care for your loved one
Often times the caregiver role catches us off-guard and at the most unexpected and inopportune moments. Yet whether the need happened gradually or all at once, and whether it was voluntary or not, the outcome is the same. You have a new role as a caregiver and with that many questions and anxieties may arise. Someone is depending on you but take heart, you can do this! Here are a few key items to think about as you begin your journey:
What is the best living arrangement for your older family member? In becoming a caregiver this is often one of the first things to consider. The choice to remain at home versus assisted living or nursing home can be a difficult one to make. Consider their personal needs and financial resources. Our caregiver's Resource Page contains additional information to help you navigate through these important decisions.
Adult day service is a place designed to meet the needs of older adults who cannot be left alone by providing a safe and friendly environment. Usually operating on weekdays, adult day services relieve caregivers of their duties for a specific period of time and are less expensive than home health aides or moving your loved one to a nursing facility. Check the Resource Page to learn how this option can benefit your loved one.
Long Distance caregiving has its own set of challenges. Finding local resources and reliable support from a distance requires that you do some homework. Who lives near your loved one that you and they can depend on in your absence? What are the real needs? How often can you visit? Do you know the financial resources of your loved one? How will you balance your life while supporting your loved one? Assess your family member’s physical and personal needs. Assemble a core group of people that you can depend on to support your loved one and who will call you as needs change. Our Resource Page includes more information on caring across the miles.
Home should be a safe place. For older adults, there are many hazards in their homes that are often missed simply because they are unaware of the potential harm to be caused. What was once not a problem now becomes a worry. Caregiving Help, located on our caregiver's Resource Page, provides a checklist with tips on how to help ensure your senior family member's safety at home.
For many senior adults, independence is defined by their ability to meet their own transportation needs. As a caregiver, knowing when and how to have the conversation about giving up the car keys can be difficult, and it often turns into a battle. To begin with, we suggest you take a ride to see if there are problems. In addition, ask yourself these questions:
Does he/she drive too slow or too fast? How about tailgating?
Does he/she get lost or is easily confused?
Does he/she have difficulty reading street signs? (When was his last eye exam?)
Seniors may not realize that their driving skills are slipping. A refresher course for older adults may help (AAA, AARP, or a driving school offer them.) Our caregiver's Resource Page contains links to offer tips on how to talk about senior driving.
Covering the cost of medications can be a challenge for anyone, but for those on a limited income, the choice between paying for necessary medicines and other bills can be difficult. A St. Mary’s pharmacist suggests:
"As a general recommendation, request that generic medications be used when possible. When brand name medications are needed, patients can look online at the manufacturer’s website to look for drug-specific medication assistance programs that they may need to financially qualify to receive. Sometimes patient’s doctors know about patient assistance programs or can provide samples, as well as care managers here at St Mary’s. If patients are in desperate need of medications, they can look into using the Fan Free Clinic or the Care-A-Van." - Amanda Matissa, SMH
At Bon Secours Good Health Pharmacy we offer patients, employees, physicians and our community an improved dose of good help. Also, with Bedside Rx we offer a safe and convenient way for patients to obtain prescriptions. Pharmacists counsel patients and deliver discharge medications at the bedside. Bedside Rx helps eliminated missed medication doses and reduces readmission rates.
Many older adults have one or more chronic medical conditions, often requiring multiple prescription and over the counter medications. It is essential for older adults and caregivers to understand safe and appropriate medication use, including possible side effects and interactions with food and other drugs. Our caregiver’s Resource Page includes a link to Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors™ , an interactive website filled with helpful information and tips to help safely manage the medication needs of older adults.
Whether it is a hurricane or snowstorm, both disrupt everyday activities. Making preparations before the storm is essential for older adults and their caregivers. Make a plan. Include key people such as neighbors, friends and relatives who can help. Keep a list of important phone numbers in a visible place. Prepare a disaster supply kit. Refill prescriptions. Know when to evacuate. If dependent on electricity for medical equipment, be sure backup measures are available and functioning. The Resource Page includes information that can help you be storm ready.
Caring for someone with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia has additional challenges for the caregiver. Understanding the disease and then finding the necessary resources to support your loved one and you is essential for health and safety. Check our Resource Page for information.
Hospice is a well-established approach to end-of-life care. At Bon Secours, we believe that hospice can provide emotional support and practical assistance at a time when patients and their families need both the most. Bon Secours Hospice website will provide you will all the information you need to know about hospice care.
Like hospice, Palliative Care is about supporting patients and families. Unlike hospice, palliative care is not about a limited life expectancy, but about improving quality of life. Bon Secours Palliative Medicine provides palliative care for patients and families dealing with serious illness to ensure they get the best care possible.