The Needs of Caregivers: Family Caregiver Support Month

November is National Family Caregiver Support Month. While being focused on the needs of a family member—elder or otherwise—its easy to become overwhelmed with responsibility and struggle with all that goes with being a caregiver including fatigue, family struggles, and isolation from other relationships. The work of a caregiver is far from glamorous, but certainly it is noble and deserving of recognition.

In order for caregivers to truly be successful, self care must be implemented. Caregivers need to find time for rest, relaxation, and continue to have a focus on personal relationships so that there are opportunities to be restored and recharged. Family members who benefit from the support of their daughters, mothers, sons and fathers will also know when their caregiver is tired and drained—their care will be affected in some way.

There are programs available in most states through the National Respite Network that will help caregivers maintain their footing. Joining support groups or simply just locating others in similar life situations in social media groups can go a long way in helping a caregiver to know they aren’t alone. The opportunity to share about the struggles and joys of family care with those in similar situations is a solid step in the direction of self-care.

If you are a family caregiver or know someone who is, Bridge Care understands what it takes to step up an be that person if strength in what is never an easy situation. We are here to provide resources and to answer your questions as your family member’s needs increase. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing as a caregiver and let us know how we can be of assistance.

10 Ways to Help the Elderly Feel Less Lonely & Isolated

Everyone knows what it’s like to some degree, we’ve all experienced it. Loneliness is a feeling of emptiness, deprivation or even sadness. As our population ages, more and more senior citizens suffer from this dreaded infliction. What’s worse, the sense of isolation is more impactful even though it can also be present on a daily basis.

Loneliness is in a very real sense an emotional matter than can lead to other very serious situations—no matter the age or generation. But for the elderly, loneliness alongside generally poor health can just make matters worse. At any age a person can develop an eating disorder and fail to cope with stress and anxiety—and during the holiday season it only gets worse. This stress and anxiety serves in somewhat of a domino effect and can lead to sleep problems, depression, alcohol abuse, and even suicidal thoughts. All of this stress can cause physical calamities such as serious falls where bones may be broken.

The bottom line is, loneliness is a human problem and we all desire to feel connected. We know it is true about ourselves, so certainly the same is true for the elderly. (more…)

Avoiding the Confusion: Long Term Care & Skilled Care Questions

Facing the prospect of long-term care can be very confusing and even a daunting endeavor. It’s not uncommon for families to struggle with the questions of what facility their loved one will move into and how it will be paid for. I encounter these questions regularly when meeting with clients, so trust me—you aren’t alone if you’re wondering about these issues too.

Recently I was having lunch with a close friend who like me, is also a nurse. Even she struggled to get this kind of information together for her own parents. So we talked about the differences between long term care and skilled care.

As I explained to her, long term care (LTC) facilities will often accept private pay, Medicaid, and some long-term care insurances. Certain types of LTC’s may specialize in dementia care and have a secure unit for those clients who struggle with difficult behaviors and need closer monitoring. These facilities will be the home of your loved one until the end of their days—but you need to ask about the availability of hospice care should it become necessary for your loved one’s final days. (more…)

The Senior Care Industry is Booming…

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND!

There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs.

Let’s talk about Assisted Living/Supportive Living

  • Assisted Living
    • Typically for the resident 65 or older
    • Intermediate step between independent living and skilled (long-term) care
    • Some communities may specialize in Memory Care
    • Residents typically require some assistance with some personal care
      • Bathing, grooming dressing and or eating
      • Medication set up and reminders
      • Assistance to and from dining room
      • Minor medical care
    • 24 hour supervision is provided
    • Housekeeping and laundry typically included
    • Apartment/Studio style living
    • Communal meal dining -3 meals provided per day
    • Ala carte services may include
      • Extra help with beyond what staff can provide
        • Personal supervision
        • Assistance that is required on an hourly basis
      • Transportation services to appointment
    • Monthly fees can range from $2000-5000 per month
  • Supportive Living-
    • An alternative to nursing home care for low-income older persons and persons with disabilities under Medicaid.
    • Provides the same services as Assisted living with the financial support from Medicaid
    • Pre-screening has to be done prior for the future resident to be accepted to the community
    • This housing alternative is available to persons 65 or older and there are also communities that service the disabled adult 22 years and older.

As an Elder Care Consultant and Coach, I am here to assist you and your elder loved one as you navigate the world of Senior Housing. It is my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

What’s the Cost: Independent Living/Retirement Housing In a Nutshell

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND! There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs. Let’s talk about Independent Living/Retirement Housing.

  • Independent Living/Retirement Housing
    • Age 55 or older community
    • Apartment style, town home or small detached home
      • Amenities and Services may include-
        • Optional meal plans
        • Housekeeping
        • Activities
        • Transportation
        • Laundry
        • Library and Computer stations
        • Security
      • May have affiliation with a home care agency to provide personal care services, at the expense of the individual
      • Rates are monthly and typically based on size and location of the unit.
  • The cost-
    • Apartment- style rental units- $1000.00-4000.00 per month
    • Town Home or small detached home-Price is whatever the housing market is in that specific area-usually privately owned, with age requirements (usually 55 or better)
    • Some senior living communities may have allowed government subsidizing –if you qualify based on income and assets.
    • Most all costs can depend on amenities offered in that community

As an Elder Care Consultant and Coach, I am here to assist you and your elder loved one as you navigate the world of Senior Housing. It is my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

Next: Assisted Living and Supportive Living

 

 

In a Nutshell: What’s the Cost?

The senior care industry is booming and for a good reason- DEMAND! There are several levels of care for your senior loved ones needs.

Lets’ talk about: In-Home Services:

  • In-Home- non skilled (also known as Private Duty Care)
    • Hourly services
      • Some agencies may have an hourly minimum
      • Maybe licensed or bonded or NOTL
      • Provide non-skilled services such as home-making, transportation, cooking and assist with bathing
      • Cost approximately $18.00-26.00 per hour
    • Live-in services
      • Provides 24 hour care
      • Perhaps a team of 1-3 different caregivers
      • May be licensed or bonded or NOTL
      • May or may not provide transportation
      • Provides non-skilled services as mentioned above
      • $150.00-250.00 per day
    • If agency is licensed and bonded you should expect the caregivers to be properly trained and screened along with supervised at least, monthly or as needed or requested.

As a Geriatric Care Manager, I know that the search can be overwhelming because of the many, many agencies out there. It is my my role is to provide you with the right recommendation for your specific needs. My expertise in the industry allows me to be that filter and ask the right questions and get the best recommendations for you and your senior loved one!!

Let’s Talk About “IT”

Tender conversations are tough, especially with the ones closest to you. As we both know conversations that prepare and plan can be most valuable in the long run. So let’s talk about “it”—what are your senior loved ones’ desires when it comes to staying at home or moving to a senior community?

Aging safely in place is the main goal but it comes at a cost and needs to be planned for. Your loved one may want to adapt the house, have in-home help, or whatever else it might take to stay in their home. With that being said, let’s discuss the cost of in home care, possible stair lifts, ramps outside the home, safety features in the bathroom, etc. (more…)

A Drop of Knowledge on Hydration

Facts!!

  • 48% of older adults in Emergency Departments have lab values indicative of dehydration
  • 31% of long term care residents are dehydrated
  • Dehydration is present in up to ¼ of older adults
  • Body weight is about 50-60% water and without it we can only expect to live for about 1 week.
  • Dehydration adversely affects mental performance.
  • Dehydration increases fall risk

Thirst response decreases as we age, so the desire to drink fluids is diminished. It is so important to encourage our older adult loved ones to have at least 6-8 (8oz) glasses of clear (non-caffeinated, non-sugar) fluids. (Of course this does not apply if the older adult is on a fluid strict diet as ordered by their Healthcare Provider)

Increasing hydration can be challenging, but well worth the effort. Improving your hydration is one simple way to improve your overall health and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. The benefits are amazing; decreased fall risk, increased mental acuity, healthy bowel and bladder function, improved circulatory system and cardiac function.

So let’s drink to our health!!!

Honor Thy Aging Parents

We live in an age where geographically we may not be close to our parents or even more challenging, there is emotional distance. Bridging that chasm starts with us—sometimes we don’t have the luxury of waiting for an improved relationship. Pride and stubbornness can be a real stumbling block to true forgiveness. But I think there is an opportunity for us to look inward and try and grasp the situation as God sees it. It may mean putting the past behind and seeking the Lord to fashion your heart to glorify and please Him while honoring your parents in action and in attitude.

Relationships are tough, it is so easy to love loveable people; it’s the unlovable people where we find ourselves challenged. The older adult parent can be difficult to honor as now we often have a murky family history with current aging issues such as (dementia, disabilities, chronic diseases, etc). (more…)

Praying for Aging Parents

One of the inescapable facts of growing older is that my parents have grown older, too. In my mind’s eye, I picture them frozen in time in their prime, but the clock hasn’t stopped ticking. Thus my mental image doesn’t quite match reality like it used to.

When I left home for college, my parents would check up on me during our many phone conversations. “Are you eating enough? Are you getting enough protein? Make sure you get enough sleep and don’t work too hard. Be careful driving.”

Now it’s my turn. “How are you feeling? How are you sleeping? Are you eating enough? Have you seen the doctor? Are you taking your meds? Perhaps someone can give you a ride instead.” This is uncharted territory now that the roles seem to be slowly reversing, and it’s a little scary. (more…)