In a world afflicted with the coronavirus, many of us are working from home, managing our lives under lockdown and worrying about the health and safety of ourselves, our families and our communities. We are all feeling a bit more stressed than we were just a few months ago, and this may be causing our memories to be a bit foggy. I seem to be misplacing my glasses and my phone more often and I can never keep track of which day it is. Stress can do that. It can impair your memory.
Elder Care Blog
Many of us are now working from home, keeping our social distance, worrying about our families (especially our older loved ones) and wondering when this will end. We are wondering when we can return to normal, all while trying to keep our stress and anxiety at a manageable level.
Our older loves ones have the same stressors and anxieties. These anxieties are made worse by the new realities of isolation, inactivity and lack of routine. Isolation and the change in one’s routine can have negative mental and physical consequences.
The working caregiver has two jobs: one that provides a paycheck, and a second job of caring for someone they love. Separately, each can be both demanding and rewarding. Together, these two jobs create a very challenging and difficult situation.
This is not an uncommon plight. More than half of the 40.4 million unpaid caregivers in the United States are employed part-time, full-time or work two paying jobs.
Would you ever apply for a job for which you had no training or skill set? A job with no salary, no insurance plan, no paid time off and no option of retiring? The job ad might look something like this:
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right." - Oprah Winfrey
Aside from the cold, I love the beginning of the new year. It provides a fresh start and a chance to look back on both the celebrations and challenges of 2019. It’s a time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t and how can we improve.
We can apply this same reflection to caregiving. How did we do, both for ourselves and our older loved one? Where did we shine and where can we do better?
Reflect back on 2019:
Caring for an older loved one — by itself — can be a daunting task. When you add in your normal day-to-day responsibilities of home life and a job, the caregiving task can easily become overwhelming. Many caregivers struggle with balancing their own professional and personal responsibilities and caring for an older loved one. UK Elder Care can help! We are hosting our 4th Annual Senior Caregiving Conference Friday, November 8th at the Hilary J. Boone Center.
As caregivers, we spend a lot of our time ‘thinking of’ and ‘doing for’ our loved one(s). We have little time for ourselves. Shifting the focus back to us can feel selfish—even indulgent. Yet, self-care is critical in being a good caregiver. Taking time for yourself makes you more equipped for the challenges of caregiving, more confident in your abilities and better able to adapt and recover from the setbacks that caregiving creates. Taking time for yourself also helps you manage the stresses of caregiving.
As an adult child, it can be challenging to know when, and how, to step in and become more involved in your parent’s care.
Put simply, when you notice your parent struggling, they could benefit from more support. This is the time to think differently about your relationship with that parent and how you would like to step into a new role as their caregiver.
Aging brings on many changes that could contribute to loneliness. Family and friends move or pass away. We develop difficulty with mobility – especially when we can no longer drive safely. Our physical condition changes – hearing loss, low vision, incontinence. No matter our circumstances now, there is no guarantee that we will not be alone in our later years – whether ‘never married’ or married with no children, divorced or widowed. We may outlive or become estranged from our immediate families.
There is no age at which a person living in Kentucky must stop driving, but there is a time in each of our lives when we should stop driving. When is it time to stop? It's never an easy call.
As caregivers, we're rightfully concerned about the safety of our loved one and the safety of others.
Driving is a complex endeavor. It requires focus and concentration at all times. Is your older loved one up to the task?
An important doctrine in caregiving is to be prepared and develop a readiness for what lies ahead. Identifying the resources and services available to help make your caregiving duties more manageable is paramount. According the 2017 AP-NORC’s Long Term Care Survey, over half of the potential caregivers surveyed feel ill-prepared to take care of their aging parents.
Celebrating the Working Caregiver
October is National Work and Family Month. The UK elder care program would like to recognize and thank all of our working caregivers. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 1 in 6 working Americans are caregivers. Being a caregiver for an older loved one is a daunting task. Being a working caregiver can be overwhelming.
In celebration of November as National Caregiver’s Month and National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we're hosting the Senior Caregiving Conference.
This conference is open to the public and includes two great events held concurrently on Friday, November 30. Registration opens October 10, 2018. Mark your calendars!
Loneliness and isolation are growing health threats for many of our older loved ones, and the condition often goes unnoticed and untreated.
Despite the high-tech, hyper-connected age we live in, research shows that we, as a society, are lonelier than we have ever been. And those most affected are our older loved ones. Close to half of all US seniors feel the effects of isolation that living alone can bring.
Caregiving can be an emotional roller coaster. Feeling overwhelmed, consumed and disheartened by all your life responsibilities can easily lead to stress. This in turn can compromise not only your own well-being but the level of care you are giving your loved one.
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