Everyone wants to feel as though they can make their own decisions and choices. As we age, our bodies may have another idea, hampering our abilities to do things for ourselves.
Whether chronic illness, dementia, or pain is the cause of a loss of independence, or it’s family members with the best intentions, there are many reasons we may lose our independence as we age.
As a caregiver, it’s important to try and foster the need for your loved one’s independence whenever it is safely and reasonably possible to do so. There are many small, impactful ways that as caregivers, you’re able to encourage independence in your loved one.
Emergencies can happen at any time but dome demographics, such as elderly people are most at risk because of chronic health conditions or special needs such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Whether you’re caring for a loved one or are simply a professional caregiver, it’s important to have an emergency plan in place in case something happens.
Elderly people are more susceptible to falls due to decreased mobility and, in many cases, may have a co-occurring health condition that requires special treatment. Other common emergencies in the elderly are strokes, heart attacks, and diabetic emergencies.
When caring for an aging loved one, it’s important to have a plan together to keep them safe in the event an emergency occurs.
Getting a good night sleep is a crucial component to your overall health and wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep each night helps your body recharge and refresh after a long day and boosts your immune system to help keep you from getting sick. It can also help your mind stay sharp by improving your concentration and emotional regulation skills, and benefits your memory too. Unfortunately, as many as 70 million people in the United States alone have some form of sleep disorders or conditions. Another 30 million have intermittent sleep problems each year. That’s a lot of people who aren’t getting enough sleep.
Sleep problems are a common concern, especially for older adults. There are many reasons that someone can have sleep issues, and the reasons vary from conditions such as anxiety, depression, to hormonal changes or medical conditions that cause pain. Other environmental factors can also play a role in sleeping problems, such as consuming caffeine or alcohol later in the day, stress, or exercising in the evening.
As you age, you may begin to notice that you have more issues sleeping such as having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep or changes in your sleeping habits and schedules. Some of these are a normal part of aging, but there are some signs that indicate that there may be an underlying condition such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia that you may have. It is important to note that sleep apnea, RLS, and insomnia are not a normal part of aging, and if you are having symptoms of these conditions, you should make an appointment with your doctor or a sleep specialist as soon as you can for further advice and treatment.
Gardening is one of the many hobbies people have become interested in during the pandemic. Garden stores hit a boom during COVID, with supplies have been flying off the shelves like never before. For some people, gardening was a way to gain some control over their food supply with an uncertain future. For others, it was a hobby they'd always wanted to try but didn't have the time for due to busy work schedules. Many people have discovered that gardening has been a way for them to destress and stay active. But for seniors, especially those who were home-bound before the pandemic, gardening has always been a great way to to be active, both mentally and physically — and best of all, it doesn't have to be complicated or involve working long hours in the hot sun. Here are just some of the benefits gardening provides for seniors:
At some point in your life, you will likely be tasked to care for a loved one either due to illness, injury, or age-related complications. One of the most common and long-term types of caregiving is related to caring for an elderly loved one, be it a family member, spouse, or friend. As people age, they face an increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or a decline in general health. Most of the time, depending on the family’s situation, the responsibility of caring for a loved one falls on a spouse, or close relative such as an adult child or sibling.
When taking over the care, health and safety of another, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, or even resentful, especially in cases where you may have not had a choice in the matter. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is an estimated 1 in 3 adults in the United States who are informal caregivers. Even still, many are reluctant to give themselves that title and credit to themselves that they are caregivers.
As a caregiver of anyone, it’s vital that you care for yourself as well. As the old phrase goes, “if a plane is crashing, you need to use your mask for a breath first before you can help anyone else,” and the saying is true also in terms of caring for a loved one. Many caregivers are uncomfortable asking for help for themselves, generally because they feel as though they are being selfish for asking or they may feel as though they simply don’t have time to pay any attention to their needs while caring for their loved one. Both these situations are a leading cause of caregiver burnout, and when that happens, no one benefits.
Although it can be a challenge balancing both your needs and your loved one’s needs, it’s not impossible to care for yourself, but it may take more planning or forethought as to how you can begin. Here are some tips of how to accomplish self-care whilst being a caregiver.