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How to Handle Stress When Caring for the Elderly

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How to Handle Stress When Caring for the Elderly

January 8th, 2019 by

Taking care of an aging family member often requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. You may really want to take care of your aging relative or feel an obligation to do so. Either way, the day-to-day and minute-to-minute care needed can be both physically and emotionally draining. Caregiver stress is a very real thing. If you’re not careful, you might end up falling ill yourself. Some studies show that more than 50% of all caregivers suffer from depression and other caregiver-related stress symptoms.

High stress levels may hinder your ability to care for your loved one. The following tips will give you ideas about how to reduce stress and improve your personal well-being, in addition to advice about turning for help and when it may be time to consider all your in-home care options.

Work Out

Even if you are caring for someone, you should still make time to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. You can do simple exercises like walking, running, or riding your bike around your neighborhood, dancing in your living room, or swimming. You may also opt to learn stress management exercises that promote relaxation and inner balance like tai-chi or yoga.

Take a Minute to Breathe

As the primary caregiver in your family, you probably feel overwhelmed with all your responsibilities. Many times feeling like you don’t even have a minute for yourself, but that’s not true. You can always spare a few minutes for yourself to take a breather. Whenever you feel like everything is spiraling out of control, take a minute to sit still, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.

Take Care of Yourself

When caring for somebody else, it’s important to care for yourself too. Indulging in fast foods won’t do your health any good, so make sure to eat healthy foods instead. Sleep deprivation causes various health problems, sleep as much as you can whenever you can. Refrain from using your caregiving responsibilities as an excuse to skip your annual and other necessary check-ups. Who will take care of your aging loved one if you are also sick yourself?

Join a Support Group

Find yourself an elderly caregiver support group where you can get the validation and encouragement you need. This group of people know what you are going through as they are likely in the same situation as you. They can give you practical advice on how to deal with difficult situations and how to deal with caregiver stress.

Ask for Help

Many caregivers have to deal with work and caring for their loved ones at the same time. So, it’s no wonder many of them experience burnout and stress. It is not wrong to ask for some help from friends and other family members. You need time to take care of yourself too, after all. Another option would be to hire a professional for your senior home care needs. By hiring a highly trained caregiver from Capital City Nurses, you not only ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one, but also yours.

Sometimes the Name Doesn’t Say it All

December 6th, 2018 by

Capital City Nurses provides private duty home care that helps people, primarily seniors, with their basic activities of daily living. Things like fixing breakfast or lunch, running a load of laundry, cleaning up the dishes and tidying up the house or apartment and just being a friendly companion to talk to, take a leisurely walk with or someone to talk politics with.

Sometimes we feel misunderstood; our name leads many people to believe that we do skilled nursing or that we are the company to turn to when there are lots of serious medical issues and multiple entities providing services such as physical therapists, care managers or even hospice. Although we excel at this type of case, 85% of our clients are what we refer to as companionship clients. Companion care and personal care assistance is what we do better than anyone does! For the type of client that values their independence, has pride and has a clear idea of what their needs are, you need the best caregivers. Capital City Nurses’ Caregiver Academy is helping transform our caregiver workforce into the most refined, professional, and compassionate group of caregivers available in the Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia region.

We have the expertise to increase the level of care as our clients’ needs increase, but most of most of our clients receive minimal assistance with activities of daily living, medication reminders and a hefty dose of friendship from their companion.

Don’t let the name fool you, we are The Smart Choice for Companion Care. Capital City Nurses team of experience professionals will help you craft the ideal plan to get started. Call today 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Creative Ideas for Older Adults with Dementia

November 8th, 2018 by

There are many good reasons to plan creative activities for a person with dementia. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a routine and plan the same things over and over again. Whether you are taking care of the person at home or if they’re in an assisted living community, they can benefit from creative activities.

Take an Interest

In order to get the most out of an activity, it is important to observe the person closely. Observing them will help you figure out things that they like and things that they dislike. Observe the person’s response to different types of activities. When you can cater an activity around the person’s interests, it makes it that much more interesting for them. You can try asking them about their life story. Find out where they came from and if they had any interesting life experiences that they would be willing to share with you. Ask what they are passionate about or about any hobbies, they like to do. If you are not able to get this information from the person directly, reach out to someone who knows him or her well like a family member or close friend. Once you figure out activities that they could possibly enjoy, start to plan them out. Here is a list of possible activities you can do.

The Musician

If you find that the person really enjoys music, this might be a good activity for them. It might give them an opportunity to use their gift. They may be able to sing a song in a choir or even play the piano. Another option would be to be a part of a sing-along. Music can be a lot of fun. If they enjoy listening to music and not necessarily performing it, you can make recordings of their favorite songs and play them.

The Caregiver

Oftentimes, people with dementia become more alert and interested when there is a baby or children in the room. Introducing a child is often successful and can get a response. If a person is spending the majority of their time alone in a facility or at home, they may not be getting enough socialization. They may be missing out on regular interaction with kids. Take them for a walk at the local park or bring them to a playground. Ask family members that have children to come by and visit more often, or if you have children, bring them by to visit.

The Athlete

If you find that you have a sports fanatic, there are a bunch of creative activities you can do with them. For example, you could take them out to play mini golf. If you have a gaming console, you could play bowling or soccer. You could also try playing corn hole or beanbag toss, or even go and watch a little league baseball game. Get creative and have a good time with it.

All of these different activities can be very meaningful for the right person and help keep them interested and active. There is much more to discuss regarding activities for older adults. The highly-trained providers at Capital City Nurses know and understand this. When you need people trained in best practices and who are dedicated to providing the kind of care they themselves would want for their own loved ones, call (866) 807-7307.

Home Care Nursing Is a Perfect Complementary Service to In-Home Medical Care

October 8th, 2018 by

If you are seeking a comprehensive array of services for a parent, grandparent or any other loved one, you might feel confused and frustrated. After all, there are many terms to know and understand. There is home care nursing and skilled nursing, home health care and caregivers, and other terms that seem to appear everywhere. It is important to be clear on what services are available, what they provide and how to use them to create an optimal solution for your loved one.

What Is Home Care Nursing?

A good place to begin is with private home care. With this kind of service, your loved one can still live on their independently and at the same time, benefit from the help of a Certified Nursing Assistant. This can mean daily or evening visits from someone who can offer them help with all of the day-to-day essentials, such as:

  • Cooking meals, Setting the table and presenting food nicely
  • Reminding them to take medications
  • Bathing, hygiene and grooming
  • Dressing
  • Getting to and from appointments
  • Help with errands
  • Light housekeeping, laundry and other similar chores
  • Socializing and keeping mentally busy
  • Keeping the home safe with infection control, environmental safety and even food safety

Clearly, this array of services proves that a caregiver is not a medical care provider but does offer what might easily be described as “all the rest”.

Yet, the best home care nursing service can also be a complementary option to medical care. Let’s say a loved one suffered an injury after a fall and must spend a brief time in the hospital, doing rehabilitation and is then sent back home. A good caregiver is going to ask how that fall happened and figure out what they can do to assure it does not happen again. They will get to know your loved one and help them improve their overall quality of life by ensuring that underlying issues, such as poor eating habits, lack of socialization and even losing track of time and schedules do not occur.

There is much more to at-home care than the medical essentials. The highly-trained providers at Capital City Nurses know and understand this. Their Caregiver Academy training is a form of ongoing learning and programming that ensures they offer their clients the very best solutions possible. When you need people trained in best practices and that are dedicated to providing the kind of care they themselves would want for their own loved ones, it is to them you should turn.

Emphasizing the Importance of Infection Control in the Home

September 28th, 2018 by

Most of us try to keep our homes as tidy as we can, but life can sort of get in the way. After all, the challenges of daily work schedules, family life, and the essentials of day-to-day living might make it difficult to clean as much or as thoroughly as we’d like. Yet, for the most part we can manage things to an adequate level, ensuring effective bacterial and infection control in the home. Seniors, though, can find it very difficult to do so, and there are some shocking statistics that prove it is an issue that requires much more attention.

As an example, the American Academy of Family Physicians has released these figures about the elderly and infection:

  • Infectious diseases account for one-third of all deaths in people over the age of 65.
  • More than 90% of all deaths from pneumonia occur in people over 65.
  • A recent upswing in drug resistant bacteria showed that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is particularly dangerous for the elderly, which makes infection control in the home even more important.

That same organization went on to explain that the most common infections that elderly people deal with include skin infections, bacterial pneumonia, UTIs and influenza. Many of these issues can be kept at bay with appropriate infection control in the home, so where do you begin?

Get Help with Infection Control in the Home

Most infectious diseases that affect seniors are quite preventable, but it takes a bit of attention and help to do so. As an example, your elderly parent or grandparent may still be independent, handling their light housekeeping, day-to-day living activities, personal hygiene, and more. Yet, you notice their home and even their person is not as well-kept as it once was. A caregiver can be the ideal solution. They can work with your loved one to ensure that their skin care is kept up, as this is a key preventative of infection. They can tackle the kinds of housekeeping chores that ensure optimal health and safety, including food safety and infection control, and even work on hand washing as well as other simple remedies to reduce risks of infection.

At Capital City Nurses, the team uses a system of ongoing educational material and training to ensure that all clients get the best care possible. Full safety training that incorporates infection control, food safety and environmental safety (i.e. creating a home free of trip and fall risks, and so on) are only part of what they offer. If you want to ensure your loved one remains safe and sound, give them a call to discuss their services.

Ensuring Environmental Safety for Seniors

August 15th, 2018 by

As more seniors and families are choosing to age in place, it is imperative to understand the options to stay healthy and safe at home. Having the “Gold Standard” home care company to help do the things that are needed to protect your loved one, allowing them to continue living life in the comfort of their home and giving families the peace of mind they need.


Housekeeping is a key factor in providing a safe and stable living environment. Maintaining a clutter-free and clean home is essential for those that are at risk of falling or those with balance issues. A majority of seniors feel better and have a happier disposition when living in a clean environment. It helps to prevent allergies or infection due to mold or dust. Housekeeping should include kitchens and bathrooms also their bedding.

Flooring and Safe Surfaces

Since many seniors are at risk of falling it is logical to keep all flooring areas clutter and trip free. Things such as small area rugs, slippery surfaces and bulky furniture should be removed from their living areas. A fall for someone who is frail can cause major issues such as broken bones, head injuries and can even be fatal. Other potential hazards include electric devices or anything that uses a cord which can be tripped over. All electronic devices that use a cord ought to be moved out of the way so that your loved one has an unobstructed path to walk through their home. Bathroom or shower areas should be slip free including the tub. Placing grab bars in the bathrooms and showers and railings throughout the home allows the individual to hold onto them as needed for standing up or sitting.

Preparation for an Emergency

Make sure the home is properly secure with fire alarms and smoke detectors. Capital City Nurses ensures that your loved one is protected. In the case of a fire or other emergency, having a trusted caregiver on the scene will help as they will be able to determine what is happening and what to do. Remote monitoring services are great as well. It is important that the senior call for help which can usually be done with a medical alert bracelet/necklace or even on their phone. The key is that they MUST wear it!

Environmental safety is important to the Capital City Nurses. Ensuring that everything is in place to prevent health decline or injury is just a small part of our experienced team’s job. Call Capital City Nurses to find out why they are the smart choice for home care.

Food Safety Concerns for Seniors

July 8th, 2018 by

As a home care company in Chevy Chase, MD, many of Capital City Nurses’ home care clients have allergies, swallowing issues or dietary limitations. Their clients’ ability to eat properly requires attention to detail and it is their job to ensure that they are aware of these specific needs. Each client serviced by Capital City Nurses receives a detailed assessment, performed by one of their experienced home care Registered Nurses. The Plan of Care created from this assessment informs caregivers and staff to the individual needs of their clients’ related to food and eating. Shopping and preparing food so that meals are cooked according to the clients’ needs and tastes is all part of the service. Cleanliness and food safety are paramount. Elderly adults or those suffering from some diseases are at higher risk for sickness and even hospitalization from foodborne illnesses.

The risk of foodborne illness in older adults increases because the organs in our bodies go through various changes. The stomach loses the ability to create enough acid, which would normally help lower the amount of bacteria in our intestinal tract. This increases the chance of bacterial growth. The stomach also tends to hold onto food for a longer period of time, which allows bacteria grow. The kidneys and liver typically help to expel foreign toxins from our body but with age this sometimes stops happening. Those suffering from chronic conditions are also at a higher risk.

Food Safety Precautions

It is important to have a home care company that understands the risk of food safety to their clients. Training, such as that offered through the Capital City Nurses Caregiver Academy keeps their caregivers stay informed and alert to the issue of food safety and best practices for prevention of food borne illness. Your home care nurse will do everything they can to be cautious while handling food in a client’s home. Capital City Nurses stresses education as a way to improve the level of their services. Below are 4 easy steps to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

  1. Being clean includes washing your hands frequently and keeping all services and prep areas clean.
  2. Always separate poultry and raw meats from foods that are ready to eat. Always be diligent in cleaning up after preparing these meats.
  3. Make sure all foods are prepared and cooked at the right temperature.
  4. Raw poultry and meat should be chilled if not being used right away. You should always refrigerate any cooked leftovers within two hours.

Stay safe and follow these basic rules to keep foodborne illnesses out of the home.

Companionship Care from a Home Care Service

June 28th, 2018 by

It can be difficult to watch our once vibrant and independent parents grow older and lose interest the activities they once loved doing. Aging people are susceptible to becoming withdrawn and socially isolated. It is especially important as individuals age, to maintain the social aspect of life in order to stay mentally and physically healthy. As we all know, general wellbeing increases with social interaction. An excellent service that is gaining in popularity is Companion Care or social visits for seniors who would benefit from spending time with a friend to chat or accompany them on outings and appointments.

35898106_2141311192563003_368704336563273728_nThis type of service offers a visit from a sophisticated individual that has worldly experience that can engage the client in conversations and experiences that relate to the clients’ interests. The companion may drive them to their doctor’s appointments, to the library, or even to brunch to meet with friends.

Companion services fill in the gaps when family cannot be there or if there is limited time during the week to squeeze in a quality visit with mom or dad. It is different from traditional home care services, which help with personal care needs. Companion care is relaxing and social, a friendly face that a person can connect with.

Capital City Nurses pioneered companion care with our “Daughter Down the Street” program, a leading companion care service. Clients love visits with their companion and it helps them participate socially as they always have. Families love The “Daughter Down the Street” because they know their mom or dad are staying active and engaged and are developing new trusted relationships.

**Ask about our male companions, our “Sons Stopping By” too!

Caregiver Program – Filling the Downtime

June 20th, 2018 by

A frequent complaint that we hear as a home care provider is that Mom or Dad suffer from boredom or a sense of isolation, even when they have someone with them. They may not be motivated to get busy and participate in an activity unless they are cajoled. Often, they can do many things on their own, but do not know where to start. Let’s face it, during an 8 or a 12 hour day, there is going to be down time. The time between the personal care duties and other tasks around the house when there is no “work” to be done or help needed. This is the time that used to be spent with family, going to work, taking care of others, or just doing hobbies they used to enjoy. Over time, these things occur less and less. A thoughtful, trained and engaged caregiver should have a plan for the downtime. Knowing their clients former employment, interests and passions can help prepare to inspire their client with conversation or activities that are interesting. This doesn’t just happen by chance. It starts with a culture of understanding the dynamics of home care and being proactive to make the client’s experience special.

How Can a Caregiver Help?

The Capital City Nurses way is to address all aspects of our clients’ lives. To help improve their lives we offer coaching on how to fill the downtime. Games, conversation and activities that are individual and appropriately challenging are part of the plan. Exploring new locations, getting outdoors more, or just watching a funny movie with a caregiver, who feels and behaves like a friend.

Improving the quality of a client’s life is essential. Whether they are homebound or simply just getting older, a caregiver program can be an exciting opportunity to improve their quality of life and fill the downtime.

Go on Booming Adventures

August 20th, 2017 by

Booming Adventures

Patt Osborne wasn’t happy with a quiet retirement life. The former teacher wasn’t ready to sit at home and knit, she wanted adventure. Patt imagined that there were others out there who wanted a little more excitement, no matter their age.

Patt founded Boomer Chick Adventures in New Jersey, a company that designs outdoor excursions tailored to inspire women in the baby boomer generation to get out and move. Though women and men of all ages are welcome, Patt felt it was important that women be encouraged to get outdoors as they age.

“Being outdoors, whether in the woods, on a mountain peak, seaside, lakeside, or just reading on my deck, this is where I draw my strength and become energized,” Patt explains. The most popular events are hiking, kayaking and tubing, though the group has expanded to cultural events like tea ceremonies.

What can we learn from Patt and the Boomer Chick adventurers? That retirement is not the time to slow down, but the time to embrace new challenges and interests. It’s a time to learn new skills, enjoy physical activity and experience the world through travel and culture.

If you’re not sure how to start something new, look for a group like Patt’s that caters to older clientele. There are plenty of organizations that can help with travel, technology and learning, all tailored to senior clients. There are also a number of colleges that offer free classes that range from academic to artistic. If you’d like to spend your retirement learning, look here for the classes available in your state.

Don’t allow your retirement to be the end of your adventuring. Take a hike, learn a new language, or embrace another culture. Retirement is a time to expand your horizons, not shrink them.