President's Corner - (For Caregivers)
By Christine L. Browning R.N.
I want to formally thank all of you on the caregiving team for your hard work and dedication. Home Helpers of Barrington and Palatine is a lifelong dream of mine and you are the day to day face of that dream coming true. Our mission is;
“ To improve the quality of life for clients of all ages and their families through comprehensive, quality, compassionate care.”
YOU! Are the face of our organization and I thank you for showing up on time every time, looking nice and with a smile on your face even though we all have those days where we don’t feel like smiling. I know we also have some clients that don’t make us feel like smiling either. The good news is that I have found that when you really put yourself in the client’s shoes it is so much easier to care for them. Many of them are in constant pain. They are frustrated remembering the days when they could do things for themselves. Our job is to make sure they can still do many if not all of those things with just a bit of help from us. We keep them in their home rather than in a home. We keep them safe and put their minds and the minds of their families at ease. All of this is possible because of you! So again, I thank you for making us the best homecare company in the Northern Chicagoland suburbs!
Welcome to FALL!!!
Happy Holidays to everyone!
I can’t believe 2017 is nearly over and 2018 awaits us with eager anticipation. I sincerely appreciate all the compassionate care for our clients. So many of our caregivers continue to amaze me with their hard work and dedication. I find myself somewhat speechless. Yet still I run into stories that sadden me as well.
I recently listened to a gentleman who had waited too late to call. He thought it could be put off just a little longer and then the call came. His father had fallen and laid on the floor for hours with a broken hip. Alone and in pain. Why? I have heard many reasons for similar stories; Simple procrastination, “We did not want to have the conversation”, “we thought it would be too expensive”, my loved one was too proud and even “we (the rest of the family) couldn’t agree on a course of action.” The tough thing is they are nearly all preventable especially with a customized care plan to work within the financial plan.
This is why we do what we do. We have the privilege to provide peace of mind, independence and safety for folks in our care every day. As Thanksgiving approaches I am thankful for that opportunity. As I travel around to see many of you reading this note I am thankful that you consider this more than “just a job” but rather, a calling.
So really, thank you for all that you do each day. Whether you are referral partner making sure we don’t find out “too late” or a caregiver simply doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Day in and day out. Schedule changes, bad weather or late nights. Thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmastime everyone! May your lives be blessed as much as you have blessed ours.
Article of Interest
Why Seniors Need a Living Will
October 03, 2016 By Christine Browning, R.N.
No one wants to talk about end of life issues. Especially if those issues involve a beloved aging senior who isn’t near the end of his life. But no matter how hesitant family members might be to broach the subject, either because they find the subject awkward or in poor taste, it’s crucial that a living will be discussed and legally documented while your senior is still able to make known his or her wishes for end of life care! If your loved one is already unable to state coherently his or her wishes, then talk with siblings or other family members. Make and document the decisions you choose together.
Seniors, caregivers, and family members benefit from having a living will in place. Older adults often are relieved to have their end of life wishes known. Many seniors do not want their families to be burdened with having to make these difficult decisions during a sudden health crisis. Also, the burden of worrying that their wishes won’t be followed is removed.
A living will is a legal document which clearly lists a person’s stated wishes for end of life care. It may also be called a healthcare directive or an advance directive. The terms of the living will influence doctors and family members when they must decide on medical treatment for patients unable to communicate or no longer able to decide for themselves.
A living will and a medical Power of Attorney often work together. Some states combine the two into one document. Your senior can choose someone legally to make medical decisions for them. Sometimes that person is called the health care agent. They might also be called the proxy for health care decisions.
A living will documents specifically what end of life treatments are acceptable to your older adult and which ones they refuse. Usually, a living will includes a senior’s preferences for treatments such as CPR, mechanical ventilation (breathing by machine), tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotics or antiviral meds, palliative care (keeping the patient as comfortable and pain-free as possible. A senior may refuse any invasive treatments or tests, or may choose to have their medical Power of Attorney make those decisions about tests, etc., on an as-needed basis.
In a living will, end of life care directives often include seniors’ wishes for after end of life. Many seniors want to donate organs and tissue for others awaiting transplants. They may also wish to donate their bodies for scientific study. These two issues may be perhaps the most difficult to broach with your senior, but it is important that you do so.
When considering a living will for your senior, be sure to read the “fine print.” Having a living will takes the guesswork out of the decision making of end of life care. It protects caregivers or family members from the stress of trying to honor wishes which were not made clear to them and it should prevent arguments about the patient’s end of life care among family members and caregivers.
If seniors want a non-family member or an unmarried partner to be in charge of their end of life care, they have to put in place both a living will and a medical Power of Attorney. Otherwise, HIPPA laws will prevent doctors from even speaking to them about your older adult’s care.
Different states have different laws for living wills. Some states may require only the living will whereas another may require both a living will and a medical Power of Attorney. Make sure to use the correct form for your state. You can find links on the website for The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Choose the “Caring” section. That link refers to the living will as an Advance Directive.
For more helpful information, visit our website, click here.
Find out how Home Helpers caregivers can help provide the best possible quality of life at home for your loved one – contact us to schedule your free in-home consultation today.
"Caregiver of the Quarter"
Susan is an R.N. ( Retired Nurse). Susan has been with us for 3 years this November. She is always bright and cheerful and happy to help out when we need last minute help. She takes pride in what she does, as she interacts with her clients in a way that’s both caring and genuine. Susan cares about doing things the right way, and always has a positive attitude. In her spare time, Susan enjoys being with her Husband and Grandchildren. Susan is very involved with the church she and her husband attend, as well as enjoying scrapbooking.
Peggy and Dorothy (2 of our current clients) know that they can rely on Susan to not only be there for her shift, but to be greeted with a smile.
Susan is a hard worker and always accepts assignments when she is able. We are grateful to have found such a true gem. Thank You Susan!
"Photo of the Quarter"
Taken by Steven, our Director of Business Development.
"Caregiver Tip of the Quarter”
Seven Things Dementia Family Caregivers Need to Do
By Christine Browning, R.N.
Home Helpers of Barrington, Palatine, Buffalo Grove and the surrounding cities understands that caring for a family member with dementia is a nonstop challenge. The stress never lets up and eventually the fatigue can take a serious toll on anyone. Our caregivers are specially trained on how to deal with these issues and yet we still make sure they get the proper breaks they need. Are you getting the proper breaks you need?
The intense stress of dealing with a family member that has dementia in any form is tough enough and then there are the additional stresses of daily life and of course other family members as well. We have seen health conditions arise in family caregivers that are directly attributable to the stress caused by caregiving. Depression, heart disease and even more cases of getting the flu, the common cold and other common ailments as the mind and body just don’t have the normal stamina to fight off these issues.
There are some things you can do to care for yourself.
First, please call us at (847) 268-8676. If nothing else call us for moral support or advice. Don’t try and go it alone. You may find that Home Helpers can make your life easier in surprisingly simple and easy ways you had not thought of before especially since we customize our care to your specific needs of each family.
Some of our best advice is to step back in any moment you can and take stock. Yes, take stock of what is important in that moment, that hour that day.
Second, give yourself permission to be a bit angry. Yes, it is O.K. and perfectly normal to be more than a little angry. Of course, everyone says be angry at the disease not the person but we are all human and it is not easy to separate the two especially at two in the morning when you are dealing with sundowners for the fifth time that night. Giving yourself that permission to bang on a table, scream into a pillow or whatever works on a regular basis is not just O.K. it is necessary.
Third, get some sleep! Again, don’t do this alone. The single most common cause of accidents, sickness and just plain poor judgment is a lack of sleep and lack of regular sleep.
Fourth, leave the house. Go get a cup of coffee, go out to the grocery store and take your time about it. Do something by yourself or with a close friend. You will be a better caregiver and a healthier you for doing it. You will notice that many of these things require that you allow others to help you. We see the problem every day where family caregivers believe they are the only ones responsible or able to care for their loved ones. What actually ends up happening to these folks is they get burnt out and eventually either need care themselves or are not as good at giving care as they could be. Again, no one can do this on their own well.
Fifth, please don’t ever lose your sense of humor! Find the humor in the little things. Laugh a bit! You may find that people not in your situation think it odd what you find funny these days, but trust us, at Home Helpers we get it!
Sixth, get rid of negative people. This is good advice in any situation, but if there are people in your life that just “don’t get it”. You don’t have time for them. Get them as out of your life as possible. More than ever before you need people in your life you can count on. If people say they will help and then don’t come though, don’t expect that to change going forward. Keep those around you who truly are helpful and don’t spend time on those who can’t or won’t understand or lend a hand.
Seventh, stop feeling bad about not doing what other people expect you to do. Sure, your laundry will pile up, the yard may get overgrown and trust me the house will not get dusted on a regular basis. You may find that dinner may consist of frozen pizza more often than not. Who cares? Keep focused on what is important. That is, you and the one you are caring for. Accept help, get sleep and don’t ever feel guilty about doing things for yourself or getting a bit frustrated. After all, you are human.
Christine Browning R.N.
Owner: Home Helpers Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Palatine and the surrounding suburbs of Chicago
"Birthdays for the Quarter”