Tips for Wearing Your Colostomy Bag A Guest Post by Gary Simmons

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People want to be different, and they want to stand out of the crowd. Most of the time—but not when that difference is based on a health issue or disability. Then, people may fear to stand out, and sometimes withdraw from the company of others. The difference can lead to unhappiness.

People who wear colostomy bags may have some of these fears, whether they’re young or old, independent, receiving home health care or in a nursing facility.

Colostomy bags are usually placed in an obvious place, potentially visible when clothed and unclothed. They announce to the world a previous medical issue, and someone might feel they remind others of a bodily process we’d rather not have on our mind.

But maybe there’s a way to turn that bag into an asset, or at least make sure it’s not a liability. Here are some tips and ideas for making sure you remain a vibrant part of your community and can wear your colostomy bag discreetly and stylishly.

The Bag Itself

The location of the bag will influence what you can wear and how you wear it. Some stomas are at or above the beltline, while others are below it. If you have not yet had your colostomy, you do have some influence in where it will go. Speak with your surgeon before they operate.

Belts and tight clothing can interfere with the smooth functioning of your colostomy bag. Whatever style of clothing you wear, make sure you have a good flow into the bag.

Using the Bag

One way to avoid backsplash while emptying your bag is to sit “backward” on the toilet, facing the tank. You then can float some toilet paper on the surface of the water and on the seat. Empty down onto the paper itself. Backsplash can also be avoided by flushing just as you empty the bag.

Use an electric razor to trim any hair around the stomach. Most of us have a little hair on our abdomens and the hairs can either make sticking more difficult or cause discomfort when removing the appliance. An electric razor avoids cuts.

It’s more pleasant to change the bag without active output. Changing just after waking is the best time—you will have gone an extended period without eating, and the output will probably be slow enough to allow a change.

Changing your appliance while showering has several benefits. You may be able to shower bagless because if you shower after waking, output will be minimal (and washed away). You’ll also have a few more minutes without the bag, which can boost your mood.

There is a lot of ostomy appliances and equipment on the market. Don’t hesitate to accept free samples. Your ET nurse may be able to get you free samples as well.

Keep yourself and your bag clean. A washcloth and plain water or a sterile saline wipe will keep your abdomen clean. Avoid baby wipes—they may leave a film on the skin which interferes with your wafer adhering to your skin. Rinsing your appliance after emptying is probably a good idea. Squeezable bottles or even turkey basters are perfect.

Take advantage of opportunities to empty your bag—it will help with comfort. Also, remember the pouch itself is not the first thing people are looking for—many times people won’t notice it until you call attention to it.

You will find the right rhythm of living to take care of yourself with little to no extra fuss. Remember that everyone goes to the bathroom; you just manage that ordinary task a bit differently. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and no one needs to know what’s going on.

Stoma Guards

If your stoma is at or above the beltline, you might want to consider a stoma guard. Made of hard plastic, they provide protection from seat belts, tight pants and belts, and other impacts. Frequently, they will allow you to tuck the pouch inside your pants or skirt.

They’re probably not needed when you’re at home relaxing. They certainly will protect your stoma from sudden affectionate bumps from pets or grandchildren.

Pants

Both men and women may want to consider high-waisted pants. The stoma will be below the belt/waist, and thus not subject to pressure or flow constriction. You’ll have to decide if a high waist works for you—most folks probably don’t want to look like Pee Wee Herman or Urkel.

Women might want to consider maternity pants as an option. Because they have an elastic band across the front, they may be more comfortable than ordinary pants.

If you’re going to wear your pouch under your clothes, you might want to consider going one size larger with your pants (and shirts).

Suspenders might also be a stylish option with pants. Some suspenders clip onto the pant waist, while others button to the pants, especially for more formal ones. Most tailors can add suspender buttons to pants.

Underwear

The location of the stoma may influence your choice of underwear. A higher stoma will allow you to wear the underwear normally. Some underwear, for both men and women, is designed with an inner pocket to keep your bag away from your skin and in place.

Swimwear

There’s no reason to avoid going to the beach or pool with a colostomy bag. You’ll want to take steps to secure the bag and to make sure it can handle the water, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the water.

Men may want to consider high-waisted swim trunks, especially if your stoma is low. If the stoma is higher on your abdomen, high waisted trunks will not be as flattering—you don’t want the waist at your chest! You’ll want to consider an ostomy bag wrap to keep it in place, as well as ostomy bag covers to add a bit of flair to your beach attire.

Loud and Proud

One way of handling any issue is to look it squarely in the face, accept it and then have fun with it. Colorful bag covers are the way to go, regardless of where on your abdomen the stoma is.

Many businesses now sell a variety of pouch covers in all colors and patterns. Some, like C & S Pouchcovers, even include a set of patriotically themed covers, allowing you to celebrate all our national holidays in style.

Conclusion

People of all ages wear colostomy bags, and many have lived fruitful and adventurous lives. Even in retirement, you should not let your bag get in the way of enjoying life. Whether you’re living independently or have home health care make sure you discuss with those around you how you want to handle life.

And then enjoy it. Don’t let this be an obstacle to seeking out good times for yourself, or being with others.

 

 

 

5 Work From Home Jobs for Family Caregivers A Guest Post by Ruthie Serna

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Being a family caregiver is a full time job by itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring in much cash. If you’re a family caregiver, you can still earn some money without sacrificing your current responsibilities. There are plenty of work from home jobs that can be quite lucrative, and many of them allow you to make your own schedule. Work out of your house on your own schedule and your own terms.

  1. Freelancer

Being a freelancer comes with a lot of options. You can do almost anything you do well, and charge rates you feel are fair for doing it. If you can edit or write, it’s easy to find a freelance position online. If you have specialty skills, such as graphic design or web design, you might fare even better. The best thing about freelancing is that it isn’t as set in stone as regular jobs – you can work whenever you have time. If your family keeps you busy, you can wait until all is well until you sit down to freelance for the day.

  1. eCommerce

Start a webstore! You can sell crafts you’ve made yourself, resell vintage clothing, or design products that can be sold through a company that will create and sell them for you. You don’t need to be an innovator or an entrepreneur to break into eCommerce – you only need to see a need and fill it with a web shop. There are plenty of platforms that allow people to list and sell without ever needing to build a webpage. It’s as simple as can be.

  1. Blogger

Most bloggers won’t make money at the beginning of their blog. If you update regularly and provide valuable content, you’d be surprised at the amount of moneymaking opportunities that will come along with blogging. Advertising revenue, sponsored posts, or even eBook opportunities could pop up over time. Pick something you’re passionate about (family caregiving, for example), and write to your heart’s content. You can even partner up with the writers of blogs you already love to read. Networking will get you everywhere.

  1. Remote Support or Service

Remote support and service jobs are relatively easy to find. They’re so common that they’re often listed on Gumtree alongside traditional positions. These jobs require a computer and phone access. A company directs their calls to you, where you will be able to troubleshoot, take feedback, and resolve issues from the comfort of your own desk. It’s almost like a call center job, but you won’t need to go anywhere to work. International companies deal with people from all over the world, so it’s easy for you to work whatever hours will fit into your schedule.

5.Tutoring or Teaching

If you have credentials as an educator, you might be able to secure a position in the eLearning industry. If you have any higher education at all, it’s easy to become an online tutor. Pick a subject you’re comfortable in and offer your services to students who may benefit from your wisdom. You can tutor privately or list yourself on a service that matches tutors to the students who need them most. Tutor as many or as few students as you have time for.

At the end of the day, it’s possible to have a career without sacrificing your caregiver relationships. It might be a little tricky to juggle, but it will only be a matter of time before you develop a system that works for you.

Ruthie is a contributing writer, always willing to share her knowledge and experiences. She loves to write articles that make lives of other mothers and entrepreneurs easier. She’s interested in health, well-being and self-improvement.

 

What is the difference between a nurse and a caregiver? A Guest Post by Tess Pajaron

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What is the difference between a nurse and a caregiver? If you’re asking yourself this question it’s likely that a parent or other elderly loved one is in need of some additional support. Or maybe you’re looking into career opportunities in the care of seniors. In either case, the difference between a nurse and a caregiver is an important distinction to determine before you make any important decisions.

Here is some information to help answer your question:

Nurse
Qualifications: The qualifications required to be a nurse depend upon the kind of nurse you’re looking at becoming or employing. Enrolled nurses have to study for two years at a Registered Training Organisation. Registered nurses have to study for three years at a university. The former is seen as practical training whilst the latter also encompasses some of the theory behind nursing and medical care. Becoming an enrolled nurse is usually seen as a stepping stone between working as a caregiver and working as a registered nurse.

Tasks: Both enrolled nurses and registered nurses are trained to perform medical tasks and procedures. They can put in an IV to help deliver medication or food, they can care for wounds and manage medication.They often also manage the non-medical aspects of a patient’s care including bathing and trips to the bathroom.

Where do they work? Nurses have great scope when it comes to deciding where they want to work. They can work at hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, hospices and in patients’ homes.

Caregiver
Qualifications: A caregiver often doesn’t need any formal qualifications but they are usually trained in CPR and emergency first aid. Whilst you don’t need to study to be a caregiver, you do need to possess certain qualities, including patience, compassion and resourcefulness.

Tasks: A caregiver can assist with the day to day activities of an elderly person. They help people to achieve tasks that age or illness prevent them from doing independently whilst remaining in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. This could be going to the toilet, bathing, dressing or eating. Caregivers may help with shopping and cleaning the house if a person has limited mobility. Some caregivers will also provide emotional support and companionship, essential for people who are isolated or infirm as a result of their increasing years.

Where do they work? Caregivers are usually employed to work in the home of the patient they are caring for.

Other Useful Information
For Relatives: If your loved one has medical requirements such as a wound or a need for ongoing medication assessment but they want to remain in their own home, then you’ll need to hire a nurse to take care of them. If they just need some support with daily tasks and personal care, you can look for a caregiver. Because a caregiver doesn’t require any qualifications, they are generally cheaper to employ than a nurse.

For Job Seekers: If you want to provide companionship and practical support to elderly people, work as a caregiver could be for you. However, if you want to provide more in depth medical care, looking into nursing qualifications is a good place to start. As a nurse you’ll have greater earning potential and a wider scope of job opportunities too.

Understanding the distinction between a nurse and a caregiver is really important when setting out on a career path or finding the best available care for your loved one. Once you know which job title is of interest, do further research to ensure you make the right decision.

 

Tess Pajaron

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

Healthy Perspectives: Fearful? Have a little FAITH! A Guest Post by Carol Patterson, MSN, RN

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Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural address said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This seems to be something that we probably take too lightly.  Over the years reflecting upon this quotation, it becomes increasingly meaningful.  Fear prevents us from fulfilling our potential (fear of failure is completely paralytic) and moves us away from a state of tranquility and peacefulness of mind and spirit. Consider what happens when a child sees a puddle of water on a cool autumn day. They run to it to stomp and play with carefree abandon.  As adults, we think about our feet getting wet and cold, damaging our shoes, diminishing the immune system and getting ill. So, we avoid the puddle in any way possible. Ah, now we are safe, but did we miss the joy of allowing the child within us to enjoy the moment? So, I wonder, “How healthy is that decision?” Fear robs us in many ways, which diminish are ability to live life to the fullest.

One can become a master of building fears into our everyday existence.  Years ago, someone shared the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  How often do we allow fear to become an unnecessary negative emotional drain? About a year ago, my computer system “lost” all my professional e-mail files. This sent me into a weekend long panic until I could see our campus technician. Well, that was an unfounded fear, for he quickly resolved the problem on Monday morning. But, the amount of negative emotional investment I made over this situation was enormous.  Reflecting on that weekend, I can remember all the dread I had about files that “I could not live without” causing my body and mind undue stress. By Sunday night I had considered all the ways that this permanent file loss would adversely change the course of my professional and personal life, False Evidence Appearing Real.

When we are fearful, it causes other changes not just intrapersonally but interpersonally as well. Intrapersonally fear helps us build a barrier to confine our hopes and dreams, limiting our possibilities. Our sense of self diminishes, and we lose confidence in the value of who we are and what we could become. Fear acts as a natural antagonist to hope. As we look at the origins of illnesses or recovery from illness or accidents a sense of hopefulness enables more favorable outcomes. Fears negate this positive effect of hope.  Fear also causes problems for us interpersonally. Fear can influence our behaviors, which diminishes our ability to interact effectively with others. Reflecting on the weekend described above, I know that my fears caused anger which was displaced to those around me. Fear will result in an emotional state which can negatively influences our relationships. Our first step, is to recognize the origin of the fear and then to develop a plan to neutralize unwarranted fears. As we do this we “short circuit” those negative behaviors that were caused by fear.

So, what if we develop a new acronym?  Consider, Freedom, Affirmation, Inviting change, Trust & Healing.  First, freeing myself from unnecessary fears, I must first become of aware of these unfounded fears. Identify how many times fear creeps insidiously into our minds and how it influences our decisions. We are not meant to be slaves to fear.  Acknowledging fear is the first step toward freedom. Positive affirmations need to replace our negative ones. The more we think or talk about the fear, the more powerful it becomes. These negative reflections are like throwing gasoline onto a small fire, we feed the fear and it grows. Positive affirmations extinguish the destructive fires of fear. Life gives us the opportunity to make choices about ourselves and our situations. We need to invite change. Being open to a new way of looking at a situation as an opportunity for growth, or as Phyllis Quinlan so aptly calls it, “going through boot camp”.  These challenges provide us with emotional amour to grow through difficult times and becomes stronger. Trust that we are created for something wonderful and important. There is something better coming. Watching a small rabbit during a severe storm recently, this animal took refuge under a large tree. There he quietly watched the storm and patiently waiting for it to end. This small creature showed no fear, trusting that the storm would end. We need to trust that our current circumstances will bring us to a better place where we can grow and thrive, as we have an important purpose in the universe.  Lastly, consider the healing process. Fear is future oriented, creating a scenario which invites us to fabricate all that can possible go wrong in the future. The only thing that is truly real is the here and now. Yesterday is a “done deal” and tomorrow, well that could bring anything, we have no control. But, today, right now that is where we can make things happen. To heal, focus energy on that which we can do right now. Take a small step forward.  Consider the power of a small ray of sun, concentrated over a piece of paper. Despite the narrow ray of light, when focused it can burn through that paper. Use your energy of today to keep your light shining, eradicate those fearful dark places. Eliminate FEAR with FAITH.

 

 

 

Caregiving For Dementia Patients A Guest Post by Olivia Wolfe

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Caring for dementia patients can be frustrating and difficult. Because dementia patients are suffering from a brain disorder, basic communication can be a challenge. With that said, we have partnered with Private Home Care in St. Louis to showcase some things that will help you to communicate with people that have dementia effectively. Communication is the key to excellent care.

Get The Patient’s Attention When You Enter The Room

It’s easy for patients with dementia to become disoriented. Even minor surprises can set them on edge. Because of this, it’s important to get the attention of a patient before you interact with them.

Even if the door to the room they are in is open, you should know before entering. You should also call out their name and make sure they see you. If you let them know you are going to be entering the room, they will be prepared to interact with you.

Set A Positive Mood

You should always be pleasant and friendly when you interact with a patient that has dementia. People with dementia often experience significant amounts of anxiety. If you can create a positive environment, you will be able to alleviate that anxiety.

When you greet a patient with dementia, you should greet them with a big smile. Be pleasant and cheerful whenever they ask you questions. If you’re friendly and happy, they will know that they can relax around you.

Keep Things Simple

People with dementia can’t always think quickly. You should use simple words when you are interacting with them. While you shouldn’t necessarily treat a dementia patient like a child, you should try to keep things simple. Work to avoid confusing them.

You don’t need to use medical terminology when talking to them. You should always make your explanations clear and easy to understand. If a dementia patient does not know what is going on, they are going to become anxious. This could cause behavioral issues. Try to keep things simple when you provide care. If the patient can follow what you are doing, they won’t have to worry.

Have Fun With The Patient

While dementia patients may lose some mental abilities, they still have a sense of humor. It’s okay to joke around with a dementia patient from time to time. If you can get them laughing, it will be that much easier for you to get them to relax.

Obviously, you shouldn’t make fun of a dementia patient; you don’t want them to be the butt of your jokes. However, a few simple, lighthearted comments should be enough to set them at ease. You may even be able to get them to make a joke of their own.

Don’t Just Listen With Your Ears

When you’re interacting with a dementia patient, you need to listen to them carefully. It isn’t always easy for people with dementia to express themselves. You need to pay close attention to what they tell you.

However, you shouldn’t just listen with your ears. You should also pay close attention to the way the patient is behaving. If you can see that the patient is anxious or upset, you need to try to address that.

Try to remain focused on the patient you’re caring for at all times. If you pay attention to them, you’ll be able to see what they need. Being receptive to a patient’s needs is an essential part of being a caregiver.

Break Things Down Into Steps

It can be hard for dementia patients to process a lot of information at once. That’s why it’s smart for you to break things down. Instead of overloading them with information, you should present them with one thing at a time.

If you are planning on getting a patient ready for a doctor’s appointment, try breaking down each step of the process. Tell them you are going to brush their teeth, brush their hair, get them dressed, and take them outside. If you handle things one step at a time, the patient will understand what is happening in the moment.

Reassure Your Patient

Whenever you see your patient looking nervous or confused, you should reassure them. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way. Make sure your patient knows that everything is going well.

If you regularly praise or reassure a dementia patient, they will know that they are doing what they are supposed to do. If they are getting praised, they won’t want to panic. It will be easy for them to remain calm as you provide care.

There are a lot of challenges associated with caring for dementia patients. With that said, proper communication will make it easier for you to provide essential care. As long as you’re ready for the challenges associated with caregiving for dementia patients, you should be able to provide high standards of care.

Senior Tips – Best Financial Steps to Take When You Are Forced to Retire Early: A Guest Post by Alana Downer

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Retirement confidence is at an all-time low with employees working later into their life in the hope that they don’t outlive their savings. A recent Australian report found that 51% of retirees expected to outlive their savings. Because of stats like these, people are aiming to work longer and harder to ensure a comfortable retirement, however this isn’t always the reality. A 2015 study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that in 2013, 47% of workers were forced to retire earlier than planned.

Forced early retirement can be more common than you might think. There are many factors which can contribute to an early retirement, among other reasons these include, job loss, loss of stamina or poor health. So, what should you do? Whether as an employee faced with early retirement, or a carer who knows someone forced into an earlier retirement? Here’s our best financial steps you should consider taking:

Assess your cash flow and income:

Your first step is to not panic! All too often people think cancelling their gym membership will help them. This small weekly or monthly fee won’t see the quality of your retirement improve drastically and going to the gym is great for your health.

Instead, what you should do is list your monthly income and expenses. Consider what benefits you can receive now that you are a retiree. Look at your health, car, life, and other insurance plans and see where you can make some savings. You may also qualify for involuntary unemployment cover. Track all your monthly expenses and know how much money you need exactly for one month. From there you can estimate how long the money you have saved will last.

Create a retirement plan:

A retirement plan is something you should be working on before you are retired, but if an early retirement has come suddenly and you find yourself without one, it’s not too late to set one in motion. You can base your plan around either retirement goals or create a cash-flow plan.

A cash-flow plan is based around investments, income and expenses, and making assumptions about inflation and how you will be able to spend throughout your retirement.

A goal based plan lets you plan major events, trips and really anything you want to achieve during your retirement. This is a good system as you can prioritise what you want to do, understand the associated costs and foresee what and how much you will be able to do.

Look for alternative ways to create income:

If you find yourself in need some extra income, or you just want to use your time to cover some expenses so you can take that retirement holiday a little sooner, there are several options you could consider.

A popular approach with some retirees is to begin trading. In recent years trading on the Forex market has become a largely successful approach to profitable trading. Of course, this takes some time to learn as there are certain strategies which must be used.

Other options include finding part time work. Maybe you love gardening, use the forced retirement as a time to pursue any careers you might be passionate about, even if they aren’t as serious as your previous full-time career.

Consult with a professional:

Retirement can be difficult to plan for, even at the best of times. Unexpected things can happen and you want to ensure you have enough money to live out your retirement comfortably and even enjoy it.

Meeting with a financial adviser can help you take specific steps towards a better retirement. They can help create budgets, suggest where to invest your money and build a financial plan that suits your specific situation.

Also think about your pension and how you want to receive it. The rate will change depending on your status, so it’s important to ensure you understand what you are eligible for.

The key to overcoming a forced early retirement and the associated financial challenges is planning. These steps are a great start to planning your retirement and can help you to achieve any retirement goals you have in mind.

 

Bio:

Alana Downer is a financial blogger and a part of the team behind Learn to Trade, a source of educational information for traders and investors. Having been always interested in achieving financial freedom, Alana might often be found sharing her strategies online with all those who wish to earn money on the side and become financially independent.