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Seeking That Elusive Good Night Sleep

Americans are more sleep-deprived than people in other countries. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. The Foundation advises: “When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to ‘pay back’ if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.”

Talking with Your Parents About Disability

A caregiver called our office  recently to say his mother was being discharged from the hospital, was no longer able to live alone and needed to hire an attendant. Stressed out and confused, he didn’t know what to do. We asked him what his finances were, so we could give him an appropriate referral. He said he didn’t know—he had never talked with his mother about money.

A Caregiver's Pledge

  1. I will understand that I can’t care for anyone else if I also don’t care for myself. I will keep an image in my mind of putting the oxygen mask on myself first.
  2. I will remember that the only person I can change is myself. I cannot change my loved one who is ill, nor my family members.
  3. I will find opportunities to laugh, daily. These might come in movies, jokes, television, or with friends who can see the humor in my situation and remind me to do the same.

Saying "Yes" to Offers of Help

How do you respond when someone asks, “Is there anything I can do?”  More likely than not, your response is, “Oh no, I’m okay.”  And when friends say “Let me know if I can help you,”  do you call them?
It is sometimes difficult to say we need help—so we don’t. Learning to say “yes” to such offers is really a gift you give to yourself as well as to the person who offers. It’s simple, really: People feel good when they do something nice for someone else. And when they help by providing respite and assistance in a caregiving situation, it’s even better.

Introducing In-Home Care When Your Loved One Says "No"

Desperate though caregivers may be for a temporary respite from their care responsibilites, many care recipients are resistant to strangers coming into their home to help. The help may be perceived as an invasion of privacy, a loss of independence or a waste of money. Yet in-home assistance is often critical in offering caregivers a break and time to relax and rejuvenate.

There are ways to make this transition easier. Here are some tips for making your loved one feel more comfortable with in-home help:

Background Checking for Hired Care: Resources that Help

Stories fill the news about aides who take advantage of, rather than care for, a parent, spouse or other family member in their home. Drained savings accounts, missing jewelry, and unexplained bruises are all too common experiences. One way to avoid becoming a victim is to conduct an attendant background check. Background checks include: a review of job performance and verification that the information provided to the family caregiver is accurate, and the attendant can do the job that the caregiver needs to be done.

Adult Day Care for Alzheimer's: The first day

The quiet stillness of morning had always been a soothing part of the routine Pat shared with her husband Tom.  It was a private time for her to have her coffee, read the newspaper, and check emails.  Tom rose a little later, made his own breakfast, and began to work at his desk.  But now, with the progression of Tom’s Alzheimer’s disease, Pat counts her personal time among the many things which have slipped away. 

Online Resources for More Information

Online Resources for More Information

Family Caregiver Alliance
National Center on Caregiving

Offers comprehensive caregiving information and advice, fact sheets, reports and studies, discussion groups and newsletters for caregivers, practitioners, policymakers and researchers. In addition, a state-by-state resource guide offers a searchable database of publicly-funded caregiver support programs.
Phone: 800-445-8106
Website: caregiver.org

Books to Help Children

When Children Grieve, John W. James, Russell Friedman and Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews
To watch a child grieve and not know what to do is a profoundly difficult experience for parents, teachers, and caregivers. Yet, there are guidelines for helping children develop a lifelong, healthy response to loss.

In When Children Grieve, the authors offer a cutting-edge volume to free children from the false idea of "not feeling bad" and to empower them with positive, effective methods of dealing with loss.

 

Diagnosing Dementia

What does it mean when someone is said to have dementia? For some people, the word conjures up scary images of “crazy” behavior and loss of control. In fact, the word dementia describes a group of symptoms that includes short-term memory loss, confusion, the inability to problem-solve, the inability to complete multi-step activities such as preparing a meal or balancing a checkbook, and, sometimes, personality changes or unusual behavior.

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