My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
— Jim Valvano
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
Freudenthal Home Health salutes family caregivers in the St. Joseph, MO area who are giving wonderful care and help to their senior loved ones each and every day. Our goal with this blog is to give information and resources to help and support St. Joseph, MO area family caregivers.
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
— Jim Valvano
As summer begins it is important to recognize that June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. More than five million Americans are living with the disease and almost two-thirds of them are women. One in three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.Read More
We hope that you and your family have a very blessed Memorial Day.
Every year we celebrate National Nurses Week starting on May 6th and ending on May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. "The Lady with the Lamp" did so much more than just making rounds checking on wounded soldiers at night. The tales of her heroics may be questioned today, but no one can deny that her lamp shed light on what has become a noble and prestigious profession for millions of women and men across the world.
This year the American Nurses Association (ANA) has dedicated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.” Being the son of a nurse, and having grown up watching my mother go from LPN to RN to her most current role as a Care Plan Director, I can tell you that caring for others can take a toll on your own health not only physically, but also emotionally. Many times I’ve seen my mother swell with pride at the recovery of one patient and cry at the loss of another. This heroic field is full of daily ups and downs that can lead to compassion fatigue.
When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors begin to surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse are at the top of a long list of symptoms associated with the stress disorder called compassion fatigue. For caregivers, caring too much can hurt. Regularly, these caregivers are people who were taught to care for the needs of others without caring for their own needs. Thus, they do not practice ongoing and authentic self-care in their own lives.
First we need to recognize the symptoms of compassion fatigue. Symptoms normally display as stress resulting from the care giving work performed daily. They are often disruptive, depressive, and irritating, but, an awareness of these symptoms and their negative effects on life can help start positive change. Gaining control over life choices will take time and hard work. There must be a commitment to make their life the best it can be.
With insightful information, support and authentic self-care, we can begin to understand the complexity of the emotions we've been juggling. Most people never take the time to understand how their jobs affect them emotionally.
Healing compassion fatigue is an inside job. Once you’ve been loyal to a self-care plan, clarified boundaries in both your personal and professional life, and recognize negative behaviors you will begin to reap the benefits. Life will begin to change for the better.
No, everyone who acts as a caregiver for a family member or a friend must stay very aware of compassion fatigue and theeffects it can have on them. If you’d like to see just how you rate on stress level and how susceptible you may be to stress-related illness click here for a downloadable stress test.
If you’d like more resources to educate yourself on compassion fatigue, visit the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project's resource page.
Most of all remember to be kind to yourself and don’t forget that it’s good to just sing, dance, and sometimes, just sit and enjoy the silence.
American Nursing Association: http://www.nursingworld.org/
Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project: http://www.compassionfatigue.org/
As we continue to celebrate National Occupational Therapy Month, we'd like to highlight one of our therapists in action. Here is a fun video of Julie Raines working with one of her clients.
April is National Occupational Therapy month, and this year it marks the 100th year for the American Occupation Therapy Association. So, why is that important to you? It shows the value of occupational therapy to those wanting to be able to age at home. Occupational therapy can actually traced back farther than 100 years, but it still begs the question what actually is occupational therapy and why is it important to our lives or the lives of those we may be caretakers for?
Our lives are made up of occupations – meaningful daily activities. The roles we take on are very different depending on our age and state in life. From the grandparent who loves taking care of grandchildren during the day, to the caregiver who helps their spouse remain independent. Medical conditions, accidents or injuries, and even medical procedures can disrupt our ability to enjoy or even perform these occupations. Occupational therapy integrates rehabilitation processes, prevention awareness, and over all wellness and focuses them to help us reach a goal of being able do what we need and enjoy everyday life. As occupational therapist Julie Raines puts it, “We strive every day to help promote independent function no matter the setting. We focus on the necessary – skills for the job of living."
You might also ask: “How do we know we need occupational therapy?” If we or a family member have been diagnosed with life changing health conditions or even undergone surgery, we all want to remain or get back to independence as quickly as possible. Often these times can leave us with the feeling of “Now what?” Occupational therapy helps to answer that question, and research shows that it can:
In short, occupational therapy can help you to age at home no matter your health condition, disability, or risk factors. For Julie Raines it’s more than just a job, “It truly is one of the most rewarding opportunities to share someone's life with them and be part of the journey that helps to restore an individual's function!”
The next logical question becomes, where can you receive occupational therapy? Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings – including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and various health care facilities, and like Freudenthal Home Health, they can come directly to your house. When asked why occupational therapy is such an important piece of the care he offers, Joe Freudenthal stated “Occupational therapy is an integral part of the holistic approach to care that we provide, because it helps our patients regain the ability to perform daily tasks such as dressing and bathing, and is foundational to them living a life that is fulfilling and functional at home.”
The important thing to remember is that you always have a choice when it comes to your health care, especially occupational therapy. Scheduling an appointment to find out what occupational therapy can do to change your life is easy. Simply call Freudenthal Home Health at 816-676-8050 and let our professional staff show you what first-class occupational therapy looks like.
CLICK HERE to download a handy guide for helping your loved one age at home.
This month we celebrate Senior Independence Month. Freudenthal Home Health loves helping seniors maintain their independence and remain in their own homes while receiving care.
Call Shelbe King at 816-676-8050 with any questions and she will help develop a plan to help you remain independent at home.
By Matt Mauney
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer that develops on the pleura, the protective lining of the lungs.
The asbestos-related disease mainly affects seniors because of its long latency period, taking an average of 35 years between first exposure to asbestos and the first signs of symptoms.
Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include dry cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea) and chest pain. Because the cancer mostly affects seniors, pre-existing health problems can make it even tougher to live with mesothelioma.
While it is important for mesothelioma patients to live life as normal as possible, having help is sometimes necessary.
A caregiver can alleviate many of life’s everyday burdens, along with providing health care needs.
Five ways caregivers can help a mesothelioma patient:
1. Nursing Services
As we age, our medication regimens tend to grow. Mesothelioma patients often have a multitude of medications to help control pain and symptoms. A caregiving professional can give a patient piece of mind, keeping them on track with their medications. Caregivers can also help manage important medical scheduling needs, such as doctor’s appointments, and may even be able to provide transportation to these appointments.
2. Housekeeping Duties
A mesothelioma diagnosis can take an emotional and physical toll on a person. Having someone to help with household chores — ranging from light cleaning (weekly vacuuming and dusting) to daily laundry services and kitchen cleaning — can take a huge burden off a patient, allowing them to focus on more important things in life.
3. Nutrition and Exercise
Nutrition and exercise are important for all seniors but especially those living with a terminal illness such as mesothelioma. Qualified caregivers can help patients with meal preparation and follow nutrition guidelines set by a doctor or dietitian. They may also assist in maintaining a home exercise program. Exercise and a well-balanced nutrition are proven to improve a mesothelioma patient’s quality of life and can even prolong survival.
Having a support system of family and friends is important, but sometimes additional support is needed. In addition to helping with tasks and medical needs, caregivers often act as a cornerstone of companionship for mesothelioma patients, whether it’s providing motivation on rough days or just having a casual conversation to keep spirits high. Caregivers often become someone a patient can confide in and trust, not just as hired help but as a caring friend.
5. Full In-Home Care
Sometimes, full- or part-time home care may be necessary. In this case, caregivers fill a multitude of roles. They can visit several times a day or provide around the clock care. As mesothelioma symptoms progress, it may affect a person’s ability to eat certain foods and get around the house. Caregivers can assume roles of personal hygienists, helping with bathing, showering, feeding and other chores. Additional services, such as errand running, pet care and home maintenance, may also be available.
Living with mesothelioma isn’t easy, but an experienced caregiver can make it much easier. Having help allows a patient to focus on more important things in life such as spending time with family and participating in hobbies.
Freudenthal Home Health can assist you or a loved one in developing a caregiving plan. Give them a call today at 816-676-8050.
Matt Mauney is a writer at The Pleural Mesothelioma Center and PleuralMesothelioma.com, an organization and website dedicated to helping families affected by mesothelioma cancer. We provide free assistance and resources for pleural mesothelioma patients and their families to help them cope with medical, emotional and financial challenges.
Seniors who are living at home while still receiving support face a difficult issue with the decrease in their independence. This loss of independence for your loved one can lead to feelings of frustration and stress, so you may feel reluctant to bring up the topic of whether or not your loved one is capable of driving a car.
You may worry about approaching the topic of driving for fear of upsetting your loved one, but consider this: 500 traffic accidents involving drivers over the age of 75 happen every day. Added to the fact that senior drivers account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, facts like this prove that monitoring your loved one’s ability to drive should be a top priority.
Watch for Signs
Take time before you broach the subject and look for signs that driving could be unsafe for them.
Change or decline in physical health – There are several medical conditions that may affect a person’s ability to drive a car. For instance, arthritis can affect your loved one’s mobility, causing difficulty in steering and neck movement. Poor eyesight or hearing are also factors that interfere with safe driving.
Signs of dementia – If your loved one tends to forget directions or has memory loss, driving could prove dangerous because of the increased potential of them losing their way. They are also more likely to forget common traffic laws.
Increase in traffic incidents-An increase in traffic violations is a good indication that they are not capable of driving safely. It is also a good idea to observe the condition of their vehicle and make note of new marks, dents, or scratches.
Once you decide it’s time to have a conversation with your loved one about driving, there are ways you can communicate with them that will help them understand your concerns.
Include Your Loved One in The Decision Not To Drive
Ask Their Opinion – Having your loved one share their own opinion about their driving abilities will give you an understanding about their feelings. You may find that they are admittedly uncomfortable or willing to take a driving assessment to determine whether they are driving safely.
Tell Them the Risk – Share with your loved one what the risks are if they drive. For example, hearing, eyesight, and certain medications are all factors that can affect their driving capabilities. Hearing and vision are both things that can worsen gradually and your loved one may not realize a decline unless they are tested.
Give Them Options – Make sure your loved one knows that just because they will no longer be behind the wheel, that does not mean they are “stuck at home.” Provide a list of people who are willing to provide transportation and plan routes around public transportation.
Your loved one’s safety is your top priority and transportation is a part of our daily lives, so finding a balance that provides your loved one with both is important. Freudenthal Home Health provides the peace of mind that your loved one has the care and support they need. Call us today at 816-676-8050 to find out more.
This month we celebrate Family Caregivers. They are the real heroes. Day in and day out they give wonderful care to their loved ones. We salute you this month, and we are here for you. Call Freudenthal Home Health at 676-8050 and we would be glad to partner with you in the care of your amazing loved one.
Many Family Caregivers are taking care of their own home life with a spouse and children, so it’s common if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Luckily, you live in a time where technology makes many tasks more manageable and convenient. Technology can help you in your role as a Family Caregiver. Whether it helps you stay organized, gives alerts during emergencies, or enables others to help, technology can be a key tool. Here are some ways technology for Family Caregivers can help:
1. Laptops/Computers: Many seniors who live alone long for companionship. As a Family Caregiver, you may find that giving them one-on-one time on a daily basis is a struggle. However, through the use of social media networks or streaming video programs, there is an opportunity for your loved one to receive other interaction and entertainment while you are away. Consider providing them with a laptop, computer, or tablet that can offer communication with other family members or entertainment for those times that you are not able to offer companionship.
2. Security Alarm System: Aside from entertainment, technology can also offer peace of mind and safety through the use of an alarm system. If you are away from your loved one, having an alarm system in place will ensure that if something were to happen, you and/or emergency personnel would be notified.
3. Medication Management Systems: One of the most daunting tasks of caring for a loved one with medical needs is keeping track of their medications. Not only do individuals have multiple medications, there are certain regulations, dosages, and directions that differ with each medication. Using technology that organizes and sends alerts is a very helpful tool.
4. Monitor Systems: Monitoring systems can provide a wealth of information about your loved one’s home that can prove helpful for long distance Family Caregivers. It is also helpful in other situations when you are not able to check in daily with your loved one. Alarm safety alerts in case of fire or medical emergency, these types of systems alert you if the home becomes too hot or if your loved one has not moved around the house for an extended amount of time. These tools can help you ensure your family member is safe, even in your absence.
These technologies are just one of the ways you can find assistance in your role as a Family Caregiver. Another way to find a partner is to contact the professionals at Freudenthal Home Health who provide many services aimed at supplying a safe life at home for your senior loved one. If you’re ready to get more information, give us a call today.
Have you ever wondered what the other people in your senior loved one’s health care team think of you? Since you as the Family Caregiver play an intricate role in your loved one’s life, there are many times you come in contact with professionals who are providing services. There may be times you feel as if you are in the way or you may wonder if there is more you can do to help your loved one’s nursing aid. Understanding these dynamics and the role you need to place in these interactions can help you navigate this new approach to caring for your loved one.
In a recent study, researchers surveyed home health nurses and nurse aids and found that nurses are thankful for caregivers and what they do for their loved ones. Still, there were things some nurses wished caregivers knew more about to ease the process and be more successful. Let’s take a look at this list and how you can use it to your advantage.
Top 10 Things Your Loved One’s Nurse Thinks about Family Caregivers
Having a good relationship with your loved one’s nurse is a very important tool to have as a Family Caregiver. Not only are they providing medical treatment, but they can also be a source of information because of their professional background. They can also ease the stress of caregiving by offering services inside your loved one’s home, eliminating the need for overnight hospital stays or frequent trips to the doctor’s office.
At Freudenthal Home Health, a professional nursing staff is trained on all aspects of in home care. For more information on how our nurses can be your partner in caregiving, contact us today at 816-676-8050.
June is National Aphasia Awareness Month. If you have had a senior loved one that has had a stroke or brain injury, you may be very aware of aphasia. Aphasia is “an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write.”
Below are some great resources about aphasia:
Freudenthal Home Health is always available to help you care for your senior loved one. From 10 minutes a day to 24 hours a day, from personal care to physical therapy to speech therapy and skilled nursing, from Medicaid to Medicare to private pay to Veterans, we have so many different options to consider. Please call Shelbe today at 816-676-8050.
A major area for Family Caregivers to manage for their senior loved ones is managing nutrition and diet. If you find that you senior loved one is exhibiting a reduced appetite, you may want to consider what could be the reason behind such a change.
In some instances, the problem can be easily solved once identified. Others may require a conversation with a healthcare provider, but the first step can be addressed with a home health care worker or simply between the caregiver and your loved one. Here are a few reasons that may be behind your loved one’s refusal of food:
Altered senses: Your senior loved one may be experiencing a reduction in their senses of smell and taste, which can significantly affect how food tastes. Many mature adults experience a lessening of smell and taste as they age, but there are some ways to address it.
Try incorporating some new spices into recipes if you cook for your loved one, or mix up the menu by trying some Indian food if you normally tend to eat more pasta dishes, for example. The new foods may help with their eating habits.
Impaired vision: If your loved one has trouble seeing the food, the selection may have an unappealing appearance to them. If you are serving meat alongside potatoes, for instance, they may appear to be a continuation of brown and boring.
Again, try mixing things up a bit. Prepare colorful foods or add sauces that are red or green to make foods appear more appetizing. You could also try putting space between each item on the plate to make sure your loved one can distinguish each dish.
Medications affecting eating: Many medications can impact appetite, either because they reduce appetite as a side effect or because of an aftertaste of the medication. Your home health care worker may have knowledge as to whether a medication may be influencing appetite, but a conversation with your loved one’s physician can also help clear up a medication-related problem with appetite.
Constipation: Many prescription drugs can also cause constipation, which may leave your loved one turning away from food. Constipation can be very uncomfortable, so solve this problem first. Pay attention to how much water your loved one is consuming, which can be the best antidote for constipation.
Dental problems: Your loved one may have problems with teeth, dentures or gums that are making it difficult or unpleasant to eat. Be sure to mention to your loved one’s dentist that there has been a reduction in appetite so that they can check for any problems.
Dining alone: Eating by yourself can get old after just a few meals. If your loved one typically eats alone, try to schedule a few meals into your schedule to spend with them. Just some company may help them take a few more bites than they normally do.
Freudenthal Home Health specializes in supporting Family Caregivers and their senior loved ones so together we can help your loved one live a full life at home. Please contact us anytime at 816-676-8050 with any questions or concerns. We love to help.
Today Freudenthal Home Health honors and remembers those that have given their lives to protect our freedom.
If you could do just one thing for your senior loved one today that could make a dramatic difference in their overall mood and outlook, what do you think it would be?
The answer, research says, is: Take them outside! Limited mobility may make it easier for your loved one to stay indoors. Scheduling a time to go outside each day for a short walk or to sit on the patio, however, could help brighten a morning and make life at home feel fuller.
However, initiating time outside each day may be met with resistance by a senior loved one that has established a routine of staying inside. The use of a wheelchair or a walker may make your loved one feel that they are drawing unwanted attention or there may be accessibility problems.
Your loved one may also feel that the benefits of going outside are not worth the trouble of the preparation involved. Bringing the outdoors in may whet the desire for a more complete encounter with nature. The following are some ways to ease into contact with the outdoors and make life at home pleasant.
Once these routines have become comfortable, suggest a short walk around the neighborhood to your loved one. A ten-minute walk up the street or to a nearby park may help them feel energized and rejuvenated.
Make the most of the experience by ensuring that safety and comfort are important considerations as you plan to go outside. If your loved one is unsteady, make use of a walker or wheelchair. Check the weather forecast, so that unpleasant conditions do not deter your loved one from making future plans to go outside.
Helping your loved one get outdoors is an important part of a full life at home. Freudenthal Home Health is here to help you with taking steps to ensure that your loved one can safely and comfortably enjoy nature. Call us today at 816-676-8050.
A diagnosis of dementia for your senior loved one comes with heartbreak and grief. As a result, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the progression of dementia. This allows you to take the perspective of focusing on what your loved one can do, rather than thinking solely about what has been lost.
The stages of dementia are relatively predictable, with patients generally progressing at different rates, but through similarly patterned ability levels. Here’s what you can expect at each stage of dementia:
High-Early Stage: At the high-early stage of dementia, your loved one will experience difficulty with what’s called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) which includes the ability to drive, cook, manage their medications and take care of their home and finances. This is the stage in which your loved one can be monitored from a distance. Calling or stopping by once a day is recommended to ensure safety and you may also need to commit additional time to managing a number of areas, like paying bills or grocery shopping.
Low-Early Stage: The low-early stage is characterized by the loss of more basic IADLs, such as dressing and showering. Once your loved one has reached this stage, they will need more monitoring and care.
The key to assisting a loved one in low-early stage is tapping into their long-term memory. For instance, your loved one may not know that it’s time to get dressed when they get up in the morning, but if their clothes are set out and they are directed to go get dressed, they can often put together the steps to get themselves dressed safely.
Middle or Moderate Stage: At this stage, your loved one is no longer able to work through a sequenced set of activities, like getting dressed or shaving, without assistance. You may be able to help them retrieve the steps by reminding them of an associated part of the task. For instance, smelling a favorite brand of toothpaste may help your loved one trigger the part of their brain that helps them remember the steps to brushing their teeth.
Late Stage: Once your loved one has reached late stage dementia, they will experience serious impairment with walking, speech and fine motor tasks. However, they are still able to communicate with you through facial expressions and other signals.
Your loved one is no longer able to dress themselves or brush their own teeth, but you can still help them be an active participant in their care. They can pick up their foot to help put pants on or they can point their foot in a way that makes it easy to put on a sock.
End Stage: When your loved one is in end stage dementia, they are generally mute and bedridden, but it is important to continue to treat them with love and care. You can help them engage their senses by sharing sights, sounds and textures that will bring them pleasure, and you can make sure they feel warm and loved.
Freudenthal Home Health is a reliable resource for Family Caregivers that would like more information about the stages of dementia and we can provide care services to assist your senior loved one in their daily tasks. If you would like to know more about dementia and how to help your senior loved one or would like information about our home health services, call us today at 816-676-8050 and talk to Shelbe King who would be more than happy to answer all your questions.
April is National Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational Therapy helps you regain the ability to perform daily activities by yourself, such as eating and putting on clothes. We have wonderful occupational therapists at Freudenthal Home Health that would love to help you!