask the primary caregiver how you can give them respite.
  6. Assign tasks: Family members who live out of town can still help with things like finances. Make a list of all that needs to be done and form an online care team to allow others to help.
  7. Ask for help if you’re the primary caregiver: Are you the only one of your siblings in Minneapolis who lives by your parent? Or maybe you’re the oldest daughter and everyone expects you to be the caregiver. Whatever the circumstance, caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias shouldn’t try to go it alone. (Hint…see tip #6)
  8. Preserve memories: Create a video of your loved one with Alzheimer’s telling stories about their lives or design a shadow box of keepsakes. Make sure to read next month’s blog from Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis for more information!
  9. Tap into local Minneapolis resources: Families can’t have too much information when it comes to managing  the behavioral changes of Alzheimer’s disease. Contact a Home Instead CAREgiver who has received special training to care for those with all types of dementias.

Dr. Amy D’Aprix also prepared content for the Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Training Program called CARE which stands for Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM. Programs like these as well as the online Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training were developed exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care and FREE to you!

Each e-learning class in the Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training  program can be completed within 5–15 minutes and include:

  • Understanding Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
  • Capturing Life’s Journey
  • Managing Behaviors
  • Encouraging Engagement
  • Safety

To begin your free online training immediately, simply click here and “home instead facebookLike” our Facebook page.

As a Fan of our Facebook page, you’ll have access to special opportunities and resources such as this training that we offer throughout the year. Already a Fan? Click here and get Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training now!

10 Signs of Alzheimer’s – Download Guide

Home Instead senior careHome Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is all settled into our new office space and we hope you had a nice time being entertained at our open house. Our home care staff and CAREGivers had a great day giving tours and connecting with clients and associates. Now, that we have this large conference room, we’re ready to  welcome and educate! First topic…Alzheimer’s Disease.

Why have we chosen such difficult and sobering topic? Because it’s a reality for so many Americans, including our senior home care clients. According to the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease every 70 seconds. Yet it’s often difficult to tell if your loved one in Minneapolis has Alzheimer’s, Dementia or just has brief lapses in memory.

alzheimers trainingDementia is the umbrella term for the variety of conditions that can cause the brain to fail. One of those is Alzheimer’s disease, which represents the majority of cases, noted Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  One thing to consider is, “Normal old age does not cause memory loss. It’s not normal when people can’t take care of daily business, such as paying bills and writing checks.” Dr. Potter said.

It’s imperative to consult a Minnesota physician to hopefully catch the disease early so following are 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s compared with typical age-related changes, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

  1. Disruption of daily live due to memory loss: Forgetting information recently attained is more common with Alzheimer’s than forgetting past events. Typical age-related change? Forgetting people’s names or appointments, but remembering them later.
  2. Inability to solve problems or plan: Some people may have difficulty working with numbers or are unable to plan an event or follow a sequence of events. Typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
  3. Difficulty completing tasks they do every day: Pay close attention if a senior in your life forgets the rules of their or gets lost driving to a familiar Minneapolis destination.  Typical? Occasionally needing help using a microwave or recording a television show.
  4. Are not able to retrace steps to find misplaced items:  We all lose things, right? A person with Alzheimer’s might put things in unusual places or accuse others of stealing. Typical? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses.
  5. Confusion with time or place: Forgetting what day it is, holidays or loses track of time. Typical? Getting confused about the day of the week, but figuring it out later.
  6. Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships: They may not realize they are the person in the mirror. Typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
  7. Decreased or poor judgment: The inability to make a decision-making or making detrimental choices are behaviors to look for with Alzheimer’s. Typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.
  8. Withdrawing from work or social activities: Continuing to reject social activities, refrain from hobbies or not go to work should cause concern. Typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
  9. Difficulty speaking or writing words: Does your loved one have trouble joining or following a conversation when they’ve been quite social in the past? Typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
  10. Changes in mood and personality: Some can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work or with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. Typical? Developing specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

* Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp.

minneapolis alzheimersTo Download a PDF version of the full David Troxel Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia, Answers to the 15 Most Common Questions, simply click here, home instead facebookLike our Facebook page and download the guide immediately!

As a Fan of our Facebook page, you’ll have access to special opportunities and resources such as this guide that we offer throughout the year. Already a Fan? Click here and download now!

The Home Instead Senior Care® network is a corporate member of the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, whose goal is to educate about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, the importance of early detection and the resources available to help them.

What to Expect with Alzheimer’s

The diagnosis is clear…a senior in your life has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which can trigger anxiety and fear. What can someone with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis expect?

Based on Home Instead Senior Care® network research, those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias who live at home without in-home care reported these common problems, in addition to the warning signs identified above:

  1. Wandering
  2. Nighttime wakefulness and other sleep problems
  3. Refusing to eat
  4. Rummaging around or hiding things
  5. Belligerence, anger or aggressive behavior
  6. Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia

Despite this grim expectation, there is hope on the horizon. “One of the promising areas under study is exercise; it appears that avid exercisers have a lower risk of dementia. So identifying people at risk and developing an activity program are among therapies being considered”, said Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “The currently available treatments are used when dementia has fully developed,”  “All of the new trials are focused on early identification to target the stage before dementia – mild cognitive impairment. In the future we should be able to identify and treat people with mild cognitive impairment to keep the disease from progressing,” she said.