communication is connection

Caring For A Loved One Who Can No Longer Speak

Communicating without Speaking

You may wonder how difficult it may be to understand an individual whom you cannot speak with.  Most of the time, the one who cannot speak does not know how to relay their wants and needs to you either.  They can become frustrated because communicating was once much easier.  Many of us are caring for aging loved ones who can no longer communicate with us.  Seniors may lose their ability to talk, known as aphasia, which can occur from stroke, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease or a brain injury.  However, even minor difficulties in speech can be a challenge for both the caregiver and caretaker.

When losing the ability to speak, our loved ones begin to feel isolated and misunderstood, which many times can lead to anger, depression and mood swings.  It is critical for caregivers and family members to be able to communicate with seniors in any way possible.  Not just for the collective understanding, but mainly for the feeling of comfort.  This process is incredibly scary for seniors.  Always keep that in mind!

Using the sense of touch

It has been far known that the sense of touch is one of the last to be impaired by aging.  The feeling of comfort and safety is very consoling to the ones who can no longer speak like they used to.  Beginning to rely on touch to communicate will require extra attention to their non-verbal cues.  Pay attention to their facial expressions and their hand gestures.  These two actions will express a lot on how your loved one is feeling and if anything may be bothering them.

One common problem to avoid is expressing any negative emotions or gestures towards your loved one.  We completely understand that caregiving is a very difficult and demanding task for anyone to take on.  If you have children, this may take you back to when they were being a toddler.  Even though getting upset is a natural reaction to the situation, it only makes things worse.  Try to remain calm.  The more time the both of you spend together, the more you will be able to understand one another.

hearing without speaking

Even though a one-sided conversation may seem like you are talking at the person instead of with the person, this is still beneficial for your loved ones.  Continue to fill them in on what is going on in their life and the families.  Go over what your day is going to look like and any appointments that are scheduled.  Continue to ask them questions.  Look for cues or indications into what they may be feeling inside.  According to a study done by the National Alzheimers Resource Center, many seniors can continue to hear and comprehend their native language far after they become unable to speak.  You may be amazed on just how much they can still understand.

Remember, always be patient.

For more on caregiving…

7 healthy habits and tips for caregivers

You can get paid being a caregiver to your family!

How to stay positive while caregiving

Helping Our Loved Ones Cope With Loneliness

It is completely understandable as to why you may feel lonely as you get older.  Family and friends may have moved to a different city or state.  Coworkers no longer keep in touch due to the same circumstances.  And, as we unfortunately have to deal with, some of the individuals close to us may have passed away.

However, that does not mean you have to be lonely in your golden years.  There are many things you can do in your area to remain social and avoid being isolated.  Life as a senior should be vibrant, fun and entertaining almost as if you were a child again.  After all, you did work really long and hard to get to this point.  Here are a few ideas to help that our closest group of seniors have shared with us.

go on an adventure to new places

With the warm weather approaching, businesses and city parks are preparing their locations for first time visitors.  Museums are extending their hours to accommodate more people.  Shopping centers and downtown areas are thriving with new construction every day.  You might want to visit your favorite store to see the new items on the shelves.

Whatever the case is, you should look around in your area for new town events.  As a caregiver, check the local newspapers for what is happening on the town greens.  Or you may want to visit the cities website to mark your calendar with future plans.  Just getting out and being around others, even if it is the smallest social experience, it can help to avoid loneliness.

Pets help combat loneliness

Do you have a dog or a cat?  Or maybe the neighbor has a dog running around the fenced in yard.  If not, the local shelter is always looking for volunteers to help with walking and caring for their animals.  Pets are a great way to feel a sense of relief, reward and satisfaction.  Remember, our loved ones once cared for young children.  The feeling of caring for an animal helps lower anxiety and contribute to an overall boost in well being.  If the idea seems reasonable and feasible, consider adopting a pet.  this may not be the best option for everyone, but animals can provide the best form of companionship to help with the feeling of loneliness.

listen and let them teach you

As a caregiver, one of the best ways to help our loved ones to open up is to ask them questions.  You see, they have spent many years learning from others and making mistakes, they love to pass on their wisdom to the next generation.  This is a great way to connect with each other on a much deeper level.

As generations have changed and technology has advanced, some of the traditional ways people did things are no longer taught today.  But many of them had to learn efficient and effective ways of completing daily tasks.  Ask them about how they used to do things at your age.  You would be surprised on how much you learn!

Always watch for depression, especially in the long winter months.  This can be common among seniors.  If you see circumstances getting worse please consult with your local physician.

 

 

Seniors at the farmers market

Spring Is Here! 6 Activites For Seniors

It’s Time to get outside!

Finally!

After what seemed like forever but was only 5 months, the cold is on it’s way out.  The warm air and bright sun over the weekend will slowly push the trees and plant life out of hibernation.  This is the time of year where we can all spend more time outside with family and loved ones.  Here are a few local activities to enjoy this spring, as well as a few health tips.

 1.  First and Foremost, Get Outdoors!

The number one goal is to be outside.  Wether you are able to be active or are able to sit on a park bench, studies from Harvard Medical have shown being outdoors has a direct correlation with your overall mood.  The sunlight tends to elevate peoples mood levels and helps relive stress.  Also, an increase amount of Vitamin D will help your body fight certain conditions from osteoporosis and cancer, to depression and heart attacks.  As long as we don’t overdo the amount of sun we take in, it is very beneficial to your overall health.

 2.  visit your local farmers market

Visiting a local farmer’s market should be high on your list this spring.  Not only will this help you get outdoors but also give you the opportunity to eat better.  You will find new and healthy fruits and vegetables to try.  Many markets also offer new recipe lists as well as classes ranging from healthy cooking to making your own soaps.  Click here for a list of farmers markets in Connecticut.

 3.  Take swimming classes at the local ymca

Now, while this may not be an outdoor activity, most people find it more enjoyable to swim when it is warm outside.  Naturally our bodies try to refrain from getting wet when the temperature is low.  Local YMCA’s have a list of classes for individuals of all mobility ranges.  Swimming is great for your heart health as well as getting those muscles pumping!

 4.  eat outside on the patio

Many of us New Englanders cannot wait to fire up the grill for the first time.  The smell of the charcoal burning has summertime written all over it.  Many restaurants are excited to open up their patio as soon as the weather starts to become enjoyable.  Ask around for new and exciting places to enjoy a meal outdoors.  For a list of the top 25 restaurants with outdoor dining click here.

 5.  take a stroll in the park

Connecticut state employees are busy this time of year doing spring cleanup in all of the city and state parks.  Many have statues explaining the history behind the land and how the park was created.  Some will host food trucks, arts and craft shows, and live music in the evenings.

While we are all excited for the warm weather to fully blossom, let’s not forget to protect ourselves from the sun.

  • Make sure to put on a high SPF sunscreen at all times, even when it is cloudy.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Watch out for allergies.  The pollen is strong this time of year.
  • Wear sunglasses!

And as always.. Have fun!

 

 

 

Benefits of Adult Day Centers

seniors love adult day centers

Adult Day Centers are a great resource for caregivers and seniors, but many are unaware of the benefits these centers can provide.  For caregivers, trying to balance your personal responsibilities and caring for a loved one can become stressful at times.  However, what is even more important are the benefits to seniors.

Staying inside during the winter months can take a toll on anyone.  Trying to find fun and healthy activities to do yourself is not always easy.  That is where Adult Day Centers come in.  We provide a place for seniors to engage in exciting activities, socialize with others, and enjoy life outside of their home.

How adult day services can help

Adult Day Services are planned programs that last all of part of the day. These services help older adults and those who have medical or physical disabilities continue to have an active lifestyle and involvement in the community.  Our services begin at 8am and end at 4pm.  We provide breakfast and a gourmet three-course lunch.  We also offer:

  • Door to Door Transportation
  • Nursing and Medical Supervision
  • Health Screenings
  • Shopping Trips
  • Computer Classes
  • Social Activities
  • Exersize Programs

Our daily services are all enjoyed by our members in a safe and supervised environment.

Who benefits from adult day services?

Adult Day Centers are a right choice for you if:

  • You are a caregiver in need of a short break
  • You work full time and would like supervision for your loved one
  • Seniors looking for a fun and exciting place to socialize with others

Improving the quality of life for both caregivers and loved ones is the number one priority of most individuals.  I know you may be thinking right now, should I feel guilty if I am not home with my loved one?

The answer is no.  Adult Day Centers are an amazing resource for both parties involved.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Too much of anything is not good?”

It applies in this case as well.  Being the caregiver and never getting a break will lead to stress and caregiver burnout.  This is only inevitable.  As a caregiver, you need time to be able to take care of your own personal needs as well as enjoy your life out side of caregiving.  Whether you are raising your own children, working part-time, or involved in other activities, you do not want these responsibilities to suffer due to care taking.  Living a balanced life is very important.  Remember, you must take care of yourself first before you can take care of another.

Other times it may be difficult to think if your care recipient will enjoy the day centers.  You may be hesitant to leave supervision of your loved.  That is normal.  We understand.  The staff at Juniper is very accommodating to the needs of our members.  Many seniors come with their caregiver for the day to help them feel comfortable.  And after that first day, most want to come back!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us!  860-523-1418

To see the exciting fun happening at our Adult Day Centers, visit our Facebook page Juniper at Regency.

 

 

 

Caregiver trying to stay positive while at work

How to Stay Positive While Caregiving!

Do you live each day having a positive outlook?  Or at least try to stay positive throughout the day?  If you do, there is good news.  A study involving 106 participants and conducted by Mayo Clinic, showed that individuals who are able to self-talk themselves out of being stressed will live a longer and healthier life.  Other benefits include lower blood-pressure, improved sleep patterns, and lower rates of depression.  Here are a few tips to help you stay positive while caring for your loved one.

8 ways to stay positive as a caregiver

 1.  Don’t hold your emotions inside of you

This may seem like the best option at the time.  Trust me, it isn’t.  Keeping your feelings to yourself will only end up hurting you in the future.  Don’t be afraid to talk about these frustrations or concerns with others.  While everyone may not completely understand what you are going through, they will be able to see how much it affects you and be a compassionate listener.  Be sure to try your best to not show these emotions in front of the person being cared for.  They can already feel like a burden at times.

2.  Take time to be grateful

Even when you may become overwhelmed, you need to take time to remember the things in life you are grateful for.  Talk about the positive conversations you two share and the bonding that has created such a strong relationship.  Recognizing the things you are grateful for, especially pertaining to caregiving, will help provide you with a positive mindset, even during the hard times.

3.  Learn how to manage stress

Managing your stress level is crucial when it comes to maintaining positivity.  Stress occurs when you believe the demands placed on you exceed your ability to cope.  However, this does happen to everyone.  So don’t feel like you are alone or singled out.  For ways to manage stress click here.

 4.  Find time to relax and unwind

Caregiving for a family member can be a 24/7 job.  So, finding time may not be the easiest thing to do.  By the end of the day your are tired and ready for bed yourself.  Try to schedule time once a week to do something for yourself.  Wether that is going to get your nails done, taking a walk in the park, or visiting your friends.  See if a family member is willing to help out, even if it is just for a few hours.  I’m sure they would love to assist you.  If you cannot find help, we can provide our services such as companion care or personal care.

 5.  find joy in exercising

Exercising releases endorphins in the brain and has been proven to help reduce stress and increase energy.  Exercising will also encourage good eating habits.  Many of our caregivers feel maintaining a healthy diet is a key factor to keeping their mind sharp.  If you feel like you cannot find 30 minutes each day, break your exercises up into 10 minute blocks.

6.  Keep things simple

Sometimes doing only what needs to be done is okay.  That means as long as the dishes are done, laundry is clean, and meals are made then you have accomplished the day.  Try not to set too many daily goals.  This may make you feel rushed and frustrated if everything on your list isn’t completed.

7.  Start writing in a journal

Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings will help relieve some of the pressure and stress you may be feeling.  Journaling has also been proven to help the brain process issues that are currently active.  Meaning, if something is bothering you, writing it down can help you resolve the issue.

8.  Remember, you’re doing great!

Always remind yourself that you are doing a great job.  If something doesn’t work out as planned it is okay.  You did the best you could at that particular moment.

For more tips on caregiving please visit our learning center here.

Any questions or concerns please contact us at

You Can Get Paid Being a Caregiver to Your Family!

Becoming a paid family caregiver in CT

Did you know you can be compensated for being the primary caregiver to a family member?  Are you, or someone you know, already taking care of a loved one who is over the age of 65?  Or, are you and your family seeking options for a parent who is currently aging?  Do you currently live in the Hartford, New Haven or Bridgeport area?  Well, Connecticut offers a program that will pay YOU to take care of an aging loved one.

That’s right.  You!

You don’t need to have any medical background or experience in this industry.  You aren’t required to get licensed or go to school before becoming a paid family caregiver.  So long as the individual you are caring for qualifies under title 19, you are all set.  For those qualifications click here.

This program began with the main intent to help seniors age in place.  A study done by AARP in 2017 shows that 87% of seniors above the age of 65 want to stay in their own home.  This was never possible before.  As nursing homes have began to fill since 2013 this idea of aging in place has become a reality.

Over the last two months our company has been sharing information about this program.  The reason I am writing this post today is due to the amount of people who are unaware there is financial help available.  With that being said, here are some valuable tips on how to get started.

The adult family living program

What does it take to become a caregiver in Connecticut?

  1. Caregiver must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Caregiver may not be a spouse or legal guardian of the person receiving care

Who qualifies under the Adult Family Living Program in Connecticut?

  1. Care receiver must be at least 65 years of age
  2. Must be a resident of Connecticut
  3. Meet the programs financial eligibility criteria
  4. Needing assistance with everyday routines such as eating, bathing, toileting or dressing.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services will then determine if the recipients are eligible for the program.  There are four different levels to assist with those needing any amount of care.  In return, care providers receive compensation for their caregiving efforts. In the case of family members, caregivers are paid for work that they would have likely provided for free.

How Juniper can help you

Juniper Homecare is an industry leading provider of all your home health needs.  We hold an initial orientation to help both the caretaker and care recipient.  We assist with training, 24/7 support, and scheduled nursing visits.  Give us a call today.  We will help you with any questions you may have.

Helping seniors age at home is an amazing gift that is now possible.  You may already be helping with everyday tasks that you are not being compensated for.  Don’t wonder if you qualify.  Call us at 860-523-1418 to find out!

For more information click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Family Caregiver Program?

Family caregiver program in ct

Do you currently live with someone who may have issues with mobility, transportation, bathing, eating and more? Are you their primary caretaker? If so, you may qualify for compensation as a result of the tireless, committed care you already provide.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) was established in 2000 with an initiative to help support family and informal caregivers care for aging adults to keep them in their home as long as possible.  Connecticut has offered a new service under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) which includes a family caregiver program (AFL) that began in 2013 that allows seniors to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.  In addition to, caregivers may be eligible to receive a tax free stipend up to $500 per week or $26,288 per year.

Thats’ incredible!

This is a great alternative to aging in a nursing home or having to hire an outside caregiver.  Outside caregivers are very expensive and do not know the senior loved one nearly as well as family.  The type of services provided in this program include:

  • providing information to caregivers
  • assistance in gaining access to these services
  • counseling, support groups, and caregiver training
  • personalized care plan
  • 24/7 support to the caregiver and client

Family caregiver qualifications

The Department of Social Services mandates the applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible to participate in this program:

  • the client must be 65 years or older and caregiver must be at least 18 years of age
  • Connecticut state resident
  • needing assistance with personal care.  This includes bathing, eating, transportation, dressing and taking medication.
  • must meet the programs financial eligibility

Each applicant is then reviewed to determine if the client is able to stay at home with the assistance of home care services.

How Juniper homecare can help

Serving as a caregiver for a family member is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone can do. Not only do you get to spend time with your loved one, but you also have the opportunity to ensure he/she receives the best quality care possible.

Juniper is an industry leading home healthcare agency focused on providing support and resources to the elderly community in Connecticut.  Juniper staffs the highest level nurses to assist family caregivers in providing the best care to their loved one.  We understand the importance in training and guidance when it comes to taking care of another person.  Our team helps you every step of the way.

Additional services that Juniper also provides:

  • Adult Day Center – located in New Britain and Hartford – Check out how much fun and excitement our groups have each day here!
  • Meals on Wheels – serving the Greater Hartford area – Get a hot and delicious home cooked meal delivered to your door from Elmwood Kitchen
  • Around the Home – Looking for some help with tasks around the house such as homemaking, personal care, or heavy housekeeping?

For more information about Juniper and the Family Caregiver Program click here or contact us today at 860-523-1418 for any questions with home care.  We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

How to Improve Senior Care Communication

Caregiver communication is key

Initiating a conversation about health and wellness with a senior can be difficult.   Family members tend to be hesitant to talk about certain needs that are recognized, or how to properly plan for future care.  What exactly be needed?  What type of care does mom and dad want?  Knowing the answers to these questions will help you better understand what steps to take.  Although these conversations may not be the easiest, they are worth having.  Here are some types to help with communicating.

gather information about your loved one

Write down everything during this conversation.  Ask them about the last few months.  Have they fallen?  Did they forget to take their medication or pay the bills?  Are all doctors’ visits current?  This will help you get a better understanding of their current state.  Listen to your instincts.  Any change in conditions could indicate for added care.

Remian connected and unbias

Create a positive environment with the objective to listen rather than to respond.  This will help them feel comfortable and more open to longer communication.  Your goal is not to give advice but to express love and concern.  Stay calm and be as comforting as possible.  You don’t want your loved one to feel pressured into making a decision he/she feels others want.  Keep assumptions to a minimum.  Ask questions to gain intel and only refer to situations that already have occurred.

involve siblings and close family members

Talk to your brothers and sisters about the current situation before talking with your loved one.  They may have been informed about information that you are unaware of and vice versa.  This may require putting aside personal issues between one another for the best interest of him/her.  The first conversation should be only between a family member and your senior loved one.  Involving too many individuals at the beginning will create unsteady and hostile surroundings.  After the first or second conversation, gather everyone together.

Be prepared for the word “no”

This is a topic that also needs to be discussed with siblings before the actual conversation to make sure everyone is on the same page.  Your loved one may be frustrated by the situation an unwilling for any type of care.  This is completely normal.  Do not push or try to persuade him/her into anything.  Instead, step back and give them some time to think things through.  Try offering tips in a positive manner such as the benefits are there.  This may give them the opportunity to stay at home longer and be able to spend more time with family and friends.

While it may be discomforting to think about your loved one aging and showing signs of added assistance, many seniors feel relieved that they are being loved and cared for.

Click here to visit our website and explore options on senior care.

Already a caregiver looking for help and support?  Juniper offers a free service to help and assist with questions about senior care.  Click here!

 

Caregiver clipart

7 Healthy Habits and Tips for Caregivers

Between doctor visits, medications, and routine check-ups, organizing a weekly schedule can be stressful for anyone.  Not to mention, being a caregiver requires you to take care of your own health as well.  This can lead to unnecessary amounts of stress and added pressure to your loved ones and yourself.  Research shows carefully managing your stress is one of the most important factors influencing happiness and effectiveness.  Here are 7 tips to help you stay healthy and create an organized routine.

1.  Eat Regularly and healthy

Eating a balanced diet is very important to your health as well as your ability to provide care that is needed.  Forgetting to eat will only turn to poor food choices.  When malnourished, our bodies produce a hormone called Cortisol which causes us to crave foods high in fat and sugar.  This leads to lower amounts of energy and higher amounts of stress.

2.  get the proper amount of sleep

Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, according The National Institute of Health.  Getting a good night sleep helps your body feel rejuvenated.  Try going to bed at the same time every night for a week straight.  See if you notice a difference in the way you feel.

3.  Stay physically active

Exercising not only helps maintain weight and prevent poor health conditions.  A study by Mayo Clinic shows exercising also boosts energy, improves mood, and helps your mental health.  Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day.  Any type of cardio movement will lead to a higher quality of life.

4.  join a support group

You don’t have to do it alone.  There are many support groups online where caregivers come together for support and guidance.  The Caregivers Space is a group with over 100,000 members and counselors dedicated to providing care to senior loved ones.  They are available 24/7 for any questions or comments.  Click here to become a member today!

5.  learn more about your loved ones needs

Every person is affected differently by aging.  Getting to know their desires, interest, and needs will not only help them live a happier and more fulfilling life but also help you become better at understanding and communicating with them.  Begin the conversation early to help build a lasting connection.

6.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Do not wait until you are completely overwhelmed with caregiving to ask for help.  Start to talk to other family members and friends about ways to everyone can help.  Also, look for resources such as local senior centers and meals on wheels programs to assist a couple days a week.

7.  Determine where you are needed most

While we all would love to be a superhero, taking on a role of caregiving does not make you one.  Every care situation is different, and circumstances can change over time.  It is okay to not be able to do everything all the time.  To help with this, figure out which specific activities and tasks you are needed most.  Wether it is bathing, eating and dressing or running errands and companionship.  Creating a list prioritizing where to spend most of your time will help you and your loved one.

 

elderly hands typing on computer

Online Privacy Tips for Senior Loved Ones

Privacy Tips for Seniors

Cybersecurity has begun to fill news headlines more and more over the last five years.  As the internet grows, so does the desire for hackers to reach your private data.  Departments, including the government, have been breached on all levels.  Large name-brand stores, credit card monitoring companies, and big banks have all had a fair share of strikes occur against them.

However, there are a small percentage of Americans who have no online presence at all.  In fact, over 10% of Americans do not use the internet at all according to a United States based research company.  And, the majority of that group, are NOT over the age of 65.  Over two-thirds are under the age of 60.  This means we need to help protect our senior loved ones from a cyber attack.  Let’s dive in a little further on some tips we can use to help manage our risk.

1.  Learn the Basics of a Computer First

Many times seniors are receiving the latest tech equipment from their children or grandchildren.  While this may be a nice gesture, most of the time they are left alone after the initial setup.  Considering reading a guide on the steps to take before trying to get connected to the internet.  Abby Stokes writes a great book outlining the simple steps to take to help minimize your exposure.

2.  Always be Careful Where You Search

Before you click on any link, hover over the text and see if you recognize the URL address.  To do this, hold your mouse over the link without clicking on it.  Then, in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, the website URL address will appear.  Many times hijackers will use anchor text (just like I did right here) in order to try to confuse people into clicking their link.  These links can be found in emails and websites that are not secure.

In addition, Google released an article stating the necessity for all website host providers to switch over to SSL encryption.  What does this mean?  When you are on any website, the address bar will show either a lock or a NOT SECURE logo before URL.  Look at the picture below showing the difference between the two.  Make sure you only visit websites that are secure and have an SSL lock like the picture on the left.

 

3.  Be smart about your passwords

This one is crucial.  Nowadays, every site we log into requires a password.  While this is great for security purposes, it can become troublesome to remember all of your passwords.  What ends up happening is, we use the same ones that are easy to remember over and over again.  Not only is this an issue because of the ability to access all of your platforms once hacked, but you end up using a password that is familiar to you making it easier for the hackers to identify.

According to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, you should be changing your password at least every 90 days.  This will help prevent unwanted visitors and protect your private data.  If you have trouble remembering your passwords, Last Pass is a password managing tool that is great to use.  I will leave a link just below for you to check out.

And remember, if you are unsure about an email or link, do not open it!

Click here to visit Last Pass for you Password Manager