Caregiver Burnout and the Dementia Patient

Author

ComForCare Home Care Northern Colorado

For more information about the author, click to view their website: ComForCare Home Care Northern Colorado

Posted on

Jul 12, 2023

Book/Edition

Colorado - Northern Colorado

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is officially listed as the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. This equates to one in three older adults living with AD or another form of dementia, and these older adults require support, support which is often provided by family and friends.

For those caring for an older loved one, they are likely no stranger to the burnout often associated with this type of care.  This can include, but may not be limited to:

  • Excessive use of alcohol, medications, or sleeping pills
  • Appetite changes – either eating too much or too little
  • Depression – hopelessness, feelings of alienation, lack of energy to do new things
  • Thoughts of death
  • Losing control physically or emotionally
  • Neglect or rough treatment of the person for whom you are caring
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Difficulty concentrating, missing appointments

The good news is, there is help available. 

Respite Services 

Often, family caregivers are so focused on caring for others that they forget to take care of themselves. On average, an individual with Alzheimer’s lives eight to 10 years after they are diagnosed. Some individuals live with the disease for as long as 20 years. That’s far too long for any caregiver to juggle so many responsibilities without assistance.

Reaching out for help from a home care agency or trusted friend, even just a couple of hours per week, before the stress affects your health and wellbeing. 

What is respite and how can it alleviate burnout?

Respite care provides family caregivers a much-needed break from their daily caregiving responsibilities. Using respite services can support and strengthen a caregiver’s ability to continue taking care of their loved one in the home. 

For advanced dementia, specially-trained caregivers can provide a much-needed break while ensuring that all care needs are being met with advanced dementia-care strategies. 

Join a Dementia Care Support Group

Support groups may feel intimidating. However, caring for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia means learning new things every step of the way. Caregiving can be an isolating journey, but those who participate in support groups report feeling less alone, better prepared to deal with challenges, and more hopeful about the future.

They can also help minimize burnout.

Establish a Self-Care Routine

Take slow, intentional breaths – rhythmic breathing is breathing in through your nose for five seconds (or as long as you can) and breathing out of your mouth for five seconds. The idea is the amount of seconds you breathe in is the same as what you breathe out. This breathing exercise can help you relax in even the most stressful moments.

Write out a daily/weekly plan – both your loved one with dementia will benefit and so will you. As you get into a rhythm, write out daily/weekly routines to help you feel more structured and accomplished during the day. Be mindful of balancing task-oriented activities with carving out your own time too!

Step away from a stressful situation – sometimes we just need to take five. If the situation is too much and your loved one is safe, you may benefit from simply walking outside or in a bedroom and taking five minutes to regroup.

Walk it out - for most, this is the hardest part to consider but you MUST! Both your well-being and your loved ones depend on it. Go for a walk or find time to meet up with a friend.

Other Articles You May Like

Innovative VA Programs: Supporting Senior Veterans in Care

Providing care for our senior veterans can be a noble yet challenging task. These unsung heroes often grapple with unique health and support needs due to their past service and advancing age, leaving their caregivers in need of resources and assistance. Thankfully, innovative programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer a beacon of hope. From home-based primary care to telehealth services and respite care, these pioneering initiatives are revolutionizing the way caregivers can support our senior veterans. Home-Based Primary CareIn the realm of senior veteran care, the Home-Based Primary Care program serves as a crucial supporting pillar. This program is designed for veterans who have complex healthcare needs and find it difficult to travel to the VA medical center. It is a collaborative care model where a dedicated team delivers comprehensive care right at the veteran's home. This team is often multidisciplinary, consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists, ensuring a holistic approach to the veteran's health care needs.The introduction of this program has significantly improved the quality of care for senior veterans. Caregivers have reported that it alleviates the burden of frequent hospital visits and ensures that medical help is available when it's most needed. For example, consider the case of Mr. Johnson, a World War II veteran. The Home-Based Primary Care program transformed his care experience, reducing hospital admissions and increasing his overall comfort by providing care right in his home.Telehealth ServicesAn important innovation in modern health care is Telehealth Services, a game-changing resource for caregivers of senior veterans. Through this program, healthcare services are delivered remotely via telecommunication technologies. This includes consultations with healthcare professionals, remote patient monitoring, and access to medical education.Telehealth services have been instrumental in enhancing the care experience for both caregivers and senior veterans. By bridging geographical barriers, it ensures timely access to health care services and reduces the stress and difficulty associated with travel. It's particularly beneficial for senior veterans living in remote or rural areas. Take the example of Mr. Smith, a Vietnam War veteran living in a rural area. Through telehealth services, he was able to regularly consult with his specialists, something that would have been difficult given his location.Respite CareRespite care is another transformative initiative from the VA. It's a service that provides temporary relief to caregivers from their caregiving duties. This gives caregivers the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and attend to their personal needs without worrying about the well-being of their loved ones. Simultaneously, it ensures that senior veterans continue to receive safe and professional care.Respite care acknowledges the crucial role caregivers play and the toll constant caregiving can take on their health and well-being. Caregivers like Mrs. Davis, who cares for her husband, a Korean War veteran, found respite care to be a lifesaver. It allowed her to pay attention to her own health needs without compromising the care of her husband.In the roadmap of senior veteran care, these VA programs are vital milestones. Home-Based Primary Care, Telehealth Services, and Respite Care each provide distinctive solutions to the challenges faced by caregivers. They enhance the quality of care and support caregivers in their demanding roles, ensuring our senior veterans get the quality of life they rightfully deserve. Veteran Care at Home by Senior Helpers GreeleyFor those living in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Wellington, or Longmont, Senior Helpers Greeley is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for your loved ones. We offer veteran care services that can help seniors make the most of their VA benefits and maintain independence at home as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more 970-373-3858.

Persuading Aging Parents to Get Help: 4 Strategies for Peace of Mind

Persuading Aging Parents to Get Help: 4 Strategies for Peace of MindPersuading an aging parent to ask for occasional help can be challenging. With some planning and understanding, you can come up with a game plan to persuade a strong-willed parent to welcome a landing hand every now and again. Read the 4 Strategies to Convince an Older Parent to Consider Getting Help below.Strategy 1: Identify Every Single Service Where Your Aging Parent Could Use HelpSmall Actions Can Add Up Start with your ideal scenario in mind. If you had a magic wand, what would you want help with right now? Maybe its some light cooking every now and again, or maybe its organizing and sorting leftover mail. Whatever it might be, come up with a full list and identify all of the existing services where its completely acceptable to hire a service. For example, requesting help with a ride or an occasional meal is totally normal, even desirable, with Uber and Doordash. If a parent is comfortable requesting Doordash, maybe theyll be open to a person coming in to help around the house just as easily. If your parent takes rides on Uber, maybe it wont be so far off to welcome assistance with a grocery delivery.Strategy 2: Understand the Source of Your Elderly Parents Reaction to Getting HelpTackle the Root Cause FirstOften, a refusal for help isnt about the action itself but something much bigger. The exact cause would depend on the individual aging parent, but some reasons could relate to a potential change in identity, perception, and social values. In situations like these, its helpful to insert your parent directly into the conversation. There are many ways to get at a root cause, but here are some starters:Ask your parent to describe themselves in 5 words Ask your parent to draw themselves on their ideal day Ask your parent to say whats their favorite thing they love about themselves Ask your parent to say what they think family members think about them Strategy 3: Reframe Asking for Help into a Concept that Matches Fit a Parents Core BeliefIts All about PerceptionNow that you have some insight into who your older parent really wants to be, you can develop a simple communication strategy that changes the way they view asking for help. For example, your parent might be very comfortable being served a meal at a restaurant, but they might cringe at the thought of someone coming in their home to cook. What if having someone come in at home is thought of as a convenient service rather than an ask for help? What if someone coming in to cook at home is reframed as a way to save time to spend with grandchildren instead? These are some ways you can flip the script away from someone needing help to someone choosing to get help so they can have more time doing the things they love. After all, anyone, at any stage, can use a little help. Strategy 4: Reach Out to Friends or Family Members Who Have Used Similar ServicesSocial Proof Can Make a DifferenceSometimes, all it takes is a nudge from our social circle to feel comfortable with a decision. How many times have you been wary of trying something, only to find yourself being persuaded by a close friend? Our parents might think the same way. Can you think of anyone in your older parents community who has previously used a helping hand? Consider asking them to have a casual conversation with your parents and briefly mentioning their experience. The more people talk about a certain topic, the more persuasive it is. Thats the power of social networks. Its never easy to convince a parent that its time to ask for help. After all, a parent has spent a quarter of a lifetime (or more!) caring for their children, that it can be hard to change their perspective of caregiving. With the 5 strategies on persuading an aging parent to ask for help, we hope that you can open up the conversation with an aging parent to view asking for help as a way to a flourishing, vibrant future rather than a sign of weakness or helplessness. Getting help frees up time, and is there anything more important than extra time to do what we love?

Assistive Devices for Senior Independence: Caregiver Guide

Assistive devices play an increasingly useful role in ensuring the well-being, dignity, and independence of our senior population. They not only help the elderly age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes but also significantly ease the demanding task of caregiving. They can make life easier for many caregivers by reducing some of the burdens they face.Mobility AidsMobility aids, such as walking aids and transfer devices, are fundamental in maintaining seniors' freedom of movement and ensuring their safety. Walking aids like canes, walkers, and wheelchairs assist seniors in navigating their surroundings, preventing unnecessary falls and injuries. On the other hand, transfer aids, like lift chairs and bed rails, support seniors during transition movements, such as standing from a seated position or getting in and out of bed. These aids not only enhance seniors' confidence in moving around but also alleviate the physical strain on caregivers.Adaptive ClothingAdaptive clothing is another innovative solution that promotes senior independence. This clothing is designed with features like Velcro fasteners, elastic waistbands, and magnetic buttons that make dressing and undressing easier for seniors, particularly those with mobility issues or arthritis. Examples include easy-to-wear shoes that eliminate the hassle of lacing up, front-closing bras, and side-opening pants. By allowing seniors to dress with minimal assistance, adaptive clothing boosts their self-esteem and encourages self-reliance while significantly reducing caregivers' time and effort on dressing tasks.Smart TechnologyIn the era of smart homes, technology has become a game-changer in senior care. Smart devices, activated by voice or motion, automate everyday tasks that may be challenging for seniors. Voice-activated assistants like Amazon's Alexa or Google Home can make phone calls, set reminders for medication, or control home lighting all hands-free. Automated lighting systems and temperature controls can adjust the home environment based on the time of day or the residents' activity levels to ensure comfort and safety. Medical alert systems, like fall detection or emergency call buttons, provide an additional safety net by alerting caregivers or emergency services if the seniors are in distress. Such technologies not only provide seniors with a sense of control over their lives but also offer caregivers peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are safe.Empower Senior Independence Embracing assistive devices is a smart move towards enhancing seniors' independence and streamlining caregiving tasks. By mitigating daily challenges for seniors, these devices improve their quality of life and enable them to enjoy their golden years in the warmth and familiarity of their homes. These aids also alleviate caregivers' responsibilities, allowing them to focus more on providing emotional support and companionship, which are equally vital for seniors' well-being.For those residing in Fort Collins, Englewood, Littleton, Estes Park, and Longmont, the skilled team at Senior Helpers Fort Collins is always ready to assist you with your senior care needs. Reach out to us today for guidance on choosing the right assistive devices or for comprehensive and compassionate senior care services.

Local Services By This Author

ComForCare Home Care - Northern Colorado

Home Health 561 East Garden Drive, Windsor, Colorado, 80550

ComForCare is family-based. Laura and Chris the owners have both been caregivers for 30 years. Laura started as a caregiver when she was 16 and now has a masters degree in nursing. Chris was a career firefighter for 25 years. Through in-home care services, ComForCare Fort Collins helps older adults to stay in their own homes and continue to do all the things they love. Whether care is needed for a few hours a week or 24/7, our professional caregivers are available to provide the services you need.

ComForCare Home Care - Northern Colorado

Non-Medical 561 East Garden Drive, Windsor, Colorado, 80550

ComForCare is family-based. Laura and Chris the owners have both been caregivers for 30 years. Laura started as a caregiver when she was 16 and now has a masters degree in nursing. Chris was a career firefighter for 25 years. Through in-home care services, ComForCare Fort Collins helps older adults to stay in their own homes and continue to do all the things they love. Whether care is needed for a few hours a week or 24/7, our professional caregivers are available to provide the services you need.