5 Surprising Truths about Grief

Losing a
husband or wife is a devastating experience that many of us will have to face.
About 40% of women and 13% of men who are 65 and older are widowed, according
to the latest census figures. Until recently, very little research existed
about how we live on after a loved one has died. But in the past decade, social
scientists with unprecedented access to large groups of widows and widowers
have uncovered five surprising truths about losing a spouse.

 

We oscillate. For years, we have been t old that
grief comes in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and
acceptance. If we were to diagram those stages, the emotional trajectory would
look something like a large capital W, with two major low points signifying
anger or depression, and the top of the last upward leg of the W signifying
acceptance. But when psychologist, Toni Bisconti of the University of Akron
asked recent widows to fill out daily questionnaires for three months, vast
fluctuations occurred from one day to the next. A widow might feel anxious and
blue one day, only to feel lighthearted and cheerful the next. In other words,
we don’t grieve in stages at all, but oscillate rapidly. Over time, those
swings diminish in both frequency and intensity until we reach a level of
emotional adjustment.
Grief is not forever. One of the most important new findings
has shown that for most of us, grief is a severe, but self-limiting, condition,
not a permanent state. In one study of older men and women who had lost
spouses, George A. Bonanno, a clinical psychologist at Teachers College,
Columbia University, found that the core symptoms of grief: anxiety,
depression, shock, and intrusive thoughts had lifted by six months after the
loss for 50% of the participants, Smaller groups took up to 18 months or three
years to resume normal functioning. Loss is forever, but thankfully, acute
grief is not.
Loss is harder for men. For years, clinicians have been operating
under the assumption that women grieve harder and longer than men. In 2001, psychologists
Wolfgang and Margaret Stroebe decided to examine all the existing research and
came to the surprising conclusion that, after taking into account the higher
rate of depression in the overall female population, men actually suffer more
from being bereaved. We might be under the impression that widows despair more,
but that’s because there are many more widows to observe.
You don’t necessarily need counseling.
Often, well-meaning
friends and relatives will urge you to attend a support group, or go to see a
grief counselor. Although taking such steps might make you feel better, it is
certainly not a requirement for healing. According to a 2008 survey, most grief
seems to go away on its own. Counseling can be helpful, however, for people
whose grief has already lasted a long time and who are likely suffering from a
condition called “complicated grief.”
Humor can heal. In 2008, psychologist Dale Lund of
California State University surveyed 292 recently bereaved men and women 50 and
older, and he found that 75% reported finding humor and laughter in their daily
lives, and at levels much higher than they had expected. Other research has
shown that being able to draw on happy memories of the deceased helps you
heal-those who are able to smile when describing their relationship to their
husband or wife six months after the loss were happier and healthier 14 months
out than those who could only speak of the deceased with sadness, fear, and
anger. As hard as it might be, try to focus on good memories and feelings about
your relationship, as it is the positive emotions that can protect your psyche
and help you find serenity.
Source: www.aarp.org/relationships/grief-loss/info-03-2011/truth-about-greif.2.html

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reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to
the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of
your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a
free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

When Genders Collide While Caregiving

Two adult sisters were angry at their older brother, the
protective sibling they’d admired and emulated since they were kids. “We’ve cut
back on our work hours to take care of our Mom,” one sister complained to the
other. “But Louis insists he is too important to his company to miss time from his job. He just assumes we will
continue caring for Mom, no matter how it affects us.”
The family’s double standard rankled the sister with good
reason.  Their mother expected the
daughters to drive, feed and cater to her, but praised her son as practically a
hero for his weekly phone call.
Cultural norms have led us to expect that women and men will
play differing roles in many family activities. Often this works out well
agreed upon divisions of labor help family members work more cooperatively and
efficiently during parenting, household chores and other endeavors. But when
divisions start to emerge along gender lines in caregiving families, they can
embitter sister, enrage, brothers, and encumber the caregiving plan.
Take the question of who becomes a caregiver. With 2 out of
every 3 caregivers a female, family caregiving is still largely women’s work.
(The average caregiver is a 49-year old woman who works at least a part time
job and has been taking care of an aging parent for several years). Although the
percentage of male caregivers has slowly risen over the past 20 years, it still
lags far behind.
Researchers in the caregiving field have turned up these key
gender disparities:
Women are more likely to commit to particularly arduous
caregiving, including hands-on care that involves bathing and using the toilet.
Men, on the whole, are less apt to get their hands dirty and they feel less
guilt about hiring help than women do.
Women and men often receive varying responses for providing
the same level of care. Female caregivers are typically acknowledged as “just
doing their duty,” whereas men tend to be lauded for engaging in even minor
care activities.
Women and men cope differently with the stress of being a caregiver.
Women feel greater sadness and anxiety about caring for a loved one, and they
are more likely to seek emotional support (by attending a caregiver support
group for example). Men go into “Logical Problem-Solver” mode, avoiding their
emotions and spurning support groups.
We don’t usually talk about our family roles since we are
too busy living t hem, but if sisters or brothers feel they’re getting unfair
treatment on the basis of gender, it’s crucial to hash out these previously
unspoken expectations. That’s the first step toward addressing such key
questions as “Do we want to apply this family’s traditional gender roles to how
we provide care? Or do we want to divvy up the caregiving tasks in some new
way?” The resulting discussion may give sisters an opening to ask their
brothers to contribute more time, money or support. Or it may give brothers the
opportunity they’ve been seeking to request a larger say in caregiving
decisions.
www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-01-2014/caregiving-family-gender-sibilings-jacobs.html

 To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Find Resources for Your Aging Parent

When you are the person responsible for providing care for
your aging parents, life can become quite hectic. This situation is
particularly stressful for adults who have the dual responsibility of caring
for their own children as well as their aging parents. One of the best ways to
cope with aging parent care is to find resources and help within your local
community. Here are a few ideas for finding those resources:
1.      
Talk to your church representatives. If you are
active in a local church, you will often find a lot of resources, help, and
advice from then that will be extremely helpful with caring for your aging
parents. Your minister is often very connected to the community, and will know
about a variety of services and programs that you may never have heard of
before. Your church may also have social workers and specialists on staff whose
job is specifically created to help families with aging parents.
2.      
Look in the yellow pages. If you live in a large
community, there might be a wealth of resources for your aging parent right
there in the phone book. These cab range from senior community centers, day
trip organizers, adult day care, home health aides or assistants, and more.
3.      
Join a support group as the support group is for
you, the caregiver because as a caregiver to an aging parent, your
responsibilities can become vast. They’re also quite stressful, and many women
particularly try to do everything themselves, and end up burning out from
trying to do too much without any help. By joining a support group, you will
have a large source of emotional support on hand whenever you need it, and that
support will come from others who have gone through the same things you are
experiencing.
4.      
Speak to your doctor. By speaking to your
doctor, or your parent’s doctor, you will often find they know many community
resources that can help you care for your aging parents. Doctors who specialize
in geriatric care will have the most information and resources for you about
available community services, but even family practitioners are often very well
connected within the community, and they may have some excellent contacts for you
to get started with.
5.      
Ask friends and other family members. If you
have a large network of friends and family members nearby, they may know about
resources in your community too. Friends, particularly, who have started caring
for their own elderly parents, may be looking for or have already found
community resources for their own needs and they’re more willing to help you as
well. If you and a friend can split the work of finding community resources and
share them with each other regularly.

Source:
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid-1184

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Why You Shouldn’t Drop Your Landline Just Yet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which
regularly tracks telephone usage, says the number of U.S. households relying
on cellular devices for phone service jumped to more than 35% by the first half
of 2012 from about 20% in 2008. But some telecommunications experts warn older
people to put plans to drop their land-lines on hold.
“Having a quick and reliable option to reach emergency
responders and immediate family is essential,” says Raghu Santanam, a paramedic
and professor of information systems at Arizona State University in Phoenix.
A 911 call from a cellular phone or an internet based Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service often requires routing the call to the
correct emergency response center, which can cause delays for first responders
when every second counts.
If you call 911 from a land-line, you get several advantages.
First, the call shows up on a computer screen in the correct 911 center. The
screen shows a map and exactly where the call is coming from, the address and
the name of the residence. Should the caller be unable to speak, get confused
or not know where they are, the 911 screen shows EMS where to go.
While “tech-savvy seniors can save money by switching to
mobile and internet based services,” Santanam says, he recommends keeping a land-line
as a plan B: “It is important to gauge the age-related changes and the convenience
of keeping things simple. Given that all seniors are most familiar with
land-lines, it should be either the first option or the emergency back-up
option.”
“Since copper lines are self-powered it makes more sense for
older people in rural communities or areas prone to storms to resist offers
from cable, cellular and satellite companies,” Santanam says. “In case of
bad-weather conditions, land-line phones are much more likely to be available,”
he says. For example, satellite-based internet services in rural areas can have
outages during storms and cellular towers can be vulnerable to losing power in natural
disasters.
“If they don’t have enough back-up battery for these towers,
your cell services will disappear,” says Barbara Cherry, a professor in the
telecommunications department at Indiana University and a former senior counsel
at the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Strategic Planning and
Policy Analysis.
“Land-line carriers are required to provide the phone numbers
of their customers to local reverse 911 systems,” writes Carmelita Miller on
the website of the Greenlining Institute, a think tank in Berkley, California.
Cellphone users and VoIP customers generally must sign up to receive emergency
alerts.
Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, a
customer watchdog organization in Washington, D.C., says that abandoning a land-line
to save a few dollars per month can prove costly. “Unlike traditional phones,
there’s no mandatory quality of service for any of the newer technologies,” says
Feld. The quality of VoIP and cellphones is “very variable,” he says. Medical
alert services and remote monitoring of medical devices such as pacemakers that
are designed for traditional land-lines may or may not “work on an IP substitute
and will absolutely not work on wireless,” he says.
“In a country where we have an increasing number of elderly
who need to make sure that medical device and medical alert services work, who
need the superior voice quality,” says Feld, “how do we make sure they are
protected? That’s a very big question right now.”
Source:
www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-11-2013/don’t
-drop-your-landline.2.html

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Medication Tips for the Caregiver

The average senior takes two to seven medications daily. As
we age our bodies change, affecting the way medications and foods are absorbed,
distributed, metabolized, and excreted.
All of these can create a greater risk of drug interactions
and side effects. The more medications the care-receiver takes daily, the
easier it is to lose track of how many to take and when they should be taken.
Caregivers should use a medication organizer for their care-receiver.
Consider these tips:
        1.      
Make sure all of the care-receiver’s doctors and
specialists are aware of what the other is prescribing.
        2.      
Make sure you understand how and when the
care-receiver is to take all of the medications.
        3.      
Select over-the-counter products to treat only
symptoms you have. Follow-up with the pharmacist to make sure there will not be
a reaction with other medications you are taking.
        4.      
Make sure all medications are clearly labeled.
        5.      
Keep medications in their original containers.
        6.      
Never take medication in the dark or in poor
lighting.
        7.      
Know what your medications look like. If it does
not look right or same, contact the pharmacist before taking.
        8.      
Only take the amount prescribed for you.
        9.      
Never take someone else’s medication.
        10.  
Follow the directions on the container. Do not
stop taking medications just because you feel better.
        11.  
Use a medication organizer.
        12.  
Don’t store medications in sunlight or direct
heat.
        13.  
Never store medications in the bathroom. There
is too much moisture.
        14.  
Use whatever means you can to help your loved
one take medication properly.
        15.  
Don’t carry medicines next to your body. That can
raise the temperature and cause some medications to break down.
        16.  
Always get your prescription filled on time so
you don’t run out. Missing even one day can make a difference in the
effectiveness of many medications.
        17.  
Use one pharmacy for all of your medicines. This
will help ensure that you don’t take conflicting medications.
        18.  
If you have any questions about your pills, make
sure you ask your doctor or pharmacist.
        19.  
Tell your doctor of you have any side effects.
        20.  
Be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist of any
herbal supplements you are taking. Some herbal supplements can interact with
prescribed medications and cause them to be less effective.
        21.  
Know the names and doses of the medicines you
are taking.
        22.  
Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
        23.  
Throw away any medicines that aren’t currently
prescribed to you.
        24.  
Ask your pharmacist’s advice before crushing or
splitting tablets. Some should only be swallowed    whole.
Did you know that drug misuse is one of the
top problems that doctors see in seniors? Did you know that about 320,000 questionable
prescriptions are written for seniors yearly?
Almost 40% if all drug reactions each year involve
seniors. Be responsible. If you have any medication questions be sure to ask
your pharmacist.
Source:
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid-4338
To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Why You Should Keep Caregiving Records

Being a caregiver is often a complex role and can vary
widely depending on the needs of the care receiver/patient. In the beginning
you may only be providing a few services such as help with shopping,
transportation, and/or light housekeeping. As time goes on, additional care
becomes required until the senior becomes fully dependent on the caregiver.
This is a big responsibility that does not come with a specific job description
and the role you play as a caregiver will constantly be changing.
Because of this responsibility and ever changing demands, it
makes sense to keep daily caregiving records. Here are 7 reasons why keeping
caregiving records are beneficial to both the caregiver and care-receiver.
        1.      
Keeping daily records will allow you to monitor
the senior’s progress and continually reassess their needs. This makes it
easier for the caregiver to make adjustments and ensures overall better care.
        2.      
Documentation allows you to better inform the
senior’s doctors about changes in health and ultimately results in fewer office
visits and better responsiveness to medical needs.
        3.      
Caregiving can be stressful. By keeping
caregiving records you no longer have to worry about remembering everything. It
is a great way to get things out of your head so you can focus solely on the
care needed and not be worrying about something you may have forgotten.
        4.      
It keeps family members in the loop. You no
longer have to worry about forgetting to mention key details or changes in care
since everything is documented for loved ones to see.
        5.      
What if you’re sick? By having everything
written down you allow another caregiver to easily provide services until you
return. This ensures long term high quality care.
   
        6.      
Increases satisfaction of caregiver and receiver.
By writing daily notes you ensure that both the senior and caregiver are on the
same page. This allows either one to bring concerns up and opens the line of
communication further.
        7.      
It keeps all the records in one place. By having
a single notebook or folder, you no longer have to worry about information being
spread out. If you need to retrieve a piece of information about the senior or
their health, you know exactly where to look.
Once you begin keeping a daily record of your caregiving
services you will find that it leads to overall better care and satisfaction.
Just be sure to do this regularly and always have this on hand so you can make
notes whenever needed.
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid=4404
To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

What are the different kinds of Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term
for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that
affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual
functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. They also
lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they
may experience personality changes and behavioral problems such as agitation,
delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of
dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.
Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions such as memory,
language skills, perception, or cognitive skills including reasoning and judgment
are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.
There are many disorders that can cause dementia. Some such
as Alzheimer’s disease(AD) lead to a progressive loss of mental functions. But
other types of dementia can be halted or reversed with appropriate treatment.
With AD and many other types of dementia, the disease processes
causes many nerve cells to stop functioning, lose connections with other
neurons, and die. In contrast, normal aging does not result in the loss of
large numbers of neurons in the brain.
What are the
different kinds of Dementia?

  • Cortical Dementia: Dementia
    where the brain damage primarily affects the brain’s cortex, or outer layer. Cortical
    dementias tend to cause problems with memory, language, thinking, and social behavior.
  • Subcortical Dementia:
     
    Dementia that affects parts of the
    brain below the cortex. Subcortical dementia tends to cause changes in emotions
    and movement in addition to problems with memory.
  • Progressive Dementia:
    Dementia that gets worse over time, gradually interfering with more and
    more cognitive abilities.
  • Primary Dementia: Dementia
    such as AD that does not result from any other disease.
  • Secondary Dementia: Dementia
    that occurs as a result of a physical disease or injury.

www.medicinenet.com/dementia.page3.htm#what_are_the_diferent_kinds_of_dementia

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

The Right Exercises for Seniors

Senior fitness requires exercise, but it must be the correct
exercise. If seniors exercise incorrectly they can cause great harm.
There are four basic components to correct exercise for
seniors that will lead to healthy living: cardio, strength, flexibility, and
balance.
Cardio Training
Cardio training is an activity that increases the heart
rate. Good exercises that are appropriate for seniors include: walking,
swimming, and bike riding. Becoming involved in this form of exercise three or more times per week is essential.
Strength Exercise
As we age our muscles slowly begin to decline in size. The
more a muscle is not used the more it will shrink. As a senior it is important
to exercise with light weights a few times each week to keep muscles strong.
Flexibility and
Stretching Exercise
For good posture and healthy joints it is important for
seniors to undertake a few minutes each day or every other day of stretching
exercises. Exercises that involve stretching help keep the body flexible.
Balance Exercise
This is the area of exercise that is often overlooked, yet
very important. As we age we lose our sense of balance and become more
vulnerable to falling. By doing balance exercises this will help prevent fall
accidents.
As with any exercise activity, especially as a senior,
consult a physician first before anything is started. That way they can assure
that the activities are safe and proper for the health of the individual.
Keep in mind these four components of proper exercise for
seniors. Senior fitness is important and should not be ignored if one is to
have a happy and healthy life during their later years. But it must be done
right and include all the four of the mentioned components.

Source: www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid=4365

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Healthy Aging and Physical Limitations

Anyone
who has a physical limitation may have to work harder to age well and stay
healthy, but your elder must not let his or her spirit wane or look at himself
or herself as a victim.
Elders
often know their own bodies, and what they need. Having a membership to a
health club is not what gets you healthy; you actually have to do the exercise.
Whether your elder does an exercise regime on his or her own or follows a DVD
or TV workout program, it is crucial that your elder moves around on a regular
basis to stay energized, firm, and alive.
Before
starting any exercise program, consult your elder’s primary care physician for
a baseline assessment of the ideal level of physical activity. Remember to keep
it enjoyable or your elder won’t stick with it for very long. The activity must
be something that becomes a fun part of the daily routine, whether it is
walking, biking, or practicing yoga. Also make sure your elder is getting
outside for some sunshine every day and getting adequate sleep every night.
Another
proactive healthy aging tactic is to eat right and keep hydrated. This will
take planning and effort. Suggest that your elder make a list of preferred
foods that are healthy and go purchase t hem. Make sure fresh fruits and
vegetables, as well as lean sources of protein are in the home at all times.
To age
successfully, it also helps to stay closely connected to family, friends, and
to some sort of spiritual life, if you desire. Finding a place to volunteer
your time and expertise also helps. Encourage your elder to pursue anything
that makes them feel like they are a part of their community and universe at
large.
Finally,
It’s important to settle old grudges and hurts. Wipe your emotional slate clean
every day before you go to bed. Sometimes this requires an email, a phone call,
or just coming to terms with the conflict in your own mind. Be grateful for
being alive so that you can live life to the fullest.

Source:
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid=4347

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.