Posts tagged #Homemaker services

Laughter Is Still the Best Medicine

by Yolanda Webb

“Act as if what you do makes a difference...It does” - William James

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Getting older comes with its ups and downs. For some people, life after 65 represents the golden years, but for many, those years can be filled with loneliness, aches and pains, poverty,  unexplained illnesses, and a plethora of doctor visits that can make life itself really hard. While there are many options in caregivers, the best caregivers are those that understand that one of the best ways to help someone feel better is also the simplest.  Laughter.  Bringing laughter and light into the life of a senior can often alleviate many of the pains of growing old.  Here are a number of reasons why laughter and light heartedness may have been lost, and why laughter may be the best medicine:

As we age, we often lose touch with the people that enriched our lives the most when we were younger.  Friends may move away for retirement or have medical problems of their own that can make it harder to stay in touch. Just as friendships and community participation are important parts of growing up, they are also essential for us as we grow older.

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  • While there are many senior opportunities to connect, some seniors, like those who are bed fast / bed bound, may not always have the chance to reconnect with the community behind the walls of their own homes.  Getting involved can be hard at first.  Helping the senior or disabled person to focus on activities they’ve always enjoyed such as games, singing or card playing, can help them reconnect with that laughter and light heartedness they thought was long gone.

  • Helping the senior or disabled person to connect with church or community groups that may be amenable to doing home visits  can help the individual make new friends while enjoying an afternoon or evening of laughter.

  • The people we have around us can easily influence our own outlook and attitudes.  Working with a senior who may already be experiencing the pains of loneliness or depression can only be exacerbated if we bring our own problems or negative attitudes into their lives.  If you have negative friends, family members, or outlook on life, they could be harming those we serve. Look for ways to bring more laughter and light into your daily life as your share the joy of laughter with someone who needs our help..

Many seniors feel they have little control over their circumstances, but simply changing your focus when we serve and support them can bring welcome relief.  As caregivers and those who serve we must always try reminding ourselves every day of the importance of laughter, and you may be able to affect change in those around you.

“I Got My Joy Back!”

October 12, 2017

Yolanda Webb, MA                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Associate Vice President of Home and Community Based Services

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto Monkey Business Images  In Home Services 

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto Monkey Business Images

In Home Services 

When I first spoke with the caregiver over the phone, a daughter who had uprooted her life to move back home after more than 30 years living halfway across the country, I could tell she was in despair.

On the verge of tears she told me that she had moved back to the area about a year ago. What could be so hard, she had said to her other siblings, after all this was their mother!

But, as their mother’s Dementia worsened, she found she was both physically and emotionally exhausted.  What she learned was that being a caregiver felt more like being a lone ranger than a dutiful daughter.  

She had done all the things she thought she should do.  She had created a schedule for her mom, had scheduled activities and appointments, took care of the house, ran errands and so much more.  

When her mother could help out it wasn’t so bad.  However, as the Dementia rapidly worsened she found that she needed help.  She also realized that she was becoming angry.

She was riding an emotional roller coaster, she knew her mother wouldn’t get better, she knew that taking turns with her younger siblings was out of the question.  They both lived out of town and had families of their own.  

She was tired and she knew that even though she had promised her mother she would always be there, she was failing.  

She could no longer fulfill that promise.

She called Meritan and we worked through a plan to get her mother the help she needed, and connected her to resources she needed as a caregiver as well.

Recently she called me and we talked.  This is what she said, “Thank you to Meritan, the two wonderful staff you sent me, and to you for helping me find care for me as the primary caregiver.  

   “You don’t know how good it is, she said, to have my joy back!”

   She said that over and over, “I got my joy back!”

Here at Meritan our caregiving philosophy includes both client and caregiver to support the whole person through a person-centered approach.  Thanks to all the wonderful staff we have who help support our clients and their families through their own unique journeys…to get their joy back!        


 

In Case of Emergency

September 15, 2017

Yolanda Webb, MA                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Associate Vice President of Home and Community Based Services

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Welcome to our monthly blog where we hope you will find useful information on our in-home personal support services for seniors and or disabled individuals, and information that will help you, if you are a caregiver, to navigate the next steps in the journey of life that presents the “what if’s,” for families.   

My first blog just so happens to coincide with the conclusion of two major hurricanes.  Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.  My mother, who is nearly eighty years old, lives alone in Alabama.  This is a woman who is fiercely independent, and as a former social worker knows all about emergency preparedness.

Early one morning when Hurricane Irma was fast approaching off the coast of Florida, I received a frantic phone call from my sister who lives in Michigan.  It went something like this;

Sister:  “Hey, what are we gonna do about mom!?”

Me:  “What, who’s mom?” I’m kinda groggy because it’s 2:45 am.

Sister:  “Our mom, wake up!  That hurricane is about to hit Florida and we need to get mom out of there!”

Me:  “Oh, hi sis!  I talked to her and she does not want to leave.  She said she’s fine!”

Sis:  “She’s not fine, she’s old!”

My sister and I went back and forth for the next hour (I was clearly up by then), but my mother had made herself perfectly clear the day before.  She did not want to leave.  

So what do you do for those who may be elderly or disabled, whether they live far away or near by, and you want to ensure they are safe and in good hands.  

In talking with my mother the next day we struck a compromise.  In-home personal care or rather companionship.  She was not willing to give up her independence, but would compromise to allow an agency like Meritan, who had quality ratings, come in and check on her and follow up with our family as her line of support.  

Seniors or disabled individuals who can become stranded at home during natural disasters or emergency situations can often become fearful and disoriented, or in my mother's case afraid to lose their independence if they are forced to move from their homes.  So what can you do in situations like this to help seniors prepare in emergency situations?  Here are a few tips I hope you find as useful as we did.  

In-Home Caregivers: Caregivers with our in-home personal support services can check on their senior/disabled clients during emergency situations using smartphones or email (if available).

Near by Family/Friends/Neighbors: As in my mom’s case we contacted all of our family who lived near by.  But, we went a few steps further. Because my mom doesn’t live in assisted living facility, but wanted her own ‘retirement’ apartment, she lives in a wonderful complex that has both seniors and young families.  We met several of the neighbors when we moved her in and gave two of them all of her contact information and all of our contact information.

The lady who lives upstairs from her in the complex kept us informed on the status of the hurricane and its potential impact on Alabama.  She also checked in with us when she checked on my mom (which was twice a day) and she would call me personally out of my mom’s presence to let me know if she thought I needed to come to Alabama.

Get to Know Your Community's Emergency Personnel: My sister and I went one last step further when we moved my mother to Alabama.  We visited the local fire department and medical center where my mother would receive care during an emergency.  Relationships help build up trust and in an emergency my mom could put a face and maybe name to the first responders who would come to assist her in a time of need.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma won’t be our last storms or natural disasters.  Being prepared is our first line of defense to help our loved ones get through...in case of emergency.