“The best defense is a good offense,” is an adage that applies to everything from the Super Bowl to caregiving. It is especially important to ‘play defense’ at this time of the year. The grey days of winter have settled in and dreariness and monotony have become routine for the caregiver. Daily life becomes repetitive, living the same day over and over.
Elder Care Blog
The beginning of the year gives us another chance to focus on turning our resolutions into accomplishments. It provides a welcome new start and a chance to look back on both our successes and our challenges. It’s a time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and why.
The holidays are a time to share joy and laughter with friends and family, but it can also be bittersweet for many caregivers. The happy memories of the past can collide with the difficulties of the present, creating sadness and disappointment due to unmet expectations. Caring for an older loved one can be stressful and challenging in the best of times but during the holiday season the stresses and challenges can be more overwhelming.
This month's blog is written by Todd Macaulay, Financial Well-Being Officer, Employee Benefits. For more information about free financial counseling for UK employees, visit the Financial Well-Being webpage.
Certain topics are uncomfortable to discuss. For many people, money is one of these topics. In my family we did not talk about money outside of the family. Now I provide financial counseling for employees, and if everyone took my parents advice I would be out of a job.
“I fear I am not in my perfect mind,” said Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Spring has officially arrived! We feel more energized by the longer days and warmer temperatures, which means this may be a good time to channel that revitalized energy and consider a spring cleaning with your loved one in their home or apartment. Spring cleaning is more than just cleanliness – it may provide valuable insight into how your loved one is managing as they age. It also provides a chance to:
Grief is a natural response to loss. For a caregiver, that grief can begin during your caregiving responsibilities. In fact it often starts the day you hear of your loved one’s diagnosis. The grieving process begins when the loss is recognized, and continues on until that loss is accepted.
The daily life of a caregiver is a life of routine and repetition. And that day-to-day sameness can wear you down. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. But that same daily regular routine is critical to our older loved one’s sense of comfort and familiarity. It’s a conundrum.
Many of us experience varying degrees of depression during the winter months due to the lack of sunshine, limited activity and a decrease in social connections. Social isolation is a serious problem with physical, mental and emotional consequences. Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline and lead to depression and deterioration of overall health and well-being.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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