After Caregiving Ends


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

March 9th! This day comes around every year and there is no way to avoid it. Sure, I could roll the covers over my head for the entire day and wallow in sadness, but what does that accomplish; more sadness, more isolation? I think not!

As I look back on these last four years, I see quite a bit of change in all facets of my life. There is the weight loss, the new moustache, establishing The Whole Care Network and TLO Cruises and Tours and of all things getting a tattoo!

 

The tattoo is probably the most outlandish thing I have ever done in my entire life, however the tattoo has so much meaning to me as I ACE, (After Caregiving Ends). I believe it is through the experience of the white flower and tattoo which has allowed me to work through my grief and (If you would like to learn more about the tattoo see my post entitled “We’ve Only Just Begun: White Flowers and Green Shoes by clicking here“) guide me on a peaceful path.

When Richard (aka TLO) made his life transition on March 9, 2104, two lives were forever changed. As I look back on what I wrote the three previous years on March 9, there is one constant theme, love endures. What is different for me on March 9, 2018 is that I have started to live life again and break out of my isolation.

As I wrote in “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” I believe there are four stages of grief that caregivers experience:

  1. Relief < caregiving has come to an end and the one you are caregiving is now pain-free
  2. Sadness < the life that you once knew is forever changed
  3. Guilt < when you realise that you move on with your life without the one you love
  4. Acceptance < that day when you wake up and say to yourself…”Job well done” and you’re ready to move on with your life with your head held hight.

It took me 15 months to get to the point when I could get to acceptance. What I realize this past year is that I left out one important stage in grief, taking…

5. Action < Moving from isolation and activate your hopes, dreams and desires.

Whether it was the experience of the while flower, the tattoo, starting the Whole Care Network, (I could use countless examples from this past year) these experiences that happened over the past 12 months made me realize that until I took action, I was going to continue to isolate myself and stay stuck in my own muck (Richard would be most displeased!). Taking action has not only has restored my confidence, taking action has allowed me step outside my comfort zone which has provided exciting opportunities for personal growth and fulfilment.

What I have learned along the way is just as caregiving is different for each one of us, life after caregiving is going to be different for each one of us too. Now four years past, I don’t miss him any less; I’ve learned to live with him, and the love, care and commitment we had for each other, in a different way.

It’s “funny” how taking action has allowed me to find deeper meaning to our love, care and commitment. I will be interested to see what March 9, 2019 brings to me on The Purple Jacket!

 

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How Caregivers Can Keep Cancer Patients Safe at Home


The Purple Jacket is pleased to welcome back guest writer, Kayla Matthews!

The cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of a long and difficult road for those with the disease. Many treatment plans include rounds of chemotherapy, a method used by doctors to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Along with that comes a slew of side effects, of which they and their caretaker should be made aware.

Indeed, it will be the caretaker’s job to ensure the chemotherapy patient stays safe when they’re not at their treatments. In the hospital, nurses know how to handle their patients carefully and keep everything sanitary. Once the patient goes home, though, it’s up to their caretaker to keep everything clean and safe for both the person fighting cancer and those around them. Here’s what to do if you’re stepping up for someone you know in chemo:

1. Know Chemo’s Side Effects

Depending on the way chemo is administered, a person can experience a range of side effects. Many people feel nauseous, or they vomit after receiving the medication. Of course, this all depends on the dosage and type of chemotherapy a person gets. As a caregiver, you should be aware of the typical side effects you can expect.

Plus, you should know that chemotherapy drugs stay around in a patient’s bodily fluids for up to seven days post-treatment. Everything from vomit to urine to blood will have traces of the drug, and those not on chemotherapy should avoid contact.

2. Clean up Properly

You’ll have to learn how to sanitize your home in the week following a chemotherapy treatment. Once a patient has a spill of any bodily fluid, start by putting on a pair of disposable gloves and wiping it up with a cloth. Double-bag the used material before throwing it into the trashcan to be extra safe. If the spill splashed onto a floor, use soap and water or naturally disinfect it with vinegar to clean up the spot after it has been wiped up with the aforementioned cloth.

If the same spills occur on a bed sheet or pillowcase, you can salvage them after a long wash on either a hot or cold cycle. Make sure the chemo patient puts the lid down before flushing the toilet, and invest in a bucket you’ll use during nauseous moments mid-chemo. Once the treatment’s over, dispose of the bucket.

3. Follow the Treatment Plan

Your chemo patient will have an in-depth treatment plan, which includes the drugs they receive from their doctor directly and the medications they supplement at home. You should make yourself familiar with this plan too, so you know your loved one gets what they need when they need it. Be sure to check the medication’s storage requirements as well so the treatment doesn’t lose any of its efficacy with improper placement. The drugs have to go somewhere safe where kids or pets cannot accidentally ingest them.

4. Remember the Good to Come

No matter how happy-go-lucky a person may be, a cancer diagnosis — and the subsequent treatment — can be draining. As a caregiver, it’s up to you to also be a cheerleader. Remind your loved one what life will be like afterward, especially focusing on the joy that will come with survival. It’s the beginning of a tough road, but it’s not the end, and you should remind them of this as often as possible.

As you can see, the job of a caregiver is equal parts medical and emotional. Yes, you have to ensure they take their medicine on time and keep their living quarters sanitary, but you also have to serve as a support system in one of life’s most trying times. However, if you signed up for the role, it means you have the heart to do it — and now, you know the practical requirements of the job, too.

Kayla Matthews:  Kaylaematthews@gmail.com

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How to Transition from Floor Nurse to Healthcare Administration


If you’re a registered nurse, moving into healthcare administration can be an attractive career move. It provides excellent benefits and a good work schedule. You could supervise other nurses and advise the facility’s management on policy changes. You could work to make the ward the place nurses wish it was. This could also open up the door to positions in higher in management as well. Let’s take a look at what it takes to make the transition from floor nurse to healthcare administration.

Earn the Requisite Qualifications

Some people say that you’re only a nurse if you’re at the patient’s bedside. However, less than two thirds of nurses work as staff nurses or charge nurses. About one in six works in management or administration. Less than two percent are nurse educators. The remainder works in every other role imaginable from school nurses to consulting.
Moving into roles other than staff nursing requires training and education to prepare you for it. The best qualification for registered nurses is earning a master’s in health administration. You can pursue your MHA online so that you can continue to work while learning what you must know to move into administration. Getting your MHA program this way will be much less demanding, and takes far less time than trying to earn a dual master’s in business administration and nursing. Boston College has an online MHA program tailor made for healthcare professionals who would like to make the transition. You can learn more about it at the following link: http://onlinemha.bc.edu/masters-in-health-care-administration/.

Determine Which Role You Want to Fill

Becoming a medical administrator requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s in healthcare administration is considered the most desirable. The next question is where you want to go. Nursing administrators are not just the head of nursing departments. They are often found in laboratories, healthcare facilities like nursing homes, and doctor’s offices. You could work as a clinical coordinator or move into administration in forensic science. Once you’re qualified, the next step is deciding which jobs you’ll want to apply for.

Keep Up Your Certifications

Earning the master’s degrees considered necessary to work in administration doesn’t mean that you’re done. You’ll often be required to keep your certifications as a nurse up to date. This includes but isn’t limited to your RN license, CPR certifications, and basic life support certifications. If you earn optional nursing administration credentials, you’ll have to complete continuing education credits to maintain those as well. Fortunately, if you earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you’re exempt from the continuing education requirement for three years.

Keep Up with Everything Else You Need to Know

Nursing administrators face constantly evolving medical technology, government regulations, organizational rules and business practices. You’ll have to be able to complete documentation on whatever system the health records are maintained on while handling routine issues like staff evaluations, hiring new people, and ensuring that they’re trained. You may still need to assist with patient care from time to time; this is why maintaining your nursing certifications is essential though you’re moving into management.
Floor nursing may be the stereotypical job for nurses, but you can move into management with the right credentials. You may then be able to move up in the organization or make a lateral career move into whatever role you think is best.

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Care Gaps and How They Affect


Patients in the United States
In an ideal world, every person in need of quality healthcare would receive outstanding care and service. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are a variety of methods for measuring the quality of care received, one thing is certain: gaps in healthcare exist across incomes, states and regions.

Tens of millions of people in the United States experience what are known as care gaps, which can manifest in many ways. While the effects are numerous, the end result can impact everything from quality of life to life expectancy.
As such, healthcare providers and patients alike have vested interest in uncovering what care gaps are, how they impact patients, and what can be done to equalize outcomes. Let’s examine the concept of care gaps and how they’re impacting public health in the US.

Examples of Care Gaps

Perhaps the most common definition of care gaps is situations where individuals are not receiving the recommended services and care that their age, gender or health status indicate as necessary. This can be anything from mammograms and prostate exams to regular check-ups and cancer screenings.

Because preventative care is both more affordable and more effective than treatment, both individuals and insurers have a vested interest in leveling this playing field. However, all too often, care gaps appear and then continue to grow in scope. Healthcare Finance News reports that providers should simply try to get these patients into the office, and use this as an opportunity to work through whatever logistics are leading to their individual care gaps.

Another example of care gaps – though different in scope – relate to managerial and bureaucratic inefficiencies. Often referred to as “paper gaps”, these inefficiencies are not inherently the result of a lack of care, but they can be present under select situations. Anywhere from one-fifth to one-half of the actual care gap in a given area can be due to quality management issues. Thankfully, these kinds of gaps are much easier to fix than tangible care-related gaps.

Te Impact on Individuals and Healthcare

Regular healthcare check-ups, screenings and simple access to medical services as needed are exponentially powerful in improving quality of life. Particularly among those who are between the ages of 50 and 65, care gaps mean increased spending for healthcare providers and patients alike. One report discovered that patients affected by care gaps only amount to around one-quarter of the population, yet end up comprising roughly 40 percent of future healthcare costs. Roughly $250 billion per year in lost economic productivity is contributed to care gaps within the US health sector.
While the cost factor is a major consideration for healthcare insurance providers and the federal government, the effects on quality of life are arguably much more important. It is estimated that approximately 35,000 Americans die each year from diseases that could have been prevented or treated if caught sooner.

Care gaps are real, they cost the US economy hundreds of billions each year, and the effects on patients are devastating. While some of the care gap can be attributed to poor record keeping and a lack of analytical prowess, much of this relates to income and availability of medical services within communities. Healthcare professionals must take proactive steps to intervene with patients as needed to shrink this tragic reality.

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Everything You Need to Know About Going Back to School after Retirement


If you have been reading the articles that we posted here on Senior Outlook Today, you know that being a retiree does not mean you stop being productive. There are so many things you can do in your retirement days, including traveling more and starting your own business venture.

In recent years, more seniors are returning to school and pursuing higher degrees. This trend is picking up traction, as there are more students aged 55+ today than there were five years ago. Some universities even have programs for seniors.

The real driving force behind this new trend, however, is the online degree. Top names like Baylor University are opening up their online programs to more students across the country, giving everyone – from professionals to seniors – a chance to go back to school.

There is no shortage of programs and degrees to choose from either. Before you start looking into different courses and degrees you can pursue, here is everything you need to know about going back to school as a retiree.

Why should you return to school?

Taking a course in a field that you like on its own is satisfying. It is a way to achieve more in life; a way that is now more accessible than ever. You no longer have to jump through hoops to enroll in programs from top universities and pursue degrees such as a nursing masters degree online.

Pursuing a higher degree is a great way to keep the mind sharp. You will be learning new skills and studying course materials as you pursue the degree of your dreams. You’ll start reading more and putting your experience to good use.

On top of that, going back to school is a great way to expand your personal and professional network. Even when you choose to study online, you can meet fellow online students – many of them younger than you – and widen your horizon in the process.

You can even return to a career – or start a new one – after completing the course. A graduate or postgraduate degree can help you secure a teaching position. The degree is valuable in today’s market, so you can return to work as an expert in your field once you complete the course.

What are the challenges?

Going back to school as a retiree has its challenges. Don’t think for a second that you will be treated differently just because you are a senior. Online programs from top universities follow the same strict standards as their offline counterparts, so you still need to perform well as a student to graduate.

For younger online students, time management is often a big hurdle. Since you are in your retirement, finding one or two hours every day for studying should not be a problem. You also have the freedom to study from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet.

Even better, you can choose to pursue a degree while realizing other retirement dreams. I know a lot of retirees who are spending their time traveling more while still working towards earning a master’s degree from halfway across the world.

The programs themselves have enrollment requirements that you need to meet. If you want to pursue the aforementioned nursing master’s degree online, for example, you need to be a nurse practitioner who meets the course’s specific enrollment requirements.

Is it difficult to get started?

No; not at all. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find a good online course to enroll in. As mentioned before, more universities are opening their online programs to students from all parts of the country, so you have more courses to choose from right now.

Online courses are substantially more affordable than the equivalent offline programs, so tuition isn’t something you need to worry about either. Besides, there are grants, scholarships, and programs designed to help seniors return to school.

A good example is when you are interested in teaching after acquiring your master’s degree. Using the right scholarship, you can go back to school, earn a master’s degree, and start sharing your lifelong experience with younger students.

You also need to prepare yourself for the course, but this too is an easy task to complete. As long as you can allocate some time – and know how to stick to the schedule – you will have no trouble taking the course and pursuing the degree of your dream. It is never too late to study. The number of graduates who are in their retirement is already close to 10%, so you know there are plenty of opportunities for you to seize.

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From Caregiver to RN: How to Make the Step Up


If you’re a caregiver for a family member or friend and think that you’re pretty good at it, why not become a professional registered nurse (RN)? No matter who you are, what gender you are, or how old you are, there are always opportunities out there for you to make this kind of step up in your life and career.

You should know, however, that caring for one or two people that you know is a completely different ballgame to nursing hundreds of strangers back to health day in, day out. You should also know that, no matter how experienced you may be when it comes to caregiving, you won’t just be able to step into the profession of nursing. Copious amounts of training and education will need to be undertaken before you can call yourself a full-fledged health provider.

To see what you need to do to become a registered nurse, check out the information listed below.

Complete an accredited program

In order to become a registered nurse, first and foremost, you need to complete an accredited nursing program. Accredited in this sense means either a nursing diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or an associate degree. By taking an undergraduate Associate’s Degree in Nursing, you will learn the ins and outs of good practice with regards to bedside manner and treatment, and you will be educated all about proper healthcare regulation, law, ethics, and policy.

If, after taking your accredited program for two years, you are still hungry to learn more about the world of nursing before you actually step into it in a professional sense, you should enroll in an advanced degree course. By taking a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science, for instance, you will receive a far more thorough education in relation to the demands of being a nurse — for the most part, you will be taught all about critical thinking and how it can help to improve patient intervention. Fear not, as the taking of such a course can be balanced alongside a full-time career in nursing. There are plenty of opportunities for you to take an RNBSN online course, meaning you can study and earn your degree in your own time and at your own pace.

Throughout your journey in education, from your first undergraduate degree right through to your final postgraduate one, you will be faced with these kinds of topics:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology

As you can see, then, it might be advantageous for you to brush up on your science knowledge!

Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

While studying for your undergraduate degree, your educators should prepare you for the ensuing NCLEX-RN examination. This exam is an essential milestone in your quest to become a registered nurse — you can’t be deemed a professional nurse until you pass it.

Upon graduation from your undergraduate degree, you should register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing right away, as doing so will speed up the process of you being able to sit the exam. When your time to take the test comes, you will receive an Authorisation of Test notification, either via phone or email.

With over 119 questions to complete in only six hours, the NCLEX-RN exam isn’t going to be a walk in the. You will, then, have to give up the summer following your graduation and devote it to even more revision! If you happen to fail on your first attempt, fear not, as you will have the opportunity to retake the exam once the 45-day waiting period is finished.

Obtain state licensure

With your NCLEX-RN pass confirmation in hand, you then need to set about the task of obtaining state licensure — this is a requirement for you to be able to practice as a nurse in your place of residence. In this instance, you should know that each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to licensing. Some places will require you to sit yet another test in order to prove your worth as a nurse, while other places will just ask you to sign a number of documents. In order to see what your state board mandates with regards to licensure, you need to get in touch with them right away.

The step up from caregiver to registered nurse is not an easy one. If you truly believe that caring for others is your God-given talent, though, you shouldn’t let the trials and tribulations listed above stand in your way. If you want to become a nurse, you go out there and you do it.

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Are You Planning for Long-Term Care?


Image via Unsplash

You’ll probably need long-term care at some point, but are you planning for it? According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 68 percent of seniors 65 and older will experience a physical or cognitive impairment during their lifetime. For some, it’s a permanent disability that leads to a residence in a senior care facility. For others, it’s a temporary health condition that calls for extra help at home. In either case, an inability to finance care can put a senior’s health at risk.

Will You Need Long-Term Care?

Nearly one-third of seniors won’t need long-term care. If you’re healthy today, it’s possible you won’t need care in the future. However, when assessing the likelihood of long-term care, your current health status doesn’t provide the full picture. Seniors should also consider:

  • Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious, varied diet, and exercising daily protects against many lifestyle diseases, some of which are leading causes of death. A healthy lifestyle also protects mobility and functioning for increased independence in old age.

  • Family History: Your genetics may predispose you to certain health conditions, such as diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Your family may also have a history of long lives, which increases your likelihood of needing long-term care.

  • Social Connection: With a strong social network, you may be able to rely on family and friends for help after illness or injury. However, seniors with limited social connections are more likely to require paid care.

  • Home Safety: Falls are a leading cause of injury and disability among elderly adults. According to Aging.com, 30 percent to 50 percent of falls are caused by environmental factors like poor lighting, slippery floors, and uneven surfaces.

If your assessment reveals a high risk of needing long-term care, there are changes you can make today to enable a safer, healthier future. Whether that’s improving diet and exercise to better your health, reaching out your community, or remodeling your home for increased safety, it’s never too late to make changes. However, recognize that while lifestyle changes reduce the possibility and extent of long-term care needs, they don’t guarantee you won’t require care.

How Will You Pay for Long-Term Care?

Many older adults believe Medicare will pay for their long-term care needs. However, Medicare doesn’t cover most types of long-term care. That means seniors must pay for care through private funding. Here are some ways seniors can pay for long-term care:

  • Savings: If you have enough retirement savings, paying for care out-of-pocket is an option. Keep in mind that full-time care costs thousands of dollars per month, even for the most affordable options.

  • Health Savings Accounts: If you funded an HSA while employed, you can use those funds tax-free to pay for long-term care or long-term care insurance. Because HSAs can only be used with High Deductible Health Plans, this option is best utilized when you’re still young and healthy.

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance pays for your care in exchange for monthly premium payments. This allows you to spread out the cost of long-term care and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. However, premiums are higher for older buyers; for the lowest costs, purchase a policy before retiring.

When deciding how you’ll pay for long-term care, don’t forget to factor other end-of-life expenses. If you use all your savings for care, your family may be unable to finance a funeral. Ensure you’ve made arrangements for end-of-life expenses as well, whether that’s a final expense insurance policy, a payable on death bank account, or another prepaid option.

It’s unpleasant to think about growing ill or disabled as you age. But planning ahead for late-life disability makes the difference between a high and low quality of life during your final years. Take steps now to improve your health, but don’t neglect to plan for the possibility of long-term care.

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15 Healthcare Podcasts For Caregivers


Caregivers must manage the stress and difficulties of professional or family caregiving each day. But helpful advice, informative sources and personal stories can lift a little of the burden in this role. Podcasts offer a simple and convenient way to connect to other caregiver’s experiences.

Here are 15 healthcare podcasts caregivers should start listening to.

1. Agewyz

Highlighting caregivers behind the scenes, Jana Panarites discusses the healthcare industry and brings in experts to raise awareness about the aging process. With a focus on informing the world through media, she addresses creative efforts to display different diseases and conditions related to aging.

2. Club Sandwiched

Andrea Weber emphasizes with others caring for two generations. Offering advice on raising kids and managing elderly parents, she takes listeners through the chaos of both responsibilities.

3. Life Is a Sacred Journey

For both seniors and caregivers, this show encourages everyone to find the positives in aging. Micheal Pope and her guests talk about everything from technology to pride in relation to older family members and friends.

4. The Healthcare Policy Podcast

As policy issues come to light, David Introcaso weighs in on the pros and cons. Caregivers can stay current with updates in the healthcare system with this insightful tool.

5. Transition Aging Parents

Dale Carter shares her findings on handling parents who are declining in health. Several supports, like financial tips and advice on VA benefits, make her podcast a significant resource.

6. Drew Wilson Discusses Telemedicine

Attorney and legislative specialist Andrew B. Wilson sat down with First Healthcare Compliance to address telemedicine in this podcast episode. As telemedicine rises, it has the potential to impact healthcare delivery, and this informative podcast covers these changes.

7. Senior Life Journeys

Executive director and author Carol Howell concentrates on dementia and specific scenarios she encountered with her mother. Her commentary helps others wade through the confusion of caring for a patient with dementia.

8. Healing Ties on the Whole Care Network

Christopher MacLellan, affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” is a former working family caregiver, began the podcast to promote advocacy and communication before, during and after Caregiving end. The Whole Care Network is a story-based platform allowing many podcasters to share their caregiving stories, knowledge and resources.

9. TEDTalks Health

From the popular media organization that hosts TED Talk videos, this podcast offers engaging presentations about health. Various doctors, researchers and experts give their recommendations on healthy practices and medicine.

10. Caregiver SOS: On Air

Gerontologist Carol Zernial and veteran broadcaster Ron Aaron analyze common questions that plague caregivers. Along with Dr. James Huysman, an author and psychologist, these professionals go over issues like transportation and brain changes in the elderly.

11. Caregivers’ Circle

Featuring caregivers tending to children with disabilities, too, this podcast pinpoints unique issues in caregiving. It leads back to the fact that different levels and kinds of care still have universal links.

12. Medtech Talk

Pick up on the complexities of the healthcare industry by listening to commentary from the experts and leaders. Medtech Talk goes over trends and innovations from reliable perspectives. Search through their inventory of episodes to learn about specific solutions that might apply to aging individuals.

13. People With Parents

In storytelling style, comedian Leighann Lord delves into the role reversal aspect of caregiving. As a lighthearted review of the ups and downs of interacting with older parents, she gives her personal account of this unfamiliar terrain.

14. Happy Healthy Caregiver

Consultant Elizabeth Miller examines ways to enhance the routine of a caregiver. With tips for self-care, she encourages those in this role to avoid burnout.

15. Dave, the Caregiver’s Caregiver

Dave Nassaney and Adrienne Gruberg each take one-of-a-kind perspectives to this show as they interview other caregivers. Moving forward through grief and making life full for those in their care is a substantial portion of this podcast.

Tune Into a Helpful Podcast

While caregiving is an intense role, the daily compassionate efforts of professionals and family members are worthwhile. Podcasts can efficiently spread the stories and resources for caregivers as they support their loved ones.

Authors Bio: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory

 

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Feeling Good When It’s Your Job To Care: Tips For Caregivers


Photo via Pixabay by Silviarita

Taking care of someone is a big job that often requires quite a bit of physical strength and emotional reserve. It can be difficult to manage your own life around someone else’s needs, and sometimes, that job can take a toll on your physical and mental health. For that reason, it’s imperative to make sure you take good care of yourself, learn to cope with stress and anxiety, and find ways to relax and focus on your own needs once in a while.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can do this. Managing your stress may seem like a difficult task, but there are things you can do to help yourself learn to cope in a healthy way no matter what is going on in your life. Not only will this allow you to focus on your own needs and boost your mental health, it will also help you find the motivation and energy you need to help your loved one or patient.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to practice self-care when you’re a caregiver.

Get enough rest

Adequate sleep–or a lack of it–can be one of the biggest reasons a person feels unable to cope with stress or anxiety. When you aren’t able to rest, your physical and mental abilities are reduced, making even the simplest of daily tasks difficult. There are several things you can do to help yourself get better rest, but it all starts with a good mattress that addresses your unique sleep needs. If your bedding is more than ten years old, or if you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and unrested, it’s time for a new mattress; be sure to check online for ones with good reviews.

Take a timeout

It can be overwhelming to try to handle everything in your own life when you’re taking care of someone else’s every need, but it’s important to try to take some time for yourself when you can. Whether that means heading out of town for an overnight trip or just sitting with a good book at the end of the day, think of small ways you can reduce stress and have some time to yourself. This isn’t always easy for caregivers to do, so talk to family members or coworkers to see if anyone can help out.

Eat right

Caregivers are more at risk than others for symptoms of depression or anxiety, and it’s common for them to not get enough rest or eat well-balanced meals every day. When you don’t eat right or stay hydrated, your mood and energy level can bottom out, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritable. If your schedule during the day (or night) is hectic, consider packing yourself several small, easy-to-eat snacks that will keep your blood sugar stable and help you get the nutrients you need. Cut-up veggies and hummus, string cheese, whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, and water or 100-percent fruit juice are great starts.

Treat yourself

When you get some time to yourself, make an effort to find a way to treat yourself. Get a massage or pedicure, spend some time doing something you love, or cook yourself a delicious meal. Finding small, healthy ways to make yourself happy will allow you to relax a little and take the weight of your job as a caregiver off your shoulders.

Feeling better when you spend so much time taking care of someone else can be difficult because it can lead to guilt or anxiety. Try to keep in mind that it’s just as important for your patient’s well-being as it is for yours, because you can’t be your best self when you’re tired or stressed out.

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How Caregivers Can Create a Safe Environment for Their Patients


As a caregiver, you have many important things to remember and jobs to fulfill. One area that’s essential for your patients is creating a safe environment. Whether it’s in their home, a facility or even the hospital, there are steps you can take to create a place that’s safe and comfortable without undergoing an entire remodel. Simple steps, such as keeping medication within arm’s reach and removing slippery rugs, can make a huge difference.

Here are seven ways to make a space safe for your patients.

1. Start With the Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the easiest places for an accident with constant movement such as bending, sitting, leaning over and more. Depending on the person’s level of activity, you can purchase a portable toilet seat that sits on top of the toilet, so your patient doesn’t need to get up from sitting. You can also install adjustable tub seats or grab bars to make getting in and out of the bathtub or shower easier.

2. Keep the Bedroom Close to Family Activity

If your patient is still living at home, you want to make the space feel normal and safe. Consider moving the master bedroom toward the hub of the family if it’s currently located somewhere else. Try to position it so your patient has views of the outside world through a window or a sliding glass door. You can even rearrange the furniture for clear pathways and put the bed in a place where your patient can access it from all sides.

3. Keep Outdoor Spaces in Good Condition

It’s easy to think of a home modification as just the interior, but the exterior is just as important. You want your patient to have a beautiful outdoor space with plenty of room for them to enjoy certain activities. For example, try repairing any broken steps and installing plenty of lights in case your patient wants to sit outside at night. You can even get creative with colorful furniture or a swing that catches the eye and serves as a focal point.

4. Try Window Film

More hospitals and health care facilities are starting to use window film for protection and energy efficiency. For example, window film can help prevent damage from harsh weather conditions and give your patient greater peace of mind about their home or living situation. Specially designed window films will help shattered glass hold together in places where damage and burglary could occur. Try installing window film in your patient’s home to give it some extra protection.

5. Pay Attention to Floors

Floors can be a safety hazard all on their own. Scatter rugs, frayed carpet or loose edges can all cause your patient to trip. Remove what you can and tape or tack down the loose carpet edges. In the bathroom, try putting safety strips or a nonskid mat at the bottom of the tub to keep the individual from falling. If certain shelves or closets are too high, leave a step stool on the floor of the kitchen or bedroom, so your patient isn’t tempted to stand on a chair.

6. Keep Important Items Within Reach

Odds are your patient would like to keep a level of autonomy. An easy way to grant their wish is by keeping their important items within reach. For example, put a night light on their bedstand along with their medication. In the kitchen, you can keep their favorite snack on the table. Put their toothpaste and toothbrush on top of the bathroom sink. It’s the little things that can make a difference in how they move around.

Make the Environment Comfortable

It’s important to create a safe environment for your patients, but you shouldn’t sacrifice comfort. Give them all the tools they need to live safely and comfortably in your home, and you will exceed a job well done.

About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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How to Travel with Someone Who Has an Illness


As much as you may enjoy traveling, you can’t neglect your health at any point. Moreover, what if you want to travel with someone that has an illness? While this shouldn’t stop you from traveling, you must keep in mind a number of steps in order to protect yourself and your travel buddy.

It all boils down to the research that you do before your trip and being prepared when the departure date finally arrives. Have you packed the necessary medication? Does everyone have travel insurance? Have you thought about hiring a medical escort?

In order to avoid the chaos of visiting a hospital in a foreign country, make a note of the following points.

Bring the necessary medication

If your travel partner has certain medication that they take for their health, it must be packed in their suitcase. That being said, make sure to research what the airline rules are about bringing prescription medicine, to ensure that you aren’t flagged for it.

Be safe and do prior research

Above all, you must stay safe abroad. Do prior research before you arrive at your destination, and don’t do anything that could potentially put anyone in danger.

Moreover, everyone should also make a point of visiting a vaccine travel clinic, to ensure that you and your loved ones will not become sick or worsen an existing condition.

Bring a medical escort on board

If you know for a fact that the individual you are traveling with will require medical assistance and that they are prone to health risks, you should consider bringing a medical escort with you

There are companies who offer these types of services, such as Flying Angels, as they help you plan your flight and help ensure that you have everything you need before you get on board, such as the necessary medical equipment.

Invest in travel insurance

Investing in travel insurance will ensure that you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars of your own money to pay for a hospital bill abroad.

Even if you have asked the doctor about whether or not it is safe to travel with a current illness, and you have received approval to do so, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t over-do it with physical activity

Although you may want to push yourself to participate in various types of activities while in another country, no one should over-exert themselves. If you do, you will be putting yourself at risk of encountering additional health problems and worsening the illness. Even if you want to hike for long periods of time, keep in mind that too much exercise can negatively impact your health.

Traveling is a fun and inspiring activity, although you can never neglect the importance of your health while you are planning any trip. This is especially true if you or someone you know already has an illness and a predisposition towards certain health problems. Although this should not deter you from leaving on your trip, you must take the necessary and precautionary measures at all times. The whole point of your travels is to relax and have fun, not spend time in a foreign hospital.

 

 

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