Senior Caregiving Tips

Read these 27 Senior Caregiving Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Elder Care tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Why can´t I sleep?

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Additional signs of sleep deprivation include:

unable to sleep after eating a full meal, or drinking caffeine. After 4pm, do not drink caffeine.
Suddenly becoming a night owl.
Waking up all during the night.
Watching the clock all night.
Sleeping lightly.
Falling asleep while watching TV, or reading a book.
Feeling exhausted all the time.
Sleeping later on weekends.

   
Do you recommend support groups?

Caregiver Support Groups

Caregiver support groups benefit the caregiver in many ways. If you attend one, you will discover you are not alone. This can strengthen your ability to cope with the new demands of caregiving. You will see others experiencing the same emotional roller coaster ride as yourself.

Remember, you are not alone! Thousands of baby boomers and other family members are riding the same roller coaster ride as you!

   
How do I know when I am reaching burn out?

Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout

Ways to know when you are reaching caregiver burnout:

Inability to sleep
Inability to enjoy life
Constantly thinking about being a caregiver
Unable to concentrate or focus
Being overemotional, or sensitive
Crying easily

   
How many types of elderly care are in America today?

Types of Elder Care

There are many types of elderly care available now, including:

1. Adult Day Care – similar to child care. Adult day care is a place where your loved one can be cared for, fed properly, and special needs can be met in many facilities. Before reserving a spot for your loved one, I encourage you to tour the facility, ask questions, and allow the elderly person to see the facility so he or she can be introduced and become familiar with the atmosphere.

2. Home Health Care – these agencies are assigned by a medical facility, or under other recommendations, providing the ability to supervise and assist the elderly person. Among the services provided are: nursing, medical, and personal hygiene. Home health care benefits the elderly who are remaining in a familiar home setting, allowing a bit of independence and quality of life.

3. Group Homes – For the elderly loved one who does not have limited abilities, group homes are similar to a family home setting, allowing the elderly person to have assistance when needed. Nursing services and other needs can be fulfilled from health care services and agencies.

4. Skilled Nursing Facilities – Skilled nursing facilities provide 24-hour medical care in a nursing home atmosphere. Services include rehabilitation, medical services, medication distribution, diet, labs, mental health, if needed, recreation, personal care and hygiene, and nursing supervision. Be certain to inquire about the licensing by the state where you, or the potential resident will reside, and inquire about meeting federal regulations. Ask about their policies and procedures, requesting answers about how they handle reports and complaints related to abuse, neglect, and other issues that might affect your decision. Be certain to inquire about their policy about Medicaid, if this will be an issue. Some nursing home facilities do not accept Medicaid residents.

5. Assisted Living – a care facility that assists the elderly with their immediate needs, including food, laundry, and other living necessities to further their quality of life. Medicaid will not pay for assisted living. Be certain to inquire about the fees, and how the facility prefers to be paid. Most facilities are private pay, which simply means, either you as the caregiver, or the elderly person, are expected to pay, on a monthly basis.

   
How do I know if my loved one is able to be independent?

If Your Loved One Lives Alone

If your loved one is still independent, living alone, offer assistance with errands. Make arrangements to drive your loved one to the grocery store. Make this a special event. Maybe you can arrange to take your loved one to lunch, or dinner after running errands.

Encourage your loved one to make lists, so your time together is quality and not stressed.

   
How can I tell if my elderly is eating properly?

How to Know if An Elderly Person is Eating Properly

When serving food to an elderly person, be sure to pay attention to what is being eaten.

   
What is Meals on Wheels?

Meals on Wheels

Home delivery meal services such as "Meals on Wheels" are designed to deliver meals at a moderate cost to older persons or those with disabilities.

They are listed in your local telephone directory.

   
How do I determine the level of care?

Different Care Giving Options

Caregiving entails many services, including:

Home care -- allows for care in the home. Sometimes, home health nurses will visit to give baths, and supervise in the medical care of someone frail and elderly.

Adult Day Care -- provides a setting for the elderly person to stay during the day. Open Monday - Friday, generally.

Respite Care -- allows the caregiver a break from the demands of caregiving.

Hospice Care --- for terminally ill --- usually with six months or less to live. Provides an in-home atmosphere, and medical professionals.

Residential Care --- care at a nursing home or convalescent center. Many nursing homes have a "two year" waiting list!

   
What about care at home?

What About Care at Home?

What to do about caring for the elderly at home?

Does he or she need assistance with finances, paying bills, or personal business?
Are bills overdue?
What about housework?
Is the loved one always alone, without social companionships?
Is the house safe enough for the elderly person to move around, without getting hurt?

   
What questions do I ask when evaluating the level of care?

Evaluation of Caregiving Needs

You've visited an elderly person recently, realizing that he or she is not able to care for himself properly.

It is time to evaluate and recognize assistance is required.

Does he or she need medical care?
Is he or she suddenly unable to drive, and might need assistance with errands?
What type of medical care is required?

   
How do I plan the appropriate care?

How to Know What is Needed

When determining what is needed to assist your elderly loved one, try to analyze his or her needs.

What are your loved ones wishes and desires
How strong is the person?
Is he or she able to be left alone at times?
Can the person walk without assistance?
Is he or she subject to falls?

Organize a family meeting, if available. If not, meet with the elderly person to analyze the care needed.

   
Who can a caregiver turn to for moral or emotional support?

Caregiver Support

Who can a caregiver turn to for moral or emotional support? Most caregivers find that they need to turn to family, friends and neighbors, and other caregivers.

Sometimes, a community provides support services. Churches and religious groups may offer assistance. Family is another good resource to offer assistance. Volunteers provide support too.

If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed, serving as a caregiver, be certain to seek help from others.

   
Are there other links to senior support?

Senior Internet Links

Here are a list of links to search engines to add your site to!

National Directory
http://www.nationaldirectory.com/addurl/

Canada.com
http://www.canada.com/search/web/addurl.asp

Simple Search
http://www.simplesearch.com

Turnpike
http://www.turnpike.net/

a2z
http://www.a2zsol.com/cgi-bin/scamper.cgi

linkmaster
http://www.linkmaster.com

   
What happens to the elderly if they are frail?

Senior Injuries at Home

Maybe you've visited your loved one and noticed bruises, or scratches. Should you ask what happened?

Yes, of course you should! Never be afraid to speak up or inquire about what is going on. If you wait until the elderly person asks for help, it could be disastrous.

   
What is the Council on Aging?

Support

The Department of Aging and other direction services may be listed under various names in your telephone directory in any state in the country. These agencies provide general information, referrals, and services specifically for seniors and information on various types of nursing care.

   
What Does an Elderly Person Need from Me?

What Is a Care Giver?

Caregivers are your average, run of the mill people. Most are related to the family member, or a close friend. The majority of caregivers are baby boomers, busily juggling their lives, careers and families. They become caregivers unexpectedly when a loved one or family member becomes ill, or too weak or frail to remain independent. They learn to consult, make decisions, and become pro-active for the elderly person who is deteriorating. Americans of the baby boomer generation are aging. Approximately one of four American households is involved in some form of care giving. The number of primary care providers is diminishing because many family members live far away or cannot become involved. Where does this leave the elderly? Who will feed them, dress them, and provide for their needs and companionship? Who will see that their medical, financial and personal needs are met?
In America, hospital and long-term care is skyrocketing. Medicare will not cover the needs sufficiently. Only a small amount of American families can afford private nursing home care, or long-term medical care. Approximately 36% of primary caregivers are over the age of 65. They learn quickly to become advocates and to share the remainder of the elderly person's life with as much quality and care as they can provide.

   
What signs of illness or decline do I look for, in my elderly parent?

What Are The Warning Signs?

How do you know if someone elderly is declining?

Look for signs:
Maybe the house is not as tidy.
Does your elderly loved one have an odor?

   
What is a health care team?

What is a Health Care Team?

What is a Health Care Team?

The health care team includes doctors, nurses, medical assistants, professionals, hospitals, family and the caregiver.

Health care teams will discuss the situation of the person who is being treated, advise the caregiver, and offer assistance, including support groups, medical care, along with providing the quality of care necessary for the person who is ill, or elderly.

   
What if I cannot sleep?

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation --- the inability to sleep, can leave a caregiver completely exhausted. The signs of sleep deprivation are many:
Waking up feeling exhausted
Tossing and turning in bed
Watching the clock all night

If you discover you are sleep deprived, I encourage you to discuss this with your doctor. Sleep deprivation can lead to illnesses.

   
Are there outside Senior support agencies available?

Outside Help

Services such as the "United Way" offer a referral service, which provides the name, address and phone number of a specific agency to assist you in dealing with a specific problem.

   
What are some sources of community support for seniors?

Community Support

Assistance for Seniors and/or Disabled People: Where To Find Help In Your Community

Local government, the United Way, the Council of Churches, and other groups in your area may provide “Community
Resource Directories” for a nominal cost. They are a wonderful resource for finding the best agencies to meet a particular need.

   
How do I cook for someone elderly?

How to Add Quality of Life with Food

When preparing food for the elderly, be sure to consider their nutritional needs. If the elderly person needs to watch the diet, do not cook with fats, and salts. Find ways to make food pleasant to the palate, while being nutritious and good to eat.

   
Is it okay if the elderly person eats alone?

Make Food Appetizing

If you prepare food for an elderly person, make the food appetizing by serving it on china and not a paper plate. add a pretty flower, a cloth napkin and tuck a little I love you card by the plate.

Invite the elderly person to join you to eat.

Don't encourage the elderly to eat alone.

   
How can I find senior support through the internet?

Seeking Support Resources

When seeking assistance for a senior citizen or handicapped person, one resource to assist in finding a particular agency is through the use of the Internet. Besides the Internet white and yellow pages, there are many search engines that can provide you with specific information on services and links to the web sites of these services. Try Senior Search.

   
What is AARP?

AARP

One group for older Americans is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). They can provide information for seniors to assist them in daily living. The AARP is assists individuals and their families and caregivers of older persons. They can be contacted by mail at: AARP, 601 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20049.

   
How do I know if my loved one is getting proper nutrition?

What Do I Feed an Elderly Person

Nutrition for seniors is extremely important. Look for warning signs that he or she is not getting the proper nutrition.

Some of these warning signs include:

Sudden loss of weight
Gaining weight
Nausea
Chronic illness
Loss of appetite
Weakness
Fainting, or Dizziness

   
How can I speak to an elderly person about important matters?

Some Things to Consider

While serving as a caregiver, be certain to have consideration for your loved one.

Discuss:

How the person wants to be cared for.
Does he or she want privacy?
Is he or she afraid to be alone?
Find out what stimulates the person.
What are his or her interests?
Grooming and health concerns
Physical needs
Disabilities

Be certain to discuss future desires, especially his or her desires about illness, death and dying.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen