The ABC’s of Caring for Yourself

This article originally appears here:  http://www.caregiversolutions.ca/caregiving/the-abcs-of-caring-for-yourself/

Providing care for a family member in need is a centuries-old act of kindness, love and loyalty. Caregivers, friends and family members can make an incredible difference in the lives of their loved ones who are diagnosed with chronic conditions.

sol-Carer1As a caregiver you provide help with many things, including grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking, shopping, paying bills, giving medicine, toileting, bathing, dressing and eating. There are many rewards and challenges to providing care. There are times of intimacy, fun and laughter. In fact, research has found that caregivers feel approximately three times more positive than negative emotions related to caregiving. The literature reports some of the following statistics and comments:
• 96 per cent of caregivers report feeling “loving”.
• 90 per cent report feeling appreciated.
• 84 per cent report feeling proud.

Doing it with love
Caregivers often experience increased closeness with their loved one; they can find it meaningful to care for someone and often report having a sense of purpose. Caregiving can help clarify an individual’s beliefs and deepen their sense of their own values, compassion and patience, and improve their self-confidence and self-esteem. It can also create a positive psychological change as a result of successfully struggling with a highly challenging situation.

There are also times of sadness, frustration and exhaustion, sol-Carer3however, which are often caused by a lack of practical skills and support: Caregivers often have to travel through a healthcare system that, unfortunately, is not designed to manage chronic long-term illnesses. That means struggling to coordinate doctors, managing multiple prescriptions, monitoring for changes in conditions and more. Studies have shown that caregivers are nearly twice as likely as the general population to develop multiple chronic illnesses due to stress and neglect of their own health and well-being.

Caring for another person takes a lot of time, effort and work. In addition, most caregivers juggle caregiving with full-time jobs and parenting and, in the process, put their own needs aside. Caregivers often report that it is difficult to look after their own health in terms of exercise, nutrition and doctor’s visits, and can often end up feeling angry, anxious, isolated and sad.

Manage together
Deciding how to manage any kind of medical condition with your loved one is an important task. Things to consider include understanding your loved one’s goals, making sure you talk with your loved one, tag-teaming appointments with others, developing a health journal, helping to maintain a safe home environment and improving your own comfort.

Understand your loved one’s goals
Talk with your friend or loved one with chronic illness to help understand their goals. Get the conversation started by discussing events or activities they used to participate in and miss, whether that is fishing, walking the dog or playing cards, or something they would like to be a part of in the future. You can help your loved one meet their goals by discussing them with their healthcare providers, doctors or community service agencies.

Talk with, not at, someone
Your family member or friend may be put off by your advice if they think that you are speaking at them and not with them. Most people suffering from a chronic illness do not want advice; they want to talk things out so that they can come to their own decisions. At times, giving advice inhibits conversation. Put yourself in their shoes and talk in a way that encourages a positive reaction. For example: “I read that some people suffering from heart failure have trouble checking their weight every day. We could make a pact to make sure we weigh ourselves daily.”

Tag team
Attending doctor’s appointments with the “patient” can not only be comforting to them, but also provides a second pair of ears.

Hint: Take all medications (in their containers) along to doctor’s appointments. It is also helpful to write down questions ahead of time and take notes. You could also help create a personal health journal with doctors’ numbers and a record of your loved one’s weight, oxygen use and symptoms, such as increased shortness of breath or fatigue.

sol-Carer4By educating yourself about your loved one’s condition, you will feel more comfortable speaking about it and reinforcing doctors’ suggestions.

Make sure the home is safe
Look for things in the environment that might cause harm to your loved one, such as loose area rugs, wonky steps or missing/faulty handrails—all of which can be dangerous for someone who has trouble walking. Stairs can cause shortness of breath, so think about moving your loved one’s bedroom to the ground floor if you live in a multi-storey home. Place chairs around the house so that your loved one can sit if they need to.

How to take care of yourself
It is very important that you don’t neglect your own needs. While it may feel selfish, looking after yourself really is the best thing you can do not only for yourself but also for the person you are caring for.

Find friends and family that you can lean on for emotional support, or join a local disease-specific support group composed of other people in the same situation as you. You can also:
• Make sure you have regular check-ups and that those “little concerns” about your health are seen to.
• Keep exercising: Exercise is more important than ever as it gives you a break, combats depression and helps you maintain your health.
• Eat properly and get enough sleep.

Don’t go it alone
Find community resources and ask friends or family members to step in and give you time off. Or, if you are financially able, hire someone to assist you.

When you have a break, get your hair done or see a movie. Listen to music and exercise. In addition, meditation can be very helpful.

Excerpted with permission from Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada, with contributions from Maureen Tymkow, PH caregiver, and Carolyn Doyle-Cox, RN.

Visit phacanada.ca for more information.

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Home Care & Safe Patient Handling

aideThere are risks involved in moving patients in the home when an assistive device is not used.  An overexerted caregiver could accidentally injure themselves or harm the patient.  The patient may be injury by being dropped, jarred or not properly handled during transfers that are unassisted by a device.

Traditional floor-based lifts typically require multiple caregivers for transfers in the home.  They have a higher risk of tipping and can be difficult to move and adjust due to floor coverings or furniture within the room.  Heavier and larger patients can make these types of lift even more difficult for caregivers to move and adjust.

Anyone who lifts and moves patients are at a high risk for back injury and other musculoskeletal disorders.  Injuries are due in a large part to the overexertion associated with lifting, transferring and repositioning patients manually.  Safe Patient Handling has been associated with fewer injuries and decreasing severity of injuries.

patientStudies have shown that patients feel more comfortable and secure when ua mechanical transfer device is used.  It has been found that using mechanical devices to transfer patients takes fewer personnel and less time than manual transfers.

Patients and family caregivers may be unwilling or unable to accept changes in the home.  They may fear that an assistive device will be unsafe or uncomfortable.   In reality, assistive devices actually increase patient safety and comfort while enhancing the patient’s sense of dignity.  Assistive devices also protect caregivers from injury while increasing their efficiency.

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for the home and the family caregiver.  It allows a single caregiver, often a family member, to safely transfer a loved one in the home without injury.

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Proudly Made in the USA, the Titan 500 is a complete lift system that includes a free sling and free shipping.  It does not attach to the structure of the home and can follow the patient as they move through the continuum of care.  It is simple and safe to use and features a rechargeable electric lift motor.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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Lifting The Standard of Care: Safe In Home Transfers for Family Caregivers

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for home care. The Titan 500 is a complete lift system and comes with the freestanding frame, 8 foot overhead beam, rechargeable electric lift motor, four-point lift bar, remote control, battery charger and a universal sling, with 4 sizes to choose from.

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Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Electric Patient Lift for Home Care & Family Caregivers

 

 

The Titan 500 ships freight and arrives in a large carton. It is partially assembled and two adults can fully assemble the lift in about 30 minutes. The Titan 500 does not attach to the structure of the home and allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a loved one without the stress and strain of a floor-based lift. The only real maintenance required is keeping the batteries charged and maintaining a straight lift belt to avoid twists and folds.

ceiling lift system

Titan 500 Overhead Patient Lift – Shipping Carton

Each piece of the system is designed to lift up to 500 pounds. We have several safety
systems built in to the lift. These include a belt travel limiter to prevent the belt from
completely unspooling, a safety stop switch to keep the belt from winding all the way up
into the motor unit and an electric emergency down system.

Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

The Titan 500 is proudly U.S. made and was designed by a service-disabled veteran. We
are located in Michigan and shipping is free within the continental United States. Options for the unit include a 10 or 12 foot overhead beam and a set of locking casters for the frame. Those incur extra charges.  Contact us with questions and price inquiries.

Visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel for more information.

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Safe Patient Transfers In The Home

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead electric patient lift designed for home health care and a single family caregiver.  It protects caregivers and their patients from the injuries associated with the manual lifting and transferring of patients in the home.

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The freestanding system does not attach to the structure and can follow the patient throughout their continuum of care.  A rechargeable electric motor gently lifts and lowers the patient while the caregiver glides them across the overhead beam and positions them  for a safe and secure transfer.

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Designed by a Service-Disabled Veteran, the Titan 500 is proudly “Made in the USA”.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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Patient Voices: Alzheimer’s Disease

By 

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

When someone is told that he or she has Alzheimer’s disease, it affects the entire family. Beyond the basic memory decline, there are concerns about maintaining independence, long term care and holding on to special moments. Here, people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and loved ones who care for them speak about living with the disease.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/well/patient-voices-alzheimers.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FElderly

alzheimers couple

Traxx Mobility Systems is Lifting the Standard of Home Care for Family Caregivers with the Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift.  It allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a patient in the home without injury.  The overhead lift provides a secure and comfortable transfer experience for dementia patients.

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Titan 500 with 12 foot long overhead beam with a King Bed.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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Lifting the Standard of Home Health Care for Family Caregivers

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed to work within the confines of the bedroom while protecting a single caregiver from injury while transferring a patient in the home.  See all the benefits of our overhead track lift in the following video.

 

See how current customers have rated the Titan 500 Patient Lift below.

Leon H 5Star

Elaine H 5Star

Robert S 5Star

Bonnie M 5Star

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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Older Adults Desire Independence As They Age In Place

caregiverInvesting in home modifications and home medical equipment can help those living with chronic disease or disability save money and avoid the nursing home.  With a little help, home care patients can age in place, saving thousands on long term care.  Start small by removing fall hazards like throw rugs and opening up access around furniture. Adding handrails in bathrooms and staircases can also provide peace of mind as you age.  You may also want to review how you store things in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom to make everyday items more accessible.

age in place communityThere are many reasons to remain in your home as you age.   Financial benefits, social and community connections, familiarity and  accessibility to resources are among many of the motivating factors to age in place. Aging in place may include downsizing to a smaller space or finding a more walkable community to live. Technology has also created more independence for older adults.  These include security and staying in touch with loved ones, package delivery and transportation as well as entertainment and leisure.

family caregiverIf additional changes are needed as you age, many mobility products are available for the home now.  Lift chairs in the living room can help you stand up.  In the bathroom, risers and supports can be added to the toilet.  For those requiring additional assistance, there is more advanced equipment available to aid mobility. Wheelchair ramps, stair lifts and patient lifts can be added to the home and easily pay for themselves after just a few months home and out of the nursing home.  While it takes a little more planning and spending, remaining in your home can save you a lot of money in the long run.

bebf5-titan2bblog2b2The Titan 500 is a patient lift that is designed for the confines and limitations of home health care and aging in place.  Traditional Hoyer lifts are difficult to operate in the home due to the tight spaces and the presence of carpeting in most bedrooms.  The freestanding frame does not attach to the home and can fit in any bedroom.  An overhead lift can also provide a more comfortable and dignified transfer for the patient.  It also protects family caregivers from injury while increasing their transfer efficiency allowing the patient to be active and more independent and gets you ready for in home care.

For more information on the Titan 500, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.  The Titan 500 was designed by a service-disabled veteran and is Proudly Made in the USA.

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Prepare to Care: A Caregiving Planning Guide for Families

Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families was developed by AARP to help make the job more manageable. It includes information on how to have vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess your loved one’s needs and locate important resources.

mom daughter caregiving

Whether you are taking parents to a doctor’s appointment, helping them pay bills or providing full-time care for them in your home or from afar, you likely have questions about how to best fulfill your role as a family caregiver.

Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families provides simple, straightforward information and checklists that help guide family conversations. And it outlines what you need to do — in five simple, easy-to-understand steps — to take care of your loved one in the best possible way.

Step 1: Start the Conversation

Step 2: Form Your Team

Step 3: Make a Plan

Step 4: Find Support

Step 5: Care for Yourself

mother daughter embrace

 

In addition, we compiled the above guide into a bite-size two-page brochure titled, “A Helping Hand, For Those Caring for Loved Ones.” You can download this brochure in English or Spanish.

 

Download The Guides Here:  http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/prepare-to-care-planning-guide/?sf62081394=1

Traxx Mobility Systems manufactures and sells the Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift for home health care.  It allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a patient in the home without injury.

For more information on the Titan 500, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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My Vexing/Gratifying 7 Years of Caregiving

By Barry Jacobs

A clinical psychologist and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers who specializes in helping family caregivers.  This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

On April 26, 2017, while lying motionless in her nursing home bed with closed eyelids and a gaping mouth, my 86-year-old mother took two last short breaths before peacefully going still. Her death from complications of dementia and kidney failure brought to a close a nearly 7-year, sometimes rancorous period of family caregiving after my wife and I moved her up from Florida to live near us. We then gradually took over every aspect of her life.

That wasn’t our intention, of course. We tried to preserve her independence for as long as we could. But as she became confused about her pills, fell more often, and wandered at times, we responded by commandeering her pill box, making her use a walker, and hiring legions of home health aides. With nearly every change, she fought us. That made a sad, deteriorating situation more difficult. Living in a nursing home during her last year-and-a-half gave her the supports she needed and allowed us to finally stop battling with her.

 

Read the full article by following the link below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/my-vexinggratifying-7-years-of-caregiving_us_591a5986e4b0f31b03fb9e8d?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

Traxx Mobility Systems is Lifting the Standard of Home Care

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for home health care. It is a complete lift system and comes with the freestanding frame, 8 foot long overhead beam, rechargeable electric lift motor, four-point lift bar, remote control, battery charger and a universal sling, with 4 sizes to choose from.

TMS08LG

The Titan 500 ships freight and arrives in a large carton. It is partially assembled and two adults can fully assemble the lift in about 30 minutes. We have a video demonstration of the lift in use, followed by an assembly video, on our website at www.traxxms.com.

The Titan 500 does not attach to the structure of the home and allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a loved one without the stress and strain of a floor-based lift. The only real maintenance required is keeping the batteries charged and maintaining a straight lift strap to avoid twists and folds.

Each piece of the system is designed to lift up to 500 pounds. We have several safety systems built into the lift. These include a belt travel limiter to prevent the belt from completely unspooling, a safety stop switch to keep the belt from winding all the way up into the motor unit and an electric emergency down system.

7001d-titan2b5002bpatient2blift

The Titan 500 is proudly U.S. made and was designed by a service-disabled veteran. We are located in Michigan and shipping is free within the continental U.S. Options for the unit include a 10 or 12 foot overhead beam and a set of locking casters for the frame.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.