Tag Archives: AGE-u-cate Training Institute

Caregiver Burnout: What to Look for and How to Help

burnout - ngste CLosing sleep, poor eating habits, irritability or short tempered – these symptoms may start small and snowball quickly into what is referred to as caregiver burnout.   Professionals and families need to know what to look for and how to help caregivers.  It’s a serious matter and growing, as more families are caring for their loved ones at home with little or no help.

Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude – from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.  Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able to do – either physically, emotionally or financially.

Guilt is a huge problem with caregivers, especially those who are caring for someone with dementia or other chronic illness.  As I reflect on my many years caring for my parents, I think guilt was the over riding struggle.  Like most caregivers, I felt guilty when I was not spending time with my parents, and when I was caring for them I felt guilty that I wasn’t with my children and husband.  It was a constant balancing act – and more than often I felt that I was on the low end of the teeter totter.

Symptoms of caregiver burnout are similar to symptoms of stress and depression:  They may include:

  • Withdrawal from friends, family and social activities
  • Irritability
  • Altered eating patterns
  • Increased sugar consumption or use of alcohol or drugs
  • Frequent headaches or sudden onset of back pain
  • Impatience
  • Loss of compassion
  • Overreacting to criticism or commonplace accidents
  • Resenting the care recipient and/or situation
  • Wishing to “have the whole thing over with”
  • Feeling trapped
  • High levels of fear and anxiety

Playing the “if only games; saying over and over “if only this would happen; or “if only this hadn’t happened”

It is critically important that senior care professionals understand what to look for when they are talking with families.  Symptoms may start slowly but can quickly snowball into a serious situation. Protecting our older adults from neglect and abuse means a watchful eye and being able to guide families with support and help the need.

A few sources for help and assistance are:

      • Social workers
      • Faith based counselors
      • Family Caregiver Support Groups
      • Area Agencies on Aging (hotline 800-963-5337) (www.n4A.org)
      • Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline (800-272-3900) (www.alz.org)
      • National Elder Abuse hotline (800-677-1116)

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www.ncea.acl.gov

    )

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute and creator Dementia Live™️ experience, helping caregivers worldwide to better understand dementia and aging, transforming professional and family caregiver’s ability to better care for our older adults.  

www.AGEucate.com

 

 

 

 

The World needs more AGE-u-caters! Are you one of them?

The rapid pace of our aging world is changing the face of every facet of our society from health and long term care, to faith communities and business establishments.  Across the spectrum, issues such as these are at the forefront of leadership discussions:

  • Dementia friendly hospitals – how do we transition as the average patient age increases and cognitive impairment becomes more prevalent
  • Person and Resident-centered long term care – how do we properly train the current workforce and prepare for the shortage that is already upon us and certain to become even more severe in the near future?
  • Families caring for older adults make up the largest percentage of caregivers in the US and the world.  How do we educate, support and provide resources to help them cope with the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual challenges of the caregiving journey?
  • Faith Communities are faced with ministering and caring for their skyrocketing numbers of aging adults, yet often lack the training, staff and volunteers to meet the complex needs of their members and families.  How do they receive guidance and training to help them further their ministry and mission in helping those in need?
  • Age friendly communities, businesses and organizations must have a plan and guidance to successfully meet changing demographics.  Who can help with better understanding the needs of older adults?

Aging educators and trainers work with long term care providers, hospitals, the business community, families, faith communities, and public agencies.  They are trained in a variety of aging and caregiver topics,  whether one is a professional or family care partner, business person who serves an older adult population, or serves either of these groups with public resources.  We call them AGE-u-caters and they are part of our team at the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute!

AGE-u-caters are  seasoned professionals in the aging field, coming from the senior care industry, clinicians, social work or education.  All have a passion to help others by using their skills to train, educators and coach others.  Often they are looking for a career change, recently retired from long term regular employment, or supplementing retirement income or other part time work.

AGE-u-caters are networkers, involved in their communities and continually learning about the aging field.  They are part of a fast growing worldwide network aging advocates in their local and regional communities.

The world needs more AGE-u-caters!  Could you be one of them?

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for aging adults and those that care for them and is leading a fast growing network of worldwide AGE-u-caters who offer innovative and powerful training and education programs – creating transformative change for an aging world!  

 

Creating Collages with Elders Living with Dementia

IMG_9448Our guest blogger is AGE-u-cate Master Trainer, Sue Wilson, LMSW, CADDCT, CDP  –  360 Elder Solutions (www.360eldersolutions.com)

In this article you’ll learn how to use collage making as a creative means to engage with your loved one living with dementia and enable their voice. You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of collage making. Making a collage involves choosing images, shapes, and ‘bits and pieces’, then arranging them, and gluing them onto a surface. Collages can be wildly complicated, beautifully simple, or anywhere in between. It’s the opportunities to make choices, express preferences and feelings, and create that empowers an individual and give them voice. Over time, brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s and other dementias diminish language abilities making it progressively harder to engage with others. It becomes more difficult to understand the spoken words of others and to verbally express personal preferences, needs, thoughts and feelings. Losing the ability to effectively communicate can cause frustration and isolation and lead to anger, loneliness and boredom. Art provides a positive and meaningful way to communicate when words are not readily available. Supplies Gather an assortment of meaningful items that communicate your loved one’s current and past interests and preferences. Collages can be made from just about anything and do not require a trip to the craft store. Step outside, into your garage, or look in your “everything” drawer! Gather items that are appealing and will help tell a story. Such as:

• Photos of family members, a favorite car, images and items related to past military service, employment and hobbies, school days, honors earned, celebrations, a favorite pet are elements of life stories for reminiscing and person-­‐centered care.

• For gardeners and nature buffs, gather fresh or dried leaves, dirt, seeds and blossoms to add life and texture to collages. Collect colorful and interesting treasures on a nature walk.

• Gather old magazines, color tissue paper, ribbons, fabric scraps and even old ties, large buttons, construction paper, crayons, and markers from around the house. Or, if needed pick some up at the grocery store.

• Sprinkle a few drops of vanilla, lavender, peppermint, or citrus essential oils on the fabric squares to engage the sense of smell. Apply favorite spices, perfumes or colognes.

  • Have glue sticks for paper, or glues for fabric or wood items.

• Stray puzzle pieces, scrabble letters, dominoes, playing cards and other game pieces.

• Poster board and construction paper work well as surfaces for paper collages, but use a sturdier surface when incorporating embellishments.

• Grow and vary collage supplies to meet and engage changing abilities, interest and preferences.

Set up

• Minimize distractions.

• Decide what you are going to glue the collage onto.

• Set out a variety of papers, images, bits and pieces and see what sparks interest. What is of interest today may not be interesting tomorrow.

• Items can be grouped into themes and placed in separate baskets and brought out on different occasions.

• Help get things started with positive comments and simple instructions. It can be difficult for individuals in later stages of dementia to get started so start by sifting through images and pieces, ask for help in selecting items and with arranging them onto the surface.

• Wait for a response and create the opportunity for reminiscence.

• As time goes on, an individual living with dementia is more apt to recognize faces and places from young adulthood, teenage years, and early childhood, which trigger early emotional thoughts and feelings.

• Images can be torn or cut from magazines and catalogues, same with strips or shapes of paper. Photocopies work as well as original photos.

• The possibilities are endless.

Do:

• Relax. It is as important for you to lay down sweet memories of your loved one now as it is for them to have your presence and company in the now.

• Pay attention to what sparks interest.

• Reminisce enjoyable moments and give compliments when looking at photos and images. For example: o How handsome or beautiful they look in a particular photo. o How proud you are of them for the award they received. o How well they played golf or when they got a hole in one. o Describe the smell and taste of the amazing chocolate cake they made – say something like “I think that was your mother’s recipe.”  How fun and exciting it was when you were out on the lake and they caught that giant trout. o Your compliments will help them enjoy their feelings associated with images, textures or scents.

• Pay attention to when your loved one starts tiring.

• Keep supplies handy and growing so art becomes a regular part of your rhythm and routine.

• Make note of items most enjoyed, changing abilities and moods.

• Display collages and share as gifts. These will become lasting treasures.

Don’t

  • Overwhelm with too many choices.
  •  Hurry the process or take over. It is all about the process and not the product. • Ask your loved one if they remember the name of a particular person or place.
  • Put your loved one on the spot by reminding them of what they do not remember.
  • For more ideas of using creative expression and art to engage your loved one in meaningful activities, contact Sue S. Wilson, LMSW, CADDCT, CDP at sue@360eldersolutions.com and visit her website at www.360eldersolutions.com.

www.AGEucate.com

Adventures in Senior Care…An Industry on the Move

AdventureI’m always energized after attending and speaking at conferences.  Learning about creative programming, new technologies being developed and how we are preparing for the next wave of seniors makes me even more excited about our future as a training and education provider.   To be in the senior care industry today means adventure at every corner!

Like life itself, it is the journey that counts.  While industry analysts try to predict future trends, we all know that there will be surprises along the way.  I often relate caregiving for older adults, especially those with chronic illness – to riding a roller coaster.  Up one minute, and down the next with twists and turns along the way.

These incredible highs and lows are experiences that leaves you forever changed.  Leaders, entrepreneurs, clinicians, academicians and seniors dealing with aging issues, like dementia or other chronic illnesses themselves are collaborating to make a better world for us all.  The fact is our society is aging quickly.  How we age and care for others in the years ahead is up to us.

Adventures don’t come without risks.  Entrepreneur Tony Robbin’s quote is a reminder that with every new opportunity, there will most likely be some difficulties along the way – “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Dynamic products and programs like Eversound, Eldergrow®, SingFit™️ and Ageless Grace® are just a few that come to mind that are stretching the limits of possibilities for seniors to live fully.   Embracing creativity and boldness,  these companies are successfully transforming the growing numbers of professional and family caregivers who can also see their lives enriched along with their care partners.

It’s an incredible time to be in Senior Care!

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  A caregiver advocate, speaker, trainer and facilitator, Pam is passionate about embracing positive change in senior care through quality training and education.  

www.AGEucate.com, www.eversoundhq.com,www.eldergrow.org, www.singfit.com