Home Care Expert Insights

In Conversation with Loretta Veney to Bring Her Insights on Family Caregiving

In today’s rapidly changing world, the dynamics of family caregiving have taken on new significance, particularly in elderly care. As our population ages and life expectancy increases, the role of family members in providing care and support to their elderly loved ones has become more crucial than ever. Family caregiving, rooted in love and compassion, extends beyond just meeting physical needs; it involves emotional well-being, companionship, and dignity.

The modern challenges of balancing careers, personal lives, and the demands of caregiving have underscored the importance of finding effective and sustainable ways to care for the elderly. With technological advancements, innovative solutions are emerging to address these challenges. From AI-powered companions to remote monitoring systems, these tools complement and enhance family caregiving efforts, enabling caregivers to provide higher-quality care while maintaining their well-being.

In this evolving landscape, the significance of family caregiving remains steadfast, serving as a cornerstone of support that enriches the lives of both caregivers and their elderly loved ones.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on family caregiving to light.

Home Care Expert Insights by Loretta Veney

Who Did We Interview?

Loretta Veney is an inspirational speaker, author, and a trained LEGO serious play facilitator in dementia, caregiving, and aging. During her thirty-year security career, she’s enjoyed being an investigator, a control center manager, and a security & safety manager. However, her greatest joy has been as a trainer, teacher, and entrepreneur- finding training and security solutions for her clients.

Veney looks forward to many more years of providing great service to clients and witnessing how technology helps the industry move forward.

Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:

Question 1: What, according to you, should families do when hiring a caregiver for their elderly?

The number one thing I recommend is to fully investigate the company by asking for recommendations from the Department of Aging, talking to other caregivers, and reading reviews.

Once the company is selected, I’d also recommend doing a full interview of the selected caregiver to determine if it’s just a job for them or if they are committed to caring for the elderly. I call learning the “WHY” they want to be a professional caregiver. Due diligence is a must! I’d also do frequent check-ins, especially after the first month on the job, by showing up unannounced during the caregiving shift to ensure all is well.

Question 2: How can caregivers maintain the independence and dignity of the elderly and their families when providing care?

For independence – allow the elderly time to complete a task before jumping in to help them, especially if their safety isn’t at risk or they haven’t asked for help. The hardest thing for the elderly is not being allowed to do so many things they did without a second thought when they were younger, so caregivers should do everything they can to preserve their independence.

To preserve dignity, the best way is to know the older adult in their care’s story – their likes and dislikes so that, as caregivers, we don’t do anything to disrespect them. For example, my mom was modest and never wore low-cut blouses or short skirts. Once when going on a field trip from the group home, they put someone else’s blouse and skirt on my mom, and she refused to go outside because she felt the blouse was too low cut and the skirt too short. She refused to go until they put her clothes on her, which didn’t put her dignity at risk, and they never made that mistake again.

Question 3: How can caregivers prevent burnout and manage their work-personal life?

Caregivers have to ensure that they build in time for self-care. People say, “I don’t have time to do that,” but the alternatives, like getting sick while caregiving, aren’t good. The 30-45 minutes set aside for a massage, a walk, or a workout can prevent many health challenges! It can save time and money from going to the doctor or the ER.

Also, a STRONG support system is a MUST!! When my husband died suddenly in year 9 of Mom’s 16-year journey, my church put together a support group for me. They all took one task that he had done without fail to help me care for Mom. I don’t know if I would have survived the rest of the journey without the help of that support group.

Question 4: How can I help my aging parents from afar?

Long-distance caregiving is hard, BUT it can be done, but it takes a good system in place and a strong support system. Using technology like Ring and APPS to help assign tasks can tremendously help caregiving from afar. I would also suggest having a very strong advocate who can be trusted to accompany the elderly to doctor’s appointments and ensure great care is provided.

Use APPS or a portal that can store and track medical information in one place so that it can be easily accessed when information is needed during a Zoom or phone call.

Question 5: What advice do you give to new family caregivers?

My BEST advice would be to pace yourself- because we never know how long the journey will last. It’s imperative not to get too high when things go well or to get too low or overreact when bad things happen (and they will happen).

Pacing yourself allows caregivers to remain on an even keel, going with the flow as best they can. I always used to call that “having no expectations” because unrealistic expectations can damage the caregiving journey!

The Final Words

I loved my 16-year caregiving journey, and I believe I fulfilled my promise to give my mom joy every day!! Even during the almost 3 years of COVID, I could FaceTime with Mom to love on her and bring her joy! Even though dementia is a horrible disease, it is still possible to laugh, make memories, and make the best of each day. I went to bed each night knowing that I was the best advocate possible for my mom (AARP said I was “fierce”) and that I had done the best job I could for her every day.

In a graying world, family caregiving remains an unbreakable bond. Its vital role in enhancing elderly lives and strengthening family ties is undeniable. Recognizing and assisting caregivers becomes paramount as we navigate the intricacies of modern life with empathy and solidarity.

Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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