Care For Caregivers

If you’re caring for an ageing parent or facing the challenges of assisting a loved one or friend who is chronically ill, disabled or elderly, you are not alone. You are one of the 22 million Americans who care for an older adult. Caregivers provide 80 per cent of in-home care, but unlike nurses and home health aides, they are unpaid for their labour of love. 

“Caregiving is a difficult job that can take a toll on relationships, jobs and emotional well-being. Those who care for others need to be sure to take care of themselves, as well.”

Here are some important tips for caregivers:

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

We tend to wait until we are in crisis before asking for help and consultation. Seek out the help of a licensed clinical social worker or other trained professional.

It’s Not Easy to Tell Your Parents What to Do

The most difficult thing about caring for a parent is the day you have to tell them they need to have help, they can no longer drive or they may have to move from their home. Discuss long-term care wishes and desires before any decline happens. 

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your parents or children when they refuse your input and help. Seek a referral to a professional who can help you cope with your personal issues and frustrations. 

Stay Informed

We live in a world of constant change. Medications and treatments are constantly changing and the only way to keep up-to-date is to stay informed with the latest news. Attend local caregiver conferences, participate in support groups, speak with friends and relatives, and talk with professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics. 

Take Time Out

Caregivers who experience feelings of burnout need to accept that occasionally they may need a break from their loved one in order to provide him or her with the best care.

Laugh

Humour and laughter are tremendous healers.

Hire Help

If possible, you may want to hire help. The most important thing is to find trustworthy people to provide assistance. Use recommended home care agencies, talk with friends about their experiences and interview professionals before deciding on the one you are going to retain.

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Visual hallucinations with elderly. Can it be prevented?

Visual hallucinations

Now when the nights are longer, and there is less bright sunlight, visual hallucinations occur more often in the elderly, especially around sunset. We see this mainly when the patient has poor eyesight, especially with macular degeneration. However, the patient knows that what he or she sees is not real.

This is called Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

Last week I saw a patient with dementia. The man saw seven people in his room, right in front of him. It was a bit crowded in his opinion. When I asked them where they were, he was pointing at them, and counting (actually just reached the 5). 

In this case, he really thought they were there. Fortunately, he wasn’t afraid. That is actually the main thing you should check. There is no treatment, and the only thing you can do is to make sure there is a bright light. Very often I see just a small lamp, curtains all closed. 

Another important thing to realize with someone with dementia. Their truth is the truth. You will never win a discussion, and you shouldn’t try it. It will frustrate both of you. So when there are seven people in the room, just check if your loved one is not afraid, and then try to change the subject or say something like: “they will probably leave later”.

Note that hallucinations can also be caused by delirium. When you are not sure, or when there is a lot of fear you cannot deflect or decrease, ask a medical doctor to search for an underlying cause.

Visual Hallucinations

 

Checklist

  • is there fear?
  • turn on a bright light
  • put on glasses when applicable
  • don’t try to correct your loved one