Commonwise is fully-staffed and prepared to serve new home care clients. We are taking extra precautions to protect our clients and caregivers from COVID-19, and our experienced nursing team is ensuring our compliance with all CDC guidelines as they emerge. In these uncertain times, the safest place to be is in your own home. We can help.

Coping With Demanding Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 6, 2020


Why do elderly parents become mean sometimes? Physical and mental health problems that lead to cognitive change also often lead to behavioral changes. This is due to the loss of neurons in the brain, and the way it affects an elderly person’s behavior depends on where this neuron loss is occurring.

Whether they have dementia or are just expressing more frustration in their old age, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put a large strain on the relationship you have with them or lead to caregiver burnout. Sometimes, it is just hard to figure out how to deal with irrational elderly parents.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in coping with your demanding elderly parents. Read on to learn more about how to deal with angry parents and challenging behavior in the elderly.

Schedule Regular Doctor’s Visits

As we age, our bodies become far more sensitive to ailments like poor nutrition and dehydration. Some evidence links a poor diet to a faster or earlier onset of Alzheimer’s or, at the very least, a rise in Alzheimer’s symptoms. 

If the demanding behavior seems to come on suddenly or ebb and flow, you may not understand where it’s coming from. Both physical and cognitive problems can cause your elderly parent to lash out. You may need to treat the ailment with a balanced diet, therapy, or medication in order to lessen the bad behavior!

Look For the Trigger of Bad Behavior

Do you find that you only have to ask yourself how to deal with challenging behavior in your elderly parents on occasion? Does it feel like they’re fine one minute and angry or frustrated the next? 

Difficult elderly parents can make caregiving a challenge, but search for patterns in their behavior. What was being discussed just before their mood took a turn? Was there something they couldn’t accomplish on their own or something you asked them to take care of?

Finding out the trigger of bad behavior can open the door to directly addressing the problem. You can either start a discussion about it and come to a conclusion together or you can set ground rules, as we’ll discuss below.

Set Ground Rules

In some cases, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put us in stressful, embarrassing, or even dangerous situations. We might find that our parents are exhibiting bad behavior in front of our children, causing a scene in public, or resorting to abusive behaviors at home. Coping with demanding elderly parents can challenge caregivers; setting ground rules can help.

Make it clear that you are not going to tolerate this behavior. Consider setting ground rules that come with a strike system. For example, you could say that if they cause a scene at the grocery store three more times, you will do their shopping without them. 

Keep in mind that setting ground rules works primarily when the parent is purposefully reverting to childish behaviors in order to get what they want. If you’re dealing with aging parents with dementia or another cognitive disease that affects memory, these ultimatums and ground rules may not sink in. In this case, consult your parent’s doctor and get in touch with a behavioral specialist who can give you some advice. 

Encourage Exercise and Socialization

It’s possible that your parent’s demanding and difficult behavior is stemming from depression or frustration with their loss of independence. Many elderly individuals have a tendency to become more sedentary and asocial if they lose certain physical abilities and have their driver’s license revoked.

Ask yourself, “Does my parent get outside and exercise? Do they still talk to neighbors and friends? Are they still attending church or club meetings like they used to?”

If the answer is a resounding “no,” you may need to intervene. Both exercise and socialization release important neurochemicals in the brain that are responsible for feelings of happiness, contentment, and more. Taking walks a few times a week and meeting friends or family members for lunch every Saturday may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Enlist Professional Help

At Commonwise Home Care, we’ve encountered numerous familial caregivers who tell us that while their parents need help, they don’t want their help. This can be frustrating for both the child and the parent, especially if neither knows how to fully express their feelings. Sometimes it can feel impossible to figure out how to deal with challenging behavior in the elderly, especially your own parent.

The truth is that your parent may be exhibiting bad behaviors because they are embarrassed or ashamed. It is not easy for them to see the roles reverse in any way and they may worry about putting that strain on you. 

If this is the case, it may be time to hire professional at-home caregivers. Having a third party around to take care of things like housekeeping and grooming can ease your parent’s mind. We are flexible and meet your scheduling needs, offering everything from respite care to 24/7 care. 

One of the hardest things for a familial caregiver dealing with demanding elderly parents is the loss of a personal relationship. You and your parent may come to realize that your visits have become necessary rather than social, which can cause both emotional pain and resentment. Bringing in a professional caregiver can give you back the relationship you need and deserve. 

Avoid Dealing with Angry Elderly Parents Alone

Dealing with demanding elderly parents is manageable as long as you have professional help. Make sure your support team includes other reliable members of the family who can ease your burden. More importantly, make sure your support team includes medical professionals and trained caregivers.

Take a look at the services we offer at Commonwise Home Care and scroll to the bottom of the page to find our contact information. We look forward to helping you and your parents settle into a happier, healthier routine. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Core Exercises For Older Adults of All Ability Levels

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 27, 2020


While maintaining a strong core is essential to your overall health and stability, explore the best core exercises for seniors no matter your level of mobility.

A recent study found that core strengthening for seniors actually produced positive results for their overall balance. 

Unfortunately, one in four American seniors get injured in a fall each year. Core exercises for seniors is a great place to start for improving balance and, thereby, preventing elderly falls.

The question is, “how do seniors with limited mobility or physical abilities strengthen their core?”

To help answer this question, we put together a list of core exercises for seniors of varying mobility and physical ability.

Read on to find out more about core exercises for seniors.

 

The Importance of Core Strength

In addition to improving your balance, there are a number of benefits to strengthening your core as you age.

 

Poor core strength can lead to a worsened posture.

Poor posture puts a great deal of strain on your back and sciatic region. Your core protects your spine, ribs, pelvis, and shoulder blades. Improving core strength can lessen this pain and decrease the need for over the counter pain medication – and its unwanted side effects. 

 

Good core strength can increase overall strength and improve range of motion. 

Many core exercises involve a set of repetitive motions that can loosen up your joints. You may also find that in doing these exercises, you’re engaging other muscles in the body that you normally do not. This means you’re working more than just your core!

Ultimately, improving your balance, strength, and range of motion can increase an older adult’s independence. Like working with a team of in-home caregivers, this can give you the freedom to age at home without worry. 

You may even find that a fitness routine will improve your mood and boost your energy, unlocking the door to all sorts of fun activities.

 

Good Core Exercises for Seniors

In order to make geriatric core exercises as accessible as possible, we have included variations for performing them standing, sitting, or on the floor.

PLEASE NOTE: When you first begin these exercises, please do so under the supervision of your in-home caregiver or professional fitness instructor. They can help you navigate these new techniques and ensure that you are safe in the process. 

 

Standing Exercises

One of the best standing, inner core muscle exercises that works both your abs and legs is the traditional squat. 

Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your back straight. Now, bend at the knees with your arms stretched out to the front holding onto a chair for balance.

If you can, try to bend your knees until your calves and thighs make a 90-degree angle. This may take some practice. Only go as far as you can without causing strain. Remember to engage your core muscles by squeezing in your navel to your spine; keeping a nice, straight back.

You can do squats in sets of 5, 10, or 15. 

 

Seated Exercises 

There are plenty of chair exercises for stomach muscles that will strengthen your core without coming into a standing or lying position. 

Knee Lifts

Sit with your back straight, your feet planted firmly on the ground, and your knees a few inches apart. Raise one foot at a time so that your knee comes straight up from its resting position.

Try to raise your foot three to ten inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5 to 15 times with one leg and 5 to 15 times with the other. As you raise your foot, concentrate on using your abdomen to take on some of that resistance.

Seated Side Bends

Assume the same starting position you did for your knee lifts. This time, hold one hand behind your head and extend the opposite arm straight out to the side. Lean to the side as though you are reaching for something with the outstretched hand. 

The goal is not to touch the floor, so don’t push yourself too far. Contract your abdominal muscles as you rise into an upright position once more. 

Repeat this exercise in one direction 5 to 15 times. Then, switch arms and do another set of 5, 10, or 15 while bending in the opposite direction. 

 

Floor Exercises

Floor exercises may require some assistance for seniors. If you have trouble rising from such a low position, consider sticking to the standing and seated exercises. Alternatively, consider trying modified versions of these exercises while resting comfortably in bed.

While lying down, you can perform an exercise that is similar to the knee lift we discussed earlier but is a bit more challenging. 

Leg Lifts

Lay flat on your back with your legs extended and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your leg straight, lift one heel a few inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5, 10, or 15 times with each leg. 

Make sure that you are not straining your lower back in the process. One way to avoid this is to contract your abdominal muscles so that resistance is transferred to your core muscles.

Opposite Leg and Arm Lifts

For this next exercise, roll over to your stomach and extend your legs straight back and your arms straight forward. Lift your head and neck, but do not strain or overarch your neck. Now, lift your right hand 2 to 4 inches off the ground and lift your left foot the same amount, keeping both extended straight.

With this exercise, you may want to alternate. In other words, lift your right arm and left foot, hold it for a few seconds, then lower them to the ground. Then, lift your left arm and right foot and repeat this process until you do 5, 10, or 15 lifts on each side.

This last exercise is also a great hip strengthening exercise for seniors. We hope this list of dynamic core stability exercises for seniors helps you stay active this year.

 

Strengthen Your Core to Maintain Your Independence

Core exercises for seniors are great because they allow older adults to maintain their strength without causing pain or muscle damage. You can practice them at home for 20 minutes a day a few times a week and you’re sure to see results.

Strengthening the core for seniors is all about providing them with a stronger, more stable body. This gives seniors a better sense of independence when they can walk, lift, and move freely.

Another great way to maintain independence is to work with in-home caregivers. At Commonwise Home Care, we assist seniors with day-to-day tasks, help them stay on top of their medication schedules, provide companionship, and more! 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Indoor Activities for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 20, 2020


Aging presents its own unique set of challenges for our loved ones. Explore some of the most engaging indoor activities for the elderly to stay active.

In 2017, there were over 22 million retired men and almost 27 million retired women in the US. Are you or a loved one running out of things to do after retirement? What are the best indoor activities for the elderly?

Staying active and involved in games, events, social or community gatherings, etc., are vital for preserving cognitive function in older adults. 

Without engaging in indoor activities for the elderly, cognitive decline could happen sooner than expected. Seniors need to stay active—physically, mentally, and socially—by participating in whatever they can.

We’ve put together a list of fantasti things to do when retired and bored for older adults to consider. Plus, we describe each activity’s individual benefits and why you should make them a priority in your day-to-day life.

 

The Importance of Senior Entertainment

Entertainment for seniors has several layers. Seniors can stay entertained by playing games, doing gentle exercises, and attending social or community groups to combat loneliness.

Cognitive health is a significant part of brain health. By staying active, you cultivate cognitive health, as well as, motor, sensory, and emotional function.

  • Motor function allows seniors to make and control their movements in a safe, calculated way. 
  • Sensory function enables seniors to respond well to touch, which can even include things like pain, pressure, or temperature. 
  • Emotional function allows a person to interpret emotions and respond accordingly.

Seniors can leverage these functions by staying active in their communities, playing group games, eating a nutritious diet, and practicing gentle exercises. These are all worthwhile, therapeutic activities for the elderly.

Now, what are the best senior activities for “over 60s” retirees? Let’s find out.

 

A Quick List of Activities For Older Adults

Now that you know the importance of indoor activities for the elderly, let’s explore some of the most fun and rewarding options seniors have.

 

1. Play a Game

Whether you’re a caregiver, or a friend or family member who wants to help, consider playing a game with an older adult in your life.

For instance, Bingo has several benefits for seniors:

  • Social engagement
  • Decreases risks of mental illnesses
  • Allows them to foster their memory recall
  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Cultivates hand-eye coordination

Other great games for senior citizens include easy-to-understand card games, chess, checkers, Scrabble, or even jigsaw puzzles. Any board game or card game will do, as long as it’s in line with the senior’s mental and physical abilities.

As a bonus, almost all of these activities require another participant, allowing your loved one to be social, too. Keeping seniors socially active is incredibly beneficial to their emotional wellbeing.

 

2. Participate in Low-Impact, Light Exercise

Consider a fun activity for seniors that involves being physically active. Even a simple exercise like walking around the house or neighborhood provides significant health benefits.

Seniors can also engage in low-impact exercises, depending on their physical and mental abilities:

Always evaluate your loved one’s capabilities before having them engage in a new exercise. Use these activity ideas as a starting point for a simple, physical routine for seniors during the week — preferably with the oversight of a caregiver, friend, or family member.

 

3. Stay Socially Connected in Community

About one third of seniors ages 50-80 say they feel lonely or lack companionship. This is detrimental to anyone’s health, but especially the elderly’s. Social isolation in the elderly can result in cognitive decline, mental health disorders, obesity, a weaker immune system, and more.

Therefore, seniors need to stay involved in their families and communities. 

A simple step to combating social isolation is making a daily phone call to your loved one. If you know or are related to a senior who lives alone, pick up the phone and call them today – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Here is a list of good questions to ask your grandparents to get you started.

Social support groups for the elderly are hugely beneficial to their wellbeing. It provides older adults with friends and community. Other participants in these groups are able to empathize with your loved one’s stage of life and the range of feelings that come with it.

 

At Home Senior Care Support

As a caregiver, family member, or friend, talk with your loved one and decide which of these indoor activities for the elderly excites them most.

Some may gravitate towards memory games, while others may prefer socializing with others. Each senior is unique and will want to participate in different activities. We just created this list to get you started on providing you loved one with options.

If you have the qualities and compassion of an at-home caregiver, please let us know—we’re always looking for heartfelt individuals to join our incredible team.

If you are the family member of an aging adult, we are with you. Finding the best care and support for your loved one is a difficult process. For questions about in-home care services by our professional caregivers, give us a call at 434.202.8565.

How Senior Elder Care Services Can Help Combat Loneliness

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 14, 2020


Ensuring your loved one is receiving the in home care they need, explore how elder care helps seniors combat loneliness and offers caregivers peace of mind.

According to a recent Time Magazine survey, one out of every three older adults combats loneliness. At the same time, nine out of every ten older adults intend to live at home for at least the next five to ten years. 

Aging at home comes with a variety of benefits. Remaining in a familiar space can reduce stressors. Aging in place also saves the money that would otherwise be spent on packers, movers, home sale advertisements, and assisted living facilities.

However, living alone may also increase the risk of loneliness, especially for the elderly population. 

Fortunately, in-home elder care can help to combat loneliness. 

 

Why Is Loneliness a Problem?

We’ve all experienced loneliness at one time or another and know that it isn’t a pleasant feeling. For the elderly, prolonged loneliness can lead to or worsen negative health conditions and reduce their quality of life. Read on to find out more about the long term effects of loneliness. 

 

Increased Mental Health Problems

Seniors who experience prolonged bouts of loneliness may develop feelings of anxiety. This could arise from the uncertainty of future contact, the fear of not receiving help in a crisis, or more.

At the same time, they may develop depression or depressive symptoms. Without meaningful social interaction, it may become difficult to self-motivate. Feelings of apathy may take over and previously enjoyed activities may become less enjoyable.

 

Increased Cognitive Problems

Studies have found that prolonged loneliness can lead to a decline in cognitive functions. These include memory, decision-making, and language control. In fact, one study concluded that feelings of loneliness can speed up the development of Alzheimer’s

 

Decline In Self-Care

As a result of both declining mental health and declining cognitive ability, some elder adults may experience a decline in self-care. Without motivation to do so, they may stop cooking balanced meals and opt for less healthy choices. They may also find themselves bathing and grooming less and feeling less optimistic about performing self-care tasks.

 

How Elder Care Can Help

Fortunately, there is a clear solution for those who age at home and experience loneliness. 

Commonwise Home Care provides personal, senior elder care services to allow loved ones to remain in their home without feeling alone. Our trained and talented caregivers can help with everything from grooming to transportation to medication management

Read on to find out more about how elder care at home can help combat feelings of loneliness.

 

Companionship

Perhaps the most obvious way home care can help to combat loneliness is by providing companionship. Many of our clients opt for Monday-Friday daily visits, allowing our caregivers to truly get to know them. 24-hour care for the elderly in their home is available for those who need extra assistance. 

As the relationship strengthens, each visit becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.

Professional caregivers offer regular, face-to-face contact that can brighten your loved one’s mood and give them something to look forward to every day.

 

Transportation

Many older adults are lonely simply because they are isolated. They may not capable of driving or reaching a bus service, leaving them stuck at home most of the time. 

A home care agency can provide transportation services to seniors through a caregiver. This can help them settle back into a routine that involves attending meetings or social support groups, interacting with store clerks, and more.

 

Mental Health Improvement

In some cases, it may be that physical or mental health issues led to loneliness, and not the other way around. 

Regardless of the source, depression can make it very difficult to get out and visit friends and family members. Physical health problems can limit mobility and make outings less enjoyable. 

Social support and compassionate care by trained caregivers can help seniors get back on track and feeling their best. Caregivers can also assist seniors with low-impact physical activity that is energy-boosting and stress-relieving. 

Having a healthy body and mind can truly allow aging adults to reclaim their lives!

 

Respite Care

Are you the family member or primary caregiver for an elderly individual? Do you find that you sometimes experience caregiver burnout? Consider respite care

Sometimes, loneliness doesn’t stem from physical isolation. It can also stem from the loss of social interaction. 

When a loved one becomes a caregiver, their original relationship may shift over time. The caregiver may not have the time or emotional energy to provide comfort or conversation. Their focus may be scattered between the responsibilities they personally have and their loved one’s wellbeing.

When you opt for respite care, you can get the rest you need to return to your loved one in a renewed state. In addition, your loved one gets to socialize with another person, thereby expanding their sphere of social interaction. This allows your loved one to feel less like a patient and more like a family member again.

 

Sign Up For Elder Care Today

If you or a loved one are aging at home and battling feelings of loneliness, why not make a change? No, you don’t have to move to a new location. Simply reach out for more information about home care services.

At Commonwise Home Care, we make personal care plans, unique to each individual. Caregivers can come in for a few hours a day to assist with daily tasks or you can sign up for elder live-in care where caregivers are present around the clock.

Families, feel free to browse our professional, in-home care services or call us at 434.202.8565.

The Best Exercise Videos For Seniors On Youtube

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 6, 2020


No matter your age, it’s never too late to begin an exercise routine to promote a healthy lifestyle. Explore the benefits of free exercise videos for seniors.

According to the CDC, the loss of stamina and strength we attribute to aging is related to a decline in physical activity. Exercise videos for seniors is a great way to gain back lost muscle mass.

The problem is that some of the bodily changes seniors face occur before they slow their exercising habits. This makes certain exercise routines more difficult or even dangerous to perform.

Fortunately, there are some great, free exercise videos for seniors available online. They provide guidance and a safe, senior-friendly routine that can be performed from home. 

Read on to learn more about HASfit and how HASfit for seniors can help your loved one stay healthy and active at home.

 

Why Should Seniors Stay Active?

Exercise is a great way to maintain or improve your physical abilities, give yourself an energy boost, better your mental health. 

 

Improved Physical Abilities

Exercise helps seniors to keep their strength up which, in turn, can increase their independence. Daily tasks often involve lifting and carrying, such as taking the laundry basket to the washroom or unloading groceries from the car.

There are also physical activities that help seniors to improve their balance which can increase their safety to prevent falling. From core exercises to tai-chi, there are plenty of ways to practice and maintain balance.

Finally, regular exercise can help to prevent or manage heart disease. Active bodies have lower heart rates, blood pressure, and stress. This can relieve over-worked hearts and reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks. 

 

Increased Energy

Although you have to expend energy to exercise, you get more back in return. Exercise improves blood circulation throughout the body. Your circulation and heart muscle become strengthened, enabling you to feel more energized throughout the day.

 

Better Mental Health

Some seniors may find that their physical abilities are still intact, but their mental health could use a boost. Exercise can help!

When you exercise, you release some of the tension in your body that sends signals to your brain that make you feel anxious or depressed. You also lower your levels of cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone, and release endorphins, a joy-inducing neurotransmitter. 

Exercise can also improve cognitive functions such as decision-making and information retention. This is great for seniors whose cognitive abilities are slowing as they age.

 

Why Exercise Videos for Seniors Are a Great Choice

While a local gym may offer exercise classes for seniors, there are tons of reasons why exercise videos can make a fantastic alternative. Why?

You can follow exercise videos along at home as long as you have a computer, an iPad, or a similar streaming device. This is great news for seniors who have limited access to transportation or limited mobility in general. Plus, video workouts for seniors are available online 24/7. No need to disrupt your daily schedule to fit in a class or two. 

Exercise videos are also free and your options aren’t limited to the classes being taught at a gym. If you try out one video and find that it isn’t for you, you can move onto the next one free of charge! 

 

The Best Exercise Videos For Seniors on Youtube

If you search “exercise for seniors youtube,” you will get an overwhelming number of search results. While plenty of these results are good, make sure the video you follow along with was created by fitness instructors who know what is and isn’t safe for seniors. 

HASfit provides an exceptional exercise program for seniors. Coach Kozak and Claudia are both professional fitness instructors who craft carefully thought out courses for older adults. 

In each video, they provide viewers with two variations of the routine to match the different levels of fitness and physical ability their viewers may have.

The courses are broken down into target zones or areas that seniors may want to strengthen or stretch out. They also tell you how many calories you’ll burn if you complete the video, allowing you to incorporate their videos into your overall health routine. They also provide a difficulty rating and a preview at the beginning of the video so that you can watch first and decide if the workout is right for you.

Let’s take a look at a few of these options so that you can get a sense of how these exercise videos for seniors work.

 

Videos for Strength

Many of the HASfit videos are designed as strength training workouts. The instructors may incorporate small, two to five-pound hand weights. If you don’t have weights at home, you can use a couple of water bottles. Many of the exercises rely solely on the resistance created by your own bodyweight, which means no equipment is required.

Following along with the strength-building routines will allow you to learn more about proper form. There are plenty of simple routines you can do once or twice a day that will build strength. However, exercising with poor form may cause unnecessary strain.

 

Videos for Pain Relief

On some days, you may want videos geared towards pain relief, rather than strength. These videos will often feature the word “relief” in the title. For example, you will find a video called “Sciatica Exercises for Leg Pain Relief” as well as a video called “Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief.”

These videos will walk you through a variety of gentle stretches that will lessen your pain in targeted areas. When you practice these routines regularly, you may be able to rely less on over-the-counter pain relief pills and more on your own physical activity. Plus, many of these stretches will naturally build strength while improving your balance!

 

Staying Active While Aging

If you’ve been looking for ways to stay active while aging, exercise videos for seniors may be exactly what the doctor ordered. We recommend HASfit videos because they are versatile and put together by a team of professionals. The videos are free and available online 24/7 so you can start feeling good, today.

At-home care is another great way to improve a senior’s quality of life. Visit our services page to find out more about the care we offer at Commonwise Home Care or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

 

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Letting Go of Guilt: 5 Tips for Caregivers

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

March 27, 2020


Have you ever experienced caregiver guilt? Do you know what is it? Learn 5 tips to help you manage negative feelings and move toward healthier thoughts.

Approximately 36% of U.S adults are caregivers to an adult in their lives. Some of which are caring for their own elderly family members. Caregiver guilt is a common phenomenon among the spectrum of caregivers, both professional and familial.

So how does one begin letting go of regret and guilt? Or deal with feelings of remorse?

Before we look at how to cope, let’s start by getting a better understanding of what caregiver guilt really is.

 

What Is Caregiver Guilt?

Guilt stems from an internalized idea that you’re not doing enough. In a nutshell, caregiver guilt is a feeling of inadequacy. You feel like you are not doing as much as you should, and then judge yourself for apparent inadequacies. 

Caregiver guilt can manifest itself in the forms of exhaustion, pushing yourself too hard, negative self-talk, anxiety, and other negative emotions. Unfortunately, these feelings tend to be an inseparable aspect of caregiving.

The people in your care seem so vulnerable and reliant on you for care, that you begin to question whether anything you do is enough. Caregivers feel guilty when they can’t live up to their own or other’s expectations. You may even wonder why you took on the role of caregiving in the first place. 

Stop right there. 

Those negative feelings are not serving you or the people you care for. As caregiver stress gets to you, consider the following tips to help you cope.

 

5 Tip for Caregivers to Combat Guilt

Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy ways to manage negative feelings. If you find yourself in a rocky place on your caregiving journey, keep reading. Here are five tips to help you find joy in your role once again.

 

1. Do Not Neglect Your Own Needs

Getting lost in regular care for another person is easy to do. As a result, caregivers tend to neglect their own personal needs. Acknowledge that neglecting your individual needs is counter-productive. Not only will you feel worse off, but it will also impact your ability to perform your tasks as a caregiver.

Find intentional time during your day to check-in with yourself. 

  • Have you explored and addressed any hidden feelings? 
  • Are you growing resentful over time towards your loved one or other family members? 
  • Are you personally getting enough sleep, food, and socialization?

Take a few minutes to meditate or relax if you need to, talk to a friend, take a pet out for a walk and ensure that you’re getting a sufficient amount of rest. Being a caregiver is a noble pursuit, but it should never come at the cost of your own health.

 

2. Find a Support Person

Know that the guilt or frustration you feel is completely normal. Feelings of overwhelm are common, but they don’t have to be debilitating. As a primary caregiver, you need your own support system.

Whether it’s a trusted friend, a family member, or even a therapist, make sure you have someone to lean on. This person will act as your advocate when feelings of guilt and inadequacy come to the surface. 

Another caregiver is also a great confidant. Consider joining a caregiver support group. You are more likely to feel a sense of solidarity and empathy from someone who knows exactly what you’re experiencing. 

 

3. Practice Radical Acceptance

While finding a safe space to vent is helpful, consider practicing the art of radical acceptance. You may not always be able to put in as much effort as you would like, but isn’t that just life? Sometimes you feel like a superhero, other times, you are sick in bed. 

The important thing to note here is that whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities.

Certain realities are completely out of your control. Learn to accept the reality of the situation and continue on. You might find this hard to do, but that’s perfectly normal. 

Take it day to day and grow in a practice of acceptance. Work towards shifting your perspective through things like therapy or a heartfelt talk with a trusted adviser.

 

4. Set Realistic Expectations

In addition to accepting a situation for what it is, you must acknowledge your shortcomings and limits. Often, we hold ourselves to impossible standards. We expect perfection and are overly critical of ourselves when we can’t measure up. 

Negative thoughts may assume you are not spending enough time caring and don’t prioritize well. But pay attention to your expectations given your current reality.

  • Are you fully equipped and have the capacity to be a caregiver?
  • Do you have your own family to care for? 
  • Are you volunteering in other areas of your life?
  • Do you have another job?
  • Can you really do [fill in the blank] for your loved one as often as you thought you could?

Set expectations for yourself and communicate them clearly to those in your care. Maybe they are the ones pressuring you to be the superhero caregiver.

Prepare yourself when you sense a difficult situation or conversation on the horizon. You cannot be all things to all people. Stay grounded in your mind and breathe deep in these moments of stress.

 

5. Accept Help Through Respite Care

Caregiving is a weighty responsibility for professional and family caregivers alike. No one can fully care 24/7 forever. Taking time to rest, reset, and care for your own wellbeing is crucial.

As a primary caregiver, learn more about respite care. Home care agencies like Commonwise Home Care offer respite care providers for caregivers. 

Accept help for the benefit of yourself and those in your care.

 

Move Towards Health

As we’ve discussed, while caregiver guilt is almost inevitable, it is also completely manageable. Draw the distinction between the guilt we enforce on ourselves, and the guilt others impose on us. 

Do you feel like you are being treated unfairly? Or that your work as a caregiver is highly unappreciated? Take some time to reflect on your situation to see if you can change your perspective. Are you truly living in that reality or is that just your perception?

If you are a professional caregiver or would like to become one, apply for a job at Commonwise Home Care. We ensure that every caregiver is given the respect, payment, and support they deserve. 

If you are a family member looking into home care or respite care, call us at 434.202.8565. Our Care Team is ready to serve you and your loved one.

Caregiving 101: What You Need to Know on Your First Day of Work

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

March 20, 2020


Are you looking for some first day of work advice for your new job as a caregiver? Here’s a complete guide on what you need to know.

Being a caregiver is an admirable and rewarding job. Here is some first day of work advice for caregivers who are new to the industry.

 

Information for Caregivers: First Day of Work Advice

Caregivers can be people with a professional background and years of schooling—nurse aids, nursing students, personal care aides. Or, they can be people without formal training, but a strong passion for heartfelt work—family members, neighbors, etc.

Are you about to embark on this wonderful career path as a caregiver? Looking for some insight on what to expect?

Let’s review some caregiver tips that will make sure you’re ready to do the best job ever. Keep reading to become an “in the know” caregiver, ready to face your first day.

 

What is The Role of a Caregiver?

The more you know about the duties that surround this job, the more prepared you can be to excel at them.

A caregiver provides support for an aging client that can no longer perform some fundamental duties on their own. The client is likely stable enough to stay at home but needs support to come to their home and assist them.

 

Caregiver Duties

Caregiver duties include a wide range of activities, like providing companionship, assisting with housework and daily living, or providing medical and/or physical care. Caregivers offer emotional, mental, and physical support, enriching the lives of seniors. 

In fact, emotional support is a significant part of caregiving. Almost 70% of unpaid caregivers – adult children caring for their parents – say they offer emotional support regularly.

If you work for a home care agency, like Commonwise Home Care, you will travel to a client’s home and offer personal assistance. As a companion, here are some caregiving activities you will engage in:

  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Light housework
  • Companionship and company (i.e., reading, talking, games)
  • Appointment and medication reminders
  • Transportation 
  • Hands-on care with bathing, dressing, toileting 
  • Assisting with transfers and ambulation
  • Light exercise and/or mobility practices
  • Creating and following a personal care plan for specific client needs
  • Communicating with fellow administrators, registered nurses, and other caregivers on the Care Team

Job duties may vary based on the needs of a client. You may have a client with no significant health problems, or they may be living with Alzheimer’s disease. All things considered, a caregiver’s day-to-day obligations vary.

 

Caregiving Training

Now that you know what you can expect to do on your first day as a caregiver, let’s highlight some of the training involved beforehand.

As we mentioned, some caregivers come into this position with little-to-no experience while others have years of experience. If you get hired to work for a caregiving agency with no formal experience, they will provide training to ensure everyone offers first-class care.

Additionally, many companies offer continued CNA, or certified nursing assistant, training. Continuing education gives caregivers an opportunity to hone their skill sets.

The more training under your belt, the more people you can potentially care for. Many agencies use a comprehensive client-matching system to pair a caregiver with a client that’s at their skill level. The more extensive your certifications, the broader your options are for helping others.

Additionally, the more well-rounded your education, the better you can be at your job. We always encourage extra certifications regardless if you currently need them. 

 

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver

Working with a home care agency usually means you can choose a flexible schedule. Commonwise Home Care offers both part- and full-time positions for their caregivers. 

You would likely meet a client at their home at a designated hour. From there, you’ll stay for a certain amount of time. Some patients require 24 hour care while others need general companionship services.

Depending on your client’s needs, you may just stay at home preparing meals and helping them around the house or get dressed. Other times, you may drive the client to an appointment or go for a walk.

Additionally, you’ll interact with other caregivers on the team, perhaps offer reprise to a fellow caregiver on duty, and communicate with the office. You may also speak with the client’s doctors or nurses and relay information to the client or their family members. 

 

Finals Words of Advice for Caregivers

How to prepare for your first day of work as a caregiver is less tactical and more personal.

  • Be yourself. If you are exploring the calling of caregiving, you are likely a compassionate, caring, and dedicated individual. There is only one you, so bring your unique personality to the team and elderly patients.
  • Be compassionate. Compassion is the number one trait of a caregiver that we look for in our caregivers at Commonwise. Caregivers truly make a difference in the lives of older adults and it starts with compassionate people.
  • Be patient. Be patient with yourself and let that flow into your interactions with others. Every job provides it’s own unique challenges and caregiving is no different. If anything, it requires an extra dose of patience.
  • Be teachable. New caregivers may need time to catch on to the nuances of home care. Every patient requires varying levels of care, so be aware of the learning curve. Ask other team members how to be a good caregiver for the elderly to help you grow in this vocation.

Prepare for both difficulties and successes, and your first day as a caregiver should offer no surprises. Learn more about the qualities of a caregiver that we look for in our Care Team members at Commonwise Home Care.

 

Caregiving at Commonwise Home Care

At Commonwise Home Care, we aim to empower exceptional care—that means, we always encourage a personalized approach to home care. Do you have any creative suggestions that you think may make life better for the client? If so, we want to work with you to be able to provide that.

Maybe you are just looking into this career path, but don’t know how to become a caregiver. Think deeply about this vocation. We believe caregiving is a calling, not just a career.

  • Why do you want to be a caregiver?
  • Why would you make a good caregiver?
  • What sets you apart from other caregivers?
  • Are you a compassionate, patient person?
  • Do you enjoy caring for older adults specifically?

At Commonwise Home Care, we’re always looking for talented, high-performing individuals to add to the team. We are proud to provide higher than average compensation to reward the amazing work caregivers do every day.

Apply for caregiving positions in Charlottesville, VA, Richmond, VA, or Charleston, SC. We look forward to caring with you.

Community Networks and Activities for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

March 13, 2020


Are you interested in learning about the unique benefits of senior support groups? We’ve got a complete guide for you here.

According to recent research, about a third of seniors, ages 50-80, are lonely. More than one-third of respondents said they felt a lack of companionship. Feelings of isolation are common when companionship is absent, which is why senior support groups are essential.

Of the seniors who do socialize with family and friends, they claim to do so once a week or less. While this is better than nothing, the number is still far too low. 

Luckily, feelings of loneliness are not permanent and can even be reversed. Senior support groups are a fantastic way for the elderly to socialize, get out of the house, and be around like-minded individuals. Support groups are an excellent opportunity to meet new people and cultivate loving relationships.

Let’s discuss the available community networks and activities for the elderly and why supporting them is so important. As a caregiver or family member, learn how you can encourage a senior to make friends today!

 

Why Is Community Support Important?

One of the most fundamental reasons community support is so vital is because it has a direct effect on a senior’s health.

Social isolation and loneliness in older people pose significant health risks. Our connections to other human beings are what allows us to thrive—and without those relationships, health is at risk.

 

Health Risks of Social Isolation for Seniors

  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • A weakened immune system
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anxiety

In severe cases, this loneliness can even contribute to premature death.

The adverse effects of social isolation are startling—especially knowing that the methods of combating it can be so simple. Fortunately, these emotions can be countered. Elderly support groups provide us with the hope that we can change this cycle and renew health and happiness to a senior.

 

Benefits of Community Support

  • The ability to live a longer and healthier life
  • A boost in mood
  • Provides a sense of purpose
  • Aids in maintaining overall well-being
  • Promote and provide social interaction 
  • Can improve cognitive decline

Those with a higher risk of social isolation include being a widower and lonely, those who live far from friends or family, and those who lack transportation or have a loss of mobility. Although anyone can benefit from social support groups for the elderly, elders in these situations can have even more significant benefits.

Now that you understand why community support is so necessary, let’s cover what local groups for the elderly are available.

 

Community Networks and Activities for the Elderly

Senior citizen support groups come in a variety of styles. This diversity ensures that a senior can find an ideal group for them and their situation. For example, there can be anything from social groups for widows and widowers to groups of seniors who play Bingo.

 

Group Games for Seniors 

Does your senior thrive on mind games? Several games can improve memory. Groups that play these types of games would be ideal for someone dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

Games, in general, have fantastic therapeutic benefits, from improving reflection and memory recall to increasing social engagement. Seniors love the support (not to mention, the fun!) that comes from team-orientated games.

 

Exercise Groups for Seniors

Depending on your senior’s mobility, they may even be able to attend support groups that focus on exercise. For example, if they’ve recently suffered from a stroke, relearning to walk can instill them with confidence and independence. 

Perhaps your loved one can join a senior support group that participates in short, leisurely walks, or focuses on lifting small weights or doing simple stretches. 

 

Conditional Support Groups for Seniors

Does your loved one suffer from glaucoma? Are they wheelchair-bound? Are they disabled veterans, or even amputees?

Help seniors find support by researching specific groups in your local community. The more specific the group to their condition, the better they’ll be able to bond with the other attendees and form meaningful friendships.

Not just any relationship provides healing properties, but one that provides depth and quality does. If your senior finds a group of people like them, they’re bound to form more purposeful bonds that allow them to feel more understood. 

 

Find Senior Support Groups Today

As a caregiver, friend, or family member to a senior, you can encourage them to make loving relationships. Regardless of your senior’s condition, there are senior support groups that can cater to their needs.

These bonds can help your loved one mentally, emotionally, and even physically. As this article highlights, senior support groups have an astounding number of benefits. They can add joy and longevity to their lives in a unique way.

To find a senior support group that’s fitting, you can ask other seniors in the community, get recommendations from friends or family, or ask a local home care agency like Commonwise Home Care. Consider typing in, “support groups for elderly near me,” in your Google Search bar to research ideas online.

We’re here to serve families as much as we serve their loved ones. Reach out to us at 434-202-8565 with any questions or concerns regarding your loved one. We aim to compassionately care, 24/7.

 

At Home Caregivers

Are you a compassionate, caring individual? Do you have a positive effect on the lives of the elderly? Do you think you have what it takes to be a caregiver yourself? 

Consider the qualities of a caregiver that we look for in our Care Team. If any of these traits resonate with you, learn more about caregiver careers.

The Benefits of Daily Phone Calls to Seniors

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

March 6, 2020


Most seniors want to continue living in their own homes instead of relocating. Here’s how an elderly phone service can give family members peace of mind.

 

An elderly phone call service provides a daily touchpoint to remedy feelings of loneliness and check in on senior’s health and wellness.

Of the 50 million Americans over the age of 65, roughly 14% live alone. The odds go up for women over the age of 75, nearly half of whom live alone. 

Aging in a familiar space is often good for mental health, especially when you consider the taxing nature of relocating to a new place. However, there are a few downsides to aging alone. Social isolation and inaccessible care in the event of an emergency are common concerns.

Read on to learn the benefits of using an elderly phone service for your loved one.

 

Daily Phone Calls to Seniors

If you are the primary caregiver for an elderly person living alone, you may experience stress or anxiety on the days that you don’t have time to check-in. Many elderly phone services offer daily telephone reassurance calls and check in services.

 

Telephone Reassurance Programs

Telephone reassurance programs for seniors are designed to ensure that an elderly person is up, cognizant, and physically able to answer the phone. As a primary caregiver, you can ask for your own notifications from these services. After completing the call, the phone service will let you know whether or not the recipient answered. 

Schedule the daily phone call for a time that the senior in question is frequently available. Many people choose to schedule a daily calling service in the morning. This helps to ensure that your loved one has gotten out of bed and begun their day. 

 

Medication Reminder Phone Calls

Daily phone calls also serve as a check-in to see if seniors are taking their medication, grooming, and eating enough to maintain their health.

Medication reminder phone calls are not unlike telephone reassurance calls. They occur every day at a specific time. However, these calls are set up for the specific purpose of reminding seniors to take important medications.

Most medications need to be taken at the same time every day for optimal performance. Keeping track of a medication schedule becomes complicated when a senior takes multiple medications, especially if some are daily and some are not. 

Inform the elderly phone service about the full list of prescriptions and supplements your loved one is taking. Provide any additional instructions, such as whether or not a medication must be taken with food. This gives the third party all of the information necessary to help seniors stay on track with their medications.

 

Companionship Calls

While some elderly phone services provide minimal conversation, companionship calls are set up to last longer. A companion caller will ask how the senior’s day is going and encourage them to chat. Over time, the caller and senior can build a relationship of trust and intimacy. 

In 2019, Time Magazine reported that one out of every three seniors in America suffers from loneliness. Loneliness isn’t just a state of mind. It can lead to increased health and cognitive decline, including the exacerbation of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Having regular, meaningful conversations can lessen feelings of loneliness. For some seniors, a phone call may not be enough to ward off social isolation. Note that social isolation involves a physical separation from others while loneliness is a feeling or perception.

Social isolation is eliminated through face-to-face communication. For seniors who live alone, at-home personal care can greatly reduce these negative feelings. 

 

Automated Calls vs. Live Calls

What’s the difference between an automated calling service and a real person? How do you decide between the two options?

Automated calls are designed to react solely to whether or not the call is answered. If it is, all is well. In the case of an unanswered called you will receive your own automated call to alert you that the senior did not answer.

If there is no answer, the person listed as the senior’s secondary caregiver may also receive a call. In the event that no one answers, the elderly phone service may alert the police department. Local authorities will then go and physically check on the senior.

Live phone calls may operate in a similar way. However, that added personal touch can make a huge difference for the recipient of the calls. Of course, companion callers are always real people who can respond with authenticity. 

 

Is There a Free Elderly Phone Service?

If money is an issue, don’t worry. Depending on where the senior lives, they may have access to free elderly phone services. Many police departments, volunteer programs, and churches offer wellness calls for seniors that are free to their local community.

If you do not have access to free elderly phone services, consider looking into low-cost monthly plans. Groups such as CareCheckers and the CARE senior calling program provide check in services for seniors.

It is also worth noting that the federal government provides some financial relief for low-income seniors who are in need of a phone service. If the senior in question is at or below the 135% of the Federal Poverty guidelines, they qualify for a government-assisted phone and internet plan. 

 

Home Care for Seniors Living Alone

Checking on the elderly every day is important for their health and safety, especially if they live alone. Consider signing up your loved one for an elderly phone service. 

Never underestimate the power of a meaningful conversation. Daily phone calls help maintain a senior’s medication schedule and can improve their mental health. 

For more hands-on care for seniors who live alone, consider at-home care. Professional caregivers provide help for seniors living alone that may be burdensome for families in the long-term.

If you live in Richmond, Charlottesville, or Charleston, Commonwise Home Care may be the right fit for your loved one. Call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565 to learn more about our premium home care services.

Good Questions to Ask Your Grandparents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

February 27, 2020


Your grandparents have seen more advances in their lives than any other generation. Here are some good questions to ask your grandparents.

 

Do you see your grandparents much? Whether you call them up or see them next weekend, think of good questions to ask your grandparents. They are full of experiences and wisdom to share.

Regret is surprisingly predictable.

Short-term, your brain focuses on avoiding “active mistakes,” which can be any number of embarrassing or regretful actions.

But long-term, your brain forgets these small mistakes and instead starts focusing on the deeper picture. As these actions become forgotten, inaction starts to loom larger. You realize the regrets you hold with you are the things you didn’t do.

 

Things to Ask Your Grandparents

Do you ever have these sentiments? Something as simple, but meaningful as “I need to talk to my grandparents more.”

Well, you still have time. Be grateful for that—start the conversation.

These questions to ask your grandparents will illuminate fascinating stories that will likely enlighten and inspire you. 

Let’s get ready to interview your grandparents!

 

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

This question is a great way to start a conversation with your grandparent(s) about the valuable lessons they’ve learned.

Did they make any mistakes, big or small, whose repercussions stood out? What would they have done differently? How did they adapt to challenging situations?

With such a unique and wise perspective on life, this question is a gem to ask. Boiling life situations down to some crucial lessons learned and advice can offer some fantastic insight into their world and perhaps influence yours, too.

 

What Was Your First Job?

What did your grandparents do for an allowance? Did they work at home or somewhere else? How much did they make for their efforts? 

Perhaps your grandma babysat the neighbor’s kids for a quarter an hour, or maybe she was one of the first flight attendants. Maybe your grandfather worked for the railroad or a manufacturing plant for 30 years.

Not only will it be fascinating to hear about what jobs back in your grandparent’s time entailed, but the differences in the economy will shine through, too. 

 

How Did You Meet Grandma or Grandpa?

Where did you meet your significant other? What did you think of him or her the first time? Most importantly, what did your parents think?

When comparing dating and marriage now and then, you may be surprised to realize how truly different it was. People were less likely to get divorced; “going steady” was the go-to expression when dating in the 50s; the concept of free love rang loud for quite some time.

What was dating like pre-tech? Did your grandparents participate in traditional courting? Why did they end up choosing each other? What was their wedding day like?

A look into their love lives will likely prove to be romantic, different, and entertaining.

 

What Historical Events Surprised, Scared, or Excited You?

Of all the questions to ask grandparents about history, this one should reveal some surprising facts.

Say your grandparents, or even great grandparents, lived in the 40s—post-Depression, post-WWI, and coming upon World War II. The economy was booming for a while; returning soldiers went to school through the GI Bill, consumerism began to improve. Life was changing at a rapid pace. 

Were your grandparents involved in WWII or Vietnam? If so, how? What did they think of the landing on the moon? 

Ask them to set the stage for where they were when they found out about world events.

 

What Is Your Life’s Mantra?

Or, what is your current philosophy on life? What mantras have become a way of living and navigating the world?

This is a popular interview question for grandparents, as they typically deliver wise, thoughtful responses. Their “old-school” philosophies probably have some intriguing stories behind them—your grandparents likely have fantastic responses to these questions. 

Some important mantras you might hear could be:

  • Always laugh and have fun in everything you do
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated
  • Think before you talk
  • Don’t be the last one to leave the party — always leave ’em wishing you were there
  • Never do anything that may injure anyone

It could be something deep and personal, or funny and light-hearted. Their mantra could be inspirational in the grand scheme or a small daily affirmation. Whatever they say, write it down and ask yourself why it mattered then and still matters now.

 

What Are You Proud Of?

Of all the questions to ask your grandparents, asking them to look back on their legacy will be a sentimental moment. What do they want to be remembered by?

Some responses may be straightforward or simple, others, emotional. Your grandparents will probably have some illuminating answers that can reflect on their passions, goals, and achievements. 

Perhaps they’re still hoping to accomplish something or check an activity off their bucket lists. And if so, what do those visions entail?

They may have some unrealized dreams that you uncover. Every story will be unique and special.

 

Talk to Them Today

Next time you spend time with your grandparents, take this list with you and have a meaningful discussion. Don’t wait until regret sets in to realize you never asked the questions you wanted to ask.

Your grandfather and grandmother have fascinating stories that are unique to their generation and your family history. These are just a few good questions to ask your grandparents. Think of questions that are important to you and your family.

At Commonwise Home Care, we truly care about your relationship with your family members. That’s why we offer quality home health care services for seniors, such as companionship and personal care.

If you feel like caregiving is something you’re naturally inclined to do, we also have rewarding job opportunities. Reach out to see how Commonwise Home Care can improve you and your grandparents’ lives by introducing more conversation and connection: 434.202.8565.

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