Anticipatory grief, the set of feelings associated with an impending loss. Anticipatory grief occurs when a death is expected, but before it actually happens. It helps caregiver, family members, and friends prepare emotionally for the pending loss. Culture and religion can influence how individuals address anticipatory grief.
Getting your flu vaccine is more important than ever this year. This is especially true for caregivers whose loved ones depend on them. Flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and been shown to be life-saving. This is a very important step that you can take to decrease the chance of getting the flu, especially since COVID-19 is another risk factor.
One’s grief journey is unique and personal. Your sense of loss is impact by a variety of factors, and no two losses will be grieved in the same way. One does not have to navigate grief alone; there are resources and supports to get through the process. Stay connected! Take advantage of assistance and resources, to help you manage the pain on your grief journey.
The award winning and captivating words of Pittsburgh’s Gerald Stern poem “Lucky Life”, serve as a balm for caregivers. Stern reminds us that life is made up of so many different feelings and memories. Caregivers can find relief from stress through his words!
Staying healthy is vital; don’t delay getting time-sensitive medical care, or ignore a sudden change in condition. Addressing changes in medical conditions early and promptly responding to a medical emergency improves your outcome. This is especially important if you are the caregiver, and your loved one is depending on you. Look after both your mental and physical health; be sure to do something nice for yourself each day.
Creativity takes on many forms of expression. Feeling your own joy can activate the power of the healing potential inside this moment of transformation. Sharing of creative energy during caregiving can be healing, discover your inner creativity. Take advantage of the wonderful resources to guide you through the healing process.
Caregiving is stressful and challenging, that’s an understatement. Preplanning can reduce your frenzy when a hurricane is looming in your area. The additional stressors, and changes in routine related to Covid-19 have resulted in extra unforeseen hurricane preparedness barriers. Eliminate the burden; complete your preplanning preparations. Make it easier for yourself to “weather the storm” by avoiding the last minute frenzy.
Frustration and disappointments are an inherent part of caregiving, yet recent events have added new aspects of frustration and disappointment, too often involving lack of caregiving support and companionship. These times of uncertainty challenge our support and coping mechanisms. Rechanneled frustrations and disappointments, into focusing on finding current rays of brightness and your hopes and wishes for the future.
Caregiving is full of unknowns. The role changes along with the unique needs of the loved one. It is one of the most challenging roles, yet there are rewards and surprises. There are caregiving commonalities, and no one came to the job with all the answers. Don’t be shy about reaching out for assistance.
The free Just In Case Planning resource helps individuals work through the process of preparing for the inevitable. Keeping track of pertinent end of life documents, recording funeral considerations, creating a digital clean-up plan, and providing a space for reflections and messages for loved ones, this tool provides peace of mind for all. How can wishes be honored and respected if loved ones are not aware of your preferences? The Just In Case Planning resource provides a dynamic space for storing, sharing, and updating your important information.
Caregiver stress goes beyond managing the myriad of the emotional and physical symptoms experienced by caregivers. Unfortunately, few approaches to caregiver stress address the root cause that produces the emotional and physical reactions experienced by caregivers. Symptom management is important, yet is vital to address the underlying cause of caregiver stress, unmet and unrealistic expectations. The mismatches of expectations surface for a variety of reasons, and often go unrecognized as the catalyst for emotional and physical symptom manifestation. Caregivers can explore ways to reduce stress by setting and managing more realistic expectations.
Caregiver personal safety is extremely important. If the caregiver is incapacitated from an injury, who cares for the loved one? While no one can eliminate the risk of injury entirely, the use of proper body mechanics will absolutely reduce the risk of injury. Taking advantage of supplemental equipment and devices can further reduce the risk of injury to both the caregiver and loved one.
An annual year end personal report is status review that involves more than an evaluation of financial standing and legal documents; it also incorporates healthcare assessments and a review of your Advance Directives. Those are your wishes for future care and treatment, should you not be able to share them yourself. It is an opportunity to make modifications given changes in your health status and determine if individuals you named to carry out your wishes are still able and willing to do so. During times of celebration, reach out and reconnect with someone that you have missed or parted ways. Make time to recognize and acknowledge a caregiver for all the hard work that they do for a loved one. Share your gratitude with someone who could use a kind word, smile, or a hug.
The ability to express gratitude, thankfulness or appreciation, when experiencing illness, undergoing personal challenges or grief is very challenging. This is one of the most important times when one needs to refocus. Redirecting our attention from our trials and tribulations to the acts of friendship and kindness that have been extended to us, and the beauty of nature that surrounds us can be uplifting. Failures to notice and appreciate the “rays of support” are missed opportunities for gratitude. May this Thanksgiving be a time of blessings for you and your loved ones.
Deathrights, a prickly unfamiliar, and strange concept that is tied with end-of-life care. Exploring the last phase of the Patriarch Isaac’s life with a 21st century perspective provides a perspective to help individuals and families to make Advance Directives. Loved ones left behind should not have to make unnecessary or uninformed decisions. The final phase of life can be a time for blessings, a time to address unresolved family issues, a time to be mindful and appreciate what life still has to offer. Know your wishes, share them, and unburden your loved ones.
November is National Palliative and Hospice care month. It is the time to recognize and raise awareness for the vital work done for those in need of symptom management and comfort care. The dedicated professionals are committed to controlling symptoms and providing end-of-life care. It is a perfect time for individuals of all ages to discuss their end-of-life preferences and wishes with loved ones and their physician. How you formulate your individual Advance Directive will be shaped by many aspects including your culture, values, experiences, religion, relationships, and environment. As you address your Advance Care Planning wishes, remember that aging in place may be part of your plan. Consider is your current home going to meet your needs or will modifications be necessary?
Medication overload or polypharmacy is the drug problem that is not getting headlines; it is a serious and growing issue impacting the aging populous. Protect yourself and be proactive in minimizing your risks. This problem cannot be ignored as implications to you are high.
Grief is individual, when someone you care about is suffering a loss there are specific actions that you can take to support them on their journey. The relationship between the individual grieving, the loved one, and the circumstances of death often impact the grief journey. After addressing the immediate needs associated with loss, support for the mourner tends to wane, yet that may be when they need the most support. There are specific times that love and support may be needed most; anniversaries of special occasions and holidays. Don’t ignore the existence of the loved one and do mention their name. Reach out and check in periodically, long after the loss. Your efforts will be appreciated mote that you will ever know.
Caregiver stress is real with many physical and emotional manifestations. Staying in control while caregiving is challenging, as the responsibilities and functions tend to grow over time. Self-care is critical for continued well-being, staying balanced, and being able to continue caregiving responsibilities. There are many stress management apps available to support general wellbeing, some are free and others have an associated subscription fee.
Palliative care is an underutilized service for individuals with serious medical conditions. Palliative care is focused on addressing the stress and symptoms that individuals with serious and chronic illness face on a daily bases. Physician practices and hospitals are redesigning, and expanding palliative care programs to better meet the growing need for individualized symptom management.