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Aging Wisely June 2015 - Aging Wisely

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout with Respite Care


woman experiencing caregiver burnout

Caregivers give so much of themselves, but this can lead to physical and emotional caregiver burnout. When your loved one relies on your care, it is essential to find ways to avoid caregiver burnout. Today, our experts share our tips for reducing the risk of caregiver burnout and finding help through respite care.

Caregiver Burnout Stats

The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming and lead to fatigue, stress, depression and poor health.

  • 17% of caregivers feel their health in general has gotten worse as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
  • The well-being index composite score for working caregivers was also significantly lower than the 70.2 among non-caregivers.
  • 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with about a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
  • Caring for persons with dementia is reported to impact a person’s immune system for up to 3 years after their caregiving experience ends, thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves.

*Statistics from Family Caregiver Alliance

Caregiver Burnout Symptoms

The symptoms of caregiver burnout can include:

  • Withdrawal from activities and social interaction
  • Feeling irritable, hopeless, and helpless
  • Changes in appetite (or weight, or both)
  • Sleep problems/changes in sleep patterns
  • Getting sick more often/easily (or taking longer to get better)
  • Feelings of wanting to hurt the person you’re caring for or yourself
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Increased use of alcohol or medications

Solutions for Caregiver Burnout

  1. Support groups and/or counseling can be an important outlet for caregiver to discuss their struggles and work through solutions. It may be difficult to share feelings (especially those that bring up feelings of guilt) with relatives. Caregivers may feel their partner or friends don’t want to hear any more “complaints”, so it’s important to have an outlet to share issues like role confusion, hopelessness and stress.
  2. Education/training can help caregivers handle various caregiving tasks with increased confidence. 78% of caregivers report needing more help and information with a number of specific caregiving topics. We offer special tips in our monthly newsletter and many caregiver organizations offer newsletters, blogs, videos and training courses.
  3. Technology and physical tools (assistive devices, for example) can make the caregiving process easier. Here are a few must-have caregiver technologies and some great caregiver life hacks. A geriatric care manager can evaluate your environment and caregiving situation to make targeted suggestions and help you access tools to make your job easier.
  4. Respite care is perhaps the #1 weapon to fight against caregiver burnout. It is essential that caregivers take a break (and know they can!). Respite care can give you a regular break to run errands, attend medical appointments, continue a favorite activity or spend some time relaxing. Respite care may also be employed for vacations or special breaks, and can be done via in-home caregivers or a stay at an assisted living or nursing facility offering respite care. Get our EasyLiving Respite Care Checklist for help preparing.

Contact our eldercare experts online or at 727-447-5845 for help in fighting caregiver burnout and finding great, affordable respite care!

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Emergency Essentials: Senior Care from Afar


emergency essentials to be prepared

In our mobile society, many of us are providing senior care or support for aging parents from a distance. It is vital to prepared with the emergency essentials when you want to help your senior loved ones stay safe. Today, we will focus on natural disaster emergency essentials as well as broad information for providing senior care long-distance (to avoid personal disasters!).

Emergency Essentials: Resources for Senior Disaster Preparedness

Five Hurricane Preparedness Mistakes To Avoid: Our Aging Life Care Professionals’ tips about the biggest mistakes people make and how you can avoid them (and the accompanying stress).

Florida Senior Resources for Hurricane Preparedness: Emergency Essentials checklist, Tampa Bay emergency phone numbers and websites and special needs planning information.

Emergency Essentials for Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Vital information for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, including how to reduce agitation and confusion.

The Red Cross: Emergency Essentials and Building a Personal Support Network

Emergency Essentials for the Long-Distance Caregiver

As a long-distance caregiver for a senior family member, being prepared for all types of emergencies (and regular changes) is essential. We find that being prepared with a few key items brings great peace of mind for senior caregivers. Here are a few tips and resources for ensuring you have the emergency essentials at hand!

  1. Get organized! Help your loved one organize important papers, if needed, and know the location of vital information. Our Document Locator list is a great start and our care managers can help long-distance caregivers work on this project and put together an online caregiver management system.
  2. Build a local support network. Who is checking in on your loved one? Neighbors, church communities and a trusted network of professionals can be your extended care network, though you should not be overly reliant on them when your loved one starts to need more help.
  3. Know who to contact. Do some basic research about what is available in your loved one’s area and create a list of some of the key websites and phone #s you might need. One good example is to find a respite care provider. Gather information and recommendations. If your loved one lands in the hospital or is ill, you’ll know who to call, to at least help until you can get there.

Get Aging Wisely’s Essential Eldercare Checklist for a comprehensive list of steps to prepare at various stages of senior care. Contact us for help with all your senior care needs and questions!

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What Aging Life Care Can Do For Your Family


Aging Life Care™: What is it?

Aging Life Care (also known as geriatric care management) is “a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges.  Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals™ provides answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers.” Some of the services provided in Aging Life Care include: assessment and care planning, monitoring and advocacy, and education and caregiver coaching.

geriatric care manager with elderly couple

Aging Life Care Professionals™: The Experts in Aging Well

An Aging Life Care Professional (or care manager, or geriatric care manager) is “a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults”.

Aging Life Care Professionals are able to address a broad range of issues related to the well-being of their client, to help that client attain maximum potential. They have extensive knowledge about the availability of resources in their community and their costs and quality.

Our Aging Wisely team of Aging Life Care Professionals brings a broad range of experience and expertise to the clients we serve in the Tampa Bay area of Florida (and families worldwide). With these resources at your disposal, your family can gain peace of mind.

Aging Life Care Association

The Aging Life Care Association, formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM), is the professional association for practitioners in this field. ALCA members must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements, and all members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Our Aging Wisely team has been actively involved in this professional association (and others) for many years. Our team members have been selected as speakers several times for the association’s national and Florida conferences and we have served in different capacities on various committees. We are proud to be involved in the continuing advancement of this profession so that families can find the qualified, professional help they need.

You can read more about Aging Wisely’s team members who are advanced members of the ALCA:

Linda Chamberlain, B.A., JD, CMC

Juliet Lewis, M.A., CMC, CCM

Susan Lewis, O.N.C., CMC

Adam Mullikin, OT/L, CEAS, CMC

Julie Scott, B.S., CMC, CCM

Susan Talbott, BSW, CMC

Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for Aging Life Care Professionals™

Our Aging Wisely geriatric care manager team adheres to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for Aging Life Care Professionals. We use this, along with enhanced standards of operation and training, for all incoming team members, even if they are not yet certified or advanced members of the association.

The code of ethics provides: accountability to clients and the public, guidance for professional members, a framework for resolving ethical dilemmas and a means for reviewing complaints brought against members. You can read more about the Aging Life Care Professionals Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics here.

Stay tuned for more on the ways our Aging Life Care Professionals can help you and your family! Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly tips and updates.

*quotes/information from the Aging Life Care Association
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Clearwater Alzheimer’s Education Event


Alzheimer's educational event in Clearwater

Aging Wisely’s Linda Chamberlain recently spoke at an Alzheimer’s education event in Clearwater, combined with a movie screening of Still Alice. There was a full house for the event, with over 50 people attending. Many attendees were caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s, wishing to get a broad range of Alzheimer’s education and resources.

Alzheimer’s Education Speakers:

Dr. Diana Pollack, Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic (Madonna Ptak Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss)

Dr. Pollack at Clearwater Alzheimer's Education Seminar

Dr. Pollock informed the audience about Alzheimer’s Apo E testing and the different types of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She advised those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (and those who want to keep their brains active as they age) to follow a Mediterranean Diet, exercise and keep weight down.

To get the full benefit of Alzheimer’s treatments, early diagnosis is important and allows time for proper Alzheimer’s education for the patient and family. Dr. Pollock offers customized anti-aging and dementia-prevention programs. These are based on lifestyle, diet and supplements, bio-identical hormones (in selected cases), as well as optimization of brain function through neurofeedback.

Linda Chamberlain, Board Certified Florida Elder Law Attorney and Founder of Aging Wisely and EasyLiving

Linda Chamberlain speaking at Alzheimer's Education seminar for caregivers

Linda Chamberlain advised that if Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed it’s important to address legal and financial issues for the future. The person diagnosed should be involved as long as she or he is capable of participating. Talk about writing a living will and assigning a durable power of attorney for health care. These documents will ensure that the person’s wishes for medical care, are in writing.

It’s important for the family to stay connected and continue discussions with themselves and family members. Linda suggested that a care manager can offer valuable advice on how to approach the situation and options that work for the family’s needs. By properly assessing the situation and taking time to build a relationship with the diagnosed person and family, a care manager can best assist every involved.

Linda introduced the movie, and the author of the book it was based on, to the audience.

Still Alice is a movie based on the 2007 novel by the same name by Lisa Genova, about a woman diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is a touching portrayal of the disease and its effects on the individual and family. It stars Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart.

For help with Alzheimer’s education and resources, contact us at 727-447-5845.

For event announcements and ongoing educational information, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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Adam Mullikin Achieves Geriatric Care Manager Certification


For Immediate Release

June 1, 2015

Adam Mullikin of Aging Wisely Receives CMC and Joins Aging Life Care Association

Clearwater, FL (June 1, 2015) – Adam Mullikin, CMC, OT/L, CEAS, recently achieved his geriatric care manager certification (CMC) and was accepted as a member of the Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA). As a member of ALCA, he adheres to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics developed by the association and its members to ensure public accountability. Adam has been practicing as an Aging Life Care Professional™ (also known as a geriatric care manager) with Aging Wisely since 2014.

Geriatric Care Manager Adam Mullikin

In his work at Aging Wisely, Adam provides guidance and advocacy for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults. With a specialized focus on issues related to aging, he assists clients with the challenges of aging, such as finding appropriate housing, in-home care, referrals to medical providers, elder law attorneys and other professional services, as well as the advocacy and support that provides families peace of mind.

Adam brings extensive experience as an occupational therapist and rehabilitation specialist (19+ years) to his geriatric care manager role in helping Aging Wisely clients “succeed in the job of living”. Achieving the CMC (Care Manager, Certified) designation and joining the ALCA shows Adam’s continued dedication to advocating for clients and families as a geriatric care manager. Read more about Adam Mullikin, Aging Wisely geriatric care manager.

About Aging Wisely, LLC®

Aging Wisely, LLC® was founded in 1998 to serve the needs of elders in the Tampa Bay, Florida area and their families worldwide. Aging Wisely has been a pioneer in the field of Aging Life Care™ in Florida with a diverse geriatric care manager team taking part in Florida and national professional associations. Several team members have been featured speakers for groups of professional colleagues and public audiences and have contributed in numerous ways to the development of the Aging Life Care™ field.

About Aging Life Care Association™ (ALCA)

ALCA (formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families in the United States. Aging Life Care Professionals™ have extensive training and experience working with older adults, people with disabilities, and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of Aging Life Care™ and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of Aging Life Care Professionals, please visit


Contact us for more information or to get help from Adam Mullikin and the Aging Wisely geriatric care manager team.

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Dementia Symptoms and Expert Tips for Great Dementia Care


Today, we share with you our Slideshare presentation about dealing with dementia symptoms such as Sundowners Syndrome and wandering. Our experts have put together the best practical tips for dementia care and pointers for managing common dementia symptoms.

Caregiver tips for dementia from Aging Wisely and EasyLiving

Some of the common dementia symptoms you may encounter over the course of the disease include:

  • Difficulty carrying out day-to-day tasks and self care due to poor memory and inability to manage multiple steps in a task (for example, it becomes difficult to shop, plan and prepare meals)
  • Early dementia symptoms often show up in the form of problems with more complex tasks: financial problems, leaving bills unpaid, being scammed or mismanaging appointments or medications
  • Language difficulties/communication problems
  • Mood swings
  • Fear, which results in anger or lashing out and/or refusing care or activities
  • Withdrawal from socialization or activities
  • Sundowners syndrome, also known as sundowning: late afternoon/evening worsening of dementia symptoms
  • Wandering and restlessness; difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Memory issues causing the person to forget whether they have done tasks, thus repeating or ignoring things like personal hygiene or meals

With some basic tips, you will find that dealing with dementia symptoms becomes easier. Dementia caregivers get creative with managing various behaviors and day-to-day challenges, and you may find a support group or caregiver forum to be helpful in sharing ideas and dealing with your feelings. Also, consider the value of respite care from experienced dementia caregivers, so that you can take an occasional break. Another benefit of professional respite care is having a prepared back-up care team that knows your loved one.

If you need help with dementia symptoms, obtaining a diagnosis and good medical/care team and or managing dementia care, call us any time at 727-447-5845. Our comprehensive care management assessment provides vital information about dementia symptoms, resources and a plan of care so you can be prepared.

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Mission Statement

Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.