Archive | August, 2012

Giving Caregivers A Break At Doolittle Home

Summer is coming to an end soon, the holidays are arriving shortly and life continues with responsibilities and tasks to complete. Respite Care for the elderly is  vital for family caregivers to cut down on the stress and dedication involved.

At Doolittle Home, we’ve seen this all too often. Caregivers have dedicated so much of their time and energy to caring for their elderly parent or loved one and often find that they have little time for their own needs. As their loved one’s physical health decreases or mental acuity worsens, the family caregiver becomes more involved in that care and less able to take the time to refresh themselves. It’s often a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week commitment.

For so many, the daily challenges for caring for an elderly family member are just a part of their life.  However, no one person can do it alone.    Sometimes a caregiver is far away from family and friends who may offer assistance or sometimes they are the sole caregiver for their loved one. Caregivers who try to do it all find themselves at an increased risk of depression and other health problems as a result of this stress. Having respite care enables the primary caregiver to keep providing rather than burning out or becoming ill herself. This temporary removal from the situation may also serve to restore one’s energy and help to promote balance in one’s life. This is why respite care for the elderly is needed.

What is Respite Care? 

Respite Care is substitute care given so that the person who is the primary caregiver may get some relief.  Respite Care may be for just a week, a couple of days, one day or even just one hour.  It may be arranged to occur on a regular basis, or even just one time.  Respite Care for the elderly is a service that supports and maintains the physical and emotional health of a caregiver by providing temporary care to an aging loved one.

Many caregivers dedicate much or most of their free time to taking care of their elder family member.  In an increasingly mobile society where some family members have moved out of the general area, the remaining family member(s) have an increased burden and very little chance to go anywhere, do anything, or even have a family vacation.

Respite care can take several different forms.  If a care giving family would like to take some time off for a family vacation, they may arrange for a senior living home respite care such as Doolittle Home in Foxboro, MA. When space is available, some senior living homes offer temporary housing and care. A nice advantage to this may be the opportunity to test the senior living center without having to commit to moving there permanently.  The elder adult will be well cared for while enjoying the company and activities with the residents in the home.

A recent article in The Help Guide <<>>  had this list of some of the benefits of respite care for the elderly….

  • R – Renewal and Relaxation: Taking a walk, strolling leisurely through the mall, visiting a museum or doing whatever brings joy can calm a caregiver, decrease their heart rate and improve their mood.
  • E – Energy: To be effective in their own work, a caregiver must be afforded time to re-energize. Even an automobile won’t run on empty.
  • S – Space: Getting away from the care-giving situation for even just a few hours helps with relaxation and brings a renewed sense of purpose.
  • P – Pleasure: A caregiver must remember that they have the right to enjoy life even if they feel their care recipient cannot do the same.
  • I – Identity: A caregiver must be intentional in maintaining a sense of self.
  • T – Time away from the situation allows a caregiver to see it more clearly and upon return, adjustments can be made to improve the experience.
  • E – Engagement: Social isolation can be a huge problem for caregivers. It’s important to take time to engage with friends and family by sharing lunch, taking a shopping trip or a walk in the park.

The bottom line:  The caregiver must first take care of themselves in order to be effective in caring for others.

Doolittle Home’s Respite Care option eases the burden by providing the highest quality of standards, compassionate care, comfort, and absolute peace of mind. To schedule a personal tour call DeAnna Willis, Executive Director 508-543-2694 x 11

Click Here For Testimonial

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Doolittle Home Resident Celebrates 103!

At 103, Anne Stringer still has moxie, a sense of humor, and a spring in her step. “One drawback to turning 103 is I can only do one thing at a time. I was once able to do two or three things at a time and now one .” confided Anne.

Anne usually wins at the weekly bingo and participates in the assisted bowling program at Doolittle Home.  Having spent many years at Pine Tree Gardens on Chestnut Street in Foxboro, MA, Anne came to Doolittle Home in 2003.

Jay Barrows, a State Representative, presented Anne with a proclamation certificate. “She’s an amazing woman.” Jay shared as he handed over the special gift.

Anne’s week-long celebration included flowers, many cakes and family visits.

What makes Doolittle Home so special? Founded in 1915, The Doolittle Home provides retirement living for both men and women with a unique twist: the contract here guarantees care for life. It is the only retirement community licensed by the Commonwealth of Mass. as a “Life Care” facility.

  • Services include: 24/7 nursing care, medication management, special dietary planned meals, incontinence management, diabetes management.
  • Features: On-site activities
  • Accreditation/certifications: Perfect, deficiency-free survey from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)
  • Charming Bed and Breakfast setting with all the modern amenities.

Doolittle Home is located in the heart of downtown Foxboro with easy access to highways. Call DeAnna Willis for a personal tour. Click Here For A Virtual Tour

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What To Talk About With Nana….

That awkward silence.  Do you feel like you might run out of things to talk about with your elderly relative, neighbor or friend ? Remember, seniors are, after all, simply older people.  As older people, they will have had many experiences in their life that they might like to share with you.

A recent article on had these tips to share to help start a conversation….and keep it going.

•    Use open-ended questioning –Practice using the 4 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and How) to re-frame direct statements as questions: “What was the best vacation you ever took?”; “Who did you most admire as a child?”

•    Accentuate the Positive – With an upbeat voice, give a kind –but genuine—remark (“You’re looking very energetic today!”). Avoid vague inquiries like “How are you today”, which could invite a litany of ailments or complaints. Replace with an exclamation of or some positive (and authentic!) observation.

•    Use prompts – Bring photo books along for your visit. This may be enough to generate hours of conversation.

•    Be patient – Some older adults tend to consistently talk about the same one or two topics. Validate his or her concerns by listening authentically.

•    Read aloud – Reading to an older person can be a powerful way to connect. All types of narratives provide room for deeper discussion.  Your voice alone can be a soothing, comforting source

•    Find out what makes them smile – When starting a conversation with an older person, ask what they enjoy. Topics such as asking about their favorite foods, television shows, movies, books, and music are a great place to start. Take a look around their room to guess what the person might like. Focus and build upon what brings this person joy

•    Talk about the past – Reminiscence is a very important therapeutic mechanism for older adults. Many older people find joy in talking about events in their past. You can ask about their childhood, first love, jobs.

Here are more tips for communicating with seniors that we found on

•    Remember to speak distinctly. Some older adults do not like to admit that they cannot hear or understand the conversation around them.  Remain calm and talk in a gentle, matter-of-fact way, keep sentences short and simple, focusing on one idea at a time.

•    Don’t Condescend. Make sure your attempt to “turn up the volume” and slow down your speaking patterns doesn’t come across as condescending.

Still need help? Here are a few questions you can use to the break the ice when talking to a senior:
•    Do you have a favorite animal [food, color, song]?
•    Where did you go to school?
•    What was the first job you ever had?
•    When you were little, what was your neighborhood like?
•    What is your favorite type of music?
•    What are you most proud of?
•    How did your military experience shape your life?
•    How many grandchildren/children do you have?
•    When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?
•    What makes you happy?
•    Growing up, what were some fads you remember [hairstyles, clothing, dances]?

We are constantly reminded of the rich legacy of each of our unique residents here at the Doolittle Home.  Their memories span decades of history. Their hearts are filled with love for their family and friends.  Each and every one has their very own authentic story.  We are honored to have the opportunity to listen.

If you would like more information about Doolittle Home or schedule a private tour call DeAnna Willis 508.543.2694


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