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Category Archives: stress

Helping those who help others: the Modified Caregiver Strain Index

I found this video to be wonderfully enlightening. I suggest that all Caregivers and family/friends of caregivers take the time to view this video. Often overlooked, caregivers can suffer from depression. The job tends to wear you down over time.

The Modified Caregiver Strain Index helps to determine the level of strain a caregiver is experiencing. The combination of stress and burden does effect a caregivers’ overall health. The index assesses 13 aspects of physical health, family finances, social interactions, time demands, and employment. By identifying the sources and degree of strain, the index can help in the selection of interventions that can be used to alleviate caregivers’ strain and improve the lives of caregivers and care recipients.

To watch this free video Helping those who help others follow the link. Please be patient at the start up. While this video was designed for nurses I believe it is useful for anyone trying to understand the issues faced by caregivers. If you suspect a caregiver you know is suffering from depression you will want to see this video. It should serve as a wake-up call for children who have an elderly parent serving as a Caregiver.

Original content The Caregiver

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Managing and Controlling CareGiver Stress

One of the biggest problems faced by caregivers is depression. As a result, caregivers should take care to insure that they remain healthy and on mission. Over the years I have referred to this list of mine many times. It helps to put me in focus and remind me that I need to take care of myself. Please feel free to email this to others.

  • Don’t take on more responsibility than you can handle. Learn to ask for help when you need it. Consider putting together a team of friends and relatives to share the burden. Don’t go it alone.
  • You need to find ways to relax and reduce stress. Consider trying: meditation, visualizing comforting or pleasant scenes, listening to music, reading, or playing games on a computer.
  • Learn to make lists so you can get to the more important tasks first. Focus on one thing at a time. If you start to feel overwhelmed learn how to pass off tasks to others when they ask, “how can I help”. Remember to compliment, or even congratulate, yourself when you accomplish an important task.
  • Pay close attention to your own health. Eating nutritious meals and exercising is a must. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Take care of yourself.
  • You need to carve out time to do things that you enjoy. This is not only necessary for your own well-being, it will make you more effective in your caregiving effort.
  • You need family, friends and loved one’s you can talk to about your frustrations and successes. You need to let it come out. Learn to identify people that will willingly listen. And, I mean LISTEN.
  • One of the most difficult things to do is to get educated. You can never know enough about your loved one’s condition. You never know when you are going to learn something that can make a big difference. Information is empowering and brings with it the feeling that you are taking control; rather then, being controlled by an illness or the situation. Learning something new that improves your caregiving is very rewarding and empowering.
  • Join a support group. In a good support group you will learn valuable lessons, get new ideas, and tips that can really make a difference. In a good support group you get to “vent” with real people that understand where you are “coming from”. Most importantly, in a good support group you will learn over and over “you are not alone”.
  • Make sure you see your own doctor. Watch out for feelings of stress. Talk to your doctor about stress and stress reduction methods.
  • Search your community for resources that are available to you. Is their a good senior center available? If so, schedule an appointment to talk with them. If you have never heard of this dial 2-1-1. If this service is available in your area they have groups of trained professionals that can get you direct to the resources you need. It’s free.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact your local university wellness center. You might be surprised to learn that most Universities are a wealth of information and services. They might be conducting research or studies that could be beneficial to you.

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Study to Look at Writing as Stress-Reducer Among Alzheimer’s Caregivers


A University of Iowa researcher is conducting an Internet-based study to see if writing about their thoughts and feelings about care-giving can be a strategy to help those family caregivers reduce their stress.

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Study Invites Participants

Newswise — For families who provide care to Alzheimer’s patients, stress and isolation can be a burden that’s hard to carry. A University of Iowa researcher is conducting an Internet-based study to see if writing about their thoughts and feelings about care-giving can be a strategy to help those family caregivers reduce their stress.

Family members who provide care for patients with Alzheimer’s or other conditions of memory loss will be asked to write about their experiences related to their care-giving roles for 20 minutes on three occasions during a week. Participants in the study may write in their homes or wherever they have access to a computer that is most convenient to them.

Participants in the study do not need to be “good writers” or worry about spelling or grammar because it is the effect of the writing that is being studied.

As a means to measure the effect of the writing on reducing stress, study participants also will be asked to complete five questionnaires.

Howard Butcher, Ph.D., UI associate professor of nursing and principal investigator of the UI Informatics Initiative-funded study, will evaluate whether expressing stress and other emotions in writing is a helpful way to deal with the often difficult emotions of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a condition that involves problems with memory.

Written expression has been used with people who have experienced stressful and traumatic situations such as job loss, abuse, natural disasters and loss of a spouse. The strategy involves participants writing about their thoughts and feelings. Previous research by Butcher has shown that this type of writing promotes psychological and physiological health benefits after just three 20-minute writing sessions.

The studies have shown that writing helps trauma survivors make meaning out of their life circumstances. This cognitive process can result in physiological changes in the autonomic and immune system by reducing stress and facilitating coping.

For more information about participating in the study, visit https://swee.iowa.uiowa.edu or call Butcher at 319-335-7039.

 

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s Type Dementia

You might get the impression from the title that this book is only for professionals; this is not the case. The validation theory works and it is simple to apply. The case studies are invaluable and provide you with specific situations that you are sure to encounter. I am convinced everyone involved with elderly parents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s will benefit from by reading and utilizing this book.

This book contains valuable techniques that are designed to help you communicate more effectively with your loved one. Once perfected you will be able to put away those feelings of frustration and helplessness. Importantly, the learned techniques will help you reduce stress.

I give The Validation Breakthrough five stars and it is on my must read list.

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s Type Dementia

Please take a moment to read the reviews on the next page.

Buyer Reviews

By Martine Davis

If you live with or care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other age related dementia, you must read this book ! What an eye-opener! For the first time I finally understood why Alzheimer’s patient say what they say and do what they do. It all makes so much sense now. This small book reads quickly and is full of examples of real people who have been helped with the author’s techniques. It shows you how to handle the blaming, accusing, name-calling and the repetitive motions … It also explains why the way most of us react to Alzheimer’s patients actions actually worsens the situation and can cause them to progress to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease ! This book could extend the relationship between the patient and caregivers and should be MANDATORY reading for all staff working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities !

By J. Summers, CNA (Alaska)

An excellent book for both the professional caregiver and families trying to deal with this sometimes unfathomable disease. Gives practical ideas and techniques for helping people with dementia deal with issues from paranoia and blaming to sadness and helplessness. I have just begun to explore these techniques and am finding they work so well that they should be mandatory training for nurses, PCAs and CNAs. Instead of treating our seniors like they are children we at last have a way to talk to them on an adult level, tap into where they are at, deal with the problem at hand and we all come out better for the experience.

Reviewer: A reader

More and more relevant as we care for aging parents. With a title like this one might think: “Boring” Absolutely not so! Right from the start, the stories of the people are so real and so touching that one of my friends said she was moved to tears. She was so sad not to have known about this way of relating to her father. “It works,” she told me. “Validation Breakthrough” shows a new way of relating to people with dementia of Alzheimer’s type. This approach is effective in helping the person to clear up unresolved issues in their lives. You do not have to be a professionally trained therapist to use validation. Validation will make the relationship more rewarding for both people. It is not hard to learn and makes wonderful sense. Some readers may want to ask new questions of care facilities (like nursing homes) as the validation approach will keep loved ones from slipping into a vegetative state. It will also make the care much kinder, and more rewarding for the care givers

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with ‘Alzheimer’s-Type Dementia’

 

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s Type Dementia


You might get the impression from the title that this book is only for professionals; this is not the case. The validation theory works and it is simple to apply. The case studies are invaluable and provide you with specific situations that you are sure to encounter. I am convinced everyone involved with elderly parents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s will benefit greatly from this book.

I give The Validation Breakthrough five stars and put it on my must read list. You will certainly reduce stress by learning these techniques.

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s Type Dementia

Please take a moment to read the reviews on the next page.

Buyer Reviews

By Martine Davis

If you live with or care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other age related dementia, you must read this book ! What an eye-opener! For the first time I finally understood why Alzheimer’s patient say what they say and do what they do. It all makes so much sense now. This small book reads quickly and is full of examples of real people who have been helped with the author’s techniques. It shows you how to handle the blaming, accusing, name-calling and the repetitive motions … It also explains why the way most of us react to Alzheimer’s patients actions actually worsens the situation and can cause them to progress to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease ! This book could extend the relationship between the patient and caregivers and should be MANDATORY reading for all staff working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities !

By J. Summers, CNA (Alaska)

An excellent book for both the professional caregiver and families trying to deal with this sometimes unfathomable disease. Gives practical ideas and techniques for helping people with dementia deal with issues from paranoia and blaming to sadness and helplessness. I have just begun to explore these techniques and am finding they work so well that they should be mandatory training for nurses, PCAs and CNAs. Instead of treating our seniors like they are children we at last have a way to talk to them on an adult level, tap into where they are at, deal with the problem at hand and we all come out better for the experience.

Reviewer: A reader

More and more relevant as we care for aging parents. With a title like this one might think: “Boring” Absolutely not so! Right from the start, the stories of the people are so real and so touching that one of my friends said she was moved to tears. She was so sad not to have known about this way of relating to her father. “It works,” she told me. “Validation Breakthrough” shows a new way of relating to people with dementia of Alzheimer’s type. This approach is effective in helping the person to clear up unresolved issues in their lives. You do not have to be a professionally trained therapist to use validation. Validation will make the relationship more rewarding for both people. It is not hard to learn and makes wonderful sense. Some readers may want to ask new questions of care facilities (like nursing homes) as the validation approach will keep loved ones from slipping into a vegetative state. It will also make the care much kinder, and more rewarding for the care givers

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with ‘Alzheimer’s-Type Dementia’

alzheimer’s, caregiving, dementia, family, Naomi Feil, stress, Validation Therapy

 
 
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