East Bay CNA from Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

How to Overcome Caregiver Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue in caregivers can become overwhelming if not effectively managed.

Caregivers devote so much of themselves to those they care for – both physically and emotionally. It’s easy to become depleted and to begin to experience effects such as apathy, exhaustion, and a detachment from the person in your care. Known as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, it can be detrimental to your own wellbeing but can also impact your ability to be as caring, warm, and nurturing as you need to be for the person you’re caring for.

In contrast to caregiver burnout, which occurs gradually over time, compassion fatigue can arise suddenly and unexpectedly. You may truly want to continue providing care and support, but you simply feel too overwhelmed. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms, compassion fatigue may be the culprit:

  • Exhaustion (physically, mentally, or both)
  • Dreading your care responsibilities, along with feelings of guilt
  • Irritability, anger, and/or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with sleeping
  • Reduced feelings of empathy or sympathy for the person in your care
  • Isolation and disconnection from friends, family, and enjoyable activities
  • Problems with other relationships
  • Decision-making difficulties
  • Questioning whether you’re accomplishing anything with your caregiving services

How to Overcome Compassion Fatigue

If the description above sounds like what you’re experiencing, there are steps you can take to help.

  • Rate your feelings. Take a simple self-assessment by ranking how you’re feeling each day on a scale of 1 – 10. If you find yourself in the 9-10 range of compassion fatigue symptoms, talk with a professional counselor.
  • Take time for self-care. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary for your own health as well as the wellbeing of the person in your care. Make it a priority each day to engage in enjoyable activities, exercise, healthy eating, and time with friends and family.
  • Find support. Join a caregiver support group, whether in person or online, to allow you to talk through your feelings with others who understand and can share coping skills that have worked well for them.
  • Write it down. Journaling is a wonderful way to release stress and sort through difficult emotions and decisions. Reading back through your entries will allow you to track any patterns in your feelings. Perhaps you feel most fatigued late in the afternoon, and can set aside a few minutes each day at that time to meditate, pray, listen to calming music, take a walk – whatever helps you best de-stress.

At Hillendale Home Care, the leading provider of home care assistance in Pleasanton and the surrounding areas, we’re here to help our caregivers overcome difficulties like compassion fatigue and truly enjoy their role as caregivers. 

If you’d like to learn more about a career as a Hillendale caregiver, our East Bay CNA School is a great resource to get you started! Contact us online or at (925)297-2676 to learn more. 

What the Latest Data Shows About How to Improve Heart Health

Heart shaped dish with vegetables isolated

Learn what the experts are now saying about how to improve heart health.

It can be tough to know how to improve heart health, and to help the seniors you’re caring for, when guidelines appear to constantly be changing. We had been told that saturated fats from options like butter, red meat and fried food were harmful and could influence a person’s odds of developing heart problems, but later studies suggested there isn’t enough evidence that people who refrained from eating these delicacies improved their heart health – and so, we went back to our old ways due to the go-ahead to select butter over margarine. [Read more…]

Watch for These Signs of Depression in Seniors

There are several key signs that could indicate depression in seniors.

Most of us go through periods of time when we simply want to be left alone for a while with our thoughts, to think through circumstances in our lives without any distractions, or simply to enjoy a little downtime. For older adults, however, the desire for isolation for an extended period of time can point to a more serious condition: depression in seniors.

As a professional caregiver, it’s crucial for you to know the warning signs to watch for and what to do if a senior in your care may be experiencing depression. Depression is treatable, and the sooner the senior can receive care from the doctor, the better.

Keep an eye out for the following signs of senior depression:

  • Loss: A variety of types of loss can lead to depression or other medical concerns: lost weight, a lost desire to eat, the loss of the senior’s value and self-worth, a loss of interest in activities or pastimes that the person previously enjoyed, or the desire to spend less time spent with family or friends.
  • Slowing Down: Pay attention to whether the senior’s movements or speech have slowed down, if it takes the person longer than before to discuss or recall memories, or if you notice a lack of motivation or energy.
  • Changes in Sleeping Patterns: Depression can have a significant impact on sleep routines, including difficulty with falling or staying asleep, problems with waking up, or trouble staying alert and awake throughout the day. 
  • Forgetfulness: Keep an eye out for changes in how the senior takes care of herself; for instance, if the person has always been meticulous about having good personal hygiene and outward appearance, but suddenly starts to disregard personal care, or any other crucial changes like forgetting to take medications, to follow a healthy diet, etc.

There are a number of additional medical conditions that can also exacerbate depression symptoms. Be especially mindful if the senior is also struggling with any of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • MS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia
  • Thyroid conditions

If you think a senior may be experiencing depression, it’s important to take action and not to simply disregard it as something the person will get over on their own. Depression in seniors is a chronic medical condition that requires correct diagnosis and treatment. Contact your supervisor’s office to let them know the symptoms you’re witnessing.

Family caregivers need to know that they are not alone. Our Walnut Creek home care and care throughout the surrounding areas provides an extra set of eyes and ears to catch any changes in a senior’s condition and ensure steps are taken to help. 

Additionally, professional caregivers play a crucial role in a senior’s overall health and wellbeing through:

  • Friendly companionship to provide motivation to engage in exercise programs and social activities
  • Planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Providing transportation to medical appointments and enjoyable outings
  • Running errands
  • And more

Contact us online or at (925) 297-2676 to learn more about our CNA and HHA training program and the possibility to join our exceptional caregiving team. 

Dementia Wandering Prevention Tips

Dementia wandering can be a troubling issue for families of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Of all of the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, probably one of the most troubling is the person’s tendency for wandering, alongside the possible risks which may arise if the senior gets disoriented or lost. Wandering may occur if the elderly loved one is: [Read more…]

Reduce Professional Caregiver Burnout: Finding Resiliency in a Time of Crisis

Become a stronger, more resilient caregiver with these helpful tips.

A time of crisis can sometimes bring out both the best and the worst in us. All through the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve come across stories of individuals hoarding items and selling them to generate an excessive profit, coupled with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others in spite of their own fears. [Read more…]

How to Help Someone Manage the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

The side effects of chemotherapy can be better managed with these tips.

If a senior in your care is battling cancer, he or she may be experiencing several troubling side effects of chemotherapy, and you will want to do what you can to help alleviate these symptoms. While simply being there to provide comfort and companionship is, in itself, extremely beneficial, there are additional ways you can help.  [Read more…]

Caregiver Tip: How To Talk To Someone With A Chronic Illness

The Hillendale CNA School provides tips regarding how to talk to someone with a chronic illness.

Have you ever walked into the office or a get-together with friends or family and had an individual say to you with great concern, “You really look tired today!” Even though you may have been feeling pretty perky before that moment, unexpectedly you really DO feel exhausted and rundown. The words we use with each other together with the ways in which we interpret them are very meaningful. When it comes to how to talk to someone with a chronic illness, it is vital that you thoughtfully think about what to express, and perhaps most importantly, what NOT to say, that can help the person feel his or her best. [Read more…]

Alzheimer’s Communication Tips for Each Stage of the Disease

senior with Alzheimer's and caregiver using communication tips

These tips will help caregivers more effectively communicate with a senior with dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease can make communicating even the most basic needs a challenge. Caregivers can feel as though they’re trying to solve a puzzle in determining how to meet the needs of someone with dementia and ensure life is as fulfilling, comfortable, safe, and enriching as possible. [Read more…]

Seasonal Influenza Preventative Measures Keep Older Adults Safe

These tips can help seniors remain safe from seasonal influenza.

If there is one important lesson that we have learned during the pandemic, it’s how critical everyday preventative actions are in stopping the spread of a virus. Not only have measures like remaining home if feeling ill, frequent hand washing, and wearing a face covering helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, but these steps have also had a significant impact on reducing the spread of colds and seasonal influenza. This is especially welcomed news for older adults and others who are at greater risk for complications from these viruses.  [Read more…]

Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs of a Stroke

emergency department sign - stroke warning signs

If you’re a caregiver in Pleasanton or a nearby area, Hillendale Home Care can provide training on recognizing the warning signs of a stroke.

Stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is listed as one of the leading causes of death in America, with approximately 800,000 people experiencing a stroke on an annual basis. In other words, approximately every 40 seconds a person somewhere in the U.S. is having a stroke. And every four minutes an individual dies from stroke. If you are providing care for an elder or chronically ill client who is at an elevated risk for stroke, it’s necessary to be sure you are able to recognize the warning signs of a stroke. [Read more…]