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What Have You Done For Your Working Caregivers Lately? By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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One of the biggest challenges facing workplaces today is the increasing number of employees caring for an older loved one. According to Gallup, 1 of every 6 employees is a caregiver. And it’s not just the Baby Boomers at work who are caregiving.  AARP reports that 25% of all caregivers are Millennials.

Many studies suggest that caregivers have more physical and mental health problems as well as increased mortality rates if they don’t have proper support to prevent burnout. In response to this issue, savvy organizations offer employee wellness programs because they are a win-win. The employer wins because they get to keep good employees and prevent sick days, premature retirement and resignations. The win for the working caregiver is obvious—more support and less burnout.

If your organization offers services to help working caregivers, do they know about them? Has management and Human Resources made an outreach effort lately? If not, can Jenerations help you plan how to do this? For more ideas on how to support working caregivers at your organization, check out www.jenerationshealth.com.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Leading Your Caregiving Crew: How to Better Communicate With Friends & Family About What You & Your Loved One Need – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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If you have a career and are also juggling care for an older or sick loved one, your stress level is likely at an all-time high.  Throughout Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, I encourage stressed working caregivers in the primary caregiver role to view themselves as managers.  Family, friends and paid help supporting you are your caregiving team (much like a staff).  But do you know how to get what you need from your team once they are assembled?  Communicate Like A Leader by Dianna Booher can help.

Because Communicate Like A Leader is a business book, it effortlessly resonates with caregivers who also have careers.  Here are three of Booher’s business tips that can be applied to caregiving:

  1. Coach rather than critique.  Booher discusses how in business we can be quick to criticize rather than coach someone.  The same happens all the time in caregiving.  Stressed-out working caregivers frequently push their caregiving team members away with harsh criticism.  Communicate Like A Leader’s coaching tips will help you empower your caregiving team.
  2. Booher cautions against hoarding information in the workplace.  This is also a major problem for working caregivers.  Working caregivers are often so harried they neglect to share information that will help their crew members more effectively participate in the caregiving process.  For example, give regular updates about changes in medication, treatment plan and diagnoses. Share as much as you are able to with your caregiving team and encourage them to do the same with you.
  3. Embrace the humor. While caregiving can be simultaneously heartbreaking and exasperating, there are moments of levity.   Your Mom with Alzheimer’s disease just hit on your granddaughter’s boyfriend.  Your father-in-law who fell tells you he is “bored” while you wait with him in the hospital emergency department (while you are missing a mandatory meeting at work).   Acknowledging and sharing the humor of such moments can save your sanity.

Particularly for working primary caregivers, embracing business strategies can help streamline the caregiving process, reducing burnout for all.  Communicate Like A Leader is just the business book that can help you do that.

To order Communicate Like A Leader, click here.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Three Ways To Enhance Leadership Communication In An Age-Diverse Workplace – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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If you only read one business book this year, make it Dianna Booher’s Communicate Like A Leader.  If like most leaders you are concerned about better communicating with customers and staff of different age groups, here’s what’s in it for you:

  1. Communicate Like A Leader offers advice on why and how to stop “hoarding” information in the workplace. If you work with Millennials or Generation Z, this is crucial as these generations demand transparency.
  2. Younger workers typically dread meetings while many older workers seem to keep scheduling them.  Booher shares strategies for determining if a meeting is necessary and how to be sure you get return on investment for your team’s time.
  3. Most organizations need to include social media as part of a marketing and/or sales strategy.  Is your team using it strategically?  Everyone—including Millennials who many of us assume understand almost everything about social media– will benefit by considering this book’s ideas.

Communicate Like A Leader offers simple tips you can implement immediately to improve your communication as a leader, particularly in an intergenerational workplace.  Next week check out my blog on how Communicate Like A Leader can help working caregivers!

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Palliative Care: Time to Provide It in All Stages of Progressive Dementia – By Guest Blogger, Mary Fridley

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The Palliative Care movement was started to support people through cancer treatments and has evolved to help anyone living with difficult medical conditions. It is a collaboration of effort among patient, family, physician, and the health care network.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization defines it as, “ Patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choice.”

Progressive dementia is the gradual deterioration of the brain that inevitably leads to death. As Nancy Reagan said, it is “the long goodbye”.

Caregivers are all too familiar with agonizing trips to the emergency department. A loved one has a sudden change in behavior, a call is placed to the primary care physician, and the recommendation is to take the patient to the hospital emergency department.

The hospital setting is frightening and confusing to normal folk but to the dementia impaired person it is a nightmare. The caregiver tries in vain to keep the patient calm and still. A sedative may be ordered that further compromises cognition. Hours later, a urinary tract infection is diagnosed and the patient is sent home with an antibiotic prescription. If palliative care were in place, a call to the physician would allow for evaluation and appropriate treatment at home where both patient and caregiver are comfortable.

Starting palliative care early in the disease allows for the anticipation, prevention, and treatment of all aspects of “suffering” throughout the stages. It allows for patient involved decision-making, family education, and access to resources and support services. Perhaps most importantly, it provides continuous evaluation of the ever-changing needs of both patient and family while reducing cost of care.

 

Mary C. Fridley, RN, BSN, BC
Mary is a member of the Jenerations speakers bureau. She is a Registered Nurse board certified in gerontology with more than 30 years experience in the geriatric health field. She has been a consultant to families, businesses, and care facilities and has an expertise in dementia care. Mary is a successful caregiver advice columnist and former consultant to the Anne Arundel County, MD, Department of Aging and Disabilities, and a caregiver support group facilitator for 17 years. Mary speaks extensively on subjects related to dementia, eldercare, successful aging, and caregiver issues.

Three Tips Healthcare Leaders Should Emphasize Daily To Employees Of All Generations – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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  1. Think beyond HIPPA and confidentiality.  While medical staff training always includes HIPPA and confidentiality information, it is never emphasized enough.  Confidentiality rules are broken every day in every healthcare and medical practice settings.  But beyond emphasizing basic HIPPA/confidentiality, help staff understand that talking about a case without using a name is often a violation.  Particularly in small communities, often others will be able to figure out who you are talking about if they know where you work.
  2. Be cautious about social media.  It’s never OK to vent about your boss, job or your patients on social media…even if you don’t use their names.
  3. Be sensitive to age diversity.  Communicate with patients and their caregivers the way they like to be communicated with.  There are 5 adult generations currently working in healthcare.  Clinical outcomes will be improved when you cater to the way a patient likes to communicate (e.g. a phone call rather than an e-mail for an 80-year old Traditionalist).  On the other hand, Millennials and Generation Z don’t always answer a phone call.  Try to communicate with patients and their caregivers the way they want to be communicated with while always being mindful of HIPPA and confidentiality.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.