5 Signs Your Caregiving Body is Sending You a Message (Listen to It!)

Senior caregivers tirelessly take care of their elderly clients — but not without sometimes paying a price. Tired? Sure. Achy? It’s to be expected. But sometimes your body is warning you of a more pressing problem. Here are some symptoms that may signal the need for a closer look.

1. Persistent stomach pain can be a sign that your job sucks, or it can be something more serious. If you have constant indigestion, alternating constipation or diarrhea, a feeling of fullness all the time, or pain in one spot or another that never goes away, off to the doctor you must go. It’s worth the time and trouble to determine what’s going on so you can eat and sleep again.

2. Back pain is normal for caregivers, unfortunately, but back or neck pain combined with weakness in an extremity or tingly, burning nerve pain is a sign that you’ve messed something up. Don’t work until you’ve figured it out. I speak from experience on this point, as I once had one arm just sort of stop working after I’d lifted too much weight too often. It was scary and painful, but ultimately fixable. Don’t play with your spine; it’s kind of important.

3. Take care of your feet and hands. Bone spurs, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, or plain old achiness and stiffness compromise your ability to work. Open wounds, torn cuticles or cracks in the skin of your hands can be avenues for infection. Keep fingernails and toenails short and filed. Bandage anything that might get dirt or worse in it. Remember to wear gloves, and wash your hands in lukewarm rather than hot water. Hospital soap is hard on some people, so see if maybe you can use your own. Change your shoes around frequently, and invest in good-quality orthotics if you need to. If your feet hurt, nothing feels right.

4. Daily headaches, tooth grinding or changes in vision should never be ignored. Maybe you need a neurological workup or a dental guard; maybe you just need a massage. Either way, that thing that sits atop your neck should be pampered.

5. Finally, if you’re snotty and coughing, achy or running a fever, or have a sore throat that won’t quit, please please please stay home. Even those of us who aren’t immunocompromised will thank you.

While you take care of others, make sure you take care of yourself. Senior caregivers are a precious commodity. If you know someone who would make a great caregiver, refer them to Caregiverlist so they can be part of a great team.

Refer-a-Friend to Caregiverlist

Simply provide us with your friend's name and email address and you will be entered into a monthly and weekly giveaway.

Monthly Grand Prize Winner: Scrub of the Month (top, bottoms and pair of shoes), courtesy of Scrubs Magazine.

Weekly Winners: A Caregiverlist t-shirt, lapel pin and a 10-hour online caregiver training program as a member of the Professional Association of Caregivers.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features an artist painting a fountain in the park. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Painter in the Park

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude."

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Words With Friends Encourages Mental Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Finding new and fun ways to keep your senior clients using their brains can be difficult. Mental engagement in day to day activity is crucial for preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as dementia. The Words With Friends app offers a simple way for caregivers and their senior clients to play a game to exercise their minds. 

Words With Friends reflects the board game Scrabble in that players are provided with letter tiles that they must combine to create words to place on the board. Each word placed on the board must connect with another previously played word by using at least one of the same letters. There are various point values assigned to the letters based on how difficult it is to place them in a word. The player with the most points when the letters run out at the end of the game wins. 

The app features many different play options, which makes it ideal for any situation. Users can find their real life friends on the app and challenge them to a game. The app notifies you of when your opponent has made a move so that you can view the outcome and make your next move. There is also an option to play a random opponent if none of your friends are interested in a game, or the option to "pass and play" which is perfect for senior caregivers and their clients to use and play against one another. The first player makes their move and then hands the device off to the second player to make their move, and this continues back and forth until the conclusion of the game. 

For seniors, unscrambling and rearranging the letters in the game to create the words engages the mind to help keep it sharp as they age. Try playing a game or two with your senior clients, either against one another or as a team coming up with words to play against an outside opponent. 

 

The Words With Friends app is available free for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Scrubs Style: Looks for Fall 2013

Autumn is upon us in full force, and the rust and gold of changing leaves have supplanted the vivid hues of summer. Scrubs magazine, the nurse’s guide to good living, is a great supplier of fall fashion inspiration. Check out some of their scrub suggestions:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and one great way to show your support is through this adorable scrubs top. Wear it in October and all year long. May we suggest styling the top with pewter pants?



V-Neck top in “Dress for the Cure,” Dickies.com

Low rise drawstring pant in pewter, Dickies.com

”Turning Leaves” is the perfect name for your autumn scrubs look. Chocolate brown pants make those bright colors in the top really pop.

“Youtility” v-neck top in “Turning Leaves,” Dickies.com
Drawstring cargo pant in chocolate, CherokeeUniforms.com

Tartan for fall? Yes, please. This one features beautiful reds and oranges, and a square-neck top. Pair it with black pants for a clean look.

Square neck top in “Forever Tartan,” Dickies.com
Drawstring pant in black, Cherokee.com

Caregiverlist is proud to have partnered with Scrubs Magazine to offer a Scrub of the Month as a Grand Prize in our Refer-A-Friend program. If you know someone who has what it takes to be a great caregiver (you know the type — good work ethic, reliable, and above all, empathetic), fill out the form and we'll be happy to set them on a career path that offers the ability to make a huge difference in someone's life.

 

October is 'Protecting Older Americans from Fraud' Month

Senior citizens are easy prey for scam artists. From the Spring Break Grandparent Scam to the Medical Alert Scam and a host of others, the elderly are especially vulnerable to fraud schemes.

October is “Protecting Older Americans from Fraud” month, and the Better Business Bureau, in partnership with other agencies, suggest that families discuss with their senior family members how best to prevent their loss of money and security.

The BBB recommends these immediate steps:

  • Help put the senior's phone number on the Do Not Call registry.
  • Advise older Americans to never place outgoing bills in unsecured mailboxes.
  • Urge them to tell suspicious callers that they are going to check with the BBB before agreeing to anything and do so.
  • Tell unwanted solicitors to place the senior on the organization’s own do not call list, not to sell or share the senior’s information, and then hang up.

Senior identity theft, especially medical identity theft targeting the elderly, is nation's fastest-growing crime according to FBI statistics. Seniors living alone at home are not the only victims. Senior identity theft in long-term care, including nursing homes, assisted living, and in-home care are at risk of identity theft because their personal information is readily accessible by numerous individuals.

In addition to the action steps outlined above, the Better Business Bureau suggests you discuss the following common-sense practices with the senior in your life:

Mail

  • Never pay money to win a prize or sweepstakes.
  • Read all pages before considering the offer.
  • Contact the BBB BEFORE responding to a product/service offer or charity appeal.

Telephone

  • Never give out credit card or bank account numbers to unknown callers.
  • Ask for information in writing from charities.
  • Be skeptical of high pressure or emotional requests and hang up.
  • Never wire money to strangers.
  • Report all questionable calls to the BBB BEFORE responding to the offer.

In-Home

  • Never hire someone who just shows up at your door.
  • Get three estimates in writing.
  • Make sure the company is licensed and insured.
  • Contact the BBB BEFORE admitting an unknown person into your home or signing anything.

Email

  • Only give your personal email address to people you trust.
  • Instead of clicking a link in an email, type the address into your browser.
  • Visit the BBB’s website www.bosbbb.org to learn more about email “phishing”.

Caregiverlist previously blogged about senior scams during the holidays and the same advice holds true for all questionable dealings. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a scam or fraud, report it to your local police department and Department on Aging. You may help prevent others from becoming victims as well. And always perform a background check when hiring someone close to home.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features small waterfalls in the middle of a desert, somewhere in Israel. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Waterfalls

"I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she will make the same effort, and have the same hope and faith."

Mahatma Gandhi

Breast Cancer Awareness Apps Display Self Check Methods: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

In case you're wondering why you've been seeing pink everywhere for the past two weeks, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection in breast cancer can mean the difference between surviving the disease or losing the battle. Two specific apps put out by the Keep A Breast Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation focus on helping women learn how to perform self examinations properly and set reminders on a monthly basis to do so. 

Women of all ages should perform a monthly self examination of their breasts to check for lumps as well as attend regularly scheduled mammograms and doctor appointments. A large percentage of senior caregivers and their senior clients are women, so caregivers can use these apps to educate themselves and their senior clients on the detection signs for the disease. Both apps offer instructions on how to perform a self exam but differ in other features. Caregivers can look at the instructions in both and determine which best meets their individual needs.

The Keep a Breast Foundation app offers detailed cartoon diagrams to show visually how to perform the exam. It also gives caregivers the opportunity to set a monthly reminder to perform their self examination. By checking monthly, women are more likely to recognize if something changes in the future so they can bring it up with a medical professional. 

The National Breast Cancer Foundation app offers descriptions of a few different ways to do the exam, so users can pick whichever they are most comfortable with. It also features a Breast Cancer Clinic finder using a caregiver's current location so that a caregiver may schedule an appointment if they need to. There is also an option to donate to the Foundation from within the app.

 

Both apps are free. The Keep a Breast App is available for Apple and Android platforms. The National Breast Cancer Foundation app is available for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Sneaky Home Allergens (are Nothing for Seniors to Sneeze At)

Sinus trouble, constant throat clearing, nasal congestion — these are symptoms seniors commonly present as the weather changes. The air gets drier and adequate hydration is always a challenge. Common allergens may affect the elderly more acutely and certain antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can cause anxiety and confusion in the elderly, and actually make the symptoms worse. What's even more frustrating is that alergens can be found in the home year-round.

Scrubs Magazine, the leading lifestyle nursing magazine, has identified 14 surprising places in the home where one can find irritants lurking. If you or your senior client or family member is sneezing, wheezing or otherwise showing signs of allergic reactions, check these culprits:

Sheets On Bed
Permanent press sheets can have formaldehyde. Choose untreated clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers when possible.

Flaking Paint
Homes and apartments built before 1978 have paint with high levels of lead. Clean paint chips immediately, repaint the surface, keep children from scratching, chewing, or touching painted surfaces, and have your home tested for lead.

Dog/Cat
Make the bedroom a ‘no pet’ zone. Run a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom. Be sure to groom your pet regularly.

Dry Cleaning
When bringing home fresh dry cleaning, be sure to remove it from its protective plastic bag and air it out outdoors for several hours, or until the chemical odor has completely dissipated.

Carpet
Vacuum frequently and thoroughly – passing the vacuum four times over each area. Dust mite powder and flea control powder are also helpful in reducing allergens.

Mattress
By law, most mattresses have flame retardant chemicals. Your best bet to avoid both chemicals and dust mites? Switch to a fire-retardant free solid memory foam mattress or latex mattress. Note: You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy one.

Cosmetics
Opt for fragrance-free, organic and hypo-allergenic cosmetic brands. Be sure to replace makeup on a regular basis (application sponges each week, liquid makeup every three months, lipstick every six months, etc.), as old makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.

Deodorant
Avoid brands that contain fragrances, baking soda (if you have a nickel allergy), essential oils and biological additives, parabens, vitamin E, and lanolin. Opt for hypoallergenic brands and alternative deodorants such as crystal products.

and in the kitchen...

Mold
Fix leaky plumbing immediately. Thoroughly clean all surface molds. Dry water-damaged areas immediately.

Dirty Dishes
If you have a cockroach allergy, note that the highest concentration of cockroach allergens are in kitchens. Do not leave dirty dishes nor water in cups, glasses and bowls overnight.

Inadequate Ventilation
Install an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking. Improve air quality by installing an air conditioner or humidifier. Be sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly.

Insecticides
Certain ingredients in insecticides may trigger allergic reactions including acute asthma attacks. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Use organic, chemical-free produce spray, and watch for any insecticide in your pet shampoos.

Cleaning Solutions
Opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions with more natural ingredients and avoid those with harsh chemicals and odors. Note: If you are removing mold, you should use cleaner without ammonia and with at least 5% chlorine (which is irritating to skin and eyes).

Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving health and safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.

S.T.N.A. Training and Jobs Can Be Found in the Buckeye State

As the demand for senior caregivers increases, more caregivers search for certified nursing assistant training programs near them on Caregiverlist’s  C.N.A. or C.H.H.A. School Directory. On average, certified nursing aides get paid anywhere from $10-16 per hour, which is above minimum wage in most states. C.N.A. stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, and C.H.H.A. stands for Certified Home Health Aide, as different states have various job openings for senior care workers. Some states, such as Ohio, calls nursing aides S.T.N.A.s. So what does the S.T.N.A. stands for?

 

S.T.N.A. stands for State Tested Nurse Aides. Actually C.N.A. and S.T.N.A. mean the same thing — the state tested nurse aide is a state-specific name for this caregiving career. The only difference is the amount of training hours that a nurse aide must complete to receive the certification.

 

“Some states require at least 75 hours of certified nursing aide training,  depending on state requirements,” according to Jen Underwood, Headmaster LLP of D&S Diversified Technologies LLP. “In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health requires nurse aides to complete a 75 hour Ohio Health Department approved nurse aide training program prior to taking the state test. Nurse Aides in Ohio must pass the state test with an 80% without missing a bold/key element as defined in the Ohio Candidate handbook. We have all of our states that we offer nurse aide, med aide, and home health aide testing listed  on our web site at hdmaster.com.”

 

Multiple senior care jobs are available near you on www.Caregiverlist.com. To apply online for senior caregiver, family companion, C.N.A., C.H.H.A. and S.T.N.A. job openings - submit one Caregiverlist JobApplication and reach multiple employers near you!

Caregiverlist C.N.A. and C.H.H.A. School Directory

The Alzheimer's Store Provides Quality Products for Families and Caregivers

Caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients or those with dementia or memory loss deal with a special set of caregiving needs. That’s something that our friends at The Alzheimer’s Store know all too well. They’ve made it their mission to bring to the senior care market a variety of products to make caring for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia easier and make the Alzheimer’s years just a little more safe and comfortable. Here, they discuss a popular product that makes life easier.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Celebrate Time with Loved Ones

Time is so precious. We often take it for granted. That at the fact that we’re naturally aware of the day and time or can easily find out at any given moment. It’s not so easy for Alzheimer’s patients. Caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s are very familiar with the questions: “What time is it?” and “What day is it?” It can be taxing on both you and them.

Since our goal at The Alzheimer’s Store (ALZSTORE.COM) is to help ease the stress in caring for loved ones, we feature a wall clock that is large enough for Alzheimer’s patients to see from all areas of the room. Knowing the day and time reassures the patient and puts them more at ease, which in turn relieves stress for both caregivers and family members.

This high quality precision clock displays the time, day of the week and date clearly and automatically. It has a sweeping hand, as Alzheimer’s patients do not recognize digital, and a large day date and month. Both at home and in facilities, those who struggle with Alzheimer’s can take pride and comfort in knowing the correct day and date with this excellent reminder.


Wall Clock with Day & Date

We know caring for someone you love with this disease can be a roller coaster of emotions. Alzheimer’s affects more than five million people worldwide and is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. In fact, my grandfather George was inspiration behind our dedication and commitment to helping others with Alzheimer’s. Nothing gives us more satisfaction that helping others care for loved ones; it helps us honor our grandfather’s memory.

We can’t say enough about the positive feedback we’ve been getting on this top-selling product. The Alzheimer's Store's continuously searches to offer quality products at the most affordable rate and we have not been able to find a more reliable timepiece. If you’ve purchased the clock or plan to, we’d love to hear your feedback! Email us and share your story at brittany@alzstore.com.

Senior caregivers may also find online caregiver training and apply for a senior caregiving job near them, as more companion caregivers are always needed to assist seniors with memory loss.

Log in