Category Archives: Caregivers blog

Communication is Key to Being a Good Caregiver

 If you are the primary caregiver for your loved one, you might not be thinking about how communicating effectively might benefit your loved one or your ability to care for them well. However, as primary caregiver, you are the focal point for which all communications are channeled. Some of those conversations will need to be relayed to others involved in your loved one’s care such as a physician, a spiritual counselor, the hospice team and maybe family and friends who are also providing support. How effectively you communicate can make a difference in the quality of care your loved one receives. Even if you have a close relationship with the person you are caring for, these discussions can be difficult and emotionally charged. Try a few of these suggestions and see if they help:   – Calm yourself before beginning a discussion. Breathe deeply and settle yourself into a peaceful

Home Safety – Lighting The Way

This is part three in our four part series on creating a safe environment for an aging love one. When it comes to safety in the home, prevention really is the best medicine. Elder-proofing will help your loved one maintain a sense of independence affording you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve provided every safeguard for their wellbeing.  Lighting is important safety consideration. The correct lighting can go a long way in helping protect your loved one against falling and ensure they feel more comfortable in their home. Here’s a few simple steps to take: Lighting the Way – It is easier for elderly eyes to adjust if there are consistent lighting levels throughout the house, so consider using low-glare bulbs and shades. – Nightlights are helpful to guide your parent along stairways as well as from the bedroom to the bathroom and kitchen. – Light switches

Caregiving and Insomnia

As we grow into adulthood, the amount of sleep that we require diminishes.  As newborns, we can require up to 18 hours of sleep per day. At age 5,we need around 10 hours of sleep and at adulthood 7 hours is acceptable. Unfortunately, meeting these requirements is not always easy and with the added responsibility of being a full time caregiver, sleep may not seem like a top priority. Caring for a loved one is a full time job, and the added effects of insomnia can hamper your ability give. While there are many varied factors that cause sleep disorders, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you’re getting the best possible chance at a good night’s rest. Establish a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking in the morning at the same hour can add consistency to your

Dealing with Caregiver Stress

When someone close to us begins to face the realities of an advancing illness, many of us will begin to define ourselves as caregivers. Hospice can allow us to do just that, for one of the many options available with hospice care is the option of a family member serving as a caregiver. For many, becoming a caregiver offers connection, pride and the opportunity to express how deeply we care about our loved one. In a very real sense it is a heroic role and a truly demanding role. Though hospice family caregivers have great support and help from our hospice team, it is still a role that will take time and present challenges. Learning how to deal with the stresses that are a natural part of facing a loved one’s illness as well those that come from stepping into the caregiving role, will help you provide the best possible

Looking at Grief from Both Sides

By Linda Donovan, Grief Support Volunteer In 2006, shortly after my husband died of cancer, I began a personal exploration into understanding grief and how to work through it. I turned to Hospice of Santa Cruz County for the healing, compassionate individual and group support that I needed to heal from through my loss. Two years later, armed with new insight based on my own journey, I decided to move over to the “other side” and become a grief support volunteer. I completed a series of training sessions and began to provide individual and group grief support to the community. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. As a recipient of grief support services, I learned that the grief journey is a process. The one-on-one sessions gave me a chance to express my concerns, ask questions, and learn how to adapt to a “new normal”