East Bay CNA from Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

Reduce Professional Caregiver Burnout: Finding Resiliency in a Time of Crisis

Become a stronger, more resilient caregiver with these helpful tips.

A time of crisis can sometimes bring out both the best and the worst in us. All through the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve come across stories of individuals hoarding items and selling them to generate an excessive profit, coupled with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others in spite of their own fears.

The key to weathering the storms that are sure to arise in our lives in an appropriate way is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works closely with families of individuals serving in the military, and gives suggestions that can help build resilience through any time of crisis.

  1. Communicate your reactions. It’s normal to experience an array of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other challenging situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, trouble with sleeping, irritability, difficulties with concentration and focus, and hypervigilance. What is crucial is to make sure these responses are short-term, and do not progress into long-term psychological problems. Admit your feelings, and share them with a dependable friend or write them in a journal. 
  2. Continue to keep social connections. While your reaction could be to pull away from friends and family during a crisis, keeping in touch on a frequent basis with those you care about is crucial. Locating a support group, whether in person or online, is another great way to make sure you are forming and preserving social ties, letting you speak with other people in a similar situation.
  3. Take time for self-care. This means something different to every person, but ought to include pleasant activities, engaging hobbies and interests, nourishing meals, lots of sleep, and physical exercise. It can often be hard to carve out time for yourself due to caregiving duties, but it is important to remember that looking after yourself allows you to take better care of others.
  4. Realize what you are able to control – and what you cannot. Letting go of what’s beyond your control and focusing instead on what you CAN control is one of the fundamentals of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It certainly is a smart idea to seek professional counseling if your responses to stressful situations are impeding your ability to maintain a feeling of calm and to tend to the necessary day-to-day activities of living. And, as part of your caregiving duties as a professional caregiver, watch out for signs that clients are feeling undue degrees of stress so that you can help them obtain the help that they need as well.

As a professional caregiver, resilience is an important aspect of your job, as you will be a much-needed source of comfort and relief for clients and their families. Always remember to prioritize your own mental, emotional, and physical health so that you can provide the best possible care to others. 

If you or someone you know is interested in a career as a provider of in-home care in Berkeley or the surrounding area that allows you to make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families each day, contact Hillendale Home Care today at 925-297-2676 to find out more about our CNA and HHA training programs.

COPD Care Tips During COVID-19

Senior inhalation therapy in progress

Help seniors better manage lung disease and stay safe during the pandemic.

Those diagnosed with COPD or another lung disease have had to stay especially watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a greater risk for contracting the virus and for developing more severe complications due to this fact. A recent research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that patients with a lung disease such as COPD were more apt to be admitted into the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.

And while the CDC provides strategies for everyone to avoid getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever you can, one advisory is especially a challenge for someone with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that individuals diagnosed with lung disease try a number of different types of coverings to discover one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for short periods of time in order to become more used to the feeling.

Further suggestions for COPD care include:

  • Make sure seniors continue to properly manage their lung disease as suggested by the physician, with modifications to curb contact with other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Help seniors boost their body’s defense system with a healthy and balanced diet and a lot of rest, while following the doctor’s recommended plan for treatment.
  • Ensure seniors take care of their emotional health to lower stress. Switch off the news and social media and help your senior clients participate in soothing and rewarding activities instead. Seniors should also speak with a mental health professional if needed for assistance with managing stress and preventing depression.

Of particular importance for everyone with lung disease is the significance of regular exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, since COPD causes shortness of breath, physical exercise is particularly challenging. He, together with the Respiratory Health Association, suggest that seniors should, with physician approval:

  • Strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 times every week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Incorporate deep breathing exercises.

These resources provide more useful information specific to lung disease issues during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Hillendale Home Care caregivers are skilled in helping older adults more effectively manage life with COPD, and are here with the professional training and resources that professional caregivers need to provide specialized chronic disease care for their clients. Contact the leading provider of respite care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care, and learn more about how to get the training needed to be considered for our professional, compassionate care team through our CNA and HHA school.

Respite Care: How You Can Create A Win/Win for Family Caregivers and Their Loved Ones

Meeting the ongoing care needs 24/7 of an elderly or disabled loved one is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding job for a family caregiver. As such, it’s important to allow them time to rest and relax on occasion in order to continue to be effective in their role. Respite care from a professional caregiver provides relief from the daily tasks of caregiving, enabling the family caregiver to also care for himself or herself.

Principles of Respite Care:

  • Relief from ongoing care responsibilities allows seniors to still get the attention they deserve.
  • Respite care provides family caregivers with care that is planned, temporary, intermittent and substitute.
  • Time required for respite can vary, from just a couple hours per day to ongoing, scheduled, routine relief.

How to Help A Family Caregiver:

  • Ask how the family caregiver is doing. Having someone specifically ask about a family caregiver’s wellbeing not only shows compassion, but may also help you discover other ways to help the family.
  • Assist with the family caregiver’s own personal chores. Family caregivers have their own lives too, and finding time to take care of their own laundry, shopping, or housecleaning can be difficult.
  • Professional caregivers can help family caregivers have regular breaks and bring peace of mind by providing high-quality, compassionate care.

Benefits of Respite Care:

  • Allows family caregivers to take time away when needed for such things as medical appointments, a haircut, or a social outing with friends. 
  • Provides the senior with companionship from someone other than a family member, helping to keep him or her socially engaged.

Overcoming Objections to Respite Care:

  • A changed routine and new caregiver can be a bit stressful for a senior. You can help ease any anxieties with the following steps:
    • Meet the client ahead of a shift so that he or she can become comfortable and get to know you a bit.
    • Reassure the senior and engage him or her in activities that will aid in improving health and wellbeing. 
  • If the family caregiver is having second thoughts about leaving their loved one for a short period of time, encourage him or her and emphasize the importance of self-care. 

Helping family caregivers is an important component of what we do each day at Hillendale Home Care, providers of top-rated home and Alzheimer’s care in Walnut Creek, CA. Learn more about our CNA program and HHA program and find out if a career as a professional caregiver is right for you. For more information, reach out to us today via our online contact form or by phone at 925-933-8181.