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November 2006

Caregiver Assistance News

“C a r i n g f o r y o u … c a r i n g f o r o t h e r s ”

Working (or Living) With Difficult People

How to Head Off Confrontation
Is the person you take care of, or Solutions That Work
live with, sometimes difficult? What • Listen for the feeling behind the
happens when the food arrives cold words. Everyone needs to feel
or late from Meals on Wheels and the someone is listening.
person in your care complains? Do
• Validate her feelings. Say
you feel guilty and become defensive,
something like: “I understand
or do you look for a better way to
you feel angry (or unhappy, or
resolve the problem? What should you
frustrated, or whatever).”
do when your care recipient refuses
to allow outside household help, even • If a discussion becomes verbally
though it’s needed for safety reasons abusive, walk away or hang
when you can’t be there? up the phone. The illness
or disability is to blame, not
There’s always a solution for
Adapted from The Comfort of Home: An Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide for Caregivers, © 2006 CareTrust Publications.

you. Continue the discussion

difficulties in caregiving. For example,
when everyone has
you could call the Meals on Wheels
calmed down.
office and let them know there’s a
problem with food delivery. Perhaps • Let the person in your
the agency can make sure the hot care make some care
packs are included with food deliver- decisions so they don’t
ies. You could ask the person in your feel powerless.
care to accept a helper for a few hours • Show affection and gratitude.
a day on a try-out basis as a possible Hug your care recipient, if
springboard to a more permanent welcome, and tell them you
commitment. appreciate their cooperation.
Source:; Tad Publishing.

Caffeine—The Sneaky Stressor

Caffeine is a strong stimulant, that speeds up your mind and body,
producing unnecessary stress. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft
drinks (like Coke and Pepsi), and chocolate. It’s also found in some
medications, so always read the labels. Even decaffeinated coffee
has a little caffeine. You will feel more calm and relaxed, sleep
better, and have more energy if you gradually decrease your intake
by one drink a day. Don’t stop abruptly or you’ll get withdrawal headaches.
If you can’t give up caffeine, limit yourself to 1–2 cups a day.
Ca reg i ver Assista nce Newsl etter November 2006

Caregivers Need Support Too!

Support from others can reduce stress and help
caregivers remain strong and healthy. To get support:
1. Find someone you trust to talk to about your feel-
ings and difficulties before you need help. Don’t judge
yourself—having problems doesn’t mean you’re weak.
Supporting others is a good way to build trust and
goodwill, and create a mutual support network.
2. If you become overwhelmed, ask for help from family
with babysitting, running errands, transportation to
the doctor, or other chores.
3. Talk to people who have had similar experiences,
and network to help find what you need. Join a sup-
port group.
Note: Remember, HIPAA rules prohibit discussing details
about another person’s health with anyone but that
person’s health care team.

Hiring an Extra Pair of Hands—How Great is That!

Get help from a home health agency when:
• The doctor changes the care regime. For instance,
your mother’s physician might want her to stop
using incontinence pads for a few days so a rash
can heal, but you know how tough it is to get your
mother to the bathroom on your own.
• Your care recipient moves into a period of
difficult behavior, a new face and a different voice
can be calming.
• Your care recipient is recovering from the flu
or a cold.
• Laundry seems to control your life. Wouldn’t just
one day without laundering soiled sheets be nice?
• Your sister wants to go out for coffee to talk.
It’s so great to hear about someone else’s
problems for a change.
• Your care recipient suffers from “cabin fever.”
A new face visiting three times a week for a few weeks to help with
personal care and housekeeping can put the spark back into both you
and your care recipient.
• You need to work overtime. You can work late without worrying when you
© 2006 CareTrust Publications

have a home health aide to help with caregiving duties.

• You’re expecting company for special events or holidays. An extra pair of
hands can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed and anxious.

Taking Care Of Yourselperf son in your care feel happy and relaxed.
d the
Plan activities to help you an
sounds of nature.
• Sit outside and listen to the
• Spend time with a pet, if po
• Listen to your favorite mu feel good.
you r hom e an d wo rks pa ce with pictures that make you
• Decorate
be seen daily.
t favori te po em s, qu ote s, and cartoons where they can
• Pos
and drink plenty of water.
• Eat fresh, balanced meals
if possible. Even someone in a
• Participate in mild exercise,
move to music.
wheelchair may be able to
orite dessert.
• Enjoy small portions of a fav
ted with happy memories.
• Bake favorite items associa

u Check with your doctor about getting your flu shot.

Releasing Emotions
Live Life Laughing! Pent-up feelings can get in the
Well, Doctor, I guess I have way of healthy relationships. Try to
reached that awkward age. make time every day to safely vent
What do you mean? your frustration, anger, or guilt.
Too young for Medicare
and too old for men to care! 1. Write in a private, daily journal.
2. Attend a support group.
3. Talk with a good friend.
4. Get plenty of exercise.
5. Plan for your personal future.

November is National
Family Caregiver Month
© 2006 CareTrust Publications
for education and support.

Our Purpose
To provide caregivers with critical Still Refusing to Cooperate with Personal Care?
information enabling them to do their job
with confidence, pride, and competence. First, make sure she understands what you are asking. She may be
Ordering Info confused, especially in cases of dementia, or she may be feeling ill and
From the publishers of simply unable to respond quickly. First make sure she is comfortable
and not sick.
An Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide ✔ Be a listener—Take time to ask how she is doing. Sometimes
for Caregivers combative behavior is a symptom of a deeper issue. For example, a
available from… person may refuse to be bathed because she is feeling modest, or she
CareTrust Publications LLC
may refuse to eat in response to a sense of loss of control. Offering
PO Box 10283, Portland, OR 97296
800-565-1533 choices can make her more likely to cooperate.
or ✔ Be patient—Your schedule may be overwhelming, but the person
Comments and suggestions welcome. in your care is on her own schedule. Allow more time than usual for
©2006 CareTrust Publications LLC.
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any
simple tasks. Too many activities at once can provoke a negative
component of this publication is forbidden reaction because the person feels overwhelmed.
without a license from the publisher.
Some content in this publication is excerpted ✔ Remain calm—Seeing you calm may help calm her down.
from The Comfort of Home: An Illustrated
Step-by-Step Guide for Caregivers. It is for ✔ Delay the personal care if possible. Ask yourself if the task you
informational use and not health advice. are attempting can be put off until the person is calmer.
It is not meant to replace medical care but to
supplement it. The publisher assumes no ✔ Do not contradict her reality—If she believes something to be
liability with respect to the accuracy,
completeness or application of information true, do not disagree, unless it poses a physical threat.
presented or the reader’s misunderstanding
of the text. ✔ Track the behavior—Keep notes on times of day, frequency, or type
of behavior problem to better understand the triggers.

N E X T I S S U E … M edications and w h at to as k t h e doctor

Working (or Living) With Difficult People­—November 2006

Caregiver Assistance News

“C a r i n g f o r y o u … c a r i n g f o r o t h e r s ”

Q u i c k Q u i z
Difficult situations arise from time to time, especially during caregiving. Read
this issue and answer True or False to the questions below to see if you know how
to make interacting with the person in your care less stressful.
1. Listen to what the person in your care has to say and
respond as positively as possible.
2. You should make all the care decisions because, after all,
you know what’s best.
3. Caregivers need support too.
4. It is okay to discuss the details of my care recipient’s
health with my close friends.
5. Listening to the feeling behind the words can help with
6. The illness may be to blame for verbally abusive behavior.

Answers: 1. T, 2. F, 3. T, 4. F, 5. T, 6.T, 7.F, 8.T, 9.T, 10. T

7. Drink lots of coffee when you’re tired to feel better fast without side effects.
8. There are relaxing things to do with the person in your care that you both can
enjoy and benefit from, such listening to music and the sounds of nature.
9. When the person is upset, it is better to delay the personal care if the task can
be put off until the person is calmer.
10. Find a good friend or professional counselor to talk to if you feel depressed or
© 2006 CareTrust Publications

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