Serving as a COVID-19 volunteer vaccinator has been exciting, gratifying, and rewarding. There were many touching moments revealing the challenges individuals encountered coupled with hope for the future.
Solo agers and elder orphans can’t afford to delay planning for aging. To ensure that their preferences and wishes are honored, they need to be proactive. Engaging a team of professionals to address Advance Directive, social engagement, aging in place, and in determining financial resources for the plan is vital.
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.
Being happy with what you have can be challenging when facing caregiving responsibilities and living during a pandemic. Modifying expectations and resisting the urge to compare your situation to those of others can help increase your level of happiness. There are simple things that you can incorporate into your routine to increase your level of happiness.
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.
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?
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.
Falls happen for a variety of reasons and can be life changing for a growing percentage of the population. There are actions to be taken to decrease falls risk.
Speak Up™ program, launched in 2002 has been used in more than 70 countries. It encourages patients and family members to speak up and be advocates for their healthcare.
What Was The Most Helpful Surprise? Capitol Reef National Park - Hickman Trail. Picture taken by Judith Sands Surprise The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a surprise as “an unexpected event,…
What Made Me Smile Today? Opportunities to smile while caregiving tend to be few and far between! Often, we focus most on what is not going well! The decline in…
Background photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com Bam! - You Are Now A Healthcare Surrogate Your loved one or friend has named you as their healthcare surrogate; the individual who…
Unfinished Business Bryce Canyon National Park. Picture taken by Judith R. Sands Typically when hearing the phrase “Unfinished Business”, the first thought is that of a work or household task…
The Caregiver Match Caregiving is like dating I often share that finding the right caregiver is like dating. There needs to be a comfortable connection between the loved one and…