Long Term Caregiving Opportunities

Long Term Caregiving Opportunities at Helping Hands Respite Care

If you are a caregiver already trained by Helping Hands Respite Care, or, you know someone that would enjoy working with either seniors, adults or children with special needs – we are currently filling some gaps in our long term schedule.  This is the opportunity to secure your schedule.  If you are all set, you could still earn some extra cash by making a referral.  Learn more about our Care Provider Referral program, Download the referral form today!  Following is a list of current long-term shifts.

For more information contact our scheduler, Rhonda Mliakoff at 517-243-0684 or email at scheduler@helpinghandsrespite.care


The Five Love Languages and Dementia

Stan and Bonnie at Kate's Memory Cafe, exploring 5 Love Languages and Dementia

Exploring The Five Love Languages

At our February gathering of Kate’s Memory Café we explored themes from the book The Five Love Languages- How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. In Chapman’s book he describes the 5 Love Languages as:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Highlighting from the book for a discussion point, we reviewed the following:
1. Words of Affirmation
“The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate.”
2. Quality Time
“A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention.”
3. Receiving Gifts
“Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.”
4. Acts of Service
“Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage.”
5. Physical Touch
“Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. “
After some discussion of these topics the participants of the Memory Café were given the following questions for personal reflection, considering that the Love Languages in your relationship now that Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is present:

Things to remember, you each have a primary love language – this is how you respond best in the receiving. Remember, yours may not be the same as your mate. What is/was your mate’s love language?


Over time you and your mate have created a rhythm to your language…..a give and take. What did that look like?


Now that this disease has entered (or encroached on) the relationship, how has the dynamic of your love language changed? What accommodations have you made?



As the primary caregiver, how will you take care of your needs for love in the places where your mate may no longer be able to participate?


If you would like to explore this topic further here is a link to purchase this book on Amazon. You will also see other variations of this book.

Welcome Missy Dahlgren

Welcome Missy Dahlgren

Join us in welcoming Melissa (Missy) Dahlgren to our team as the new child-in-home/respite supervisor. She has worked as an in home supervisor/therapist to families for the past four years at another agency. She has also served as a respite home manager for a brief time. So, you can see why we are thrilled to have her as part of our team.

Before leaving her former employer, Missy was the chief administrator of the respite program. She supervised three respite facilities and their corresponding managers. “I am hoping to transfer the skills from my last position to Helping Hands Respite Care and am committed to helping us grow as an agency,” shared Dahlgren. “I am a friendly person and hope that the next time you stop by the administrative offices that you will look for me for a quick chat. My hobbies are farming, spending time with my two daughters and husband, as well as shopping. I am looking forward to working with everyone.”

For those of you who were wondering, Tarra Boris has moved on to a position as a social worker in the Waverly School system. We were honored to have her for as long as we deed and wish her the very best on the career path that she had dreamed of from the beginning.

5 Common Triggers of Wandering

It is great to have resources, to get another point of view, or to hear from people facing the same issues you are as a caregiver. A big concern is wandering, that is why I am sharing this article on the Five Common Triggers of Wandering.  If you are caring for a loved one with memory problems the website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com always has some great stories. This time of year our concerns for the one in our care escalates as the weather gets worse and the consequences of someone wandering off from home are greater.

Five Common Triggers of Wandering

Dan’s wife of 65 years is home…the only problem is, she doesn’t know it. “A daily request is for me to take her ‘home,’” Dan said, “in spite of the fact she is home and surrounded by her familiar home décor. She cannot say where home really is and my attempts for her to describe what home means have had no effect. It appears as if ‘home” is where she was a mother to our five children.”
That desire to go home is one of the common triggers for wandering for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. They often don’t realize they are home, so they are on a quest to try to get there.
Following, from the Alzheimer’s Association, are five common triggers that might prompt an individual with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to wander, and what family caregivers can do to help:
1. Delusions or hallucinations. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can misinterpret sights and sounds. Caregiver Evelynn says her mother wakes up in the middle of the night, insisting that someone is in the house and intent on doing her wrong. “I had to put an extra lock on the front door because she wakes up at night or from a nap in her chair and believes someone is at the door or on the porch, and she needs to let them in,” Evelynn noted. As Evelynn found, sometimes safety features are needed in a home to ensure a loved one stays safe.
2. Overstimulation. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can become easily upset when in a noisy and crowded environment. If that happens, they may try to escape from the chaos and wander. Avoid large, noisy places. Look for restaurants with quiet areas. Discourage big parties and family gatherings, or find a quiet room for your loved one to sit, then invite guests in to visit one at a time.
3. Fatigue, particularly during late afternoons and evenings. The later in the day, the more tired an individual with Alzheimer’s disease can become. This may lead to restless pacing back and forth, noted Monica Moreno, director of Early-Stage Initiatives for the Alzheimer’s Association. Activities and exercises during those times of the day can calm an individual and help to minimize the triggers for wandering.
4. Disorientation to place and time. Like Dan’s wife in the real-life example above, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may not recognize they are already home. Avoid busy places that can cause confusion. Refrain from correcting the individual, and reassure the person he or she is safe. If the individual is feeling anxious, agitated or restless, take that person for a walk.
5. Change in routine and unmet needs. Lydia had just moved to a long-term care community. Confused about leaving her familiar home, Lydia was found wandering in her new environment in an effort to make her way back to the place from which she was most familiar. Reassure the individual with Alzheimer’s disease that she is not lost or abandoned. And put safety features in place to keep that person safe. Establish a regular routine. Those who have Alzheimer’s disease do better in a structured environment. Because unmet needs also can trigger wandering, make it a practice to suggest a loved one go to the bathroom after a meal.