Category: Dementia

The Sandwich Generation: Caring for yourself while caring for others

Guest blogger Maya Stiles, Covell Care Intern and Colorado State Student.

Many caregivers may find themselves to be “Sandwiched”; not in a yummy snack but in fact something completely different. “The Sandwich Generation” is as a phrase used to describe people roughly between the ages of 30-50 years old who are taking care of a child, while also caring for their elderly family members. These “sandwiched” people can often find themselves being pulled in every direction by providing emotional, physical, mentally and financial support.

While caring for your family can be one of the most rewarding and uplifting things, it can also cause immense stress and take a toll on you emotionally and physically. In order to care for others, you must also take care of yourself. Below are four tips to take care of yourself while
caring for others…

  1. Take Regular Breaks- We often feel like we cannot spare a minute in our day, but if you break it down by 10, 20, or 30-minute increments; you find that it becomes much more achievable.
  2. Get enough Sleep- When life starts getting crazy, good sleep seems like the first thing to go out the window. However, in order to take of others, you must prioritize yourself. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night will ensure you are rested and ready to provide quality love and care to others.
  3. Laugh often- Plain and simple- laughter is the best medicine. Keeping things light by utilizing humor is a great way to release stress and take care of yourself and others.
  4. Be aware of Burnout- Taking care of others is a full-time job and can be even more demanding when paired with other jobs and life responsibilities. Everyone needs support, even when it is hard to ask for help.

Remember, you cannot take care of others unless you take care of yourself first. Keeping these four self-care practices in the back of your mind can provide you with some relief and support. However, If you feel like you need some extra support or resources please refer to Covell Care’s services and resources at https://www.covellcare.com.

References:
https://caregiveraction.org
https://www.caregiverstress.com/stress-management/
https://www.drnorthrup.com/how-to-care-for-yourself-when-caring-for-loved-ones/

Dementia Awareness

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

In America, one in ten people over the age of sixty five has Alzheimer’s dementia.  Two thirds of these people are women. In 2000, 4 million people in America were diagnosed with dementia.  By 2012, nearly 4.5 million people were diagnosed with this disease. With a rapid increase of people diagnosed with dementia it is important to notice the early signs and receive treatment.

Early signs of dementia include: Increased confusion, memory problems, reduced concentration, personality or behavior changes, apathy, and loss of ability to do everyday tasks. These symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually. Unfortunately, these signs can often be mistaken or overlooked. If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs it is important to seek a doctor and get a medical diagnoses.

If you are caring for a patient of dementia it is important to keep a positive mindset, remember body language and attitude communicate your feelings more than words do! Dementia can be tough for both the patient and the caregiver, so it is important to be clear when relying messages to the patient and to also ask clear and answerable questions.  Conducting activities are easier when performed in steps, this helps instruct the patient with dementia and to avoid frustration for the caregiver.

This being said, frustrations will still occur.  When the going gets tough for the dementia
patient try changing the subject or even the environment.  It is important to remember to connect with the person on a feelings level. This means when making suggestions state what feeling you are sensing from them.  This could be done by saying, “I know you are feeling sad today, maybe a walk would make you feel better?” Doing this will help make a connection and improve communication.  Being diagnosed or having someone you care for be diagnosed with dementia is not easy, catching warning signs early could help with treatment and the caregiving process.

Trying Natural Alternatives: Acupuncture

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

Keeping our bodies filled with energy and balance are two important keys to a healthy lifestyle.  Acupuncture is a healthy and natural way to cure physical or mental ailments.  This practice first began more 2,500 years ago in China and since has been used to diagnose, treat, and improve general health.  The main effectiveness of acupuncture comes from modifying the flow of energy in the body.

When acupuncture is performed, the patients can either lay face up or face down (depending on which points need to be used).  Then a single use disposable needle is inserted.  When the needle is inserted it can cause a sting or tingling sensation at first, then the needle remains there for five to thirty minutes.  While the needle remains in place the patient may feel a dull ache, but the treatment is relatively painless.   By placing the needles into certain points it brings the energy flow back into proper balance.

The best part of acupuncture is that it is all natural!  There are little to none side effects, it can be combined with other treatments, it can control various types of pain, and helps patients stay off medication.  Acute problems can be cured from eight to twelve sessions, while chronic may take one to two sessions a month for several months.

There are many misconceptions about natural remedies, but medications, surgeries, or other treatments haven’t worked for you, then give acupuncture a chance.  It has been known to not only cure illnesses, but to also prevent future medical problems from arising.  Using acupuncture can be the start of a new way to healthier and natural lifestyle.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

  1. Muscle spasms and pain
  2. Chronic back problems and pain
  3. Headaches and migraines
  4. Neck pain
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Knee pain
  7. Allergies
  8. Digestive problems
  9. Mood and depression
  10. Sleep problems
  11. High and low blood pressure
  12. Nausea
  13. Reduce risk of stroke
  14. Facial pain
  15. Vascular dementia

When should you stop driving…

A big thank you to guest blogger, Kiara Tucker Covell Intern with University of Northern Colorado.

It’s one of the hardest conversations to have with your senior parent but also a very important one: When should you stop driving? Most people try to avoid this conversation because they feel that it is best when their doctor or caregiver tells them it’s that time. Unfortunately, doctors and caregivers might not tell your senior when that time is, so it is on you to look for the warning signs to keep them safe. If you are lucky enough to ride along with them, it will be easier to tell when that time is. Some signs include driving too fast or too slow, improper lane changes, and confusing the brake and the gas pedal. They can also become very distracted while driving and maybe hit some curbs. If you are not able to drive with them, you can also look over the car to inspect for any scrapes or damage. But even if you cannot be near your senior, there are some other signs that will tell you it might be time to have the conversation. If your senior parent has arthritis, dementia, or any vision and hearing difficulties, they might not be suitable to drive. Another sign is they have hindered reactions to unforeseen situations. Although this might be a hard conversation, it’s a very important one because it will help keep them safe and others on the road. “Over the past year, 14 million Americans aged 18 to 64 were estimated to be involved in accidents caused by drivers aged 65 and over” (Gold, 2015). With this many people impacted, it is important to look over your loved ones and have that conversation when it’s time.

If you start noticing some of these signs, it is time to have that conversation and also time for an evaluation. At Covell Care, a certified driving rehabilitation specialist can conduct and evaluation that gives recommendations on driving retirement, retractions, and/ or compensatory strategies. We also provide occupational therapy services that can help your loved one with this transition. (970) 204-4331

What to look for with your loved one this holiday season…

The holiday season is a time of gatherings with friends and families, visits to your loved one’s home and hours upon hours of conversation. This is a time when you see a new perspective or maybe even see the truth behind the multiple phone calls or short visits that happen throughout the year.

Go into your holiday season with some insight to better understand your loved ones, their situation and needs. Don’t forget to pack the Aging Life Care Association’s ‘red flag’ list with you when you leave for the holidays.

  1. Scan & take mental notes about your loved one’s environment. Signs of damage in the home, on their vehicle, unopened mail, items placed in unusual areas, decline in cleanliness.
  2. Check out their food. Is there enough food, is it expired, notice any changes in weight (up or down).
  3. Has their mood or behavior changed in any way? Has their social life changed, do they have new friends, are they donating large amounts to organizations, is there an increase in confusion, are they walking differently or change a routine, are they irritable or withdrawn.
  4. Are they keeping up on their personal hygiene? Dressing for the day, showering regularly, do you smell urine or bowels, are their clothes clean, notice any bruising on their skin.

There are many other small pieces you can take away from an encounter with a loved one but here is a start. If you notice any changes and don’t know where to turn contact us for some direction. (970) 204-4331.

Wishing you and your family a happy, safe holiday season!