Just Breathe

Recently someone said to me that I seemed to always have it together.  Me?  Together?  Now that is funny!  Most days I feel like I am chasing my tail.  Did they know my day that morning started with dry shampoo??  But isn’t that life?   Most of us are convinced that everyone else always has it TOGETHER.  We envision everyone with cleaner houses, perfectly cooked dinners and flawless families.  In reality, we are all doing our best…to do our best.  One thing that will de-rail our “best” in a hurry is stress.  It is very common to hear from families of seniors dealing with “role reversal” that it is one of the most stressful tasks they have ever endured.  It’s one thing to raise and help our children…but when it comes to helping our parents…this is no easy task.  We don’t want to disrespect, but we also want to keep them safe.  Here are some tips to help you be proactive and avoid making situations frustrating for both you and your loved ones.

Don’t forget your Vitamin ZZZZZ

It sounds simple, but get your sleep!  According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. The Foundation advises: “When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior.”  Getting a good night sleep is important to your health and will help you be more effective in helping others and that includes your elderly parents.

Track Down a Paper Trail

According to AARP, an important part of getting things untangled for your elderly parents is organizing paperwork and documentation.  “The first thing to do is ask your parents where they store important papers. It may be in a file cabinet at home, or in a safety deposit box or with an attorney. You can’t get organized if you can’t find anything, so come up with a checklist to write down where everything is. Documents that should be assembled and accounted for include”:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • death certificate (for deceased spouse)
  • divorce papers
  • military records
  • driver’s license/organ donor card
  • passport/citizen papers
  • will
  • living will
  • durable power of attorney
  • health care power of attorney
  • trust
  • letter of instruction — with funeral arrangements, important contact information such as insurance agent or broker.
  • insurance policies (life, disability, long-term care)
  • information about safety deposit boxes (e.g., location, number, key)

 

Remember to Enjoy Each Other

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In this fast-paced world that we all get caught up in, it seems we can lose sight of the things that are important.  Yes, making sure that everyone is safe and sound is huge!  But Mom may also really enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with you.  Dad may want to talk about the weather.  Take time to enjoy the blessings each day.  These small moments together will become larger than life soon enough.  Make time to take time and as my Mom reminds me when I feel I’m at my wits end…just breathe.

If it is time to help Mom or Dad look at the option of Assisted Living please give us a call today.  We would love to have you and your loved one come have lunch with us and see all that our communities have to offer.

Get more information at www.greatoaksmanagement.com

How To Sleep Better: Tips To Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

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How we feel during the day is directly related to how well we sleep at night.  If you have trouble getting to sleep each night, there simple things each of us can try to improve our ability to sleep at night.  Below are some suggestions:

  • Set a regular bed time: Go to bed at the same time each night.  Try to stick to this even during the weekends.  Choose a time that you would normally feel tired so you won’t toss and turn.
  • Wake up at the same time each day.  If you are in a good sleep routine, getting up at the same time each day will help keep the routine going.
  • Nap to make up for lost sleep. If you need to make up for lost sleep, try to take a nap during the day rather than sleeping late.
  • Be smart about napping. While napping can be a great way to recharge, for some, especially older adults, napping may make insomnia worse.  If you do nap, do it in the early afternoon and limit to 30 minutes.
  • Increase your light exposure during the day. Spend more time outside if possible and let as much light into your house as possible.
  • Turn off your TV or computer. Set a specific time each evening to turn off the TV and/or computer and stick with it.  Listen to music or read a good book instead.
  • Don’t read from a backlit devise just before bed. If using an e-reader that is backlit, turn off the light and use another source of lighting when reading.
  • Change the light bulbs in your bedroom. Eliminate bright light bulbs, use a lower wattage and try a bulb with more of a yellow cast rather than a blue cast to the light.  This helps your body relax and prepare to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and as dark as possible.
  • Cut down on caffeine in the evenings, try to avoid large meals just before bed and limit alcohol intake.

Not every tip above works for every person.  The important thing is to try to have a structure and routine to your evenings.  Try to begin to relax and prepare for bed, allowing your body time to wind down and begin to get ready for sleep.  Keep working at it till you find the right combination that works for you.