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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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The COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

With social distancing in full effect, older adults are encouraged to maintain their distance from others.  But this can have a major impact on your quality of life.

It's essential that during the COVID-19 pandemic that older adults stay physically safe and mentally well. Research shows that older adults who engage in meaningful and productive activities live longer, experience a better mood, and maintain a sense of purpose in their life.

To promote wellness for older adults, I have created a wellness guide to help older adults stay physically safe and mentally well during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

1. Stay connected with friends and family

Social distancing is important in maintaining your physical health and well-being in the time of COVID-19. And this is an important public health recommendation that we all need to follow.

The downside of social distancing, however, is that it increases the risk for loneliness and isolation among older adults.

One of the best ways to...

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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...

Why African Americans Have a Greater Risk for Dementia and What We Can Do About It (Ep #037)

 

Dementia is one of the most important, but often overlooked, health care issues related to older African Americans.

 

In fact, research shows that African Americans are two to three times more likely to develop a dementia disorder (compared to European Americans) and at the same time are less likely to be diagnosed early in the disease process and provided with adequate treatment.

 

The burning question is "WHY?!!".

 

Luckily there are experts, like Dr. Vonetta Dotson, Neuro-Psychologist, who can help us understand why this is happening and what we can do about it.

 

In this week's interview, Dr. Dotson shares biological, genetic, and social factors that increase the risk for dementia. She also shares what you can do to ensure that your loved ones are getting the best, most comprehensive health care. AND, she shares tips for keeping your own brain healthy!

 

So, take some time to watch it now!

 

 

 Here’s a sneak peek at what...

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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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The Beers List: The "Must Have" List When Caring for Older Adults (Ep #031)

 

Do you know if the medications your older loved ones are taking are actually harming them?

You might have a guess, but how do you actually know?!

Thankfully there is a resource, called the Beers List, put out by the American Geriatrics Society, that lists potentially harmful medications for older adults!

The Beers List is a list of prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications put out by the American Geriatrics Society every 3 years. It includes a long list of medications that are potentially inappropriate and harmful for use in older adults.

 

This list was originally designed for clinicians, educators, researchers, healthcare systems, etc, but it is VERY important that YOU, as a caregiver for an aging parent, know about this list as well!

Having this information will help YOU communicate with your loved one's medical providers and help YOUR LOVED ONE live their best life!
 

 

Watch the interview now!

Read the transcript

 

In this bonus...

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