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. 

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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.

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Senior Medication Management Tips and Tools

senior medicationIf you have a senior in your care, you may be overwhelmed by the number and variety of medications you must manage. And you are probably also aware that overdoses and drug reactions are fairly common as well.

As we reported in the Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis June 2011 blog on Preparing for Senior Emergencies, there are a number of things you can do to thwart emergency situations for seniors. Managing medications is among the top priorities, since over 25% of senior hospitalizations are directly related to adverse reactions to drugs.

In this post we’re focusing specifically on everything you need to know to manage senior medications. Some good preparedness strategies can go a long way toward helping you to track and manage medications and watch for warning signs of medication overdose.

What is Considered a Medication?

First, it is important to note that the term “medications” refers to any pharmaceutical prescriptions the senior is taking, as well as all over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Both prescribed and OTC medications should be monitored carefully for reactions and/or interactions with one another. Be sure to also ask the senior’s primary care physician to review the senior’s vitamin and supplement regimen as well.

What are Some Basic Daily Strategies for Managing Medications?

Daily medication management strategies are important, whether you are managing medications for one senior or for many. Daily strategies include the following:

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  • Follow exact dosage instructions for all prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) medicines.
  • Use one pharmacy for all prescriptions and OTC medicines, and ensure that the pharmacy has a complete list of all medicines on file.
  • If the senior sees more than one physician, ensure that all doctors have a list of all medications.
  • Read all medicine precautions and potential side effects, and know what to watch for.
  • Follow any precautions with regard to alcohol use in combination with medicines.
  • Dispose of expired medications and any medications your physician has told you to discontinue.
  • Use a pill organizer to organize medications by dose and time of day.
  • Never take medications that were prescribed for someone else.
  • Contact the senior’s primary physician regarding any side effects such as nausea, depression or sleep problems.

What Tools Can You Use to Manage Senior Medications?

Managing prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can be a daily challenge because every medication has its own regimen instructions for how and when it should be taken. Using tools such as the following will help you to manage these regimens.

1. Use the Medication Tracking Sheet from Caregiverstress.com to document all medications, dosages and instructions. Be sure to:

  • Record a date on the sheet each time you update the prescription list.
  • Bring the updated tracking sheet to every doctor’s appointment, and ensure that the senior’s medications are reviewed for potential interactions.

2. Use reminder and medications management tools and applications that integrate with your computer and smart phone. For example, you might want to consider the Caregiver’s Touch iPhone and iPod app. This app lets caregivers track and manage medications for up to 600 individuals. For a list of available tools see the Senior Health Tracking Tools blog post from Caregiverstress.com.

What Are the Symptoms of Drug Reactions or Drug Overdose?

Be aware of potential side effects and what symptoms may signal an overdose or drug reaction. The following are the most common symptoms to watch for:

  • Confusion or delirium
  • Mood swings or psychiatric problems
  • Dizziness, loss of coordination, or falls
  • Incontinence
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of appetite or energy
  • Sudden memory loss
  • Headaches

Call the senior’s primary care physician right away if you suspect a drug overdose, or the senior experiences a minor reaction. Use your best judgment. Most importantly, in the case of a life threatening overdose or a severe drug reaction, immediately call 911.

More Resources

There is always more to learn, when it comes to senior care. Here are some additional resources for you in your quest to be “in the know” with regard to senior medication management.

  • See the Caregiverstress.com Give and Take blog post for tips on communicating with the senior’s physician(s) about the medication regimen.
  • Learn more about when to seek medical help from the eMedicine Health guide to drug overdose.
  • Review the medication management tools provided by the National Council on Aging, which include fact sheets and learning modules.