May is Stroke Awareness Month

Caring for someone who has had a stroke can be challenging, but being aware of the warning signs and treatment options can make a big difference in their recovery. As a care professional, it’s important to understand the causes of stroke, the symptoms to look for, and the steps to take if you suspect your client/patient/resident has had a stroke.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced.. There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and causes bleeding.

Warning signs of stroke

As a caregiver, it’s essential to know the warning signs of stroke so that you can act quickly. These signs include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, including the face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you notice any of these symptoms, call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Remember that time is of the essence in stroke treatment, and every minute counts.

Treatment options

The treatment for stroke depends on the type of stroke experienced. Ischemic strokes can be treated with medication that dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes may require surgery to stop the bleeding.

After the initial treatment, rehabilitation will most likely be needed, to help your patients recover and regain their independence. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, depending on the areas of the brain affected by the stroke.

Preventing stroke

While not all strokes are preventable, there are steps patients can take to reduce their risk. These steps include:

  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing diabetes
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Being aware of stroke warning signs, treatment options, and prevention measures is crucial for all of us. Knowing what to look for and how to act quickly can make a big difference in your patients’ recovery and outcome. Encourage healthy lifestyle choices and education for yourself and your patients.

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny

Hello Caregivers!

A restful sleep is so important for your mental and physical health. That’s why when you accept a night shift, it may be hard on your mind and body if you are used to working during daylight hours. Below are a few tips to help you adjust to an upcoming night shift schedule.

It is almost impossible to get ready for the night shift in just a couple of days. If you have the time, it’s best to train your body and mind for a few weeks to acclimate to the change. 

Create a perfect space for sleeping during the day by mimicking night. This may include using blackout curtains, a sleep mask and possibly ear plugs to minimize any distractions to your sleep. Also keep the room cool and tell people in your household to be as quiet as possible while you rest. It’s not easy to reset your body’s natural circadian rhythm!

On your night shift, it can be tempting to consume foods or beverages with sugar or caffeine for a much needed jolt. But these can offset all the hard work you have put into training your body’s clock. Opt for healthier alternatives such as berries, nuts, yogurt and lots of water. For a quick pick-me-up try a brisk walk, a cold compress to your face and neck or do some jumping jacks. Anything to get your mind and body moving again!

My favorite sleep mask and ear plugs I personally use:

Cute sleep masks from Etsy

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny

Hello Caregivers!

We all want to be the best professional caregiver we can be and that includes being up-to-date on what affects our clients/patients. This can include all sorts of topics to be learned in, topics such as dementia, the newest durable medical equipment, correct body mechanics, new technologies etc. Below are some resources for you to keep in mind so you can stay informed and educated about the elderly clients/patients in your care.

If You Have 5-10 Minutes

Scams Targeting Seniors
What are ADLs and IADLs?

If You Have 10-20 Minutes

What are the stages in aging?
How to prevent bedsores

If You Have 20+ Minutes

The 36 Hour Day – A Book on Caring for Those Living with Dementia
Age in Place – A Book on Modifying and Optimizing a Home for a Elderly Person

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny

Hello Caregivers!

As caregivers, you have no doubt encountered combative clients or patients who punch, slap, kick, bite and spit. These situations can be scary and at times dangerous. There are many reasons why an older person becomes combative. The older person can be dealing with dementia, depression or may not be able or willing to ask for help. It is always preferable to be armed with all the knowledge of your client’s past behavior and circumstances but it’s not always the reality. Regardless of what you may encounter, below are some tips to be prepared if you experience a combative situation.

  1. Stay Safe

Above all else your safety is most important! If the situation is too dangerous then you should call for help (there are different protocols for in-home care agencies and facilities). However if you feel you can handle the situation, try standing outside or leaving the room for a few minutes. When you do go back to the client, try asking if he/she is ready to see you again, if they aren’t, then step away for another few minutes. This will allow the client to hopefully calm down and “reset” and also keep your space safe.

  1. Communicate

Try using a soothing tone and simple language to calm your client down. If you are trying to accomplish a task such as bathing or dressing, tell the older person what you are doing before you are doing it. For example, “Bill, I am going to reach down and put your socks on. Can you lift your foot?” By telling the client what you are going to do and involving them in tasks can lead to positive results

  1. Remember Compassion

Remember that the older person is a human being who is expressing frustration for some underlying reason. But you are a human being too who deserves respect and it can be hard to not take things personally. It’s okay. You have a hard job and that’s why we at FrannyCares salute you! Head to our social media for our newest Giveaway!

Giveaway! Ends July 6th!

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny

Hello Caregivers!

As a caregiver, you are often the first to see signs of abuse from other people in the senior’s household or facility. There are 6 types of elder abuse. Use the checklist below to help you recognize elder abuse and how we can all work together to protect our most vulnerable, our seniors. 

  • Physical Abuse – this abuse is in the form of bodily harm through perhaps hitting, pushing or slapping. Cuts, scrapes and bruises can occur easily, especially with many seniors’ thinner and sensitive skin, however look for new and unexplained cuts, scraps and bruises. 
  • Emotional Abuse – this abuse is in the form of psychological harm through making derogatory or inflammatory comments, yelling, threatening or ignoring a senior. It is important to remember that many seniors may not be able to verbalize what they are feeling and to act with aggression is never the right answer.
  • Neglect – this abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse. It can include neglecting the senior’s needs such as withholding food, water, medicine and access to health care. Self-neglect among seniors is very common and should also be reported.
  • Abandonment – this abuse is in the form of leaving an adult and not seeing that he/she will have her needs met. Abandonment can happen at home, in an assisted living facility, at a hospital etc.
  • Sexual Abuse – this abuse involves someone forcing a senior to watch or be part of sexual acts in which they did not consent. This can include inappropriate touching, fondling – it is not limited to penetration.
  • Financial Abuse – this abuse is also very common among seniors. This happens when money or the senior’s belongings are taken without permission. It can include writing checks, taking a senior’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using credit cards and bank accounts without the senior knowing or having the ability to comprehend what may be going on. 

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny

If you are suspicious or have seen or heard elder abuse, you should report it. Remember, you could be saving someone’s life or livelihood. All 50 states and Puerto Rico have an Adult Protective Services (APS) Agency which can help you report abuse and it can remain anonymous. In most states, a caregiver is a mandated reporter which means if you do not report abuse, it may be punishable by law. Learn more about your local APS agency here.

Hello Caregivers!

Happy World Health and Safety at Work Day! A caregiver’s work can be strenuous and taxing on the body. One of primary causes for workplace injury happens during transfers. Transferring an older person takes a lot of strength but there are ways to protect your back and the rest of your body. Below are some tips to execute a transfer safely and successfully.

  1. Assess 

Assess the older person’s ability to assist in the transfer. If it is not a full assist, then determine how much strength they have in their hands, arms and legs. When you are ready to begin the transfer, constantly reassess that they are actually assisting you and are not “dead weight”. 

  1. Prepare

Make sure to prepare the environment for the transfer. Bring the walker or wheelchair close to the bed or chair. Remove any obstacles that may be in the way, such as books or clothes.

  1. Remember Body Mechanics

Remember to always always always lift with your knees and legs. Contract your abdominal muscles to keep your spine protected and don’t twist your back to turn, instead pivot your legs and take small steps to turn your body.

Take good care of yourselves caregivers! For some more tips on how to keep your body healthy read this short article from All American Home Care.

Stay Amazing!

~ Franny