Caregiving Community

How To Hire A Nurse For Home Care

Looking for a nurse to help take care of a loved one at home? It can be tough to know where to start. There are many things to consider when hiring a nurse for home care. But if you take the time to find the right person, it can be an immensely rewarding experience for you and your family. With the right nurse, you can rest assured that your loved one is receiving the best possible care.

  1. Decide What Type Of Nurse You Need

The first step is to decide what type of nurse you need. There are many different types of caregiving professionals, each with their specialties. You will want to choose a nurse with the experience and skills required to care for your loved one. For example, if your loved one has dementia, you will want to hire a nurse with expertise in dementia care.

Type Of Nurse You Need

  1. Check references and credentials

Once you have decided on a nurse, it is important to check their references and credentials. Ask the nurse for a list of references and call them to ask about their experience with the nurse. You should also check the nurse’s credentials to ensure they are qualified to do the job. If you are not comfortable checking the nurse’s references or certifications, you can hire a professional service to do it for you.

Check references and credentials

  1. Interview the nurse

After you have checked the references and credentials of the nurse, it is time to interview them. This is your chance to get to know the nurse and ask any questions you may have. Some things you may want to ask about include:

– Their experience in caring for patients with your loved one’s condition

– Their availability to work

– Their fees

You may also want to ask the nurse how they would go about caring for your loved one. This will give you a good idea of their care plan and whether or not it is a good fit for them. After the interview, take some time to think about whether or not you want to hire the nurse. If you decide not to go ahead with it, be sure to let the nurse know and thank them for their time.

Interview the nurse

The Benefits Of Hiring A Nurse For Home Care

Nurses are highly trained professionals who can provide quality care for your loved ones. Here are some of the top benefits of hiring private nursing care at home:

  • Nurses have the training and experience to provide expert care. They can help people recover from an illness or injury and manage chronic health conditions.
  • Nurses can provide companionship and support for your loved one. They can help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
  • Nurses can also provide respite care, which gives you a break from caregiving duties. This can be a valuable service if you are feeling overwhelmed or burned out.

Finding A Caregiving Support

At CircleOf, Inc., we understand that caregiving support is critical for families caring for loved ones with chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to find a qualified caregiver to do the job. This leads them to giving up their personal lives and become full-time unpaid caregivers.

Family and friends who take this role often feel isolated and alone in their journey, but resources are available to help you. The first step in finding support is reaching out to others in a similar situation. Many communities and support groups are available, both in-person and online. These groups can provide caregivers with information, advice, and support.

Another excellent resource for caregivers is the Alzheimer’s Association. The Association provides education, resources, and support to families affected by dementia. They also have a national helpline that caregivers can call for help.

Finally, it is important to take care of yourself as a caregiver. You need to make sure you are getting enough rest, exercise, and socialization. Taking time for yourself will help you stay strong and healthy while caring for a loved one with dementia.

Fortunately, our CircleOf app allows you to do just that! We aim to facilitate unpaid care through features that promote care support and socialization.

CircleOf is an app that helps connect patients, caregivers, and families in managing the stress of caring for loved ones. It’s simple to use and will also open your door to the different communities where you’ll be able to reach out to other people and receive emotional support.

CircleOf is available free of charge on both iOS and Android devices. So, if you’re looking for nursing support, be sure to download the CircleOf app today!

Alzheimer's Caregiving Community

Books Can Make the Difference on the Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Journey

Reading often closely follows our personal progression in life. As we mature and our interests and life situations change and develop, so do our reading patterns.

My progression began with nursery rhymes and Golden Books that filled my imagination, then came Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, who fueled my ambitions, followed by the requisite period of academia preparing me for “real life.” By the time I reached adulthood, my attention turned to the New York Times Bestseller List, and the occasional beach book.

For some, reading will become a way of life as they devour books; for others, a lovely, welcome pastime; for the esoteric, an experience or quest for advanced knowledge, and for a few, a necessity when an unknown arises. If you are a caregiver, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, reading will become your source of knowledge, your advisor, your friend, and your savior in those lost moments.

Having always been a reader it was inevitable I would turn to books upon the diagnosis of my husband’s early-onset Alzheimer’s. Books are what helped me make sense of an almost untenable situation, answered questions when there seemed to be no answers, provided direction in a sea of darkness, and helped me not feel so adrift. For those of you who are not readers or are occasional readers, I can assure you books, podcasts, and blogs will serve you well.

When I was a caregiver, AlzAuthors, the global community of authors writing about dementia from personal experience,  did not exist. But if it did, I can tell you with great certainty that my foray into the genre of caregiving books would begin with my urgent need to understand what I was dealing with. 

That was not an easy task at that time, as there was a myriad of books out there to sort through and decipher, almost as overwhelming as the disease itself. Thank goodness today for the AlzAuthors Bookstore, whose vast collection is sorted out by categories, enabling the reader to quickly hone in on specific needs at specific times.

If I were a new caregiver today, I would head right to the Caregiver Guides Section to peruse the selections in search of information and understanding about Alzheimer’s, followed by checklists and to-do guides to help me through the initial shock and start me on the caregiver path. Under Memoirs I would look for stories to inspire, illuminate, support, and help me not feel so alone.

One of the things I would be thankful for is the now firsthand information on early-onset dementia, something that was missing years ago. The honesty of the authors combined with their various coping methods helps readers feel less judgmental about themselves and their situation.

On a self-indulgent whim, I would purchase books under the Fiction category to go on a much-needed escape. And since I wouldn’t have much time to read (what caregiver has time?), the AlzAuthors blog is a real gift.

When one is dealing with a catastrophic illness, the sense of isolation, be it physical, mental, social, or emotional, can be daunting and overwhelming. It is no wonder some caregivers suffer various degrees of depression or feel isolated as their world shrinks in so many ways. The gift of reading helps to alleviate some of that by sharing other perspectives, and imparting knowledge.

While it is not a replacement for actual friends or family, reading is a wonderful substitute that is always there and available. The vast range of knowledge from clinical, to checklists and facts, to personal, all covering the range from diagnosis till the end, is what allows caregivers to stay on the path and complete their journey intact. Preparation and knowledge are among the top skills any caregiver can possess.

I am grateful to all the authors who accompanied me on my journey, whose dog-eared pages sat faithfully on my nightstand, whose eBooks and audiobooks let me read during those times when I had so little time. To be provided with such comfort, knowledge, direction, and insight was truly an invaluable gift.

About the Author

Susan’s background reflects her versatility. A wife, mother, grandmother, she has also been a schoolteacher, a realtor, a sales professional, a corporate trainer, a counselor, and a consultant and speaker on various aspects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and human resource development. She is the author of My Life Rearranged, a contributor to, and a caregiver advocate.

Connect with Susan G.Miller


Amazon page

AlzAuthors Page

Ambassador and contributor to The Caregiver Connection on Facebook

Caregiving Community Mental Health

How To Hire the Right Caregiving Professional to Support You

Keeping a life during a life of caregiving can feel like a tall order. How do you cope with the pressure, the stress, the worries, the needs and stay present in your career, your priorities, your relationships? How do you stay your best while getting the best for your caree?

A professional, like a therapist, coach, or consultant, can be a huge help as you navigate the caregiving experience. We offer suggestions to help you choose the professional right for you:

  1. If you want to heal a past pain, then a therapist will be the right choice for you. A therapist can help you cope with the past and its impact on the present while putting strategies together so you are ready for the future. For instance, a therapist can help if you struggle caring for a family member because of a past abusive relationship. In addition, the right therapist can help you heal from PTSD and the impact of the abusive relationship on you. If you work, check with your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to learn if you have free counseling sessions available to you.
  2. If you would like a professional assessment of your caree’s situation, then an Aging Life Care Specialist can help. (Aging Life Care Specialists used to be called geriatric care managers.) Typically a nurse or social worker, an Aging Life Care Specialist can recommend services and programs for your caree, can put plans in place so your caree remains safe at home, and can help manage your caree’s team of home care workers. The Aging Life Care Specialist focuses on your caree’s needs because of their specialization in the aging process. You also can check with your employer’s EAP to see if you have a benefit that offers free consultations with an Aging Life Care Specialist.
  3. If you would like help for yourself, then connect with one of our Certified Caregiving Consultants™, who have expertise in the caregiving experience. A CCC can help you understand your priorities, create coping strategies and manage your stress. CCCs can help you find the right facilities, agencies, resources, products, and services for you and your caree. In addition, CCCs can brainstorm solutions with you and provide an empathetic ear so you can vent without guilt. Our CCCs also have a personal caregiving experience, which means they bring an understanding of the experience into their work. The CCCs focus on you because of their specialization in the caregiving experience.
  4. If you want to focus on achieving your own personal goals during a caregiving experience, you could hire a life coach to help. Life coaches help you start where you are to move forward into achieving personal or career successes. Many life coaches specialize in helping you with specific life goals, like losing weight, changing careers, or writing a book.

You can use these professionals in any way that works for you. Perhaps you hire an Aging Life Care Specialist every January to assess your caree and review what additional services or programs your caree may need. You may want to take advantage of free sessions with counselors available through your company’s EAP every year. When you exhaust the free sessions, you can hire a CCC or life coach. Maybe you hire a CCC for monthly sessions so you can talk it out with a professional who gets it so that you can hear the right solutions. Perhaps you hire a coach or therapist or CCC for quarterly sessions each year. Whatever will work for you works.

About the Author
Denise M. Brown began supporting family caregivers in 1990 and currently offers leadership and  coach training for both family caregivers and former family caregivers. She began helping her parents after her father’s 2004 bladder cancer diagnosis. Visit to learn more.

Caregiving Community

7 Days to Become a Better Caregiver

No one prepared you to be a caregiver. You did it because you care. I know you care because you are here reading this blog post. I know you want to be a better caregiver because you continue to seek out information.

Your next step is to take some action, and I want to help. I have created this simple plan, “7 Days To Become A Better Caregiver”, to support you in becoming the best caregiver you can be. These small steps will add up to make it easier for you and your loved one.

DAY 1: Spend 30 Minutes A Day With Yourself

Set aside 30 minutes to get away from all caregiver responsibilities, and just think about yourself. Use this time to read, soak in the tub, take a nap, pray, or simply sit outside in the backyard.

DAY 2: Set Some Goals For Yourself

Yes, you need some goals. Even simple ones – daily or weekly tasks. Dream a little. It will help you to have something to look forward to, and to work towards.

DAY 3: Find A Caregiver Buddy

Find another caregiver friend whom you can talk with, vent to, share stories with, and ask for advice. Take turns relieving each other or sitting with loved ones.

DAY 4: Plan A Healthier Lifestyle

Are you eating a healthy diet? Are you exercising regularly? Are you getting enough sleep? This isn’t about vanity. It’s about treating your body well and feeling good, so you have the energy and stamina to help care for someone else. Today, make a list of which foods to eat more of, and those you might cut down on. Incorporate fun exercises into your caregiving routine. Do them daily.

DAY 5: Search For Resources

Where can you get help if you need it? There are resources for help, advice, and respite. There are people to help you to find the support or help that you need. Contact at least one today. Check out the CircleOf Resource Center, and read 

DAY 6: Once A Week, Take 2 to 4 Hours For Yourself

Take a long break to recharge. Go to a movie. Take a drive. Write. Volunteer. Visit someone, or a place (museum, park, etc.) Take a class. See the doctor; get your annual physical.

DAY 7: Set Aside 30 Minutes With Your Loved One

Remind yourself that you are family—whether blood or chosen—not just a caregiver. Do an activity together, maybe something your loved one liked to do. Draw or color, or work in the garden. Have a conversation. Reminisce.

Simple! Right? With all you have to do, I want to make it easy. By taking these little steps each day of the week, you will find yourself healthier, more prepared, and less stressed. Even better, your loved one may be happier.

Toula Wootan

Caregiving Community

Not Another Lasagna, Thanks: Asking for the Help You Really Need

When my husband was about to come home from a four-month hospitalization following a difficult stem cell transplant, a friend at my gym asked if there was anything she could do to help. I hesitated for a minute; I didn’t know her all that well, and my first instinct was to either wave her off or point her to the Meal Train sign up another friend had kindly organized. But my freezer was full. What I really needed was less conventional: help with rearranging our guest room to accommodate Brad’s care needs from someone who I knew could deadlift.

“Actually,” I said, “would you have time to come over and help me move some furniture?” She said she’d be glad to, and with her aid I got that furniture moved without throwing out my back. I also learned the importance of asking for the specific, real help that would really give me a boost or a break during a long caregiving journey.

Our individualist, self-reliant culture often leads caregivers like me to demur in the face of vague offers (we’ve all heard “let me know if I can do anything,” right?), or to say yes to whatever is offered—even if it’s a superfluous lasagna. Asking someone to fill a gas tank or pick up laundry detergent on their Costco run instead can feel vulnerable. But overcoming our reluctance and making those requests can both meet our immediate needs and show us who’s got our back, ultimately building the community all caregivers need.

Recently, I had the chance to pay it forward to a caregiving friend, and I was delighted when she asked me to pick up the bakery muffins her sons like best, because I knew I could offer authentic support. Especially in the busy holiday season, asking for what you really need can be a gift not only to yourself but to those who truly want to give to you.

Kate Washington is the author of Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout In America (Beacon Press, 2021) and a speaker on the systemic challenges facing family caregivers. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, TIME, Eater, Catapult, and many other publications. She holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature from Stanford University and lives in Sacramento with her husband and two daughters. Connect with her at or on Twitter @washingtonkate

Caregiving Community

Caregiver Survival During the Holidays

The holidays can be a delightful time of year. They can also be filled with anxiety.

Holidays often add stress, especially if you are a caregiver who is already feeling pulled in too many directions. The pressure of trying to make the perfect holiday can be immense, and quite frankly, who has those “Perfect Publix holiday commercial” holidays? Families coming together are not always the happiest of situations.

Here are five simple tips to make the holidays better for you, your loved one and your family.

  1. Simplify: When it comes to decorations, choose a few items that are most significant, have meaning for you and your loved ones. You might ask a friend to help decorate.
  2. Keep Meals Simple: Purchase all or part of meals at a local grocery store or restaurant — either fully cooked or ready for you to cook at home. If you prefer home cooked, share the cooking with other family members.
  3. Reduce the number of holiday activities: Limit your time away from home to match the comfort level of your loved one. Choose which events to attend based on which would be the simplest, least exhausting and most enjoyable for the person you care for — and for you.
  4. Visiting Family: You may need to prepare family members in advance for any changes or decline in your loved one’s physical or mental status. This will save many unnecessary “well meaning” discussions on the care you are providing. (Siblings and other family members tend to swoop in and have definite opinions when they may not have been involved.)
  5. Focus On the Meaning: When spending time with your loved ones, focus on celebrating the meaning of the holiday you observe. This is what really matters, and what you will remember in the future.

Do you exchange gifts? Let’s face it, most of us don’t really need more stuff. As a matter of fact, I hear so many of you saying the stuff just adds more stress!

This year, try something different. Create your own “Wish List” of gifts that you need. Here are some ideas that have come to my mind after listening to the needs of caregivers.

Coupon for Respite: How about creating a coupon booklet offering to stay with your loved one so you can get away? Offers to provide care, transportation, run errands, buy groceries, etc. can be added. If your family can’t do this, suggest they purchase a few hours of care from a home care agency or assisted living facility. Many assisted living facilities offer short term respite care.

House Cleaning Service: A gift certificate for a house cleaning service is a great gift.

Coupon for a Spa Day: A little pampering can go a long way to ease caregiver stress. A massage is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Go ahead, ask for these special gifts from your friends and loved ones! You will be glad you did.

I hope all of you will think about how to best care for yourselves during this frantic season. The ideas above should help with that.

Holiday Blessings to all of you during this special season.

Toula Wootan

Caregiving Community

Gratitude Cards for Caregivers

Have you ever cruised the greeting card aisle at a store in search for the perfect card that says exactly what you want to say or how you feel? Sometimes you get lucky and find a card right away. Other times, you read through a handful of cards and, after a while, you just settle for a decent one. Fortunately, to save you search time, the greeting card aisle has different card sections based on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, baby showers, and weddings.

Now, have you ever tried to find a greeting card to express gratitude for a family caregiver? What words or emotions come to mind? How are you related to this caregiver? What is the occasion? What is the caregiving context? 

The obvious go-to gratitude cards are in the Thank You section, which provides general heartfelt messages but not necessarily about caregiving. Birthday cards can work since you can both celebrate a caregiver’s birthday and thank them for being a caregiver at the same time. Relationship cards can also work since you can express appreciation for both the relationship, such as spousal or daughter to mother, and for the caregiving dynamic. Other possible cards can be found in the Sympathy section, depending on the nature of the caregiving situation, and the Just Because section. All these cards are options but not caregiver-specific.

For me, it was slim-pickings when I searched for caregiver-themed greeting cards at multiple card aisles and stationery stores. I felt like I had to edit the cards with my personal caregiver comments. If I was having a hard time finding gratitude cards for caregivers, how many other people were having the same difficulty? At the very least, card stores should add caregivers to the relationship section. Caregiving for another person is a unique relationship, isn’t it?

After several card shopping trips and editing sessions, I decided to start my own caregiver-themed greeting card line. There are 53 million family caregivers in the U.S. and I think that is a significant amount of people that should be appreciated and recognized for their caregiving role. With my personal caregiving journey and the compassionate hearts of family caregivers in mind, I created Caregiver Cards. It is an uplifting card collection packed with messages of positivity, love, adoration, fun, and humanity for caregivers. With each card, I hope to deliver a well-deserved bright light to the caregiver who reads it. With the card collection, I hope to offer you a variety of gratitude expressions to choose from. With Caregiver Cards, I hope to create a new section in the greeting card aisle and to save you card shopping time, especially during the busy holiday season.

Jenn Chan is the CEO & Founder of Senior Shower® Project, a startup with a mission to celebrate family caregivers of older adults with a party. She sells caregiver greeting cards, creates senior shower party kits, curates caregiver gift boxes, and hosts virtual caregiver dance parties. Inspired by caregiving for her grandma, Jenn dedicates her career to elevate the family caregiver role with fun, love, and positivity. She believes caregiving is a lifestyle and becoming a senior caregiver is a life milestone worth celebrating.

Caregiving Community

Gifts We’re Loving

The holidays are coming so we’ve put together a gift guide for things the caregiver or the care recipient in your life will really want. Show the ones in your life you love them with thoughtful tokens of appreciation – even something as simple as a card can brighten someone’s day!

Caregiving Community

5 Questions w/ Lori La Bey (Alzheimer’s Speaks)

Lori La Bey is located in the U.S., but is known globally when it comes to dementia care. Her mother lived with dementia for 30 years, and Lori created Alzheimer’s Speaks and Dementia Map to honor her with the mission to shift dementia care from crisis to comfort worldwide.

1. Who do you care for (now and/or in the past)? What is your role/relationship?

I cared for both my dad who passed away from brain cancer in 2001, and my mother who died from dementia after living with it for 30 years, in 2014.

2. When did you start to realize you were a caregiver?

With my mom, it was a slow process, assisting her as my father was her primary care partner. It was very natural and just something a daughter does for her parents. 

With my dad’s cancer, it hit quick. Everything changed with one phone call. We had to pick my folks up at their cabin and bring my dad down to the Twin Cities for emergency surgery. The hospital got him set up in a room and allowed us to celebrate Christmas with him for two days, before they did the surgery. They didn’t know if he would survive. From this point forward, nothing in my life was the same. Dad pulled through the surgery and actually did well for about 4 ½ years, but mom’s needs increased; so I had to step up and step in to support my dad and mother. 

3. What helps you when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities? What advice would you give to family caregivers in this situation?

My spirituality helped me a lot. I hate to say that in the beginning of the journey, I saw friends trying to help more like another thing I had to coordinate, communicate, and oversee. Boy, was that a mistake! I didn’t realize how much I missed my friends. I didn’t figure that out until one day I broke down and took time to be with my friends. Actually, I met them to get them off my back. But then the magic happened. We laughed and cried together. I felt normal again. I found I could care better when my soul was full. 

I had gotten so task-oriented doing everything for everyone else, because I didn’t feel there was time for me. I felt that would be selfish of myself. I learned that to be a healthy care partner, I needed to take care of me, too.

4. What is the one thing you know now that you would tell new family caregivers?

  • Be just as patient and loving with yourself as you are with others.  
  • Don’t let your inner critic run you down.
  • Focus on whether the person you are caring for is first: safe, happy, and pain-free. Then do your tasks. You will find you are more compassionate, less stressed, and will get the job done in a better fashion.

5. How has caregiving changed you?

Caregiving has changed my life forever. It’s made me realize we all have the power to care better, to change the system, and to assist others on the same journey. I quit my job to shift dementia care from crisis to comfort. I advocate for dementia via my company, which raises all voices around the world, including those living with a form of dementia. We have a radio show, blog, and a variety of videos from Dementia Chats highlighting those living with dementia, plus Dementia Quick Tips (things I wish someone had told me). I also partnered with David Wiederrich to launch, which is a global resource directory free to the public, as well  as offering free and economical plans to those who have services, products, and tools to share. We feel strongly that budget should not limit access to those in need.

Click here for a downloadable brochure on Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia, courtesy of Alzheimer’s Speaks and Dementia Map.

Caregiving Community

Caregiver Affirmation

Have you ever heard of the Five Love Languages? It’s a concept and book developed by Gary Chapman. The central premise is that there are five different ways of expressing and receiving love. The Five Love Languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts

You can take a quiz and learn more about the love languages here.

Most of the time, we express love primarily in the way we want to receive it. The most common primary love language by a small margin is Words of Affirmation.

As family caregivers, we don’t hear too often from our care recipients about the fantastic job we are doing. This void is why you have to turn to your family caregiver advocates like the CircleOf team and Happy Healthy Caregiver, who want to express our gratitude for the value you provide. We want to celebrate you not just during National Family Caregivers Month, but all year long. 

Instructions: Sit in silence for 10-15 minutes (or even 5 minutes if that’s all you have!), then say these Affirmations aloud to yourself. Add in any prayers or affirmations you’re working with in other areas of your life. Try this for 30 days and watch what happens!

10 Caregiver Affirmations

You show up; often when no one else does

You drop everything when you get a critical call to be with your care recipient. You are committed to your role. 

You are wise

You research and work diligently to understand all your care recipient’s options to live their best life. 

You are relentless

You face the tough questions and bring up courageous conversations. 

You are human

Your life is valuable, AND so many people count on you to keep your energy up and immunity optimal. 

You are a hard worker

You roll up your sleeves and dive into wound care, personal care, and many stinky and messy situations. 

You are part of the support system

You share your personal struggles and stories, so others are inspired and encouraged. They no longer feel isolated and overwhelmed

You are enough

You look in the mirror at the end of each day and give yourself some grace, self-love, compassion, and forgiveness.

You are courageous
You perform procedures with little to no training. You explore new alternatives. You face your worst fears head-on. 

You are a problem solver

You don’t sit back, wait and watch. Instead, you dive into the healing and helping.

You are resilient

Your life gets twisted around and turned upside down, and you carry on. Your caregiving journey requires you to cope with a crisis, adapt to a situation, and be ready for anything.

We hope you print this list of affirmations out so it can affirm you daily. We all have them—those not-so-great days. The days we question everything, cry uncontrollably and throw our hands in the air. Hang this somewhere where you can see it so you can feel validated. Caring for another human being matters. You are making a difference. We are thankful for you!

Elizabeth B. Miller is a family caregiver, Certified Caregiving Consultant, and founder of Happy Healthy Caregiver. Through her speaking, consulting, and online resources, Elizabeth helps family caregivers integrate caregiving and self-care with their busy lives. She is the host of the Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast on the Whole Care Network, author of Just for You: A Daily Self-Care Journal, administrator of the Self-Care Support for Family Caregivers FB Group, and facilitator of an Atlanta caregiver support group called the Atlanta Daughterhood Circle.