Addressing Caregiver Burnout

Author

Alzheimer's Association Greater Dallas Chapter

Posted on

Jun 10, 2021

Book/Edition

Texas - Dallas, Collin, SE Denton & Rockwall Counties

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Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers frequently report experiencing high levels of stress. It can be overwhelming to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer's or other dementia, but too much stress can be harmful.
Join the Alzheimer's Association and local community partners, as we discuss self-care tips, responding to dementia-related behaviors, resiliency for caregivers, and local resources that can assist caregivers when experiencing burnout.



RESOURCES:

Please CLICK HERE for a folder with resources

·         Addressing Caregiver Burnout Seminar

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A Guide to Tailoring Daily Living Checklists for Seniors

Creating an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) checklist for seniors is an essential step in ensuring their well-being and independence. ADLs are the everyday tasks that individuals need to be able to perform to live independently, and they typically fall into six main categories: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (moving from one place to another), and continence. As people age, they may encounter difficulties with these tasks due to various health issues or physical limitations. An ADL checklist helps caregivers and family members assess a seniors capabilities and identify areas where assistance is needed. Heres how to create and utilize an ADL checklist effectively:Understanding the Categories of ADLsEating: The ability to feed oneself. This includes the process of getting food to the mouth and being able to chew and swallow it.Bathing: The ability to clean oneself and perform grooming activities like shaving and brushing teeth.Dressing: The ability to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress and undress oneself.Toileting: The ability to get to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself.Transferring: The ability to move from one place to another, especially from bed to a chair, and back.Continence: The ability to control bladder and bowel functions.Creating the ChecklistWhen creating an ADL checklist, its crucial to consider the individual needs of the senior. Here are steps to create a comprehensive and personalized ADL checklist:Start with Observation: Spend a few days observing the seniors daily routine. Note the tasks they can do independently and those they struggle with.Categorize the Tasks: Organize the observed tasks into the six ADL categories.Assess the Level of Independence: For each task, assess the level of independence. You can use a simple scale such as: Independent, Needs Some Assistance, and Fully Dependent.Include Specifics: Instead of just noting dressing, list specific aspects like can button shirts or struggles with zippers.Review and Update Regularly: An individuals abilities can change over time, so its essential to review and update the checklist regularly.Using the ChecklistOnce youve created an ADL checklist, you can use it to:Plan Care: Identify what type of care is needed and when. This helps in structuring the caregivers day and ensures that all needs are met.Communicate with Healthcare Professionals: Sharing the checklist with doctors or therapists can help them understand the seniors needs better and tailor their treatment plans accordingly.Determine the Level of Care Needed: The checklist can help decide whether in-home care, assisted living, or another living arrangement is most appropriate.Track Progress: Over time, the checklist can be used to track improvements or declines in abilities, which is especially useful after a hospitalization or change in health status.Tips for Effective UseBe Respectful: Always discuss any observations and plans with the senior. Their input and consent are crucial.Be Realistic: Understand that some days might be better than others. Flexibility is key.Involve Professionals: Dont hesitate to seek help from healthcare professionals in assessing needs and planning care.Focus on Safety and Comfort: Always consider the seniors safety and comfort while performing any activity.Encourage Independence: Encourage the senior to do as much as they can independently, even if it takes longer or is done differently than you would do it.Next StepsAn Activities of Daily Living checklist is a powerful tool in managing senior care. It provides a clear picture of a seniors capabilities and needs, helping caregivers and family members make informed decisions about their care and living arrangements.By regularly updating the checklist and involving the senior in discussions about their care, you can ensure that they receive the respectful, individualized care they deserve. With the right approach, an ADL checklist can significantly enhance the quality of life for seniors, providing them with the support they need while respecting their independence and dignity.

What To Do When Elderly Parents Refuse Help

Navigating the sensitive issue of elderly parents refusing help can be challenging for any adult child. The key to approaching this delicate situation lies in understanding, patience, and a strategic approach. Heres how you can manage this situation effectively, ensuring your parents dignity and well-being while addressing their need for assistance.Understanding the ResistanceBefore devising a plan, its crucial to understand why your elderly parents might be refusing help. Common reasons include fear of losing independence, denial of their declining abilities, pride, and a desire to avoid becoming a burden. Recognizing these concerns allows you to approach the conversation with empathy and respect.Strategies for Addressing Refusal of HelpStart Conversations Early: Dont wait for a crisis to talk about assistance. Begin discussions about the future early, framing them around their desires and preferences for their senior years.Communicate Openly and Honestly: Engage in open, honest, and respectful dialogues. Listen to their concerns and acknowledge their feelings. Explain your worries not as judgments but as observations and expressions of care.Educate Yourself and Your Parents: Sometimes, refusal stems from a lack of understanding of available options. Educate yourself about different types of senior living solutions and involve your parents in learning about these options.Involve a Third Party: Sometimes, parents might be more receptive to advice from a professional or a trusted friend. Consider involving a doctor, a geriatric care manager, or a clergy member in the conversation.Respect Their Autonomy: Its important to respect your parents decisions, even when you disagree. Unless their health or safety is at immediate risk, allow them to make their own choices.Take Small Steps: Introduce help gradually. Start with a minor service, like housekeeping or meal delivery, before transitioning to more comprehensive care.Highlight the Positives: Focus on how accepting help can improve their quality of life. Emphasize the benefits, such as more time to enjoy hobbies, social activities, or family.Document Their Wishes: Encourage your parents to document their wishes regarding future care and end-of-life decisions. This can help ensure their desires are respected and can relieve some of the decision-making burdens later.Understanding Senior Living SolutionsIf living at home is no longer the best option, its crucial to understand the various senior living solutions available:Independent Living Communities: Ideal for seniors who can live independently but wish to be in a community with other seniors and have certain services provided.Assisted Living Facilities: Suitable for those who need assistance with daily activities like bathing, dressing, and medication management.Memory Care Units: Designed specifically for individuals with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.Nursing Homes: Provide comprehensive care for those who need constant medical attention.Emphasizing the Benefits of Senior LivingHighlighting the positives of senior living can sometimes help overcome resistance. These benefits often include:Social Opportunities: Senior living communities offer numerous opportunities for social interaction, helping to combat loneliness and depression.Safety and Security: These environments are designed with the safety and health needs of seniors in mind.Freedom from Home Maintenance: Moving to a senior living community can free them from the burdens of home maintenance and yard work.Access to Care: As their needs change, theyll have quick access to different levels of care within the same community.Next StepsWhen elderly parents refuse help, its a complex issue that requires a nuanced approach. By understanding their concerns, communicating openly, involving professionals, and gradually introducing help, you can help your parents maintain their dignity while ensuring their safety and well-being. Remember, its a process that requires patience and empathy, and sometimes the progress might be slow.However, with the right approach, you can help guide your parents towards the best decisions for their future, ensuring they receive the care and support they need while respecting their independence and autonomy.

How Dementia Impacts Motor Skills

As we age, we experience many physical, mental and emotional changes. It is common for a senior adult to experience some limited forgetfulness or notice an ache that has recently developed, but in some cases these symptoms may indicate the onset of dementia. There is a growing body of evidence that cognitive issues like dementia exhibit an extended preclinical stage that could begin years or even decades before an official diagnosis. One of the preclinical symptoms of dementia is the onset of issues with motor skills. Regarding balance and coordination, it can be difficult to differentiate between normal age-related changes and the decline of motor skill that may place older adults at an elevated risk for dementia.Once a dementia diagnosis is confirmed, family members will probably become gradually more aware of the changes in the patients cognitive and organizational capabilities. They may also notice their family member is struggling with everyday tasks like dressing themselves or walking without assistance. Loss of stamina and coordination may also point to more extensive brain damage.Exercise Can Help with Dementia and Motor SkillsResearch has shown that regular physical exercise is integral to the health and wellbeing of patients who are living with preclinical or clinical symptoms of dementia. As with any new exercise regimen, any physical exercise must be deemed safe and enjoyable for the patient and inspire feelings of accomplishment. While individuals of any age should ask their doctor for approval before beginning a new exercise routine, it is especially critical for a senior looking to improve motor skills through movement.A physical therapist is an excellent starting point when developing a new exercise routine for those with motor skill impairment. These professionals can help to create an exercise regimen that will boost stamina, flexibility and balance and recommend exercises that will prevent issues associated with falling. If the patient does not have access to a physical therapist, the American Physical Therapy website can provide information regarding any local professionals and resources. Your family members doctor, nurse, or social worker may also be able to provide recommendations as to the right contact.Exercise that is most appropriate for senior citizens may include walking, swimming, dancing, gardening or even light housework. All of these suggestions are affordable and require little to no equipment, but they will go a long way to cultivating feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. These types of activities provide social and cognitive stimulation. Any activity that involves music can intensify and elevate the positive results. (Read more about how music can benefit a wide variety of individuals facing cognitive difficulties.)Any activity that works to improve fine motor skills will benefit the patient. The ability to navigate food packaging, successfully open and close buttons or zippers, or use a spoon and fork gives dementia or early-stage Alzheimers patients the opportunity to maintain their independence for as long as possible. An occupational therapist (OT) can recommend exercises and adaptive gear that will further assist with their home life.Other Ideas to Improve Motor SkillsSome senior adults dont like the thought of exercising, regardless of the potential benefits. However, if you are interested in working with your family member to retain cognitive capability and motor skills as long as possible, here are some additional recommendations to encourage that goal.arts and crafts projectsscrapbooking or working with photoscooking or baking (if safe)painting or drawingcontainer gardeningFind a Residence That Enhances Quality of LifeMy Care Finders is a team of senior care professionals working in the Florida community. We help families to locate the best assisted living, memory care or senior residence solution for their loved ones, by matching desires and budgets with the most highly rated facilities. Call us today to learn more about how our FREE services can benefit your family.

Local Services By This Author

Alzheimer's Association Dallas and Northeast Texas Chapter

Caregiver Support Services 5000 Quorum Drive, Dallas, Texas, 75254

The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health agency in Alzheimer's care, support and research. We offer free counseling and resource referrals 24/7 through our Helpline at 800.272.3900. We also have support groups meeting all around the Greater Dallas area helping families through the challenges of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.A world without Alzheimer's disease. http://www.alz.org/dallasnetexas