As a part of the upcoming Long Term Care Awareness Month, MetLife Mature Market Institute is making available six tip sheets offering advice for older Americans and those caring for them. They include:
According to the National Family Caregivers Association, family caregivers suffer from major depression much more frequently than the rest of the population. Not only is this putting the caregiver at risk, but also the person they are caregiving for.
In many cases it’s hard to determine if you yourself are depressed. But thanks to many online sources, you can start the process of gaining help with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Depression Screening is a site where you can learn more about depression, and take depression screening test. While this isn’t a full diagnosis, it can make you aware of some of your symptoms, and begin to point you in the direction of help.
I’m out doing research today, and I’ve come across many great resources and articles that may help you as well.
1. Becoming Long Term Care Aware. Many people don’t think about long term care until they need it, which in many cases is simply too late. Take a look at this article that can help you understand more about long term care planning now.
2. Caregiving: Depression and Hope. Are you angry at your caregiving responsibilities? Do you sometimes feel hopeless and depressed? Learn more about the warning signs, and how you can turn depression into hope.
3. Medigap Insurance. Are those pesky out of pocket expenses adding up? Maybe it’s time to look at Medigap Insurance.
4. Sleeping Patterns For Seniors. How much sleep do seniors truly need?
5. Two New Alzheimer’s Studies. The search goes on for finding ways to slow down and eventually cure Alzheimer’s.
The hardest thing about getting help is admitting you need it.
If your loved one is doing more than she should, and you constantly worry about her, maybe it’s time to get some help.
Consider hiring small activities to begin the adjustment.
If she has trouble driving, yet still drives to the grocery store every Thursday, have a friend drive her and take her out to lunch in the process. It will be a fun day for both.
If she has trouble fixing meals and cleaning up afterwards, consider making fun, nutritious meals together that she can easily put into the microwave.
If she loves to head outdoors for walks but has trouble getting back home, find her a walking buddy.
And if you can’t be there or are too far away, it’s easy to hire a caregiver you can trust.
Ease her in caregiving by having her rely on one or two at the beginning. She’ll be more open to other help as time goes by.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 percent of caregivers die before the person they are caring for.
Caregiving is a stressful job. As stress builds, it manifests into a variety of health concerns. People that face long term stress are more likely to suffer a stroke, are at a greater risk for heart attack, are more likely to develop cancer, and are at a greater risk for auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, headaches and depression.
The only way to move out of this trend is to allow some individual time, away from the caregiving role. Many caregivers use the excuse they don’t have time or have no one else to rely on. Instead of using this as excuses, find ways to ensure your own individual time.
Rely on other relatives, friends, or neighbors to do small tasks. Maybe a friend can take your loved one out for dinner and a movie. Or if they aren’t mobile, they can bring dinner in and watch a movie on television.
Hire professional caregivers for weekly supplemental tasks. Maybe they can come in two mornings a week while you attend a yoga class and lunch with friends.
Don’t do your loved one’s household chores. This will double up on your own tasks – monitoring two households – and will double up on your stress levels. Hire the gardener to mow the lawn. Hire a maid for light housekeeping. Hire a handyman for fix up projects.
Also watch this site and sign up for our blog posts or newsletter. We’ll provide you with tips and strategies to ensure you stay healthy, and are there for your loved one for as long as they need you.
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Caregiving is a hard job with little recognition and lots of stress. How are you handling it?
AARP has an interactive Caregiver Stress Quiz that will allow you to answer a few questions, and it will make recommendations based on your answers. It’s a great way of finding out if you’re going through normal amounts of stress – or if you should find ways of relieving your stress.
The best way to relieve stress is to ask for a helping hand once in awhile. Your parents or loved one may rely on you for a lot of things. But in order to keep yourself healthy, it’s important to ask for help when you need it.
When you’re finished taking the Caregiver Stress Quiz, make sure you read the Managing The Stress: Tips For The Caregiver article . It will offer you additional ways to help you get through your busy, ever changing days.
It’s summer time – time to spend a week with your family. Head to the mountains for a much needed break. Or maybe head to the beach for a week of play in the sand with the kids.
Does that sound impossible?
For many caregivers of aging parents, the idea of a true vacation seems like an impossible goal. How can you leave your mom or dad? Who will make sure she gets to her doctor’s appointments? Who will cook for her? Who will make sure she’s taking her medicine?
If you’re working full time, your job gives you a few weeks of vacation per year. They understand the importance of giving you a break – a time to do something completely out of the ordinary, relax, and get into a new frame of mind. But with caregiving, there’s no one to take your place if you leave. Yet leaving and giving yourself a break is just what you need to do.
There are ways to give yourself that much needed break.
1. Have a brother or sister, aunt or cousin living in another state? Ask them to come out and sit with your mom for a week. They can be your mom’s “right hand” for a week – and give you your much needed break.
2. Depending on how well your loved one is doing, you may consider sending them to a family member or friend in another location. A week out of their own home and daily lifestyle may be a positive move for them as well.
3. Hire an in-home care giver to provide you with support. They are available for one or two hours a day, or can provide 24 hour care – whatever you need. Because they’re fully trained, you’ll be able to rely on their services, and put your mind at ease while resting on the beach.