Tag Archives: caregivers

How Caregivers Can Keep Their Cool During Difficult Financial Times

19 May

If you’re a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, it’s natural to be concerned about America’s financial crisis. You’re not alone in wondering how you’ll continue to be able to afford Alzheimer’s care and handle other regular expenses.

According to Ellen Rogin, president of the financial planning company Strategic Financial Designs in Northfield, Illinois, caregivers can still keep their cool during difficult financial times. She spoke with Denise Brown on her radio show, Your Caregiving Journey. Here are her suggestions:

  • Unclutter your mind by uncluttering your financial records.Rogin says that having all your paperwork organized can reduce stress and give you a sense of control over your finances. If you are responsible for your relative’s finances, make sure you have lists of your loved one’s assets, accounts, and contact information for any financial advisers. 
  • Avoid information overload.Rogin explains that it’s good to be informed. But during a national or global financial crisis, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by information being thrown at us on television, in the papers, and online. Find a balance between staying informed and becoming bogged down with negative information. 
  • Devise a plan.If you haven’t yet sat down and thought through how to pay for Alzheimer’s care, this is the time to do it. Bring in a professional if your relative doesn’t already have a financial adviser. It’s also a good idea to hold a family meeting — whether in person or through long-distance technology — if you share responsibility for your loved one’s care with other family members. 
  • Manage your belief system. Rogin attests that our beliefs about our financial abilities affect our financial decisions. If we keep telling ourselves that we’re bad with money, we’re more likely to make poor financial choices. On the other hand, if we focus on strengths, such as our diligence and our ability to be organized and ask the right questions, we’re more likely to make good decisions that will increase our chances of being able to manage expenses for Alzheimer’s care.

Senior Care and your Career

19 Mar

Elder care, being the caregiver for an elderly relative, can harm your career. This is the conclusion of the 1999 MetLife Juggling Act Study conducted by The National Center for Women and Aging at Brandeis University and The National Alliance for Caregiving. According to this study on the effects of elder care on working Americans, caregivers give up promotions, raises, and training opportunities. They take a leave from their jobs, cut their hours, or quit their jobs altogether.

Who Feels the Effect of Elder Care?

More women than men are the primary caregivers for their older relatives. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that “the average caregiver is age 46, female, married and working outside the home earning an annual income of $35,000.” (“Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures“)

Balancing Elder Care and Your Career

While it is difficult to miss out on a promising career opportunity, it is more difficult for most people to disregard the needs of an elderly relative. For babyboomers, who were among the last to experience the phenomenon of the “Leave It to Beaver” stay-at-home mom, it would be unthinkable to turn one’s back on a parent in need. Now comes the issue of balance — how do you balance mom’s and dad’s needs with your career aspirations? Not to mention the fact that many of these caregiver’s are also working parents, dealing with child care issues as well.

If you are dealing with a short-term crisis, you should consider taking advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take up to twelve weeks of paid and unpaid leave to care for a sick relative.

If you will be caring for an elderly relative at home for a period longer than three months, you will have to find another way to balance career and elder care. In lieu of leaving one’s career behind, which for many reasons may not be an option, there are other choices.

  • Work a Flexible Schedule or Telecommute: Ask your boss if you can work flexible hours, which would allow you to work while someone else is there to provide care. Alternatively, find out if you can work from home. 
  • Share Duties With a Sibling: Share caregiver duties with a sibling or other relative who can handle things at home while you go to work. 
  • Utilize Adult Daycare: Adult Daycare provides care in centers within the community while the caregiver is at work. 
  • Hire a Caregiver: Trained healthcare workers provide care and companionship at home.  For more information about hiring a Caregiver visit our website www.eaicareproviders.com or call 424-222-0197 and get helped today.
30 Nov

Holiday travel isn’t for the faint of heart. From long airport lines to full parking lots, the entire experience can be stressful. Factor in the (usually) higher cost of holiday travel, and you may be left wondering whether the experience was worth the price you paid.

We can’t make the crowds go away – nearly everyone wants to share holidays with loved ones – but we can offer some tips for reducing the cost and stress of your holiday vacation.

Lower Your Travel Costs

Research, research, research. The old “time is money” cliché certainly applies to travel planning. If you book tickets online, remember to check airlines’ websites as well as the big aggregators’ sites. You may find a better airfare on your airline’s own site. Remember to check travel price trends, too. Kayak offers a “chart view” that shows airfare trends by travel date. If you have a flexible schedule, this type of fare comparison can help you pick the least expensive time to travel. Checking multiple rental car websites and pickup locations is a good way to minimize car rental costs.

Think outside the box. Consider driving, taking the train or traveling by bus instead of flying. If you normally fly into a large city, consider some nearby regional airports. You might have to drive a little farther at the end of your flight, but you could end up saving money, too. Bus and rail passes might or might not save you money, too. Amtrak now offers U.S. residents the opportunity to buy rail passes. Amtrak also gives seniors a 15 percent discount. Greyhound’s senior discount, available on most routes, is 5 percent. (Tip: If you buy a rail pass, book all of your travel segments as early as possible. Rail pass seats go quickly on Amtrak.)

Plan your route around low-cost lodging. It isn’t always fun – or comfortable – to sleep on a different sofa bed every night, but staying with friends along the way can save you a lot of money. No friends with guest rooms? Use a travel guidebook, such as the Mobil Travel Guides, or travel website to find inexpensive places to stay en route. If you’re retired military, don’t forget about military lodging chains, such as Navy Lodges and Air Force Inns.

Stay close to home to save money. You may not be able to take a two-week cruise this year, but there are plenty of things to see in your own area. Get a map and travel guidebook and draw a circle that encloses the distance you’re able to travel. Then, look up museums, parks, restaurants and shopping districts in a few of the towns within your circle. You’ll probably find that there are many places nearby that would make great weekend or daytrip destinations.

Insure your trip if you can’t afford to lose your travel investment. Be sure your travel insurance policy covers weather-related cancellations as well as financial default and baggage loss coverage.

Attitude Matters when it comes to Aging

20 Sep

The idea that an optimistic attitude is not only correlated with, but can perhaps cause people to live longer, became established as scientific fact several years ago by Yale psychologist Becca Levy. In her studies of people’s perceptions about the aging process, Levy found that those who held more favorable views about getting older actually lived to older ages than those who took a less sanguine attitude about their own aging. This research was a great boost to other gerontologists who, like myself, think that society’s negative depiction of the aging process creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. We become what we are expected to become and if the expectation is negative, we give up on ourselves. As a result, we don’t take advantage of strategies that could keep us healthier and more productive.

New research is suggesting some of the mechanisms that could account for this attitude-longevity effect. To understand this research, we need to take a small detour from psychology to cell biology. The telomere is a region of DNA at the end of the chromosome that doesn’t contain genetic information. It seems to be there to protect the genetic material in the chromosome during the process of cell replication. Every time cells replicate, the chromosomes become a little shorter. Eventually, the losses affect not only the telomeres but also start to affect the genetic material we care about–in other words the genes that code the proteins we need to keep our bodies operating smoothly.

Still with me? Even if you aren’t a fan of biology, this is one part of biology that you should care about. If you don’t have telomeres, bad things start to happen when proteins are manufactured in the cells and you start to lose some important functions. Some researchers believe that the telomeres are the key to long life. Just in case you think it would be a good idea to cure aging by promoting telomere growth, though, I have bad news. Unimpeded telomere growth is a process implicated in cancer, as was discovered by 2009 Nobel prizewinners Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak. 

But I digress. The main point here is that we need telomeres and if we lose them prematurely, we will age prematurely. Now, let’s get back to happiness.

A research team headed by UC San Francisco psychologist Aoife O’Donovan studied telomere length in the immune system cells (the ones that ward off disease) of postmenopausal women ranging from 50 to 86 years old. Not only did the pessimists have poorer immune system functioning, but they also had shorter telomeres than the optimists. In fact, the correlation between pessimism and telomere length, even controlling for other important characteristics of their subjects (such as whether they were caregivers), was a whopping -.55. Psychologists rarely get correlations of this magnitude.

You’re thinking–once again–correlation does not equal causation. Because this was a correlational study, there is definitely the possibility that rather than pessimism causing a decrease in telomere length other factors were at play. Perhaps a more aggressive cell replication process, one that saws off the telomeres, causes greater pessimism. Behavioral geneticists are learning all sorts of ways that the environment can alter a cell’s genetic information. It’s also possible that harsh early environments cause people to become pessimistic and also start the stress that will harm their telomeres.

For more wonderful tips visit: www.eaicareproviders.com

Alzheimer’s Hero

9 Sep

Alzheimer’s Hero

by Valerie Stephenson

You entered my world extending your hand,
Reaching for the “me” that I had lost.
You helped me remember who I am
With kind and gentle reminders
Of the memories composing my life.
You took the time to know me
Beyond the intricacies of my disease—
You helped me find my way, each day,
Easing my fears,
Helping me feel that I still belong.
You overlooked my daily confusion,
Understanding the rage, giving me comfort.
You walked along with me, not for me,
Helping me face the day
With a sense of dignity and a semblance of pride.
My memory fades,
But I know when someone cares.
And I know when I look into your eyes
That you are my hero.
For you are faithful, you are strong,
And you respect the best of who I am.
And I know that your belief and steadfastness
Have allowed me to rediscover
The strength and courage
Of the hero that lies within me.

Nursing Jobs expected to Rise!

9 Sep

The number of registered nurses is expected to swell to 3.2 million by 2018, accounting for approximately 581,500 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 2.6 million today, and it represents the largest overall growth projection out of all occupations in the U.S. economy, for good reason.

Americans aged 65 and older will make up 19% of the population in 2030, up from 12.4% in 2000. As the population ages and the growth of the working-age population slows down, there will be an increased demand for health care services in general, and home health care services in particular. In the past year, the home health care services industry has experienced sales growth of 11.2%, making it the fastest growing industry in the U.S., according to Sageworks, a financial analysis company.

Along with registered nurses, Sageworks projects that home care aids, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other medical professions will be in high demand for the foreseeable future

Home Safety for Seniors

3 Aug
A calm, safe home can be helpful for you and your loved one. When a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease lives with you, you need to look at home safety through new eyes:
  • Look for things that might be unsafe.
  • Ask yourself if anything could confuse or upset your loved one.

If your loved one does not live with you, you may feel better if you know their home environment is safer. If you can, drop in to visit regularly. Arrange for friends and family to do the same. They can help keep you aware of safety issues.

And remember, even if your loved one just visits once in a while, you should try to make your home a safe place. Stores that supply baby and infant supplies carry cabinet locks, oven knob covers, and other devices that can help.

Along with local home care and social services in your loved one’s area, these tips may help keep your loved one safer in their home.

  • Put latches on kitchen cupboards where cleaning supplies are kept.
  • Keep items like knives, lighters, and matches locked up and out of reach.
  • Put an automatic shut-off switch on the stove to help prevent burns or fires.
  • Remove locks from bathroom and bedroom doors.
  • Put labels on all medicines and keep them locked up.
  • Install grab bars near places like the bathtub or toilet where your loved one may need help getting up or down.
  • Consider a shower chair to prevent falls.
  • Add latches on bathroom cupboards where cleaning supplies are kept.
  • If your loved one wanders, putting locks on all windows and outside doors may help. But make a plan for fire safety first.
  • Make sure lighting is good both in and around the house.
  • Keep the house free from clutter.
  • Put away small, slippery rugs and objects that might cause a fall.
  • Be sure all dangerous objects are securely locked up and out of the way.

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