Fathers Day

Importance of Father Involvement in Children     

An extensive amount of research has emphasized the pivotal role that mothers play in the lives of childhood development. Many studies highlight the valuable influence that mothers have on the cognitive, emotional and social development of the child. However, until recent years, there has been little research that highlights the benefits of father involvement on the well-being of the child. There has been an increasing body of research that emphasizes the differential outcomes between children that actively engage with fathers versus those that do not. According to a study published in Acta Pediatrica, active involvement of fathers has decreased oppositional behavioral, reduced psychological problems and enhances cognitive development. Additionally, active engagement of fathers can improve the overall efficacy of the family system. Consistent engagement of fathers reduces the responsibility and workload of mothers and decreases the likelihood of mothers burning out. When mothers burn out there is an increased risk of dysfunctional interactions with the family. These effects include tension, outburst of anger and unintended neglect. Unfortunately, mothers on average spend more time engaging with children than the fathers. Additionally, if parents are at work, often nannies end up spending a significant amount of time with children. Nannies serve as a buffer in the family unit and provide support during times parents are not present. Unfortunately, male nannies are less likely to be hired and are commonly discriminated against in the “nanny sector”. This is largely due to the underestimated value of the role that males and father figures play in the lives of children. Father’s and male figures play a crucial role in facilitating emotional and psychological well-being in children. In this article we will highlight some of the most valuable contributions fathers and male figures can make in children.

Gate Keeper

Historically, fathers have maintained the impression of the dominant figure in the home. Additionally, they have been viewed as the firm figure that maintains the rules. Although, women actively take on a dominant parental role in the family dynamic, studies have shown the mere presence of fathers in the home can reduce the frequency of defiant behavior. At various stages in development, it is typical for children to test the limits and boundaries of their parents. At each stage defiance can come in different forms ranging from refusal to do school work to staying out after curfew. Although “children will be children”, it is essential that children are provided with flexible boundaries and firm expectations to safely navigate these phases of their lives. Father’s can help play an important role in safeguarding children through those phases of “testing the limits”.

Coach Motivator

Growing up in a competitive culture can be difficult for children. Many children lack motivation and confidence in their abilities at each stage of their development. Girls typically struggle with self-esteem issues more than boys. Several studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. Fathers typically take on a coaching and solution-focused approach to helping their children build confidence and attain their personal goals. During early childhood through late adolescence, children are faced with more competitive situations through sports, arts, and education. These experiences may have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. Fathers play an important role in encouraging and motivating children to try their best and continue to strive for their goals.

Mental Health

Research has shown that father involvement is linked to better psychological adjustment. There is evidence that active and regular engagement of fathers reduced psychological problems in young women. Girls typically experience challenges with mental health at an earlier age. These mental health issues include; depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Although the experiences of mental health challenges are inevitable for some children, father involvement can provide children with reassurance and comfort throughout the process.  Additionally, challenges with mental health can be debilitating and hinder functioning in school and extracurricular activities. Active involvement of fathers can help children maintain optimal functioning through challenges with mental health.

Sources

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta paediatrica, 97(2), 153-158.

Early Stage Dementia: What To Do

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration. It can be helpful to involve Senior Care professionals, family and friends in the examination to provide their personal accounts of symptoms, as the individual may not be readily able to identify changes in themselves.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Caregivers and friends should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Senior Home Care professionals should discuss advance directives and preferred future plans of care with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy. Finding holistic and comprehensive care in the Washington, D.C area can be challenging. However, care that is tailored to the needs of the individual and enhances their well-being is essential to ensuring longevity.

Sources

Alzheimer’s Association . (2017). Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from alz.org: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp#mild

Higuera, V., & Ellis, M. (2016, July 12). 10 Early Symptoms of Dementia. Retrieved from healthline.com: http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs

Mayo Clinic. (2017). Dementia. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org: http:www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/dxc-20198511

Spring Activities

Spring Activities

Spring is an exciting and beautiful time of year that allows everyone to break out of winter hibernation mode. During this time of year, all things become new, and we are surrounded by growth. The blossoming flowers and tree leaves wake up our senses and remind us that we have entered a new phase.  We earn back daylight hours that allow us to start basking in the sunshine. The longer daylight hours increase our vitamin D exposure, which plays a significant role in boosting our moods. As change is making headway all around us, we are reminded of some ways we can switch up our routine and take advantage of all spring has to offer.

Indoor Fun

Although our calendar’s alert us that spring is here, the weather does not always cooperate with our spring endeavors. Nevertheless, the spring party must go on. Indoor spring activities are a great way to have fun getting into the spring spirit without allowing unpredictable weather “rain on your parade.” Additionally, indoor activities may be more ideal for parents and kids that suffer from seasonal allergies. Indoor activities are a great way to encourage children to let the creative parts of their brains flow. Moreover, it provides a contained environment for kids to explore scientific concepts related to nature. Spring break is the best time for parents to catch up with children and spend quality time creating fun projects together.

Outdoor Fun

Outdoor activities that involve exploration of nature can be significantly beneficial to children’s learning and development. A study from Pediatric Medicine suggests that outdoor play provides opportunities for problem-solving, creating thinking and decision making. The outdoor environment provides a sensory-rich experience for children. Through activities outdoors, children can experience scientific theory come alive before their eyes. Unfortunately, in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, D.C, nannies and caregivers may feel limited by the vast concrete jungle surroundings as they hunt for green-rich environments for children to work off high energy. However, it is crucial that children have exposure to nature rich environments. This type of environment can be particularly fruitful for children with ADHD. Moreover, nature has a therapeutic influence on children with behavioral problems. The American Institute of Research for the California Department of Education found that at-risk youth gained positive self-esteem, better relationships with peers, increased attentiveness and willingness to learn from an outdoor camp-like education program. Springtime is the best time to assist kids with combining fun and learning to enrich their development and well-being. Nannies and caregivers in Washington are privileged to have accessibility to a number of beautiful parks that can allow children to explore diverse outdoor activities. Rock Creek Park is one of the largest parks in the district with a 0.9-mile trail. Throughout the park you may come across beautiful streams and mini-waterfalls, coupled with soothing sounds of nature.

 Indoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Use recycled supplies in the house to create paper crowns. Teach children about the importance of recycling and waste.
  • Turn flowers different colors using colorful dye. Teach children about the anatomy of flowers and nutrient absorption.
  • Build a tent/teepee
  • Use nature to create art. Teach children about an artist that tried to capture nature in their artwork (i.e. Claudia Monet).
  • Create fun stories with pictures that tell a story about an unusual plant in nature. Teach children about the life cycle of a plant and its unique.

Outdoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Feed ducks at a local pond.
  • Create a bird feeder for your home
  • Fly kites at a local park. Teach children about the four forces of flight.
  • Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt. Incorporate colors and numbers to teach children to find corresponding objects.
  • Create a visual list of items in nature (i.e. acorns, pine, maple seed, flowers, and leaves). Encourage children to explore nature and find each item and glue it to the corresponding visual.
  • Start planting a vegetable garden. Teach children about responsibility, cause and effect and weather.

Spring Recipe

 Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal Recipe

♣    3 cups of old fashioned oats

♣    ½ cup packed brown sugar

♣    1-½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

♣    ½ teaspoons of salt

♣    ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg

♣    2 eggs

♣    2 cups fat-free milk

♣    1 medium apple, chopped

♣    1/3 cup raisins

♣    1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. Whisk eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in apple, raisins and walnuts.
  2. Transfer to 8-in square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, and a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with additional milk if desired.

Caring for an Elderly Parent with a Digestive Disease

Caregiver in Arlington VA

With age come drastic changes in many areas of the body. One part that will be affected is the digestive system. If your loved one has Caregiver-in-Arlington-VAdeveloped a digestive disease, they will need specialized care to help them maintain their quality of life, while also managing the disease. Caregivers may also be needed to assist with the tasks that have become too challenging for them to accomplish.

If your parent has been diagnosed with a digestive disease, here are some useful tips for providing the care and support they need during this transition in their life.

  • Receive treatment early. As soon as your loved one begins to complain about digestive issues, schedule a doctor appointment to find out if they could have a digestive disease. The earlier they get diagnosed, the early treatment can begin.
  • Eat a healthy diet. The foods older adults eat can make a huge impact on their digestive tract. Eating small meals throughout the day that are filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein will keep their digestive system happy, while also preventing malnutrition. Consult with a dietician to get an idea of what foods they should be eating.
  • Watch for new symptoms. If the elder begins to exhibit more serious symptoms, they need to be admitted to the hospital as soon as possible. These symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, pain in the chest, abdomen, or throat, or rapid weight loss.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking more water than any other beverage will keep the body hydrated and will prevent digestive issues, like constipation.
  • Exercise often. Exercise should be a daily ritual for people of all ages, but many older adults lack the physical activity their bodies crave. Part of the problem could be issues with mobility, while another problem could have to do with the elder’s lack of energy. Encourage them to begin walking, swimming, or doing another low-impact exercise that will work out the body and keep the digestive system healthy.
  • Indulge in favorite treats. Unless otherwise stated by the elder’s doctor, there is no reason your loved one can’t enjoy a little chocolate, a glass of wine, or another favorite treat. But it is important that they are eaten in moderation to prevent weight gain or other digestive issues.

Digestive diseases and problems are common among the older population. Yet, but following these tips, the elder will be able to treat and possibly prevent it from happening to them.

If you or an aging loved one are considering CAREGIVER SERVICES IN ARLINGTON, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

Source:  http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-caring-loved-one

Are You a Reluctant Caregiver?

Caregiver in Arlington VA

Most people would like to think that becoming a caregiver is a choice that everyone makes willingly, happily, and with joy and excitement Caregiver-Arlington-VAabout the new chapter in their lives. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when adult children find themselves in a situation where they are facing the need to step into the role of a caregiver for aging parents who are suddenly experiencing serious mobility, medical, or cognitive issues and are not only not excited about the prospect, but are actually nervous and even unhappy about it. While it may not be something that you want to admit to others, and may not even want to admit to yourself, acknowledging that you are a reluctant caregiver is an important step in coping with this reality and still being able to do everything you can to give your parents the level of care that they deserve and the quality of life that they desire.

 

If you find yourself in the role of being a reluctant caregiver, use these tips to help you confront these feelings and take steps to find fulfillment in your efforts:

• Understand your reluctance. Why are you so reluctant when it comes to being a family caregiver? By understanding what gives you your reluctance you can start to either move past it, or come to terms with it so that it does not negatively impact the quality of care that you give to your parents. Some reasons that you may be reluctant to care for your parents include a strained relationship from when you were younger, feeling like your siblings should be doing more, a sense that you are not acknowledge or appreciated, or just not feeling emotionally prepared to take on this role.

• Remember why you are doing it. If you are so reluctant to care for your parents, why are you doing it? No matter how reluctant you feel about this role, there has to be motivation to offer care to your seniors. This may be that you feel a sense responsibility toward them, that you feel it is the right thing to do, that you want to give back to them for caring for you when you were a child, or that you love them. Whatever the reason, reminding yourself of it will help you to keep going even when you are feeling less than willing to continue with your efforts.

• Evaluate the alternatives. What would happen if you decided not to be a caregiver for your parents? Take a few moments to think of what life would be like for you and for your parents if you stepped out of this role. You might find that while you feel reluctant about your care efforts, you do not actually want to not have these responsibilities in your life.

• Think of others. What do your parents mean to other people? Even if you have a strained relationship with your parents and find it difficult to want to continue with your efforts when they do not show the level of appreciation and acknowledgement that you desire, there may be other people in your parents’ lives that they mean a lot to and that do appreciate your efforts. Think about your other siblings who may live too far away to be actively involved in their care, or your aunt who was very close to you as you grew up. Remembering these people can help you to feel more motivated to give your parents ongoing, meaningful care.

 

Above all, give yourself permission to not always feel excited about your care efforts, and forgive yourself for feeling reluctant. Acknowledge that these efforts are difficult and that you have the right to your emotions towards them. Just releasing the guilt and strain associated with these feelings can actually give you a more positive and enthusiastic force in your parents’ lives.

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Arlington, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.