18. A Senior Caregiver’s Guide To Starting a Side Gig

Guest article by Mary Shannon . . . Find her at  http://seniorsmeet.org/

Image via Pexels

As a senior caregiver, you made the admirable decision to dedicate a large portion of your time to helping a loved one maintain a normal quality of life. Perhaps you left a full-time job so you could focus on your caregiving responsibilities. In any case, being a caregiver likely leaves you with sporadic chunks of free time in between your duties. Taking on a side gig is a great way to occupy your time meaningfully and earn some extra income. Finding the right part-time hustle and getting started can be a stress-free process by keeping some handy guidance in mind — including these tips and resources presented by The Fundamentals of Healthcare.

The Best Side Gigs for Caregivers

The most important factor when deciding on what type of side gig to pursue is flexibility. Your duty as a caregiver comes first, so you should seek income strategies that give you full control of your own time. One way to ensure that you are your own boss is to start a small business. Alternatively, you can seek work on a freelance or contract basis. Some great side gig ideas for caregivers might include:

  • Writing
  • E-commerce
  • Pet sitting or dog walking
  • Rideshare or grocery delivery
  • Housecleaning

How To Get Started and Find Work

Your path to finding work may vary greatly depending on what route you choose for your new side gig. Rideshare drivers, for example, can connect directly to clients through popular apps. If you decide to leverage your professional skills as a freelancer, there are online job boards where you can promote your services.

Starting your own business may require even more legwork. As a new entrepreneur, you will need to take advantage of any existing business connections you may have and work on a solid marketing strategy.

Essential Marketing Tactics

Unless your side gig grows into a full-fledged business with additional employees, you will be acting as your own marketing department to get the word out about your service. There are a number of DIY solutions you can utilize within your local area, such as putting up flyers or distributing business cards. Social media is also a great way to raise awareness locally or abroad if you are looking to provide a product remotely.

Experts assert that every business needs a website, no matter how small. Having a strong web presence can bring in many clients, especially if you include an eye-catching infographic that explains your business in an appealing way. A freelance graphic designer can help you create a professional-level image, or you can create your own. Get started with an infographic template that allows you to customize the background, text, and colors of the image you wish to create.

Legal Implications to Consider

There are some simple housekeeping tasks that you should be aware of when starting a business, even as a small-scale side hustle. When tax season rolls around, make sure to declare any income earned through your side gig so as to avoid committing tax evasion. To avoid other such issues with legal compliance, be sure to form your enterprise as the appropriate business structure for your situation.

Running a side gig could be just the thing to give you the sense of fulfillment you need. However, it is not always easy to balance your own business with the duties of caring for a senior loved one. Be sure to tap into your caregiver support network when you need a boost, and your road to success may be much less stressful.


17. How Working Caregivers Can Practice Self-Care

Guest article by Mary Shannon . . . Find her at  http://seniorsmeet.org/

Photo via Pexels

Professional caregivers have a lot on their plates. They’re used to prioritizing their clients over themselves—but if taken to the extreme, that can lead to burnout. Therefore, self-care is absolutely vital. Here’s how you can find balance with working, caregiving, and making time for yourself, courtesy of The Fundamentals of Homecare.

Develop a Self-Care Mentality

Identify what’s holding you back

When thinking about self-care, it’s easy to think that you are being selfish or that you don’t have time for it. In the medical field, there’s a lot more to worry about: taking care of patients, night shifts, and long hours. Even with a hectic schedule, you can adjust your mentality about self-care. Having a growth mindset can enable you to move beyond a limiting mindset. This can also give you a sense of openness about what will involve taking care of yourself, and it doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing anything essential.

Take responsibility for self-care

Make time for self-care by using whatever time you get during the day, instead of trying to take it all in one chunk. Some medical jobs don’t have much downtime while on the job, but if you make it a priority, you can find it wherever necessary.

Reduce Stress

Take regular breaks

A crucial part of self-care is taking breaks from stressful circumstances and situations. If you work at a hospital and break time is limited, reserve that time to unwind after work. When you’re caregiving, these breaks can be a little bit more flexible. Most tasks can wait about five minutes.

Recognize early warning signs

The stress from working in medicine can take a toll before you realize what’s happening. Take time to reflect and identify the source before it causes you to lash out. If you say things you regret, write down the triggers and figure out how to remedy them in the future. Then forgive yourself and move on.

Seek retail therapy in moderation

The next time you plan to go shopping, think of it as a coping mechanism. Despite its negative reputation, studies show that an occasional shopping spree can reduce stress without creating feelings of guilt about what you buy. The key is to set a budget before you head out; focus only on the items you had planned to purchase. If you have any leftover cash, you can invest in products that enhance your self-esteem. Whether you’re purchasing eyelash extensions, massage oils, or other feel-good products, research buying guides and top brands online to stay within your budget.

Make your home a sanctuary

While there’s no doubt that your workspace can be very stressful, it is also true that your home can be the best treatment for the problem. Think about ways that you can enhance your living space so that it is more relaxing and enjoyable. Some of the most popular enhancements are the easiest, such as getting rid of unnecessary clutter and decorating with plants and flowers. However, feel free to get creative with how you use your abode to make you feel better and more able to deal with the rigors of your job.

Recognize when it’s time for change

You may find that after trying these stress reduction techniques that it’s still too much. If that’s the case, then it may be time to look for a different job. That can be stressful on its own, so make things easy for yourself at the start with a free resume builder that will provide you with a great-looking resume. With it, you can carry on confidently with your job search.

Take Care of Your Body

Engage in healthy habits

Smoking can temporarily alleviate the symptoms of stress, but the benefits of quitting are far higher: better health, less dependence, and even saved money. As you or your loved one work toward quitting, consider purchasing an air filter to clear the smell of smoke from a room. Air filters specifically designed for smoke are a low-key way to boost health without having to change your daily routine.

Exercise frequently

These days, many people exercise at home instead of in the gym. If your medical residence has a gym, take advantage of it. If not, exercise during breaks in caregiving, or do small, 15-minute increments at home, outside, or anywhere else you can get your heart pumping. Any exercise you get will help you feel and work better, so don’t neglect this important element of self-help.

Get enough sleep

If you work hospital shifts, sleep tends to fall by the wayside. Sleep deprivation can create a cycle where stress causes sleep problems, which then result in stress. If you have to take care of a loved one right after work, schedule times for shuteye. Try to really prioritize sleep, as it significantly affects physical health, as well.


Take meditation breaks

Meditation is everywhere these days, and for good reason: It works. Many doctors are starting to meditate now. It can allow you to compartmentalize your life—work, caregiving, and so on. Take a few moments each day to practice meditation. It will become easier and allow you to focus on a new task.

Reach out to loved ones

Sometimes you need someone to talk to. Loved ones are excellent for this. They can be family or friends, and you can also find allies if you need help with your caregiving.

Self-care is necessary for caregivers from all walks of life, including medical professionals. It can help you take control of your own life and move beyond burnout. Make it a priority and you’ll be thriving again.

This article is brought to you by The Fundamentals of Homecare, where our mission is to ease the burden of the overburdened—and highlight how caregivers have a very honorable occupation. For more information, contact us today!


16.  How To Care for Yourself While You Care for Your Loved One

Guest article by Sharon Wagner . . . Find her at https://seniorfriendly.info/

Image via Pexels

As a caregiver, you know what it’s like to be stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed even though you want to give your senior loved one the very best care. To do that, though, you also have to take care of yourself, so you don’t burn out, and this means balancing caregiving, work, and your personal life. Fundamentals of Homecare invites you to read on for a few tips and tricks to help you find that equilibrium.

Establish a Support Network

One of the first steps to take in caring for yourself as a caregiver is to establish a support network. Recruit some family members and friends to back you up in your caregiving routine. You’re likely to feel better if you can spread the responsibility around even a little bit.

Also, consider joining a caregiver support group either in person or online. Attending one of these groups helps you realize you’re not the only one with challenges, and you may even get some good ideas about how to meet those challenges more effectively. Plus, you’re interacting with people who truly understand what you’re going through and how difficult it is to find and keep your balance.

Start a Self-Care Routine

A self-care routine is critical for caregivers. You must take some time for yourself, and you must make an effort to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and enjoy your favorite hobbies. Schedule exercise sessions several times a week. Be conscious about what you eat, and avoid fast food even if it’s convenient. At least once a week, call or check on your loved one, and then settle down to read a good book, watch a movie, or work on a craft project.

Get Help

Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. Hire a house-cleaning service to clean your loved one’s home (or your own), and engage a landscaper to take care of yard work. This frees up time for you to handle other tasks.

Also, consider getting your loved one an emergency alert system. If they fall or experience serious illness, the system alerts both you and the authorities to get immediate help. It can give you peace of mind when you can’t be with your loved one all the time.

Be Flexible About Work

It can be difficult to balance work and caregiving. Ask your employer if they can provide any flexibility for you with regard to scheduling. If that’s impossible, think about making a career change. Perhaps you’re interested in starting your own business or freelancing online as a writer, tutor, virtual assistant, or transcriber.

Don’t Neglect Your Dreams

Finally, don’t neglect your own dreams even though you’re caring for your loved one. If you want to advance your career, consider furthering your education by earning a master’s degree online. Online programs give you the flexibility you need to study on your own schedule while still working and doing your duty as a caregiver. Just be sure to choose an accredited program with competitive tuition.

Balance Your Life

You can strike a balance between caregiving, work, and your personal life if you get support, hire help, set up a self-care routine, and follow your dreams. For more ideas, visit the Fundamentals of Homecare website.


15. Cancer Care Ideas for Everyone

Guest article by Mary Shannon . . . Find her at  http://seniorsmeet.org/

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

If you’re one of the untold numbers of people that have lost a loved one to cancer, you may be looking for ways to help them and others cope. But, when you’re not a health care provider, what can you do? A lot, actually. Keep reading for a few ideas that can help you make an impact for those people in your life and community dealing with this silent killer.

The Fundamental of Homecare is pleased to present today’s post as one of many free resources for our valued customers.

Raise Money Via A Nonprofit or Volunteer

Large nonprofits, such as the American Cancer Society, operate almost solely on donations. While you can certainly donate money to research, if you are truly passionate about making a difference to those with cancer within your community, you might also consider starting your own nonprofit. You don’t have to be a doctor or scientist, but you will have to put measures into place to ensure your donors that your money is being used for its intended purpose. Remember, as a nonprofit, transparency is key.

You also need to learn a lot about marketing. Email marketing is typically one of the most effective ways to raise money for a nonprofit, and you can use catchy subject lines to stand out from the hundreds of other emails your patrons get each day. You can also participate in community events or create sales-based fundraisers.

The skills you will need for your own nonprofit can be learned by volunteering at a charity you have researched and consider how you can help. Match your talents and inclinations with a charity that is doing important work. As a volunteer or when you are creating your own nonprofit, use the logo creator online free tool to generate ideas for different logos for events, fundraisers, or even the group itself.

Help Them Find Alternative Treatments

Nothing can take the place of chemotherapy or radiation. But, there are plenty of natural remedies that can alleviate some of the side effects and discomforts associated with cancer treatments.

Something as simple as essential oils, natural moisturizers, and muscle rubs may go a long way toward helping them create a relaxing environment at home. You can also point your friends, neighbors, and loved ones with cancer toward alternative therapy providers, such as an acupuncturist.

Become A Massage Therapist

Speaking of alternative therapies, if you want to have a broad impact, think about becoming a massage therapist. The American Massage Therapy Association explains that massage can reduce pain, anxiety, and nausea. It can also help people with cancer fight fatigue while improving their overnight sleeping hours. To become a massage therapist, you’ll have to complete a special course as well as practical hands-on requirements. You also have to get your license and complete a state-specific certification program before you begin.

Design Special Clothing

If you’re looking to help women that have undergone breast cancer treatments, including mastectomy, something you can do if you have a talent for design is to create clothing that works with their new body shape. While clothing manufacturer Land’s End suggests cozy bottoms, flowing dresses, and loungewear, many women choose not to have breast reconstruction surgery. Work with some women to create fashion that makes them feel like their best selves.

Knit Scarves And Headwear

It’s no secret that hair loss is a common companion to chemotherapy. And, it is one of the first and most noticeable side-effects, often occurring within a week of a patient’s first treatment. With this in mind, you might consider starting a business (or nonprofit organization) that provides knitted scarves and other comfortable and warm headwear for men and women experiencing hair loss.

There are virtually unlimited ways to help those within your community with cancer. Fortunately, you don’t have to have a doctorate or advanced scientific degree to do so. From starting your own nonprofit to creating couture that flatters changing body shapes, the above ideas are just a few that can get you started on your path to help the people in your life and your community heal from the devastation of cancer.

Image via Pexels

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14. Moving Tips and Advice for Seniors

Guest article by June Duncan 💚 http://riseupforcaregivers.org/

Photo via Pexels

Moving is a major task, and for seniors, it can be overwhelming to manage packing, planning, getting rid of unwanted items, and carrying out the physical move on their own. That’s why it can be extremely beneficial to hire a move manager and to find services that specialize in helping older adults make the transition from beginning to end. It’s also important to do some research so that you’re prepared for the sale of your current home and everything that goes into it.

The Fundamentals of Homecare presents some tips below to provide you with a helping hand during this time.

Prepare for the selling process

Selling a home comes with a lot to think about and plan for, so it pays to have a solid understanding of the process so you’ll know what to expect. Do some research on the housing market and current trends, including what buyers are looking for and how much you can expect to sell your home for. Check out homes for sale in your neighborhood. Consider having an inspection done to get a head start on what kind of repairs or updates you’ll need to make before putting the house on the market, keeping in mind that some updates will offer a bigger return on your investment than others.

While selling your home, you may find it easier to move into a rental property temporarily; that way, your home will always be ready for a showing. If you can fit this into your current budget, look into Seattle rental homes and apartments near your home. That way, you can keep an eye on your property during the selling process.

Hire a move manager

Once you’ve done some research for your own home, it might be helpful to hire a move manager who can get the ball rolling with the process of packing, organizing, and planning, especially if your move will be a downsize to a smaller home, apartment, or senior living facility. These individuals can provide assistance with various aspects of a move, as well as provide emotional support when it’s time to go through your belongings for a downsize. If you currently live in a large home with a lot of belongings, it will take some time to go through everything, which is where a move manager will really be invaluable.

Get help with all the little details

Moving comes with a hundred little details that can be exhausting to handle alone. A move manager can also assist with these, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked. They might create a customized floor plan in a smaller home that allows for as many of your belongings as possible. If you have a lot of items you can get rid of, they can arrange for donation pickups, estate sales, auctions, yard sales, or selling on apps. Having an assistant to oversee these details will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders so you can focus on getting through the move without stress or anxiety.

Make moving day safe and efficient

While the right move manager and moving company will be essential in creating a good experience, there are also some things you can do to make the process a smooth one. Plan ahead for moving day by making sure your pets will be taken care of and comfortable; if you don’t have a sitter, keep them contained in one space with access to water and fresh air and check on them throughout the day. Remember to take breaks often to hydrate and have a snack or rest, even if you’re not doing a lot of heavy lifting, as the process of moving can be draining. Ask friends or family members to be at your new place to help unpack or clean, as the more hands you have, the faster the job will go.

Moving is not only a physical process, it’s a pretty emotional one too. Take care of your mental health during this time by reducing stress when possible and asking for help. Rely on a move manager to help make the job an easy one so you can focus on this new stage of your life.

13. When Is the Right Time to Move a Loved One Into Assisted Living

Guest article by Sharon Wagner . . . Find her at https://seniorfriendly.info/

Image Source: Pexels

Moving a senior loved one into assisted living is a deeply emotional process. Resistance towards the idea of moving is a common scenario to expect, however, it is important to make seniors understand the reasons for moving and how it can improve their quality of life. When deciding on the right time to move, consider the following factors:

Homecare is becoming insufficient

As seniors age, their caregiving needs naturally increase. This can add further burden and responsibilities on the shoulders of their caregiver, which can be a family member or a professional. If the caregiver is struggling to provide the necessary level of care required, it’s a strong indication of considering moving your loved one into an assisted living facility.

Struggles with ADLs

Commonly known as Activities of Daily Living, these include everyday tasks such as grooming, toileting, eating, bathing, dressing, and more. If your senior loved one lives with you, and you notice them struggling to conduct these activities, it points to the fact that they will now require more assistance.

If seniors are living alone, you can notice their struggle with ADLs during your visits. Here are a few noticeable observations to look for:

  • Unclean household
  • Struggle to stand, walk or eat
  • Lack of grooming

Increased Frequency of Accidents

As reported by the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors. While balance issues are common among the elderly, falls are often preventable through having a clean home, regular exercise, timely eye tests, and support from others. Whether your senior loved one lives with you or alone, an increase in trips, falls or other accidents will require greater supervision over their movement and health.

Need of Constant Medical Attention

Whether it be for a chronic condition, injury recovery, frequent infections, or more, regular trips to the hospital mean the individual requires constant medical attention, which you’ll be unable to provide at home. 

Assisted living facilities are well-equipped to provide 24/7 medical care, whether that be help with medications, physiotherapy, or more, you can be assured that your loved one’s needs are taken care of at all times.

Lack of Companionship

As reported by The Hill, 22% of individuals in the United States between the ages of 65-74 years live alone. This number increases to 33% for those 75 years and above. This is an alarming statistic as loneliness and isolation are two major causes of various physical and mental problems among the elderly.

Assisted living provides them the opportunity to participate in various social activities such as bingo nights, field trips, prayer services, movie parties, and more. Additionally, it also helps them form a social circle by making new friends.

Affording Assisted Living

As reported by Genworth, the monthly median cost of assisted living is $4300. However, costs can vary depending on the state and the type of services included. Having long-term care insurance is one of the best ways to cover the costs of assisted living. However, it requires one to buy the insurance years before the decision to move.

Alternatively, one can pay for assisted living through a combination of the following two options:

Out of Pocket

This involves using one’s savings, investments, pensions, retirement funds, etc. While you may not be able to cover the full cost, it can help offset the amount needed from other sources.

Selling a Home

The sale of a home can generate enough funds to cover all your assisted living costs. This is a good option for seniors living alone as they anyway will no longer be able to inhabit the property. Rather than continuing to spend resources on maintaining an empty home, they can sell the asset and invest funds towards their health.

Before listing the home, determine the property’s current worth by using an online home value estimator. Additionally, you can hire a real estate agent to help you get buyers and land the best price for the home.

Making the transition will never be easy, but reviewing the above-mentioned scenarios will help you choose the right time to make the move.
This resource guide is just one example of the great content you can find on The Fundamentals of Homecare website.


12. Tips for Safe Senior Visits and Check-Ins Amid COVID-19

Guest article by Hazel Bridges . . . Find her at hazel@agingwellness.org

Photo by Pixabay

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all been told to refrain from visiting our senior loved ones in order to protect them from the coronavirus — but what about the seniors in our lives who rely on us for everything from meals and home repairs to companionship and social interaction?  The Fundamentals of Homecare considers some of the questions we’ve all been having about caring for the seniors in our families, at our church, and elsewhere in our communities — and the things we can do to safely check in with them amid COVID-19.

Q1: How can seniors fight isolation throughout the pandemic?

A1: From online worship services to video calls and internet-based games, these resources can help to fight senior isolation during the coronavirus crisis:

  • Isolated seniors can visit with loved ones virtually, but reliable and affordable internet service is crucial to keep people connected.
  • In addition to video chatting, here are some tips for keeping up with long-distance loved ones, regardless of age or circumstances.
  • Seniors can make the most of newer technologies that allow them to stay in contact with friends and family members.

Q2. What can I do to keep seniors safe, happy, and healthy?

A2. To keep seniors happy and healthy throughout the pandemic, everything from counseling to meal delivery services are available.

  • Food delivery is a crucial service for older people, but especially so during a pandemic.
  • Professional cleaning and lawn care services can be a big help to seniors who struggle with maintenance. Help them connect with experts via a site like Thumbtack.
  • For seniors dealing with isolation-related depression and anxiety, counseling services are available, and they can use Medicare benefits to help pay for these services.

Q3. What if my senior loved one believes they have COVID-19?

A3. If your senior loved one believes he or she may have the coronavirus, telemedicine services, in-person healthcare visits, and community-based testing sites can be used for COVID-19 screenings.

  • Telemedicine has become an essential way to safely monitor seniors’ health from a distance.
  • Community-based testing is an option during the pandemic.
  • Of course, protecting themselves from getting COVID-19 in the first place is the best scenario for older people.

Q4. How can I protect seniors during face-to-face visits?

A4. During in-person visits, these resources will help to protect your senior loved one from the coronavirus.

  • Face masks are essential tools for protection, especially among high-risk groups like senior citizens.
  • Believe it or not, regular hand washing is an excellent way of avoiding COVID infection.
  • Harvard Health points out that while hugging is a risky activity, the benefits of personal interaction may be worth taking a chance.

Whether your senior loved ones live near or far, these tips can help to protect them from COVID-19 — while ensuring they have everything they need to stay safe, happy, and healthy at home throughout the remainder of the pandemic.

11. Get Your 40 Winks and Enjoy Your Golden Years

Guest article by Jim  McKinley . . .    Find him at Moneywithjim.org

Image via Pexels

Having trouble sleeping? You’re far from alone, as it’s a common ailment among seniors, who often find themselves tossing and turning long after lying down or waking up in the middle of the night for seemingly no reason at all. Though doctors may provide medication to solve this problem, there are healthier ways to ensure you get the rest you need and wake up refreshed to enjoy what the day has to offer. Some methods are easy fixes, while others require a change in lifestyle, but all of them are tried and true. Read on for some tips from The Fundamentals of Homecare.

Buy a New Mattress

The solution might be as simple as this. According to lifestyle website Elite Daily, sleeping on an old mattress leads to back pain and increased irritability, which, in turn, increases your level of stress, making it even more difficult to get some rest the next night. Moreover, it may be filled with dust mites and allergens from years of use. Finding something new to sleep on is a matter of taste, but some qualities to look for include support and responsiveness to pressure.

Eat Well

And that also means taking your evening meal at the right time. Eating raises your core body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep, so give yourself at least four hours between dinner and bedtime so you have time to cool off. As far as what to prepare, aim for lean proteins like chicken and turkey that are rich in tryptophan, which works its sleepy magic most efficiently when combined with starches such as rice, pasta and potatoes.

Stay Hydrated

A lack of water can keep you awake at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Snoring is another symptom, so your spouse needs to get enough fluids as well or you’ll have trouble sleeping for another reason altogether. To stay hydrated throughout the day, have a drink of water immediately upon waking up, with every meal, and right before bed. Also, try to eat foods rich in water like fruit. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle around with you just in case you get parched while you’re out running errands.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you’re very concerned about your sleep habits, you should talk to a doctor, as you may suffer from a more serious psychiatric or physiological condition that’s causing insomnia. Your loved ones would want to stay informed of the situation, as well as other medical issues, as they’re doubtlessly concerned about your well-being. A senior-friendly tablet would help you communicate with them by email or video call, no matter how far away they live.


This helps in a number of ways. First, the brain makes up for the physical activity you’re engaged in by spending more time in deep sleep. Also, when you raise your body temperature, it falls by an equal amount later on, which triggers a physiological train reaction that includes the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. In addition, exercise relieves stress, which may be what’s keeping you awake at night. Strength training, aerobics, and stretching are all part of a balanced fitness routine, and yoga offers all three at once.

Pursue Goals

Going after your dreams not only gives you direction and purpose, but a healthy self-esteem boost as well. This assuredness can help you sleep better, hitting the pillow knowing that tomorrow will be another step in your pursuit of fulfilling a mission. For instance, it’s never too late to go for a college-level degree in a field you’ve always wanted to learn more about. With accredited schools like Western Governors University, you can work towards an online degree without leaving the house, and do it affordably and at your pace.

Get a Handle on Your Finances

When excessive debt is part of your life, sleep can be hard to come by. The stress of creditors calling has become commonplace for many since the COVID-19 outbreak, with lost jobs and possibly a lost loved one who may have been the primary breadwinner. This calls for ascertaining your financial situation and, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, reaching out for assistance to help you come up with payment plans. 

Managing your finances helps you feel secure, and the hours spent ruminating and worrying about unpaid bills or an unsure future will be reduced or even eliminated. In addition to having a plan in place to reduce your debt load, look into safe investments.

Design a Sleep Routine

It’s basically a series of things you do in the evening to “power down” and get psychologically ready for a peaceful night’s rest. There’s no one routine that works best for everyone, but there are a number of elements that are often incorporated. These include meditation to clear your mind, a warm shower or bath, and an infusion such as chamomile, lavender, or passion flower. You can top it all off with a few pages of a book when you’re tucked cozily under the sheets.

You can begin taking most of these steps today. Make them a habit and you’ll find yourself more energized throughout the day and able to enjoy your golden years with gusto.

10. How to Help a Beloved Dementia Sufferer Cope with Spousal Loss

Guest article by June Duncan   . . . Find her at june@riseupforcaregivers.org

Photo via Pixabay

The death of the spouse of a senior is a devastating life event which impacts the emotional health of the senior as well as those of their family members. The extended grieving process becomes especially hard to wade through as details behind the final arrangements are settled, such as the transportation and burial of the remains and handling the will and other legal documents. It can be a fractious time, particularly when family members don’t see eye-to-eye on the final arrangements. 

However, one scenario that especially exacerbates the pain, is when the surviving senior suffers from a serious dementia disease such as Alzheimer’s and has tremendous difficulties processing the fact of the death. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, these individuals may face symptoms like forgetfulness and memory loss for milder cases to hallucinations and disorientation for more severe cases.

Newly faced with the “disappearance” of her mate and primary caregiver, the dementia sufferer is likely to express random peaks of confusion over the missing status of the person followed by periods of sad mourning in recalling the death. There may also be periods of forgetfulness when the dementia sufferer continually speaks of the departed in the present tense. Such a mix of variant reactions stresses out and wounds family members who would like nothing better than to see the Alzheimer’s sufferer properly move forward with the grieving process.

Processing the Grief

It’s necessary to understand how people grieve and the various stages of grief individuals typically experience. How well the dementia sufferer will take the news of their spouse’s death depends on several factors, such as: the severity of her condition, how attached she was to her spouse, how often they were together, and her own personal approach to grieving.

The dementia-affected senior will definitely notice something is missing, that something is wrong, and express restlessness and agitation over the not-so-subtle changes. They may credit the changes to the death of someone else, or even relate the changes to the death of someone who died decades before. Because of this, family members are often at a loss as to how to “correct” the senior loved one, while minimizing the heart-wrenching pain of “reliving” the notification of death.  

Helping the Dementia Sufferer Accept the Death

Here are a few ways you can help the dementia sufferer accept the loss:

  • Speak of the recently deceased in the past tense. For example, “Dad loved a well decorated table on Thanksgiving.”
  •  While talking about the departed in front of the Alzheimer’s affected senior, make it a point to communicate your sad feelings. For example: “I miss the sound of Dad’s piano playing. He always could make us want to sing along to his music, didn’t he? Remember when he…” Watch videos of family special occasions together and revel in fond memories of the departed. Talking about your love of the person will help the senior and family caregivers properly mourn the death. 
  • Don’t try to force a discussion of the deceased on your loved one. Be loving and accepting of whether the senior wants to broach the topic or not. A forced discussion would only stress the senior out further. Instead, wait for the topic to naturally arise.

A Final Thought

A great deal of love and patience is required to break through to your loved one through the gray fog of dementia. This is true, but above all, be greatly loving, patient, and compassionate with yourself first, as you and your family struggle with open bereavement. If you can’t take care of your own emotional needs first, you won’t be much help to the senior loved one. When suffering from a specific episode of pain, turn to your family to find the love and support you need.

9. Preparing Your Home for a Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Guest article by June Duncan   . . . Find her at june@riseupforcaregivers.org

Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.4 million Americans, about 5.2 million of which are 65 and older. It can be your grandparent, your cousin, your sibling, or even your parent who faces the diagnosis. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home. If you are about to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in your own home, read on for some tips on how to improve and prepare your house for the challenges ahead.

Evaluate Your Home

When you decide to move your loved one with Alzheimer’s into your home, it’s important to evaluate any potential dangers lurking inside. Something as simple as an area rug can cause loved ones to trip and injure themselves. Cluttered rooms make it tricky for loved ones to walk without tripping or falling over things. Before your loved one moves in, plan how you should renovate or rearrange your home to make it as safe as possible.

Emergency Phone Numbers

When you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s living in your home, make sure you have a list of emergency phone numbers in a readily accessible location. Contact information for ambulance services, police departments, poison control centers, and fire departments are all important numbers you should have near the phone.

The Bathroom

Install non-skid mats and safety rails in the shower or bathtub to avoid any dangerous falls while bathing. If you have the funds, consider installing a walk-in tub or sit-down shower.  Include other slip-resistant mats in front of the sink, shower, and toilet as well. You may need to include a raised toilet seat to make it easier for your loved one. Keep the sink countertops as clutter free as possible. Try to give Alzheimer’s patients their own bathroom so they don’t confuse other people’s toiletry items with theirs. 

Medications and Dangerous Chemicals

Keep all medications locked away so loved ones can’t accidentally poison themselves. Mayo Clinic suggests using childproof medication lids to make it more difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s to open the lids without assistance.

And don’t forget to protect your loved one from dangerous chemicals like household cleaners. Keep all dangerous chemicals out of your loved one’s reach. You can do this by locking them away in cabinets with childproof locks.

Night-lights and Tripping Hazards

People with Alzheimer’s can easily become confused and disoriented. To prevent confusion and accidents, place night-lights in hallways and rooms so your loved one can easily see. Remove any items that might be a tripping hazard, including coffee tables and other furniture that may be difficult to maneuver around.

Locks and Alarms

People with Alzheimer’s can easily wander away from home and get lost. This can lead to life-threatening situations. According to AgingCare.com, prevent this from occurring by installing deadbolts on the doors. Add the deadbolts at the top or bottom of doors that lead outside. It will make it more difficult for your loved one to open the doors without you being nearby to assist.

If you’re concerned about wandering, you may also want to install a fence around the perimeter of your property as a last line of defense. When choosing a fences company, avoid working with unlicensed and uninsured installers and be sure they’re aware of underground utility lines. The size of your fence and materials being used will determine how much you can expect to pay for fence installation.

Install alarms throughout your home that let you know when a door or window has been opened. It’s another safety net that will keep your loved one from leaving the house without your knowledge.

When you are about to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to prepare your home. Whether it’s renovating the home, decluttering, or installing safety equipment, conscientious caregivers should make the necessary arrangements so their loved one remains free from injury and danger.

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