Taking Care of You

Spring seems to have arrived here in San Francisco. It's still a bit cool yet the weatherman has promised us a week of sunshine.

Know your number! Do you know your stress level? Take our quiz to see how much stress you are under.

As a caregiver, you may find that your day in, day out level of stress is high. The added challenge of changes in your loved ones situation can spike your stress to a new, higher level.

Stress can be revealed in your moods and actions. It can also be revealed in your health.

Managing your stress:
Don't neglect your wellness basics. Make sure you exercise, daily if possible. Eat healthy foods. Check in with your doctor regularly and keep up with preventative testing.
Seek support and community. Caregiving can be isolating. Schedule time to connect with friends and family. Schedule time away from your caregiving duties on a regular basis. Attend support groups, join online communities and seek professional support.
Engage in a spiritual practice that uplifts and centers you. Stay engaged with your spiritual community. Seek the solace that prayer or meditation has to offer.

Follow this link to measure your caregiving burden and stress.

Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?

Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?

Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?

Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.

To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources tailored to your unique situation, click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation.

Dementia Special Tips

Keeping busy

Striking a balance between busyness and rest when your family member has dementia can be tricky. Too much busyness in his environment or too many decisions to make can cause a lot of stress. Tiredness can lead to difficult behaviors or angry outbursts.

Too much rest or lack of activity can lead to other problems. Keeping your family member engaged at a level he can manage is important. It will help maintain his mental abilities and improve his mood and outlook. Many actions that we may view as purposeless or troublesome in a family member, may be his way of telling us he is bored.

Your family member most likely has a short attention span. Impaired short term memory means that any activities with multiple steps will require your support. What you are aiming to create is a sense of purpose, accomplishment and contribution. Activities that can be tied to things the person did earlier in life can be very meaningful.

Here are some suggestions:

Routine is the glue that helps things keep together. Try to establish a regular time of day to engage in activities. The person will have more energy and mental sharpness in the mornings so reserve more challenging activities for earlier in the day. Save simple, more soothing activities for later in the day.

Reminisce and encourage memory by looking at old pictures together. Listen to the stories as your loved one tells you. Be sure to ask questions and make observations about the pictures.

Make a collage together. Look through a variety of magazines together and discuss pictures of interest. Any picture that your family member is interested in or attracted to can be cut out and pasted in the collage.

Exercise and fresh air are important. Try to incorporate a daily walk or outing to channel excess energy and provide access to nature.

Encourage your family member to participate in appropriate chores around the house like sweeping, dusting, folding laundry etc.

Upcoming Eldercare Coach Events

Grief is part of the caregiver's experience.

Are you grieving the death of a loved one, a divorce or break up, a loss of trust from a negative relationship?

Are you ready to resolve your loss issues and move beyond your grief to a richer quality of life?

Join us for a free presentation on the Grief Recovery Program Thursday April 17 from 7pm - 8pm or Thursday April 24 from 7pm- 8pm

At: Stonestown Family YMCA Senior Annex, 3150 20th Avenue, San Francisco. Questions? Call Janice Wallace at 415-661-3271.

Caring for your Parents Support Group

Get the support and information you need from The Eldercare Coach and your fellow participants to be a successfull and well balanced caregiver to your parents.

First meeting: Monday May 5 from 7-8:30pm Every Woman Health Club 611 Jefferson Ave. Redwood City, CA 94063 Cost: $20 per meeting.