How to Identify and Ease Caregiver Depression
By THE MEDICAL TEAM
The rewards family caregivers receive for their selfless acts of service are priceless: feelings of making a real difference in another person’s life; the joy in bringing a smile to the face of a loved one; and the satisfaction in realizing a loved one is able to continue to live and thrive where it’s most comfortable – at home.
However a number of challenges come with the benefits of care at home. It’s not easy to balance meeting the needs of a senior loved one with meeting the many needs of our own lives. Sometimes the stress of feeling out of balance and overwhelmed can lead to caregiver depression.
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of clinical depression in yourself or others who are providing care, and to know what to do if depression is suspected. THE MEDICAL TEAM’s care specialists offer the following information to help.
Family caregivers are at a greater risk for depression if they are:
- Caring for a loved one for at least 36 hours each week
- Caring for a spouse
- Caring for a parent
These factors also increase the likelihood of caregiver depression:
- Limited social and emotional support
- Challenging behaviors displayed by the care recipient
- Issues of conflict with health care providers
Signs of Depression
- Change in sleep patterns – either too much sleep or too little
- Trouble with concentration and decision-making
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
- Loss or gain of weight or appetite
- Reduced interest in formerly enjoyed activities
- Suicidal thoughts
Family caregivers should seek immediate attention from a medical professional for assistance in both diagnosis and treatment of depression. Help and respite is available, and necessary, both for the caregiver herself and the senior for whom he or she is providing care.
THE MEDICAL TEAM can help family caregivers, and those they love, by providing the safe, dependable, in-home care services that allow family members to take a much-needed respite and time for self-care while knowing their loved one is in the best of hands at all times.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help restore balance and quality of life. We’re helping families throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro DC area, and would love to assist you as well.
How to Help Seniors Celebrate Independence in Aging
By THE MEDICAL TEAM
“Let me help you with that.” It’s a statement that older adults hear repeatedly, and although we’re trying to be kind by assisting seniors with tasks that seem difficult or that take a bit longer to perform, helping older adults maintain a sense of independence is so crucial.
Nearly 90% of seniors prefer to age in place at home, rather than facing a move to an assisted living or nursing home, according to a recent study by AARP. And although growing older at home affords seniors maximum independence, the majority of older adults require some level of assistance in order to remain safe, particularly those age 85 and older.
At THE MEDICAL TEAM, we strive to provide a healthy balance between helping the older adults in our care and fostering an environment of independent living. There are two key ways to accomplish this:
- Be patient; allow the senior as much time as needed to accomplish tasks on his/her own.
- Provide encouragement, even if the senior is reluctant to perform a task independently.
- Engage in social interaction together, mind-stimulating games, healthy eating, and exercise.
- Assist older adults with the selection and implementation of home safety equipment such as grab bars in the bathroom, hand rails, and sufficient lighting throughout the home.
- Recommend adaptive devices such as specialized utensils, medication reminder equipment and emergency response systems.
- Help the senior access resources within the community such as senior center programs, libraries, and transportation services.
In-home care experts, such as those at THE MEDICAL TEAM, are adept at working WITH seniors, rather than FOR seniors, allowing for maximum independence and validating their sense of self-worth. By providing assistance with tasks such as personal care, housework, picking up groceries, preparing meals, all while providing opportunities for seniors to complete tasks on their own, older adults can continue to thrive in their home environment. The seniors in our care receive the respect they deserve, enjoy a sense of achievement and purpose, and realize they’re still capable of managing a number of aspects of daily life – all while remaining safe through the oversight of a professional caregiving team.
Contact us to learn more about how we’re helping older adults in the areas of New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and metro DC improve overall wellbeing by remaining active and independent in the comfort of home.
Hospice Care: Finding Peace in the Journey
By THE MEDICAL TEAM
“Peace is always beautiful.” That line by Walt Whitman can be interpreted in so many ways, but it is especially poignant when applied to end-of-life care for a loved one. For terminally ill patients and their families, hospice care can be a great comfort and a place to find peace in the final steps of life.
The circumstances leading to hospice care can be a difficult time for families, but hospice offers many benefits for both patients and their families. We hope that with a greater understanding of these benefits more families and physicians will embrace the beauty of hospice care when the time comes.
Pain management and improved comfort: The pain management and comfort attendance provided through hospice care allows both the patient and his or her family members to focus on spending time together without the worry of physical discomfort.
Improved quality of life: Away from the clinical surroundings of a hospital, quality of life often improves in hospice care. In a more peaceful setting, patients can shift their focus to experiencing life and love as long as possible, instead of enduring difficult treatments.
The gift of time: Hospice is a gift in so many ways, but one of its biggest benefits is the gift of time when one is not surrounded by clinicians and one’s day is not interrupted with treatments. Patients in hospice care often feel empowered to embrace available time to accomplish important goals, reach out to loved ones in meaningful ways, or leave a legacy.
Space for healing: With comfort stabilized and loved ones gathered together, hospice provides a safe space for emotional, relational and spiritual healing for the whole family.
Bereavement services and counseling: Hospice care doesn’t end with the patient’s care. Bereavement and counseling services are available to help the entire family grieve and find peace with this sacred end-of-life journey.
At THE MEDICAL TEAM, we understand the sensitive and beautiful nature of hospice care, and that choosing the right hospice provider requires thoughtful consideration. Through our hospice care services, we strive to help support patients and families during this delicate part of the care journey. Learn more about our hospice care services in Flint and Livonia, Michigan and how we can help your family find peace.
Recognizing Care Needs: The Holiday Reality Check
By THE MEDICAL TEAM
The holiday season is officially upon us. It’s time to gather together and celebrate with food, fun, festivities, and family. The holidays can also reveal care needs that may go unnoticed during the rest of the year. Sometimes when visiting an older adult during the holiday season, family members or others might notice signs that the senior could use some assistance. Some experts refer to this as "the holiday reality check."
When visiting older loved ones during the holidays, families should take time to evaluate the needs of their older relatives, and encourage in-home care solutions that will enhance quality of life and improve safety. These are signs that might indicate the need for in-home care and assistance:
- A decline in overall hygiene and cleanliness.
- The senior wearing stained or tattered clothing.
- Excessive clutter, expired food, or a sink full of dirty dishes, etc.
- The senior is not walking well on their own or seems off balance.
- Noticeable cuts or bruises that may indicate the senior has fallen or bumped into furniture.
- Changes in the senior’s driving.
- Noticeable changes in the senior’s short-term memory.
- Ask when the senior was last out of the house to visit with friends or last had company. Is the senior getting enough social interaction?
Remember that checking for warning signs is not for the purposes of judgment or criticism; it’s a check for wellness, well-being and safety. If observations lead to concerns, it’s time to create a plan for care.
Whether the senior needs assistance with daily activities, accompaniment to and from appointments, or just regular, friendly companionship, THE MEDICAL TEAM can help families determine the right kind and amount of care for their loved ones. Contact THE MEDICAL TEAM to learn more about our home care services.
Taking Care of the Family Caregiver
By THE MEDICAL TEAM
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Feeling overwhelmed and irritable
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Gaining or losing a lot of weight
- Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
For family members, taking care of a loved one who needs assistance can be rewarding, but it can also be draining. Caregiver stress can be both physical and emotional, and sometimes, family members can feel like they’re alone in giving this care. But they are definitely not; in fact, more than 65 million Americans provide care to a loved one.
Many caregivers are so consumed with the care of their loved one that they don't realize how much their own health and wellbeing are suffering. According to the Mayo Clinic, family caregivers should keep watch for these signs of caregiver stress:
If a family caregiver is experiencing stress from daily caregiving duties, it can take a toll on his or her body and increase the risk of depression or anxiety. Add on a non-healthy diet and lack of time for exercise, and a family caregiver could be on the fast track to medical concerns, such as heart disease and diabetes.
THE MEDICAL TEAM can reduce the burden on family caregivers in Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, and Michigan by providing a little extra assistance. Personal care services like assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, ambulation, and medication reminders can give the at-home caregiver a well-deserved break from those tiring tasks as well as help increase his or her loved one’s day-to-day safety. Additionally, THE MEDICAL TEAM’s committed caregivers can offer the companionship of friendly visits when no hands-on care is needed, help escorting patients to doctors’ appointments or on errands, and respite care for when family caregivers are away or need a break for a few days.
THE MEDICAL TEAM can provide everything from round-the-clock highly skilled medical attention to a weekly visit for help with personal care and the activities of daily living. Lean on THE MEDICAL TEAM’s reliable in-home caregivers—they’re just a call away, and can help provide the support family caregivers need to be the healthiest and happiest they can be.