There comes a point when you are caring for a loved one, when you have to ask yourself what is the best decision for me as well as for the person I am caring for. Whether you decide to continue to care for your loved one or start to explore other options such as a professional care home, take the time to insure your own personal health and well being. There is a reason that during the safety briefing on a plane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then help your love ones. If you don’t take care of yourself you have no way to care for someone else. “There is a cost to caring,” states Charles Figley, an expert in trauma and researcher in the field of burnout; he comments that compassion fatigue is something that can occur when caring for someone long term. Take a moment to examine how you feel and see if you may be experiencing any level of burnout or even compassion fatigue and then take the time to explore ways to best care for yourself as well as those you love.

Before we go much further, let’s briefly explore the difference between burnout vs. compassion fatigue.  Figley describes burnout as the end result of a gradual process of wearing down.  It is the long-term consequences of unaddressed compassion fatigue, resulting in emotional exhaustion and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment and achievement.  Recovering from burnout is often a more lengthy process.

Compassion fatigue is often a result of the daily care we do, and is a more immediate specific response.   It is often characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion; symptoms resembling depression; and usually a shift in a person’s sense of hope and optimism about the future value of the care they are offering.  This may not be a constant feeling, but it something that comes and goes.  The recovery from compassion fatigue is often less lengthy then burnout.

Are you isolating yourself, bottling up your emotions, having nightmares or even physical ailments? Do you suffer from compulsive behaviors such as over eating or over spending or have difficulty concentrating. Do you feel stressed out or depressed? These are symptoms of compassion fatigue. There is no cure for compassion fatigue but by practicing good self care techniques daily can help you to be physically and emotionally healthy and decrease these symptoms.

A self-care plan begins with you.  It begins with being kind to yourself, becoming aware of how things are effecting you (both physically and emotionally), setting boundaries, expressing your needs, taking actions to aide yourself, surrounding yourself with individuals that listen and support you and being able to listen and support others around you.  Although when you care for someone it seems like you have no time, you need to take the time to have healthy eating and exercise habits. Get plenty of rest and hydrate yourself. Develop good time and self management skills even if it means saying no.  Have a support system, take breaks and try to enjoy a balance in your life. Do not give up all of your friends and hobbies.  Pick your battles and even though it is hard, consider professional care givers, if not on a regular basis then consider short term help.  You can sometimes schedule breaks, where you use a professional care giver in the home or facility for a few weeks a year, allowing yourself to have time to decompress and feel better before you can no longer care for your loved one.
Raya’s Paradise is looking forward to being a Sponsor of the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” on Sunday, November 4th in the Park at  2000 Avenue of the Stars in Century City. Please join us in support of the fight to end this disease. We will have a booth set up and will offer  coffee and pastries as early as 7:30. The opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m.  Please stop by our booth to enter  a drawing for a $100.00 Gift Card to “The Grove” (drawing to take place at 11:oo a.m.), and while you’re here you can add your loved one’s name to our “festival of balloons” which will be released at 11:30 a.m.   Please join us in the Park !!  
From CBN TV: Researchers say the ketones found in coconut oil have slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in some people and may actually prevent it. Click here to read the article and download information.   Transcript:
Can Coconut Oil Be the Answer?Lori Johnson: Steve Newports Alzheimer’s disease has slowed considerably. Some of his symptoms even reversed thanks to an unlikely treatment prescribed by his wife, Doctor Mary Newport a physician who runs a neonatology ward at a Tampa, Florida hospital. She became determined to help her husband after he failed the so called Alzheimer’s clock test.Doctor Mary Newport: He drew a few little circles and several numbers just in a very random pattern, didn’t really look anything like a clock and the Doctor pulled me aside and she said, “You know he’s actually on the verge of severe Alzheimer’s at this point, he’s beyond moderate”. So that was very, very devastating news. Lori Johnson: Doctor Newport began learning everything she could about her husbands disease. Doctor Mary Newport: It appears to be a type of diabetes of the brain. It’s a process that starts to happen at least 10 or 20 years before you start having symptoms and it’s very similar to type 1 or type 2 diabetes in that you develop a problem with insulin. Lori Johnson: In this case, insulin problems prevent brains cells from excepting glucose, their primary fuel. Without it the cells eventually die, but there is an alternative fuel, key tones which the cells easily except. Key tones are metabolized in the liver after you eat medium chain triglycerides, which are found in coconut oil. So Doctor Newport added coconut oil to Steve’s diet. Just two weeks later he took the clock test again and as you can see demonstrated stunning improvement. Doctor Mary Newport: I thought at the time was it just good luck? Was it a lot of prayer? Was it the coconut oil? And I thought well, we’re going to keep the coconut oil going. Lori Johnson: Then, 3 weeks later he took the clock test for a third time, and continued to get better and it wasn’t just intellectually, he also improved emotionally and physically. Doctor Mary Newport: He was not able to run, he was able to run again or he couldn’t read for about a year and a half but after somewhere around 2 or 3 months he was able to read. Instead of being very sluggish, not talking very much in the morning, he would come out with energy and talkative and joking and he could find his water and utensils. Lori Johnson: Doctor Newport documented Steve’s success in a book called, Alzheimer’s Disease: What if there was a Cure? She received this stake of thank you letters from other people who’s loved ones Alzheimer’s was helped after they followed Steve’s diet. While coconut oil is encouraging, there’s actually something much more powerful. A team of biochemists lead by Professor Kieran Clarke at England’s Oxford University have developed a key tone, Ester, that packs a punch ten times great than coconut oil. Kieran Clarke: It reaches quite considerably higher levels and you can get whatever levels you want depending on how much you drink. Lori Johnson: The problem is, they need millions of dollars to mass produce it. Kieran Clarke: Very expensive and so we can’t make very much of it ourselves and what we would like is funding so that we can actually scale up and make it but of course there is no real profit in manufacturing stuff like that. Lori Johnson: So until a high potency key tone, Ester, is available to the general public coconut oil is still a good key tone source. Just make sure it’s pure, non hydrogenated. Avoid any hydrogenated oil, which is the same thing as dangerous trans fat. Many people avoid coconut oil because they think it’s bad for them, but it’s actually very healthy. Dr. Beverly Teter is a researcher at the University of Maryland who specializes in dietary fats. She says years ago coconut oil was criticized for raising cholesterol, but scientists have since learned there are two kinds of cholesterol. Low density lipoprotein, the bad kind and High density lipoprotein which is very good for you and is the kind that coconut oil raises. Doctor Beverly Teter: So they put out the message that it increases the serum cholesterol but the truth of the matter was helping to profile of the serum cholesterol. That never has been corrected in the public press and I think that’s the reason people have the misconceptions about it. Lori Johnson: So, not only does coconut oil improve your cholesterol levels, Doctor Teter says the way it helps the brains of some Alzheimer’s patients can be extended to people with Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Epilepsy, Dementia, even Schizophrenia and Autism and one more thing, coconut oil is a natural antibiotic that also helps kill viruses like Human immunodeficiency virus and Herpes viruses. Doctor Beverly Teter: The coconut oil tends to keep the bacteria down so that if you’re assaulted with a virus, you’re immune system can concentrate on the virus. It doesn’t have to concentrate on 27 other bacteria that you may have been exposed to that day. Lori Johnson: So consider coconut oil to improve your over all health and perhaps even go so far as to stave off life threatening diseases. Lori Johnson, CBS News
Happy New Years from all of us at Raya’s Paradise Board & Care facilities. Raya’s Paradise in implementing a new medication management system that will provide a safer and more accurate medication distribution. In addition, we will also increase the activities level for our residents which will include outings.
Raya’s Paradise had its annual unannounced state inspection 08/26/2011. There Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) passed us with 100%. Raya’s Paradise, Inc. always strives to maintain the highest standards in all fields of service to make sure that our residents get the highest possible care.