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- Posted on Mar. 31st, 2014
Blog by Joy Loverde
I am going on YEAR THREE of trying to convince my Aunt to move out of her house. Am I discouraged? Nope. As far as I am concerned I have two more years of dealing with this. That’s been my experience all along. I’m estimating that I will have had five long anxious years of talking, negotiating, observing, and especially hoping that a crisis does not take place in the interim.
If you know up front that this relocation process typically takes a long, long time when you are dealing with a reluctant parent, then you may resist the temptation to give up on your parent or worse yet, get so angry that you say and do something you will regret for the rest of your life.
About a month ago, my Aunt asked that my husband (family law attorney) review her finances. Her greatest worry is running out of money. So both my husband and I met with my Aunt at her house and took a look at her books.
We uncovered several scams. She purchased a life insurance policy when she already had one in place. When asked why she did this, she said it was because the person who sold the policy to her is a “nice young man.” When we informed her she got “taken” she defended her actions. No surprise there.
She also made several donations to charities I never heard of and bought several unneeded items from a home-shopping television program.
For someone who is terrified about running out of money, she is spending money like she has it. My husband suggested that she work with one of her sons to review her budget and spending on a monthly basis. She agreed. (Note: To date she has not contacted her sons.)
Another interesting off-shoot of the in-person meeting was evidence of memory-loss issues. She was unable to complete a task immediately after being asked to do something (like find a specific document in a pile of papers that was sitting in front of her). I informed her sons that her memory loss is a problem they need to deal with immediately. For starters, I suggested that they help their mother with money-management, bookkeeping, and bill paying. (Note: To date none of her sons has initiated this conversation.)
More to come.
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- Posted on Mar. 19th, 2014
My senior mom is doing fairly well. She’s definitely not as active as she was about four years ago. Two surgeries coupled with some ongoing health issues have definitely slowed her down a bit. We’re both quite excited, though, that she is having fewer allergy symptoms here in the evergreen and lovely state of Washington. That coupled with feeling better means we’ve been able to enjoy more walks together when I’m not out working with real estate clients. Especially now that spring is showing lovely hints of springing!
She definitely can’t walk as far as she used to though. Most of the time that’s fine. We walk as far as she would like and then we turn around. I have suggested taking a wheelchair with us in case her back gives her grief, which has been happening a bit more. She keeps saying “No,” as she really hates the idea of using one. That’s OK with me. Sometimes, though, she gets a bit sad over not being able to go as far as she used to. She really enjoys seeing the different flowers, trees, and houses. And we do see plenty of those on our walk.
A bit further on than she can handle, though, are some gorgeous views of the Puget Sound. Plus, I discovered four adorable deer munching a flower salad in a neighbor’s yard along the way. They were so used to people, they just stood there and let me take several photos. Once I finished and walked away, they just went back to grazing.
After I got home, I excitedly told my senior mom about them and showed her the pictures. She was so disappointed that she couldn’t walk that far. I added the photo to her iPad, which she loved but I suspect things like this will eventually help her to accept a wheelchair occasionally, when necessary. And that can be a fairly easy way for her to break into using it. I’m really glad we have the wheelchair available, even though it’s gone years without being used.
If you are caring for an elderly parent who is starting to show signs that walking is getting a bit more difficult, I would encourage you to think about getting a wheelchair before it is needed. Do talk to your doctor first as it may be covered by insurance. Since you would be getting it before it’s totally necessary it might not be. But you can often find wheelchairs used at Goodwill or other thrift stores. Ours was an inexpensive transport wheel chair that is lighter for me to carry and to push. I’ve learned over the years, that’s one item I’d just as soon have handy before we need it so we don’t have to be shopping for one in the midst of a crisis.
Having a wheelchair handy will make your life a bit simpler in the long run. It could be a major help in the event of a fall or other unexpected injury. And might open up the world a little wider for our senior parents. What do you think?
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- Posted on Mar. 11th, 2014
I love a good story, and the making of Janes Wellness Gowns is one of them. Imagine this…
Let’s say because of a chronic illness of one kind or another, you have an extensive history of visiting doctor’s offices, women’s health centers, and radiology departments with increasing frequency. And though the medical centers are staffed with compassionate and warm nurses and staff, your mood suddenly turns for the worse when asked to change into a standard hospital gown.
Facing hours of cold room temperatures plus scrambling to keep flimsy, ill-fitting garments closed fills the hardiest of us with dread. Look around. Most mammography waiting rooms seem to repeat the same story: traditional patient gowns leave most women feeling cold, vulnerable, and exposed.
Enter Sharon Linder. She stopped at nothing to find a solution — a better, more dignified patient gown for women. With the help of her sisters (both breast cancer survivors), friends, health care professionals at the local Breast Health Center, nurses, and a radiologist, Janes were designed to offer women comfort, warmth, and total coverage, while still providing access to health care providers for medical examinations and procedures.
Here’s what I love most about Janes. 2% of profits from every Jane sold funds mammograms for underserved women. Janes also has a lot of event-planning experience and would like to help you plan a Janes fundraiser to raise money for mammograms: Hospital Friends’ Groups; Auxiliaries; Women’s Professional Organizations; Junior Leagues; Sororities/Fraternities; and School Groups will find Janes a worthy reason to raise money.
Janes make a positive difference in the lives of women during medically stressful times. Thank you so much for helping Sharon GO FOR IT! Email Sharon at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her Joy Loverde sent you.
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- Posted on Mar. 5th, 2014
By Alex Faubel
Alex enjoys writing about topics related to healthcare and wellness. Today she writes on behalf of Homewatch Caregivers, the nation’s leader in home care services.
Many ailing seniors value their independence and strive to avoid having to leave the comfort and familiarity of their own home at all costs. In turn, the people that care for these aging citizens are often their own daughters and sons who work tirelessly to keep their parents at home. Oftentimes, these caregivers are so focused on caring for their parents that they fail to recognize telltale signs that point to a time when bringing in further care may be necessary.
In addition to caring for an elderly parent, most of these daughters and sons are also maintaining their own households. As a parent becomes more and more ill, the caregiver may not realize that he or she is taking on more responsibility, spending more time visiting and more time at each visit and beginning to become overrun with stress and fatigue.
Below are some indicative signs that you may need to consider bringing on additional help to care for your ailing parent before the stress and influx of responsibilities begins to wear on your own mental and physical health.
Do you feel as if you have much less energy than you once had? Are everyday errands and duties creating more weariness than they once did? You may be burnt out and experiencing fatigue as a result of neglecting your own health, emotions and sleep.
Tip: Delegate. Although you may feel like you are burdening other family members with the responsibilities, chances are they will be happy to help! Allow another family member, friend or professional caregiver to step in and relinquish some of those responsibilities to replenish some much-needed physical and mental strength. Asking for help is the first step; allowing yourself to be helped is the second.
Difficulty Sleeping or Relaxing
On that same note, you may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or relaxing even when help is available to take over your caregiving responsibilities. This is because you are constantly overrun with thoughts of how to control this caregiving situation.
Tip: Surrender some control. It’s important to recognize the things you are able to do while also keeping in mind that you cannot control everything. If you insist upon having every aspect of caring for your aging loved one done your way, you may have a harder time finding people to help you. Give up some control mentally and you may find some relaxation.
There are highly trained professionals ready to suit your every need so you can trust the elder care they provide. Create a custom care plan today for your loved one to ensure the best elderly care goes beyond basic tasks such as bathing and grooming.
Catching Every Cold
Stress can often take a serious toll on your immune system. If you are continually catching ever cold or virus that’s floating around, that may be your body’s way of telling you that you need to take better care of yourself.
Tip: Get regular health check-ups in addition to taking better care of your body. This includes making time for exercise and eating right. These slight changes coupled with a better sleep schedule will boost your body’s ability to ward of predatory infections.
Changes in Mood
Do you find yourself snapping at people without provocation? Are you more irritable and impatient than normal? Chances are exhaustion and lack of sleep are draining you of any positive levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that helps to relay signals from one area of the brain to another. When serotonin is depleted your brain has a difficult time realizing messages of mood, appetite, sleep and social behavior.
Tip: In addition to delegation and relinquishing some control, make sure to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do something for yourself. Whether this is catching a rerun of your favorite show, reading a book to your kids, cooking, meditating or just propping your feet up on the sofa, it’s beyond important for you to salvage your sanity by doing something that makes you happy. And laughter—laughter never hurts.
Depression or Anxiety
Sometimes, a caregiver’s bad mood becomes more of a permanent staple in their life. When this happens, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of depression before they spiral out of control. Begin to concern yourself with your own wellbeing before it becomes a downward dive in hopelessness.
Tip: Get help. Look into hiring a full or part time caregiver to relieve you of some of the taxing duties that come with caregiving. Visit with friends and family and speak up—tell them how you’re feeling rather than keeping all of your stress and anxiety bottled inside.
It’s so important to recognize these signs that you may need additional help as a caregiver before caregiving becomes your life rather than merely being a faction of it. Don’t allow the stress and anxiety of caring for a loved one to dictate the amount of time you can spend with your family, your happiness and your own health—which are the most important things in life.
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- Posted on Feb. 20th, 2014
By Joy Loverde
Spring is on its way. I’m not kidding it really is. Many of us have experienced the worst winter weather in decades and I choose to turn my thoughts to spring. This leads me to tell you about one of the most peaceful and rejuvenating places that I know of – Hope Springs.
Hope Springs is a retreat center in Ohio’s Southern Appalachian foothills. People from all over the world come here to attend mindful, creative, and healthy group retreats. Hope Springs also sponsors profoundly transformational workshops on topics which include women’s issues, empowered leadership, and personal growth. I’ve been to Hope Springs a few times especially when family caregiving and eldercare responsibilities were getting the best of me. After a weekend at Hope Springs, I returned home refreshed and renewed.
One of my favorite retreats is called Proprioceptive Writing which is the practice of meditative writing. If you keep a journal or want to start the process of writing down your thoughts, this is the workshop for you. It is led by the wonderful Mary Bok who is a farmer, writer, and teacher from Camden, Maine.
Here is how the website describes the fundamentals of Proprioceptive Writing:
- Exercise your capacity to listen to yourself and others, in a way that may be new to you.
- Complete five Proprioceptive writes, in the company of a small group of others.
- Bring up rich material, which might later lead the way to poems, stories, communications to family and friends, or perhaps deeper journal experience.
- Begin your Proprioceptive Writing practice, and be ready to continue on your own.
If you feel worn out and are looking for a place to be peaceful and nurtured, think about visiting Hope Springs. This is NOT a spa. This is heaven on earth. Tell Cynthia I sent you.
Hope Springs Institute
4988 Mineral Springs Road
Peebles, OH 45660
Cynthia Brown – email@example.com
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