Yoga and Meditation: The Benefits for Seniors and Their Caregivers

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Daughters, we’d like to thank fellow daughter, Lydia Chan for another great guest blog post. Lydia is the co-creator of Alzheimerscaregiver.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. Today she shares the benefits of yoga and meditation for caregivers.

       

 

 

 


It’s Not Just Fancy Fitness Mavens Who Do Yoga

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When you think of yoga and meditation, you may get images of fit people in leggings sitting cross-legged on the floor. However, it’s not just fancy fitness mavens who do yoga. The mind and body benefits of these ancient practices apply to everyone, especially seniors and their caregivers. Not only does the regular exercise help offset the effects of aging, both yoga and meditation also promote mindfulness, which leads to greater life satisfaction.

 

Accessible Indoor Exercise

One of the many benefits of yoga is it can be done almost anywhere. In particular, seniors and their caregivers don’t have to leave their home to practice. With the help of indoor fitness technology such as YouTube videos, fitness apps, and Wii games, they can enjoy a personally taught class in the comfort of their own living room. This can be helpful when caregivers are juggling a hectic schedule and seniors suffer from limited mobility.

 

 A Deep Breath

Both yoga and meditation instruct practitioners to focus on the breath. Purposeful breathing has many health and wellness benefits. Breathing exercises reduce stress and the effects of anxiety. Knowing how to focus on the breath is a great technique for pain relief. A well-oxygenated brain also functions better, so seniors and caregivers are more focused and alert overall.

 

Better Balance

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Yoga, in particular, can help improve balance, making it less likely for seniors to experience falls. Falls are dangerous and have the potential to cause severe damage to a senior’s body.  Fall-related hip fractures make up about 25 percent of injury deaths among those over age 65. Additionally, falls result in 34 percent of injury deaths among those aged 85 or older. Even if a fall isn’t fatal, the bodily injury that can occur isn’t just physically damaging, it can also have a negative impact on the person’s emotional and mental well-being. 

 

Improved Sleep

Both yoga and meditation improve the quality of sleep for seniors as well as their caregivers. Many people experience sleep disruptions as they age because a new circadian clock takes over in senior years. Caregivers may experience sleep troubles due to the depression, stress, and anxiety that come with their many responsibilities. By adding mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation to daily practices, both seniors and their caregivers can experience better sleep at night. The physical exercise of yoga has additional benefits as it gives the body an opportunity to expel excess energy that may otherwise keep a person awake at night. Guided meditation can also be a helpful tool for facilitating sleep by giving detailed instructions that relax the body and mind in bed.

 

Feelings of Well-Being

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Everyone wants to feel better, but many people are at a loss when confronted with the question “how?” Beginning either a yoga or meditation practice is a great way to be proactive about improving personal well-being. By beginning something new, the brain’s curiosity is piqued. The activity of yoga also contributes to feelings of happiness and self-satisfaction. Furthermore, learning a skill through either yoga or meditation boosts self-esteem and provides room for growth. Adult learning and goal setting/reaching are all keys to facilitating feelings of well-being.

 

Know the Benefits

Yoga and meditation have many benefits, but seniors and their caregivers, in particular, should consider checking out these healthy practices. When it comes to accessible indoor exercise, yoga is great because it promotes balance and flexibility. Improved balance reduces a senior’s chance of suffering from a fall, which can have devastating physical, mental and emotional effects. Following the breath in both yoga and meditation can reduce stress and help with pain relief. Both yoga and meditation also help people sleep better– something caregivers and seniors can both use. Finally, starting a new practice like meditation or yoga facilitates feelings of well-being and happiness for a better life.

 

Thanks so much for sharing this information with us, Lydia. It’s amazing what one small change – like implementing a simple yoga and/or meditation routine – can make for the better. For more posts specific to Alzheimer’s caregivers, visit HERE!

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Dealing with the Costs of a Loved One’s Alzheimer’s Care

A pile of 50 and 100 dollar bills.

Daughters, we’d like to thank fellow daughter, Lydia Chan for the below guest blog post. Lydia is the co-creator of Alzheimerscaregiver.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Lydia found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors. In her spare time, Lydia finds joy in writing articles about a range of caregiving topics.

     
What Is This Really Going to Cost?

senior coupleThat all depends on your loved one’s condition and their needs at the moment. As the Alzheimer’s Association notes, “Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and the person’s needs will change over time.” While their care may cost one thing this year, it could double or even triple in years to come. The disease costs Americans on the whole over $277 billion a year, and how much of that chunk will be yours is highly variable.

 

It All Depends on Type of Care

While the average Alzheimer’s patient will incur costs from ongoing medical appointments, treatments, home modifications, medications, and more, the single largest cost consideration you’ll have to face is their day-to-day care. Once again, it will depend on their current needs. On average, it costs 85,775 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home and about $10,000 more for a fully private room. An in-home aide will run on average $22 per hour. Adult daycare can be $70 per day or more.Medical Claim Approved Stamp Showing Successful Medical Reimbursement

 

Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care?

A large majority of elderly Alzheimer’s patients are on Medicare, so we’ll discuss that. Will Medicare pay for Alzheimer’s care? Yes, it will. Some of it. Maybe all of it. The hard truth is that it all depends. For example, Medicare will pay for all of the cost of a nursing home for 20 days and 80 percent of the cost for 80 more days. In some circumstances, Medicare will increase the number of days. Check out the basics on what Medicare covers and what it does not.

Medicare supplemental plans, which help people pay for Medicare Part A and Part B copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs, can help with the costs. Consider looking into this option for your loved one as well when researching different plans long before medicare open enrollment begins on October 15.

 

How to Find Funding Outside of Insurance

Even if your loved one has quality insurance (privately or through Medicare/Medicaid), there may be some coverage gaps. Like we mentioned before, Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease that carries quite a bit of financial baggage.

Most states have programs in place to help with long-term caregiving for the elderly. Check with your state’s health services website or head to the National Family Caregiver Support Program portal. Also, check out the national eldercare locator for help finding quality, professional, affordable care options available to you and your loved one.

Beyond that, there are a whole host of options, including Alzheimer’s care loans, prescription drug assistance services, veterans’ assistance for Alzheimer’s patients, state-based grant programs, and more. Check here for a great resource on all this.

Medicare and medicare supplemental insurance will certainly help with the major costs of your loved one’s treatment, medication, and care. But as their primary caregiving facilitator you will need to figure out how to make up the rest. Don’t forget to include your loved one in this conversation. They may have Alzheimer’s, but their opinions matter. What they say could determine what costs you incur down the road, so make sure you respect their wishes.

       

Thanks so much for sharing this information with us, Lydia. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is one of the most challenging seasons in a person’s life and we need each other to make it through! For more posts specific to Alzheimer’s caregivers, visit HERE!

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Apparel Designer Helps Caregivers and Seniors

Carla Macklin, Founder, Alium Adaptive Apparel

Daughters, meet Carla Macklin, the founder of a new company that has just launched: Alium Adaptive Apparel. The mission of the company is to design clothing to help caregivers have the best access to giving care while keeping the senior feeling comfortable and dignified. Carla showcased her new clothing line at the 2017 National Caregiving Conference where we had a chance to ask her a few questions.

     
Where did you get the idea to start Alium Adaptive Apparel?

alium adaptive apparel carla macklin Alium was born after a great deal of soul-searching to find a purposeful way to apply my sewing and design skills. Increasingly I’ve heard stories from friends about the difficulty they face caring for their aging family members and often this difficulty boils down to clothing options. Existing off-the-rack clothing options are often undignified, inefficient, and difficult to wear while adaptive clothing companies look clinical and “old”. I thought simply that I could make better adaptive clothing options that bring in modern touches and innovative design.

 

What is different about your garments?

The garments are designed to address a number of different issues of aging such as loss of mobility and dexterity, thinning of the skin, incontinence, reduction in circulation, among other things. Our textiles are chosen for their warmth and softness and are sewn with flat interior seams to minimize abrasion to the skin, reducing the potential for bedsores and infections. Innovative textiles have been utilized, such as the soft hook & loop that doesn’t require finger dexterity to open and close. Openings of the garments have been constructed to provide alternate ways for a caregiver to access the body without disturbing the care receiver’s dignity.  For example, a catheter need not be disturbed when changing pants and the nightgown need not be entirely removed or shifted up to check how a wound is healing. But in the end it’s about style and each garment must pass the “does it look good?” test.  Research shows it’s important to an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing to be dressed for the day in garments they feel comfortable in.  We respect that principle in our garments.Pant Front

  What is your design process?

The designs start with research. We have interviewed over one hundred caregivers at this point (medical, professional and family caregivers) about the challenges they face with their care receiver and the clothing options they have use. From there ideas are generated to address these challenges and get incorporated into garments during the prototyping phase. During prototyping, a pattern is made and gets sewn dozens of times for wear testing and trials on real bodies. When we finally feel like it is ready for market, a small production is run. Keeping production small allows us to continue to iterate products based on real customer feedback and we are always looking for customer’s thoughts on how to make our garments better.

What is the future of Alium Adaptive Apparel?

We are positioning Alium to be the innovation leader in caregiving garments. We are devoting a lot of effort to understanding the advancements in antimicrobial, anti-odor, moisture wicking, heat-conserving, and anti-abrasion textiles and plan to incorporate these technologies into future designs. We also plan to expand offerings into menswear and provide a larger range of sizes. Our goal in 5 years is to have a portfolio of garments that can help a wider variety of individuals and their needs.

       

Thanks so much, Carla, for sharing your process with us. And for any Daughters who wish to share feedback and ideas with Alium, please comment below or reach out to Carla directly HERE!

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Why Caregivers Need To Remember Their Own Needs

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Fellow Daughter Sally Collins is a stay at home mom who lives in the Caribbean. She’s the primary caregiver for her mom who has colorectal cancer. Discover what Sally’s learned about the importance of caring for ourselves while caring for our loved ones. Thanks, Sally for sharing your heart and experience, and links to great resources!

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Millennial Caregiver Turned Dementia Ambassador

Daughters, meet fellow daughter, Aisha Adkins.
Aisha is a Millennial and a full-time caregiver for her mother and founder of Our Turn 2 Care, a platform for young adult caregivers who are people of color or members of the LGBTQA community. She’s an authentic storyteller who’s driven by her faith, inspired by her family, and eager to use her talents to affect positive social change.

Aisha earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgia Southern University and has worked in fields ranging from healthcare to technology to nonprofit development. When she is not a doting daughter and agent of change, she enjoys classic film, traditional jazz, and cookies-n-cream ice cream.
. Thanks, Aisha for sharing your story and amazing passion!

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Meet Elizabeth Miller, One Happy Healthy Caregiver! (Part Two)

Elizabeth Miller, Founder www.happyhealthycaregiver.com

Welcome to Part Two of our interview with Happy Healthy Caregiver’s creator and founder, Elizabeth Miller. In Part One, Elizabeth shared the most important lessons she’s learned from her caregiving experience and what led her to create www.happyhealthycaregiver.com.

In Part-two, Elizabeth talks about her Certified Caregiving Consultant course, upcoming Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast and where she most often hangs out on social media.
 

Elizabeth, we hear you became a Certified Caregiving Consultant. What information would you say has impacted you the most from this experience and program?

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I’m a chronic learner and I knew I had more to learn. I definitely don’t know all there is to know about caregiving. For example, I haven’t had any direct exposure to dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The class is very structured and organized. The instructor, Denise Brown of CareGiving.com, has organized the content into the stages you go through as a family caregiver. It starts with the expectant caregiver stage and goes through all the stages including the one after your caregiving role ends.

happy healthy caregiver founder, elizabeth millerShe gives you the tools to meet people where they are in each stage, and this training helped me a lot. For example, I love to help people, but sometimes they don’t want to necessarily be helped, or they aren’t ready for the help. They just need someone to listen to them. One of Denise’s superpowers she shares is related to empathy and validation. The importance of meeting people where they are.

We also hear you’re planning to launch a Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast. Can you tell us more about this?

happy healthy caregiver, elizabeth miller, podcastsListening to podcasts has been something I have enjoyed doing, especially while I was engrossed in caregiving responsibilities. I had less time to read books and articles but listening to a podcast during my commutes or carpools or trips back and forth to see my parents was doable. Podcasts were my go-to for learning how to cope with situations, the challenges of the day, and even learning how to start an online business.

Creating a podcast for Happy Healthy Caregiver is a natural next step to reach family caregivers. I was approached by Chris MacLellan of the Whole Care Network about joining their team of podcasters and the timing felt right.

The podcast is in the works. I’m batching up a few episodes before launching it later this year. Each episode will focus on a topic to help family caregivers be happier and healthier. Sometimes I’ll be sharing my own stories and content and sometimes I’ll have guests who are either current or former family caregivers.

  Besides the podcast, what else is on the horizon for you?

I want to publish a few different books that I currently have swimming around in my head. I love to write and will also continue to look for ways to help share information in different media outlets.

happy healthy caregiver, elizabeth miller, corporations, senior communitiesI also am connecting more locally with corporations and senior communities by sharing interactive presentations with small groups of family caregivers. I currently lead the Atlanta Daughterhood Circle (a social support group for family caregivers) so I’ll continue to get the word out about that.

Lastly, I’m doing as much national speaking as my schedule will allow. I’m excited about speaking at the National Caregiving Conference this November in Chicago.

Wow. You’ve got a lot going on, Girl. So, tell us. What’s your favorite social media channel to hang out on?

I find that most of the interaction I get with family caregivers tends to be on Facebook. I even started a Happy Healthy Caregiver Facebook Group that has different daily themes (Monday Motivation, Tip Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, etc.). I also like Instagram a lot.

       

Thanks, Elizabeth for a jam packed two-part interview! It’s amazing how many ‘Daughters Turned Caregivers Turned Entrepreneurs’ we run across. If you’re one of us and would like to be interviewed for a blog – PLEASE contact us at info@daughtersunite.com. We’d love to share what you’re doing for our amazing tribe! Also, don’t miss this year’s 2nd Annual National Caregiving Conference – even if you can’t travel – you can attend online!

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Meet Elizabeth Miller, One Happy Healthy Caregiver! (Part One)

Elizabeth Miller, Founder www.happyhealthycaregiver.com

The absolute best part about uniting daughters is the amazing women we meet along the way. This week we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Miller, founder of www.happyhealthycaregiver.com. Elizabeth is a positive force to reckon with – she’s on a mission to help families integrate caregiving with life and support caregivers in their journey to first care for themselves. Find out how Elizabeth went from being a Journalist to one of the daughter caregiving pioneers in the rapidly growing family caregiving support industry in this two-part interview.
 

Elizabeth, what are a few of the most important lessons caregiving has taught you about yourself?

Caregiving has been life changing for me.

First, I think it reiterated the importance of the flexibility I need in my life. I want to be able to be with the people I love when I want to be with them.

quote in interview with elizabeth millerSecondly, it really taught me that you can’t change people. You just have to learn to let go. I’ve had to really practice this and the one tool I’ve used the most is meditation. I discovered an app that I love called CALM where I find benefit from just a 10 minute guided meditation.

Thirdly, I would say ‘being prepared’. It’s so important to be prepared with your own finances, emotional state (for example, not repeating the same mistakes over again) and personal health and happiness plus being prepared with your loved ones by having certain conversations earlier, and having them documented.

I’m especially focused and interested on helping family caregivers connect with resources to help them feel more prepared and less overwhelmed. My mission with Happy Healthy Caregiver is to encourage and help family caregivers integrate caregiving with their busy lives and create ways to be happy & healthy in the process.

What led you to create Happy Healthy Caregiver?

just thought i was a daughter not a caregiverThe reason I created the site was that I felt so isolated and overwhelmed as a new caregiver. I didn’t even know that I was called a family caregiver! I definitely never did a Google search on that term. Just a daughter trying to help care for my aging parents. I looked for resources to help guide me through the challenges and really didn’t find what I was looking for. I was finding specific disease information but I wasn’t finding a way to live my life while caring for aging parents and raising children and working full-time. I landed on the term ‘sandwich generation’ – a group of people caring for aging parents while raising children. I knew I was a part of that but now what?

When all this crazy health stuff was happening to my parents in 2014, I had a six hour ride each way in my car, I had time to think and process emotions. My family and my own personal health and happiness was being impacted by those around me. I knew that the health conditions of my parents and my mother-in-law (she had terminal lung cancer and my husband was caring for her at the same time) were self-inflicted by the lifestyle choices they had made. If I didn’t really focus on my health & happiness and prioritize it, I was going to repeat the same cycle. It just really hit me that I needed to figure out how to care for myself while caring for others and share with others how to do this so they wouldn’t burnout.

interview quote from elizabeth millerI have a degree in Journalism and had considered starting a blog in my past but now I had to start it. I saw a huge void and identified with a group of family caregivers who were being underserved. This need compounded with my own desire to have more flexibility in my life motivated me to push forward even during the craziest emotional days of my life. Blogging and staying accountable to my audience has truly helped me probably more than I am helping them.

I do hope that something I have written or shared will help a family caregiver create time for themselves and make life just a little bit happier for them during a difficult time.

  What can people expect when they connect with your private happyhealthycaregiving.com community on your website?

Family caregivers will first see that the content is super organized. There’s a lot of content specific to caregiving ‘out there’ on the internet, but it’s not very well organized. So, it was very important to me to create a site that was practical and where caregivers could get the information they need when they need it. Unlike Facebook posts where they disappear from your newsfeed and feel like they are gone forever, the content in the community is organized by themes and topics.

interview with elizabeth miller tried and true ideasIf people need information about how they can truly implement self-care and get tried and true ideas to create more time for themselves – they will find all of these resources and tips nested together. And I am constantly adding more resources and tools that I come across or if they don’t exist yet – we’ll create them.

       

Stay tuned for Part Two of this interview and find out what information Elizabeth learned the most from her Caregiving Consultant program and her exciting new Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast venture!

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What I’m Learning From My Best Friend (Part 3 of 3)

This week our fellow daughter, Shay Moser delivers part three of her three-part series on the lessons she’s learning from her best friend, Dena. Dena traveled the caregiving journey with her mom who had pancreatic cancer and is now traveling it with her dad who has a terminal illness. Thanks, Shay, and Dena for sharing your heart and wisdom!

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Welcome to the ‘Daughter Hood’, Girls.

Disabled senior woman in wheelchair with her young daughter.Daughters, have you entered the ‘daughter hood’ yet? If so, you totally know. If not, chances are pretty high that eventually you’ll be there. Here’s the great news – when you arrive – there are millions of other daughters more than ready and willing to help you through. Yes, it’s scary, sad and stressful, but it can also be a sacred time you’ll cherish when you look back on it.

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3 Significant Lessons I Learned on the (Caregiving) Job

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Jessica and her mom.

Daughters, meet fellow daughter, Jessica McLean.
Jessica is a freelance writer and full-time caregiver to her Mom who has Primary Progressive MS and Epilepsy. She lives Austin, TX with her husband and Mom, and blogs about caregiving tips, ideas, and solutions at Givea.Care. In this week’s blog, Jessica (aka ‘Jess’) shares three significant lessons she’s learned from and about caregiving.
Thanks, Jess for sharing your heart and wisdom!

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