Category Archives: Caregiving

Six Medication Safety Tips

At Caregivers Connection, we are aware that one of your greatest concerns is the safety of your loved one.  Whether or not they are properly taking their medication is probably high on the list of things you think about when you are not with them.  Here’s six medication safety tips that are easy for you, and them, to follow. Continue reading

Three Common Challenges of Caregiving

According to former First Lady, Rosalyn Carter; “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.”  In other words, at some point, everyone will face the challenges of being a caregiver. We at Caregivers Connections, have put together a list of three common challenges of caregiving, along with some tips to handle each successfully. Continue reading

Four Tips To Increase Mobility

As your loved one ages, it’s common for them to experience a loss of mobility. When they’ve spent their entire lives unaided, learning to walk with a walker, cane or even using a wheelchair is a struggle. As a caregiver, it may be hard to know how to help them. At Caregivers Connection, we would like to offer four tips that can encourage them to increase their mobility. Continue reading

Five Tips To Avoid Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you’ve more than likely heard: ‘take care of yourself’, ‘your health is important to your loved one’, and other thoughtful words along that line.  The problem is, many shrug it off thinking, ‘I don’t have the time to take care of myself’. The truth is, it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are five steps to help you avoid caregiver burnout. Continue reading

The History Of Labor Day

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. Continue reading

Five Walking Benefits For Senior Citizens

Use it or lose it.  This is the word from doctors recently when talking to senior citizens about their bodies.  The good news is, seniors needn’t think they have to sign up for 10K races, high-impact aerobics, or heavy weight training. Instead, walking benefits them by keeping them physically strong and agile.  Adding a simple 35-minute walk a day is all it takes.

According to Dr. Michael Pratt, the acting chief for the Physical Activity and Heath Branch in the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, walking is a tremendously good activity for senior citizens. It’s cheap, simple, and almost anybody can do it.  Walking has a number of health benefits for everyone.  For seniors especially, it helps them maintain mobility and their independence.

Walking BenefitsFive benefits of walking:

1) Improves circulation: Women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent – by 40 percent when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

2) Strengthens your bones: It can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A. Schwartz, MD, of Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in New York.

3) It supports your joints: Since our joints don’t get any blood supply, they rely on synovial or joint fluid that circulates as we move, which carries oxygen to them. Without walking, joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which can speed deterioration.

4) It lightens the mood: Walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins to the body – this is just one of the emotional benefits of exercise.

5) It helps you do more, longer.  Since walking helps circulation, keeps the bones strong and healthy, and lightens your mood, the body stays healthy longer, increasing the ability to be more active as we age.

With that being said, when is a good time to start a walking program?  Now! Perhaps they can’t begin with 30 minutes, however, they can start somewhere.  Walking benefits the body in so many ways, so go out and enjoy your walk.  Even when the weather isn’t the greatest, lacing up your shoes and heading to a mall is a perfect way to keep moving.

Eight Ways To Have A Positive Outlook On Life

positive outlookWe have all heard these  quotes about having a
positive outlook on life.

“Look on the sunny side of life.”

“Turn your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

“See the glass as half-full, not half-empty.”

These quotes, and more like them, are often heard from folks that are called ‘cockeyed optimists’. However, researchers are finding that thoughts like these can do far more than raise one’s spirits.  They may improve health and extend life.

Accordingly, there is no longer any doubt that what happens in our brain does influence what happens in the body. Studies show an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, healthier blood sugar levels, better weight control, and less heart disease. Even when faced with an incurable disease, a positive outlook can change ones’ quality of life.

Dr Wendy Schlessel Harpham, an author of several books for people facing cancer, including Happiness in a Storm, was a practicing internist when she learned she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, 27 years ago. “Fostering positive emotions helped make my life the best it could be,” Harpham said. “They made the tough times easier, even though they didn’t make any difference in my cancer cells.”

New research is demonstrating that people can learn skills that help them experience more positive emotions when faced with the severe stress of a life-threatening illness.

Here are eight ways to have a positive outlook on life, and improve your overall health

  • Recognize a positive event each day.
  • Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.
  • Start a daily gratitude journal.
  • List a personal strength and note how you used it.
  • Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
  • Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to refocus on the event positively.
  • Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
  • Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

Even if you practice only a few of these, you are sure to end the day on a happier note.

How to Overcome Stress as a Caregiver

Being a caregiver to a loved one who has a chronic medical condition is never an easy task.  Though it has its rewards, the everyday challenges can easily build up, and become increasingly stressful.  Even the most resilient person can succumb to the overwhelming burden of the duties of caregiving.

Caregiving offers many rewards, and simply being there for someone in need is a core value.  Being called upon repeatedly fosters extra pressure, and can drag you down.  With your own busy schedule, work, children, a spouse, you already have enough to balance when adding in the care of someone else.  You may find yourself wondering where do I find time for myself?

Here are some tips that can help save time and reduce stress.

When dealing with medical issues, tackle the small ones first.  Call and confirm doctor appointments and make sure (if necessary) that any test results are in, so as to avoid two trips out.

Use respite care, neighbors or other family members to allow yourself time for just you.

Find ways to reduce your stress and give yourself much needed self-love.

If you find you can’t get away, make yourself a cup of tea, and read a book, even if it’s for a simple twenty minutes.  Being able to allow your body to simply rest goes a long way towards helping you feel better.

With the help of others, take the time to go for a walk in the park, or to your favorite coffee shop, the library, ways that you can clear your mind of the daily tasks at hand.

Make a list.  When someone else asks, how can we help, having a tangible list goes far.  Simple things like picking up prescriptions,

stopping at the store for the items you forgot, or taking a load or two of laundry and preparing a meal goes a long way in giving yourself a break from that simple chore.
It’s smart to be alert to compounded stressors that can lead to a breakdown in your own health, and lead to caregiver distress. Here are some signs that you need some relief:

  • If you find yourself becoming agitated with your loved one
  • Simple things that used to bring you pleasure, no longer do so.
  • Over anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Beginning to feel depressed

As a caregiver, it’s important to make sure your health is optimal.  It’s important to know the warning signs, and seek help.  Your loved one is counting on you.  Taking time for self-care is as important for them as it is for you.