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Caregiver

The “I” factor in infection control

Submitted by Caregiver.com on 17:29

When it comes to infection control, caregivers and loved ones both can play an important role in stopping a serious illness from spreading. An elderly or immune-compromised person is typically more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses which potentially could develop into a critical, even fatal, condition. 

 
Infections can be transmitted through contaminated air, personal contact with an infected person, contaminated food or water, blood borne pathogens or open skin tears.  While accidents happen and some things simply are beyond human control, a caregiver is able to limit infections in a loved one through some personal safety precautionary measures. They can take the “I” out of infections. 
 
Wash your hands!
 
Experts agree proper hand washing is the single most important factor in infection control. At a minimum, a caregiver should wash their hands thoroughly: 
when they first arrive; 
 
  • before handling linens or meals;
  • before and after eating, drinking or smoking;
  • after using the bathroom;
  • after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose; and
  • after touching anything that may be dirty. 

What is Respite Care for Caregivers?

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:47

Sometimes a monotonous, demanding daily activity could make you feel more exhausted, leading to stress, which is why on any job it is recommended to take a vacation every once in a while to basically rest, take a breather, gather your thoughts. This applies especially to caregivers, the silent heroes, tending for those who truly need them. So what is respite care for caregivers? A break, however long it takes, a time away from their daily activities to tend for their own personal care or even run errands.
 
Caregiver burnout is not just a term that came out of nowhere, it is in fact a condition that all caregivers face at some point. It is basically when the caregiver feels he or she has reached a limit, either emotional, mental or physical. This condition is counterproductive to both caregiver and patient and unfortunately when most caregivers realize they are going through a burnout it’s too late, since most (not all) caregivers ignore the symptoms. The caregiver will no longer see their amazing work for the labor of love that it is but a burden, something standing in their way and this shouldn’t be the case. And this is where respite care should take place.
 
Respite care for caregivers is having someone else take care of the patient while the regular caregiver takes a time off. It can be a relative or friend of the patient, a fellow caregiver and there’s even nursing homes or assisted living facilities that can provide this temporary care. Some local governments offer to pay for respite care, it is best to check your local council or the patient’s main practitioner could offer you more information.

Caring for the largest organ

Submitted by Caregiver.com on 13:41

It’s pretty common knowledge that a person’s skin is their largest organ. As a person ages, specific factors affect the health of a loved one’s skin, and specific products are available to keep it as healthy as possible.

The main factors that affect a person’s skin condition over their lifetime include: diet, hydration, smoking, hereditary, lifestyle and more than the rest, sun exposure. When skin ages, a loss of fatty tissues between the skin and muscle occurs, and stress and gravity cause sagging. Skin also becomes rough and dry, and can look transparent or thin. It also bruises more easily and the elasticity decreases. Two main concerns for the elderly population are bed sores and age spots.

A caregiver is the front line for keeping a watchful eye on the condition of a loved one’s skin. They should report any visible changes to the person’s physician. Moles which have changed color, shape or size should be looked at, as should dry, itchy skin which isn’t relieved with moisturizers. New skin growths and recurring irritations are other issues to monitor.

An ounce of prevention

Once a person’s skin has reached the point of needing intervention, it can take time to reverse the damage. This is why the main line of defense for any caregiver is prevention.

Lips and skin should be moisturized regularly and protected from prolonged sun exposure. Encourage a loved one to wear hats and sunscreen, even long-sleeved clothing if possible. A lip balm with sunscreen will prevent drying and cracking.

10 critical pieces of information for caregivers

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 16:59

None of us hope we ever get to encounter a situation like this, ever. But emergencies can happen at all times. When taking on the task of a caregiver, one of the things we must be prepared for is to be ready to take on a difficult and stressful situation where time is of the essence. Having certain documents at hand, and going over certain details before hand could prove very useful and might mitigate the huge amount of stress critical times can bring.

 
Whenever going through a health emergency with our elders it is important to keep a clear and accurate grasp of certain information and documents so you can be prepared of any outcome. Below you will find a simple 10 item checklist for any Senior Emergency.

Blood Pressure Monitors

Submitted by Caregiver.com on 16:36

It is common for physicians to ask their patients with high blood pressure to take readings at home. This type of monitoring for hypertension allows a loved one to be in a familiar setting and avoid unnecessary stress, yet ensure their medication is working as planned and be able to catch any issues before they escalate into a dangerous situation.

Blood pressure monitors are very accessible for public purchase, and without a prescription, so accessing one is easy for a caregiver. The tough part comes in ensuring a loved one is using it accurately, and finding a monitor they feel comfortable and competent handling independently.

Any monitor will have the same parts: an inflatable cuff or strap, a gauge for readings and sometimes a stethoscope.

The cuff is pretty self-explanatory, while the gauge can be either digital or aneroid. The modern digital ones provide a reading, while the older, and still commonly used, aneroid gauges have a dial that points to the blood pressure reading. A portion of blood pressure monitors on the market come with a stethoscope, which can be used to listen to the sounds blood makes as it flows through the artery. Generally, this will not be useful unless the caregiver and/or loved one is trained to decipher the additional information.

  

DMS encourages a positive attitude for caregivers

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 17:51

The Balancing Act, an inspiring morning show dedicate to women in America on Lifetime, featured Dr. Jon Segal, CEO of Discount Medical Supplies, as part of a four segment series dedicated to talk about the importance of caregivers.

In this fourth segment, he shares his thoughts and advices to all caregivers out there that feel they are struggling with their duty and need that boost of encouragement in this difficult mission.

Dr. Jon Segal discusses Caregiver Stress at the Balancing Act

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 08:40

 

Are you a caregiver caring for an aging parent, a relative, or maybe a loved one? If you are, you are certainly not alone.  In fact, four out of every ten adults care for parents or relatives seniors suffering from chronic illnesses including heart related diseases and the many issues of old age itself.

This interview took place in the second of a four part series on Caregiving in the tv show, The Balancing Act. Dr. Jon Segal answered important questions with valuable information targeted to help and support caregivers in such a difficult yet rewarding job.

How to be a caregiver and get paid to do it?

Submitted by Charles Brown on 11:33

No caregiver will ever tell you that they are in it for the money, but it sure would be nice to get some relief from the financial strain that caring for a family member puts on an individual. One way to do so is with Medicaid’s Cash & Counseling program. This program gives disabled people and older adults the opportunity to manage a flexible budget and choose from a variety of goods and services. Direct payments can be used to hire personal care workers, buy items, and make home modifications, for as long as the person is providing care. Participants can decide how to manage their budgets by themselves, or with the assistance of an appointed representative. Cash & Counseling is available in New Jersey, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Your state may have a similar program under a different name. Contact your local Medicaid office for further details.

 
In order to be eligible for Cash & Counseling, participants have to be 65 years old or disabled, require skilled nursing, have serious mental impairments, or require assistance performing daily activities, and be limited to a $2,000 monthly income and $2,000 in countable resources. These requisites are not written in stone and may vary regionally. The first step toward enrolling in this program is completing a Medicaid application with your state or county Medicaid office. Upon being accepted by Medicaid, you can then proceed to applying for a specific Medicaid waiver allowing for Cash and Counseling. If you’re already receiving Medicaid benefits, you may have to wait from two to four months before you may be able to start getting payments, and an extra 45 to 90 days if you’re not receiving Medicaid benefits. Additionally, there may be waiting lists.

How to reduce costs for employers of caregiver employees?

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 17:04

Right off the bat, let’s make it clear that the idea behind this is not for employers to find ways to cut corners as it pertains their caregiver employees, but to devise methods through which the working environment can be made receptive and encouraging of caregiver employees so that they remain productive members of a workplace without neglecting their duties to their aged, sick, and disabled relatives. According to MetLife’s Sons at Work: Balancing Employment and Eldercare study, 62% of caregivers make a workplace adjustment (coming in late or leaving early, taking a leave of absence, switching to part-time, &c), 3% opt for early retirement, and 6% become full time caregivers. As we can see, this is a two way street; care giving can affect employment in the same degree that employment can affect care giving.

 
However, care giving not only affects the employee, but the company as a whole. Caregiver employees cost employers 8% more –or $13.4 billion a year- than non-caregivers, in term of healthcare expenses. Caregivers are very susceptible of experiencing depression, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular conditions, stress, and other medical conditions, as well as unhealthy choices like drinking smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. All of which results in absenteeism, workplace disruptions, and working family caregivers’ reduced work status. Another MetLife study found that 10% of caregivers missed at least one day in the span of two weeks due to health problems. And we all know that they’re not slacking; in fact, some people even see their day job as an escape from the pressures of care giving. What can employers do to make work not an escape fantasy, but an activity that blends seamlessly with care giving, so that employees aren’t forced to ask themselves whether to cut back on care giving, their jobs, or the rest of their family –and at the same time cutting healthcare costs?

8 things you can learn about care giving by watching The Savages

Submitted by Charles Brown on 17:13

Though released in 2007, Tamara Jenkins’ film The Savages was but recently watched on DVD by the author of these lines. Which doesn’t make much difference for the purpose of this article; since it’s not about giant robots, teenage wizards, sparkling vampires or shirtless werewolves, but was actually premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won several independent filmmaking awards, chances are a good many people haven’t watched it either. And that is quite a shame, not only because it’s a great film in general, but also because it contains quite a few lessons on what is like to deal with an aging parent.

In a nutshell, the film is about siblings Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Wendy Savage (Laura Linney), who must come to terms with their estranged father Lenny’s (Philip Bosco)descent into dementia. Jon and Wendy are not the closest brother and sister tandem to begin with, and find it difficult to see eye to eye on many issues, especially on how their father should be cared for. Both are facing additional personal and/or professional crises, and though neither becomes the old man’s primary caregiver, that doesn’t take away from their efforts and sacrifice. If it did, it would be tantamount to saying that secondary caregivers aren’t as important, and we all know that all caregivers matter. Here are some of the things I learned by the time the end credits started to roll.

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