Did you receive this seniorresource.com E-zine from a friend? Get your own subscription at http://www.seniorresource.com/ezine.htm No cost to you.
Please note: If web addresses do not show as links, copy and paste them into the "go to" line of your browser.
To ensure delivery to your inbox (not bulk or junk folders),
A. CAREGIVER STRESS = ILLNESS
return to top
A. GUARD YOURSELF: CAREGIVER STRESS = ILLNESS
Care giving: Providing comfort and love, medical attention, physical and emotional sustenance. It should be easy for a loving family member to provide to another, shouldn't it?
In fairy tales, it is...maybe. In reality it is hard, unending work. It can mean sleepless nights for the caregiver. It can mean dealing with a deeply loved family member who at the end of his life is not into suffering, nor into suffering social niceties anymore (and probably weighs more than you do). Or maybe it is your mom who you care for, but she doesn't recognize you anymore. You are constantly on watch, night and day. Every so often there is a moment of recognition, replaced moments later by fear in her eyes, of the "unknown" person in front of her.
These common and tragic realities can place a huge stress on caregivers. The caregiver sometimes will lose weight. He or she (usually a she) finds she doesn't have the appetite she used to have and loses weight, and works long hours and little restorative sleep. Then there are the potential financial repercussions from the workplace, and social and family member stress. Did you snap at the kids because Mom was a handful and normal teen behavior was just too much to take in a single moment? This goes on and on, seemingly indefinitely. Depression can occur in any caregiver. In many families the caregiver stops looking after her own health, and then illness occurs...in the caregiver!
It turns out that care giving isn't universally stressful. Caring for a person needing light attention is one thing. But when that family member needs greater care a heavier load of duties is placed upon the caregiver. This is when the stress really can pile on! The transition between light and heavy care giving is one of the most dangerous situations for the health of the caregiver.
What to do? Well, what would you normally do if you knew you were about
to enter into a stressful, ongoing situation at work? You'd evaluate your
options, ask questions, and plan ahead, right? Then do so. Ask questions:
Think about what could go wrong, what the challenges will be in care giving for your particular situation. There are counselors who specialize in care giving, and end-of-life issues. You might find it extremely helpful as part of your planning process to meet with one or two of them and see if their advice is useful to you, the caregiver. Then, make your plans and discuss them with every family member who may be affected. Yes, even the relatives out of state who aren't ever going to help should likely be spoken to and informed of the situation you face. When you do go forward, you'll be going prepared with a plan for success with contingency plans, should things go awry. And you'll be going forward with confidence that you're taking the appropriate measures to protect not only your loved one, but your own health, that of the care giver they so dearly depend upon.
Additional health-related information for seniors can also be found at:
B. AGING IN PLACE - IS IT FOR YOU?
So you're living in a building with lots of neighbors around your age. People are friendly here and respectful to each other here, as you've always been accustomed to from your generation. There is an informal and effective network to rely on: can't get to the store today? No problem, "Mr. Smith" across the hall is going later on and will pick up the things you need, because you did the same for him last week.
Yet, you're not a spring chicken anymore and have been wondering if you should be moving to a retirement facility. Shouldn't an older person have staff looking in on them? Those communities seem to be nice enough and have activities planned, but who wants to put up with a regimented schedule? And who wants to leave old friends just to navigate a new group of individuals? Are there others who feel this way? What do they do?
Increasingly, a lot of them stay put right where they are!
Aging in place is a growing trend not just in the U.S., but in the UK, Australia, and other industrialized nations. Sometimes an entire community just evolves into a great place for seniors as the baby boom generation in that certain spot stays put in their homes. There might be convenient shopping and transit, low crime, libraries, and so forth. Or, it may just be that everyone in the building is of a certain age and voilá, a retirement community is born.
Some cities encourage seniors to move to their town to enjoy the amenities especially useful to seniors, but lots of people decide to stay right where they are in the home they bought 40 years ago or the apartment they've kept for the last ten years. Regardless, the concept of "home" is irreplaceable for comfort to many, many people, and so they band together. Ordinary folks in neighborhoods, not governments, have been creating citizen-based organizations. They do so to facilitate affordable, comfortable, and safe retirement living through aging-in-place.
Beacon Hill Village (www.beaconhillvillage.org) is a leader in this movement, actively encouraging and teaching other neighborhood organizations how to achieve the goal of making one's neighborhood a great place to stay in for senior citizens. They've even published a workbook/manual for those who would like to learn how it might be accomplished in their own part of the country. Beacon Hill Village is a non-profit organization that partners with service providers to meet the needs of its members, people ageing in place in the neighborhoods in, and surrounding Beacon Hill, in Boston, MA. When a neighbor joins the group, the annual membership fee includes some services, and there is a menu of other services a senior can select from to meet his or her personal needs.
There are information services, household services, transportation, meals and grocery deliveries, and volunteer and even concierge services available to Beacon Hill members. A social calendar is maintained and, as you can imagine, the members do it all, themselves, at a considerable savings to retirement home relocation and living. The best part? They're in their own homes!
So think about it. Weigh your options. Talk to your friends and family. Maybe there is no place better to age than home sweet home!
Additional and expanded Aging in Place information for seniors can also
be found at:
C. PUT ON A SWEATER - HOME HEATING OIL PRICES ARE ON FIRE
Heating oil hit $3.40 cents a gallon in the second week of January. Living in Southern California? That's not such a problem. Living in Iowa? It becomes a life-or-death issue.
Every year in America there are senior citizens who die of cold in their own homes. Others choose between heat and meals due to high heating oil prices, just as some families are forced to choose between meals and medication due to high medical costs in America.
The price record for heating oil set in January is 98 cents higher than it was last year, and was the fourth record set in four weeks time. The lowest price in the nation during this period was Nebraska, at $3.01 per gallon, and the highest costs found in Washington, D.C., coming in at $3.77 per gallon. In the northeast U.S., roughly one- third of homes employ heating oil to keep warm, and those costs are estimated to average over $2,000 for the winter. We're about halfway through the heating season now.
The rising trend in home heating oil has been ongoing for years. http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/HO/M As long as oil prices rise and fall, there really isn't any end in sight for potential home heating energy price increases until spring. This is due to supply-and-demand imbalances for crude and refined oil as the developing world buys cars and durable goods. Also reflected in the price of refined fuels is the reality of the weak condition of the U.S. dollar. It simply doesn't buy what it used to, as our national debt is near its highest level in a decade. http://zfacts.com/p/318.html
Thankfully, most Americans can afford to heat their homes. As a nation, we have resources for at-risk lower income citizens. The National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) www.nationalfuelfunds.org distributes $100 million in energy assistance funds each year, and is now asking the White House to release funds set aside by Congress for home heating oil emergencies such as low-income households in cold climates are now facing. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, is being looked to for $590 million in assistance to low-income families.
The NFFN also makes the rounds of Congress in a January 30 kickoff to their annual fundraising campaign, with a goal of 100 of their representatives visiting 1250-2000 congressional offices in a single day.
Here are some links to resources for low-income households needing home heating assistance:
Baltimore, MD: http://www.fuelfundmaryland.org/get-assistance.shtml
Energy saving information and devices for seniors can be found at:
D. DID YOU KNOW...?
Dressing for the Weather
Recognizing Symptoms of Exposure
For more tips see "Energy Saving Home Improvements From A to Z"
Protecting Grandchildren and Pets from Toxic Plants
Everyone should be aware of the potential danger of plants. Although most plants are poisonous because they can cause some kind of harm, only a small number of plants are actually deadly. Usually, a large quantity of berries, pods, leaves, flowers, or seeds must be eaten to cause symptoms. Be aware of plants treated with pesticides or fertilizers. Non-toxic plants treated with toxic chemicals become dangerous because of the chemicals. Here are some tips on plant safety:
return to top
E. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
return to top
F. SPECIAL THINGS THIS MONTH
American Heart Month
National Bird Feeding Month
G.SPECIAL SURFING SITES
Department of Defense Patient Safety Program Website
American Foundation for the Blind
H. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
It's About the Words!
You Worked at a Corporate Giant if:
Visit 1000's of jokes of interest to people who have lived a long and rich life.
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:
return to top
SPONSOR OF THIS ISSUE
Find the perfect retirement community, assisted living, nursing home, Alzheimer's care, home care, or other senior service you are looking for at NewLifeStyles.com
New LifeStyles, The Source for Seniors, is a comprehensive guide to all state-licensed and certified senior housing and care options and more, nationwide.
Visit us online at http://www.NewLifeStyles.com to find what you are looking for. Read descriptions, view location maps and online tours, compare amenities and services, contact companies directly via e-mail, and save and recommend your favorites, all from the comfort of your own home.
New LifeStyles print guides are available FREE for 44 areas nationwide. Click here to order a FREE copy or call 800-820-3013.
SPONSOR AN ISSUE
This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (Betsyjday@aol.com).
Aging in Place