ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Posts Tagged elderly

Caregiving During Covid-19

Monday , November 30 , 2020

Caregiving During Covid-19

Family caregiving is a satisfying, worthwhile job, but it can also be stressful and demanding.

With Covid-19 in the mix, caregiving can become an overwhelming task for already stressed family members.

In addition to the usual stress and anxiety, caregivers experiencing burnout may experience extreme emotions, including depression, anger, and resentment.

As a caregiver, taking care of your mental health and overall wellbeing are important, especially during these unprecedented times.

Keep reading for some easy, realistic ways you can take care of yourself now and throughout your caregiving journey:

Reduce the Risk of Getting Coronavirus

Covid-19, like any serious illness, can add a lot of stress and worry to a caregiving situation. To help keep you and your loved ones safe, use the following CDC-recommended protocol:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wear a mask that securely covers your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid crowds
  • Monitor your health daily – watch for fever, cough, and other common symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home often

Take Care of Yourself

You know that old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”

The same is true of caregiving. If you’re not happy, healthy, and well, the person you care for will also suffer.

There are several simple, convenient things you can do to help keep yourself well throughout the year. These are our suggestions:

  • Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to fall into an unhealthy routine. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating well, getting regular exercise, and keeping a normal sleep schedule can help boost your physical and mental well-being.
  • Limit stress. Put the kibosh on stress by limiting your time on social media, avoiding upsetting news stories, and limiting contact with negative people. Instead, try spending time outdoors, connecting with loved ones, or taking up a new hobby like meditation or yoga.
  • Improve sleep. As a caregiver, sleep is often the last priority. Unfortunately, lack of rest leaves you more vulnerable to both physical and mental health afflictions. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and take measure to improve rest such as using a white noise machine or taking a melatonin supplement.
  • Take breaks. Taking a long break may be an impossibility during your day. Instead, try to take several mini breaks when you can to help relieve stress and improve focus. Some suggestions include a quick walk around the block, sitting down for a cup of tea or a snack, watch a few minutes of cute animal videos on YouTube, or call a friend for a quick conversation.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While everyone’s lives are different, we’re all going through this pandemic together. Reach out to friends and family who are familiar with your situation when you’re feeling too stressed or consider joining a caregiver support group.

Watch for Signs of Burnout 

Caregiver burnout can happen at any time, in any relationship, but the risk is heightened during times of increased stress like the current pandemic.

Be aware of sign and symptoms such as:

  • Overwhelming anxiety
  • Increased fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks

If you suspect that you may be suffering from caregiver burnout, consider making more time for yourself. Ask a friend or family member for help if possible, or contact ComForCare for more information about our respite services.

Posted in: Caregivers

Leave a Comment (0) →
Avoiding Pneumonia This Winter: How to Stay Safe and Healthy

Monday , November 23 , 2020

Avoiding Pneumonia This Winter: How to Stay Safe and Healthy

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be serious in older adults. According to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of seniors are hospitalized with the disease and about 50,000 die every year.

While a person may become infected with pneumonia at any time of the year, instances are more prevalent during the winter months. And this year, with Covid-19 added to the mix, the risk for developing serious infection or a co-infection is even greater.

Keep reading for measures you can take to stay as healthy as possible during the winter months ahead.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli. The sacs may fill with fluid or pus, making breathing difficult, and the disease can affect one or both lungs. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain when breathing
  • Cough (usually a wet one that produces phlegm)
  • Fatigue

It is important to note that seniors may develop different symptoms such as confusion and changes in mental awareness.

Pneumonia in Older Adults

According to the NCBI, the death rate among older adults with severe pneumonia can be as high as 20%. While experts aren’t sure why pneumonia is more aggressive in seniors, there are likely a variety of contributing factors:

  • As people age, their immune systems weaken, leaving them less able to fend off infection
  • The normal aging process weakens lung function
  • Chronic health conditions such as COPD and heart disease can exacerbate the effects of pneumonia

Additionally, older adults are at increased risk of complications of pneumonia, including bacteremia, pleurisy, lung abscess, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

What Causes Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. It can occur on its own or after someone has been infected with a cold or flu, and it is sometimes a severe side effect of Covid-19.

Pneumonia caused by viruses such as flu or Covid can be especially severe and even deadly, especially in older adults. Those with a weakened immune system, recovering from a recent surgery or illness, or who suffer from chronic health conditions are at particular risk.

Preventing Pneumonia in Older Adults

Older adults – especially those with pre-existing conditions – are encouraged to receive the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine and the flu vaccine every year.

Other ways of preventing pneumonia, and staying generally healthy during winter months, include:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often. The CDC recommends washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands BEFORE and AFTER:
    • Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
    • Touching your mask
    • Entering and leaving a public place
    • Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens
  • Practice good health habits such as staying physically active and eating a diet high in produce and whole grains.
  • Manage chronic conditions such as COPD, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about help quitting.

Final Thoughts

Because pneumonia and its complications can be difficult to diagnose and treat in seniors, it is vital to take preventative measures now. Talk to your doctor about how you can help keep yourself safe from pneumonia this winter – and all year long.

Posted in: Health

Leave a Comment (0) →
Combating Senior Loneliness During the Holidays

Monday , November 16 , 2020

Combating Senior Loneliness During the Holidays

The holidays are going to look different this year. 

For you or me, that might mean eating Christmas dinner with just our immediate family rather than having a large gathering. 

It might mean losing their one opportunity to see family for the entire year for a senior citizen who lives alone. 

With Covid-19 on the rise once again, older adults are increasingly being forced to spend time alone. Understandably, families are concerned about their older loved ones’ mental and emotional health. 

If you find yourself in this boat, keep reading for a few ways you can help your elderly family and friends feel your love from afar.

Tips for Helping a Senior Deal with Holiday Loneliness 

Growing older can mean children are growing up and moving away, losing friends, chronic illness, hearing loss, and more. 

Because of this, seniors often experience loneliness regularly. This year, the holiday season, in particular, will be much more difficult for many people. 

Here are a few things you can do to help brighten their days: 

  • Practice active listening. Try to fully listen when your loved one wants to talk, even if the topic is negative. An honest conversation may help seniors work through whatever is bothering them and will likely reveal other ways in which you can help. 
  • Send a card. There’s something to be said for a handwritten card or note. Ask family members and friends to send your older loved one a holiday greeting (bonus points for a family photograph or child’s drawing!).
  •  Plan safe activities. If your senior lives in a long-term care facility, check with the activities director to see what they have planned for the residents. Sign your loved one up for any classes or events they may enjoy and encourage them to get to know others in their community.
  • Tap into local resources. Check with your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer social or spiritual support. Many organizations provide one-on-one counseling to those who are having difficulties in life, and you may be able to arrange for an online or telephone visit.
  • Help them decorate. Many seniors enjoy reflecting on past holidays as they unpack and arrange seasonal decorations. Help them add festive touches to their home or room with small adornments such as garland, wreaths, or battery-operated candles. Be sure to ask them about the history behind unique pieces and listen to the stories!
  • Make traditional baked goods. Is there a special holiday recipe that’s been passed down in your family from generation to generation? Whip up a batch of those cookies or that bread and hand-deliver it to your older loved one to enjoy on their own.
  • Try new hobbies. Try learning about what your older loved one likes to do to relax or as a hobby. If they don’t already have a hobby, ask if there’s one they’d like to try. Even seemingly solitary hobbies, like knitting or crossword puzzles, often lead to social conversations and increased interaction with others.

Final Thoughts

Remember that many families face tough times this year, and holiday celebrations are likely to look very different. Do what you can to help your older loved one feel involved without stressing yourself. If you put too much on your plate, neither you nor your loved one will likely enjoy the season. 

If you’ve taken steps to address loneliness but feel that your older loved one still needs companionship, consider a home health aide. Our aides can help out by planning and scheduling activities, reading aloud, renting and watching movies, or simply sitting down for a chat. Reach out today to learn more: (908) 927-0500.

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 4 of 22 «...23456...»