Stretched Caring for Kids and Parents?

By NICOLE VILLALPANDO; RAISING AUSTIN, Austin American Statesman

Family caregivers can find help at AGE, Family Eldercare.

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“Patience.”

It’s a simple word, but a hard one to embrace when you’re stretched thin as a parent who is caring for both your children and your parents or in-laws.

It’s a word that has been essential to Kimberly McKneely, who has an 81-year-old mother-in-law with some memory loss living with her. She also has a 12-year-old daughter and two sons with special needs who are 18 and 19.

“It’s really hard,” she says.

“Everybody wants your time; everybody wants your attention.”

McKneely is part of what some have called the “sandwich generation” — those who are caring for family members a generation younger and a generation older than them. University of Texas professor Karen Fingerman actually found that not as many people are now in the “sandwich generation” — caregivers to both minor children and parents.

Instead, more people are in the “pivot generation,” supporting their parents as well as their adult children, who may or may not be still living at home. This change from sandwich to pivot is happening for two reasons: Parents are living longer and the age when they can no longer care for themselves is older, and adult children are delaying leaving the nest. Continue reading

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Getting Out of the House — good for individuals with dementia and caregivers alike

Caregivers of the elderly recently gathered for a new conference called ‘GPS for Parenting Your Parents & Caring for Aging Family Members‘ by Riverbend Church here in Austin. One challenge, which has always vexed caregivers and experts alike, grows more and more prominent in their discussions each year: what’s the best way to care for a relative or spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease? When someone you’ve known for years or even decades begins a rapid decline in ability that fundamentally alters who they are, how do you give them the best life you can and help them hold onto their happiness? Dementia creates many situations most people do not have the experience to deal with: rapidly changing family roles, confusion, and frustration for patients and caregivers.

Austin neurologist Dr. Ronald Devere gave one clear piece of advice at this year’s conference: “Patients have got to get out.” Although no vaccine, definitive prevention, or cure for Alzheimer’s has emerged, research is progressing at a remarkable pace. Scientists now have a better idea how to slow the destructive path of the disease, as well as how to manage treatment on a day-to-day basis. Continue reading

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AGE of Central Texas Inclement Weather Policy

Never before have we had so many ‘inclement weather’ days in one year. It distresses us because each day we’re forced to close due to weather means there are family caregivers who still have to work who don’t have anywhere to take their older loved one during the day, and it means there are seniors who won’t get the expert level of care, the medical oversight, and the social connection they need that day.

Because the safety of our clients and our staff are paramount, when inclement weather hits we want them to stay off the roads. But we also know that when AGE’s offices and Adult Day Centers close, there are older adults and family caregivers who are directly affected.  In an effort to balance those two things, and to let our clients and participants know about delays and closures in a clear, timely, and predictable manner, we follow the inclement weather schedule of the school districts.

AGE’s general policy is to follow the operating schedule of the school district in which each office or Adult Day Center resides. So, the Round Rock Adult Day Center follows Round Rock Independent School District, and the rest of AGE’s programs, the AGE Building, and the Austin Adult Day Center follows Austin Independent School District. If the school district closes, the Adult Day Center and all other programs will be closed. If the school district opens on a delayed schedule with a 2-hour delay, we’ll open at 10:00 AM– but if they open any later, we’ll open when they do.

If delays or cancellations occur, AGE will update this information on facebook, twitter, and the homepage of our website. But, please feel free follow the school districts’ websites directly to get the most recent status.

Should you have any questions or concerns on this topic, please contact Annette Juba, Deputy Director of Programs at 512-600-9278. If you have further questions on the status of a particular program, please contact that program staff person directly.

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What would ‘Caregiving, the Musical’ look like?

In the Disney movie, “Enchanted,” Amy Adams plays a fairy tale princess who becomes trapped in the real world in New York City. She decides to pitch in and help the family that has taken her in by calling the local animals together to sing “A Happy Working Song.” Of course in New York, the local animals are rats, pigeons and cockroaches. Startled, she acknowledges that it’s always good to make new friends and they sing their happy song as they clean up.

We don’t often talk about the happiest aspects of caregiving, but many caregivers wake up from their fairy tale life to find out they have entered the world of caregiving – and they’re still happy. So what does Caregiving the Musical look like? Continue reading

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Helping Caregivers Through the Holidays

When someone in your family has dementia, or really any other chronic condition, it can affect what holiday time and family gatherings look like. There’s no magic solution, but we hope these tips and reminders might help make this holiday season a bit easier and merry as you balance the holidays as a caregiver.

1. Help your family and friends adjust their expectations
If some time has passed since visiting relatives or friends have seen the person who has dementia, there may have been significant changes in that person’s status since the last time friends or family last saw them. It is often very helpful if you update family, perhaps via a mass email or individual phone calls, on what kind of cognitive changes are going on and what they can expect when they arrive.

These changes can be hard for family members to accept. Remind them that changes in memory and behavior are a result of the disease, not the person. Continue reading

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YOU Can Prevent Falls!

It’s National Fall Prevention Week! We started off this week with 6 surprising (and possibly depressing) facts about falls.

Thankfully, there IS good news! There are simple and achievable ways that you can reduce your risk of falling (or that of a loved one).

Here are four of our favorite ways to reduce falls:

  1. Get moving- preferably with a strength and balance program specifically for older adults. The stronger you are and the more you use your muscles, the more your body can balance and protect itself in fall-risk situations.
  2. Review your medications with a pharmacist or doctor- some side-effects (like drowsiness or dizziness) can increase your risk of falling. Check regularly with your professional to make sure you’re taking your medication as prescribed, and let them know if these side-effects are a problem.
  3. Get your hearing and vision checked annually- obviously, having the right glasses or prescription can affect your ability to navigate, but did you know that your hearing can also affect your balance? The systems that affect balance and dizziness actually reside in your ears, so don’t neglect to talk to your doctor or a specialist about this.
  4.  Make your home more fall-proof- by removing tripping hazards such rugs or cords, improving lighting, and adding grab bars in areas like the bathroom, you can make your home safer.

Continue reading

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6 Surprising Facts About Falls

Sunday was the first day of fall, which makes it the perfect time to talk about the risk of falls for older adults—this week is Fall Prevention Awareness Week! risk-of-falling-sign-template

Here are 6 facts to help build a clearer picture of why falls are a serious issue: Continue reading

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