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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Healthy Benefits of Gardening


Helping Your Loved One To Carry On Gardening In Later Years

If you are caring for someone in their twilight years, you will know just how important hobbies and recreation are for them, and indeed for you as the caregiver. It’s not just the fact of getting out in the fresh air and having something to do – although this is, of course important. The CDC has carried out research and found that just two hours of gardening per week can have a profound effect on health issues that include blood pressure, depression, maintaining a healthy weight, osteoporosis, and many other conditions.

Clearly, there are plenty of reasons for your loved one to want to carry on gardening for as long as possible – even if they have reduced mobility or other physical or medical conditions that might mean they cannot do quite as much as they used to. How can we make it easier for them?

Choose your battles

There are some activities that are clearly going to be outside the scope of someone who is frail or has restricted mobility. Trimming hedges and cutting grass are prime examples. Outside assistance is going to be necessary with the labor-intensive tasks, and you might consider weighing up the benefits of doing away with the lawn entirely in favor of artificial grass.

Maintaining flower gardens and tending vegetable beds, however, are activities that anyone can enjoy. And if you invest in a few handy tools and accessories, there is nothing to stop your loved one from continuing to enjoy his or her hobby.

Useful tools

Vertical planting beds are ideal, as they negate the need to bend or crouch down. Alternatively, raised beds have a similar effect, and can easily be made from simple containers. Even better, you can put them on casters to make them easy to move around. Also, look out for lightweight gardening equipment such as shears and clippers, or ones with easy-grip handles. These are particularly useful for those with arthritis. At a push, you can adapt existing tools using plastic tubing, foam, and tape.

Stay safe, and enjoy the garden

Take care to keep walkways clear, and sweep them regularly to avoid slip hazards. Make sure there is plenty of shade for those hot summers days, and ensure any injuries or even minor scratches are treated promptly. Finally, provide plenty of seating, so that your loved one can take time to rest and enjoy the garden – it doesn’t all have to be work, work work!

Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets and can be reached at jessalterwriter@gmail.com

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When You Need Some Help: 5 Reasons to Join a Caregiver Support Group


In a world that seems to have lost the idea of the “village,” sometimes we feel pressured to be able to do it all. Asking for assistance or admitting that you are overwhelmed feels like failure, and we often think that we’re being judged by others as not good enough. And that’s just with normal, everyday life.

When you find yourself caring for a loved one, the pressure increases. You are expected to take on this additional burden with a smile, and your willingness to do so seems to be a measurement of your love; expressing your anger or frustration to friends and family earns you appalled looks of disbelief. The good news is that there is a village for you; a caregiver support group. Here are 5 reasons why you should think about joining one.

To Reduce Stress

Perhaps the primary reason to join a support group for caregivers is to reduce your stress levels. Simply having that hour to yourself every week is an important step in separating yourself from the role of caregiver and reclaiming your identity. Being under excessive stress can have negative consequences for both your physical health, and your mental well-being. Maintaining your own well-being is essential to being able to properly care for your loved one.

To Gain a Safe Space

You won’t find any disapproving looks or judgment in a support group. Support groups are by their very nature a confidential and judgment-free zone, where you can discuss your frustrations and less than charitable thoughts with people who understand exactly what you’re going through. They can help alleviate your feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and when you admit to selfish thoughts and attitudes, they will nod their heads and tell you that they understand.

To Reduce Feelings of Isolation

When you’re a caregiver for someone else, it’s easy to find yourself feeling alone, both literally and emotionally. When you can’t leave your loved one to go have a drink with your friends, or you spend all your waking time tending to someone else’s needs, you often find that you don’t have any social interactions. All your contacts are with the person you’re caring for, or their healthcare professionals. Emotionally, it appears nobody else understands you and it’s difficult to relate to those outside your situation. Joining a support group puts you in touch with other people who get it.

To Prevent Burnout

If you end up caring for someone else for too long, without any support system in place for yourself, you’re likely going to suffer from burnout. You’ll reach a point where caring for someone has taken such a toll on you that you are incapable of continuing, and many times, you’ll lose your identity and sense of self. Caregivers leave their support groups feeling refreshed and empowered to keep going. Members can point you in the direction of other resources and programs that can assist you. You may be able to find help with meals, respite care, or even an opportunity to hire a part-time caregiver to relieve you.

To Gain Insights and Advice

Being part of a support group is one of the best ways to find valuable advice and information about caregiving. Everyone has their own methods for dealing with stress, setting boundaries, and finding time for self-care. Having the knowledge of so many others freely available can help you to discover which tips and tricks will work best for you. They may be even able to help prepare you for what to expect down the road.

Joining a caregiver support group may be the best thing that you can do for yourself during this trying time. It will help you maintain your own well-being while caring for another.

About Audrey:

Audrey Robinson is a careers blogger, supporting online knowledge libraries like BizDb. Audrey enjoys working with people from different professions, sharing her tips for self-improvement, improving one’s career opportunities and preventing burnout. Feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson.

 

 

 

 

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5 Lifesaving Technologies for Caregivers


No matter if you’ve chosen caregiving as a career path or are overseeing the well-being of a family member in your home, technologies exist that can make your job easier and keep the people you assist safer.

1. The AngelSense GPS Tracker

Some ailments, such as dementia, make people quickly become confused and wander away, despite their caregivers’ best efforts to ensure their safety. The AngelSense GPS tracker reduces those panic-filled moments where caregivers wonder what happened to the people they were looking after.

A person in need of care wears it on their body, and an accompanying smartphone app reveals that individual’s location. The app also allows urgently notifying first responders in the event of an emergency. A geofencing feature provides email and text alerts if a person wanders outside a defined area, too.

There are numerous other GPS tracking choices, but this one is more economical than most, even with the monthly service subscription.

Doctors regularly use wearable devices to deliver things like medication reminders or engage in remote patient monitoring. The AngelSense device lets everyday consumers realize why medical providers increasingly depend on wearables as essential parts of patient care.

($99 for the product, then $33.33 to $59.99 per month for service, depending on the plan)

2. The Carely App

When a family member isn’t doing well, loved ones become even more stressed out. Many of them provide care that seems appropriate, but don’t realize someone has already assumed responsibility for handling a certain need.

The Carely app aims to streamline communications between family members and professional caregivers to ease mental distress and overall confusion about care. It also saves time for primary caregivers by compiling information temporary providers of care can instantly access through the app.

Moreover, medical professionals can upload content to Carely, creating digital versions of paperwork.

Many of the caregiving apps on the market don’t specifically focus on family members, but Carely does. It informs everyone at once, which is particularly useful when loved ones live out of town and can’t visit the people who need care as much as they’d like.

(Free for iOS and Android)

3. Express Messaging Systems

Facilities that manage the care of numerous people at once need an efficient way to contact loved ones in case of emergencies like building maintenance issues, power outages or other unplanned events. An express messaging system distributes communications in bulk to targeted recipients, thereby saving time during hectic circumstances.

An express messaging service can also be useful inside an assisted living community to remind residents about upcoming social events or other matters related to their daily activities.

4. The Maddak Patient Handler Lifting Aid

Transfers are among the most common duties caregivers handle, whether to help a person move into an armchair or get into bed. However, improper lifting techniques can cause back strain for a caregiver and put the lifted person at risk of falling.

The Patient Handler from Maddak is a shaped piece of flexible plastic that looks like a sling and conforms to a person’s shape. It features two pairs of cutout hand grips on either side, enabling caregivers to find the best position to lift a person securely.

Other — significantly more expensive — transfer aids exist, but the comparatively low price of this option and its basic design make it user-friendly and affordable.

(Priced at $70.55 plus shipping)

5. Reminder Rosie

Caregivers have dozens of things to remember each day, and there’s always a chance they might forget a couple of them — they’re humans, after all.

Reminder Rosie helps prevent that possibility by allowing caregivers to record up to 25 custom reminders in any language to aid people in need of assistance with remembering things such as to eat regularly, exercise or take care of personal grooming. It’s possible to set reminders to go off at any day or time.

The Reminder Rosie gadget looks like a clock, but it’s mostly voice-activated, so people don’t have to fumble with cumbersome buttons. An emergency backup system ensures the product keeps working even during power outages.

(Priced at $119.95 with shipping included)

Improving Caregiving for Everyone Involved

A decision to work as a caregiver comes with challenges, but most people who choose the path realize it’s worth those momentary obstacles. The solutions listed above could reduce stress and enhance the quality of care for both patients and those who look after them.

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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Why Hobbies Are Important For Caregivers


Why Hobbies Are Important For Caregivers

For the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in the US who provide unpaid care to an adult or child, stress and anxiety are negative health effects that may affect the level of caregiving they are providing. Family caregivers need relief from the stressful duties of caring for loved ones and one of the ways to accomplish this is to engage in enjoyable activities for a healthier lifestyle. Recent studies show that individuals who are involved in meaningful activities are less stressed and sad. It does not matter what hobbies are taken up, the act of doing something you like to do slows down heart rates and is calming. If you are a caregiver, keeping your hobbies and finding time for them will not only relieve you of the stress or anxiety you feel but also help you do your duties better when you are relaxed and energized.

Why hobbies are important in caregiving

The task of caregiving is not only physically demanding but also takes a toll on your mental and psychological condition. Whether you have a full-time job and care for loved ones after work or took time off to become a full-time carer, there is no doubt that you need to step out every so often, treat or do something for yourself. If you have been pursuing interests before, there is no need to give them up because of caregiving. In fact, it even becomes a necessity to continue your hobbies for they are helpful in boosting your energy levels and reducing stress. Pretty much like the exercise that you love to do, having a hobby achieves the same purpose. It stimulates your mind, improves functioning and assists in providing a better quality of care for patients or those under your wings.

Sharing interests with loved ones

Going out to the movies, knitting, drawing, photography, walks in parks, exercising, swimming and other leisure activities are some examples of hobbies that you can start or go back to. It’s even better if you can share these hobbies with the person you are caring for. Introducing a loved one to a hobby that you can do together not only makes it easy to be present around a patient but also helps their physical and mental condition. Hobbies that specifically make use of outdoor settings are very healthy not only for the fresh air that you breathe, but also for the opportunity to enjoy nature, stretch those limbs and just appreciate the surroundings. And if your patient or loved one is up to it, you can take walks together or even gardening. Sharing your hobby with them can also make a big difference in their mood.

Attending to someone’s daily needs is not an easy task. It can burn you out, making caregiving a daily challenge. Taking up new hobbies, reviving old ones or sharing them with your loved ones and family can help reduce stress and assist in providing a good quality of care.

Guest Writer: “Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.”

Jess Walter <jesswalterwriter@gmail.

 

 

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Simple video wall solution transforms a hospital


We welcome back guest writer, Mia Clark to The Purple Jacket.

Simple video wall solution transforms a hospital

Now Future Past

The introduction of technology to institutions such as hospitals can completely transform the way things are done. A video wall is an electronic screen comprising of several LCD monitors, LEDs, TVs, or projectors that are fixed and installed together on a wall. A simple video wall solution can mitigate several problems that might be faced by a hospital.

Administration

Video walls can assist hospital administration by displaying signs to nurses, patients and visitors. This could include messages such as directions and maps of the hospital, paging calls for doctors and urgent messages for staff members. Information such as doctors who are absent, stand-in staff and waiting times could also be displayed to keep patients and visitors updated.

Although banners are regularly used for this purpose, video walls can contain more information and display messages with details. Video walls are also more prone to catching the attention of those walking by as the messages are not static.

Practical examples

Video walls can also be used by hospital administration to remind hospital staff about procedures and rules relating to patient treatment and care. Graphics and text explaining patient procedures can be displayed and easily changed for the various departments. Training videos and treatment guides will reduce the margins of error that a nurse can make during patient treatments and may prove invaluable in emergency instances where first-aid or other urgent services are required.

For instance, there have been several instances of patients falling in hospitals, particularly when hospital staff or nurses attempt to move a patient from operation theatre to general ward or from ambulance to the emergency room or from stretcher to bed. Such incidents of patient-fall have resulted significant injuries to already ill patients. This could be especially harmful and even fatal for patients who are older and already weak from severe illness. Video walls can thus help educate hospital staff about the preconditions for relocating patients from one space to another.

In addition to the benefits of administration and teaching, the hospital can also use the video walls for advertisement purposes. Pharmaceutical agencies, public health services and private companies can be offered paid advertising slots on video walls to generate an income stream for the hospital. Revenue gained from advertising can be invested into improving hospital facilities and acquiring new technology.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, video walls can be used to transform hospitals into well-managed healthcare facilities with state of the art technology and top-quality health care. It will assist the hospital administration in managing hospital affairs in a more sophisticated and disciplined manner. It can be used to remind staff about patient procedures and could even generate an extra income through advertising. HD displays can make hospital walls appear more colorful and improve the monotone aesthetics and clinical feel of the hospital environment while providing staff, patients and visitors with essential information.

Mia Clarke is part of the content and community team at Userful.com, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Mia is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling. Mia can be reached at Mia Clarke <userful@canwetalk.co>

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Stress-Busting Apps For Caregivers


We welcome free lance writer Jess Walker to The Purple Jacket

Stress-Busting Apps For Caregivers

Recent research has found that most care in the US is provided by family members, rather than nurses or doctors. This has resulted in over 40 million unpaid carers who look after adults aged over 65 in the US – and this statistic doesn’t even factor in paid carers and carers who look after people aged under 65.

This means that it is likely that there are hundreds of millions of caregivers in the US, and many of these carers will also have full times jobs and families of their own. Caregiving is already a fairly stressful job, and the extra responsibilities can leave carers feeling exhausted, anxious and upset. If you can relate to this, you could try using some stress-busting apps to help you feel better on a day to day basis. Here are three stress-busting apps for caregivers.

Happify

If you want to reduce stress levels and kick negative thoughts, consider downloading Happify. The app was designed by 18 happiness and health experts, and it has lots of positive games and gratitude prompts to improve your mood and help you to relax. This is very important because the medical community has recognized for many years that working as a caregiver poses an increased risk of ill health and mortality. The app also offers useful lifestyle suggestions, which is very handy as caregivers are often rushed off their feet! For instance, the app provides healthy meal options, including fruits, vegetables, healthy drinks that help to boost cognitive capabilities and snack suggestions.

SAM

SAM (also known as Self-help for Anxiety Management) is an app that helps you to monitor anxious thoughts. It allows you to track behavior and mood patterns, making it easier for you identify causes of stress. It also offers lots of guided self-help exercises to help you relax. Instead of watching online videos, try using this app to de-stress after a day of looking after your loved one.

Breathe2Relax

This wonderful little app was created by the Department of Defense to help veterans with PTSD, and it helps users to learn diaphragmatic breathing. This is really useful has various studies have found that controlled breathing can reduce stress. The app has lots of great features, including a log where you can record stress levels and customizable guided breathing sessions.

Life as a caregiver is both rewarding and challenging. Even if you love having such a meaningful role in someone else’s life, it is important to make sure you don’t put your own needs to the side.

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets and can be reached at Jess Walter <jesswalterwriter@gmail.com>

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How To Work Towards A Healthier Lifestyle


Many people are guilty of enjoying treats every now and again, but these small habits can turn into more significant problems if not managed effectively. There are heaps of outside influences from the people you spend the most time with to the media bombarding you with temptation every minute of the day. It can be hard to get away from it but using some substantial willpower can assist in building a barrier up to these unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Create a list

Before you start to eliminate habits, you have to build up a list of things that you want to change about your current lifestyle. This could be a host of things that may include losing weight, getting healthier, giving up undesirable habits or just wanting to feel happier. This list can help to keep you focused on the important things and direct you through tougher times. In these cases, it is also a good idea to note down why you want to incorporate these changes, as this can also assist in bringing about positive change as you have something to look back on and remind yourself of the progress you are making.

Take your time

When you have your list, making drastic changes is a big no-no, as this can bring on everything on too fast and you’re unlikely to sustain momentum. Taking small steps to achieve the wider goal will give you the chance to see and feel the full force of your actions and take advantage of the positive steps along the journey. So where do you look to start making the initial changes? Looking at the basics is an ideal place, although they can sometimes be the hardest places to get your going on your journey as they are embedded in your mindset. Breaking free of this will open up a whole world of opportunities and the chance to discover your own strength.

Change your lifestyle choices and habits

Lifestyle choices cover a host of things from eating right, exercising well and quitting bad habits. It is often said that food is one of the biggest factors in leading a better lifestyle and although this is true, complementing this with moving more and cutting out temptation has profound effects on health. Incorporating exercise into your everyday routine however small can help to boost your energy and make you feel more productive for the day ahead. Even small steps such as taking a walk during the workday to relieve your mind from the stresses of the environment and get your eyes away from the screen help to clear your head.

Social habits are other things that may need addressing, as albeit having friends is great for your health, they can also be a negative influence too. By getting everyone on board with your lifestyle changes, this can help to bring everything in line, so you can stride towards your goals. It may also help others to assess their lifestyle choices in order to change their habits too. Some habits are harder to break, and if you enjoy a drink, or have found that drugs have become a regular occurrence in your life, this is a lifestyle habit to certainly address. Thinking about how these affect your life is one of the first steps to seeking help to quit them. Drug rehab centers are an invaluable resource in changing this compulsive habit and can help turn your life around for the better.

Have a positive mindset

Nothing can be achieved if your mind is filled with negative and self-destructive thoughts. The overall effects of this type of thinking can cause several physical and mental health problems, which drain your energy and dull any positive thoughts. It’s natural to feel down or pessimistic some of the time, but if this is a constant occurrence in your life, this has to be addressed before you can take the next step. It could be that you don’t enjoy your job, or you feel your friends are having a bad influence on your mindset; immersing yourself in new experiencing can help break this cycle. It can be easy just to get stuck in a rut and feel that you are just existing and not living, but battling through these mental barriers can have a huge impact on your outlook for the future. There will be several obstacles in the way including the opinions of others and the tussle in your own self-doubt, but striving to feel more confident and self-aware will help you leap into a better stage of your life.

Quit the junk food

Quitting junk food is often seen as one of the easiest ways to break your bad lifestyle choices, but in fact, it can be the hardest. Junk food can be an addiction, and the additives and sugars in these foods make you crave more and more of it. Breaking this cycle is a hard journey too, as there is so much promotion of bad habits plastered across the media every day. Making small changes here will most likely see the most significant success rates, as entirely binning the junk is possibly going to make you feel deprived, which can lead to failing very quickly. There is no reason why you can’t treat yourself every now and again, but when it becomes a daily habit, this is not classified as a treat no matter how much you tell yourself it is. Reducing or quitting the junk food altogether can make you feel better in no time and you should start feeling more energetic as the days pass. This feeling itself will begin to become more addictive, and you’ll wonder why you even wanted junk food in the first place.

There are several areas of your lifestyle that can be tweaked to ensure you are getting the best foods, exercise, and stimulation possible to promote a healthy outlook. Making small but significant steps will see you through some of the toughest times during this process, but also some of the most rewarding ones too. Taking the leap can be the hardest part, but you’ll certainly be glad you did.

 

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How to Manage Your Finances as a Caregiver


More than 34 million Americans currently provide unpaid care to loved ones over the age of 50. This can include dropping by to check on their loved one’s well-being, shopping for groceries and assisting with the activities of daily living (ADL). It can include ferrying older people to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy or hospitals. Caregiving can also involve monitoring prescription medication and making sure doctors’ orders are followed.

These multiple caregiving activities have one thing in common: they can erode or even severely damage your finances.

It’s very easy to start spending your own money in caregiving activities. It may start as a bag of groceries or a home-cooked meal. But it can also get larger and deeper very fast. You may renovate your parents’ home to make it safer for elderly living, or you may need to pay part of their mounting medical bills.

Among Americans, 46 percent spend more than $5,000 of their own money caring for elderly relatives yearly. Another 30 percent spends up to $10,000 yearly.

Before you know it, your own finances are in danger. You may have difficulty paying bills. You may take out a second mortgage on your home. You may max out your credit cards or use up rainy day or retirement savings.

The sums spent are compounded by the fact that caregivers often cut back on paying work to give care. Many transition to part-time work which can lead to less cash coming in just when you are spending more.

Fortunately, there are ways to more effectively manage your finances as a caregiver. All caregivers are entitled to look after themselves. After all, if they don’t, they won’t have any energy or patience left to give care with.

Here are the most important ways to manage your finances.

Create a Budget for Yourself

It’s essential to create a budget. Without it, people may tend to be somewhat in the dark about what they are actually spending their money on, and how frequently.

The first step is to start keeping track of what you spend every day, week and month. There are several software programs that allow you to do this — and a spreadsheet or even a small notebook can do the trick as well.

Don’t just guess. Guessing may lead you to believe you are spending $10 on coffee per week when stress has made you spend closer to $10 per day.

Only when you see these figures laid out in front of you will you know how much you are spending. If it matches or is less than your income, great! If it exceeds your income, you need to make some cuts or raise your income.

Create a Budget for Your Loved One

You need a budget for your loved one. You should know how much income your loved one has coming in.

You also need to create a spreadsheet of how much your loved one is spending per day. Then begin to enter it on a spreadsheet for each week and month.

If your loved one has income such as Social Security, retirement distributions or a pension, see how much of their daily expenses it covers. Be sure to leave enough for health insurance and deductibles.

Discuss the Budget With Family Members

If you have siblings or other concerned family members, it’s time to have a meeting once the budget is done. Include your loved one, of course, if that is feasible. If your loved one’s income meets their needs, it’s time for you to stop spending your own cash.

If the income exceeds their needs, broach the idea of the caregiver being paid out of the surplus. It’s not unreasonable for all needs of the loved one to come out of their own funds. Some older people may need help with paying bills and balancing checkbooks.

If the caregiving is extensive and the caregiver has curtailed work, see if the caregiver can be paid out of the loved one’s funds. You want to hold a family meeting so that the use of the funds is transparent and doesn’t cause misunderstanding or hard feelings. If you can be paid, keep a record of all payments for future reference.

Discuss Sharing Arrangements

If the loved one’s funds aren’t sufficient to pay a caregiver, discuss other options with your family. Some common options are:

  • Share caregiving duties with other family members.
  • Engage respite care to give the caregiver a break at least once a week.
  • Hire a live-in caregiver at least part of the time with family members chipping in on the salary.
  • Move the loved one to be closer to you if that eases the financial burden.
  • Move the loved one to an assisted care facility, nursing home or specialized care facility.

If none of these options is realistic for your situation, it might be time to look for other sources of funding.

Look Into Other Funding Sources

Multiple organizations offer potential funding. Medicaid options vary by state, but some offer an allowance for care. They also sometimes have information on other funding sources.

If your state or municipality has services for seniors, ask about what they offer in terms of respite care and funding.

Veterans of the U.S. armed forces should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans who might otherwise have to move into a nursing home have access to a Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services program. It has provisions for managing care, including paying hired caregivers.

The takeaway here is that you don’t necessarily have to compromise your own financial peace of mind to care for an older loved one. Instead, look into these potential sources of help.

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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5 Key Tips for the Working Caregiver


Working a job or running a business while caring for a loved one can be a tough task. You have to balance between making your friend or family member feel loved and comfortable, and working a job to pay the bills. Additionally, with caregiving expenses the overall monthly expenses are likely to be higher and thus quitting a job may not be an option. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the primary caregiver and still have to work, below are 5 tips that can be helpful.

Find a More Flexible Job

The first option is to consider a flexible job that will leave you with enough time to care for your loved one. For instance, if you are currently working fulltime, you could consider a part time job opportunity in a field that pays well. A good example is a medical or dental assistant. Some dental offices hire assistants without any experience or formal training but in some cases you may be required to take a short course in a San Antonio Dental Assistant School. Other flexible opportunities you can consider include data entry, medical billing, freelance writing, transcription, translation, online tutoring, ecommerce stores, blogging, marketing, consultancy, customer service and book keeping, to mention but a few.

Have a Schedule

Review your work plan and the activities that need attention around the house and come up with a schedule for each day. Having a caregiving plan will keep you on track and ensure that everything is done on time. Every night before you go to bed, review your schedule for the next day so that you wake up prepared. Also, consider planning your meals in advance.

Buy Groceries and Other Supplies in Bulk

Going to the store every day is time consuming and thus you should consider shopping for all the supplies you need in bulk. Buying in bulk can also save you a few bucks every month. Make a list before you head to the store to ensure that you do not forget anything.

Exercise

Taking a few minutes to exercise every day can give you an energy boost, reduce fatigue and boost your feel-good hormones. Consider at least 150 minutes of cardio each week and a few minutes of stretching exercises. The workouts can be split to 30 minutes each day for five days. With a good workout routine, you will have more energy to care for your loved one and work your job. Additionally, exercise can boost the quality of your sleep and the strength of your bones.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

When you feel so worn-out, financially drained or emotionally drained, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Putting on a brave face when you’re feeling too drained may affect the quality of care you give to your loved one, your performance at work and your health. Thus, when you are feeling stretched, request a friend or family member to assist with caregiving, finances or just offer a shoulder to lean on.

With proper panning, you will be able to balance your job and caregiving responsibilities. However, note that you will not always have it all together. Don’t feel guilty when you feel tired and need some time off.

Author’s bio: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations. Email: maggiehamm

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5 Ways to Improve Your Mood and Outlook


Depression is often discussed in a way that minimizes it to a purely chemical condition, but in actuality, many negative emotions are caused by circumstances and occurrences with an individual’s life. On the other hand, optimizing your body chemistry by consuming a healthy diet is an excellent way to reduce the effects of depression, anger, and other moods that can have you feeling down and out.

Thus, there are various factors to consider when trying to determine the source of a bad emotion and how to put a stop to it in your everyday life. With that said, here are five things you can do to reduce the incidence of mood swings and create a more enjoyable lifestyle overall.

1.      Fix Your Diet

Most people overlook how profound of an effect diet can have on the way you feel and how you think. Many times, mood swings and bouts of depression are directly related to low blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies, chronic over usage of stimulants like sugar and caffeine, or other poor dietary habits. Try drinking water instead of soda for a while and make it a point to consume mostly whole foods. You don’t necessarily have to become a vegan food lover, and a rare snack of the processed variety won’t hurt, but if you’re wanting better moods, less junk is always better.

2.      Pick up a Hobby

Giving yourself something new to do will help keep your mind occupied and away from the wondering thoughts that may lead you back down the rabbit hole of depression. It can be something as simple as starting a collection of some sort or taking up a sport at the local gym.

3.      Be More Social

Loneliness and depression go hand in hand, so if you’re always alone and feeling sad with no one to talk to, it makes sense that your outlook on the future could suffer as well. Make it a point to make a few friends or reignite some old relationships and you’ll probably feel good that you did.

4. Start Working on that To -Do List

Staying goal oriented and continually making progress is a great way to release a rush of endorphins and serotonin because the brain’s pleasure center tends to issue a feeling of reward and satisfaction whenever a new achievement is tackled.

5. Focus on Success Instead of Failures

Everybody wins some and loses some, but it’s important not to dwell on your losses, even if they are more numerous than your wins. In fact, some of the greatest achievers of all time had to endure a hard-fought journey to the top, and during such battles, failures are almost always going to be more common than successes, so you just have to learn from them.

Give Positives More Weight Than Negatives

By latching onto successes and giving them much more weight than the failures, while also practicing the other tips mentioned above, you can begin to dismiss the shortcomings of your past along with all the detrimental emotions that come along with not letting go and moving on.

Author’s bio: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations. Email: maggiehamm

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