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Do You Have Caregiver Fatigue? Here’s How To Take a Break

I’m able to do “well” because I understand the importance of frequent escapes from my caregiving responsibilities—preferably every day. Fortunately, I can leave my husband alone for hours at a time. He’s very supportive of my breaks because, like many people who need help, he doesn’t want to be a burden and he wants me to be happy.

Within the confines of almost any caregiving role, you can find escapes that nourish you and let you continue to have the energy for caregiving. Getting a break may require help from others and asking for that help is an important skill to learn. If you can’t leave your loved one by him or herself for long enough to have a good escape, ask a friend to stop by so you are able to go with a clear conscience.

I have a mental list of pleasurable activities. On the rare days when I don’t want to leave my home, I fall back on stay-at-home respites like reading a good book, listening to music, talking on the phone to a dear friend, or doing a crossword puzzle. But I’ve found that getting out and about is a more complete escape.

When I leave the house, I’m getting exercise in the form of walking—another pleasurable activity for me. And there’s an extra fillip of fun when my escapes give me the chance to practice navigation skills, like learning new bus routes. Here are many of my favorite away-from-home escapes, in order of how often I do them. You can find ideas on the Internet (Google pleasurable activities) or create your own list.

  • Spending time with friends, preferably with food, and often with stimulating conversation
  • Long walks and conversation with my children or grandchildren
  • Going to a movie
  • A trip to the library (including reading there for a change of pace)
  • Happy hour by myself (easy to feel comfortable, since I live in a lively urban neighborhood)
  • Going to my intensive weekly workout
  • Gardening (in someone else’s garden)
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Orienteering

Psychologists know that engaging in pleasurable activity is an effective way to address depression. These activities also produce endorphins! After a wonderful evening with friends, the effects often last well into the next day.

Many resources are out there to help caregivers with practical and spiritual advice. Just as they tell us on the airplane, it’s important to “put your own oxygen mask on first” and not feel selfish or guilty for doing that. The renewal you experience from your pleasurable escapes will help you be a better and more patient caregiver.

By Denise Klein

Denise Klein led the King County Area Agency on Aging for 12 years, was Senior Services’ CEO for 10 years, and spent 13 years as a national consultant on aging.  She has served on numerous non-profit boards, received two national leadership awards, and is currently the executive director for Wider Horizons, a Village Network community in Seattle.  (www.widerhorizonsvillage.org)

Burloak Senior Support offers companionship services for you if you are needing a break to practice self care, relax, or explore any activity that will bring joy and comfort. Click Here 

2018-05-16T14:17:29+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Burloak Senior Support|

Quality Time With Grandparents Reduces Ageism

Quality over quantity!  This study proves that kids who spend quality time with loving grandparents are less likely to become prejudiced against the elderly later in life.  This is an interesting article just out this week that discusses the importance of fostering a great connection with your grandkids.

Quality Time With Grandparents Could Reduce Kids’ Ageist Mindset Later In Life

“When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency.”

For all those parents who’ve felt the sudden urge to drop their kids at Grandma’s house, you’re not alone — and now there’s science to support your cause. While your primary motivation might be an uninterrupted night with Netflix, a new study suggests that spending quality time with one’s grandparents might inevitably prevent ageism later in life.

According to a recent study, fostering nurturing relationships between children and their grandparents could prevent said kids from developing an ageist mindset down the road. Published in the journal Child Development, the findings claim that children who establish a sound, loving relationship with their grandparents are less likely to become prejudiced against the elderly as they grow up.

Conducted by University of Liege in Belgium, researchers asked 1,151 Belgium children, ages 7 to 16, to describe their feelings toward their grandparents. As it turns out, those who were unhappy with the relationship were more inclined to have ageist views. Ultimately, quality trumps frequency, as those who have solid relationships with their grandparents are less prejudiced regardless of how often they see each other.

“The most important factor associated with ageist stereotypes was poor quality of contact with grandparents,” Allison Flamion, psychology graduate student and study leader, said in a news release from the Society for Research in Child Development. “We asked children to describe how they felt about seeing their grandparents. Those who felt unhappy were designated as having poor quality of contact. When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency.”

“Since people are living and staying healthier longer, many individuals cannot necessarily afford to retire at 65,” Javorsky explains. “With better health, vast numbers of older adults are able to keep working longer than past generations could. This reality has not stopped many employers and coworkers from believing it’s time for older adults to leave the workforce once they celebrate a certain birthday. When their employers act upon this belief, workers can be confronted with age discrimination.”

If we can begin to curb negative perspectives by teaching children to love and respect the elderly people they hold near and dear to their hearts, perhaps we can work to cultivate an enriched workforce where all ages are welcome.

2018-05-11T21:59:19+00:00 May 11th, 2018|Burloak Senior Support|