Taking Care of You

I've never met a caregiver who says "I'm doing everything all by myself until I collapse and let my loved one down."

I do meet many caregivers who "act as if" this is their intention. If your intention is to care for your family member until he no longer needs your help then consider if your current ways of acting and thinking really support your intention.

Adapting to your family member's changing needs may not mean working harder and longer but rather working smarter by finding resources to help you and making taking care of yourself a priority.

All of us have one or two things related to own health and wellbeing that we are letting slide. We tell ourselves that we are too busy; Our family member's needs take priority; We must meet the demands of our career or other family obligations.

I'm suggesting that you make two changes. The first change...pick from the list of healthy things you have been meaning to do and take action on one item. Schedule a check up with your doctor. Start taking a daily walk. Add a meatless Monday to your diet. Find someone to listen and support you as you cope with your caregiving challenges.

The second change...take regular breaks from your caregiving responsibilities. Encourage your family member to attend an adult day program to give you a break during the week. Plan a vacation and make arrangements for your family member to stay with a caregiver or temporarily live in an assisted living community while you are away.

Committing to care for your own wellbeing is best way to ensure that you will be here to take care of your family member as long as he needs you.


Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?

Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?

Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?

Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.

To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources tailored to your unique situation, click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation.


Dementia Special Tips

Summer is here bringing warm and sunny days. Summer also means paying attention to the impact warm weather can have on your family member. People with dementia often lack the judgment and awareness to know when they are getting too warm or dehydrated in warm weather.

Elders are less able to deal with warm weather than younger people. They may not feel thirsty and drink enough water on hot days. Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion which are potentially life threatening conditions.

Heat Stroke is the result of a person's body being unable to cool itself during hot weather. Body temperature rises often as high as 106 degrees resulting in hot, flushed, dry skin, a rapid pulse and difficulty breathing. The person may exhibit agitation, hallucinations or be disoriented. The person may suffer from convulsions and then lapse into a coma. Call 911 immediately if you suspect heat stroke and begin cooling the person down by applying ice or cool clothes to her head, neck, armpits and groin.

Heat Exhaustion is the result of exposure to hot temperature and inadequate intake of water. It can progress to heat stroke if not treated. Warning signs are heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting and headache. The person's skin may be cool and moist and he may have a rapid heart beat.

Help your family member cool off by drinking cool, non-alcoholic beverages, taking a cool shower or bath and resting in an air-conditioned environment. If his symptoms last longer than an hour after cooling down, contact your doctor.

To prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion:

  1. Encourage your family member to drink water at regular intervals at meals and at least once between each meal.
  2. Make sure that he has access to a cool place during warm weather.
  3. Set the air conditioning unit to come on automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level.
  4. Make sure your family member comes in from the sun during the middle of the day.
  5. If your family member has shown any signs of wandering, leaving home without you, or getting lost in familiar places, supervise him closely to prevent wandering or put alarms on exterior doors to alert you when he leaves the house. Getting lost on a hot summer day could be fatal.
If your family member lives in a care facility or attends an adult day program, learn about the facility's program for making sure that residents or participants stay hydrated and don't get too warm. Occasionally check in during hot weather to make sure that the program is being followed. Report any concerns that you have to the program or facility director.


Upcoming Eldercare Coach Events

Caring for your Parents Tele-Support Group

It can be hard to leave home when you are caring for a parent. You may be tired after working all day.

What if you could participate in a lively and supportive conversation about your caregiving challenges without leaving home?

Get the support and information you need from The Eldercare Coach and your fellow participants by attending the "Caring for your Parents Tele-Support Group."

Tuesday, August 5, 7-8:30pm by Telephone

To register for the call or ask any questions, send an email to janice@understanding-dementia.com