Health
December 12, 2019
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Understanding senior care options Controlling your holidays Your best Christmas gift? The state of Alzheimer’s and caregiving in the U.S. When hard things happen Giving thanks The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning Part II Simple happiness hacks for caregivers Halloween pirate’s gold Fall risks are sometimes simple, yet fatal Is multi-generational living for you? Oral piercings and your teeth Natural disaster threats call for preparedness plan to protect seniors The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning  Winter sun safety: What to know about protecting yourself during colder months Tending to spiritual distress with aging and illness Blood pressure control a focus of American Heart month Home your own way March is colorectal cancer awareness month Safety at home for seniors Prepareness plan to protect seniors By this time you have learned... whether you’re 14 or 84… How to prevent bad breath War on opioids in California Help families make time for seniors during the holiday season Helping seniors with vision and hearing impairments Holiday stress-busters for harried caregivers It’s what’s inside that counts! Dental emergencies Don’t wait until it hurts! Does spring mean allergy season for you? 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How to have a better year Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is very special A confession Women in dentistry Plan for where you want to age Three ways a senior can fund a home remodel Cannabis as medicine-Changing the face of aging May is skin cancer awareness month A brain is a reason to join the Alzheimer’s fight Recognizing and reporting elder abuse Dental technology- computers have changed our lives Create your personal Medicare account Understanding the aging brain Two ways to get your Medicare taken care of Are you stressed out? Seven ways seniors can interact with pets The joy of root canal therapy Lung cancer screening helps combat the #1 cancer killer in the nation How to know if you are in danger of compression fractures Psychology Today The Art of Resilience: I Have I Am…I Can The advantage of dental implants Too much of a good thing for seniors and the holidays What families’ caregivers need to know about Recommendations for screen time Resolutions for your oral health Super Bowl, Joe Montana and blood pressure Open heart surgery – Thoughts from the other side Chewing gum - Helpful or harmful? Five tips for a healthy smile I will– I should– I can– I’ll try Rightsizing for seniors doesn’t have to be painful The Joy of Sadness Human Touch: The role companionship plays in aging at home Becoming who we really want to be How to fail well Back to school with healthy teeth Five ways to manage caregiver guilt Senior dating – Mom’s new relationship is heating up... Should you be concerned? 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Gratitude and positivity can inspire caregiver self-care

By: Julie Ann Soukoulis
December 21, 2018

Take a minute out of this busy holiday season to celebrate YOU, a family caregiver. Whether you’re caring for an aging parent, grandparent or loved one, we think you’re a superhero! Our partner, Caregiver Action Network, organizes National Caregivers Month every Nov. and it’s always a month dedicated to helping you handle everything caregiving can throw at you with confidence and grace.

Did you know there are more than 43.5 million Americans who provide regular, unpaid care for an older adult? Many family caregivers are still working and caring for their own families too. Family caregivers have much on their minds: managing medications and doctor’s appointments, final years planning, long term care insurance, healthy aging, home safety, hospice….

It’s no wonder caregivers can get burned out and feel like they’ve lost themselves along the caregiving journey. But, you cannot pour from an empty cup. It’s critical to your success as a caregiver and personal well-being to slow down and take care of yourself. It is not selfish to make yourself a priority.

Making yourself a priority starts with you. These eight tips to be a more optimistic caregiver are a great starting point to putting yourself first, focusing on self-care, so you’re not pouring from an empty cup.

Look for the good. Try to keep negative thoughts at bay and make a daily list of what’s good in your life and why you’re grateful. This positive habit will help retrain your brain for positive thinking.

Speak kindly to yourself. Remember what you learned as a child and apply it to your thinking, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Lean on positive people. Surround yourself with positive people, not those who take energy from you. These supportive people can be local friends and family and even online support communities like the Caregiver Stress Relief Community.

Find happiness through health. A healthy diet and exercise can improve your mood and positivity.

Remember you are doing your best. Even if you feel like you failed at a task or the whole day, you’re still there and supporting your loved one.

Laugh to lighten your load. Laughter relieves stress and tension and helps you stay positive.

Keep it simple. Don’t set yourself up to fail with unrealistic goals. Sometimes doing the basics is all that’s needed.

Take time for yourself. A few minutes here and there, lunch with a friend, respite from a friend or professional caregiver can go a long way to helping you feel recharged.  

Sometimes inspiration and gratitude are the antidotes needed to rid negative thoughts. Author Annette Bridges said, “Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t.” Although caregiving can be challenging, let gratitude and kind words lift you up. These family caregivers in the Caregiver Stress Relief Community (which can be found at caregiverstress.com)  may have said it best when asked to fill in the blank: The best part of being a caregiver is __________.  

“Having my husband home with me. Every day is a gift.” – Kate  

“Caring for my wife during recovery makes our love grow even stronger and deeper.” – Greg  

“That my mother trusts me to do right by her. It’s daunting at times, but she’s so worth it.” – Heidi

“The extra time you have with the one you love.” – Tracey  

To continue taking care of your loved ones, remind yourself you do not have to do it alone. There are numerous resources and communities available you can utilize for support and inspiration.

Below are a few:

• Caregiver Stress Relief Community is an online caregiver community providing resources and connecting caregivers to one another to lift each other up.

• Caregiver Action Network Family Caregiver Toolbox is filled with videos, articles and FAQs on caregiver topics ranging from Alzheimer’s, finding respite care and support groups to communicating with doctors or aging parents.

• 10 Tips for Healthy Aging includes suggestions that can be implemented at any age and are the groundwork for healthy aging.

• 10 Tips for Family Caregivers is a simple illustration with organization tips and self-care reminders to help make caregiving easier on you physically, mentally and emotionally.  

Be kind to yourself and find ways throughout the year to celebrate your successes and surround yourself with positive inspirations to recharge. Don’t forget the care you’re providing is making a positive impact on your loved one and you deserve to feel good about it.

On this note of gratitude, 

We are so grateful for our beloved Sonoma County community for their participation in another year of the “Be A Santa to A Senior” program.

Your generosity is so humbling. We want to thank our tree location hosts and their employees at: Raley’s Grocery stores throughout Sonoma County, Oliver’s Market in Cotati, LT’s Studio, The Leading Edge Salon, Dr. Alec Nelson DDS, Mercy Wellness in Cotati, Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg, PG&E (two locations in Santa Rosa). Our company sponsors: Rohnert Park/ Cotati North Bay Association of Realtors, the Alzheimer’s Association, Fidelity National Title in Rohnert Park and Patelco Credit union.   

Your gifts will bring joy and holiday cheer to over 677 isolated seniors in 18 facilities from Cloverdale to Petaluma. We are so very grateful for your generosity and commitment!!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!! And we wish you a Blessed New Year!!  

Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern?  She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.