Family Caregivers

Most of us look forward to the holiday season with eager anticipation and remember past celebrations with fondness and happy memories.

However, high expectations we have for the upcoming holidays can set the scene for some stressful moments and big disappointments, especially if we are caring for a loved one with dementia.

Last week in our blog we talked about informing guests about changes in their loved one‘s behavior before they arrive. In this article we want to talk about adjusting our expectations so we can still enjoy the holiday season but be realistic about what we can and can’t do. These suggestions are from the Alzheimer’s Association.Planning ahead can help create happy Christmas moments.

Invite family members to a planning meeting

The responsibility of keeping up family traditions can be stressful enough but combining it with already overwhelming caregiving duties can create tremendous stress.

  • Ask family and friends to a face-to-face meeting to talk about plans for the holidays, or
  • Set up a telephone conference call if family live out of towm
  • Make sure you explain your caregiving situation.
    • This doesn’t necessarily mean people will understand but even if they don’t, that is their problem and not yours.
  • Have realistic expectations about what you can do.
  • Be honest about any limitations or needs, such as the importance of keeping a daily routine for your loved one.

Be good to yourself

  • Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. You may have invited 15 to 20 people over in the past, but think about having only a few people come at a time.
    • Smaller visits of two or three people at a time will help keep the person with Alzheimer’s and yourself from getting overtired.
  • Have everyone coming bring something so that you don’t have to cook.
  • Ask them to host Christmas festivities at their homes if they don’t offer.Dementia Care Utah

Be flexible

  • If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, consider changing a holiday dinner into a holiday lunch or brunch.
  • If you do keep the celebration at night, keep the room well-lit and try to avoid any known triggers.
  • Remember it’s alright not do the things you have “always” done in the past.
  • It is alright to decline invitations if you and your loved one don’t feel up to them.

With some planning and preparing, you and your loved one can create enjoyable moments this holiday season. To connect with other caregivers and get ideas on caregiving during the holidays ideas visit Alz-Connected.

At Aspen Senior Care we have caregivers trained in dementia care.  Our sister company, the Aspen Senior Center of Provo has a specially designed program for seniors with memory loss. We provide fun, engaging activities, music and lunch, plus peace of mind for families caring for loved ones with memory loss. Please visit the center or call us at (801) 607-2300 for more information. Visit our Aspen Senior Center Facebook page to see some of the fun activities they do!

The holidays are a joyous time for many, but for families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia the holidays can be very stressful and depressing.

The Alzheimer’s Association has some great suggestions to help family caregivers and their loved ones enjoy the holidays as well.

We’ll be focusing on a different idea each week throughout the next two months so make sure and check back often.

Explain the situation beforehand

This special time of year brings many emotions with it. It might be helpful to let extended family and other guests know what to expect before they arrive.

  1. If the person is in the early stages of dementia, changes in appearance and behavior may not be noticeable, but the person with dementia may have trouble following conversations or may repeat the same thing over and over.
    • Explaining the situation ahead of time and encouraging family and friends to be patient, respectful and allow the person time to finish his or her thoughts without interrupting or correcting will help him or her feel part of the group.
  2. A loved one in more advanced stages of dementia will have noticeable changes in behavior that may be difficult for loved ones who haven’t seen him or her for awhile to accept. It’s important to help family and friends understand that the behavior and memory changes are from the disease they have and not the person.Planning ahead can help create happy Christmas moments.

Write a letter  or send an email to family and friends

It might be easier to create an email to send out to family and friends explaining the changes that have occurred, what to expect and the most positive things family members can do to make their visit a pleasant one.  Some examples of letters:

  • “I’m writing to let you know how things are going at our house. While we’re looking forward to your visit, we thought it might be helpful if you understood our current situation before you arrive.”
  • “You may notice that ___ has changed since you last saw him/her. Among the changes, you may notice are ___.”
  • “Please understand that ___ may not remember who you are and may confuse you with someone else. Please don’t feel offended by this. He/she appreciates your being with us and so do I.” (www.alz.org)

For more ideas on helping extended family and friends understand the changes their loved one with dementia is experiencing visit Alz-Connectedcaregiving-through-the-holidays

At Aspen Senior Care we have caregivers trained in dementia care.  Our sister company,
the
 Aspen Senior Day Center of Provo has a specially designed program for seniors with memory loss. We provide fun, engaging activities, music, and lunch, plus peace of mind for families caring for loved ones with memory loss. Please visit the center or call us at (801) 607-2300 for more information. Visit our Aspen Senior Day Center Facebook page to see some of the fun activities they do!

There are many senior care agencies in Utah, but none like Aspen Senior Care.  We’re different!  Gary Staples founded Aspen Senior Care over 11 years ago because of his genuine love,  enthusiasm and admiration for seniors and his desire to provide a much needed to service to seniors who want to stay at home in their final years.

Gary chose a team of office staff and caregivers who share his vision of helping seniors in their homes. In an industry with high employee turnover, Gary has creaWP_20160310_15_04_52_Proted a company where no one wants to leave! Most of the office staff have been with Aspen over 8 years, and a many of the caregivers have been with Aspen 5+ years, with a few dating back to it’s very beginning.

Here’s what some of our clients have to say about their experience with Aspen:

“Dear Aspen Senior Care: Thank you so much for the loving care you gave to our mother, LaRae, since she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor last August. It is impossible to list the many people and services that were provided, but please know how much each and every one of you was loved and appreciated by LaRae and our family… we give special thanks to Juli who became not just a caregiver, but a dear, dear friend to our mother. She truly went the extra mile in every way.” ~ u201CPretty in Pinku201D Tea Party 029

“I appreciate how we have had really good caregivers, it has been amazing that the substitute caregivers have even been great. Aspen Senior Care has worked with us to find unique and caring caregivers that fit our family’s needs. Aspen…has been an enriching experience for us.”  ~ Bonnie  C.

“What impressed me the most about the caregivers from Aspen Senior Care is that they have developed a strong relationship with my mother and that demonstrates that they truly care about her.” ~ Helen S.Aspen 5 years

Aspen’s mission statement is to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible and treat each client as family. We have a big Aspen family and there’s always room for more!

If we can help you or a loved one with caring companionship, house-keeping, medication reminders, personal care, dementia care, night care or errands, give us a call at 801-224-5910. We’d be happy to visit with you.

 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
— Charles Swindoll

Did you know that our communication with others, especially those we care for, can impact how we feel and think?  While the words we speak can have a negative or a positive affect on those around us, they also affect us.

We are always creating “realities” around us when we communicate with others and others do the same with us.

Holly Whiteside at AgingCare.com gives the following example:

‘Imagine yourself visiting your loved one in the hospital. You are walking down the hallway when you overhear two people talking. One of them points at a nurse coming down the hall and tells her friend, “That one has a lousy attitude.”

Later, you meet that nurse in your loved one’s room. Do you feel good about her caring for your loved one?’

Subconsciously, you probably have already formed an opinion of her and will now notice how she does everything with a poor attitude.

We are constantly being “infected” by others’ words and actions, but do we notice how our own thoughts and words affect how we are feeling?  Words describe feelings but they can also CREATE feelings in ourselves and in others, which is why we should choose our words carefully.

Many types of communication in ordinary life are common, such as “venting” or “sharing.”   However,  caregiving is not ordinary life! As a caregiver, your energy and attitude need to be safeguarded at all costs.

Many of us know people who drain the emotional energy from us. It’s hard to be around people like that. But if we are saying negative things to ourselves about our situation it can be just as draining.

Saying to yourself that “Caregiving is hard” has a slightly negative tone about it, but if you change the phrase by saying  “Caregiving is a challenge” it makes the tone a little more hopeful.

Of course, we all need to vent at times, but Holly Whiteside recommends setting a limit to this. It’s helpful to talk about difficulties, but then move on to more constructive communication.

If we are always creating our realities, with practice we should be able to create something positive!

DSC00097

Here at Aspen Senior Care we value each and every one of our clients and their families!  Each client is unique and we design our services to match their needs.   If you are in need of assistance or have any questions about our services please give us a call at 801-224-5910 or visit our website at aspenseniorcare.com.  

What Does It Mean To Be A Home Care Pulse Certified-Trusted Provider?

At Aspen Senior Care we understand the difficulty that families face when searching for quality in-home care.

This is why we have contracted with a company called Home Care Pulse® to help take the guesswork out of finding care. Being a third-party company, Home Care Pulse can collect unbiased, honest feedback without outside influence. They do so by conducting phone interviews with a number of our clients or their responsible party each month.
Clients have an opportunity to rate our services on a scale of 1 – 10 in areas such as:

  • Timeliness of caregivers.
  • Knowledge of caregivers.
  • Compassion of caregivers
  • Communication with office staff.
  • Services provided as promised.
  • Overall quality of care.

Clients are also asked where we are doing well and where we need to improve.  If they wish they can remain anonymous when answering these questions.

Once Home Care Pulse completes these phone interviews they send us a report of their findings and also show us how we compare with other companies in the home care industry

Aspen Senior Care’s goal is to provide the best home care possible and we want our clients to feel assured that we are constantly taking steps to improve our service.

Certified – Trusted Providers are committed to:

• Actively gathering important feedback from their clients each month.
• Using clients’ feedback to help them provide excellent care.
• Giving you or your loved one the best in-home care possible.

Provider of choice.1
By choosing a Home Care Pulse Certified – Trusted Provider you can feel confident that you are choosing the best provider for your loved one.

At Aspen Senior Care we are proud to be known as a Home Care Pulse Certified –Trusted Provider!

Winter can pose a dilemma for caregivers and families taking care of seniors. Sometimes seniors refuse to bathe because of the cold and once they become cold it often takes a longer time for them to warm up. Battling over the thermostat is also challenge for caregivers.  While family members may be sweating because it’s so hot inside, their elderly loved ones are struggling to stay warm despite the heat being up.

With this in mind, here are some winter suggestions for families and those caring for elderly loved ones:

  1. Turn up the temperature before bath time. Space heaters or overhead heaters are helpful and need to be used very carefully. Put towels over the toilet seat and use plush rugs over tile floors, always staying with your loved one to make sure they don’t fall.
  2. Poor circulation causes seniors to have difficulty regulating body temperature.  Heating pads, layered clothing, or microwaved bean or rice bags can help seniors stay warm.  Use supervision when applying these and make sure they aren’t too hot or directly on the skin.  Use heating pads with an automatic shut-off switch.
  3. Keep seniors hydrated.  Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean seniors need less water. It’s so important to keep seniors well hydrated. This also helps with poor circulation.
  4. Use good moisturizers. Skin can become especially dry during the winter.
  5. Be especially cautious when going outside.  If your loved one needs to go out, make sure someone can accompany them. It may be better to wait for a clear, dry day rather than risk falling.

slip_and_fallEvery family is different and will need to adjust conditions to what works best for them, but these are all important considerations when caring for our elderly loved-ones. At Aspen Senior Care we train our caregivers to be attentive to seniors’ safety and special care. We want our clients to feel comfortable and safe in their homes. Call us for more information on how we can help: 801-224-5910.

One of the most challenging tasks adult children face is convincing their parents that it may be time to accept help in the home. No one likes to be told they can’t do things that they’ve been doing independently for decades, especially from their own children! But when signs show that elderly parents are having difficulty maintaining their health,their home and/or their daily activities, it is time for children to step in.

The following suggestions from SeniorAdvisor.com might be helpful in approaching such a difficult subject:

  1. Consult with siblings or other family members who may have an interest in their loved one’s well being before bringing up the topic with them. It will be helpful to get everyone’s input and work out differences of opinion before talking with parents.
  2. Talk with their doctor, clergy or parents’ friends to get their insight and support. No matter how much parents love and respect their children, they are still their children.  Hearing they need help from their peers or someone they view with authority will carry more weight than coming from their children.
  3. Listen to their concerns and respect their feelings. While it might seem obvious that aging parents need help, they may think they are doing just fine or be afraid to admit something is wrong. Take time to really listen to them and acknowledge their concerns. Some common fears seniors have about accepting help are:
    • Fear of losing independence
    • Having strangers in their home
    • The cost of care
  4. One small step at a time. If elderly parents have a positive experience with a small service such as house keeping or meal preparation once or twice a week, they may be open to accepting more help as it becomes necessary.Daughter and Elderly mother checking medicine

Aspen Senior Care works hard to make the transition from independence to receiving some extra help at home run smoothly. We recognize that seniors want to be as independent as possible and we train our caregivers to never do for seniors what they can do for themselves. But when a little additional help is needed in the kitchen or with personal care, we are there to ensure seniors are safe and well cared for.

Call us at 801-224-5910 to find our about our services and how we can help your loved ones.

There’s an old saying that we all love – “there’s no place like home” – and for seniors this is especially true.

Seniors who can stay comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible tend to be healthier and happier than their counterparts who move to assisted livings or nursing rehabs.

However, sometimes it is not safe for seniors to be home alone for long periods of time or they may need help with household chores, personal care, meals or managing medications.

Many families don’t realize that there are other options available to those who want to stay at home but might need some additional help. Aspen Senior Care’s mission states:

Our mission is to help seniors in Utah live comfortably and independently in their own homes for as long as possible. We do this by providing the finest and most reliable in-home caregivers you can trust. We are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of seniors and their families.

Aspen has dedicated, well trained caregivers who can help seniors stay at home by coming in for a couple of hours each day or several days a week.  Some seniors might need help at night and others on the weekend or around-the-clock care after a hospital stay. We work with seniors and their families to design a care plan specific to each client. We can help with meal preparation, medication reminders, house keeping, personal hygiene, errands and companionship.  Aspen even has a nurse on staff who can help with medical questions.

Another great option for seniors who need memory care is the Aspen Senior Center of Provo.  Aspen Senior Center is an adult day care program designed for seniors who are still somewhat active but have some memory impairment. This is a safe option for families who may have an elderly parent living with them but need to work during the day or need some respite time. The center has fun, engaging activities and provides nutritious snacks and a lunch. There is also a transportation option for those who might need a ride.Home

We are locally owned and have been helping seniors in Utah Valley for over 11 years. Give us a call at 801-224-5910 and see if we can help!

 

Family caregivers of loved ones with dementia often hesitate to ask for help. There’s a variety of reasons to not want to ask for help, but a diagnosis of dementia is a life-changing event for the entire family.

It is alright to ask for help when you need it.

G. L., an LCSW with Mountainland Department of Aging and an advocate for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia says that part of being a good caregiver is asking for help. Caregivers who don’t take care of their own needs and health – physical, emotional and mental – won’t be able to provide good care for their loved ones.

But where should caregivers go to find help when they need it and what kind of help is available?HISCCaregiverStress-multimedia-content-placeholder

Karen Rogers is Aspen Senior Care’s Family Caregiver Coach.  She can help family caregivers navigate the challenges of caregiving. As a caregiver coach, Karen can help you:

  • Feel encouraged and supported.
  • Cope and problem solve.
  • Better understand memory loss and dementia.
  • Manage stress and take better care of yourself.
  • Be aware of community resources.
  • Deal with challenging behaviors.

Mountainland Department of Aging here in Utah County and the Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has many resources available to help families caring for loved ones. The Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo, 3410 North Canyon Road, hosts a Family Caregiver Support Group every first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm. The support group is free and is a great way to meet with others who are caring for loved ones with dementia, share stories and experiences and just talk. Geri Lenhardt is the facilitator and can answer questions about community resources. Susan Johnson with Aspen Senior Care is also there to answer questions and provide support.

Aspen has caregivers trained in dementia care who go into seniors’ homes to provide respite for family caregivers. Aspen Senior Day Center is an adult day program that allows family caregivers to bring their loved one for the day and know they will be safe, provided with nutritious meals and participate in stimulating activities. For more information call Susan at 801-420-5167.