Sunday, June 30, 2019

Rest, Rest. Rest. Great Words for Caregivers and Others

Rest. Rest. Rest.  If we repeat a word three times, it's not magic.  But the repetition helps us remember.

Are you caring for an aging parent, or possibly a spouse?  All the more reason to repeat that word--rest--and actually put it into practice.

The statistics on caregiver burnout are frightening

  • 40% to $70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression, according to Zant S. Assessment of Family Caregivers:  A Research Perspective.  
  • Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely.  The level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a caregiver's life.  From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dec. 7, 2004.  
By resting--taking breaks, exercising, or whatever you do to calm yourself, you can help beat the odds.

We all have Achille's heels--areas of weakness that are prone to injury, disease or breakdown.  Some of us are worriers, borrowing trouble from tomorrow, which robs us of joy today.  I'll raise my hand to that one.

At one point my worry over my aging parents' health, especially Daddy's progresssing Parkinson's Disease, got so out of control that I asked myself, "What do I do?"  I had read about people breaking habits by wearing a rubber band on a wrist.  When a "bad" thought came to mind, the person would snap the rubber band to gently remind him or her to stop.  My rubber band experiment started at the beginning of Lent.  For 40 days my wrists got snapped multiple times a day. The pain was sufficient to get my attention, but not enough to torture me.  On Easter, the end of the experiment, I took stock of my thoughts.   I wasn't worry free.  The rubber band did leave an impression, though.  It awakened me to the extent of my worry.

I still fight it.  I do know that if I stop and rest, whatever rest may look like at the moment, I find peace and calm.

Rest. Rest. Rest

Saturday, June 8, 2019

On Eldercare: A Few of My Favorite Days

"What day is my favorite on the job?

That's an easy question.  I work for Silver Age Referrals. I help families find the best assisted living communities, memory care and adult family homes that fit their budget, their desired location, and of course, the level of care their loved one needs.

I have two favorite days:  the day that culminates my work with the family to find a great home for their loved one.  That's move-in day.  My other favorite day is the day I visit that same new resident in their new digs.  They have been there a week or so and are often in the process of settling in.  My job that day is to bring them a move-in gift:  usually flowers, a potted plant or chocolates.

The reasons elders move to a new community vary.  Often they're no longer safe at home due to falls or rising care needs.  So they move to an adult family home or assisted living community. Or they're living in an assisted living community but their dementia is advancing and they need more caregivers who have special dementia training.  It's called memory care.

Take Anne.  I saw her in the room her family had decorated for her.  Pointing to familiar pictures, an afghan, a plant, and more, she was all smiles.  We took the elevator down to the first floor where we strolled to the garden area and walking path.  I helped her name some of the flowers.  Marigolds, zinnias, roses. That made her happy.

It's amazing how a good situation can calm anxiety and make elders feel at home.

These are two of my favorite days.


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