Caregiving and the Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner and all the associated craziness they bring, this might be a good time to take a deep breath and get a clear picture of what you'll face as a caregiver in the next few weeks. Caring for an older loved one can be stressful and challenging in the best of times. During the holiday season, stresses and challenges can be even more overwhelming. Keeping things simple can help make life easier for both you and your loved one.

Expect the Unexpected

A truism in caregiving is "expect the unexpected." Being prepared and feeling a readiness for what lies ahead is an important caregiving tenet. As our older loved ones age and lose their physical and mental acuity we need to learn what resources and services are available to help make our caregiving role more manageable.

A Caregiver's World Requires Balance

A caregiver's world requires balance; a balance between work, family and caregiving responsibilities. But here's the thing about caregiving: you are never in balance for very long. Things are constantly changing. To find balance you'll have to adapt as your stresses and challenges change. This is done by reviewing, evaluating and assessing your priorities.

Caregiving and Depression

Caring for an aging loved one may create an overabundance of emotions. The uncertain future, career and financial worries, difficult life decisions and the potential for an unwanted lifestyle change can create fear, hopelessness, anger, resentment, and helplessness. All of this will affect your physical, emotional and mental well-being. It can even challenge your spiritual foundation.

Why Do Our Loved Ones Refuses to Accept Help?

I think we can all agree that caring for an elderly loved one can be difficult. It can be especially challenging if your loved one is resistant to care and change. How do you help someone who doesn't want, or resists, your help? As caregivers we walk a fine line between making sure our loved one is safe and taken care of without unnecessarily restricting their independence. 

Eat Well as You Age (Guest Blog by Karen Bryla McNees, Ed.D., R.D., UK Health & Wellness)

Regardless of your previous eating habits, it is never too late to start enjoying the benefits of healthful eating. A high-quality diet can help you stay strong in both body and mind as you age. The physical benefits of a healthful diet include increased resistance to illness, faster recuperation times, higher energy levels, and better management of chronic diseases. The mental benefits are just as important and include increased cognitive function, better stress management, and emotional balance.

Here are some basic guidelines for healthful eating as you age:

Striking a Balance (Guest Blog by Todd Macaulay, UK Financial Well-Being Officer)

Life is full of decisions that require us to balance our priorities and responsibilities. As you probably know if you are reading this, our Work-Life group helps people balance their work and personal responsibilities. Often the choices we make between these responsibilities, work and personal, are fraught with stress because they all involve a precious and limited resource: our time. I think we can all agree that time is our most precious commodity. We all have less of it today than we did yesterday. As far as important resources are concerned, money is probably a close second, not because it is valuable on its own, but because of what money enables us to do or buy. 

Never Say Never

'Never say never'. Circumstances change; saying 'never' denies that obvious fact. All too often having said 'never' becomes an obstacle in decisions regarding long term care - assisted care, personal care, memory care or a skilled nursing facility. The choice between keeping a loved one in the home and placing them in a long term care facility is never easy. The decision usually comes after much soul searching and many heart to heart conversations - with yourself, your loved one and your family.