When you first think about fatigue, what usually comes to mind is the physical kind. But there is another form of fatigue that potentially wreaks havoc on your thought processes, motivation and overall success – it is called mental fatigue.
Mental fatigue is usually a result of carrying out extensive and difficult cognitive tasks. One good example to mention is studying for the bar exams. If you put your body in this kind of stress day in and day out, you will start to feel a strong case of mental fatigue. They call it burnout.
Karla Ivankovich, professor of psychology at the University of Springfield, Illinois said that a key sign of mental fatigue is the difficulty in initiating and sustaining cognitive performance and voluntary activities.
Typically, mental fatigue is a normal thing. It usually disappears after you take a break from tedious cognitive tasks. But if you do not rest, you potentially jeopardize your efficiency in every task you perform. It means it could feel too difficult to go to the gym, go back to work or even buy some groceries..
According to Ivankovich, mental fatigue affects your motor control and coordination and it is normally expected that mental fatigue can truly impact your optimal performance in every aspect in life.
Your body can only take so much stress until it starts to burn out.
In serious cases, mental fatigue can become extremely draining that the associated health problems become chronic or irreversible. As per Ivankovich, employing effective coping mechanisms can be helpful to combat mental fatigue, and this starts with living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet.
Anybody who is experiencing mental fatigue or burnout has surely not followed a healthy eating pattern. If you feel like you are headed down this path, there are a number of dietary reasons behind it. Below are only some of the common causes that you can immediately reverse making changes your diet.
Lack of Magnesium
Magnesium helps support your nervous system.
It can alleviate stress levels by boosting your energy production and improving your quality of sleep. You can help reverse this lack of mineral in your body by eating more nuts, seeds, legumes and tofu. It is also found in whole grains, wheat bran and leafy vegetables.
Lack of Vitamin C
The adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating your stress.
And when you do not get enough vitamin C, it cannot produce the stress hormones, particularly cortisol, your body needs. Cortisol helps regulate your metabolism, control your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. It also assists memory functions which are vital when you are feeling mentally fatigued.
Increase your vitamin C intake by eating more fruits like oranges, mandarins and kiwis. some vegetables like broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C too. For most people who do not have the time to eat right, they source their vitamins from dietary supplements.
Lack of Vitamin B
Your adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating stress and it needs vitamin B to maintain its optimal function. The B vitamins are considered to be your friends in helping fight stress and supporting your energy levels. You can get more B vitamins from fish, milk, legumes, whole grains, chicken and red meat.
Too Much Caffeine
Every stressed person probably has a love for caffeine. It stimulates your fight and flight response and helps generate cortisol which gives you that temporary energy boost. But drinking too much caffeine can ultimately contribute to sleeping problems and anxiety.
Reverse this problem by swapping your morning coffee to a decaf tea. Watch out for other caffeine sources like chocolate, sodas, and black tea. Drinking green tea is preferable as it contains lower levels of caffeine but ranks high in antioxidants.
Adding an exercise routine to your lifestyle can also help you relieve mental fatigue and burnout.
Try to lose the fat you have gained from all the stress you just went through. After cutting out the other stressors in your life, get a gym membership or join a fitness club. This will also help your body release endorphins – a “feel good” hormone responsible for that happy feeling you get after every workout session.
The lack of vitamins and minerals is not just the only source of your stress. Though getting that in check will help you reverse mental fatigue, you also need to learn how to delegate your work.
If you are in the position to give away some of your tasks to other, do it for your own sake. If not, find the main source of your mental fatigue, prioritize what needs to be kept and cut out what you can. Know where your limits are so that you can alleviate and prevent mental burnout in the future.
Email Katrina at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Falls are the primary cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the elderly. Every year, more than two million seniors are rushed to the emergency room after falling.
Several things can lead to the elderly falling, such as:
There is nothing to worry about, as it is easy to eliminate risk factors for falling. Fortunately, falls are easily preventable. Taking the right precautions can make your loved one’s home a safe environment. To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take the following steps to avoid these accidents.
Removing Household Hazards
Household hazards are the easiest risk to eliminate. As your parents get older, mobility can become an issue. Start by removing clutter around your house. These potential hazards include things like electrical cords, loose rugs, and knick-knacks. Clear all pathways of objects they might trip over, and do a thorough examination of their home.
You may find you’ll have to do minor repairs to correct a sloping step, broken tile, or loose floorboard. Rearrange their furniture so they will always have something stable to hold onto as they walk around. If they use a mobility device like a cane or wheelchair, increase doorway widths to 36 inches so they can maneuver easily.
Addressing Eye Problems
Of course, removing excess clutter and creating safe pathways won’t help much if they can’t see where they’re going.
Failing eyesight that comes with age can cause elderly people to misjudge distance and depth. Not only would it be hard to determine how far away a table edge is, but they could also have difficulty navigating staircases when going down.
The best way to avoid this issue is to regularly get your elderly loved one’s eyes checked in case their prescription needs to be updated. Encourage them to always wear their prescription glasses, even if it’s just for a short trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Ensure your home is well-lit and light switches are easily accessible. A lack of literal blind spots will aid your aging loved one in moving around the house, regardless of the time of the day.
Reading glasses should not be worn while walking, especially outside. Those who wear progressive lenses should ask their doctors for a separate pair for general outdoor activities, as these types of glasses may interfere with distance perception.
Increasing Physical Activity
One of the best ways to help prevent falls is to improve their balance by strengthening their core and lower muscles. As your loved one ages, their physical fitness and abilities may begin to decline. Muscle tone will gradually disappear and flexibility will decrease. This can be easily combatted by regularly engaging in light exercise.
Activities that focus on strengthening the core, improving strength in the lower extremities, and improving balance are suggested to any senior looking to start a new exercise program. For caregivers, check out your local community centers to find fitness classes that are senior citizen friendly. Tai Chi is one often-recommended exercise. If you can’t find a class your aging loved one would like to join, simply encouraging them to walk a little bit each day is fine.
Some older people may not be inclined to start a new exercise program, for any number of reasons. In such a situation, offering to join your aging loved one in classes or short walks every day may encourage them to participate. Not only will you be helping them stay fit, but you’ll also be able to bond with them over a new activity.
For elderly individuals who already have trouble walking unassisted, it may be advisable to invest in equipment that allows them to walk independently while still having constant support. Canes and walkers are ideal for a senior who still wishes to get around but who may already have trouble doing so without a little helping hand.
Implementing Other Safety Precautions
Even the ideal physical fitness level for your loved one’s age stands no chance against slippery floors or just plain bad luck. As a final precaution against easily avoidable falls, it’s best to look into safety equipment that can be installed around your home to eliminate any chance of an accident.
Bathrooms are particularly notorious for slips and spills, for both elderly and young patients. Implementing assistive devices should be a top priority. Look for grab bars that can be attached to shower walls and bathtub sides, as well as non-slip bath mats that allow the elderly to stand without worrying about sliding on wet tiles. For those unable to stand in the shower, a bath chair can make showering a safer and more independent experience. Transfer benches are another option to help your senior get in and out of the shower.
Additionally, installing handrails on both sides of your stairs is recommended to ensure your loved one’s safety when they use the stairs. These handrails can provide a stable device for them to hold onto, but they can also be used in the event of a fall. Grabbing onto the rail can either stop the fall and allow them to steady themselves or can be used for them to get back up.
Providing the elderly with proper-fitting shoes is another important step. Make sure they wear comfortable, well-fitting—and, in the case of the ladies, low-heeled—shoes with a non-slip sole. These are essential in allowing them to move around without added difficulty and preventing them slipping on a wet surface.
Remember, if you are caring for an elderly relative, falls don’t have to happen. They are easily avoidable with the right safety precautions and a few additions like assist bars in the shower stall or handrails on the staircase.
Carolyn Jones, best known for her socially proactive photographs and documentary films, shares what makes nurses not only an invaluable asset to us as patients, but also as a society.
Being a caregiver is arguably one of the most noble professions out there – but it can also take a serious toll on your personal life. Here are 6 work-life balance tips to help you reduce stress, and ultimately make you the best caregiver for not only your clients, but for yourself, too!
1.) Plan Ahead
If you have multiple clients, or work as a live-in caregiver, keeping track of their favorite foods, interests, and medications may seem like a job in itself. Keeping a daily planner can help! If you’re constantly on your phone, try downloading an app like Fantastical, ReQall and Evernote. They are super easy to use and will allow you to set up alerts and various notifications in case you’d like to be reminded of their doctor appointments, and even your own appointments with your caregiving agency, for example. At the end of the day, keeping on top of your clients’ needs and preferences will save you a lot of stress and in the future.
From old receipts and grocery lists, you may have trouble remembering which documents belongs to who! Here are some easy ways to help both yourself and your client, and try doing it together and make it fun while you’re at it! First, organize your bills and clients’ bills in a binder for safe-keeping. Next, divide up your coupons into a handy coupon organizer for easy access. Finally, keep track of your own caregiving documents, from contracts, care plans and emergency contacts in a folder. Try organizing each folder by client if you have multiple, and keep a small notepad to jot down any other helpful information.
3.) Think Ahead
As a caregiver, you know that life as you know it may change in a second, whether it be your client’s health, a sudden re-assignment, and not to mention changes in your personal life. First, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts (including your agency) prepared in case you are unable to help your client or need to be relieved at any point. Next, be sure you have a plan set up for a medical emergency based on your client’s health history. Keeping track of their food allergies for one is a simple but critical step to preventing emergencies in the future.
4.) Reconnect with Loved Ones
If you’ve lost touch with a close friend, since you started another assignment, remember this: Caring about your job is one thing, but caring about your relationships is far more important in the long run. Call your distant relative via Facetime – you could even plan a day where you help your client Facetime their grandchildren after you connect with your own family!
You carry a great responsibility as a caregiver, and while your friends and family should understand that you are often very busy, don’t forget to show them some appreciation and keep in touch!
5.) “Me” Time
Being a caregiver takes a lot of work, but it is incredibly rewarding and allows you to build meaningful relationships and touch so many lives. However, as much as you may love your job, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself each day– even if for only an hour, to do some gardening, watch some old movies, surf the internet, and even go out for a relaxing day at the spa. If you are a live-in caregiver, ask your client if they’d like to join in on the fun! This will help you stay productive and engaged in your assignment in a much more meaningful way.
6.) Take Care of Yourself
As much as you care about your job as a caregiver, don’t forget that the first step to being an amazing caregiver is taking good care of yourself. Keep up with exercise, eat a balanced diet but make sure you’re getting the necessary rest between assignments first and foremost- especially if you work overnight. Sleep allows your body and brain to replenish, not to mention stay alert on important assignments and throughout the day if your client needs extra supervision when taking medications, for example. Losing sleep can ultimately take a serious toll on your health in the long run, so don’t be afraid to ask your agency about rescheduling your assignments or for tips on how to manage your sleep schedule to help you be your best for your clients.
About the author:
Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home. Visit homecare4u.com to learn more about Maggie Drag.
A stroke is not a medical mystery that strikes patients randomly. In fact, 90% of strokes are due to factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other medical risks which are all preventable. Even so, you do not have to train like a professional athlete, eat like a beauty queen or live like a monk to avoid this heart condition.
Whether you are a patient, a patient’s caregiver or simply a person concerned with this risk, by simply making modest alterations to your lifestyle and including wise health habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Below are some scientifically-based facts about how to improve your self-care and prevent this devastating brain attack:
Quit Being Sedentary
According to Dr. Hugo Aparicio, a neurologist at Boston Medical Center and also an assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine, it has been established for many decades that using leisure time to insert regular exercises such as going to the gym, taking long walks, or simply playing sports can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting a stroke.
Therefore, exercise should not be considered an activity mainly for the weekends and instead, it has to be an regular activity at least 30 minutes per day.
Lose The Excess Weight
As Dr. Aparicio points out in his “Framingham Heart Study”, the risk factors of a stroke are not isolated and in fact are all interconnected with the rest of your physical condition.. Exercising does not only reduce fat, it also helps increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin thereby creating a more efficient metabolism. A well-oiled metabolism is needed to prevent your blood sugar from soaring high and put you at risk of diabetes, which may lead to coronary diseases.
For morbidly obese patients, there might be a need to consider weight loss surgeries. And for those who can’t perform physical exercises due to mobility issues, a strict and regulated diet can help. Some people claim and stand by the coleus forskohlii benefits as an effective aid for people who need to lose weight quickly. Using supplementation requires a good amount of research so you ought to be cautious about it.
Apart from stroke and diabetes, this lifestyle change can also prevent other metabolic disorders, cancer and delay the onset of dementia among elderly people, and we all will get older, assuming we survive long enough.
Always Regulate Your Blood Pressure
According to Martin O’Donnell, the lead author of the published study in the medical journal “The Lancet”, you can easily stay on top of your blood pressure by using readily available equipment.
In developed countries such as the US, people have easy access to devices that quickly read their blood pressure, whether it be readily available at the supermarket or purchasing an inexpensive BP apparatus for home use. Individuals nowadays can also get a little help from doctors by simply asking for prescription to immediately help lower their blood pressure.
Eat A Healthy and Balanced Diet
Limiting red meat, avoiding processed food and eliminating fried and salty foods works best in preventing stroke. In fact, there are more precise dietary guidelines you can follow if you want to be very keen on preventing this deadly condition. A balanced diet comprised of low-carb vegetables, fruits, and fish – as protein is the most ideal. If much help is needed, seek a nutritionist’s expertise.
Aside from the vitamins and minerals your health receives from such whole foods, fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are great sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid your body needs to prevent heart diseases. However, there are a number of individuals who can’t include fish in their regular diet so taking fish oil capsules as supplements is also an alternative prevention.
Smoking does not only affect the lungs and the liver, it also infects your heart. Smoking is one of the culprits of elevated LDL (bad cholesterol). Too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can create arterial obstructions and create blood clots.
These tiny clots – if left untreated, can travel to your brain and cause the stroke you were trying to prevent in the first place. So if you are making a lifestyle change, begin here. You can quit smoking by asking help from your physician. They can offer you alternatives on how you can successfully quit smoking.
Treat Existing Heart Conditions
Stroke and other heart diseases are somehow interrelated. One major risk factor is having atrial fibrillation – a heart rhythm problem that many Americans are affected with. With regular checkups, individuals who have this heart condition can get regular treatments and anti-clotting medications.
According to Dr. Aparicio, you don’t need to do everything all at once. It’s a matter of addressing the top contributors to the risk of stroke – such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and smoking. As soon as you can see minor improvements in your health, you can start incorporating exercises and other active physical routines.
There is this unrealistic expectation that you have to have the right body weight, the ideal diet and the life of a monk to prevent a stroke. But as what Dr. O’Donnell says, “The risk factors of stroke are a continuum. So if you can’t apply all the preventative measures, modest changes will reduce your risk of stroke”.
Bio of the Author:
Katrina Rice is a mom and a freelance writer. She strongly believes in the concept of holistic wellness through healthy and natural living, travelling and immersing one’s self in new activities. A self-proclaimed health enthusiast, she hopes to inspire more people to do the same.
For more than fifteen years, EmblemHealth has been a leader in the arena of family caregiving. Talks with Greg; Conversations In Caregiving is a video series designed to explore topics with experts involved for many years in caregiving. Every episode will have a new guest from a different facet of the professional caregiving world who has been a longtime partner with EmblemHealth.
Caregiving will touch everyone at some point in life yet it often remains in the shadows of the public/media spotlight because it does not make for a picture that melts the heart but rather one to be avoided at all costs. Not so much because people are uncaring but rather frightened and uneducated.
Sometimes, friends disappear when illness strikes because they don’t know “what to do or what to say.”
And often the person needing support and their caregiver hide the fact and carry the entire burden alone rather than admit they could use help.
STC’s focus is on educating caregivers, patients and their concerned friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances about the profound personal benefits to everyone involved through sharing the care.
Because we find that family caregivers often tend to be isolated and therefore less likely to reach out for help, we target professionals, and faith communities. They see caregivers and patients on a daily basis and are best situated to identify those who could benefit from a STC group. We also seek to reach working caregivers through corporations.
Tel: 212 991-9688
Daughters Unite was created for caring daughters by caring daughters who face the challenges of being sandwiched between their spouses, kids and/or careers and the disabled and aging adults in their lives.
Share your story and help a fellow daughter reduce the chaos and craziness in her life! Send a quick “I’m interested” email to Tell My Story. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours with all the details about how to submit.
We love introducing our friends to one another. Daughters Unite meet Daughterhood. Founder, Anne Tumlinson has spent the last two decades working on improving how America cares for its frailest, most vulnerable older adults. Check out – www.daughterhood.org.
What if there was one trusted place where you were heard, where you were understood, where you were validated, where you were supported and where you could immediately get answers to the never ending questions that come up when caring for an aging parent or other disabled adult loved one?
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Family caregivers are no stranger to financial issues. When you assume the role of your family member’s primary care provider, it includes tackling the costs of their care as well as their expenses and necessities. On top of this, you also have your own finances to contend with. This is why a significant amount of financial planning is necessary to become a successful family caregiver.
To help you get started, ALTCP shares an in-depth look at the issues that caregivers face as well as a comprehensive guide to financial planning.
According to the Caregiving in the US 2015 Report, the typical caregiver is a 49-year old woman caring for a relative (82%), with 49% caring for a parent or a parent-in-law in their late 60s. Although only one in ten provides care for a spouse, it is the higher-hour caregivers that are four times more likely to be caring for a spouse or partner.
An interesting change that we noted, however, is that the face of the caregiver seems to be changing as the newer generations step up to the plate.
Millennial caregivers or the individuals between the ages 18 and 34 are growing in numbers. Currently, this new generation of caregivers makes up nearly a quarter of the 43.5 million, as stated in The Millennial Caregiver by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute. Unlike their predecessors, these millennial caregivers are equally likely to be male or female. Typically, he or she is 27 years old and caring for a mother or a grandmother with a physical condition. Moreover, this age group works for 34.9 hours a week at their job, but they have not finished a degree. The average income also falls at $42,200, which is below the national median.
Also, millennial caregivers are also more likely to report their loved one’s emotional or mental health condition, which then leads to immediate care.
The demands of caregiving vary in each situation. The scope of the care you are providing is most likely different from that of someone else’s. However, the basic services include:
Essentially, family caregivers cater to the emotional, mental, physical, social, and often financial needs of their care recipients. And the length of time that they provide the care varies, as well. According to The State of Caregiving: 2015 Report, 57% of caregivers have been providing care for family members for more than three years. Among the top health concerns that caregivers deal with are Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In 2016, these conditions cost the nation a total of $236 billion.
Although caregiving to a family member has plenty of positive effects, it can also cause significant blows in the different aspects of your life—that is if you are not careful. We all know that the cost of care is high, and it can surely cause a considerable change in your finances.
Let’s take a look at how it can affect your financial standing, and how you can take control of the situation.
According to a survey conducted by AARP among caregivers age 18 and above, they were able to identify the financial strains that come with caregiving. Family caregivers spend on average approximately $7,000 a year on caregiving-related expenses. The amount then leaps to a whopping $11,923 for long distance caregivers who have to factor in travel expenses and even outside help.
These individuals spend approximately 20% of their income on caregiving-related costs. These expenses may include home modifications, insurance costs, and other medical expenses.
Some situations require not just the caregiver’s full attention but so much of his or her time as well. This becomes a predicament for family caregivers who are also full-time workers.
56% of family caregivers have shared that they have had to make adjustments at work because of caregiving. These include cutting back or adding more hours, working on different shifts, and even taking paid or unpaid time off. Other individuals have had to leave their jobs to become full-time family caregivers.
It is also necessary to highlight that family caregivers who keep their jobs are three times more likely to experience work productivity loss.
Part of the job of being a family caregiver is dealing with your family member’s financial concerns. It may feel awkward—like you are somehow overstepping—but it is necessary in most scenarios. After all, care sometimes means keeping them from financial abuse.
If you are dealing with your parents’ money, then you and the members of the family should have a sit-down discussion about the current situation. Find solutions as a unit and delegate tasks. This way, every person will be involved.
More importantly, you have to make sure that all the necessary documents are in place. To be able to manage their finances effectively you must have legal authority, which in most cases, is granted through the different types of power of attorney.
Long term care insurance covers a vast range of services. It can cover the care in a nursing home, an adult day care center, and an assisted living facility. On top of that, these policies could include home care which would allow your loved ones to stay at home longer. For you, this could mean an extra pair of hands in handling all the needs of your loved one.
If your loved one is covered through long term care insurance, make sure to read all the specifics carefully. Some policies even provide compensation for family caregivers.
Retirees may be entitled to Social Security retirement benefits, so see if your care recipients are qualified for it. If not, then you may also look into Social Security disability benefits. Provided by a federal insurance program, these benefits allot income to individuals who cannot work because of a severe disability.
Medicare may also be a massive help in dealing with your loved one’s finances. In general, individuals can qualify for a plan once they turn 65 even if they are diagnosed. Just remember to apply during the time allotted (open enrollment period). Also, take into consideration the different supplement plans that can help with the costs. Be sure to consult with a specialist because these plans are quite complicated.
Family caregivers can take small steps to help keep their finances in check. To illustrate, we have found this video by AARP discussing the various financial tips in which caregivers can add a few dollars to their budget:
Let’s discuss further points:
Did you know that family caregivers are entitled to long term care deductions? To do so, you must be able to claim that your care recipients are your dependents and that you are shouldering at least half of their expenses. Refer to www.irs.gov for more information regarding this matter.
One of the biggest temptations, when you are going through a rough patch, is to dip into your retirement funds. However, we urge you not to do so yet. These funds are present for your future, and you must find ways to keep it that way.
Being a family caregiver, you may have been given a glimpse of the difficulties that life can throw at retirees. You have a unique perspective on how difficult it can be for individuals in their retirement years, and this is why you need to keep your retirement funds intact.
As mentioned above, many have had to let go of their jobs to meet the demands of caregiving.
Be that as it may, this does not mean that you should not explore other opportunities. A regular, 9-5 may not be an option at the moment, but you can look into various opportunities on the Internet. Many online jobs allow workers to work at home, which makes it a perfect setup for family caregivers. This allows them to be within reach to their care recipients, while simultaneously holding down a job that provides income.
Family caregivers know firsthand how the long term care needs can easily overtake one’s life. As illustrated above, the costs involved ought not to be taken lightly.
This is why family caregivers are urged to secure long term care coverage early on. Providing care to loved ones can often lead a caregiver to neglect their own future needs. Often, their own retirement and long term care plans take the backburner in order to fulfill their role. Many assume that they will still have time to save for their own needs.
However, you must remember not to be lulled into a false sense of security. The cost of care in the country is expensive, and it appears to be increasing at a fast rate. Without a proper policy in place, your family members might have to cover most if not all of these costs.
To guide you in finding and selecting a suitable policy, you may request long term care insurance quotes from ALTCP. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to let us know in the comments section.
Originally featured on Association for Long Term Care Planning