Pet Therapy at Rosa’s

rosas petsStudies show that having a pet is good for seniors as it makes seniors feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. This is the reason why pet therapy is becoming more and more popular today. Studies show that pets improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning.

These studies also show the health of seniors who suffer from depression, decline rapidly compared to seniors who are active, always around other people or with pets at home. Pet therapy for the elderly has also proven to be a powerful tool for what’s known as “Sundowner’s Syndrome” evening periods of increased agitation and confusion in those with Alzheimer’s. It helps patients have improved appetite, more social interaction and better cognitive stimulation after interactions with pets.

With that kind of information, one would hope that all assisted living homes have some sort of animal therapy. Rosa’s Chante not only has animal therapy, we use different kinds of animals. We have Critter and Rocky who are two wonderful tortoises and Dimples the house rabbit. We also have a visiting service dog named Yodi. It is fun to watch our residents interact with them all. You can see that their moods begin to improve when they are interacting with these animals.

Here at Rosa’s we understand that the studies suggest that there is an increase in confidence and a decrease of depression and anxiety. That is because caring for a pet helps increase patient’s self-esteem as they enjoy the animal interaction. They are able to once again feel useful as they are given some responsibility to care for an animal.

Drop by sometime and say howdy to one of our wonderful animals.

 

 

Managing Caregiver Guilt

Hi this is Anthony Diaz at Rosa’s Chante. I come across people who have caregivers guilt very often. First I want to say, you are not alone.Guilt is a common feeling in the landscape of care giving. Guilt can propel you to be the best you can be or it can immobilize you. For caregivers, painful feelings — such as guilt, sadness and anger — are like any other pain. It’s your body’s way of saying, ‘Pay attention.’ Just as the pain of a burned finger pulls your hand from the stove, so, too, guilt guides your actions and optimizes your health.

You have a picture of the “Ideal You” with values you hold and how you relate to yourself and others. Guilt often arises when there’s a mismatch between your day-to-day choices and the choices the “Ideal You” would have made. The “Ideal You” may be a parent who attends all of the kids’ soccer games. Miss a game to take your dad to the doctor, and you think you’re falling short.

You may have needs out of line with this “Ideal You.” You may believe that your own needs are insignificant, compared to the needs of your sick loved one. You then feel guilty when you even recognize your needs, much less act upon them. A mother may ask herself, “How can I go out for a walk with my kids when my mother is at home in pain?” (A hint for this mother: she can give more to her mother with an open heart when she takes good care of herself.)

You may have feelings misaligned with the “Ideal You.” Feeling angry about the injustice of your loved one’s illness? You might even feel angry at your loved one for getting sick! Recognizing those feelings can produce a healthy dose of guilt. Yes, you may even feel guilty about feeling guilty.

“Why did my loved one get sick?” you may ask. Perhaps, if the “Ideal You” acted more often, your loved one would be healthy. What if you served more healthful meals? What if you called 911, instead of believing your husband when he said his chest pain was just “a little heartburn”?

If you’re the kind of person prone to guilt, learn to manage guilt so that guilt serves you rather than imprisons you. Here are a few tips that can help.

  • Recognize the feeling of guilt. Unrecognized guilt eats at you so name it and claim it.
  • Identify other feelings because often, there are feelings under the feeling of guilt. Name those, too. For example, say to yourself: “I hate to admit this to myself, but I’m resentful that dad’s illness changed all of our lives.” Once you put it into words, you will have a new perspective. You will also be reminding yourself of how fortunate you are to have what it takes to take care of loved one.”
  • Be compassionate with yourself those black moods like rainy days, come and go. There’s no one way a caregiver should feel. When you give yourself permission to have any feeling, and recognized that your feelings don’t control your actions, your guilt will subside.
  • Look for the cause of the guilt. What is the mismatch between this “Ideal You” and the real you? Do you have an unmet need? Do you need to change your actions so that they align with your values?
  • Take action and meet your needs. Your Needs are not bad or good; they just are. If you need some time alone, find someone to be with your loved one.
  • Ask for help!  Call a friend and say, “I’m going through a hard time. Do you have a few minutes just to listen?” Have a family meeting and say, “Our lives have been a lot different since grandma got sick. I’m spending more time with her. Let’s figure out together how we’ll get everything done.”
  • Revisit and reinvent the “Ideal You”.  You made the best choices based on your resources and knowledge at the time. As you look to the future, you can create a refined vision of the “Ideal You.” What legacy do you want to leave? What values do you hold dear? Then, when you wake up in the morning and put on your clothes, imagine dressing the “Ideal You.” Let this reinvented “Ideal You” make those moment-to-moment choices that create your legacy.

Understand that you will be a more effective caregiver when you care for the caregiver first. Loved ones neither want nor expect selfless servants. As a caregiver, when you care for yourself, you increase and improve your own caring. Yes, guilt is part of caregiving, but this guilt can help you become the caregiver you and your loved one want you to be.

Compassion Fatigue Part 2

Hi this is Anthony Diaz and this topic is so big I had to put it in two parts. Please enjoy part two.

Compassion Fatigue seems to rob the caretaker of their sense of well-being, comfort, purpose, identity and empowerment; all the qualities that one associates with being “comfortable with self”.  The experiences of being comfortable in our bodies, our work, our thoughts and our spirit seem to diminish as the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue increase.

There are ways to avoid compassion fatigue.

  • Learn to like, love and respect yourself: recognize your needs and forgive your errors. This is the very first place you should begin!
  • Embrace your spirituality. Take time out from the stress of this work to connect with your spirit every day. This can include ritual, readings and other exercises for the soul.
  • Treat yourself to laughter! The heaviness of your work deserves to be balanced with humor and lightness. Watch those funny movies, laugh at your companion, enjoy jokes with your colleagues. Enjoy your sense of humor…
  • Learn to accept what you cannot change.
  • Work off tensions: try a physical activity like walking, a sport (mine is racket ball and swimming) yoga, martial arts or dancing. As Nike puts it: “Just Do It!”
  • Treat yourself to sufficient sleep: know how many hours you need. Sufficient sleep will help to give you a refreshed and energetic outlook on life.
  • Listen to music from meaningful artists that help reduce your stress
  • Talk with others, share your feelings with friends. Avoid gossip and negative talk.
  • Get a massage, sit in a sauna, some form of body relaxation
  • Take slow deep breaths, count to 10, concentrate on your breathing, the movement of your chest wall, let go of stress.
  • Find a safe, quite place to think, to remember, to process, to meditate to be alone with your thoughts and allow the healing to take place in the silence.

Remember compassion fatigue, burn out and job related stress can be avoided. Taking care of yourself, recognizing the symptoms and have the courage to change some of the things in your life will make you a better employee and a happier person.