Ambiguous Loss: Grieving a Loss That Isn’t Physical

aging_aloneWe all know the pain when a loved one passes away, but what about the ambiguous loss we feel when someone we love and provide care for suffers from dementia? Ambiguous loss refers to a loss that occurs without resolution or understanding. This type of loss often leaves a person searching for answers or closure, which in turn complicates and delays the grieving process, leading to unresolved grief.

There are two types of ambiguous loss, physical and psychological. With physical loss, the body of a loved one is no longer present. This type of loss can occur across generations in a family, such as victims of the holocaust or missing soldiers and can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.  In the situation of psychological ambiguous loss, the body is physically present, but psychologically absent otherwise. This happens in examples such as dementia, stroke and other ways the brain, well-being and behavior of the individual is affected.

Ambiguous loss is unclear and has no resolution or closure. The loss is confusing and unpredictable. Dementia creates a feeling of ambiguous loss, causing much stress and burden on the family and caregiver.

Pauline Boss, Ph.D and researcher, suggests that ambiguous loss creates a complicated grief that goes on too long. The complication is the ambiguity and confusion of not knowing when the loss will be final. In the case of an individual with dementia, as the disease progresses to the next stage (forgetting names or dates, not able to drive anymore, etc.), the progression brings on more continuous loss. Boss refers to this as frozen grief.

With frozen grief there is no familiar ritual, only a deep on-going sadness and many unknowns. Loved ones and caregivers may feel they are in limbo with no resolution in sight. There is a feeling of hopelessness and being ‘stuck’ as well as an inability to get things done. Having to accept the loss and grieve someone who is still alive is very counter-intuitive, but it is important to grieve as you go. The losses will continue with each stage of progression of the dementia but it is important to recognize each loss as it happens and as you go along in the journey.

To learn more about this perspective of loss and grief that may resonate strongly with you and other dementia care partners, watch this informative webinar. In this webinar, Susy Favaro, LCSW, of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, describes what many dementia care partners feel when the person they know and love has significantly changed psychologically but still physically present.

At Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, we understand the stress that family caregivers face and offer a wide-range of in-home care services, including respite care, personal care, 24-hour and live-in care and Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The loving and experienced CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers friendly, responsive care for seniors right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community, as well as support for the family.

Realizing the need to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as prescription medication management, preventing senior hospitalizations, keeping seniors safe online, preventing wandering and the increased risk our seniors face when they continue to drive past a safe age, Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis will continue to provide resources and tips to help keep you informed. Our senior loved ones are one of society’s greatest resources – let’s make sure they receive the best care possible. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a Home Instead CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

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Surviving Awkward Conversations and Determining a Loved One’s Needs During the Holidays

senior giftsThe holidays may be the only time some family members are able to come together. Situations such as long-distance travel or celebrating with in-laws may prevent having the entire family together some years. For many, the holidays mark a time of joy, nostalgia and celebration, but others are feeling maxed out. And some may be in for an unpleasant surprise if they haven’t seen parents or grandparents for a while and realize they are aging faster than expected and need help. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the added stress that is placed on families when visiting during the holidays and offers ways to manage awkward conversations as well as tips to pin-point your aging loved one’s needs.

Knowing how crushing it can be to a young boy when Grandpa’s dementia has progressed to a point where he no longer remembers the little boy’s name or the dread of having a conversation with a sibling you resent for not doing their part in caring for a parent adds to the stress of the family gatherings. Home Instead Senior Care offers some guidance to having that awkward conversation or helping you respond to these challenging situations and more.

Consider these four common scenarios caregivers or their relatives might encounter during the holiday season:

You want to discuss with siblings your need for help in caring for Mom or Dad
While speaking up to ask for help is a good way to garner help from others, is the family dinner table really the right time to address a touchy subject? Read tips to help you navigate the conversation successfully.

You’ll be seeing a relative for the first time after they have received a serious medical diagnosis
With the dire diagnosis statistics for cancer, heart disease and other serious health conditions increasing with age, the likelihood of seeing a relative who was recently diagnosed goes up each year. Consider these tips for what to say.

You notice during a recent visit that your aging parents need more help than you thought
Typically, when you speak to mom and dad, they assure you everything is fine and they don’t need help, but when you arrive to stay over the holidays you discover that isn’t exactly the case. Concern creeps in when you realize the pile of mail is quite large and their home is beyond cluttered. Read ideas of how to handle this situation.

Preparing your children for Grandma or Grandpa’s different behavior due to Alzheimer’s disease
Young children may become frightened by the often-inappropriate behaviors or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Keeping the details and conversation age-appropriate will help, as well as staying calm and patient. Learn tips to help prepare your children.

Be prepared to manage any changes you notice in your aging loved one.

Keep your eyes open for some common issues that can threaten a senior’s independence, such as:

• Pain
• Memory
• Depression
• Social Engagement
• Safety
• Housekeeping
• Medication

Learn details about each of the above common issues as well as how to address the issues uncovered, by reading 7 Ways to Investigate Your Loved One’s Needs During a Holiday Visit. If you’re unsure how to discuss concerns with your loved one, refer to Home Instead Senior Care’s conversation starter guide.

At Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, our passion for serving seniors and their families runs deep. We are invested in the communities we serve and believe every family in the area deserves individualized in-home senior care with a compassionate touch to help seniors live independently at home. It’s our mission.

Caring for seniors is a job that requires a special personality with just the right touch. Could that be you? As a Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, you have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of your aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis to learn more about the home care job opportunities and becoming a Home Instead Minneapolis CAREGiver.

If you or a loved one could use some assistance with senior care, contact us for a free care consultation to learn how we can help. Call us today at 763-634-8247.

Daughters in the Workplace

Between advances in medicine and living healthier lifestyles, many seniors are living longer and more productive lives, which is causing the ‘sandwich’ generation to emerge. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents while caring for their own children simultaneously. Studies over the past few decades have shown increased support for women who are juggling their careers as they raise young children, but much less attention and dialogue focusing on the unique challenges that come with navigating a career while caring for aging adults.

DaughtersWorkplace2To help working family caregivers feel empowered to talk to their employer about their needs and to help employers understand what their employees need as caregivers, Home Instead Inc. has launched their latest public education campaign, Daughters in the Workplace℠. This program offers free resources to working family caregivers while also identifying caregiving support that may be available.

In a recent survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., a majority of the North American working family caregivers responded stating that caregiving has put a strain on multiple aspects of their lives including, but not limited to:

  • Finances (60%)
  • Physical health (74%)
  • Mental health (81%)
  • Career (81%)
  • Ability to manage a healthy work/life balance (83%)

You value your job and don’t want to jeopardize your position, but may need flexibility and understanding at times. It’s important to work with your employer and be honest with your boss when caregiving becomes difficult and you’re struggling to keep up with your workload. Home Instead’s Daughters in the Workplace℠ campaign offers support and resources for all parties involved during these unique challenges.

Conversation Starters: How to Talk to Your Employer About Your Caregiver Support Needs

What’s the best way to discuss family caregiving without the fear of jeopardizing your job? Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis believes that suggesting ideas that work for both your employer and you are best. Also, continue to work with your employer to make sure any changes to your work schedule or job are, in fact, working for all involved. To help you get the conversation started, Home Instead Senior Care offers some examples:

  • “Do you know I am taking care of my dad? I would love to tell you a little about him and what I am doing to care for him. I am looking for ways to ensure I am always doing the best I can at work and at home.”
  • “I hope you know how much I value my job. That’s why I would like to make sure that my work is covered in the event of a family emergency. I would love to learn about any services our company has that could help me. And then, it would be great to work with you to put together a plan.”

Read more examples. 

DaughtersWorkplace1

Consider 5 Ways Eldercare Could Impact Your Business

As the employer, you may believe you can’t afford to offer a family-friendly business setting, but in reality, the latest research shows that perhaps you can’t afford not to address these situations. Learn ways eldercare might be impacting your bottom line:

  1. Increased Absenteeism
  2. Decreased Productivity
  3. Loss of Talent
  4. Interruption of Sevices or Work flow
  5. Declining Morale

Five Signs That Caregiving Could be Putting Your Employee at Risk:

Being aware of signs that may be putting your employee at risk is important. Family caregiving is stressful business, especially when a person is also managing a full-time job and caring for their own family. This will eventually take its toll on your employee, which in turn may affect work productivity and even risk losing an otherwise excellent worker. Watching for these signs and using available resources will help reduce this risk.

  • Stress and depression: In a survey of working family caregivers, 42 percent report caregiving making them depressed.
  • Vulnerability to illness: In a Gallup study released in 2011 of working family caregivers, findings showed caregivers are 50 percent more likely to experience daily physical pain than non-caregivers. Working caregivers also reported a 25 percent higher incident of high blood pressure.
  • Fatigue: Although you cannot control your employees’ sleeping habits, recognize that fatigue is a common challenge facing many family caregivers.
  • Inability to focus: Fatigue and stress together make it difficult to focus.
  • Guilt: The guilt of constantly feeling spread too thin and not being able to give 100% to anyone leaves working family caregivers frustrated.

Learn more about each of these signs along with ideas and tips to help your employees stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy by visiting www.caregiverstress.com. Also, take a quiz to see what you know about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other benefits you may have access to when you are working and caring for an aging loved one.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress the working family caregivers face and offers a wide range of in-home care services, including respite care, personal care, 24-hour and live-in care and Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Our experienced CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offer friendly, responsive care for seniors right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community, as well as support for the family. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

Prevent Wandering, Part II

prevent-wandering-logo“Not all those who wander are lost”. This line taken from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien has become famous in itself and seems appropriate when thinking of our senior loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia and is a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly. This is the second Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis article focusing on the prevention of wandering, click here to find the first article in this series as well as many other articles related to senior safety and health.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is very common as people can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Typically, those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind. To the person who is wandering, they are not lost at all, but instead on a mission.

Watch this touching video about a man with a special mission in mind.

Continuing their effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as the risk of our seniors continuing to drive past a safe age and the Sunday Dinner Pledge, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program is full of valuable resources and tips to help family caregivers manage this common issue.

To a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, once familiar territory can suddenly feel foreign and the individual may walk away in search of the place they are looking for. There are many factors, such as fatigue or overstimulation, that can trigger a wandering episode. Taking proactive steps to safeguard the home and reduce the risk of wandering will help families be prepared if a wandering incident occurs.

Quick Tips to Reduce the Risk of Wandering:

  • Paint doors and door frames the same color as the walls to camouflage the exits
  • Use alarms to alert you when a loved one is on the move
  • Install doorknob safety covers
  • Create pathways to steer clear of wandering opportunities

missing_senior_networkTo help ease the stress and fear for families and the loved ones they care for, Home Instead Senior Care provides a free service called Missing Senior Network, which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or goes missing. This amazing service is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign and allows you to set up a private network including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your senior loved one quickly when he or she wanders away. To learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service, visit the website www.missingseniornetwork.com today! There are many other tips and services available, learn more about each one by visiting the helpful website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com where you can also find personal experience and tips from readers.

Learning of a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia is scary. Educating yourself and being prepared for the behaviors that can result will not only help the individual living with Alzheimer’s, but also help the family cope with the disease diagnosis and keep your senior loved ones safe in their home. There are many resources available for Alzheimer’s family caregivers. Learn more about these resources, such as the Home Instead Senior Care Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, by visiting this resource page.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, as well as support for the family caregivers, to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

Wanted: A Caring Professional Looking for a Unique and Rewarding Career

Caring for seniors is a labor of love that requires a special person with a loving personality and just the right touch. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is looking for dedicated CAREGivers who share a passion for caregiving to provide in-home care assistance to seniors and their family. Could that special person be you?

Advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles are leading to many seniors living longer and more productive lives. This is causing the ‘sandwich’ generation to emerge, which in turn is demanding a greater need for caregivers. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents and simultaneously caring for their own children. Many Minneapolis families are trying to find the balance of managing a demanding job, raising children, staying on top of their own family’s daily activities, as well as caring for their aging parents. It doesn’t take long before a family caregiver drops one of the many balls they are trying to juggle daily.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis Client Care Coordinator, Lori Leigh, explains why this growing field is so important right now and provides a glimpse of what is involved with being an in-home personal care assistant (PCA):

As the New York Times reports extensively, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed by the year 2022 to meet the demand of the aging senior population. This demand for caregivers in the workforce is at a critical level, causing caregiving to become the largest occupation in the United States in the next 5 years. A recent report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune echoes the growing demand, stating that healthcare is a gold mine right now with an expected growth in Minnesota by more than 40% by 2022.

So, exactly what does it mean to be a caregiver? As a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver, you can help these Minnesota families restore the balance, order, and peace in their lives once again while allowing their aging loved ones the ability to continue living independently at home. The responsibilities will vary depending on the client’s needs, but generally, you will be expected to:

  • Provide companionship and conversation
  • Prepare meals
  • Perform light housekeeping tasks, including laundry
  • Provide medication as needed
  • Assist with errands
  • Accompany senior to appointments

Other responsibilities may be asked of you, but most importantly and rewarding is the joy you bring to a senior’s life and the value you provide to the family.

Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz, highlighting their very special bond.

If you believe you are that special type of person who enjoys working with seniors and wants make a difference in the lives of older adults and their families, being a Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver might be the career for you. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers industry leading CARE Training programs that will equip a new caregiver with the skills necessary to provide the best care possible to the senior client. Home Instead also offers training for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Home Instead Minneapolis serves the communities in Minneapolis and western suburbs, including Excelsior, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Golden Valley, Shorewood, Wayzata, St. Louis Park, and Lake Minnetonka area. Flexible work hours, a competitive salary package including health insurance benefits, as well as overtime pay and paid travel time between client appointments are just some of the benefits our employees enjoy. Our CAREGivers are bonded and insured and are provided with on-going training and support. We offer this and more through a holistic approach – caring for our CAREGiver’s mind, body, and spirit. We truly believe when we care for our CAREGivers, they are better equipped to have a meaningful relationship with their clients and the families they support.

Becoming a paid home caregiver is a unique job with many rewards, as well as responsibilities and challenges, both physical and emotional. As a Home Instead CAREGiver, you will have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors in our Minneapolis communities, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of our aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today to learn more about the home care career opportunities by visiting the Careers tab of our website where you can also apply online or contact us by calling 763-634-8247 today.

Prevent Wandering

prevent-wandering-logoDoes this scene sound familiar? Your 76-year old father leaves his Minnesota home one cold winter morning without telling anyone where he was going. After realizing he is missing and frantically searching, he is discovered by some concerned strangers who noticed he looked confused. Even though he’s been retired for 12 years, he thought he was on his way to work and was found approximately 10 miles from his home. We at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis hear similar stories every day. Minor details may be different with each story, but overall the general theme is the same – the wandering senior has a purpose and intent when they start out, but get lost along the way.

Wandering is a very serious issue for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, and their loved ones. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. People can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Many times those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind, such as a former job.

Watch this touching video about a man on a mission.

In an effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as prescription medication management and preventing senior hospitalizations, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program offers tips and valuable resources to help family caregivers manage this common issue for even the most prepared families.

The Alzheimer’s Association has identified five common triggers often found when individuals with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia tend to wander. Things such as fatigue or being disoriented are well known triggers, but there are other important factors to be aware of:

5 Common Triggers for Wandering:

  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Overstimulation
  • Fatigue, especially in the late afternoon and evening
  • Disorientation to place and time
  • Change in routine and unmet needs

Learn more about each one by visiting the helpful website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people with dementia will wander and many will do so repeatedly. Any individual living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is at risk of wandering. Having the disease itself is a top reason to watch for these signs.

6 Signs to Watch for When Caring for Someone with Dementia:

  • Trouble navigating familiar places – have you noticed Dad has trouble getting to and from places he has frequented for years?
  • Frequent talk about fulfilling non-existent obligations – does Mom tend to repeatedly talk about an appointment that doesn’t exist?
  • Agitation in the late afternoon or early evening hours – commonly referred to as “sundowning”, the individual becomes restless and agitated as fatigue sets in during the early evening hours.
  • A constant desire to go home when they’re already there – reassure your loved one he or she is safe and secure.
  • Unmet needs – needing to use the bathroom, but not able to remember where it is.

missing_senior_networkFor someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia as well as those who care for them, wandering can be a very scary issue. Also, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, reveals the stress that symptoms of dementia, such as wandering, can play on family caregivers. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress that goes along with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. To help ease the stress and fear for families, Home Instead provides a free service called Missing Senior Network which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or is missing. This amazing service, which is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign, allows you to set up a private network, including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your family member quickly when he or she wanders away. Learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service today!

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and support for the family caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today!