As your parents age, you likely find yourself taking on more responsibilities to keep them safe and happy, especially if they still live on their own. For adult children of seniors who need assistance with daily tasks, it’s important to take a little time out periodically in order to relax. Help at Home offers caregiver respite to help families when they need a break. If you take care of senior family members as well as your kids, while also balancing duties at home and at work, you’ll want to make an effort to carve out sufficient time for yourself, otherwise you might find yourself stressed out. Here are some of our tips for avoiding caregiver burnout:
First, don’t keep your troubles to yourself. Talk with a trusted friend or relative. Unacknowledged stress will lead to burnout, but taking time to communicate with close friends can help combat the effects of stress.
Establish a schedule. Managing your time and creating a set schedule can help so the daily responsibilities of caring for your children, home and aging parents don’t seem so overwhelming.
Consider arranging for respite care so you can give yourself occasional breaks. When friends, neighbors or relatives are unavailable, Help at Home’s in-home senior care services may be just what you need so you can rest and recharge your batteries.
You don’t have to do everything, it’s okay to ask for help. Consider having professional, in-home caregivers step in and help when you need it. If you have any questions or concerns about caregiver burnout or would like to arrange for some help in the form of in-home senior care, the staff at Help at Home is here for you. To learn more about our services, give us a call today at one of our offices in Sarasota, Bradenton, or Naples.
Did you know that it’s possible for adults to develop food allergies later in life? Although most food allergies start when a person is a child, adults can become allergic to foods they have been able to eat in the past. Doctors aren’t sure why that happens, only that it does. Food allergies can be minor, causing only a little discomfort, or they can be very serious and even lead to death. Allergic reactions can put a person’s immune system in crisis and affect organs throughout the body. Some people experience anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death. Because food allergies can occur at any time in life, it’s important for caregivers to be able to recognize the signs of a food allergy.
Food Allergy Signs
The signs of a food allergy usually appear within just a few minutes of eating the offending food to up to two hours later. The symptoms for some are minor and merely uncomfortable, but for others, they can be life threatening. Some of the signs of a food allergy include:
Itching or tingling in the mouth.
Swelling, which may occur in the face, tongue, lips, or other body parts.Digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or nausea.
Signs of Anaphylaxis
When anaphylaxis goes untreated, there is a risk of coma and death. If you or your parent’s caregiver notices the following signs in your parent, it is essential to medical care immediately:
The feeling of having a lump in the throat.
Swelling in the throat.
Dizziness, fainting, or feeling lightheaded.
Shock accompanied by a drop in blood pressure.
What to Do in Case of Anaphylaxis
If your parent has a known allergy, all caregivers should know what to do in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Your parent’s allergist may have prescribed an epinephrine injector, commonly called an epi-pen. If your parent has an epi-pen, caregivers should remind them to take it along everywhere they go. Caregivers should also be aware of how the device works. Many manufacturers offer video instructions on their websites. Your parent’s doctor can also teach you how to use the injector. Always follow up the use of epinephrine with a phone call to 911 as more care may be needed.
Epinephrine does expire, so be sure to check the expiration date of your parent’s injector frequently and request a new one before the date. If the expiration of your parent’s epinephrine goes unnoticed and they have an anaphylactic reaction, most allergists say to use the injector anyway and then call 911.
Skin cancer can strike people of any age, including the elderly. Detecting skin cancer early leads to the best chances of treating and curing the disease, but prevention is the best course of action. Being informed about skin cancer is an important step in protecting your parent from the disease. Once you’re armed with information, you and your parent’s elder care providers can work as a team to help reduce your parent’s chance of getting skin cancer.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and occurs in around one million Americans each year. Skin cancer occurs when skin cells grow abnormally. It usually develops on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun the most, but can also develop on skin that is not commonly exposed. There are three common kinds of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Of the three, melanoma poses the greatest threat since it is difficult to treat once it has spread, so early detection is imperative.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of skin cancer depend on the type of skin cancer. Below are the symptoms for each of the three types of skin cancer.
A mole that changes in feel or size or that bleeds.
A lesion with irregular borders with parts that appear blue, red, white, or bluish-black.
A big brown spot with speckles that are darker.
Dark lesions that appear on the soles, fingertips or toes, palms, or on mucous membranes.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
A waxy bump.
A pearly bump.
A lesion that is flat and flesh-colored or brown and scar-like.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
A nodule that is firm and red.
A lesion that is flat and has a scaly or crusted surface.
How can I help prevent my parent from getting skin cancer?
One of the best things you or your parent’s elder care provider can do in terms of protecting them from skin cancer is to make certain they wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. Here are some other ways to help prevent skin cancer:
Use at least 2 tablespoons of sunscreen all over the body, and apply it 30 minutes before going outside.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, after swimming, or after heavy sweating.
Do not allow the skin to burn.
Stay in the shade as much as possible, especially from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Wear clothing that protects against the sun, including a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses that protect the eyes from UV rays.
Examine the skin on the entire body each month and have a doctor conduct a professional
In your role as a family caregiver, one of the most effective and important tools that you have is awareness. Part of this is understanding the risks that your aging parent is facing and being able to detect when your senior might be suffering from a serious health complication such as Parkinson’s disease. This level of awareness enables you to give your aging parent the type of care that is right for your senior to help reduce their risks or guide them in managing the conditions that do arise in their later years. Being able to recognize the early symptoms of disease can help you to detect the possibility of such illnesses early, which can ensure that your senior gets the medical attention that they need, and can create an approach to care that will help them to manage this condition effectively as they age in place.
Some of the early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
• Tremor. Approximately 70 percent of those who develop Parkinson’s disease will experience tremors. Most often this shaking will begin in the fingers, hands, or even the lip. This tremor often happens when their hand is relaxed.
• Diminished sense of smell. The sense of smell is an important part of how your parent interacts with the world around them. Having more difficulty smelling when it is not related to other issues such as a stuffy nose could be an early indication of Parkinson’s disease. Pay particular attention if your loved one has difficulty detecting specific smells such as dill or licorice.
• Changes in sleep behaviors. It is normal to have a bad night of sleep every once in a while, but if your parent has started struggling with sudden movements, thrashing, or kicking while sleeping, it may be something to bring up with their doctor.
• Mobility issues. Watch your parent as they move about their house. Slow movements, hesitation, and periods when they seem “frozen” or “stuck” might be early signs of this developing disease.
If your aging parent has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or their symptoms have increased to the point at which you do not feel confident that you are giving them all of the care they need, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elderly care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule that is right for their individual needs, challenges, limitations, and symptoms so that they can pursue an active, engaged, and fulfilling lifestyle while remaining safe, healthy, comfortable, and as independent as possible. This care provider can help your parent to understand the condition that they are facing and the instructions, guidelines, and prescriptions that were set forth for them by their doctor. They can then give them support, encouragement, and reminders to help them remain compliant with these instructions and make the lifestyle choices that are right for their needs. Not only does this help your senior to manage the symptoms that they are experiencing now, but also enables them to better prepare for the future symptoms that might develop later in their journey with the disease.
Emergency situations such as weather disasters, fires, and other such events can put your parent in physical danger, but this is not the only reaction that you must consider when preparing your elderly loved one for the possible of such an event. You must also take into consideration the emotional impact that these events can have on your senior. These emotional impacts can linger for long after the event itself comes to an end, and make a serious impact on their health, well-being, and quality of life moving forward. Focusing on helping your parent recover emotionally from the disaster is an important part of getting them through the situation and minimize the impact moving forward.
Some signs that your aging parent is suffering from serious emotional issues related to a disaster or emergency include:
• Emotional or physical fatigue
• Feeling “drained”
• New difficulty making decisions
• Struggles with staying focused
• Irritability or feeling frustrated
• Increased instance of arguing or lashing out at friends and family
• Feeling sad
• Increased feelings of loneliness or worrying
• Feeling numb or empty
• Marked changes in sleep patterns
• Eating more or less
Use these tips to help your elderly parent recover emotionally from a disaster or emergency:
• Talk to them about what they went through and their reactions
• Reassure them that what they are feeling is normal and that it is alright that they are struggling
• Tell them what you are going through so that they know they are not alone
• Encourage them to seek out support such as in a group or with a therapist if they are having a difficult time
Starting home care for your elderly loved one can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them during the course of your caregiver journey with them. An in-home senior care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule to ensure that your parent gets the care, support, and encouragement that they need both when you are able to be with them and when you are not. This ensures that they are able to live the quality of life that they desire and deserve while pursuing an active, engaged, and fulfilling lifestyle with as much independence as possible. When it comes to emergency situations, a home care provider can help your parent to feel more confident in their preparation for these situations so that they are able to handle them in the best way for them. Immediately following an emergency, this care provider can offer support, supervision, and assistance that will enable your parent to take the steps that they need to, while also enabling you to do what you need to do to get them back to their normal life as soon as possible. The emotional support this care provider can offer your loved one can be instrumental in helping your parent get through this situation and return to their normal lifestyle in the best way possible. This can reduce fear and anxiety and make them feel more confident about handling future disaster situations
Gradually you may start to find that your elderly loved one is running fewer and fewer of her own errands. She may ask for help, but she’s just as likely to simply stop running those errands and let them pile up or fall by the wayside. It’s important to find a solution for her that works.
Run them for Her
The most obvious solution, of course, is to start running your loved one’s errands for her. This may be something that you can do easily, especially if your errands tend to overlap with hers. If you have other responsibilities that pull you away, however, it may be difficult for your to be able to handle all of your loved one’s errands on your own.
Look to Other Family Members
Another solution is to break up your loved one’s errands and find out if other family members are able to handle some of them for you. This is a great way for other family members to help when they want to be of assistance but really aren’t sure what they can do. They may even be able to take over these tasks regularly for your elderly loved one.
Enlist the Help of Friends and Neighbors
There may also be friends and neighbors who are eager to help your elderly loved one. Some of those errands may be smaller ones, such as picking up an item or two at the grocery store when they’re already going to be there. If a friend or neighbor is offering to help, try starting out with a small errand or two and see if that works for both of you.
Hire Senior Care Providers
Hiring senior care providers to help your loved one run her errands helps your loved one to preserve some of her own independence. She’s able to run errands but she has someone with her, so that gives you a bit of peace of mind. You know that she’s in good hands while she’s out and about as opposed to being completely on her own.
Finding a solution for your loved one’s trouble running errands before the tasks become impossible for her can help your loved one to thrive at home.