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Support Resources for Caregivers

 

If you’re caring for an older adult and you’ve had to change your routine in the last few weeks with senior centers, doctors' offices, and adult day programs closing due to COVID-19, you might find yourself experiencing more caregiver stress and burnout.

 

Last week, I met with a caregiver who was teleworking from home and whose husband with dementia was unexpectedly home at the same time. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, his home health aide would come to his home 3 days a week and he would attend an adult day program 5 days a week. These resources would help his wife (the caregiver) to continue to work and have a break from caregiving, so that she wouldn't have to give up her whole life in exchange for caregiving. But, since the Coronavirus Pandemic has started, his adult day program has closed, and his home health aide has been sick. As a result, the caregiver is experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm trying to figure out how to work and caregive...

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Scared During COVID-19? Look for the Good!

 

With cities across the nation facing lock-down and Coronavirus rates increasing, people are experiencing higher rates of fear and anxiety.

To add to the tension, we've been separated from our broader support networks due to social distancing, like places of worship, senior centers, and adult day programs.

And don't even get me started on economic concerns. Last week my recently retired friend told me that she emailed her former employer asking for work opportunities due to concerns about how the drop in the stock market is affecting her retirement planning.

This is a scary and uncertain time for us all.

When we're scared and uncertain, it can help to spend a little time "looking for the good".

I'm devoting this week's blog to a few of the good things happening in society that warm my heart and remind me of the connection that I have to the greater good in humanity - see this as looking for the good in the greater good.

 

5 *Good* Things That Are Helping Me To Find...

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Social Distancing Doesn't Have to Mean Social Isolation for Older Adults

With the Coronavirus affecting adults over 60 at greater levels than other age groups, many older adults are electing to “self-isolate” or are actually on “lock down” at long-term care or skilled nursing communities. 

 

Social distancing and protecting the most “at risk” populations (i.e., adults 60 and older) is the current recommendation. And, I will do everything in my power to follow this guideline. 

 

The downside of social distancing, however,  is that it increases loneliness and isolation among a group of folks who are already at risk of social isolation- older adults, and more specifically older adults with chronic illness. 

 

What is the risk of social isolation?

There is a well established body of research linking social isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, and even death. 

...

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Helping Older Adults Stay Connected During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

With the Coronavirus affecting adults over 60 at greater levels than other age groups, many older adults are electing to “self-isolate” or are actually on “lock down” at long-term care or skilled nursing communities. 

 

Social distancing and protecting the most “at risk” populations (i.e., adults 60 and older) is the current recommendation. And, I will do everything in my power to follow this guideline. 

 

The downside of social distancing, however,  is that it increases loneliness and isolation among a group of folks who are already at risk of social isolation- older adults, and more specifically older adults with chronic illness. 

 

What is the risk of social isolation?

There is a well established body of research linking social isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, dementia, and even...

Continue Reading...

5 Surprising Facts about Dementia Caregivers (Ep #038)

 

I hear from caregivers pretty regularly that"nobody really understands how hard caring for a loved one with dementia is!"

So, I decided to share some facts about dementia caregivers in the hopes that it will provide some understanding and support for the dementia caregiver's journey!

 

 

If you're caring for somebody with dementia, I see you and I value what you're doing. Please, please, please take care of yourself because we know that depression and anxiety and stress and strain will not only affect your, your sense of self and well-being, it will affect your health. And so please find some ways to take care of yourself. This episode will give you some resources for self-care. So, read (or watch) until the end!

 

Read transcript here

 

1. Nearly half of all caregivers provide care for someone with dementia

Nearly half (48%) of all caregivers provide care for somebody living with dementia. So of all the illnesses that older adults experience, all the...

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How to Help Older Adults with Depression (Ep #036)

 

Depression is NOT a normal part of aging, but depression IS the most prevalent mental health condition among older adults. Unfortunately, depression in late life often goes undetected and untreated largely due to the false belief that with age comes depression.

This is why it is so important to learn about depression and have tools and resources to help aging parents get treated for depression. In this episode of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I answer several questions related to older adults and depression, including:

  • What are the rates of depression in older adults?
  • What are the signs of depression in older adults?
  • What to do if your aging parent has depression?
  • How do I find mental health providers for older adults?
  • Is depression in older adults treatable?

   

                       

           

What are...

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How To Challenge Stereotypes About Older Adults (Ep #035)

 

Today, I want to talk about how to challenge our stereotypes about older adults.

 

Ageism is Bias and discrimination based on age and it affects older adults more than any other age group. Check out my episode from last week, where I talk about ageism and how it affects older adults.

 

I want to start by saying that categorizing and stereotyping people and developing bias and prejudice are a normal aspects of the human experience- we all do it, no matter our age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc - we all do it. It's a common human phenomenon. So, if you find yourself falling into the bias trap about others, it can help to remind yourself that you're human.

 

But even though its common,  it’s not healthy, and it’s actually very harmful. As humans we’re good at creating biases and stereotypes, but as humans we’re also really also good at learning, healing, and growing. 

 

So I am going to challenge us to make...

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What is Ageism? And, How Does it Affect Older Adults? (Ep #034)

 

What is Ageism? 

Ageism is bias and discrimination based on age and it affects older adults more than any other age group.

To start, I want to give you a few examples of what ageism looks like in every day life. 

Start by thinking about older adults in your every day life. And, ask yourself if you've ever had any of these thoughts?

  • She's so cute!
  • He's surprisingly sharp!
  • Isn't it time that she retires!
  • He's doing so well for 85!   
  • Old people can’t change! “old dogs can’t learn new tricks”        
  • Of course he’s depressed, he’s old
  • Of course, she has dementia, she’s old. 

 

Watch and learn!

                                                         
How...

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Creative Tips for Talking With Your Loved One With Dementia (Ep #033)

 

In my work with people caring for loved ones with dementia, I often hear that it can be hard to connect with a loved one as the illness progresses. Comments like: "they've become a stranger to me" or "I don't even recognize them anymore".

Dementia is a devastating illness that often robs families of the opportunity to connect and experience joy.  Because of this, it's essential that we find a way to share connecting moments, enjoy one another, and see a little piece of the person eclipsed by the shadow of this devastating illness.

And, I have just the person to help us with this!

In this week's episode of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I interview Gary Glazner, the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. In this interview, Gary generously shares with us four strategies for using poetry to enhance connection with our loved ones with dementia and he even shares about his own experience bringing poetry to his mom at the end of her...

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Life, Love, and Alzheimer's: Interview with Lauren Dykovitz (Ep #032)

 

In this episode of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I interview Lauren Dykovitz, author of Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer's about:

  • Her journey as a caregiver over the past 10 years
  • The challenges of being 25 when her mom was diagnosed with dementia
  • Tips for young caregivers
  • What she’s learned about her mom and herself since her mom has been diagnosed with dementia
  • Ways to find gratitude in the midst of loss.

 

Watch this episode, now!

 

 

Lauren Dykovitz is a blogger and author. She lives with her husband and two black labs. Her mom, Jerie, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at age 62. Lauren was only 25 years old at the time. Jerie is still living with late-stage Alzheimer's. Lauren writes about her experience on her blog, Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s. She has also been a contributing writer for several other Alzheimer’s blogs and websites. Lauren self-published her first book, ...

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