resume graphicThe typical resume contains information about previous responsibilities, personal attributes and contact information. This traditional format is just not cutting the mustard these days for job seekers who are running into throngs of people all competing for the same job.

Make your resume action and results-oriented. Hiring managers do not want to see a rehash of past duties; they want to know about your successes. If your resume shows action, accomplishments and quantifiable results, you will capture and hold a manager’s attention. Here is how to do it. 

  1. Create a list of your tasks from previous jobs. If you already have an up to date resume, this should be an easy thing to do as your tasks are listed there for you. If they aren’t, take time to make a list of performed tasks for each of your previous jobs.
  2. Consider this list of tasks. Think about the accomplishments associated with each, and write those accomplishments down.
  3. Use these new details to create action/result statements for your resume.

For example, if your former position was as a CNA in a nursing home, one of the things that you were responsible for was taking care of residents. Your action-oriented tasks would be that of assisting residents with their ADLs, observing and reporting, etc. The associated successful result was doing it efficiently and in a timely manner. To quantify the result, you can specify the number residents you typically were responsible for during your shift and how long it took you to perform your tasks. If you received any recognition for your successes, all the better! 

Once you have put together your “numbers” then you are ready to compose your action/results-oriented statements. Using the above example it would be something like, “Delivered quality Restorative Care to 15 (on average) long term care residents and Rehabilitative Care to 4 (on average) short term care nursing home residents per eight hour shift.” 

In addition, including any special recognition you received on the job is a perfect way to demonstrate your success to a hiring authority, and if you have good attendance, claim it! The appropriate action/results-oriented statement in this regard would go something like this: “Have worked six consecutive months with perfect attendance.” 

Keep in mind that your resume is one of several from which a new hire will be chosen. To hiring managers, one resume looks like the rest after a while because most resumes focus only on responsibilities/tasks. Your resume will stand out if it is action and results-oriented. It is likely that the person doing the hiring is already familiar with the requirements of your former jobs anyway, unless you are changing fields. And if you are changing careers, results are results and success is success regardless of the industry. 

Remember that on the quantified job results will lend credence to your claims. This is one reason the action/results-oriented method of resume writing is so effective. Hiring authorities with any experience have learned that a candidate’s past success is often a reliable indicator of their future success. You can make any claim you want on your resume, but showing the results of your successes will bring you successful job seeking results of your own. 

Revising your resume using the action-oriented method may take a bit of time, but it will be time well spent. You will not only have a handful of action and results-oriented statements, you might also come away with a new appreciation of your own special expertise!

interview picHow you handle an interview can make the difference between landing a job and continuing your search. Whether you applying for work in a hospital, nursing home, assisted-living facility, doctors office, or home healthcare agency, there are ways to gain an advantage when interviewing for a position in the healthcare field.

Tip #1 Be Ready to Dazzle
Research the company’s website if they have one and make sure of the location of the interview and allot ample time to get there. Know the name and title of the person with whom you will be interviewing. Gather copies of your current certifications, an exquisite copy of your resume and a list of references and letters of recommendation so you will have it available during the interview. Remember to take a copy of the job listing too.

Presentation is everything. Dress in “business casual” attire rather than scrubs. Make sure you are well groomed from head to toe (double check your fingernails) Men should wear clean trousers and a collared shirt. Women may wear slacks or skirt with a business appropriate shirt or sweater. Also a dress would be okay. Leather shoes are appropriate for men and women rather than the nursing shoes or athletic shoes worn on the job. Hair should be neatly groomed as it would be on the job. Body piercings and tattoos should be covered or minimized. Any jewelry worn should not be distracting. Women should avoid long dangle earrings because they can be distracting to the interviewer.

More than likely you will be meeting with a hiring authority. Depending upon the size of the organization, you may speak with other staff members too, perhaps members of the team you may be working with. You may be given a tour of the facility. While taking the tour, notice whether the staff seems friendly, whether the facility seems clean and well-organized, and whether the patients/clients seem satisfied with their care. After all, you are checking out the employer too.

#2 Exhibit Professionalism
It’s mandatory to be on time for an interview. Leave early enough to accommodate any last-minute problem that you might run into. Don’t chew gum at the interview. More listening and less talking is usually a good approach during a first interview. There is no need to fill an uncomfortable silence with words. Let them do the talking, and answer their questions thoughtfully. Remember good eye contact.

#3 Nail the Interview
You will probably be asked open-ended questions about yourself or past work experience. When answering these questions, remember that they are looking for answers that demonstrate your value to their organization. Provide answers that illustrate a good match between you and the company. It’s okay to ask about their expectations, the shifts you’ll work or the duties you will perform. Describe how you can help the organization meet its needs. Be as flexible as possible.

Also be ready to answer the following questions honestly and completely.
1. May we contact your current employer (and your references)?
2. Have you ever been disciplined or fired from a job (and if so, why)?
3. Why did you leave your past position?
4. What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

Keep in mind that if hired, you will be part of a team. Don’t underestimate the importance of the position for which you have applied. Convey the fact that you think every employee contributes to the success or failure of an organization. Specify your experience. Highlight your expertise and experience working with special cases and needs. Were you known at a past job for being able to do something especially well? If you are inexperienced, communicate your interest and motivation. Share a story that shows how you’ve gone above and beyond in the workplace.

You will be given an opportunity to ask questions. If not previously addressed by the interviewer, ask for such information as advancement opportunities and training/probation period. Things to not ask about during your first interview include questions about vacations or time off. Also avoid any questions about the race/gender makeup of staff or patients/clientele.

#4 Make sure you are making the right choice for yourself
Conditions at medical facilities, especially hospitals and nursing homes, can be vastly different from one shift to the next. Even if you are applying for an afternoon or night-shift position, your interview is very likely to take place during the day shift. Before accepting a position, try to visit the facility during the shift you will be working. Checking the internet for reviews may also give you some insight into a potential employer.

#5 Wrapping it all up
Be sure to thank the Interviewer, shaking their hand (no wimpy grips, please). Inquire as to a time it is appropriate to follow up with them if they haven’t mentioned it already. If they don’t specify a time, suggest a specific day and time in near future. Remember, the more people they are interviewing, the longer it may be before they separate the “wheat from the chaff.” Be sure to get their business card so you can follow up with a personal email, or even better, a handwritten note thanking the person who interviewed you. Mention a point from the interview that will set you apart from other candidates. Keep it short and polite.

Good luck in your job seeking!

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to

pain elderlyApproximately 88% of seniors experience chronic pain. [1] The simple process of aging leads to conditions (the most common being arthritis) that can cause chronic pain. Seniors are typically less active which makes them vulnerable to muscle rigidity and joint calcification, all potential pain makers. As we age, because our sensation decreases, we become less coordinated and our movement (mobility) less fluid. This dynamic of aging greatly contributes to the statistic that one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year. [2] And unfortunately as we age, healing from injuries takes longer.

About 20% of older adults take pain medications several times a week, usually for joint or muscle related pain. But, there are many other types of pain experienced by the elderly, especially those who live in nursing homes.

Nursing home residents typically have suffered many losses. Home, career and an independent lifestyle are given up to satisfy their need for 24-hour care. Pile on just a tad of chronic pain and you’ve got a recipe for a downward spiral into helplessness, anxiety and depression.

And nowhere is this dynamic more prevalent that in the nursing home setting.

If not taken seriously by caregivers, reports of pain by an elderly person can be discounted. When reports of pain are not taken seriously, it can be very upsetting to the person in pain which in turn makes their pain management more challenging as pain levels may be reported inaccurately or not at all.

It is the person experiencing the pain who knows just how much of it they are feeling. Pain is whatever the (older) person says it is, and exists whenever they say it does. But if on older person stops reporting pain to their caregivers, it is difficult to help them. Here are the signs to look for when someone is in pain: [3]

  • Facial expressions such as grimacing, breathing changes or sighing heavily are signs of pain or distress.
  • So are unusual body movements such as wincing or limping.
  • Behavioral changes such as not wanting to eat, sleep or socialize can be signs of pain.
  • Also emotional changes such as crying or irritability may be a sign that someone is experiencing pain even though they are not admitting it. 

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are trained to report any unusual change in their nursing home residents, especially signs of pain. And CNAs routinely report unusual pain to their charge nurse, but the savvy CNA knows that there are also other ways to help their residents who are experiencing pain.

Many pain-relieving alternatives may be included on a resident’s care plan such as a warm shower or bath, the application of heat or cold, or regular repositioning. But because CNAs spend so much time with nursing home residents, they can do other things that will encourage relaxation and perhaps even relieve pain. The following activities can be carried out by a CNA or any other caregiver in any setting, because they are techniques that utilize simple kindness and gentle human touch.

Listening is first

In the CNA world, we call it Therapeutic Communication. It bears repeating that senior citizens who live in nursing homes have, for the most part, experienced many losses. At a minimum they have given up their independent lifestyle. Compound the sadness they may be feeling, with the chronic pain that typically accompanies old age and you have a double dose of pain.

CNAs are taught to encourage residents to talk by asking open ended questions and then listening. CNAs know how important it is to be authentic when listening to a resident who is sharing their feelings. When a CNA is truly listening to a resident, the result is validation for the resident. This feeling of validation for someone who may be feeling disenfranchised can be a great source of comfort and a miracle pain reliever – at least in an emotional sense.

Empathy is Essential

It is not enough to just “feel sorry” for someone who is suffering if you want to help ease their pain. The empathetic CNA is able to “feel” their residents’ pain (while not taking it own as their own) in a way that enhances the care they give. This empathetic approach to caregiving shows in ways that only the nursing home resident can feel. When a CNA delivers daily care with empathy (vs sympathy) the result for the resident spreads across the board into all areas of their life in the nursing home – and makes it better, therefore helping with any pain they may be feeling.

Restorative Care Helps with Chronic Pain

People who live in nursing homes, as opposed to those who are there for short term rehabilitation from an injury or illness, receive Restorative Care. Restorative care is designed to optimize a resident’s experience in the nursing home by involving them in as many aspects of their activities of daily living (ADLs) as is possible, with independence fostered in every aspect of their care. Involvement in social activities is encouraged. Choices abound. It would be easy for a resident in a nursing home to feel as if they are giving up control, but with the right recipe of Restorative Care, they will feel empowered by the choices and decisions they are making for themselves. Good Restorative Care makes for a happier resident. A happier resident naturally experiences less pain.

Simple Ways to Help with Physical Pain

A soft, gentle touch in the form of a hand, foot or back massage can also help to alleviate physical pain. The benefit of gentle, relaxing massage is well documented. [4] Gentle stroking, kneading and light pressure can lubricate joints and assist in the pain management of people who suffer from the stiffness of arthritis according to the Touch Research Institute. Massage for the elderly also has physical and mental benefits that can improve their health and general well-being. At a minimum, a gentle massage of the hands, feet or back can result in a deeper, longer and more regenerative sleep and an overall state of greater well-being. A therapeutic massage given by someone trained in the treatment of the elderly can result in increased range of motion, strengthening of muscles and improved posture. But a soothing massage from a caregiver can go a long way in improving the quality of life for someone living with chronic pain.

Most nursing home residents who live with chronic pain are under the watchful eye of a physician and nursing staff who know the benefits of pain medication. And every nursing home resident benefits from being under the watchful eye of a caring CNA who listens to them and from time to time administers a kind and gentle human touch.

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to





ImageRow, row, row your boat gently down the stream… Sing it twice as you wash your hands, working up a good lather as you go, and you will be practicing one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings from your home and workplace to healthcare facilities.

It’s just common sense, really. Consider all the surfaces we come in contact with throughout the day – hand rails, door handles, ATM buttons and the like. What do all these things have in common? The human touch. We move about our day touching things everywhere we go.  

Imagine what it would be like to be a simple cold or flu germ.  Influenza viruses can survive on hard surfaces such as books or doorknobs between two and 8 hours. [1] Now, that may not seem like a very long time, but in “virus years” it can be an eternity.

Let’s say you are coming down with a cold and have decided to “gut it out” and go to work. With only a sore throat and a stuffy nose, you don’t realize that you are a veritable germ factory, and the first time you blow your nose and fail to wash your hands right after, you will soon be sharing your cold germs with everyone around you via everything you touch. Cold and flu germs can survive on some surfaces for up to 48 hours [2] and so the calling cards you leave behind when you handle things can be transferred by contact to anyone coming along behind you who touches it. This can include the telephone at the reception desk, the buttons on the copy machine or the handle of the coffee pot in the employee lounge. And as you run errands on the way home from work you are leaving cold germs along the way on the handle of the cart at the grocery store and the ballpoint pin you used at the bank teller’s window. 

Yes, germs are lurking around us all the time. They hitch a ride on us when we touch a surface on which they have been left. And if they make it to our eyes, nose or mouth, their most common entry point into the body, they will invade our body and perhaps make us sick. But there is a fast and easy way to defend ourselves against the spread of germs. Handwashing. 

According to the CDC (Centers of Disease Control) we should wash our hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating and before and after caring for someone who is sick or taking care of a cut or wound. Of course we all know to wash our hands after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper. Hand washing is advised after taking out the trash or touching an animal, feeding it, or cleaning up after it. And of course it is especially important to wash our hands after blowing our nose, coughing or sneezing. [3] 

Now that we know when to wash our hands, let’s take a look at just how to do it. The CDC advises that we first wet our hands with warm or cold clean running water. Then apply soap. Next, rub the hands together to make a rich lather and scrub them well. Remember the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails. This vigorous scrubbing should last at least 20 seconds. (Twice singing the song, Row, row, row your boat.) Then a good rinse under running water and a clean towel or air dry is the recommended finish. [3] 

As a side note, the use of waterless hand sanitizers is also addressed by the CDC. When soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations when using them and know that they will not eliminate all types of germs. [3] 

Simple handwashing is truly the vanguard of infection control. No other infection control measure goes further in protecting us against the spread of germs. So row, row, row your boat gently to the closest sink and wash your hands. See you there!

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to





Phyllis McCormack was a nurse who worked in a hospital in Scotland during the 1960s. She knew the importance of empathy in caregiving and so was inspired to write a poem about it for her hospital’s newsletter. The poem she first called “Look Closer” is known today under the title of “Crabbit Old Woman.”

Because Phyllis originally did not claim authorship of the poem for fear of offending her colleagues, urban legend has credited it to an old women who died in a nursing home when a handwritten version was discovered in her belongings. A poignant punctuation to the end of the old woman’s unhappy life in a nursing home. Yes, this story happens again and again in nursing homes everywhere because not all caregivers have empathy for their residents.

Today’s healthcare providers, including nursing homes are under constant pressure to cut costs and comply with a mountain of record keeping regulations while at the same time providing safe, comfortable and competent care to their patients/residents. It is not an easy thing to do, and stress from this dynamic potentially pervades every aspect of caregiving.

This is particularly true in the nursing home setting where the majority of people receiving care are elderly and require 24-hour attention.

In the words of the Crabbit Old Woman, “What do you see, nurse. What do you see? What are you thinking when you look at me?”

It is no surprise that in the high-stress nursing home work environment some caregivers go about their business (busy-ness) as they do their jobs, but never really “see” the people they take care of. Oh, these caregivers will notice things that may either amuse or annoy them while giving care, but what these caregivers really need to do is to try to see their residents as they see themselves. This is empathy.

“Open your eyes, nurse. You’re looking at me,” says the Crabbit Old Woman. The empathetic caregiver “sees” her residents differently and understands the losses a nursing home resident has experienced. At a minimum this person they are taking care of has been forced to release the roles they played in their former, younger, lives. Roles such as soccer mom, wife or husband, office worker, church volunteer, homemaker, all have disappeared. Their children have grown up, no longer needing them and the years have robbed them of their independence. And now that they can’t take care of themselves any longer, they find themselves living in a place where others must take care of them. They were once the parent but are now much like a child.

Many people living in nursing homes must feel like the Crabbit Old Woman, “Grace and vigor depart, there is now a stone where I once had a heart,” according to the poem. The empathetic caregiver will feel the pain of their residents, but won’t take the pain for their own. Instead, the empathetic caregiver will treat their elderly charges with dignity and honor, granting wishes to the extent that they are able, while fostering their resident’s independence. Empathetic caregiving immeasurably improves the nursing home resident’s quality of life.

“Inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells.” The empathetic caregiver knows that inside every one of their residents dwells the heart of a young person. The empathetic caregiver plays to the strengths of a their residents. The empathetic caregiver is a good listener, is patient and kind. The empathetic caregiver is somehow able to see themselves in every Crabbit Old Woman (or Man) receiving their care, and can translate that into a healthy experience for their residents and a rewarding experience for themselves.

If you would like to read the poem “Crabbit Old Woman” click here.

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to

One of the healthcare industry’s largest segments, and growing by the day, is the long term care facility. This is evidenced by the booming LTC business fueled by the ever growing number of elderly entering the market place in need of a residence that supports their round the clock need for safety and comfort. Enter the long term care facility, i.e., the nursing home.

And who is the most valued member of the LTC healthcare team? The humble nursing assistant. It is the nursing assistant who logs the most time with residents of long term care facilities, satisfying their every day needs as they help the elderly LTC resident with their activities of daily living in this communal life style setting. It is the nursing assistant who interfaces with the nursing home resident, enhancing their quality of life by rendering compassionate, competent care while at the same time observing and reporting “red flags” to the higher-ups in order to stave off any looming healthcare crisis that may adversely affect the well being of their charges.

The role of the nursing assistant is so key that it is regulated by the government. In 1987 the Omnibus Budget and Reform act (OBRA) mandated that each state maintain a registry of nursing assistants. Since then, nursing assistants in each state have been screened,  trained and tested according to state standards and then entered into the state’s registry of Certified Nursing Assistants. Upon entering the state’s registry, the CNA is qualified to work in a nursing home, and the state keeps track of such things as certification dates and reports of abuse and neglect. The Omnibus Budget and Reform Act not only protects the vulnerable nursing home resident, it also validates the role of the nursing assistant in modern-day nursing homes. CNAs perform the most important and pivotal role in the long term care setting. Certified Nursing Assistants are the eyes and ears of the healthcare team in any nursing home – the first responders, if you will, in the care of nursing home residents. The CNA, by virtue of their job description, is the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to the proactive delivery of care in nursing homes. 

While helping nursing home residents, the CNA is expected to recognize the initial signs of any number of healthcare crisis’, and know when and how to report those signs to the appropriate staff members who are authorized to intervene. The CNA is required by law to stay within the limits of their scope of practice, and that too is something they must be aware of and comply with. The CNA is the first line of defense for the residents they are taking care of. The role of the CNA is critical in the care people who are living in nursing homes. 

There are innumerable nursing assistants who have worked in nursing homes for years and years, caring for the needs of their residents often times without recognition for their selfless efforts. There is nothing more noble than the nursing assistant who has made a career of working in the nursing home setting. The job is often times thankless, except for the gratitude given by the nursing home resident who depends upon the kind and competent CNA who comes to them every day with a gentleness that can not be quantified. It is this quality that, undeniably, makes the CNA an important part of the healthcare industry’s infrastructure.

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to

Caregiver burnout is becoming more and more common among caregivers in the United States with approximately 50 million Americans currently taking care of someone who needs assistance on a daily basis. Three out of four caregivers is female and many are caring for a family member in a home setting. But caregiver burnout is always a potential problem in the nursing home setting too, where nursing staff, especially nursing assistants, log long hours of hands-on time spent with nursing home residents.

Taking care of someone who is disabled, elderly or somehow incapacitated is demanding, both physically and emotionally and will take its toll over time, even on the strongest among us. Studies show that caregivers have higher than normal blood pressure and insulin levels than do non-caregivers and thus are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. But depression is the most common malady among caregivers with up to half reporting symptoms of depression and above normal usage of antidepressants. And in the nursing home setting, caregiver burnout can have unpleasant or even downright disastrous consequences which can include neglect or abuse of residents. The key to managing this kind of stress is to prevent it. In order to do that, recognizing the leading indicators of caregiver burnout is job one.

Caregiver burnout is not easily recognized by someone who has it, especially a professional caregiver such as a CNA, who is told, “don’t take your work home with you.” But there are different stages of caregiver burnout, and the beginning stage is frustration. Experiencing some frustration on any job is to be expected, especially for CNAs who are expected to act with compassion and understanding and the patience of an angel. But the stress that comes from chronic frustration can lead to ill health which could show itself in head colds, headaches, insomnia, anxiety or hypertension. Some caregivers resort to using drugs or alcohol to escape while others begin to avoid social contact. Any of these behaviors can be a sign of caregiver burnout, and is an indication that it is time to take a proactive approach to caregiver stress. The later stages of caregiver burnout are depression and despair, and can be avoided if the caregiver will take care of themselves so they can effectively take care of others.

The following is a rundown of five basic ways for caregivers to avoid caregiver burnout.

#1: Take care of your body

Make sure you get enough sleep! The importance of sleep cannot be understated. If you don’t know whether or not you are getting enough sleep, keep track of how many hours you sleep every night for a week or two. Compare how you feel/perform during the day to the amount of sleep you got the night before. You might be surprised when you get a good night’s sleep, the next day of caregiving is easier and more rewarding. And when you need some extra energy, drink more water! You will feel your best if your body is properly hydrated and sometimes an extra glass of iced tea, even herbal with no caffeine, will rejuvenate and refresh you, helping you shake off minor frustrations or sleepiness which can make you irritable. Another way to keep the juices flowing is to keep your body moving. Take a short break when you need to and “walk it off” when feeling stressed. Walking, along with a brief change of scenery, will clear your head, reduce stress and open your mind to accept any insights that can help you with the source of the stress. Sometimes it is just better to literally walk away from a situation. Which brings us to our next suggestion about how to avoid caregiver burnout.

#2: Make time to play

Some times you just need to let off a little steam and go have fun. Many people, caregivers included, work hard and shouldn’t be afraid to play hard. With all the challenges that come with caregiving, we are apt to begin accepting stress as just a part of life. Unrelenting stress does not belong in our lives, and when we let it in long term, we run the risk of making stress a part of who we are every day. The perfect antidote is making personal time to play. Take the time to do things that act like a release valve for stress. Take up a hobby or travel, if only for the weekend or every once in a while. Have fun and allow yourself to relax. You will be better for it, and so will those who depend upon your care for their daily needs. Plan a get-a-way with someone special. Just the act of looking forward to something fun helps relieve the stress of the moment.

#3: Get real with yourself, clear your mind and your space

If you are a caregiver either in the home of a loved one or as a staff member in a healthcare setting, you can prepare yourself for the stress you know is going to occur. Sort of “gird your loins” as it were. This will help you deal with normal stress from the onset. Get plenty of sleep the night before a day predictably rough, and take healthy snacks with you, including plenty of water, when you are caregiving that day. If you can manage it, get in a brisk walk beforehand or some deep breathing or yoga, that would be especially helpful when you know you are going to have a stressful day. Then at the end of the day, write in a journal to help “let go of” any residual stress. (Bonus: Reading your old journals can lead to personal insights about how you handle stress.) Then lighten your load and simplify your life by clearing your space. Believe it or not, clutter in your living space creates a low level of stress. When you can, pick a weekend and make it a family project to get rid of clutter. If your space is big and cluttered, take it one room at a time, emptying out every single thing in one room from ceiling to floor, wall to wall. This is a great time to clean, rearrange the furniture, perhaps incorporate other items from the rest of the house for a fresh feel. After dispensing with the clutter, bring back into the room only those things that you decide give you the most pleasure, beauty and use. It is as simple as that. You will be amazed at how good you will feel, and how that feeling will translate to the people you care for.

#4: Let others give you support when you need it

Find someone to talk to when you need to vent, but take care to avoid betraying a trust or professional confidence, (HIPAA, HIPAA, HIPAA!) When you need to talk, find that one good friend who is always willing to listen… and let ‘er rip! (Change the names to protect the innocent, of course.) There are also caregiver support groups that are available locally through agencies such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Area Agency on Aging. Talking it out and accepting support from others in similar circumstance works wonders to relieve stress. If you don’t have to “hold it all in” you are able to catch your breath and continue on with a fresh perspective. Another way to accept the support of others is to join a group of people who share a common interest such as yoga, medication, running, stamp collecting. It really doesn’t matter. When you are enjoying time with others it is easier to relax, and relaxing is the name of the game when you are exposed to stress on a regular basis.

#5: Live in the moment and have gratitude

“I am safe and all is well,” are the famous words of self-help pioneer Louise Hay. Use this affirmation or another when you might be feeling especially stressed or even overwhelmed. Just remembering to say it will bring you back into the present moment and help you get a handle on whatever it is that is stressing you out. And believe it or not, feelings of gratitude work like balm on a bee sting. If, when in the middle of a stressful situation, you can manage to feel any shred of gratitude for anything that may be happening, you will be met with a flush of calm and tranquility and the ability to handle anything in the moment. (Remember to “walk it off” as soon as you can if you need to!)

Caregivers are everything to the people who depend on them. Caregivers are good listeners, and they feel compassion and show respect. Caregivers keep their charges safe and comfortable while encouraging their independence, preserving their dignity and protecting their privacy. Sadly, most caregivers put themselves at the back of the line when it comes to their own needs.

Caregiver burnout is a serious condition that includes depression and despair as it progresses, and these conditions respond to medical care. If you or anyone you know might be showing signs of caregiver burnout, please seek help. And, remember to take care of yourself first and you will always be at your best for others who depend on you.

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to Special thanks to the NW Florida staff at Hopewell Home Health Care who inspired the subject of this blog.


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