The Many Benefits Enjoyed by Caregivers and Care Recipients

Every day I get to witness firsthand just how much our caregivers love what they do. It’s not an easy job by any stretch, but they wouldn’t give up their clients for anything.

A recent home renovation show reminded me again of not only of how special clients are to professional caregivers, but also just how special caregivers become to the person receiving care and their families.

In the show, singer Michael Bublé honored his late grandfather Demetrio’s final wish by renovating and gifting his former house to the caregiver, Minette, who had cared for him in his final years.

Throughout the episode, both Bublé and Minette talked about the special bond that developed between his grandfather and his caregiver.

It was heartwarming to hear how the grandfather – who’d been reluctant to receive in-home care and fought it tooth and nail – eventually grew to love his caregiver and how they became part of each other’s families.

While being gifted a house isn’t all that common, the special relationships between caregivers and care recipients is.

How everyone benefits of in-home care

Caregivers enjoy numerous benefits from taking care of others and it turns out that the person receiving care reaps many of those same benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits of being a professional caregiver that care recipients and their families also enjoy:

  • Flexibility – Caregivers enjoy flexibility so that they’re able to work while also raising children, taking care of family, and often attending school (usually nursing). By hiring an in-home care provider, the spouses or children of the care recipient are also able to better juggle their other responsibilities while ensuring their loved one is cared for.
  • Close relationships – Caregivers work closely with their clients, usually on a daily basis, often for years. During this time, they form close connections with the care recipient and their family members and these deep connections have benefits for all involved. The physical and mental health benefits of deep connections and friendships are well documented and include everything from lower stress and anxiety to improved immunity, and even a longer life! There’s also evidence that Alzheimer’s patients who share close relationships with their caregivers experience a slower decline in brain function, similar to the benefits achieved from some drugs used to treat the disease.
  • Better care – Great in-home care is made even better as the caregiver gets to know the care recipient and their family. This strong connection gives the caregiver a better understanding of the client and their needs so that they’re able to provide the best possible care. Everyone benefits from this! In turn, family members can pick up tips along the way that improve their skills when helping care for their loved one.
  • Giving back to society – Caregivers give back in so many ways. By doing what they do, clients are able to age in place safely and happily. Caregivers are also a godsend for the client’s family who are able to recharge and look after themselves while knowing their parent/grandparent is looked after. But the person providing the care isn’t the only one who’s giving back – people who hire a caregiver are also doing something wonderful! By hiring a great worker you’re helping her/him support their family. In turn, the caregiver is able to earn a good living and provide for their family, while also working with someone they respect and admire.

The Right Caregiver

The caregiver and care recipient bond is a special one that provides endless benefits for all involved. For this reason, we encourage our clients to choose their caregiver for the best possible fit.

If you’re considering in-home care for your aging loved one or yourself, give us a call to learn more. Excellent care, trust, and lasting connections are just a phone call away.

 

Article sources

  • Close Caregiver Relationship May Slow Alzheimer’s Decline. (2020). John’s Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/close_caregiver_relationship_may_slow_alzheimers_decline
  • Connect To Thrive. (2012). Seppälä E. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive

Care on the Move

How a caregiver can arrange mobile services so seniors can stay in

In-home care services have been a godsend for seniors isolating due to the pandemic. Caregivers don’t just provide help with a seniors need in the home, though. Caregivers are also able to assist with many tasks that come from outside the home, too.

Caregivers can arrange mobile services so that seniors can continue to get all the help they need even while maintaining their physical distance to protect from Covid-19.

Here are some examples of just a few of these services that a caregiver can arrange for you or your elderly loved so life can go on as you continue to hunker down in the comfort and safety of home:

  • Transportation – Taking public transportation, be it the bus, a taxi, or car service isn’t ideal for seniors while Covid-19 is still in the community. A caregiver can provide transportation services to get you to and from appointments safely so that you can continue to maintain proper physical distancing.
  • Medical appointments – Times have certainly changed since the pandemic began, especially when it comes to healthcare. From doctor appointments to hearing aid consultations, more and more healthcare services are being handled virtually. A caregiver can help seniors arrange and navigate virtual medical appointments, including phone and video appointments. And, for in-person appointments, a caregiver can get you there and back safely, ensuring the necessary protective measures are taken along the way.
  • Pet services – Pets are such an important part of our lives and make such wonderful companions for seniors. Caregivers are able to book vet and grooming appointments so that Fluffy and Fido can remain healthy and happy, too. This can include arranging mobile grooming and vet services that come to you, or taking your beloved pet to an appointment.
  • Haircuts – Don’t underestimate the power of a good hair day! There is evidence that regular hair care appointments have a positive effect on the way older adults feel. Personal care, including regular haircuts and styling, play a role in helping older adults uphold dignity and maintain a sense of self.

To learn more about how our caregivers can help you stay on top of your outside responsibilities while staying safe inside, contact us anytime at 1.855.483.CARE (2273).

Article sources

  • Ward R, Campbell S, Keady J. ‘Once I had money in my pocket, I was every colour under the sun’: Using ‘appearance biographies’ to explore the meanings of appearance for people with dementia. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2014.03.006

Too Many Opinions Spoil the Soup!

Big families are wonderful, but when it comes to caring for a loved one, you can have too much of a good thing when everyone has an opinion.

Everyone wants the best for their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has the same idea of what “the best” is when it comes to home care. When daughters, sons, grandkids, and other family members get involved, the dynamic can go from being supportive to quite disruptive to the care recipient’s wellbeing.

Too many cooks in the caregiving kitchen can also impact family relationships. For example, the person doing the majority of the caregiving may feel like they’re being judged for the way they care their loved one and may resent relatives who have opinions but don’t participate in the day-to-day care. On the flipside, the distant sibling/other relative may get upset over what they believe should be done for their parent, despite not really understanding their parent’s actual status or day-to-day needs.

When too many loved ones get involved – especially if they have differing opinions – it’s the care recipient that suffers.

This can lead to:

  • feelings of guilt for being the “cause” of family tension
  • feeling like a burden to their loved ones
  • feeling unsettled and out of sorts
  • increased anxiety and stress, which can take a physical toll as well as emotional
  • feeling as if they have no control over their lives
  • depression

A consistent routine with an objective is key

Studies have shown time and time again that consistency and a clear routine is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of older adults. This is especially important to those living with conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

A fully trained and experienced caregiver can help your loved one find and carry out a routine so they can enjoy these benefits, which include:

  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • better sleep quality
  • a sense of calm and security
  • improved sense of self
  • a sense of control

A professional caregiver can help with activities of daily living, as well as help your loved one remain engaged by escorting them to social events and activities. A consistent routine will help your loved maintain their sense of meaning and purpose, as well independence and dignity.

Article sources

  • Contribution of Routine to Sleep Quality in Community Elderly. Zisberg A, Gur-Yaish N, Shochat T. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849790/
  • How routine facilitates wellbeing in older women. Ludwig FM. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/oti.57

Indoor and Physical Distanced Outdoor Summer Activities for You and Your Caregiver

The need for physical distancing doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on summer fun! With the help of your caregiver – and some crafty ideas from us – you can enjoy the indoors and outdoors while protecting yourself from Covid-19.

Let’s get the fun started!

Indoor activities for you and your caregiver

 

  • Fancy feast – Let your caregiver help you pull out all the stops to create a fancy feast, including picking up and preparing your favourite most decadent treats or even just an assortment of frozen hors d’oeuvres. Set the scene with your best tablecloth and dishes, flowers, and candles. If you’d like to have friends and loved ones get in on the fun, do it via video chat. And don’t forget to dress up and have your caregiver and virtual guests do the same! It is a fancy feast, after all!
  • Game night – Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition! Enjoy your favourite card or board games and go all-out for game night – or day – complete with fun snacks that your caregiver can add to the weekly shopping list.
  • Write letters or cards – Modern technology is great, but there’s nothing like receiving some good old-fashioned snail mail. Your caregiver can help you write and mail letters to friends and family or health heroes who have been working so hard to keep us all safe. If you enjoy getting crafty, have your caregiver pick up a few supplies so you can make cards. Tip: Dollar stores have a great assortment!

Outdoor activities for you and your caregiver

 

  • A picnic – Your caregiver can help you choose a safe place for a picnic keeping physical distancing in mind. This may be in your backyard, garden, a local park, or by a lake or river. If space permits, invite a few friends and family to your picnic. Just have everyone bring their own food and blanket or chair to sit on and be sure everyone remains at least 2m apart.
  • Outdoor movie night – There’s nothing like enjoying a movie under the stars and fortunately, there are a few ways your caregiver can help you do this safely. Drive-ins are one way if you happen to live somewhat close to one. You can also check with your local community center or recreation facility to see if there are any outdoor movies or plays coming up, now that outdoor gatherings are allowed with certain restrictions. If you prefer to stick to the safety of home, a projector borrowed from the local library and a plain white sheet is all your caregiver needs to help you have a movie night in your own yard.
  • Fruit picking – What better way to enjoy the warm weather and some exercise than a trip to a local farm to pick your own fruit. Your caregiver can help you get around the farm and pick anything that’s out of reach. The best part – aside from the sunshine and great company – is getting to take your pickings back home for a healthy snack or to bake with!

Happy summer!

I Want to Stay At Home

How to approach the topic with your adult children

If seeing how the pandemic has devastated retirement communities and long-term care (LTC) facilities has you rethinking your future plans, you’re not alone. Aging in place has always been preferred by the majority of Canadian seniors, and now more than ever.

At the end of the day, how you choose to live your life is ultimately your decision. That said, your adult children are bound to have an opinion. How much input they get and how much it factors into your decision may depend – at least in part – on factors like finances and logistics.

Things to consider before you have the talk

While it is your decision where you choose to live, it’s normal for your adult children to have concerns. You’re their parent, after all!

Going into the conversation armed with information and answers to their questions and concerns will make the conversation easier and help put their minds at ease.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Finances – Is your mortgage paid off? Will you have to downsize or find more affordable housing? Do your children currently help pay for or intend to help pay for any of your living expenses? Answering these questions can help you determine not only if aging in place will be possible, but also how doing so will affect your adult children financially.
  • Caregiving – Many people count on their offspring to take on the role of primary caregiver when the need arises. It’s often just a “given”, yet the expectation isn’t always discussed beforehand. Even if you’re in good health right now, be prepared to talk about any expectations you have when it comes to their role in your care. It’s also advisable to look into in-home care services and costs so you and your family can plan accordingly.
  • Location – Location matters more than ever as age-related changes happen and needs to be considered when planning to age in place. The frequency of medical appointments increases with age, but so does the likelihood of mobility issues, making easy access to doctors and hospitals important. Also, your family will likely want you close by.

When you’re ready to have the talk with your adult children, be prepared for the possibility that they may have reservations about your choices. Try not to take it personally if they get upset; they love you and their concern is coming from a good place.

Be clear about your reasons for wanting to stay at home and try to answer their questions with as much detail and information as possible to help ease their fears.

Be sure to:

  • write down any points you want to make, such as aging in place being a safer alternative to LTC homes
  • explain how you will be able to afford to live comfortably while remaining at home
  • have information available about any long-term care insurance you may have
  • gather information on any relevant products or services, such as in-home care, assistive devices and technologies, and modifications to help you live safely

Talks about aging aren’t easy and even though your children are not actually children anymore, conversations about issues such as elderly care can be upsetting for them. It’s never easy to face the reality that your parent’s are getting on in the years.

Be patient and respectful, and listen, but also insist on the same in return. It is your life and your decision, after all.

Covid-19 and the Impact of Social Isolation on Our Elderly Loved Ones

Lenora is 93 and lives in nursing home. Since the start of the pandemic, she has been alone in her room. For 3 months, she has had to eat all of her meals alone in her small room, unable to leave for any type of social interaction or activity.

She hasn’t had any physical contact with her family, friends, or even other residents because of the restrictions in place.

Lenora cries when talking about her profound loneliness. Like other vulnerable seniors living in retirement homes and long-term care facilities, every day is the same in her room, each day bleeding into the next with no distinction.

Her favorite TV programs and music are no longer providing her with enjoyment or distraction from the realities of the situation and her sadness.

These measures are necessary to protect residents in these communities from Covid-19, but the impact of isolation and loneliness can take an equally devastating toll on mental and physical health.

Depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, and death are just some of the risks associated with isolation and loneliness in seniors.

Time with family, friends, and peers is important through all stages of life, but especially so in our later years. It improves our sense of wellbeing, contributes to our joy, and helps give life meaning.

As the pandemic continues, the ongoing isolation and loneliness, and the uncertainty of how long it will go on has many seniors in long-term care homes questioning their faith and whether or not their lives have any meaning. According to various reports, many lonely seniors are also experiencing increased suicidal thoughts.

How much longer will Lenora and others in long-term care homes have to go without an embrace from a loved one or a meal shared with another human being?

Are these things they will ever be able to do again in their lifetime?

How we’re helping seniors deal with Covid-19 isolation and how you can, too

Seniors living alone are also grappling with the strains of social isolation during the pandemic. For those who have in-home care, however, remaining at home to prevent contracting Covid-19 has been a lot easier.

Our care recipients have their caregivers there every day, even if just for a few hours. This goes a long way in combating loneliness.

In-home care isn’t just about help with the tasks of daily living and chores, but also companionship.

Care recipients are able to share conversation and a meal with another person – something Lenora and so many in her situation are longing for.

Having a caregiver has also allowed seniors, including those with physical challenges, to be able to connect with their loved ones from a distance.

We know firsthand how our caregivers have helped care recipients connect safely with their family members who visit them at a distance in their backyards or gardens.

Here are some things you can do to help your elderly loved one deal with social isolation:

  • Stay in regular contact through telephone calls, and if possible, video calls.
  • Consider hiring a caregiver for regular visits even if your loved one is healthy and self-sufficient to help combat loneliness.
  • Arrange to watch TV programs or a movie “together” over the phone so you can share the experience and laugh together.
  • If possible, visit your loved one from distance, even if just seeing each other through a window.
  • Provide them with some routine and predictability by arranging and sticking to scheduled distanced contact so they have something to look forward to.
  • Encourage your loved one to get some physical activity every day, a caregiver can help them do this safely.
  • Express your love and appreciation for them every day so they know they are valued.

Finally, if your parent or loved one is living in a long-term care facility or other retirement community and struggling with isolation, moving them into their own home, or your home, may be a viable option with the help of home care services.

Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about how our services can help you and your aging loved one transition from a facility to the comfort and safety of your home or theirs.

 

Article sources

  • Oi-Yee Li, H and Huynh, D. (2020). Long-term social distancing during COVID-19: A social isolation crisis among seniors? https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/21/E588

Don’t parent your parents … We can help!

If you feel guilty even admitting to yourself that you feel “forced” to visit and stay with your aging parents, I assure you that you’re not alone.

It’s a natural part of the evolving shift that takes place as we get old and our parents get older. You’re in a place where you no longer depend on your parents and have your own life and responsibilities, and now the burden of their needs is starting to take a toll. Throw in some good ol’ fashioned parent guilt (we’ve all been there!), and these visits can really put a strain on your relationship.

Are you exhausted because their needs are becoming too much for you and your parents to manage? Are you resentful of the expectations they’re placing on you? Invite us to have “the talk” with your parents about home care.

We can provide the benefits of having a couple of wonderful caregivers supervised by a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) to look after them.

Home care services help them… and you

Our caregivers are available to provide non-medical assistance (for example, light housekeeping, shopping, meal prep, and transportation to appointments), or companionship (playing cards and games, sharing a meal, going to the movies), as well as more involved care, such as bathing and hygiene, wound care, and medication reminders.

Our services are a flexible, cost-effective solution that can help your parents live healthier and happier, while also providing social support to help combat loneliness. For your convenience we are open 24/7 every day of the year.

Knowing that your parents are being looked after by caring and qualified professionals provides peace of mind and a sense of relief for adult children and other family members who want the best for them.

Best of all, by taking some – or all – of the caregiving duties off your plate; your time with your parents is focused on enjoying each other’s company without the added tension, resentment, or guilt that often accompanies being a family caregiver.

If you’re ready for help, our RN can review and assess your parents’ health and caregiving needs at no cost to you.

Give us a call at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Five Stars to our frontline Caregivers

At Living Assistance Services, we understand and appreciate what our caregivers do to assist families during this pandemic. They have stepped up to take on every challenge that has come their way over the last 6 months.

Choose Your Caregiver

We provide families with an opportunity to choose a caregiver who best fits with their loved ones.

Our employees are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Punctuality
  • Flexibility
  • A good work ethic
  • Positive feedback from previous clients

These are valuable assets in an employee that are appreciated and expected by us and those who enlist our home care services. Monitoring performance throughout the year and encouraging open communication with our employees and clients help us ensure great service and happy long-term employees and clients alike.

Our caregivers are wonderful human beings with genuine hearts and deep understanding of the various needs of those they care for.  Professional caregivers such as the ones employed by an agency like Living Assistance Services are uniquely suited to care for those who are vulnerable and in need of assistance.

Physical and cognitive challenges do not ruffle the calm demeanour of our professionals.  In fact, just the opposite.  They remain calm under pressure and ensure their work and diligence results in the best outcomes for our clients.  To them this work is a labour of love.

We encourage families to look take a closer look at keeping their loved ones at home which is the safest place they want to be.  The decision to hire a home care agency which provides care in the comfort of their own homes is a win-win!

Celebrating Seniors’ Month-Marking Milestones

June is Seniors’ month in Ontario. This year’s theme is stay safe, stay in touch.

Celebrations aren’t the same at this time when social gatherings are not possible. There are ways to mark special occasions that comply with COVID-19 restrictions and one of them is the presentation of a special gift to mark a significant birthday or wedding anniversary. You can request a congratulatory message if you or a senior in your life is marking a milestone occasion.

Get information about requesting a message from:

Her Majesty The Queen  – for Canadians celebrating birthdays of 100 years or more and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 60 years or more (at five-year intervals)

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://www.gg.ca/en/contact-us/birthday-anniversary-greetings/request-form

the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario – for Ontarians celebrating birthdays of 90 years or more and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 50 years or more.

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://greetings.lgontario.ca/GreetingRequest.aspx

the Prime Minister of Canada – for Canadians celebrating birthdays of 65 years or more (at five-year intervals) and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 25 years of more (at five-year intervals).

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://pm.gc.ca/en/connect/greetings

the Premier of Ontario – for Ontarians celebrating birthdays of 80 years or more and for couples celebrating anniversaries of 40 years or more.

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/certificates/certorder.aspx?msg=sessiontimeout

 Source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/celebrating-seniors-ontario

The Caledon Enterprise, June 11, 2020

Talking about Future Finances Can Help Your Parents Age in Place Safely

June is Seniors’ Month in Ontario and this year’s theme is stay safe, stay in touch.

In keeping with this theme, we wanted to address a difficult, but important topic: Talking to your aging parents about their future finances because the decisions you help them make today will help ensure they can remain safer at home.

Money makes people funny, they say, and talking about money is right up there with talking about death when it comes to difficult conversations. As hard as the conversation can be, however, having it is crucial.

When’s the best time to have “the talk” with your parent?

If you’ve found your way here, then now is likely the right time as most people find our services when elderly care is already on their radar.

Most experts agree that it’s never too soon to have important talks about the future. Ideally, conversations around your parents’ future should happen while they’re still healthy and relatively young. And if possible, do it before retirement they can plan their retirement savings accordingly.

Have they chosen their Power of Attorney?

Asking your parents if they have decided on a Power of Attorney is a great way to start the conversation.

A Power of Attorney – POA for short – is a legal document that assigns a person of your choosing the right to make decisions on your behalf. There are different kinds of POAs and when talking to your aging parents, the two types that you’ll want to discuss are:

  • A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property (CPOA)covers your parents’ financial affairs. The person they assign – whether you, a sibling, or other family member – is able to make decisions on their behalf. This includes the decision to hire and pay for a home care agency to help them at home.
  • A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) covers your parents’ personal decisions, such as housing, and health care, including in-home health care services.

What types of home care services do they want/need?

The types of home care assistance your parent(s) want and need should also be discussed when talking about their future finances.

With the state of long-term care facilities in Canada at the moment, more families are looking to in-home care as a safer alternative. Research shows that aging in place is also what most Canadian seniors prefer.

To help with planning and ensure that your parents’ are financially able to get the help they need when the time comes, knowing what types of services are available is important. This is also important if you and/or your siblings will be pitching in to help with the costs of in-home care.

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to in-home care services is that prices and services vary between agencies. At Living Assistance Services, for instance, the cost of our services land somewhere in the mid-range compared to other agencies.

Reputation and credentials are also important considerations to keep in mind. Watch out for prices that look too good to be true as they usually are! Choosing an agency with excellent referrals and whose staff are properly trained and insured is a must.

You can find more information on choosing a home care provider such as Living Assistance Services.

What does in-home care typically involve for seniors?

Everyone’s situation is different, which is why there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to caregiving. That said, unless your parent is living with a medical condition that requires extra care, there are some services that they’re more likely to need.

To help you and your parents plan for the future, these are examples of services commonly required by elderly care recipients:

  • Escorting to appointments, grocery shopping, and errands for a minimum 4 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Light housekeeping, dog walking, laundry, meal preparation, and companionship for 6-8 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Personal care (bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting) is required 24/7, 365 days per year for those that need it.

A full list of our home care services can be found at https://www.laservices.ca

Don’t wait till emergency strikes to initiate these conversations. Talking to your parents about their financial future is the best way to help them have the future they want and deserve.

Article sources

  • Powers of Attorney Questions and Answers. Ministry of Attorney General. (2016). https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/livingwillqa.pdf