Posts tagged #in home care

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.

UNSUNG HEROES

November 13, 2017

“Doing ordinary things, EXTRAordinarily well!”

Yolanda Webb, MA

Associate Vice President Home and Community Based Services

Unsung Hereos: Terry Smith, Barbara Washington, Lillie Preyer, Loretta Suggs, Deanne Thomas, Rosie Kennedy, Vernisha White, Beverly Miller, Betty Wallace, Jane Burnette, Cantai Moore, Delores Jones, Candice Washington, Casandra Newsom, Rachel Jackson, Sylvia Williams, Darquisha Killon, Barbara Singleton, Mary Cooper, Mozella Brown, Helen Carr, Sharon Jordan, Jacqueline Macklin, Patricia Turner.   Photo Credit: Y. Webb  
  
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

Unsung Hereos: Terry Smith, Barbara Washington, Lillie Preyer, Loretta Suggs, Deanne Thomas, Rosie Kennedy, Vernisha White, Beverly Miller, Betty Wallace, Jane Burnette, Cantai Moore, Delores Jones, Candice Washington, Casandra Newsom, Rachel Jackson, Sylvia Williams, Darquisha Killon, Barbara Singleton, Mary Cooper, Mozella Brown, Helen Carr, Sharon Jordan, Jacqueline Macklin, Patricia Turner.   Photo Credit: Y. Webb

As we approach this holiday season amid the hustle and bustle, and the aromas and pleasant smells of good food, and sacred and shared family memories, we often forget to stop and think a minute about those who may not have a shared family meal or the smell of grandma's Cornbread Dressing, Greens, Sweet Potato Pie and that Ham or Turkey with all the trimmings. 

Age, distance and time can creep up on you, and before you know it...you are one of the many lonely, older souls whose dearest family members, and old friends are all gone, or your own adaptive living skills, have deteriorated and left you lonely and with  the loss of control over your own life.  

Needing help with toileting, bathing, walking, and managing one's household is sometimes filled with shame and fear, from once proud people who now fear this type of help more often than death.

One ray of hope and light  in these difficult moments is the help and support our Home Care Specialist provide.  This often overlooked support system can pour more hope into the lives of people in one day, than many of us do in a lifetime. 

While we always talk about how much money we can save in our field by “keeping people out of nursing homes, and in their own homes,” I think a part of that conversation that is far too often overlooked is the “human” part in this human service. 

While we may help with ADL’s (Adaptive Living Skills), and provide a service that helps decrease the need for institutionalized care, such as nursing homes, Home Care Specialist also provide something more.

Relational connection to the larger community has proven itself to be one of the primary components of good health (don’t believe me check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s number three on the list).  This role of Home Care Specialist requires substantial skills and special personality traits.   These unsung heroes do intimate and difficult work, and I believe it is important to recognize and thank these unsung heroes, who may one day care for your parents, grandparents, or other family members. 

While the baby boomer generation is reaching its pinnacle, this field of human service will need more and more of these talented, caring individuals and it will be up to us here at Meritan to continue to provide the training, and the opportunities for these unsung heroes to help our clients be successful, remain at home and,  “improve well-being and promote independence throughout life's stages with quality and compassion.” 

So this holiday season, if you know a Home Care Specialist, Direct Service Provider or Personal Support Aide, give them a big holiday “Thank You” for a job well done!

 

 

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.