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  • The heat of the desert summer is here, so this is a good time to review some vital safety tips for seniors.  Elderly persons are more prone to the effects of heat and at greater risk for dehydration. Make sure
    Read More
    • Coachella Valley
    • Education
    • Heat
    • Lgbt Senior Care
    • Palm Springs
    • Safety
    • Safety Tips
    • Summer
  • Pain Management for Seniors

    Monday, 17 July 2017
    Up to 88% of older adults report some form of chronic pain. Seniors are more vulnerable to chronic pain for a number of reasons, including greater joint and muscle wear, the presence of other medical conditions and a general decrease
    Read More
    • Aging
    • Controlling Pain
    • Pain Free
    • Pain Management
  • It is standard practice for businesses to tackle tough issues through meetings with concerned parties. Similarly, meetings with family members and caregivers for the purpose of coordinating the care of an elderly family member and addressing problems as they arise
    Read More
    • Aging
    • Conversations
    • Coordinator
    • Planning Ahead
    • Senior Care
  • By Healthy Aging Team Top 10 Chronic Conditions in Adults 65+ and What You Can do to Prevent or Manage Them Age, family genetics, and gender make it nearly impossible for older adults to avoid becoming a chronic disease statistic. Eighty
    Read More
  • Let's End Ageism

    Tuesday, 15 August 2017
    It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It's ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves -- and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the
    Read More
  • How to Take Care of Others Without Burning Out Emma Seppälä Aug 07, 2017   TIME Health For more, visit TIME Health. In our over-stressed world, many health care providers, social workers and caregivers are suffering from slow yet painful burnout.
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News

How To Take Care Of Others Without Burning Out

How to Take Care of Others Without Burning Out

Aug 07, 2017
 
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

In our over-stressed world, many health care providers, social workers and caregivers are suffering from slow yet painful burnout. Many of the rest of us, working long hours and raising families, seem to be approaching burnout, too. Sometimes we may feel that we’re too exhausted to keep giving to others, even though giving is a primary source of happiness in our lives.

So how can we keep giving without burning out? We’re told that self-care is the answer: Give yourself a treat; you deserve it. Take some time for yourself. Say no.

 

Indeed, a research review found that psychologists in training who practice more self-care report feeling less distressed and stressed and more satisfied with life. The question is: What does self-care look like, and how much of it do we need?

As it turns out, the trick is to be other-focused and kind, but to balance that with taking care of yourself as well. Here are some practices to help you do that.

Self-compassion

One particularly potent form of self-care involves transforming our relationship with ourselves—in particular, practicing self-compassion.

Self-compassion is treating yourself as you would a friend—with kindness rather than self-judgment—especially at times when you fail. Self-compassion is remembering that we all make mistakes, instead of beating ourselves up. And it means being mindful of emotions and thoughts without getting overly immersed in them. Self-compassion doesn’t mean being indulgent or letting yourself off the hook, but it also doesn’t mean being overly self-critical and harsh.

 

Elaine Beaumont at the University of Salford in England has conducted numerous studies looking at the impact of self-compassion on burnout and compassion fatigue. In a study of 100 student midwives—who routinely see both the miracle of new life and the tragedies that can accompany childbirth—Beaumont and her team found that midwives who had higher levels of self-compassion also showed less burnout and compassion fatigue symptoms. The opposite was true of midwives who were highly self-critical. She repeated this study with different caretaker professions and found similar results in nurses and students training to be counselors and psychotherapists.

In addition to being protected against burnout, people who are more self-compassionate tend to report feeling less stress and negative emotions. They’re also more optimistic and feel more happiness and other positive emotions, among other benefits.

To practice self-compassion, try some of the exercises that pioneering self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff has studied and written about in her book on self-compassion, such as writing a self-compassionate letter, taking a self-compassion break, or asking yourself: how would I treat a friend?

Social connection

Caring for ourselves also means seeking social connections who can provide practical and emotional support to us when we’re struggling. A study of nurses found that belonging to a more cohesive group at work helps prevent burnout and compassion fatigue, reducing the effects of stress and trauma.

This should come as no surprise: Social connection, from birth to old age, is one of our greatest human needs. Social connection leads to lower rates of anxiety and depression, strengthens our immune system, and can even lengthen our life.

Researchers agree that social connection has less to do with the number of friends you have than with how connected you feel on the inside, subjectively. In other words, you don’t have to be a social butterfly to reap the benefits; just aim to cultivate an internal sense of belonging with those around you.

How? The tricky part is that stress is linked to self-focus; our stressed minds turn towards me, myself and I—making us even more miserable and disconnected from others. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and walks in nature, as well as curbing caffeine, can all help us calm down and feel ready to reach out to others. A study we conducted at Stanford showed that loving-kindness meditation can be a quick way to nurture a sense of connection. Better yet, try meditating with a partner.

Empathy and compassion

It might seem counterintuitive that empathy—which includes attending to others’ struggles—would help us with our own, particularly for caregivers. But research in social workers shows that having more empathy can also prevent burnout. Brain-imaging research by Tania Singer suggests that compassion training can actually make you better at coping with other people’s suffering—helping you help others without paying the cost yourself.

One potential explanation for this finding is that, by developing feelings like compassion and empathy, we are protected from feeling distressed or overwhelmed in the face of suffering. When you truly connect with another person who is suffering, you can actually feel empowered and energized because you are inspired to uplift that person.

We’ve all had the experience of having a friend ask for help during a time of emergency. In these moments, we are usually capable of so much more than we imagined—we seem to find hidden reserves of energy. Afterward, we end up feeling much better than we did before.

Again, loving-kindness meditation is one way to start to cultivate empathy. When you speak with someone who is suffering, practicing active listening can help you provide comfort and support to them without having to solve their problems.

The benefits of giving

If we can figure out how to continue giving to others without suffering from burnout, we can expect to reap many benefits.

For example, volunteering can have a positive impact on health, with benefitsfor obesity, blood glucose, blood pressure, and longevity. Older volunteers can derive a great feeling of purpose and self-esteem from volunteering; research shows that it makes them feel happiermore connected to others and more confident of their self-worth. The benefits of volunteering for well-being seem to be universal, holding across cultures as well as generations.

Other studies have found that we’re happier when we spend money on others, and that we experience more positive emotions when we engage in acts of kindness for others, rather than ourselves. As a researcher of happiness and someone who has written a book on the topic, I can attest to the many, many studies that have been written on the subject.

If you are shy or introverted or even have social anxiety, giving to others can actually still increase your happiness. Although giving tends to feel better when we connect with beneficiaries, for the truly shy or those who don’t have time, even kind acts conducted over the computer can increase well-being. Finally, as Adam Grant has shown in his book Give & Take, being a giver also leads to greater professional success.

Self-compassion, social connection, and empathy are powerful forms of self-care—but that doesn’t mean that traditional self-care activities have no place in our lives. Keeping your spirits up with exercise, sleeping in and making room for fun activities like movies or shopping are important. These pleasures give us short bursts of happiness that can help fuel us and keep us playful in life. To complement these more physical pleasures, however, giving and connecting with others in positive ways will bring us long-lasting feelings of joy that come from a life of purpose and meaning. The balance between the two is a ripe recipe for a happy, long and fulfilling life.

A version of this article originally appeared on Greater Good Science Center.

http://time.com/4886913/how-to-take-care-of-others-without-burning-out/

Let's End Ageism

It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It's ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves -- and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. "Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured," she says. "It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."

Eldercare Planning: Family Meetings

It is standard practice for businesses to tackle tough issues through meetings with concerned parties. Similarly, meetings with family members and caregivers for the purpose of coordinating the care of an elderly family member and addressing problems as they arise is a crucial element in elder care planning.

Overcoming Barriers to Holding a Family Meeting

There can be various barriers to meetings, both real and imagined. Geography is a big one—often families are widely dispersed across the country. Lives are already busy and often overscheduled without adding yet another commitment. Paid caregivers might not want to donate their time, and families may feel it is too expensive to pay them for meeting time.

Why Hold a Meeting?

Whether or not there are specific problems to solve, sharing information and airing thoughts will be productive. Caring for a frail older person is never easy. Holding a meeting is almost always going to improve the situation if it is well-planned, well-attended, and conducted appropriately.

Who to Invite

It is best to keep the meeting numbers between about 3 and 10. It is important to include the loved one concerned, even if it means holding the meeting in a hospital room. Some families may consider it inappropriate to include the loved one, perhaps because the disabilities of that person make it difficult to discuss the situation in front of him or her, or for cultural reasons. Each family is different, so you must decide what works within your family dynamic, but including the elder can often make a profound difference in success of both the process and the decision-making that can come out of such a meeting.

Professional caregivers are sometimes overlooked and can often provide important information. It’s possible that a caregiver may know the most about relevant issues, such as incontinence or other health problems the elder may be reluctant to speak of with the family. You may also wish to invite neighbors and close friends. For family out of the area who may not be able to travel, conference calling and video calling options such as Skype are now commonly used. Depending on your family’s spiritual beliefs, it can be helpful to include a religious advisor. Every family is unique. The most important consideration is to be as inclusive as possible and not overlook resources to help your family.

Prior to the Meeting

Develop and review the elder care planning agenda in advance with all concerned. Use whatever communication method is most convenient for the majority of your group.

Be sure to assign a neutral person to the role of facilitator. Another person might be designated to be the note taker. Arrange a comfortable physical environment with food and beverages and comfortable seating where everyone can make eye contact.

What to Cover

If there is a specific issue to address that requires “buy-in” of all concerned, make sure it is approached as diplomatically as possible. The family members may have divergent ideas of what is important. For example, if the main topic of your meeting is that your mom may need to move out of her home and she resists this, you might start the process discussing “pros and cons of mom moving.” This might lead to a discussion of “why we want you to move.” Be frank: “We are afraid you’ll fall and not be able to get up.” This might lead to a discussion of all the possible solutions, including personal alert systems, cell phones, a daily phone call or visitor, as well as the benefits and potential drawbacks of an actual move.

Next Steps

Distribute the notes to all concerned, even people who could not attend but wanted to be there. Honor and follow up on what was decided at the meeting. Be flexible in case the situation changes. Your loved one may be fine at home now with the new support systems set in place as a result of the meeting, but even without saying so, families usually recognize that the situation will most likely change.

Whatever the outcome of the family meeting, try to remember that it may not solve every problem. Sometimes just being able to mitigate some dilemmas and clear the air is a step in the right direction.

By Jeannette Franks, PhD

Top 10 Chronic Conditions in Adults 65+ and What You Can do to Prevent or Manage Them

By Healthy Aging Team 
Top 10 Chronic Conditions in Adults 65+ and What You Can do to Prevent or Manage Them

Age, family genetics, and gender make it nearly impossible for older adults to avoid becoming a chronic disease statistic. Eighty percent of adults 65 and older have at least one condition, while 68% have two or more. You probably have a parent or grandparent who is managing a condition right now, or perhaps you are managing one yourself.

With these kinds of odds, you might wonder if there is even anything you can do to prevent the onset of a condition, or make managing an existing condition easier. The answer is yes. Here are ten common chronic conditions adults 65+ on Medicare were treated for in 2015, and what you should know about each.

The 10 most common chronic diseases in adults 65+

Number 10: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

11 % of older adults were treated for COPD, a disease that includes two main conditions—emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes it hard to breathe and causes shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness.

The number one way to prevent COPD—or slow it’s progression—is to quit or avoid smoking. Also try to avoid secondhand smoke, chemical fumes, and dust, which can irritate your lungs.
If you already have COPD, complete the treatments that your doctor has prescribed, get the flu and pneumonia vaccines as recommended by your doctor, and continue to remain active.
Number 9: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

11% of older adults on Medicare were treated for Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is one specific type of dementia—a condition that causes memory loss and difficulty thinking or problem-solving to the point that it interferes with every day activities. Dementia is not a normal part of aging and is caused by changes in the brain over time.

The biggest risk factors for these conditions are things you often can’t control, including age, family history, and genetics, but studies have suggested incorporating the following habits into your life style could slow or prevent onset.

Exercise. Staying active isn’t just good for your heart; it’s also great for your brain.
Sleep. Your brain does important stuff while you are sleeping, so getting at least 7 hours of deep sleep a night is crucial
Be smart about your diet. Research suggests that some foods can negatively affect your brain
Number 8: Depression

14% of older adults sought treatment for depression – a treatable medical condition that is not a normal part of aging. Depression causes persistent feelings of sadness, pessimism, hopelessness, fatigue, difficulty making decisions, changes in appetite, a loss of interest in activities, and more.

Steps you can take to help with depression include:

Manage stress levels. Reach out to family and friends during rough spells and consider regular meditation
Eat a healthy diet. What you put into your body can affect your mood, so focus on foods that are high in nutrients and promote the release of endorphins and those “feel good” chemicals, and limit consumption of things like alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and highly processed foods.
Routine exercise. Exercise has a number of physical and psychological benefits, including improving your mood through the release of endorphins and other “feel good” brain chemicals, boosting self-confidence and self-worth through meeting goals and improving your physical appearance, and increased socialization through interactions at gyms and group classes.
Talk to your doctor. If you’ve experienced any of the warning signs of depression, talk to your doctor, and ask about your treatment options. Antidepressant medications or psychotherapy could be right for you.
If you or someone you love has had thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK).

Number 7: Heart failure

14% of older adults were treated for heart failure — a condition that occurs when the heart cannot adequately supply blood and oxygen to all of the organs in the body. The heart might become enlarged, develop more muscle mass, or pump faster in order to meet the body’s needs, causing you to feel tired, light headed, nauseous, confused, or lack an appetite. The best prevention is to follow a doctor’s recommendations to decrease your risk for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.

Number 6: Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

18% of older adults were treated for CKD or a slow loss in kidney function over time. People dealing with CKD have an increased risk for developing heart disease or kidney failure. You can do the following to prevent or diminish symptoms of CKD:

Understand what damages your kidney. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the greatest risk factors for kidney damage, so taking steps to prevent these diseases is your best strategy
Early detection and treatment. Talk to your doctor regularly, stay current on screenings, and keep up on prescriptions you need to diminish symptoms

Number 5: Diabetes

27% of older adults were treated for diabetes – a disease that occurs when your body is resistant to, or doesn’t produce enough, insulin. Insulin is what your body uses to get energy from food, and distribute it to your cells. When this doesn’t happen, you get high blood sugar, which can lead to complications such as kidney disease, heart disease, or blindness. Chances of having diabetes increases after age 45.

To keep you from developing diabetes or to manage this condition, your doctor may suggest:

Eating a healthy diet, including monitoring your carbohydrate and calorie intake, and talking to your doctor about alcohol consumption
Exercising for 30 minutes five times a week to keep your blood glucose levels in check, and to control weight gain
Safely losing 5-7% of body weight if you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes

Number 4: Ischemic heart disease (or coronary heart disease)

29% of older adults were treated for ischemic heart disease – a condition that is caused by a build-up of plaque that narrows the arteries leading to the heart. Narrow or blocked arteries decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood delivered to the heart. This can cause other complications like blood clots, angina, or a heart attack.

Habits you can incorporate to help:

Refrain from saturated and trans fats, and limit sugar and salt intake
Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
Keep your stress levels in check
Do regular cardio exercises
Abstain from smoking
Talk to your doctor about the major risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure
Number 3: Arthritis

31% of older adults were treated for arthritis – an inflammation of your joints, which causes pain and stiffness and is more common in women.

There are steps you can take to delay the onset of arthritis or manage the symptoms, including:

Exercise at least 5 times per week, for 30 minutes each time to improve function and decrease pain. Try to include a mixture of aerobic, strength-building and stretching movements.
Stay within the recommended weight for your height—losing one pound can remove four pounds of pressure on your knees
Make sure your back, legs and arms are always supported
Take precautions to avoid joint injuries
Do not smoke

Number 2: High cholesterol

47% of older adults were treated for high cholesterol – a condition that occurs when your body has an excess of bad fats (or lipids), resulting in your arteries getting clogged, which can lead to heart disease.

Lifestyle factors you can control when it comes to preventing or managing high cholesterol include:

Abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
Being active each day
Managing your weight
Minimizing saturated fats and trans fats in your diet

Number 1: Hypertension (high blood pressure)

58% of older adults were treated for hypertension – a common condition that involves both how much blood your heart pumps, as well as how resistant your arteries are to the blood flow. When your heart pumps a lot of blood, and you have narrow arteries which resist the flow, that’s when you get high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The danger of hypertension is not only that you can have it for years and not know it, but it can cause other serious health conditions, like stroke and heart attacks.

Things you can do to try to prevent, or reduce, high blood pressure include:

Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing just ten pounds can reduce blood pressure
Regulate your stress levels
Limit salt and alcohol consumption
Exercise daily, including a combination of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, flexibility and stretching, and muscle strengthening
Check your blood pressure regularly—the quicker you catch pre-hypertension, the more likely you are to prevent high blood pressure
When these tactics aren’t enough

The above tips can help you avoid or successfully manage a chronic condition. However, if you or someone you know is struggling to manage a chronic condition, there are programs in your community that can help, like the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). CDSMP is a 6-week, interactive, small-group workshop that helps participants build the skills necessary to control how chronic conditions affect their life.

Workshop sessions focus on the following topics:

Dealing with fatigue, pain, frustration, or isolation
Maintaining strength, flexibility, and endurance
Managing medications
Communicating with family, friends, and health professionals
Healthy eating
To learn more about workshops in your community, contact your local area agency on aging.

 

For original post  at National Council of Aging:

https://www.ncoa.org/blog/10-common-chronic-diseases-prevention-tips/

Pain Management for Seniors

Up to 88% of older adults report some form of chronic pain. Seniors are more vulnerable to chronic pain for a number of reasons, including greater joint and muscle wear, the presence of other medical conditions and a general decrease in activity levels. Chronic pain also leads to a greater risk of accidents such as falls. Older adults who have chronic joint pain or muscle aches, especially in the legs, are 50% more prone to falling than seniors without it. The most common types of chronic pain in seniors are: Arthritis / joint pain, peripheral neuropathy (often associated with diabetes), lingering pain from injuries (such as a rotator cuff tear or hip fracture), Cancer pain and depression-associated pain.

Nevertheless, chronic pain should not be an accepted part of life for older adults. Seniors working with their healthcare providers can learn to manage their conditions and live a full life in spite of pain, no matter what their age. However, dealing with chronic pain in seniors can be a challenge for caregivers because it is often harder to diagnose and treat. Older adults are less likely to be forthcoming about their pain when speaking with their doctors. This could be out of fear of potential illness or because they do not want to appear weak. Seniors often feel that pain comes with age, and that reporting it is unnecessary. Some may also have trouble communicating their pain because of compromised abilities associated with a stroke or even dementia. The result can leave many seniors trying to cope with chronic pain unguided, leaving them open to anxiety and depression.

Pain Treatments
Because of the reticence of many seniors to acknowledge their pain, the most important first step to pain management is for caregivers to carefully monitor and communicate with the senior about the pain he or she might be experiencing. Good communication is the critical first step to effective treatment. A thorough evaluation by the senior’s doctor to determine the causes of pain should follow, along with recommendations for treatment. Here are some treatment options the National Institute of Aging recommends.

Drug Therapy

Pain medications are the most common form of pain management, however they also pose risks for a variety of complications. Older adults tend to have more adverse reactions to pain medications, so all medications need to be monitored closely in seniors, and medication changes may require more time.

Some seniors simply won’t take pain medications because they do not want to suffer the side effects. Additionally, since seniors may have medical conditions that require regular medications, such as heart disease, lung disorders, diabetes and blood pressure problems, caregivers must be vigilant about possible drug interactions. The following are the major pain medication categories:

  • Analgesics such as Acetaminophen are effective for mild to moderate pain. It is not habit-forming but can be dangerous to your liver if taken in high doses.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include aspirin and ibuprofen. These over-the-counter pain relievers can be unsafe for people who have high blood pressure.
  • Opioid pain relievers (narcotics) are powerful prescription drugs used to treat moderate to severe pain. They are often prescribed for pain after surgery. They can cause side effects like nausea, constipation, and sleepiness. Several examples are codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. While these can be very effective, they can also lead to addiction.

Other Pain Therapies 

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses electrical impulses to stimulate nerves in order to relieve pain.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy teaches you how to reduce your reaction to pain.
  • Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate and relieve pain from specific parts of your body.
  • Massage therapy can release the tension in tight muscles.
  • Chiropractic treatment primarily manipulates the spine to address a variety of pain, most commonly lower back pain.
  • Exercising (physical therapy) such as weight training, stretching, walking, yoga and Pilates can complement other pain management therapies.Often a combination of these modalities ends up being most effective, so it can be useful to test a variety of treatment options with the supervision of your doctor.No senior should have to settle for living with pain. With the assistance of a support team of caregivers and medical professionals, and the range of pain treatment options now available, seniors should be able to experience aging with dignity and in comfort.

    By Caren Parnes

    Contributor for Sheridan Care Desert Cities, a proud member of The Seniors Choice

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