Juggling Caregiver Duties in the Jungle

December 1, 2014

“Slogging away at life––battles of daily living––a mine field.” Life and our relationship with it are often described as a conflict. We compete for jobs; advance careers; win contracts; scratch out a living; struggle to stay healthy; fight traffic; combat inflation or socio-economic factors.

“It’s a JUNGLE out there,” songwriter Randy Newman describes LIFE in his theme song for the television show, “Monk.” (Monk is a brilliant, obsessive-compulsive police detective. The series ran from 2002 to 2009.) “It’s a jungle out there, disorder and confusion everywhere.” As human beings, we have to figure out HOW to live. “You’d better pay attention or this world we love so much might––just––kill–– you.” (Oh, the irony!) “No one seems to care… Well, I do,” Newman continues, making the point that we are in this together.1.

Arise Home Health Care DOES CARE, which is exactly why Jay and Melody Vachel founded the company in 2000.

“At that time, we were caring for our son, Isaac––dealing with cerebral palsy and blindness––and Melody was primary caregiver for her father,” says Jay. “It was important that care be delivered in the home, where our loved ones were comfortable. And, because we couldn’t find the support we needed and wanted, we created a support system ourselves. Now we make these services available to the community through our home health care company.”

When it comes to meeting the typical challenges of caring for an aging parent or chronically ill child, Melody and Jay have “been there and done that.” Through their guidance, our staff has been prepared to deliver the care families want for their loved ones.

Stacy,* Tim,* and their parents have benefited from the professional care Arise Home Health Care delivers. Eighty-three-year-old Helen* is temporarily at the Good Shepherd apartments; her husband Stan* is in the nursing home. Helen’s home health aide Becky stops in three times a week to help with housekeeping (vacuuming, shopping, laundry), personal cares (hygiene, dressing, hair care), and medication reminders. Helen cannot forget to take her cancer medications.

The cancer diagnosis was a one-two punch for Helen and her children, since they were already handling the stress and logistical challenges of caring for Stan. Becky, cheerful and positive, was a source of compassionate care for Helen when she returned from the hospital and was sick from follow-up radiation and chemotherapy treatments. (See “Caring for Seniors Undergoing Chemotherapy – Advice for Families and Caregivers.”2.)

“My caregiver Becky has been outstanding,” says Helen, who experienced anxiety during therapy. “She has been a great help to relieve stressful situations in my life.”

“My mother adores Becky,” says Stacy. “She trusts her, and they have a very positive relationship.”

A positive step for many families is to arrange for in-home care. Care may include non medical tasks such as a light housekeeping, meal preparation, and companionship. Or there may be specific health concerns. In Helen’s case, her son handles financial tasks because he lives elsewhere. Her daughter lives in the city, so she handles transportation, medical appointments, and visiting. The home health aide performs as a family member, supporting the loved one and giving the family caretakers much-needed mental and physical breaks from their duties. The aide works with Arise Home Health Care’s RN case manager to administer care according to plan. The Care Plan is updated with hospital or doctor’s instructions, which might include rehab exercises or relaxation techniques to improve quality of life. (See “Relaxation can help relieve stress of having cancer”3. and “Relaxation Therapy for Seniors.”4.)

Life in the jungle means “survival of the fittest” for some. For others, life in the jungle offers us opportunities to love and support each other––especially our vulnerable elderly and their overworked caregivers––encouraging one another to “never, never give up.”

As a local, homegrown, in-home care company, we want ALL families juggling caregiving duties to know “we’ve been there” and that Arise cares.

Do you have a question for our professional Arise Home Health Care staff? Contact Us.

* Not the individual’s real name

1. Listen to the song on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhKlBH2_dVY

2. “Caring for Seniors Undergoing Chemotherapy – Advice for families and caregivers,” Care.com, http://www.care.com/senior-care-caring-for-seniors-undergoing-chemotherapy-p1143-q274605.html

3. “Using imagery to meditate can help with stress of cancer, Sheryl M. Ness, R.N., Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/guided-imagery-and-cancer/bgp-20180810

4. “Relaxation Therapy for Seniors,” Care.com, http://www.care.com/senior-care-relaxation-therapy-for-seniors-p1144-q317326.html