IT'S NURSES WEEK! Freudenthal would like to give an extra special THANK YOU to our AWESOME staff of Nurses who go above and beyond to care for the seniors of our community!
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.
IT'S NURSES WEEK! Freudenthal would like to give an extra special THANK YOU to our AWESOME staff of Nurses who go above and beyond to care for the seniors of our community!
As we age, we continually look for ways to hold off the effects of time and to stay younger longer. Amazingly enough, one of the best ways to live longer is to actually embrace our senior status and put it to work in the community.
Research has shown that seniors who volunteer live longer and happier lives. Volunteering delivers what has been labeled as a "giver's high", a rush of endorphins caused by doing good for others. This rush of endorphins actually goes a long way in decreasing depression and increasing happiness, which is key to improving overall health in our senior years. It also helps to keep seniors from feeling isolated and alone.
On the whole, we are now living 3 times longer than ever before and these years of experience can be a huge asset to our community and to our health. Embracing volunteer opportunities like joining Big Brothers & Big Sisters, not only give you that "giver's high", it also can be a way to pass on the experiences and knowledge you have gained to the next generation.
St. Joseph, MO has a lot of opportunities for senior volunteers. We put the link to Big Brothers & Big Sisters above, but there are several agencies, libraries, schools, and community gardens that could use your help. Each and every one of them could greatly benefit from the guidance and experience the senior community can offer.
While working in a community garden can be a great benefit to the community, if your joints won't allow you to pull weeds or plant seeds, that may not be the best fit. Equally important is understanding your emotional limits as well. Various agencies have volunteer opportunities to help the less fortunate and abused in our community, but some of those situations can be very emotionally and mentally taxing.
If you're a former math teacher, you might consider volunteering as an after school tutor, or if you're a retired electrician, you could donate your guidance to a habitat for humanity project home. The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it.
Just because you're older doesn't mean you can't show the young pups a few new tricks. If you don't see an opportunity to volunteer that you like - create a new one! If you can fill the gap in your community, DO IT! Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and do something that hasn't been done yet, or possibly needs to be done better.
These four amazing women are the backbone that makes it possible for Freudenthal to deliver First-Class Care day in and day out! Thank you so much Michelle, Patty, Catalina & Angie! WE LOVE YOU ALL!
Not all the issues in family caregiving and decision-making can be solved; sometimes it is important to accept a temporary solution. It's important to try to work toward building a consensus. Change happens slowly, but when families meet regularly, seeds are planted that can grow into more productive solutions. Often things do not change until there is a crisis, but the work that has been done during the family meeting will make decision-making easier when the crisis does come. Agreements can be made on a limited-time basis to see if the agreed-upon action actually works. Future meetings can be used to evaluate these trials and revise them if needed.
Respecting each other's points of view help to create an atmosphere of acceptance and allows for creative solutions to be born. In order for these solutions to work, people have to learn to compromise. By being open to alternatives, you might get part—although maybe not all—of what you want or need. Often, family members, or ourselves, hold out for only one solution to a problem, and don't consider other possibilities that could assist the situation. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for anyone to do. Learning to graciously receive help offered can also be a struggle, not only for the person who is sick, but also for the person who is the primary family caregiver. Being appreciative is the best reward you can give someone who is trying to help you, even if the type of help he/she is offering isn't exactly what you wanted. When you make someone feel good about helping, he/she will want to help again. “Thank you” will take you a long way in working together. In creating the family caregiving team, think about how each person should be acknowledged.
A written agreement capturing the decisions and agreements made at the end of the family caregiver meetings can be a helpful reminder for the different team members. Distributing a calendar with different days marked with responsibilities and commitments can also help each person honor the agreements made.
Your life is made up of occupations, or meaningful activities of daily living. These occupations can include many roles, such as being a family caregiver, a parent or grandparent, a spouse, a cook, or even an artist. We generally don’t think about our daily occupations until we have trouble doing them. Everyone has occupations—from the grand-baby whose occupations are playing and learning to develop important skills, to the senior adult whose occupations are engaging with family and friends and managing his or her home. If you are recovering from a traumatic episode or even trying to remain in your home as you age, your daily occupations can be disrupted. Freudenthal occupational therapists incorporate these daily occupations into the rehabilitation process.
Our occupational therapists will come to your home and:
Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s living space, making recommendations for adaptive equipment and also training the client how to use it, and guidance for family caregivers. Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the patient, and making the patient an integral part of the therapy team.
Our ultimate goal is to help you or your family member maintain those meaningful activities and to age at home as long as possible. Maintaining those daily occupations can make a huge difference in the quality of life not only for the client but also their family caregivers.
In this follow up to the Family Caregiving Team Meeting, we're going to discuss negotiating with family and potential problems you should take into account before your family meeting.
Just like negotiating a corporate deal, deciding where to hold your family meeting can be just as potentially controversial as the meeting itself. Whether you hold it in an office, a restaurant, or someone's home, it's important to remember that you want a setting that the majority of the participants will find comfortable, convenient, and has as few distractions as possible.
A successful family caregiver meeting gives everyone a chance to be heard. All feelings are appropriate and need to be expressed and acknowledged. People will be more willing to talk about the situation if they feel safe. For example, the brother, who is never present, may reveal that he is unable to stand seeing their loved one sick; the sister, who is doing all the work, may not realize how she pushes family members away when they offer to help. Other family members may be having problems that they have not yet shared with the family. Each person needs to balance his/her own fears, concern, love, and desire to help with available time, strengths, weaknesses, and hopes.
Until the issues concerning an ill loved one are explored, it is important to not try to solve the problems. Recording these problems in a list as they are shared, however, will be useful during the problem-solving portion of the meeting.
It is important for each family member to learn to use “I” messages, as well to say “I need...” rather than “You should...” Even when disagreeing, try to find middle ground where you can come to an agreement. The goal of the meeting is to work as a team in caring for the person who is ill.
At the conclusion of the meeting, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the issues and considerations discussed. When the solutions to issues have been established, make sure that each person understands what he/she has agreed to do.
The most important thing for family caregivers to remember is that the meeting is not a one-time event. Family caregiver meetings need to take place regularly. Schedule them at a given time, perhaps even at the same time each month. They, at the very least, need to take place when the caregiving situation or other situations in families lives change. Having regular meetings puts less pressure on the family caregiver team to get everything resolved in just one meeting, and allows more time for processing of information and decision-making. This is especially helpful for the more introverted family members who need a longer time to think about what was said and how they need to respond.
Every family has several separate and intertwined histories. A history of how each member relates to the others, a history of the roles each member has played and currently plays within the family, a history of how each person feels about the person who is needing help, and a history of how each member deals with illness and adversity. Each family also has rules about what can and cannot be said, and even what emotions are okay and not okay to express. These factors can be problematic to family caregiver meetings. As you may recall from our last blog post, these may be reasons why you should consider contacting a third party facilitator, like a social worker.
Family members play roles based on position in the family, relationship to the person who is ill, special talents, etc. The person who is the main family caregiver may be different from the one who handles the money, or who may be the decision maker. One person might play several or even all of the roles. Also, often someone is the “blamer,” and someone else the “blamed.” One person may try to make peace, and another may try to sabotage the process. There will be secrets, old family rivalries, guilt, unequal burdens, differing investments, values, and interests. Some will worry about past promises and about someone else not pulling his/her own weight. Everyone will need attention, power, love, control, and appreciation. It can help to acknowledge It can help to acknowledge that there may not be a fair distribution of work.
Narrowing the focus for each meeting can help alleviate some of the pitfalls. Still, you will have to deal with some of the difficult issues when they get in the way of caring for your loved one. You can't resolve long-standing family issues with one meeting. Don't focus on trying to “fix” the family, but rather on keeping everyone on the same team, as much as possible.
When taking care of an elderly loved one, it's imperative that family members work cooperatively. The more people participating in care, the less alone a family caregiver feels in this daunting role. The best way to do this is a family meeting, but just how should you go about it?
That all depends on your version of family. Every family is different, but, when planning a family meeting, it is important to include everyone who is or will be part of the caregiving team.
It might also be helpful to engage the help of an outside facilitator, such as a social worker, to help the family communicate about difficult subjects, and even help come up with a plan of care.
You must also decide if you will include the family member that is being provided care. Their preferences for care must be considered, but, if they have dementia or another condition where they might misunderstand the purpose of the meeting, it could be appropriate to hold at least the first meeting without them present. Plus, your caregiving team may need to share thoughts or feelings that would be painful for the ill person to hear. Consider holding one meeting to focus on those difficult matters, and holding a second meeting with them present.
Clear communication is the key to working successfully with a group of people. Plan ahead for those family members that may not be able to attend the meeting. Several apps like Skype® and FaceTime® can help keep them in the conversation even though they can't be in the room.
Prior to a meeting, you will need to prepare an agenda and send it out to family members ahead of time. An agenda will help you keep the meeting on track and even give introverted family members more time to think about what they want to add to the meeting.
An agenda might include topics such as:
It will probably be difficult to cover all the issues in one meeting, so plan to have additional meetings. Make sure that meeting has a clear timetable and a definite beginning and ending time, and stick to it! If meetings get to be too long, fatigue sets in, minds will wander, and people may resist future meetings, or worse yet tempers may flare.
In coming posts we will talk a little more in-depth about the meeting itself, including challenges and creating win/win situations.
Social work probably is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented professions in health care. Often times people have the impression that social workers take people out of their homes, but in reality, it's quite the opposite. Social workers strive to actually help keep people in their homes and even find them resources to improve their situations.
Social workers, like Shelbe King and Stefanie Nold, really are valuable resources to the aging community. They are able to look at situations and come up with creative solutions for many of the issues facing seniors who are trying to age in place. They really are professional problem solvers.
If you have a need for care, go ahead and give us a call and see just how amazing our social workers are. We're fairly certain that you're going to love Shelbe and Stefanie just as much as we do!
Click the video link below to watch "Dispelling Social Work Myths"
Many people have heard of social workers but not many know all they can do to help people. Our agency would like to shine the light on home health social workers for the month of March. Social workers in home health care are certainly advocates for the elderly. Their goal is to help older adults remain in their home as long as possible. Social workers can help set up a variety of services such as transportation, meals on wheels, home health care and in home care to help people thrive in their home environment. They also conduct home visits to provide counseling, facilitate long term planning, assist with living wills and DNR’s, as well as serve as liaisons for family members who live far away from their loved ones. They lead the way for people that are looking for alternatives to nursing home care. For home health social workers, every day is different and every situation is unique, but the goal is always the same: to help surround the patient with support and resources to improve their well being and maintain their independence at home.
We all know that high blood pressure is bad for your heart, but did you know that it is the most common cause of kidney damage? That’s right, not only does it put stress on your chest, it’s also killing those kidneys!
We’ve come up with 8 helpful tips for keeping those kidney’s in working order and filtering out those toxins.
Sometimes easier said than done, especially for family caregivers, but this one is most important because you are a family caregiver! Staying fit lowers that blood pressure and has a ton of other benefits. If you can put in a heavy workout, don’t worry! Just be active however you can. If you need help, check out Kelly Jarrett’s exercise videos on our YouTube channel.
Watch that blood pressureWe’re all aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, the threat of kidney damage may be new to many of us. Work with your health care team to make sure you stay in a safe range.
50% of people who have diabetes also suffer kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions.
Since kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if detected early, it is important to keep control of blood sugar levels. JUST PUT DOWN THE DONUT...
Eating a healthy diet and watching your weight gain can prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. So start watching everything that gets past your lips and over your gums.
Although the experts can’t agree on how much water you should drink, they all agree you need to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a significantly lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Research does not advocate “aggressive fluid loading”, (which can cause side effects), but it does provide evidence that moderately increased water intake, around two litres daily, may reduce the risk kidney disease.
Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. Less blood reaching the kidneys, impairs their ability to function properly.
Common drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly. The danger is lessened if your kidneys are relatively healthy, and you use them for emergencies only.
You may need to get regular kidney function tests if you have one of these “High Risk Factors”:
As family caretakers we can be called to be more than is physically possible. On the edge of burn out, we can find things like cleaning falling through the cracks as we manage the more pressing health issues of our loved ones. It's easy to just manage the clutter until it becomes overwhelming and too much to handle on our own. You don't have to manage the clutter, you can get help!
Call Freudenthal today and let us come help relieve that overwhelmed feeling and make your loved one feel more relaxed and comfortable in their home.
In a study done by Indiana University, it was shown that having a clean home can actually have a positive effect on your heart health. The study was done in St. Louis among the African American community, because they have a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease. The study showed that the people who had cleaner homes were over-all more positive, healthier, & less stressed out. So, why is organization so important to us?
The human body is made up of tens of thousands of integrated biological and chemical systems that are organized. Did you know your cells operate on strict schedules, called circadian rhythms? Without this organization, our bodies would collapse.
It would stand to reason that we crave symmetry and that a desire for cleanliness in our homes is a mirror of the organization within our very own bodies. So in effect, order supports health — and opposes chaos.
As we progress through life, we all acquire small (or sometimes big) items that we don't really need. As the item count grows so does the clutter.
SOLUTION: Getting rid of clutter can be really hard - especially when we feel an emotional tie to an object. Do your best to donate or give away your unused items to charity. One blog even suggests taking pictures of the items before letting them go so you always have a reminder of that object, that takes up FAR LESS room.
Sometimes we just can't declutter because of health or disability factors, but that's no reason to remain in a state of depression. It's always okay to ask for help. Ask family or friends to help you start to declutter. Once you get to your "happy place" don't hesitate to call Freudenthal for help keeping it a relaxing heart healthy space.
Regardless of how you do it, it’s clear that staying clean and organized is a good thing for all of us. It can help relieve depression, help us become more productive, and it may very well help us become a little more physically fit.
"Mom always made the best spaghetti..." What happens when mom can't cook anymore? As family caregivers it's hard to not be torn in 30 different directions everyday. Some days it feels like you're running up hill in 3 feet of snow and the very last thing on your mind is "What's for dinner?" Unfortunately as family caregivers we don't have the option to declare it a fasting day and just hope to be able to fix a meal tomorrow — meals have to happen.
You don't have to fight the meal battle alone. One of the services we offer as a part of our Full Life at Home program is meal preparation. If it's a struggle to be able to make meals for your dependent loved one, lean on us. For just .60¢ a minute we will come to your home and prepare the meals for your loved one and free up your time to handle the other pressing needs of being a caregiver or to just breathe. It's important to get help, even with tasks like meal preparation, in order to keep from burning out.
There are countless unseen tears shed by family caregivers every day because of the stress that comes with this responsibility. We can help alleviate some of those tears and maybe take the dread out of "What's for dinner?"
This month we've been talking about heart health, especially for women. As family caregivers it's important to not only take care of your loved ones, but also yourself. Feeding your family a heart healthy diet is truly feeding them with love. Here's 7 tips to help you build a heart healthy diet.
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. It's easy to overload our plates, especially when we've been trained by restaurants to serve oversized portions that fill us beyond capacity.
Try using smaller plates and bowls, and even using measuring cups to portion out your food. A few companies like Weight Watchers sell serving spoons that help measure out your food. Along with portion control, keeping a food journal can be helpful to see exactly how much you're eating.
TIP: If you find yourself getting hungry, increase the portion of fruits and vegetables in your diet to offset the hunger and keep you fuller longer.
Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals, and are also low in calories and rich in fiber. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits have been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease. PLUS, eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods. (See the tip above)
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and can help in regulating blood pressure. Increase the amount of whole grains in your diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. (See the Table 1) Or if you're adventurous, try a new whole grain, such as quinoa or barley.
You can easily reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by doing little things like trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats. Adding less butter, margarine and shortening when cooking and serving can also help.
TIP: Top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter.
When you do use fats for cooking, choose monounsaturated fats, like olive oil or canola oil. Just remember moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.
Leaner meats, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some great sources of protein. Be careful to choose lower fat options when you can.
Fish is a good alternative to high-fat meats. Fish can be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides.
Reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking is good, but did you know that much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods?
If you like the convenience of canned soups and prepared meals, look for ones with reduced sodium. Don't fall into the trap of items that claim to be lower in sodium because they are seasoned with sea salt. Sea salt has the same nutritional value as regular salt.
Give yourself an indulgence every once in awhile. A small treat won't derail your heart-healthy diet, as long as you don't let it turn into an excuse for giving up. It's more important that you eat healthy foods most of the time.
Adding these 7 tips into your daily lifestyle along with possibly planning out your weekly meal, will go a long way to helping you keep your family "heart healthy." Like we said at the beginning, you'll truly be feeding them with love!
We've all seen the "I've fallen and I can't get up..." commercials, and at times we may have been tempted to laugh at them, but not after becoming a Family Caregiver. As Family Caregivers we know the reality of seniors falling, and sadly just how much damage those falls can do. We've also heard the horror stories of seniors, with family far away, who aren't found until days later. Right now you may be thinking, "Yes, but this really doesn't apply to my loved one, they get along just fine. Why should we get something like that?" Well, because that's not all an emergency response system is good for.
Freudenthal offers 2 ERS options that can fit most budgets. The basic ERS pictured to the right is just that basic. It requires a landline telephone and it's pendant has a range of about 300 feet. When you need assistance for any medical emergency like a slip and fall, or heart attack or stroke symptoms, all you do is hit the button and you are immediately connected to one of our operators who immediately calls 9-1-1 and the emergency contacts on your list.
The Connect System is our more advanced system and it offers a few more features that make it an even more valuable option, especially if you are a remote Family Caregiver who needs to know their loved one is safe. The Connect System can work off of a mobile line and it is GPS enabled so it can help EMS responders find you if you're non-responsive. It boasts features like:
BUT, this is only be the beginning, because the connect system also allows you to ask questions of a live human being, like:
So as you can see there are so many reasons to add an ERS to your Family Caregiver plan. It will give you peace of mind and it will give your loved one a safety net and new freedom they may not have had for quite some time.
*Additional fee for fall detection service.
Heart disease kills one woman every 80 seconds. It's one of the leading killers among women, especially senior women. February is American Heart Month and we're getting serious about women's heart health.
Just because you don't feel bad right now, doesn't mean you are not at risk for heart issues in the future. There are several risk factors like weight and age that you should discuss with your doctor. Looking at your families heart health history could also give you some clues to what may be in your future. Definitely schedule a well visit with your doctor.
Exercise and diet are two of the best ways you can be active in the fight against heart disease. No matter your age or ability there are exercises you can do to help keep you active. Join us at the Joyce Raye Patterson Senior Citizen's Center every Monday for exercise classes with Kelly Jarrett, PTA. You can even visit our YouTube Page to see simple exercises demonstrated by Kelly that you can do right in your home.
We regularly see the image of a man clutching his chest and breathing heavy associated with heart attacks, but the signs of heart attack for men and women are different. Women DO usually experience some pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest when experiencing a heart attack – but it is not always the severe, crushing chest pain we generally associate with heart attacks in men.
Women are also more likely than men to experience these symptoms during heart attack:
If you experience any of the symptoms above, make sure you let your family, caregivers or home health professionals know right away or call 9-1-1. Heart disease is not something to play around with. It's deadly and you have stay on top of it. So show your heart some love and get in the fight for your heart health!
We're Going Red For Women! Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds. 80% of cardiac events may be prevented with lifestyle. Go Red For Women advocates for more research & swifter action for women’s heart health. https://zurl.co/6VmlJ