Caring for Family Members in Their Later Years

Although caring for aging family members during their golden years can be an incredibly rewarding experience, it can also be quite taxing. This is especially true when it comes to managing personal finances and ensuring your own financial health. As senior adults become increasingly dependent, many family caregivers are forced to take extended leaves from their jobs. According to MetLife, caregiving costs working Americans nearly $3 trillion in lost wages. Following are several strategies for establishing a plan for success as both a caregiver and in your own, personal life.

Don’t Be Afraid To Explore Public Benefits

There are a number of free and low-cost services that can help family caregivers with ongoing care-giving tasks. Taking advantage of these resources early on will often lead to greater financial stability in future years, when more pressing senior needs arise. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging offers comprehensive lists of public resources for seniors based upon geographic location.

Consider the Advantages of Home Care Services

Rather than sacrificing your job or putting your career on hold, consider the benefits of working with home care companies and respite care services. These things can make maintaining a full or part-time job feasible, despite your commitment to caring for a loved one. When considering the costs of this third-party support, make sure to account for the missed wages and lost professional opportunities that you might face if opting to go it alone.

Take Steps to Keep Your Senior Loved One Active

Keeping seniors active is a great way to enhance their life qualities and promote longevity. It also limits the likelihood of aging adults becoming entirely dependent as the result of declining memory and cognitive functioning. Seniors who maintain balanced and active senior lifestyles in California, Oregon, Washington or elsewhere, tend to age at a far less rapid rate than those who do not. Thus, the best strategy for limiting you caregiver duties is to establish a healthy and balanced schedule for your elderly relative that is rich with challenging and engaging activities. This schedule can include dance or aerobics classes at a local senior center, participation in a volunteer program at a community food bank or involvement in book clubs and knitting clubs among other things.

Conduct Long-Term Planning Early On

Seniors who tackle the often daunting task of long-term planning early on, often have the greatest say in how the later stages of their lives turn out. Sadly, far too many people wait until they’re already facing age-related, degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s before putting their wishes in writing. In a recent study conducted by Genworth Financial, 90 percent of survey participants said that they had yet to discuss their long-term care needs with their spouses, adult children or other family members. If mobility, memory, or cognition undergo any significant decline before these plans are complete, many of the most important legal, financial and medical decisions will have to be handled by the state. According to the Administration on Aging, nearly 70 percent of all people will need specialized, long-term care at some point in their lives. Thus, in addition to living wills and Power of Attorney, aging adults should also have clearly defined financial plans that detail how the costs of these services will be paid.

With diligent planning, you can enjoy more time with your elderly loved one while experiencing far less financial stress. Even the best of intentions won’t ensure success in your new role as family caregiver. Only a solid financial plan is capable of ensuring that things flow smoothly over the years and throughout the many challenges that these bring.

Better Together: How to Improve the Quality of Your Family Time

is probably at the top of your priority list. For many people, family is the most important and enduring thing in their lives. But it can often be difficult to stay connected and maintain those very important relationships. Life gets in the way, we get busy, little kids take up a lot of time and energy, and older kids grow apart from their families. So what can we do to stay connected with family?
Schedule Family Time

With how busy life can get, being spontaneous is not always an option. If we don’t schedule time for things, those things will probably not happen. We schedule work, we schedule meetings, we schedule extra-curricular activities for the kids, but often don’t pencil in quality family time. Make it a point to schedule a few nights a week when your immediate family has a meal together. Schedule once or twice a month when you can have a meal with your extended family. Schedule an annual family vacation or reunion. Or, if you have a lot of distance between family members, schedule regular phone calls or video calls.
Use Technology…

Emailing, texting, or using social media sites are the main form of communication of many age groups now. Often it is the only way you will get a response from some age groups. If you are not connected in these ways, make an effort to get connected. There are lots of programs and apps that can make it very easy for people to learn and understand how to get connected with technology. This is also a fantastic opportunity to get some of the younger members involved with the older members of your family. Teens are usually great with technology and can easily get older family members connected. Once set up, it can be much easier for family members to chat spontaneously and more often.
…But Not Excessively

Technology can be great, but it can’t be the only way you connect with each other. Make sure when you and your family members are able to be face to face, that you are communicating that way. Put the phones and tablets away and talk to each other. Get outside to do different activities together, or stay in and learn from each other. Cooking, gardening, woodworking, and crafting are all great ways for family members of all ages to connect and interact with each other.
Share Stories

Families connect with stories all the time. It’s how we learn about our history, learn about each other, and laugh together. Encourage younger members to tell stories about what’s going on in their lives, and encourage their older family members to tell them stories about their lives. A senior care expert with an online master’s in aging says stories are a great way for different generations to discover similarities with one another.

“I sustain myself with the love of family,” Maya Angelou explained how incredibly powerful and important the love of family is with this quote. Keep that love and connection a priority in your life by intentionally connecting with family members of all ages.

Family Fitness: Stay Active All Spring

Don’t let the kids have all of the fun out in the sun, hunting for Easter eggs, jumping in puddles, and playing games with their siblings and friends this spring! Get out of the house and enjoy the good weather with them for a little bit of family fitness, and a whole lot of family fun. After a long and cold winter, you know you deserve a little outdoor time too.

Stay Active & Healthy Daily

Dust Off Your Bike

The weather is warmer now, so it’s time to say goodbye to taking short trips by car. Instead dust off your bikes and saddle up for an afternoon adventure. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running errands, headed to work or school, or meeting up with friends; if it’s within a three to five mile radius, ditch the gas gussler and opt for wind in your hair and sun on your skin as you bike your way there instead. Pack up some food and anything you may need for the day in your ISOPack, strap it on your back, and pedal away. No matter where this spring takes you, make sure that you and your family avoid motored machines as forms of transportation to get there. Read more ways to be active in your everyday life here.

Frequent The Farmers Market

We’ll give you a pass for buying your fruits, vegetables, and meats at a grocery store for the past few months, since it may have been a little too chilly to venture outside of temperature controlled buildings. Now that the days are longer and the temperatures are rising though, it’s time to get out to your local farmers market. You aren’t going to find fresher and higher quality produce and meats at a better price than you will at a farmers market. Once you have tasted the difference, you will agree that it is more than worth it to wake up a little early on the weekends, to keep your family eating healthy foods that they’ll love. If you’re lucky and the farmers market is close enough to your house, bike over for a little extra family fitness. Pack up your purchases in your ISOBag to ensure that they stay cold and fresh during the ride back home.

Plant A Vegetable Garden

Sure, flowers are fun to watch grow, and pretty to look at, but vegetables add the value of practicality, which so many of us need when we invest our time into something new. Get your kids involved in the process too for a little lesson on healthy foods and family fitness that will last them a lifetime. When you plant and maintain your own vegetable garden you are investing time into the future reward of being able to eat naturally grown, fresh, GMO free foods, for a fraction of the cost of any grocery store or farmers market. Make sure that you’re harvesting your vegetables at the peak of freshness for optimal flavor and nutrients.

Break Out The Grill

The grill gets a lot of great press in the summer, but spring time meals cooked over an open flame are just as delicious as those cooked in the summer, and the flame isn’t nearly as brutal to be near when the temperature is just a little bit lower. Making sure that your family is eating well all year long, is just as important as making sure that they are maintaining appropriate levels of physical activities. Of course, the grill isn’t just for juicy steaks, or smoky burgers, although learning how to use the grill as a meat smoker was life altering. Switch up your dinner plans or weekly meal prep with grilled sweet potatoes, vegetables, or even fruits. If you have any left overs, use your colorful meal prep containers to help keep them organized for future consumption. Learn more about how to use your grill for multipurpose cooking with our Guide To Becoming a Grill Master.

Stay Active & Healthy On The Weekends

Challenge The Neighbors

Unless you’ve got a family that could rival the Dugger’s in size, you’ll probably need to invite another family or two into your active family game nights. While other families sit inside around a table playing cards and board games, or putting puzzles together, encourage some family fitness on your block by challenging your neighbors to a friendly softball, soccer, football, street hockey, or basketball game. You can even create weekend tournaments if enough families are willing to join. Kids are likely to play pick up versions of these games together anyway, so why not add in a few parents and other adults, and some structured game rules, and make a night of it? On exceptionally hot days, try water balloon dodgeball or water balloon tag, as unique and refreshing twists on two classics.

Play With Chalk

If your kids are young enough to still enjoy coloring on every surface, then take them outside for a little sidewalk chalk fun. While this is a great activity for the reserved artistic child, it can also be a great way for active kids to release a little pent up energy. While hopscotch is a classic, you can also play 4 square, or draw chalk mazes to run, skip, scooter, or bike through. One of my all time favorites though is taking twister outside, by drawing your own twister board in chalk and playing in the driveway. It’s best to make sure that only older kids and adults participate in this game though, as losing your balance and falling on asphalt can be a little more dangerous than other chalk options.

Go Fly A Kite

No we aren’t trying to get rid of you. Flying a kite is actually a great way to incorporate family fitness into your weekend activities, especially when the wind picks up, making it harder to engage in other activities. Since you’ll probably have to go to a local park or field to have enough room to fly your kite, be sure to pack up a healthy picnic lunch for everyone. As long as you have a nice windy day, once you get the kite up into the air it is unlikely that you’ll have to move around much, however it is possible to you’ll want to (especially if you invest in a trick kite). The main movements while flying a kite occur before the kite really gets soaring, while you’re still running through the wind and trying to get it airborne. Additional running may be needed if the kite starts to plummet quickly due to a lack of breeze.

Tap Into Your Inner Child

When you start thinking like a child, you begin to see fun around every corner and you stop thinking about the amount of reps you have to do to see results, or how far and fast you’ll have to run to burn off enough calories for the day. Many adults go to the playground with their children and sit and watch as their kids run around and play, or they take that time to use the park’s outdoor fitness equipment for their own physical benefits, but rarely do they just play. By engaging in play rather than regimented fitness plans, you eliminate the element of “have to” and instead replace it with “want to” which is a much more powerful motivator.

Take A Day Trip

It doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you get out of your house and go. You could go to the beach to catch some waves, or to the woods for an adventurous hike, or even to an amusement park, and all of these places offer one major plus that your home likely doesn’t. They offer wide open spaces, to explore, roam, and move without electronics or other everyday distractions. Taking the entire day to get away from home, and your normal routine encourages you to be more physically active than you might otherwise be, no matter how good of intentions you have. To avoid spending extra money on food while you’re out for the day, use your ISOBag to pack enough food for the whole family. Add a little excitement to your family fitness day trip by trying out a new activity like kayaking, surfing, horseback riding, or even rock climbing.

Welcome to StressFreeTools

Welcome. I’m Bhasweti Gewhas, Ph.D. I am a certified Hypnotherapist, Past-Life Regression Therapist, Spiritual Life Coach, Advanced Theta Healer, Psychic Reader, Reiki Master and Advanced Level Feng Shui Practitioner. In my healing work, my approach is nonjudgmental and inspirational. By connecting with angels and master guides, I tune into divine guidance on any aspect of your life to offer insight for your highest development and happiness. I am very much looking forward to speaking with you to share unlimited love and light.

I began my professional life with a Ph.D. in economics and taught at the university level for 25 years. It was only as I encountered personal difficulties and tragedy that I began my intense spiritual journey and gradually transformed my life.

I have spent more than 10 years engaged in extensive research and continuous training and education in India and the United States with master level practices in stress reduction therapy, holistic health and alternative therapies. I want to share with you my techniques and approach to managing stress in your life.

Left unchecked, stress has the power to destroy us physically, mentally and emotionally. So in order to live a full, balanced, healthy and happy life, you must learn how to become stress free. The best way to control stress and reduce your fears is through an interesting process that includes progressive relaxation, visualization and meditation – and is here to help you do just that.
The Effects of Stress

At the most basic level, stress increases one’s blood pressure and changes cell structure and cell function. This can cause stroke, heart attack, immune deficiency and even cancer.

When you are stressed, you lack peace, creativity and clarity of mind, often triggering the desire to smoke, drink excessively, abuse drugs and overeat.

Stress is so powerful that it can cause both anxiety and its opposite, depression. Anger, fear, sadness and feelings of worthlessness can then spiral out of control.
Control Stress through Meditation

The good news is that modern science is now confirming what faith and wisdom have known all along – that meditation is our safest, and most affordable, way to reduce stress. Meditation lowers your heart rate, normalizes your blood pressure, helps your organs process oxygen more efficiently, regulates cortisol in the blood stream and improves the function of the immune system.

The wonderful thing about meditation is that it can be done by anyone regardless of religion, education, age, ethnicity, etc. The only thing one must realize is that mediation is a practice and takes a certain level of commitment. By practicing meditation regularly, your lifestyle will improve and you will understand more deeply who you are. Just by reading a book, you can learn that you are a combination of mind, body and spirit. But by practicing meditation, you experience this miraculous connection.

All this is why I am now offering my unique stress relief and stress management products online. By using these products, you will feel yourself take control of your life and grow in your mental stability. Currently, I work in closed-door, one-on-one sessions with clients in person, and now it is time to reach a larger audience that is not limited by space and time.

I have developed four meditation tracks, each of them based on long research and created to work on different aspects of your life. By ordering one of my four stress-free CDs or downloading the MP3s online, you will be taking your first step toward reaching physical, mental and emotional health and happiness in your life. Each product is the result of years of hands-on research and practice helping people overcome fears, addiction, overeating, depression, pain, grief and any other challenge life presents. These products will not only resolve these mental, emotional and physical issues, they will also provide you with the clarity and confidence to excel in your personal and professional lives. You will understand that your challenges are actually great opportunities that your life is presenting to you as learning experiences.