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First Home Care Provider Class Graduates from Lincoln Home

Six Home Care Providers Complete Twenty Hour Excellence in Care-Giving Class

Training came to a close today after twenty hours of training spread over a five week period.  Class participants learned a range of handy skills for in-home care-giving.  Lincoln Home’s Giving Excellent Care in the Home: From Our Home to Yours curriculum centers on simple but important skills that boost confidence and help home care givers gain insight.

Class topics cover a broad range of skills.  Right from the start students jump in with both feet, taking on subjects like personal values, home safety, and how to help granny with her dentures.  Learning different skills and techniques help students become more confident providers.

 I enjoyed the activities and games that really enhanced learning.

Student feedback helps us know what we’re doing well and what we can do better.  It’s exciting to hear how the class was received, and even more exciting to know we’ve made a difference in our community with this class offering.

I gained so much through this class.  I now have a different perspective and feel more confident caring for my stepfather.

I liked the way we reviewed chapters after reading them.  It felt easier to take in the lessons that way.

I learned about all aspects of daily living.  I gained a lot of new information and recognize that every care-giving situation is going to be different.  This class is fantastic!

I liked the interaction with other students during activities.

We all got off to a good start that provided ease of sharing information and asking questions.

I learned a lot about care-giving.  The biggest lesson I take away from this class is “someone else’s emergency is not my emergency.”  

Please stay tuned.  Lincoln Home will offer this course again in the fall of 2017. 

care giving, death, home care

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Tough advice to not visit a cognitively impaired loved one

by Steve Raymond and Jill Wallace


We shared dinner with a friend whose cognitively impaired mother just went into a memory care unit. She is upset because every time she visits she thinks the visit was great, but after she gets home, the staff calls her because her mother is upset… really upset. So much so, that professional staff asked her not to visit for a whole month. “Not visit at all,” she said.”

“Not visiting” is advice that is very difficult for family members to understand. Not everyone needs this therapeutic intervention, but some do. This is because of the way that each person’s brain is uniquely damaged by the disease.

Human beings love to remember our past. It is natural for us to want to share our memories with our loved ones. If our loved one is cognitively impaired, it is easy to think that we are helping them by reminding them of the past and keeping them “reality oriented.”

Our friend thinks she is helping her mother by reminding her of the past memories that connected them. She thinks she is helping her confused mother, who is forgetting things, to hold on to her memories. She thinks she is building connection, and improving their relationship by sharing the good times.

The trouble is that her mother does not remember, and no amount of reminding will make her mother’s brain function again. Her brain is working differently than it used to, and differently from her daughter’s. We don’t really know how it is working differently, but we see the effects. We can see that Mom becomes agitated and anxious after her daughter leaves.

Her mother feels even more confused when her daughter talks about things she should remember, but doesn’t. The daughter was talking about fun summers at the cottage. Happy memories. But the mother is now walking around, agitated and anxious, looking for her children. She has remembered the summer cottage, but for her it is not in the past. In her mind, she is right back there; back in the memory of having small children she is responsible for and she cannot find them. She experiences those memories as if they are Now.

“Where’s my little boy? I have to put him to bed. Where’s the dog? I just let him out and he’s not back yet. Does he need to go out? Has he made a mess somewhere?” These feelings create stress and anxiety and send her thoughts spinning. Rather than an act of kindness in reminding a cognitively impaired person of the past, it can actually be an inadvertent act of cruelty. This can be a hard pill for family members to swallow.

People who work in assisted living homes and memory care units know that confused people do best when they can live in the present. We learn to help our residents be comfortable in their own skins by focusing upon the positive and redirecting conversations from the stressful and anxious. We want families to learn these therapeutic communication skills because it is the most loving way to connect with your spouse or parent who is cognitively impaired.

This is why memory care communities will ask for limited or no visits for some new residents in the first few weeks. It is to provide an adjustment period for the resident. It is loving empathy for the person whose thoughts become disordered and fearful. It is a way to create the feeling of safety without the overuse of medications. It is not just the cognitively impaired who must adjust to a new reality… it is also the family members, and the professionals are there to help.

Click here for more information on safe and secure memory care at The Lincoln Home’s Harborview Cottage

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Veterans Service Seals

Maine Veterans at Home, Veteran Style: Fiercely Independent

Veterans in Maine can face many challenges with aging.  Wishing to remain independently at home is quite common for any senior.  The Veterans Administration at Togus offers a wide variety of services to meet the needs of senior and/or disabled veterans: mobile and satellite clinics, telemedicine, traveling physicians/nurses, and many other services, including home care.

Spoiler Alert: Veterans who ask for help are not, repeat, NOT taking services from other veterans.

If you are a veteran receiving your primary medical care through the Veterans Administration system, you may be eligible for services to support your ability to remain at home with as high a quality of life as possible.

How does that work?  Your primary care physician at Togus actually needs to hear if you are having challenges with independent living.  That’s a pretty tough thing for any service member to say out loud. You might feel that being a veteran is about being tough, self-sufficient, and able to take care of yourself and everyone around you.  You may feel that being a military person is about duty, responsibility, and not asking for help.  

Veterans are about self-sacrifice and not asking for anything in return, right?  Wrong.

Being a veteran is tough duty, for sure.  Many vets believe they are “not sick enough.” They think they should “save the benefits for someone who really needs them.”  The truth is, former service members often go without services they truly need.  If the services are available and you are eligible for them, you need to know that this kind of thinking is flawed.  There is enough to go around.  A veteran with the courage to ask for help is not, repeat NOT, taking services from anyone else.

A proud veteran recognizes that after serving his or her country, the country really wants to serve them back.  Unsure?  Make an appointment with your VA Primary Care Provider to discuss your needs and options. 

The State of Maine values its veterans in many ways, some of which may surprise you!  Check the Maine.gov website for more information.

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Excellent Kick-off for “Giving Excellent Care”

Giving Excellent Care in the Home: From Our Home to Yours

Our Giving Excellent Care class started April 11, 2017 at 9:00am.  As facilitator, I experienced excitement, anticipation, and just a little bit of anxiety in the weeks leading up to the start of class.  I truly want people to have a good experience at Lincoln Home.  I want our guests to enjoy what they are learning.  Truthfully, I personally want to make and maintain good first impressions that will eventually lead to long-standing relationships with the people in our community.  

I am super excited to have gotten everyone through the first day in one piece, and I’m looking forward to what unfolds over the next 4 weeks in our class.

Building Excellent Relationships in Care-Giving

Seven eager faces reflected a variety of emotions as we started.  

“What will this class be like?

“Will I know anyone else here?”

“What have I gotten myself in to?”

As an educator, I’m excited that people want to learn.  As a human being, I’m thrilled when people want to learn and gain skills that later will enhance their future with other human beings.  How we are in relation to others is far more important than what we know or what we do, to my way of thinking.  It’s really cool when people are ready to jump into that idea, being willing to explore the many ways they approach life and living in relationship to caring for others.

Day one topics included:

Care-Giving Values

Healthy Care-Giving Boundaries

Stress and Burn-Out

Rights, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

We learned about care-giver ethics.  We discovered that excellent means different things to different people.  We explored what it means to be a guest in someone else’s home, helping them when they may be feeling vulnerable or at risk.  Students inquired into all the reasons they have for not providing self-care, which is a required skill and essential practice for the care-giver’s own long-term health and well-being.  The best part is it seems the students are looking forward to how the rest of the class goes. 

And so am I.

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care giving, death

Death: When Someone You Love is Dying

Every human life comes to a close.  Intellectually, we all know that.  At that level, it’s just a fact.  Death happens.

We’ll all end up as a little piece of history.  That doesn’t take on any real meaning until we’ve actually bumped up against it.  Even then, it can be pretty tough to open ourselves to the inevitable.

We can’t point to a place in history to exclaim, “See?  Here’s one.  No Death!”

It seems that some aspects of opening up to our mortality just naturally want to be placed on hold.  Recognizing that someone we love or care for is nearing death remains at serious odds with other complex emotions.  It’s awfully hard to imagine, “What if this is it?” We naturally want to hold hope that this isn’t “it.”

What isn’t hard to imagine is how you can be supported through that.

Whether a family caregiver, a friend, or someone supporting a family, knowing how to serve in that capacity goes a long way to reduce anxiety.  Recently, Lincoln Home offered community education on Sharing the Care.  It’s an amazing way to build a team of supporters in a short period of time.  Whether for a pending death or to help someone through a rough patch with their health and recovery, having proficient skills in basic care-giving can be a saving grace.

Join us in April for Giving Excellent Care in the Home, a free, five-part series for giving care in the home.  Covering topics like values, ethics, bed-bathing, and so much more, you’ll be adding a number of important tools to your toolbox.

Whether preparing for a job for the inevitable when you’re called upon to provide care for someone who means a lot to you, this class will give you valuable skills and confidence.

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