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For Caregivers

November 17, 2016

Honoring Caregivers during National Family Caregivers month

Family caregiver month

 

In honoring caregivers, let us not only be thankful for the care we may receive, but likewise be thankful for those who care.

Family caregivers know this first hand. It is said that we never realize how loved we are until times of need. There’s truth to that – a wonderful truth. However, there’s a second truth: we don’t know how deeply we can love until we give of ourselves to someone in need.

When adversity strikes our health, it’s astounding how so many caregivers rise in our most vulnerable times, with grace and dignity that doesn’t just physically help us, but also emotionally heals us. It can be as simple as a neighbor who brings a home-cooked meal every eve, or as complex as a spouse who must help bathe us. Sometimes it’s a paid, skilled professional, with a heart of gold, who goes beyond a job description to address not just the patient, but also the person. Indeed, caregivers are diverse, varying based on the situation.

Yet, they share one common trait: they put one in need before oneself. Caregivers don’t just care – they give of themselves, selflessly, in an authentic way that reveals the purest humanity.

The philosopher, Laozi, said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” So many caregivers exhibit such courage, where they give of themselves in even the most harrowing of circumstances, often in ways no one ever sees or knows. It’s the husband who helps his wife bathe and dress for church, where he does her hair and makeup so perfectly that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t deter her Sunday’s best. It’s the mother who was up all night consoling her son who doesn’t sleep well due to autism, then goes to work in the morning, smiling. And, it’s the adult son who ensures every aspect of his mother’s care, all while caring for his own family. These are the types of caregivers who love and give and serve with little recognition, and dare to love deeply, with courage, sometimes alone in their efforts.family caregivers month

As we honor caregivers, let us not only be thankful for the care we ourselves, receive, but likewise be thankful for those who care. Let us acknowledge the selflessness that caregivers exhibit simply because they love deeply, with humanity and courage, where the reciprocity of caregiving ultimately gives to us all.

November 15, 2016

5 Caregiving Tips to Help You Navigate the Holidays (and Beyond)

In honor of all caregivers out there, SpinLife hopes you will find these caregiving tips helpful.

When you’re stepping up to help a friend or loved one on a health journey, the holidays can become an extra-stressful time. In addition to your already-jammed to-do list, being a caregiver during the holidays demands a good chunk of extra time – as well as taking more of a financial and emotional toll.Thanksgiving Word Cloud Website Banner - Female cupped hands cradled by male hands outstretched with a white 'Thanksgiving' word floating above and relevant word cloud on a stone effect background

 

I came up with some resources for you: insights, ideas and caregiving tips designed to help you navigate the holidays and “keep your merry up” this year.

1. Stay Connected

In the article “How words have the power to heal” by CNNHealth.com contributor, Amanda Enayati, she describes how blogging helped save her life by providing her with a therapeutic outlet to share her experience. If you’re facing a less-than-merry holiday season because of an overloaded to-do list, it helps to share your experience, and embrace the support and positive attitudes of your friends.

 

Stay in touch, don’t cut yourself off, and be open to any assistance they want to give to help ease your holiday stress. Having a strong, supportive network is as important for you as it is to the person for whom you’re caring.

 

2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

The importance of a strong network of family and friends, even during the healthiest of times, is well established. So, there’s nothing wrong with delegating work and setting a community of support in motion on tasks like meal planning, child- and pet care during appointments, transportation, tackling paperwork, household chores and more. Your supporters want to get involved, but sometimes, they just don’t know how to help. That’s why they’ll actually welcome your specific requests.

 

More suggestions: help you shop, decorate, address greeting cards, make cookies or meals, shovel the walk at home, read emails and holiday cards to your friend or loved one, visit them when you can’t…is that enough to start with?

 

3. Keep Surfing

The more you know, the more prepared you will be. The internet has a wealth of information, online resources and caregiving tips. You’ll find excellent advice and insights on information-rich sites like Today’s Caregiver, Medicare, the Caregiver Action Network and many more.

 

4. Join a Support Group for Caregivers

This is optional, but potentially powerful. Attend a session to see if you like the group’s dynamics, and see how you feel before and after the meeting. To find more information and caregiver groups in your area, check out Daily Strength.

 thanksgiving card design with cute hand print turkeys. I'm thankful for you.

5. Step Back and Appreciate Yourself

Even though your automatic response to the question “How are you doing?” is “I’m good,” you know it’s not always true. Caregiving isn’t easy. It takes extra time, money and emotional capital to help an aging parent, disabled friend or someone who’s recovering from illness or surgery. So if you can’t give yourself a pat on the back, please accept a big one from us.

 

What you do is priceless, and you’re just giving it away, asking nothing in return, not even gas money. For that, my friend, you rock. We celebrate you this month and always, and we hope the tips, suggestions and online resources in this article help you keep all the joyous holiday spirit you deserve.

About the Author:

Sona Mehring is the founder of CaringBridge, the first and most widely used global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate during a health journey through the use of personal websites. She founded CaringBridge in 1997 when the Internet was just becoming a household name, making her one of the first to recognize that the Internet could be a powerful tool in helping people connect, share and rally support during a health journey. Follow Sona on Twitter @gogosona.

November 14, 2016

Spotlight on the new Space saver power lift-recline chair

Looking for a power lift-recline chair but just don’t have the space?

Golden Technologies has the answer in their super plush, brand new Space Saver power lift-recline chair model PR-931.

power lift-recline chair

PR-931 in Sterling

This is exciting news for folks that really want the comfort of an all power recline chair that won’t gobble up your whole room! This chair effortlessly lifts the footrest, glides forward as it reclines back, so it can be placed a mere 4, 5 or 6, inches (depending on the size chair you choose) from the wall and still reach a relaxing recline. Of course the other huge feature of a power lift-recline chair is that they fold up, return to seated and then lift you gently to your feet without effort. Perfect for anyone that has a difficult time getting out of that easy chair without help.

power lift-recline chair

PR-931 in Hazelnut

Super plush fabrics make this power lift recliner soft and welcoming. Offered in 5 standard color choices, you are sure to find one perfect for your personal décor. The double seamed backrest offers great support, and the fully upholstered chaise pad is comfy for your legs since there is no gap between the seat and the footrest. The arms, back and chaise are overstuffed for extra comfort.

The Space saver PR-931 power lift-recline chair has a 350 lb. weight capacity and is also thoughtfully offered in three sizes. Choose from Small, Medium or Large for a perfect fit! The Small, geared for people under 5’3” has a seat that’s just 17’ wide. Choose size Medium to accommodate heights between 5’4” and 5’10”, with a seat width of 20”. For folks 5’11” and over, the size Large has a comfortable seat width of 22.5”.Candycane Heart

While we’re on topic, the holidays are right around the corner!

Why not treat yourself or someone you love with a brand new super comfy power lift-recline chair? Every year SpinLife sees more and more families “chip in” together at holiday time. This year you could give the gift of comfort, safety and increased independence that comes with owning a lift recliner. There’s still time to get an order in for holiday delivery- so call and speak to one of our lift chair specialists now!

 

November 9, 2016

5 easy tips to avoid falls: Reduce your personal fall risk!

avoid falls

 

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”

According to Greek Mythology, this is the classic riddle delivered by the Sphinx. According to the myth, if any person who was asked this riddle could not answer, they were thrown down against the rocks and killed by the Sphinx.  When this riddle was posed to Oedipus Rex, he considered his words carefully and declared the answer in one word; Man.

His reasoning was as a baby, a human goes about on all fours (“four legs in the morning” – morning being childhood).   Then he learns to walk, which he does well into adulthood (“two legs in the afternoon” – afternoon being adulthood).  Finally, advanced age requires him to use a cane to support himself (“three legs in the evening” – evening being old age).

It is the evening I wish to discuss in this post.

It is so important to avoid falls. Statistically 1 in 4 aging adults will be injured in a fall this year. Falls prevention is such a hot topic that the federal government NCOA has devoted a whole program strictly centered on fall prevention.

brava-walker avoid falls

Brava Walker

As we age, our once strong bodies sometimes need additional support to continue to be active.  Using canes, walkers or crutches becomes commonplace as balance or coordination skills become affected. Making certain our home environments are adapted to our new skill level is important.  Here are 5 easy to accomplish tips to ensure your environment helps you avoid falls.

  1. First thing to remember is to remove unnecessary clutter in your home.  Removing unnecessary clutter from walkways will help prevent unwanted tripping over objects that you meant to throw away years ago.  Yes we all have them! Clear the pathways of stacks of books and magazines, extra furniture and scatter rugs.
  2. Next thing is to install grab bars in and around your bathing areas.  Nothing feels quite like a hot bath after a long day, so ensure you can traverse these wet, slick areas by installing grab bars everywhere you may need a handhold.  Apply non-slip appliques in the bottom of your tub for extra traction, or use a rubberized bath mat with suction cups.
  3. Make certain you can see objects around you properly to avoid falls.  Knowing where things are supposed to be in your home is not enough.  Be certain you have the proper lighting in your home to see clearly so obstacles won’t become obstacles to you! Add nightlights that come on automatically as night falls- so you won’t!
  4. Have dual handrails installed on stairs- not just on one side, but on both. While climbing stairs we can                                                                    become fatigued more quickly than walking
    avoid falls

    Sugar Cane

    on a level plane.  Dual handrails will help to steady your gait and provide additional support for the body. Avoid falls as you avoid carrying things up and down the stairs as much as you possibly can. Countless falls happen every year as people negotiate the stairs with hands full.

  5. Finally, review your medications side effects.  If a medicine tells you plainly on the bottle, “May cause dizziness”, avoid physical activity for a couple of hours after you take that medication.  Instead, pick up a book or read your favorite blog to enhance your mind! Always use your walker or cane if you do find that your medication is causing dizziness issues, and do speak to your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing. Your doctor certainly doesn’t want to increase your fall risk either!

What happened to Oedipus?  Once he answered the riddle of the Sphinx he was free to pass and enjoy life.  All of us here at SpinLife wish the same for you, and hope that using these 5 simple tips will prevent a fall that could do serious damage to your “Oedipus Rex!”

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2016

Understanding the Best Ways to Help your Aging Parents

Aging parents

It can be difficult to decide on the best ways to help your aging parents. This dilemma faces so many family caregivers every day! Does this readers’ question sound familiar?

“My sisters and I have been taking care of our aging parents who are in their late 80’s.  They live in their home and said they won’t leave until they die. BUT my mother won’t let us hire paid help. What shall we do?”

I have been in your position. My dad didn’t want to hire help either. Even if your parents say they don’t want to be a burden, they would probably always choose you to help them over paid care. Put yourself in their shoes–it probably is a bit daunting to have someone they don’t know doing services for them.

It may help if you can get to the heart of your parents’ concerns. Perhaps you think they don’t see how dirty things are, or maybe you think they are concerned about the cost. One day while scrubbing my own father’s bathroom, he told me, “I’ll pay you forty dollars an hour to do  that.” It dawned on me is wasn’t lack of understanding or concern for money that bothered him. He was just reluctant to have strangers in his personal space.

You and your sisters also need to validate your parent’s feelings by letting them know that you endorse their hope of staying in their home. It may also be necessary to re-assure them that paid help will not substitute for the visits they count on from you.

Your aging parents need to understand that it is impractical to think that you can do it all while taking care of your own responsibilities. You and your sisters should get together and review the tasks you currently do, the ones you no longer wish to do and the ones that are simply not getting done. Sit your parents down and go over this list together.

Suggest a compromise that shifts some of the burden, to start. Perhaps you can get your parents to agree to once-a-week housecleaning and grocery shopping while you and your sisters continue to take them to appointments. Or like my dad, who was willing to accept transportation assistance but needed to ease into the idea of strangers in the house. Continue Reading