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Every family is unique. However, over time, many families will find themselves in similar situations of taking care of an aging adult family member. Being the sole caretaker can be overwhelming at times. If siblings are involved and willing to work cohesively, it is best for the entire family.

In a recent AARP article by Dr. Barry Jacobs, he shares his experience working with his brother to care for their mother. He points out the challenges and conflicts that come up, yet, also identifies how you can bond with your siblings as you work together to ensure your aging loved ones receive the best care.

Here are a few of his tips and some of our own for working cohesively as siblings:

Remember, the primary focus is on your loved one’s care quality.

If you are spending your energy in conflict with each other, you could be unintentionally diverting your attention from your primary focus. As an example, two brothers have the potential to be at odds.

One brother stays home and works as the caretaker for their relative, while the other brother works every day and sends money. Each brother could carry resentment, but instead, they have chosen this structure because it works the best to meet their relative’s needs.

It also helps them keep the aging adult in the comfort of their home. Your primary focus should always be ensuring your loved one stays healthy, comfortable, and safe. Also, when siblings are in conflict, your loved one will likely pick up on this and become upset. Put aside your differences for the adult in your care. 

Everything does not have to be equal; things just need to make sense.

It is unlikely you will be able to distribute the caretaking tasks equally. To help everyone, distribute the caretaking responsibilities depending on each person’s situation. Since siblings tend to live various distances from their parents, they have different life responsibilities, and financial situations, it is normal for each sibling to have different caregiving tasks that best suit their capabilities. 

Dr. Jacobs reminds readers this inequality does not have to be a bad thing. If one sibling is closer and can get to the parent sooner, let them take the lead on delegating tasks. Perhaps you can divide the grocery shopping with each sibling taking a different week. These days this can work for siblings out of town as well, as they can have groceries delivered. Also, try to take turns taking your parents to doctor’s appointments if possible. 

Someone will always end up doing more, but every sibling should be contributing in their way. Try to gather for family meetings so you can check in and acknowledge each other’s contributions. The meetings will help keep things running smoothly.

Be kind to each other.

When you have a kind and loving parent who appreciates everything you all are doing, things are more manageable. Sadly, for some, your aging parent could be not so friendly and appreciative, maybe due to Dementia or other health problems. They can be mean and hard to handle.

In these scenarios, it is imperative siblings extend kindness and lean on each other for support. You could also be grieving due to a parent who falls ill and begins to need help. Grieving together will strengthen your bond. 

At Next Day Access, we are here to help. We aim to provide solutions for aging adults choosing to age in place. We offer a vast amount of various medical equipment and accessibility devices to keep aging adults or people with disabilities safe and comfortable at home.

Many of our devices are also geared to help caregivers perform their daily tasks with less difficulty such as a patient lift. Our professionals are also happy to do in-home consultations to ensure the home is safe. We encourage you to contact your nearest Next Day Access today to see how we can help.

Being a caregiver is a noble endeavor. Whether you are a caregiver by profession or taking care of a family member, we know at times it is not easy, and you could suffer from burnout. According to Pew Research Center, 40 million adults in North America are taking care of someone who is chronically ill, disabled, or aging.  Many times, once you are feeling signs of burnout, your brain could be suffering a psychological condition brought on by unrelieved stress. Here are a few warning signs that you might be feeling burnt out.

Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout

  • You are always tired. 
  • You have an issue with sleep-you either can’t sleep or have difficulty waking up. 
  • Weight loss or weight gain due to changes in eating habits 
  • A feeling of hopelessness 
  • Neglecting your physical or emotional needs 
  • Not spending time doing things you once enjoyed 
  • Mood swings 
  • Low immunity caused by stress 
  • Beginning to get irritable with your patient or loved one 
  • Physical problems like headaches or stomach aches 
  • Anxiety about your future 

Noticing these signs might upset you, especially if you genuinely care for the person you are helping, but you need to realize that you are only human. When your needs are not being met, burnout is bound to happen. Burnout does not mean you love them any less. It just means you need a break. Here are a few ways to avoid burnout as a caregiver.

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

  • Take care of yourself by making sure you eat a healthy diet and exercise. If possible, talk to a doctor about any sleep issues so you can get a good night’s rest each night. 
  • Ask for help. No one can do everything. There are just not enough hours in the day, and it does not make you a terrible caregiver to ask for help. In fact, it makes you a better caregiver when you know your limitations. 
  • Give yourself permission to get out of the house and enjoy yourself. Whether it’s getting a manicure or seeing a movie, invest in your happiness. 
  • Check with your work regarding family leave benefits. This could help add more hours to your day. 
  • Join a support group. Many other people are going through similar struggles and communicating with them can drastically improve your mood. 
  • If you are a family caregiver, check into hiring a nurse from a company like Home Instead. They have nurses on call that can come and sit with your loved one to give you time to run errands etc.  

At Next Day Access, one of our top goals is to be there for caregivers. Whether helping you decide on a wheelchair ramp or installing accessibility devices like grab bars in the bathroom, we exist to make life easier for you and your loved one. We offer several different accessibility devices and mobility equipment to help you keep your loved one safe and comfortable as well as items that help put less strain on you, like patient lifts and walk-in bathtubs. We urge you to explore our website and see for yourself the many solutions we can provide for you and your loved one’s needs. Contact us today!

Sadly, many people in hospitals or nursing homes receive care that aligns not with their wishes. Aging adults need to voice their end-of-life requests to their families and caretakers. One of the biggest requests by aging adults is the desire to die at home surrounded by loved ones and not in a hospital room. If they express their wishes, the provider may see if palliative care or hospice care can be brought in for at-home treatment.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care exists for patients living with severe illnesses such as heart failure or cancer. It is usually a step before Hospice care. The palliative care team focuses on treatment to provide the medication needed and maintain maximum comfort for the patient. The goals are to enhance the patient’s life by focusing on their quality of life and help release some pressure from caretakers or family. The organized services supplied by this type of care can be helpful to an aging adult.

A patient can receive palliative care along with curative care and may start at the time of diagnosis. Yet, over time if the doctor or palliative team believes ongoing treatment is no longer helping, they can either continue with comfort care or agree to call in hospice care. 

What is Hospice?

The website seniorsafetyadvice.com provides an excellent definition of hospice.

Hospice is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient. They manage the pain and symptoms and attend to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering. Hospice care provides an alternative to therapies focused on life-prolonging measures that may be arduous, likely to cause more symptoms, or are not aligned with a person’s goals. 

Many people think hospice signals the end, but that is not always the case. Hospice services exist to help within the palliative care space as well. Although palliative care predominately exists for terminally ill individuals, it also treats illness. Even if your doctor says your loved one has a 20% chance of living, your loved one can qualify for palliative care. 

Hospice care is beneficial for your loved one and helps the caretakers as well. Once the hospice nurse arrives, you can expect them to help make sure your loved one has all the equipment and medication needed and will then connect you with the appropriate person for the following services. Most hospice nurses, however, perform the following tasks:

  • Nursing care 
  • Grief counseling 
  • Social Work Services 
  • Clergy visitations 
  • Homemaking assistance 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Speech-language therapy 
  • Pain management 

At Next Day Access, we are here to help you as you go through these challenging days with your loved one or patient. We offer many different devices that help to ensure your loved one is safe and comfortable. We also offer a complimentary consultation to help you determine if you need additional accessibility devices at your home. Contact us when you are ready, and we will help.

Many family caregivers do not get proper training on transferring someone with mobility difficulties from one place to another. For example, one of the most common tasks is to help someone in a wheelchair move safely to a toilet. If you do not do the transfer correctly, you could injure yourself or your loved one. We found a few transfer tips from Daily Caring we would like to share with you.

Prep the Space

  • Remove rugs, bathmats, or any other trip hazards in the bathroom in the space you need for transferring. 
  • Move the wheelchair feet out of the way. 
  • Have your body set to perform the transfer. 
  • Move the wheelchair into the proper position and lock the brakes. 

Help Them Up From the Wheelchair

  • Have your loved one scoot up to the edge of the wheelchair and lean forward. 
  • Ask them to either hold your forearms or put their hands on the arms of the wheelchair and push up. 
  • Stand directly in front of them, hold their waist and stand up together, keeping your body stiff and controlled. Use your knees to lower and raise your body. Do not bend over. Bending over is how you could injure your back. 
  • If their legs are not strong, put your knees in front of theirs while they stand. This is called blocking. 
  • If they are weaker on one side, stand on that side to provide additional support. 

Sit Them on the Toilet

  • Using small steps, guide them to pivot and turn 90 degrees and back up until the toilet seat is at the back of their knees. 
  • Help them pull down their pants and undergarments. 
  • Have them bend their knees and easily lower themselves down to the seat. Once again, use your knees to raise and lower your body to avoid injury. 
  • Consider investing in a Bio Bidet. Bio Bidet is known for having the best toilets and toilet seats for all homes. In addition, the cleansing method utilizing a water stream sets them apart from their competition. The Bio Bidet will help ensure that your loved one gets as clean as possible after using the restroom. 

Return to the Wheelchair

  • Get them to move forward on the toilet seat and lean towards you. 
  • Ask them to hold your forearms and push up. 
  • Stand close to them so you can hold on to their waist while you both stand.  
  • Using small steps helps them pivot 90 degrees again and back to the wheelchair. But, first, make sure the brakes are still locked on the wheelchair. 
  • Once they feel the wheelchair seat at the back of their legs, they slowly return to a seated position. You will need to hold their waist as they take a seat. 

Essential Safety Tips

  • Never try to pull an older adult up. 
  • Bend from the waist. 
  • Do not let them hold on to towel bars or toilet paper holders, as these could be non-sturdy and cause them to slip. 
  • Make sure they do not hold you by the shoulders or the neck. This will help to prevent injury. 

At Next Day Access, anyone with difficulty in mobility can find products to help keep them safe at home and on the go. For the bathroom specifically, we offer Toilet Support Arms, Grab Bars, Drive Commode Chairs, Bio Bidets, and more. Contact us to see the many ways we can help improve your life. 

Serving as a caregiver for a loved one from a long distance is not easy. Despite the distance, you want to ensure your loved one receives the best care. Here is some advice on how to ensure your loved one is receiving quality care despite the distance.

Get as much information as possible.

Experienced caregivers encourage you to learn as much as you can about your friend or family member’s diagnosis, the medicine they need, and the available resources. This information can aid you in understanding what they are dealing with, their prognosis, anticipating the length of the illness, preventing any crisis, and assisting in their healthcare management. Knowing all their healthcare needs will make talking to their doctor easier. Written permission to receive your loved one’s medical and financial information is vital. 

Once gathered, keep all the information organized in an online spreadsheet or folder. The information you will need includes all the essential information about medical care, contact numbers, social services, and their financial situation. Make sure to keep the information up to date and share copies with other trusted caregivers.

Set time aside to visit your loved one.

While you are in town, use this time wisely to gather any needed documents or things your loved one may need. It is a good idea to make a list of what they need before you come to town. For example, does your loved one need new winter clothes? Is their television on the fritz? Create an agenda for your trip and a list of what you need to bring. Remember your loved one likely misses you and would like to spend time with you when you are in town. You can take them to a worship service, play a game of cards, or watch a movie. Overall, just spending quality time together is sure to delight and revive your loved one.

Stay in touch with caregivers and doctors.

The needs of aging parents vary depending on their mobility levels. Once you have an established caregiver, stay in touch with them. You should also keep in touch with your loved one’s doctor. Make it clear to the doctor you would like a report after every doctor’s visit. You can also request occasional teleconferences with your loved one’s healthcare team. Your loved one can also be assigned a social worker who will help you stay abreast of any situations that require decisions on your part. 

Make sure your loved one knows how to get in touch with you.

If your loved one is in a nursing home, make sure they have a personal line for calls. It is a good idea to have your name and phone number written in big and bold letters on their dry erase board. If your loved one is aging at home, you may consider purchasing a cell phone. Spend time teaching them how to use it and make sure they know how to reach you by either writing your number on a large board or saving it on their phone. Also, give them detailed instructions on how to find your contact information on their phone. 

Find resources for your loved ones in their community.

You can find local senior centers by doing an internet search. Check with the Area Agency on Aging or the Eldercare Locator in their communities. These groups can recommend several helpful resources.  

Make sure your loved one’s home is safely set up.

Whether they need a walk-in tub or a wheelchair ramp, we at Next Day Access have an assortment of mobility products to help those with accessibility concerns. We offer many different products to keep your loved ones safe and comfortable. Our goals are to help those with accessibility concerns and to give peace of mind to caregivers that their loved one’s homes are safe. 

Love is in the air this February. On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our sweethearts. This Valentine’s Day, consider showing love and appreciation for the caregivers in your life. Many caregivers work diligently to make your life more accessible and comfortable. They deserve to feel noticed. Here are five suggestions on how to show your caregiver love.

Cook for Them

Set up a meal delivery for your caregiver. Sometimes after a long day, a cooked meal can be the greatest gift. With meal delivery services like Hello Fresh or Home Chef, your caregiver has all the ingredients delivered to the door to make a scrumptious yummy dinner.

Clean for Them

Order a “Maid for a Day.” If you work several hours a week, laundry and dishes are likely to pile up. If you hire a maid for your caregiver, they will enjoy coming home to a clean house. If your caregiver lives with you, you will be able to spend more quality time with your caregiver. 

Self-Care Day

Encourage your caregiver to spend time on “self-care.” Self-care can be as simple as reading a favorite book, taking a nice bubble bath, or putting on a facemask. However, if you notice your caregiver seems overwhelmed lately, maybe treat them to a day at a spa, getting their hair done, or getting a pampering massage. 

Go Out on an Adventure!

Another lovely way to show your caregiver love could be taking them out for the day. Perhaps you could grab lunch see a movie, or visit a new exhibit at a museum. The gift of your time and an outing together goes a long way.

Write a Letter

Most of the suggestions mentioned cost money, but if you are on a budget, you can still show your caregiver love. You could spend some time writing a letter telling them how much they mean to you. You do not have to spend a large amount of money to show love. 

At Next Day Access, we have the pleasure of working with caregivers regularly. We notice all the hard work caregivers do. We believe caregivers deserve every bit of love shown to them this month and every day. If you need products to help you get through your day safer, comfortably, and independently, contact us. 

Caregivers play a vital role as your loved one ages. They are responsible for the physical and emotional support of someone who can no longer care for themself. But we can often overlook or become too busy to show appreciation to our caregivers. That’s why we’re sharing a few ways to show gratitude to the many individuals that help our loved ones stay comfortable and happy.   

1. Surprise of Help 

Giving the caregiver the gift of assistance is a wonderful way to demonstrate gratitude. We all wish there were more hours in a day, and getting help for your caregiver shows you notice how much they do every day. You could plan for someone to come in and clean the house or cook a few meals. Whatever it takes to take a few things off your caregiver’s to-do list would be helpful and likely appreciated.

2. Thank You Letter

A thank-you letter can be as simple as writing a few special words on a slip of paper or an elegant card. It is vital for the caregiver to feel their efforts do not go unnoticed. The simple act of writing this letter could have an enduring effect. Letters are always great to keep and look back on. 

3. Extra Time-Off

If your financial situation allows it, you can hire an hourly caregiver through an agency with caregivers on call. When you give your caregiver some extra time off to focus on themselves, they can rest and return to the job rejuvenated. Caregivers need to have a break so they can focus on personal responsibilities.

4. A Gift Card 

Who doesn’t love a gift card? Gift cards are perfect way of showing appreciation. It’s a simple way of acknowledging their hard work and giving them something with immediate value.  

5. Take Them Out to Dinner

To be a caregiver, you are often putting the needs of someone else above your own. This is noble work, and it takes a special person to do it with compassion and patience. Sometimes, the best way to show your appreciation is taking them out for a meal at their favorite restaurant.  

Regardless of how you decide to show appreciation to your caregiver, they will be thankful. At Next Day Access, we have a variety of products to assist caregivers. Whether you need help lifting or bathing patients, we offer solutions to help make patient care more efficient. With our free in-home safety evaluations, we can see what areas of your home could use modifications so that your home is safe and secure. 

Inevitably there will come a time when you need a home health aide to take care of your aging loved one or even share the responsibility. Do not look at it like you are giving up, but instead, you are doing them a favor.  

For some parents approaching the subject of a caregiver, other than yourself, may cause them to be upset. However difficult the conversation can be, it could be the only way to ensure your aging loved one is receiving top notch care every day. To help you decide if your loved one needs a home health aide, here’s a list of warning signs.

A Lack in Personal Hygiene  

A change in personal appearance and behavior are common indicators that your loved one needs some help at home. You may not notice changes in personal hygiene, such as wearing dirty clothes. Notice your family member’s appearance and pay attention to their body odor. These are some signs your aging loved one could be letting their hygiene go. It can become too troublesome for them, or it could be memory loss.

Often, as adults age, their skin becomes thinner and thus more brittle, and a shower could physically hurt them. It could be time for sponge baths.

Weight Loss 

This could sneak up on you if you are used to seeing your parent/grandparent often. But if you find that your loved one appears thinner than what you consider their “normal” weight, it may be a sign of trouble for the future. Possible causes could be trouble with meal preparation, depression, memory loss or cognitive decline. 

It is common for people suffering from a memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s to forget how to cook their food or even eat.

Housekeeping is No Longer a Priority 

If you notice your parent’s home is full of clutter and messy when it is typically in tip-top shape, this could be a sign that something is wrong. They could be too tired or even depressed to perform daily chores. Depression can cause them to neglect to keep the house clean. The bottom line, a messy home can cause a healthy person to become sick. Their mood will lift in a clean home, and they will relax and breathe easier.

If you notice items appearing in unusual places, for example, the container of coffee creamer tucked into the dishwasher rather than the refrigerator, or shoes placed on the table rather than beneath it, this could also be a sign of early-onset dementia, stroke, or even Alzheimer’s.

When to look for help?

If you find you are exhausted and overwhelmed trying to take care of your relative, it may be time to consider a home health care aide. The change could upset your loved one at first, but it is likely they will grow to appreciate the companionship and help around the house. Encourage and support them as you transition to finding a home health aide.

Next Day Access is in the business of improving the quality of life for seniors. We have a large variety of home modifications, accessibility devices, and mobility equipment to help older loved ones get around easier in their homes and while they are out in town. Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.  

Have you reached the point in life where it is time to take care of the parents or grandparents that once took care of you? As your loved ones grow older, they often need help with small tasks like picking up groceries, making health-related decisions, or bathing. Whatever their needs may be, it is essential to be supportive and not overbearing. Here are a few steps to help guide you as you navigate supporting an aging loved one. 

Step 1: Assess Their Needs 

Assessing your loved one’s needs is most important when learning to be supportive rather than making them feel like they have not lost their independence. Experts recommend considering the following issues seniors often face to help you better assess their needs:

  • Family support 
  • Home safety 
  • Medical needs 
  • Cognitive health 
  • Mobility
  • Personal hygiene 
  • Meal preparation 
  • Social interaction 

How well do they handle each area listed above? Try to monitor their ability to address each of these areas on their own. Regarding family support, is there another family that can help? If so, it is an innovative idea for you to keep a family notebook. In this notebook, you can share with family when you notice they might lack the ability to care for themselves or are unsafe. You can work together to make the necessary changes.  

Step 2: Be Financially Prepared 

As parents or loved ones grow older, they may need help managing finances. While having conversations about money can be awkward, and some may want to avoid it, discussing it now can help prepare for the future. You can start the conversation by asking about essential documents, gathering information about accounts and key contacts, and helping with deciding long-term plans. If you talk to your loved ones now, it will give them more control over financial decisions, so you aren’t overwhelmed with what they would want in an emergency.

Step 3: Install Home Modifications 

To avoid your loved one from sustaining an injury in their home, having accessibility experts evaluate their home for any safety concerns is essential. Older adults fall easier, and a fall can cause injuries or even death. With home modifications, such as grab bars or stairlifts, your loved one can live comfortably and safely at home.

It is a noble endeavor to take on someone else’s needs. It can sometimes feel daunting, yet if you have a plan, you will be more capable of meeting your loved one’s needs. Next Day Access is here to help. Next Day Access can assist you with determining the home modifications you will need to ensure your loved one stays as safe as possible. Contact us for a free in-home consultation. 

Family caregivers often have to find a balance with taking care of a loved one with a disability or limited mobility and the needs of themselves, their spouse, children, and career simultaneously. While caregiving is rewarding and can make a difference in lives, it is a huge time commitment and can become emotionally demanding.  

A report from the AARP in 2012 found that “Among working caregivers caring for a family member or friend, 69% report having to rearrange their work schedule, decreasing their hours or take an unpaid leave in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities.” 

Most must factor in financial burdens, including loss of wages, health insurance and other job benefits while maintaining a career and caregiving. There is also a possibility for lower productivity and the need for extra time off. Unfortunately, this could influence your ability to climb the career ladder. Of course, we do not want to let the needs of our loved ones go unmet so here are some tips to help you find work/life balance. 

5 Tips to Finding a Work/Life Balance

  • Seek out community resources that can provide a variety of support to help families and informal caregivers for older adults aging in place. Some services offer guides, training, videos, etc.  
  • Check out your company’s policies for sick and other leave time. Be aware of the employee assistance programs available to you and make use of them. Many times, you can find a therapist through EAP, a therapist can guide keep you from feeling stressed.
  • Communicate with your upper management staff. Make them aware of the struggles you face with your caregiving responsibilities. Open communications with your employer could lead to creative problem solving and empathy on their part. 
  • Stay organized. You can relieve some stress off yourself by organizing your time, activities, and paperwork. Find a system that works for you. It could be a paper filing system, calendar with alerts or computerized spreadsheet and stay on a good schedule. 
  • Contact Next Day Access. Most of the products we carry are to help you and your loved one feel safer and more comfortable. For guaranteed peace of mind, contact us and we can go over different options we have. Our free in-home evaluations allow our accessibility experts to make suggestions on products that can make life easier for your caregiving tasks. 

Caregiving can become exhausting and lonely. Reaching out for resources and asking for help can help you find a balance with work, life, and caregiving. We would love to hear what strategies you use to balance work and caregiving responsibilities. Feel free to comment on this blog.  

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