What Caregivers Need to Know About FMLA: An Article by Deb Hipp Originally Posted on Senior Living Blog

FMLA

If you’re a caregiver for an aging loved one, you’ll probably need to miss work at some point to help with medical treatment or unexpected emergencies.

In fact, the likelihood is so great that there is even a federal law, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that protects your job if you need to take leave to care for a family member.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA helps workers balance their jobs with leave time for things like having a baby, major illness or acting as a caregiver for a family member with a serious health condition.

The FMLA has been used more than 100 million times since its enactment in 1993, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, not every employer or employee is eligible, and simply relying on your employer to keep you informed may not be the best choice.

“It’s amazing what companies don’t know about FMLA,” says Robert Ottinger, an employment attorney at Ottinger Law. FMLA violations are especially common at companies with fewer than 100 employees, which may not even have a procedure in place, he says.

That’s why you need to know about FMLA and know your FMLA rights, especially if you’re a caregiver.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Employers still have to provide the same group health insurance benefits at the same premium while you’re on leave, and when you return to work, they have to give you back the same or an equivalent job.

You’re allowed to take FMLA leave all at once or intermittently in blocks of time or even by reducing your work schedule. However, not everyone is eligible.

FMLA Eligibility

You’re eligible for FMLA if you:

  1. Work for one of these covered employers:
    • Public agencies; local, state and federal employers; schools; private employers who employ at least 50 employees for a minimum of 20 workweeks per year.
  2. Worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave.
  3. Work at a location where your employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
  4. Worked for the employer for at least 12 months, although the months don’t have to be consecutive.

Even though FMLA leave is unpaid, many companies offer paid or partially paid FMLA leave as a company benefit. Also, state laws in CaliforniaNew JerseyNew York (taking effect Jan. 1, 2018) and Rhode Island provide some form of paid family leave.

Once you determine your FMLA eligibility, you’ll need to find out whether your caregiving situation is covered as well.

Caregiving and FMLA

Don’t simply assume that you can take FMLA leave to care for any family member you love. For instance, you may think of your father-in-law as a second dad, but in-laws aren’t considered “immediate family” under the FMLA.

Qualifying Reasons to Take FMLA

Your employer is required to grant FMLA leave to eligible employees for:

  1. The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn.
  2. When an employee adopts or fosters a child, including providing time to bond.
  3. To care for an immediate family member, including a spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition. Eligibility doesn’t cover leave to care for in-laws, siblings or grandparents. However, you might be eligible for FMLA leave to care for a grandparent who was once your legal guardian or if you are the legal guardian for a disabled sibling.
  4. When the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  5. For qualifying urgent situations when the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call in the military or to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

FMLA Compliance: A Two-Way Street

Both you and your employer must comply with certain requirements when it comes to FMLA. For example, you’re required to provide your employer 30-days advance notice when the need for FMLA is foreseeable. As a caregiver, it’s best to find out your options before a crisis.

“If an employee is concerned about having to leave work at the last minute, then it’s to that employee’s benefit to let human resources know, get approved for intermittent leave and find out the FMLA policy,” says Christina Thomas Mazaheri, an employment lawyer with Morgan & Morgan.

When it comes to unanticipated FMLA time, like rushing from the office because your dad was injured in a car crash, let your employer know as soon as practicable, says Thomas Mazaheri. Even if you have to call from the emergency room, make sure you don’t wait for days without providing an explanation.

“As long as your employer knows, they shouldn’t terminate you because their obligations under FMLA would be triggered,” says Thomas Mazaheri.

At the same time, your employer can’t intentionally delay paperwork or ask for unnecessary medical information. While you’ll need to provide certification of your loved one’s medical condition, your boss isn’t allowed to pry into your life.

“Employers don’t have carte blanche to ask personal medical questions unrelated to the need for protective leave,” says Thomas Mazaheri.

That means if you request FMLA leave for your mom’s cancer surgery, your supervisor can’t ask you to hand over your mom’s psychological records. However, an employer is allowed to ask for clarification if there is reason to believe an employee is being dishonest, says Thomas Mazaheri.

What If My Employer Won’t Grant FMLA Leave?

If your company illegally denies or interferes with your FMLA request, Ottinger recommends showing your employer a print-out of the federal law. If that doesn’t work, “It’s time to call a law firm to write a quick letter,” says Ottinger.

You can file a lawsuit for FMLA violations, and if an employer illegally retaliates by firing you or changing your work conditions, you can probably also add a retaliation count. To find an employment lawyer, search the directory at the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Knowing your FMLA rights can mean the difference between being there to help your aging parents or regretting that your job kept you from helping them when they needed you most.

Have you had experience with taking FMLA to care for a senior loved one? What was your experience like? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.

Related Articles:

 

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About the Author
 

Deb Hipp is a Kansas City, Mo.-based freelance writer who covers elder and caregiving issues and has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and writer. Deb began writing about elder care and aging after her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She hopes her writing can help others whose lives have been altered by dementia and Alzheimer’s. Her work can be found at: http://www.debhipp.com.

When Caregivers Need Some Care: 8 Advantages of Caregiver Support Groups A Guest Post by David Beeshaw

Meeting Of Support Group

 

As a caregiver, you may be focused on looking after your loved one rather than looking after yourself. This can easily backfire, as you end up suffering both mentally and physically. If you start feeling lonely, depressed or extremely tired, a support group might be the best way to solve the situation. Here are seven advantages of attending one.

  1. They stop you feeling lonely

If you spend most of your time in the house and looking after just one person, you can start to feel isolated from the rest of society. You may feel as though the world is going on without you, and it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends when you are too busy to see them. Especially if you are working from home at the same time, loneliness can be a real issue. A support group will change all of that. You can feel like you are part of an extended family when you meet with other caregivers.

  1. You can gain more knowledge

What should you do when this happens? How can you cope with that? What’s the best thing to do in those situations? Other caregivers may well have experienced difficulties before you do, and can help you to understand how to deal with them. This knowledge will help you to be a better caregiver and reduce the stress on your shoulders.

  1. You can talk openly

You might never know how much stress you could release by talking until you do it. You might feel guilty about complaining or sharing negative thoughts, but a support group is a safe place to do this. Once you let those feelings out, you might be surprised to find that they don’t seem as serious as they did inside your head.

  1. They help normalise you

You may feel like you are the only person in the world dealing with your situation. Join a support group, however, and you will soon find that a lot of people are going through the same things that you are. They have the same doubts and fears, the same weird moments, and the same difficulties. Learning that what you are dealing with is normal will help immensely with your mental health.

  1. They put you in control

If you feel like being a caregiver is running your whole life, you may also feel powerless and out of control. Going to a caregiver support group will help you to understand that you are still in control of your whole life. Speaking to others will empower you.

  1. They help you cope

When times get tough, you may feel like giving up or curling up in a ball until it all goes away. The strategies that you learn, and the support you receive, from your group will help to improve your coping skills. You won’t feel that the situation is so bleak.

  1. They can raise your spirits

Caregivers often struggle with negative feelings. Distress, anxiety, and even depression can be common. You’ll be surprised at just how much your emotions can lift after attending a support group consisting of people who know your fears well and often experience them as well. Even if all you do is talk about your feelings, you’ll leave the meeting feeling lighter.

  1. You can explore treatment options

A support group will help to explore and discover new treatment options, as well as optimizing the ones you are currently using. Ultimately, this may mean that you can keep your loved one at home for longer and improve their quality of life, which is a goal that anyone would be happy to work towards.

Being a caregiver is hard, and no one expects you to bear that burden alone. Make time for a support group and you’ll see what a difference it can make.

 

About the author:

David Beeshaw is a health expert and a staunch supporter of safe sex who is currently supporting  raTrust.                                                                                                                               Feel free to verify raTrust on DirectorStats’ http://www.directorstats.co.uk/

raTrust, are experts in the field of STI and HIV prevention, David might often be found online, sharing his tips and suggestions for leading a healthy lifestyle.

4 Steps to Prepare Your Loved Ones for Elderly Care: A Guest Post by Chris Palmer

Dementia

 

It is one of the most primary duty for us to think of our parents and their better care.  Parents are like blessing who sacrifice their wills to make our dreams come true. This makes us to be obedient and to be sincere with them for their best care in their old age. If you ever think about what parents are, your answer would always be love and affection. Parents are the ones who work day and night to make our future bright. They work tirelessly leaving all their happiness at one side for the sake of their children. So it is our job to find the best solution for their growing and weak age. The affection and the love of our parents must be fully repaid, and the expectations they have from us must be fulfilled. With the growing age of parents, they become both physically and mentally weak so to make them happy we should take some good step.

With the increase in the mental disorder in old age, it makes it very difficult to take a right step and to convince our parents for the best solution we have. But still, there are four steps to make it easy to let our parents spend their old age with happiness.

1- Brief conversation

It is a talk to be held with your parents and your siblings (if present) so that you can get an idea of what to do for the betterment of your parents. Before talking to your parents, you should speak to your siblings to get their idea about their parents and then to convince them to support you in front of your parents. After convincing your siblings, you should talk with your parents about their situation and should let them speak for what they want. Then you should try to convince them for the best solution you have for their care.

2- Getting your finance ready

For the better elderly care of your parents, you must have some budget for them. This budget can vary, it can either be high or low according to what your parents demand. If the budget is high you should plan for how will you earn the amount and in how much time it would be arranged. This amount should be privately stored and should not be used by you or anybody else to make it sure that you have the right amount at the right time.

3- Expert advice

Expert advice is a significant point to be taken in concern. Even if you have consulted with your siblings and your parents, you would still need an expert opinion as the experts have experience with situations like this. So they can tell you some things that you couldn’t have figured out.

4- Choosing of a care coordinator

At last, after following all the steps, you should even try to find a good care coordinator for your parents. You should try to leave this decision to your parents.

The thing which you must care for is the Carers Allowance it must be given to your parents.

Author’s Biography

chris

This article was written by Chris Palmer who regularly shares advice on elderly care. In particular dementia and supporting your elderly parent. You can find more by Chris on: https://www.agespace.org/.

5 Work From Home Jobs for Family Caregivers A Guest Post by Ruthie Serna

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Being a family caregiver is a full time job by itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring in much cash. If you’re a family caregiver, you can still earn some money without sacrificing your current responsibilities. There are plenty of work from home jobs that can be quite lucrative, and many of them allow you to make your own schedule. Work out of your house on your own schedule and your own terms.

  1. Freelancer

Being a freelancer comes with a lot of options. You can do almost anything you do well, and charge rates you feel are fair for doing it. If you can edit or write, it’s easy to find a freelance position online. If you have specialty skills, such as graphic design or web design, you might fare even better. The best thing about freelancing is that it isn’t as set in stone as regular jobs – you can work whenever you have time. If your family keeps you busy, you can wait until all is well until you sit down to freelance for the day.

  1. eCommerce

Start a webstore! You can sell crafts you’ve made yourself, resell vintage clothing, or design products that can be sold through a company that will create and sell them for you. You don’t need to be an innovator or an entrepreneur to break into eCommerce – you only need to see a need and fill it with a web shop. There are plenty of platforms that allow people to list and sell without ever needing to build a webpage. It’s as simple as can be.

  1. Blogger

Most bloggers won’t make money at the beginning of their blog. If you update regularly and provide valuable content, you’d be surprised at the amount of moneymaking opportunities that will come along with blogging. Advertising revenue, sponsored posts, or even eBook opportunities could pop up over time. Pick something you’re passionate about (family caregiving, for example), and write to your heart’s content. You can even partner up with the writers of blogs you already love to read. Networking will get you everywhere.

  1. Remote Support or Service

Remote support and service jobs are relatively easy to find. They’re so common that they’re often listed on Gumtree alongside traditional positions. These jobs require a computer and phone access. A company directs their calls to you, where you will be able to troubleshoot, take feedback, and resolve issues from the comfort of your own desk. It’s almost like a call center job, but you won’t need to go anywhere to work. International companies deal with people from all over the world, so it’s easy for you to work whatever hours will fit into your schedule.

5.Tutoring or Teaching

If you have credentials as an educator, you might be able to secure a position in the eLearning industry. If you have any higher education at all, it’s easy to become an online tutor. Pick a subject you’re comfortable in and offer your services to students who may benefit from your wisdom. You can tutor privately or list yourself on a service that matches tutors to the students who need them most. Tutor as many or as few students as you have time for.

At the end of the day, it’s possible to have a career without sacrificing your caregiver relationships. It might be a little tricky to juggle, but it will only be a matter of time before you develop a system that works for you.

Ruthie is a contributing writer, always willing to share her knowledge and experiences. She loves to write articles that make lives of other mothers and entrepreneurs easier. She’s interested in health, well-being and self-improvement.

 

What is the difference between a nurse and a caregiver? A Guest Post by Tess Pajaron

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What is the difference between a nurse and a caregiver? If you’re asking yourself this question it’s likely that a parent or other elderly loved one is in need of some additional support. Or maybe you’re looking into career opportunities in the care of seniors. In either case, the difference between a nurse and a caregiver is an important distinction to determine before you make any important decisions.

Here is some information to help answer your question:

Nurse
Qualifications: The qualifications required to be a nurse depend upon the kind of nurse you’re looking at becoming or employing. Enrolled nurses have to study for two years at a Registered Training Organisation. Registered nurses have to study for three years at a university. The former is seen as practical training whilst the latter also encompasses some of the theory behind nursing and medical care. Becoming an enrolled nurse is usually seen as a stepping stone between working as a caregiver and working as a registered nurse.

Tasks: Both enrolled nurses and registered nurses are trained to perform medical tasks and procedures. They can put in an IV to help deliver medication or food, they can care for wounds and manage medication.They often also manage the non-medical aspects of a patient’s care including bathing and trips to the bathroom.

Where do they work? Nurses have great scope when it comes to deciding where they want to work. They can work at hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, hospices and in patients’ homes.

Caregiver
Qualifications: A caregiver often doesn’t need any formal qualifications but they are usually trained in CPR and emergency first aid. Whilst you don’t need to study to be a caregiver, you do need to possess certain qualities, including patience, compassion and resourcefulness.

Tasks: A caregiver can assist with the day to day activities of an elderly person. They help people to achieve tasks that age or illness prevent them from doing independently whilst remaining in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. This could be going to the toilet, bathing, dressing or eating. Caregivers may help with shopping and cleaning the house if a person has limited mobility. Some caregivers will also provide emotional support and companionship, essential for people who are isolated or infirm as a result of their increasing years.

Where do they work? Caregivers are usually employed to work in the home of the patient they are caring for.

Other Useful Information
For Relatives: If your loved one has medical requirements such as a wound or a need for ongoing medication assessment but they want to remain in their own home, then you’ll need to hire a nurse to take care of them. If they just need some support with daily tasks and personal care, you can look for a caregiver. Because a caregiver doesn’t require any qualifications, they are generally cheaper to employ than a nurse.

For Job Seekers: If you want to provide companionship and practical support to elderly people, work as a caregiver could be for you. However, if you want to provide more in depth medical care, looking into nursing qualifications is a good place to start. As a nurse you’ll have greater earning potential and a wider scope of job opportunities too.

Understanding the distinction between a nurse and a caregiver is really important when setting out on a career path or finding the best available care for your loved one. Once you know which job title is of interest, do further research to ensure you make the right decision.

 

Tess Pajaron

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

Giving Your Caregiver a Game Plan A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Nothing makes me happier than hearing about the way our caregivers bring a smile to their clients’ lives. In fact, that is what makes us so dedicated to our work- the men and women that are genuinely excited to spread joy and love wherever they go. After celebrating our 6th Annual Caregiver Party with our most dedicated staff members and caregivers, we felt that it was necessary to bring some inspiration to their daily routine. Here are some tips for each and every caregiver to feel empowered, valued and dedicate themselves to working in “me time” to each and every day.

Better Diet, Better You!

No matter if you are a live-in caregiver or an hourly caregiver, be sure that you are dedicating some time to prepare a hearty, balanced breakfast for yourself each morning. Enjoy your mornings- don’t dread them. You are what you eat, so look up some healthy recipes that you’ve never tried before. Regardless of what others may say, there are so many easy ways to prepare healthy dishes for yourself (especially salads ) that will lift your mood while filling you up with plenty of nutrients. Try preparing rice and different vegetables to have nearby to fill up your lunchbox quickly and to avoid eating junk food on the go.

Get moving!

The best way to stay motivated after getting through your week is to get moving (trust me!) If you love to dance, go to Zumba classes, swim, job, bike – anything, make sure you aren’t putting it off! Not only will you feel better after fitting in a short workout into your day, but you’ll be able to take on the week with much more confidence! If you hate the idea of going to the gym, try this: buy yourself a pair of light weights (preferably 2-5 lbs), soft workout mat and sleek new workout outfit. You can find a great variety of workout gear in fun colors and designs at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. This, plus any workout video on YouTube (from kickboxing to Pilates) = your best workout routine yet. And did we mention that you can do these while you’re on break from your caregiving assignment in the comfort of your own room?

Reach out to your Support Team

Always set some time aside to let the people who care about you know how you’re doing. Make a list of friends and family that you can count on for anything. It can include former clients and even some of your client’s family members that you bonded with over the years. Last but not least, don’t forget the staff at your agency. We, as well as any agency should live for caring for their caregivers.

Embrace your inner and outer beauty

Nothing boosts confidence more than the simple act of taking care of yourself. Of course, putting yourself first takes a bit of time and effort. Whether you have a job or are looking for a caregiver job at the moment, here are some simple ways to rediscover what you love about yourself- inside and out.There’s nothing better than a free makeover at your favorite beauty counter, or a refreshing swim or workout at your local gym. These special moments are known as, “me time”, and you should know that you deserve every minute of it. Besides getting a massage or spa treatment, there are countless ways to pamper yourself at home if you’re on a budget. Since you are on your feet most of the day like many caregivers, treat yourself to a soothing bubble bath try looking up do-it-yourself face masks on YouTube and video guides to meditation and yoga.

What are some ways you as a caregiver or agency motivate yourselves to care for yourself? Comment below, we’d love to hear some of your ideas!

BIO:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

 

Cardinal Tips For Caregivers of Senior HIV Patients A Guest Post by David Beeshaw

Elderly woman and young female caregiver at home

In 2014, people aged 55+ accounted for 17% of Americans living with a diagnosed HIV infection.

Even if this age group has the same risk factors as young people, they might be less aware of them – especially since most awareness campaigns don’t target older adults. Most of the time, they don’t think HIV is an issue for them and may be less likely to protect themselves. That’s why it’s older Americans that are most likely to learn about their HIV infection later in the course of their disease.  As a result, they start the treatment late and might suffer from more damage to their immune system.

These are the basic facts every caregiver should know before starting to provide care for senior patients with a diagnosed HIV infection.

However, that’s not everything. Here are 4 critical tips for caregivers of senior HIV patients.

Be aware of the stigma

Patients diagnosed with HIV often face social stigma and might be suffering from lack of support from others in their circle of family and friends who in turn might lack knowledge about HIV. Older people might already feel isolated because of their illness or loss of friends and family.

Social stigma might affect their self-image and quality of life. It often discourages these patients from seeking care or disclosing their status to others. Adults diagnosed with HIV are 5 times more likely to experience depression and be at risk of suicide than HIV-negative adults.

HIV and aging

Aging with HIV infection is challenging because the disease increases the risks that come with aging: particular cancers, thin bones, or cardiovascular disease.

That’s why care providers should make sure to maximize their efforts to prevent these conditions and look for signs of illness early on. Caregivers should also pay attention to the potential interactions between medication used to treat HIV and those used by the patient to treat common age-related conditions such as obesity, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension.

Antiretroviral treatment allows patients diagnosed with HIV to achieve a near-normal life expectancy. However, senior patients are more vulnerable to infections and illnesses because of their age. Caregivers should minimize their exposure to common illnesses such as the flu that could bring about complications (like pneumonia) for patients with a compromised immune system.

Research the disease

Caregivers should educate themselves about HIV and AIDS. Knowing how the HIV infection is spread is a helpful measure against social stigma. Caregivers should also know how an HIV infection develops and when it might lead to the patient developing AIDS. Being aware of what different treatment regimens entail is helpful as well.

Follow these rules while providing care

Caregivers who provide care to senior patients diagnosed with HIV should know how the infection is spread and what they can do to prevent it.

Here are some tips on how to prevent the spread of HIV infection while taking care of a diagnosed patient:

  • Always wear vinyl or latex gloves if you might have contact with bodily fluids or blood from a person infected with HIV. Wear such gloves when cleaning articles soiled with vomit, feces or urine to avoid infection with other germs. Remember to wash your hands after any contact with blood, even if you wore gloves.
  • Flush all liquid waste that contains the patient’s blood down the toilet.
  • Items that aren’t flushable (sanitary pads, paper towels, wound dressings) need to be placed in a plastic bag. Close the bag securely before throwing it out. Remember to check in with your local health department about the disposal of such items.
  • Cover all breaks, cuts or sores in your exposed skin.
  • Wash all clothing and linens together – those worn by the patient don’t need to be separated.
  • Dishes used by the patient don’t need to be separated and can be cleaned using regular methods.
  • Be positive!

Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be on your way to providing top-quality care to a senior patient who has been diagnosed with an HIV infection.

Author’s Bio:

David Beeshaw is a staunch advocate of regular exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. He is also a writer at raTrust, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those at risk of STIs and HIV. Verify raTrust on BizDb.

12 Dietary Choices That May Lead to Restless Sleep A Guest Post By Megan Crants

 

High Resonance Healing Words
Healer’s outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background

Sleeping and eating are both critical elements of recovery, but not necessarily in quick succession. Many healthcare providers will encourage putting away all food at 8pm because eating causes the body to go into an arousal state and devote energy to digestion, when ideally it should be settling down for sleep. If you’re starving or hypoglycemic, a small snack is acceptable before bed to avoid mid-night awakenings, but otherwise it’s best to avoid food and drink right before lights-out. Try to plan out your eating patterns so that your last meal falls well before you fall asleep.

In fact, planning out the foods you eat throughout the entire day is not a bad idea either in terms of assuring a good night’s sleep. Certain dietary options have been linked to decreased sleep quality and can have effects on the body that last well into the night:

  1. High Fat/Fried Foods. Fatty foods stimulate digestive tract contractions, which can either cause your stomach to empty slowly, worsening constipation, or they can cause your stomach to empty rapidly, leading to diarrhea. As a result of this gastrointestinal distress, you are more likely to experience fragmented sleep.
  2. Caffeinated Beverages. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes temporary alertness by increasing adrenaline production and preventing certain sleep-inducing chemicals from taking effect. It’s best to avoid caffeine after 2pm, because it has a tendency to alter the body’s sleep/wake cycle for a long time after consumption. If you’re going to consume caffeine, we recommend drinking a shot of it before a 20-minute power nap. This strategy has been scientifically demonstrated to enhance the napping experience, since caffeine takes about 20 minutes to cause arousal.
  3. Cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine so any source of chocolate is going to harbor some form of the stimulant. Darker chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa beans, and therefore a higher percentage of caffeine. In addition, chocolate contains theobromine, a compound known to increase heart rate and cause arousal. To learn more, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/health/13real.html
  4. Tyramine-Rich Foods. Foods such as aged cheeses, eggplant, soy sauce, and tomatoes contain an amino acid called tyramine. This compound causes the brain to release a stimulant called norepinephrine, which causes wakefulness.
  5. Fruits and Vegetables with a High Water Content. Celery, cucumbers, watermelons, etc. are chock-full of water and therefore natural diuretics. Waking up multiple times throughout the night with a full bladder is sure to disturb your sleep cycle, so try to avoid these foods close to bedtime.
  6. Sugary Foods. Candy, or other treats high in sugar, will likely cause spiking blood sugar levels and rapid release of insulin to control them. The spiking blood sugar levels may cause a “sugar crash” that may make it easy to fall asleep, but ultimately the fluctuations will make staying asleep a difficult task.
  7. Studies have shown that the scent of peppermint may increase alertness, decrease fatigue, and work as a central nervous system stimulant. To learn more, click here: http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=1484&strBack=%2Fabout%2Fadm_news_archive%2Easp
  8. Sorbitol-Rich Foods. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener that is not only added to gum and diet foods, but is also naturally found in prunes, apples, and peaches. Sorbitol commonly causes digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea so try to avoid it when possible.
  9. Citric Fruits. Citric fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits, contain large amounts of citric acid, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and/or heartburn. In addition to the pain they cause, these ailments may also exacerbate asthma or previously existing sleep breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea.
  10. Spicy Foods. Spicy foods stimulate the digestive system, which can potentially cause gastric distress while you’re trying to sleep. Try to stick to bland foods as bedtime approaches.
  11. High Fiber Foods. Comfort is key for ideal sleeping conditions, so neans, broccoli, cauliflower, and other high fiber foods should be avoided. These dietary additions are likely to cause bloating, gas, and general discomfort which can prevent you from falling asleep or can cause you to wake up during the night.
  12. Many people believe that alcohol serves as an effective sleep aid, as it initially has a sedating effect, but it is ultimately a detriment to high quality rest. Alcohol disturbs rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, meaning that sleep quality is significantly lowered after drinking. This lack of REM sleep negatively affects daytime memory, concentration, and motor skills, not to mention mood. It can suppress breathing, triggering sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties that cause nighttime awakenings. Additionally, alcohol damages the lining of the stomach and changes liver metabolism, which can cause indigestion and other health problems that may keep you up at night.

For more information, check out our tips for high-quality sleep at https://twodreams.com/holistic-health/sleep-hygiene

Megan Crants is a staff writer at Two Dreams (www.twodreams.com) and can be reached via email at mcrants@twodreams.com.

 

Sources Cited:

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20628881,00.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/16-best-worst-foods-sleep/story?id=19404975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Healing Methods For A Family Member With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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First of all it is important to note that no cure has been yet found for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Unfortunately science has not yet identified any definite medical treatment that can halt the progression of this disorder. For now all we can do for our loved ones is to give them a better quality of life while doctors and researchers continue to look for a  cure to this lethal disease.

Because there is not a single cure for it right now, doctors are gearing towards fighting the symptoms of the disease and the different ways of managing them. The main goal is to improve patients’ quality of life and it can be achieved by incorporating traditional and alternative treatments.

While most supplements are not approved by the FDA, some members of the medical community have supported their use.

These natural treatments are not just here to help a patient deal with the Alzheimer’s Disease, they are also utilized to stave off diabetes, strokes, and other age-related health problems that can cause more discomfort to your loved one.

If you are interested in alternative medicine, below are some of the natural treatments that a patient can use to improve his or her condition. Make sure to consult with your physician first. They know the true scope and the severity of the disease and they will help you identify which of these alternative treatments can be the most effective.

Herbal Medicine

Most herbal medicine claiming to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s are effective due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and one good example is ginkgo biloba. A number of clinical studies were conducted on this herb and its benefits on cognitive impairment among Alzheimer’s patients.

But this herb could also hinder or interact with other prescribed medication and instead of improving their health, it can possibly pose a threat to it. So make sure you talk to your doctor about taking herbal supplements.

Though the research on ginkgo biloba have proved a positive connection with the disease, there are still some people in the medical community who are not convinced by it.

Bright Light Therapy

One of the symptoms many Alzheimer’s patient suffer from is their disrupted circadian rhythm. It causes them to stay awake at night and wander around. This problem is due to the disruption of the portion of the brain that regulates the sleeping and waking cycle of the body. And one popular therapy to correct this problem is bright light therapy.

Studies state that the use of bright lights help restore the balance of patients’ circadian rhythm and improve their sleeping pattern. It also helps reduce evening agitation and daytime wakefulness.

Acupuncture

It is a traditional Chinese alternative medicine known to promote self-healing by the use of fine and sterile needles. This treatment is known to stimulate and improve the energy flow in your body.

According to some medical studies, acupuncture helps improve a person’s energy levels and mood swings. It also has the ability to relieve pain and improve cognitive functions.

It is advised that you get this treatment from a licensed practitioner who has experience in using this method to other Alzheimer’s suffering patients.

Since it also has other health benefits that can assist in improving a person’s quality of life, it may be worth trying this for your loved one.

Omega-3

You can get omega-3 from eating nuts, healthy oils and fish. A recent study found that consuming omega-3 fatty acid regularly improves one’s cognitive function. If you are worried of the mercury content from eating fish every day, you can give fish oil supplements to the patient instead.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is an important antioxidant to aid healthy body functions. It is also known to help prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease. This supplement is quite easy to find as it is sold in most drug stores.

Coconut Oil

The fatty acid found in processed coconut oil is called caprylic acid. It is broken down in the body into a protein called ketone. A similar protein is used in a drug for Alzheimer’s called Ketasyn.

According to recent research, Ketasyn is used to improve the patient’s memory performance and prevent cognitive decline. Some people utilize coconut oil as an alternative to this drug.

Coral Calcium

Coral calcium is sourced from sea life and seashells. Though some believe that it is an effective alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, its claimed benefits are not yet proven by science.

Before you try this, ask the patient’s doctor first and know his or her thoughts about it. There was a formal complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commision against companies that strongly promote its healing properties for Alzheimer’s and you might want to read about it first..

What you can do now is research thoroughly on the different alternative treatments that can help heal Alzheimer’s Disease. No, they cannot cure the disease but they can definitely improve the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

After all, their treatment plan is their choice and you can help them make an informed decision by reading on different yet reliable research, reviews and testimonials about alternative medicine.

Once you and the patient make a decision, talk to your doctor right away to prevent any interactions caused by mixing prescription meds with alternative treatments.

For Further information Katrina can be reached at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com 

Assisted Living Could Mean Better Quality of Life for Seniors: A Guest Post by Paul Birung

the best vision is insight phrase  on a vintage slate blackboard
the best vision is insight phrase on a vintage slate blackboard

When our parents retire, we are so busy with our jobs to care for them at home. It is tempting to put our folks in homes where they can receive round the clock care but mostly, they are against the idea. We may bend to their wishes and keep them at home but as time goes by, their needs increase and it can be quite daunting for the family.

Why Assisted Living over Home Care for Seniors?

Seniors can definitely enjoy security, contact, and support in a residential community. In such an area there is access to nutrition, wellness services, and personal care tailored to each one of them. All this is achievable without having to compromise their independence.

Assisted living is different from a nursing facility where seniors receive medical care 24/7. For example at assisted living in Hilton Head, the elderly can receive any help they need even if their family is far away. These are the reasons you should think about assisted living for the sake of your loved ones’ quality of life.

  1. Opportunities for Physical Fitness

As assisted living communities there are group exercises, top notch gym facilities and personal trainers who do more than a caregiver would at home.

  1. Chances of Social Contact

It can be quite lonesome for a senior lying alone at home where they cannot reach their friends. Assisted Living offers common areas, planned trips, and activities that make it inevitable for seniors to socialize with peers.

  1. Safety

You must senior-proof and make modifications at home to make sure that your loved ones are safe. Such changes are definitely expensive and needs keep adding up as physical health wanes. Assisted living centers are designed for the seniors with keen attention to mobility, avoiding accidents and accessibility.

  1. Monitored Nutrition

Family members may not be able to keep up the nutrition demands of seniors who may not be able to make their own meals. There are chances of better nutrition in an assisted living facility where meals are prepared according to each resident’s needs.

  1. Help with Daily Activities

Bathing, dressing or feeding a loved on may be stressful for family members. With assisted living, residents get help with these activities. This is one of the basic offerings for assisted living and it, therefore, saves families the cost of a homecare assistant. This way, older adults can keep their independence.

  1. Housekeeping

The task of caring for seniors at home leaves families with extra chores to do. It isn’t easy to keep the house clean, weed the garden or cook with a senior in need of care. When these adults reside in assisted living, this burden is relieved so family members have more time to focus on themselves.

  1. Transportation

The facility will be responsible for residents’ transportation needs to the hospital, social engagements, and other appointments. With this taken care of, family members can enjoy more free time on their daily activities.

Assisted living certainly offers more independence to the seniors and their families. By giving each individual a chance to live life to the fullest, assisted living ensure that families stay happy, and this is the hallmark of quality living.