A good home health caregiver will get you by, but a great home health caregiver in the Dallas and Fort Worth area will best help you to get better. With the increasing cost of home health care, families are expecting much more out of their caregivers in order to get an adequate return on this investment. As a result, above average results are increasing expected of the caregivers. The focus of this article is not on what makes a good caregiver, but is instead on the critical factor differentiating this caregiver from a really great one.
Care Mountain home health care has caregiver management experience since 1986. This allowed us the opportunity to gather plenty of data on various client cases, in order to gain a clearer picture on what caregiver attributes/efforts seem to have the biggest impact on client results. While the good and great caregivers possessed almost all the same attributes, the one thing the great caregiver was better at doing was setting healthy limits for themselves. The ability to better set healthy limits for oneself made a bigger difference in care giving consistency and reliability.
Whether it’s a professional caregiver, or a family caregiver, the ability of the caregiver to set healthy limits for themselves has been very defining in the level of care giving success. What does setting healthy limits for yourself as a caregiver mean? It means allowing yourself to do the holistic things needed to remain healthy, so that you can be a consistent and reliable help to others. For very dedicated and loving caregivers, this poses some very significant challenges though. Good caregivers love to help and they always seem to find more they can do to help others at work or in their personal lives, so they just keep on giving of themselves And good caregivers often feel guilty about personal enjoyment while those they care deeply for are suffering or seem not to be happy, so they tend to shy away from any healthy self gratification. Family caregivers also commonly fear self-blame if they were not around their loved one when something unfortunate happened, so they tend to not give any healthy time away for themselves.
Caregivers that exceed healthy limits will often experience their own health deficits physiologically, psychologically, sociologically and/or spiritually. This will eventually limit the amount and quality of care they can give on a consistent and reliable bases, which often introduces a elevated level of stress into the care giving process. The last thing someone needing care for an illness or disease needs, or is capable of handling, is more stress to cope with in their environment. This is especially acute in the home care for Alzheimer’s disease.
The discussion on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease often centers around what is lost through this disease, but there is one valuable thing that is often gained, which is very sensitive to stress in the environment. What is gained is a more heightened awareness of the present moment. A person with compromised cognition, such Alzheimer’s disease, can not cope with much more than what is presently near them, so they often have a more hypersensitivity to this immediate present environment. A person with Alzheimer’s disease or other common dementia types will often respond to stress with elevated agitation, which then limits a caregiver’s options. When I mention this to spouses and family members they quickly recall situations where they felt their stress was unnoticed, but could now probably explain their loved one’s elevated agitation and non-compliance at that time to the stress they were unknowingly introducing into the immediate environment.
A few days ago I met with Tony and his family who had called Care Mountain for Alzheimer’s home care in North Richland Hills, TX for his wife. Tony had been married to his wife for over 50 years and it was very evident he loved her dearly. Tony mentioned his primary focus in life now was to ensure his wife’s happiness, and was not content without this goal accomplished. He seemed to convey that he could not see his wife happy as long as she had this disease, so as a result he never seemed able to give himself permission to be content. He also mentioned he had not felt comfortable over the last three years being away from his wife, so he never left anywhere during this time period without her. His wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease over five years ago.
This deep love and dedication Tony showed toward his wife was very admirable by any relationship standard, but his inability to give himself healthy respite time away from his wife’s care caused him to become admittedly less patient with her, which introduced an elevated level of stress into his home environment. As we talked about the increasingly challenging times he has been having with his wife the past year, he began to see how his own stress, that he felt would not be obvious to his wife in her condition, was affecting how she interacted with him.
The Greater Dallas Alzheimer’s Association is one of the best Alzheimer’s sources of local support and information to help caregivers along this journey of caring for a loved one.
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