Thursday, July 28, 2016

Caregivers, Senior Professionals: Deep Breathing Helps Us Relax!

Deep breathing.  It helped me bring our third child into the world 34 years ago.  Mirroring my husband's breaths, I kept the pain at bay.

Today and over the years, both as a caregiver and as a professional working with families with aging parents, I've seen  the value of deep breathing.

If you fall into one of those categories, caregiver or senior care professional, deep breathing can do wonders for your body. It can help you relax, focus, escape overthinking and fall asleep or go back to sleep. I've also personally experienced the effectiveness of deep breathing in combating "compassion fatigue," when I over-identify with clients and their struggles.  And yes, that happens!

Deep breathing takes practice.  It emphasizes the nose, rather than the mouth.  Here's how:
  • Lay down, stand, or sit upright as you breathe. It's more difficult to draw in a full breath if you're in a slouched position.
  • Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest, as you inhale. You can tell you're breathing deeply and properly if the hand on your belly rises out further than the one on your chest as you inhale.
  • Let out your breath slowly through your nose. As you breath out, pull in your belly toward your spine. Exhale all of the breath in your lungs. After you exhale, take in another deep breath through your nose and continue breathing deeply. Try to exhale for twice as long as you inhale, and fully expel the air. [3]
Good luck with deep breathing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When Regular Assisted Living Doesn't Work, What to do?

If you care for an aging parent, you may wonder, "What happens when assisted living no longer works?"  When care needs, either physical or cognitive, grow beyond the ability of staff to safely manage, what is the answer?  Memory care?  An adult family home?  A nursing home?

In Washington State, several assisted living communities have begun another option which for many, is a good alternative.  One name for this is a Transitional Program.

An example: Tahoma Landing at the Chateau Pacific in Lynnwood, offers more physical care and more cognitive care than regular assisted living. People with mild memory loss can live here instead of moving to memory care.  Residents who are cognitively sharp but have physical issues can also live here and receive help with transfers, fall prevention devices, etc.  How doe this work? Tahoma Landing is located in the regular assisted living area, but apartments are close to the nursing station.  Everything is easier:  Higher staffing ratios allow residents with memory issues to receive the cuing and oversight they need.  Those with physical needs can get help with their unique health issues.

The two other Chateau Retirement Communities in Bothell and Renton are slated to have the Tahoma Landing program, as well.

Overlake Terrace Assisted Living in Bellevue has had a transitional program for several years.  This is primarily for those with some memory loss but who are not appropriate for memory care.  Higher staffing gives needed attention.  A smaller setting offers comfort. 

Still other communities offer some flexibility for residents to spend the day in a higher care setting while sleeping in the regular assisted living.

Other spinoffs on transitional care are bound to appear on the horizon. And that could be good news for your aging parent.
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