caregivers

Guest Blog Self-Care Tips For Caregivers

Self-care is defined as caring for ourselves physically, psychologically, spiritually, and socially. Because when we are focused on those things outside of ourselves it is so easy to overlook our own needs, self-care is a concept that applies to everyone.

For example, imagine that your boss lays a new project in your lap with an impending – and almost impossible – deadline. You put everything aside because the project requires all of your energy. So, you don’t do those stretches that keep your low back pain at bay. You don’t return non-professional emails, texts, or messages. You reschedule every appointment that doesn’t apply to this project.

In the end, the project does get done, but you find yourself completely exhausted, and in serious need of a break. The truth is, any of us can find ourselves in this situation at any time, but especially when we undertake the care of a dependent other.

People who rely on us for their daily living cannot be put on the back burner. Maybe they need help getting dressed, making meals, taking a bath, or just getting out of bed. (In some cases, the care may mean just being turned in bed to avoid developing bedsores.)

For caregivers, the work never ends. Every single day they are a requirement to another person and it is simply not possible to call in sick when someone else depends on you more than you need a day off.

The result is that caregivers are often the worst at self-care. When this happens, they can end up feeling exhausted, irritable, resentful, and hopeless. And the quality of care they can provide suffers. For caregivers, quality care starts and ends with consistent self-care.

Remember The Why

Tony Robbins is famous for always asking for the WHY. The reason for this is because when we have a why, we can find a how. This becomes monumentally more important when what we are doing is hard, long-lasting, and with little gain.

It is these times when it makes the most sense to give up because the energy we put out can seem out of proportion to what we get back. But this is also when it is so important to stop and ask ourselves why we got into this work in the first place. What was it about caring for others who depend on us that attracted us? Why did we choose this profession over others? And why do we keep at it despite the long, exhausting hours?

Answering questions like this will bring us back to the fundamental reasons for our decision to go into caregiving. It will also bring us back to a fundamental human need – which is to have a purpose.

To be content with our lives, we must feel that what we do has meaning. We must feel like we matter in one way or another, and that what we do makes a difference. Whatever our why is, it carries us forward when times get challenging. It reinforces us, stabilizes us, gives us solid ground on which to stand.

Find Something To Be Grateful For

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion that even just keeping a daily gratitude list has been shown to have a dramatic effect on many measures of our lives – from happiness and wellbeing to creativity and productivity.

While gratitude can be described as a “top end” emotion that is most effective when everything else in our life is going well, in many cases, it is just the opposite. It is through being grateful that we find a way to get through things that confound us, challenge us, overwhelm us, and make us want to quit.

For caregivers, gratitude is especially effective because not only is caring for another person inherently hard, when they are dependent, it is without end. It is at these times that our psychological systems most need bolstering, and on a daily basis.

What gratitude effectively does is bring us out of the dreariness of our daily lives and into a new perspective where things look different. And when we begin to see differently, those things we see begin to change. The sunrise looks brighter, the trees greener, the flowers brighter, and the people more kind.

Make Humor A Part Of Your Daily Life

Humor is a wonderful resource that has been associated with feelings of wellbeing, happiness, vitality, creativity, and even cognitive functioning. Humor is something that has also been demonstrated in a variety of species and seems to play a central role in bonding. But perhaps most importantly, humor acts like a tonic for the brain.

Humor allows us to temporarily escape our reality, to transform our situation is a way that brings us levity and lightness. When we can stop to laugh, we can, for the moment, suspend any negative emotions we might otherwise be feeling. We can, momentarily, make our situation and ourselves feel different.

For caregivers, humor is an essential resource because it acts like a reset button. Performed regularly, humor doesn’t just make every day better, it makes the tough ones survivable.

Caring for another person may be one of the most challenging jobs we can choose. But it is also one that is essential. By remembering why we choose to become caregivers, finding things to be grateful for and incorporating humor into our daily lives, we can keep ourselves at our best for ourselves and those who depend on us every day.

By |2024-02-01T14:36:04-05:00April 3rd, 2024|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog Self-Care Tips For Caregivers

Guest Blog: How to Find a Profitable Side Gig as a Senior Caregiver

 

Working as a senior caregiver is a rewarding career choice. However, many caregivers find that their role doesn’t pay as much as they would like. Whether you want to save for retirement or supplement your earnings to improve your quality of life, a side gig can offer an additional source of income. A side gig can also provide a sense of personal fulfillment that may be lacking from a job that’s often associated with stress and burnout. As a result, you’ll enjoy a welcome change of pace from your day job and achieve a better overall work-life balance. The trick is finding a side gig that not only pays well but is also enjoyable.

 Consider Running an Ecommerce Business

Launching an ecommerce business can be a great side gig for senior caregivers. As a caregiver, you might not have the luxury of a consistent work schedule, but you can run an ecommerce business from anywhere at any time. This will make it easier to balance your caregiving responsibilities with your side business.

Take advantage of online tools to get your business up and running as efficiently as possible. By setting up your business on an ecommerce platform, you’ll be able to build website pages, track analytics, manage inventory, and even process payments from one intuitive dashboard.

Offer and Market Online Freelance Services

Freelancing online is another option. There are a variety of services you could sell to clients remotely, from writing and consulting to web design and development. Freelancing will allow you to work in a field where you have expertise and experience, using your skills to earn extra money on the side of your full-time job. Additionally, compared with launching an ecommerce business, freelancing has lower startup costs which can make it more accessible if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in a side gig.

Creating brochures to advertise your freelancing skills is a great way to help generate more clients and can serve as an excellent supplement to your social media marketing, as well. If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are plenty of free templates that you can customize as needed; click here to know more.

You should also look into content marketing to really expand your customer base. By producing more targeted and exciting content, you can build a reputation for professionalism and expertise in your field. That leads to deeper trust with your customers – and of course, greater sales! In today’s extra-competitive market, freelancers in particular need every advantage they can get.

Provide Local Home Services

Not interested in working online? Selling Revolution suggests offering local home services to people in your community. For example, you could work as a cleaner, lawn care professional, handyperson, pet sitter, dog walker, painter, personal cook, personal shopper, or home organizer. Since you have experience caring for seniors, you could also offer in-home childcare or senior care services.

Pick something that aligns with your skills and interests so your side gig feels more like an enjoyable pastime than another job. You don’t necessarily need professional experience in your field of choice. As long as you’re confident in your skills and can produce great results for your clients, you’ll be successful!

Consider Your Legal Obligations

Whether you decide to start an online business, try freelancing, or offer local home services, make sure you cover your legal bases. One of the first things you’ll need to do is register your business. Pick a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship or LLC, and register with your state. Forming an LLC is generally a good idea as it will limit your personal liability and offer tax advantages. Keep in mind that you can use an online formation service to file your articles of organization if you’d rather not spend money on a lawyer.

If you work as a senior caregiver and you’re looking for ways to bring in extra income, try building a side business! You could start an ecommerce business, freelance online, or start a local home services company in your own city. Pay attention to your legal responsibilities and pick a side gig that’s compatible with your skills and interests to give yourself the best shot at success!

 

 

 

 

By |2023-07-31T13:10:31-05:00July 31st, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Find a Profitable Side Gig as a Senior Caregiver

Caregiver Tips: Planning for Long-Term Cancer Care

Caregivers for long-term cancer care

Long-term cancer care supports cancer patients throughout their treatment journey. Patients diagnosed with cancer may choose a friend or family member as their cancer caregiver. When taking on the role of caregiver, make sure to understand how to best assist them. Here are some tips below to help get you started.

 

Tip 1: Understand the diagnosis of your cancer patient and how it affects them

Aggressive Cancers

Being a cancer caregiver opens up new responsibilities and challenges. There are many types of caregiving that provide help for the general health and wellbeing of patients. With cancer caregiving, patients often require specialized help. You may be familiar with senior or disability caregiving, but certain cancers are more difficult to manage. For example, breast cancer is common but involves a different caregiving approach than mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lungs that typically targets older adults.

There is currently no available cure for mesothelioma. This results in a 79 percent, 1-year survival rate, even with multimodal treatment—which combines one or two cancer treatments. Cancer patients and caregivers may have many questions surrounding treatment. For this reason, caregiver resources help plan and ease long-term mesothelioma cancer care. Take time to understand the type of cancer your patient has and how mesothelioma will affect them physically, mentally, and socially. The decision to have long-term cancer care is hard on the patient, too. Caregivers relieve some of the burdens patients will have. With this in mind, preparing for your patients will help you fully grasp this role.

It’s also crucial to work with the doctors and cancer teams to provide quality care. Depending on what type of caregiver you are, your responsibilities could change. More qualified caregivers may have to administer medications. Connecting with the doctor will help the cancer team with their prognosis strategy and your patient’s long-term cancer care. This will also help you better understand the patient’s needs.

Tip 2: Keep the patient, family and friends involved

It can be devastating when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Putting in the effort to work with your patient and their family will make them feel included and comfortable during this difficult time. Caregivers spend a lot of time with patients. By creating healthy relationships with them, you can give them the support and encouragement they need. Often, treatment is hard on patients and takes long recovery times. You will be one of their biggest advocates.

Tip 3: Pay attention to how you feel

Amidst the distress you and your patient will undergo, it’s vital to check in on yourself. It may seem as though your feelings aren’t as valid as those you are helping, but that isn’t the case. You won’t be able to fully care for your patient if you’re not caring for yourself as well. To avoid burnout, dedicate time for yourself to process your emotions and feelings, especially because of how draining long-term cancer caregiving can be.

If you are taking a cancer caregiver position, keep these tips in mind. Caregiving is not babysitting. Patients and their families rely on caregivers to handle what they cannot. Taking on this role is both an immense commitment and a privilege.

 

 

By |2023-06-30T10:40:29-05:00July 23rd, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Caregiver Tips: Planning for Long-Term Cancer Care

Navigating the Financial Decisions Seniors Face After Becoming Widowed – And How Caregivers Can Help

Experiencing the loss of a spouse is a major change for anyone to deal with, but for seniors who have shared their life with one person for years, losing a spouse often brings about unexpected consequences. Besides dealing with grief, there are also financial issues to confront.

Seniors who are going through this loss often feel overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make and how those decisions will impact their future. This is where adult children or other caregivers can make a big difference by helping your loved one make sense of it all, so they can move forward with a solid financial plan.

Read on for some more thoughts from International Rehabilitation Consultants.

Knowing When and How to Help

 As a caregiver of someone in this position, one thing you may be concerned about is whether your senior loved one should continue managing their own finances. Next Avenue points out that it’s important to address this concern openly before making any decisions. If you both feel like it’s a good idea for you to help, you will want to have your loved one sign a durable power of attorney, which will give you legal authority to access and manage accounts.

In some cases, your loved one may be able to manage their own accounts with a little assistance. Tech-savvy seniors should look into online banking, or as Bankrate recommends, consider trying apps that help, such as SilverBills or Ready, Set, Bank.

If your loved one wants to set up a nonprofit in their spouse’s memory and honor, you can help walk them through the process. Visit Zenbusiness to learn about legal requirements you need to tend to set up a nonprofit.

Health and Safety Concerns

 Besides helping with the mundane financial tasks, you can also help by looking over your loved one’s financial statements to make sure their health needs are being met. This is especially important if your loved one is living alone because health and safety could become a concern.

One specific area to discuss is healthcare coverage. You can start by asking what kind of Medicare plan they have or if they get insurance through retirement benefits, either their own or through their spouse. This is a crucial question, as the death of a spouse may change your loved one’s eligibility for employer retirement benefits.

If your loved one has Medicare, you may want to look into whether a Medicare Advantage plan would be right for their financial situation. These plans are sold through popular companies like Aetna, and many seniors like the expanded benefits they provide, such as dental and vision care and prescription drug coverage.

Taking the Next Steps

 Once you’ve looked at your loved one’s overall financial outlook, the next major question is “Where do we go from here?” Depending on your loved one’s income and savings, they may not need to make major changes. However, some seniors who become widowed are dealt a financial blow as a result of losing their spouse’s income.

In this case, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a financial advisor so that you don’t rush into decisions that could prove detrimental in the long term. For example, there are some tax implications of becoming widowed, including the decision to make early withdrawals from retirement savings. Doing this may seem like a good option for replacing a spouse’s lost income, but your loved one may lose out by having to pay additional taxes and penalties.

Another major consideration is whether your loved one will continue living at home. This is a personal decision, and finances are only part of the equation. If your loved one decides to sell their home, this is another issue where you want to do your research and consult with an expert, such as an attorney, who can guide you in the legal aspects of selling as a widow or widower.

By |2023-06-30T10:36:49-05:00July 3rd, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Navigating the Financial Decisions Seniors Face After Becoming Widowed – And How Caregivers Can Help