Tag Archives: education

What is our Score on Practicing Family-Centered Care?

269483We’re all in this together… the tsunami is here and every one of us serving older adults in some capacity should be getting on the band wagon and FAST.   Person and patient centered care must be focused on supporting and educating families.  When family-centered care is embraced it becomes an approach to health care decision making that involves health care professionals and family members.

Dignity and respect are the core value of family-centered care.  Listening to and honoring a patient’s and families values, perspectives and choices bridges communications between healthcare professionals and understanding the wishes of families.  The delivery of quality care under a family-centered model means understanding and honoring the family’s beliefs, knowledge and cultural backgrounds.

The challenge of providing family-centered, patient-centered care in today’s health care system is complex,  especially for older adults  who are living with dementia or chronic illness.   The time constraints to practice family-centered care when health professionals are stretched for time is a very real problem.

Understanding a family’s knowledge of a loved one’s physical and emotional needs are complex, especially if they do not live with them.  At the same time, far too many older adults are entering hospital systems with no family members to advocate for their care.  If their is cognitive impairment it becomes an even greater challenge to treat that patient.

Family-centered care must start with reaching out to families with education and awareness.  Collaboration with private and public sectors, forming community partnerships, community organizations and faith communities – must be a priority as we face the aging tsunami.

The far majority of caregivers are family members, and that is going to increase drastically as more families cannot afford to pay for private care and staff shortages increase.  New and innovative ways to reach families, educate them early and provide support avenues is absolutely essential to improving care for older adults.

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for educating families and those that provide care for older adults.

For more information visit the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care www.ipfcc.org

www.AGEucate.com

 

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

 

 

 

 

“Fragile- Handle with Care”.. Family Caregiver

AdobeStock_111421916Looking back to my years a family caregiver, I wonder if I’d worn a badge that read “Fragile – Handle with Care”,  it might have been easier for others to understand me.  Why I often had puffy eyes from crying, or scatter brained from sleep deprivation.  I can remember a certain period of time when I was issued a number of traffic violations…speeding through a school zone of all things (my children were both in elementary school at the time).  Thank goodness this was before cell phones.  There were times when I simply wasn’t myself.  I was emotional, physically and spiritually worn out and burned out.  Thinking clearly was often a challenge because I was overwhelmed.

The statistics are staggering.  According to AARP 2015 report, approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the prior 12 months.  Nearly 1 in 10 caregivers is 75 years of age or older (7%).  These numbers are rising at alarming speed and will not slow down for many years.  

My 15 year journey of personal caregiving for my parents and 10 years of  professional work in the field of caregiver education continues to open my eyes to the very real challenges we face:

  • We have a public health crisis that is not being addressed quickly enough
  • Family caregivers continue to be in desperate need of education and support, especially those caring for loved ones with cognitive impairment
  • Most of our public agencies and community services are already stretched to meet the demands of providing services for older adults and their caregivers – HELP IS NEEDED FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR
  • Faith Communities have enormous opportunities to minister to the aging adults and their families, but they need help and guidance in doing so

Families account for the lions share of caregiving taking place in this country (and around the world), yet studies consistently report that stress, fatigue, isolation, lack of education and support, understanding care options, finding respite services, and declining health are among the many challenges that loved one’s face.

For those of us passionate about helping these families better cope, find help, stay well (so that they can take of their loved ones) – we must work together for change.  I’m moved each time I have the privilege of talking with and helping a family.  Sometimes that is with education, many times it’s with a hug.  Always it’s showing someone that you understand and care.

Thank you to all we are able to work with in reaching out to families – understanding they are fragile and need to be handled with great care.

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute based in Dallas-Fort Worth.  A passionate advocate for family caregivers,  she leads a fast growing network of aging and dementia educators across the US and abroad and is the creator of the Dementia Live™️ Experience.

The AGE-u-cated® Care Team, Family Member and Organization

No misspelling here.   Who needs  AGE-u-cation?  Our care teams, family members, elder care providers, hospitals,  business community, churches, non-profits need to be MUCH better AGE-u-cated®!

It’s no secret that the world’s elderly population is soaring, with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to more than double by 2050.
The global population is aging at an unprecedented rate with 8.5 per cent of people worldwide – or more than 600 million – now aged 65 and over,  a report from the US Census Bureau showed.
If the trend continues, then nearly 17 per cent of the global population – 1.6 billion people – will be in the 65-and-over age bracket by 2050.
Many experts agree that we are facing a public health crisis, and we’re just starting the steep climb in numbers.  Frightening?  You bet!  Are we moving fast enough?  Not even near…

I was inspired by our group of new Master Trainers last week who are passionate about training and education for those caring for this vulnerable population.  Bringing new, innovative tools to the hands of direct care staff who are in desperate need, we are aiming to do our part in creating change in attitudes, actions and thinking for a world who needs to better communicate and care for our elderly population.

We applaud those on our team deeply committed to advocacy at the state and national levels,  fighting for pay and benefit increases for those we are entrusting to care for our loved ones, patients and resident; for helping to change policies for the betterment of a healthcare system that is inefficient and wrought with inefficiencies.

AGE-u-cation?  Each and every one of us needs it.  We must train up our young people to understand that caring for elders will and should be a part of their life;  that careers in this field are desperately needed and highly rewarding.

I’ve quoted the wise words of Nelson Mandela before – “It always seems impossible until IT’S DONE”.

We on the AGE-u-cate Tea, want to be a part of GETTING IT DONE!
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3513167/Global-elderly-population-exploding-US-report.html#ixzz4ZEPcuuVs