Melissa had been taking care of her elderly mother for a few weeks. It was following a hospitalization when her mother was dealing with pneumonia. When she was discharged, Melissa never thought twice about it; she knew she would be the one to take care of her.
In time, as a family caregiver, stress began to take hold of Melissa’s life.
She didn’t think stress was going to be as significant in her life as it ultimately became. She thought this would be a relatively easy job. After all, her mother needed to rest a lot. She understood what was expected of her mother, and taking care of herself, resting, and avoiding overdoing it, were some of the key issues.
Over time, though, Melissa began to realize just how much support her mother relied upon. She needed help doing the dishes, preparing meals, doing laundry, light housekeeping, going shopping, going to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, and much more.
Melissa had a lot of things going on in her life as well. When she began to have trouble sleeping at night, she assumed it was the result of stress and anxiety of being a caregiver. She was right, but what she didn’t realize was that a lack of sleep could begin to affect many aspects of her life, including her safety.
How can a lack of sleep affect safety?
When a family caregiver, for example, isn’t sleeping as well at night because they can’t seem to settle their thoughts, relax, and unwind, getting their body ready for the natural circadian rhythm of sleep, they will wake up tired. If you can’t fall asleep when you should, if you wake up several times throughout the day, you’re not getting enough rest at night.
Many people, like Melissa, assume they can operate fine on just a few hours’ sleep, even if it lasts for several weeks or months. In truth, the body needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to stay healthy, focused, and safe. When a person begins losing focus throughout the day, when they have trouble staying on task, and when they get irritable and begin losing their patience quickly, that can all affect safety.
Melissa had a few close calls on the road, forgot a few things that were important at her mother’s house, and suddenly realized she was not just unsafe for herself, but being a risk for her mother. That’s when she began to realize the value in home care support.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care to reduce caregiver stress in Bonita, FL, please contact the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse Home Health Care at (239) 307-0033.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.