Having been in this job now for nearly 20 years, I have come to know many people who are caregivers. The definition that we use for caregivers is someone who is helping a friend or loved one, either in their home or other living facility, manage their personal and physical needs. But in all these years, I have not had direct experience as a caregiver. That is until now! Over the last few weeks, someone I love has taken a fall and has moved into a long-term care facility. I can now relate to the worry and work that goes into caregiving. Lessons learned so far include:
- Medicare, long term care insurance, Medicare Advantage plans and county waivers are now terms that I have heard and am trying to understand.
- There are transitional care units, memory care units, skilled care units, home health services and assisted living options that are available levels of care.
- COVID-19 quarantine is a big deal and doesn’t make it easy for a loved one who is living somewhere new and trying to meet new people.
- Did you know that home health care that is available through Rice County Public Health is not an option in every MN county? I now know that what is an available option of care or payment in your area, may not be available in the area where your loved one is.
- The rest of your life does not stop, just because you are now a caregiver. I am still employed and am a wife, mother and grandmother. I help out at my church and also try to get a little exercise once in a while. I have not had to do this balancing act for long, as many people do, but now I can relate to what people are talking about.
I knew that this day was coming and I thought I was prepared. But that is nowhere near the truth. What I do know, is that there are many resources out there that can help. I am fortunate to live in a time when we have instant answers to questions through the internet. I also know many people who are experienced in this area. Along with skilled co-workers that I can talk to, I also know about the Senior Linkage Line which gives Minnesotans free and quality information just by making a phone call. Along with that, Buckham West has a caregiver support group that can help.
I have determined that I am not capable of doing everything that there is to do as a caregiver. That is something that I am actually quite proud of. Being able to verbalize what you can/cannot do is difficult. I have strengths that I can draw from and I have family members that have other skills to utilize. To me, being a caregiver is a gift I have been giving and I look forward to learning many lessons along the way.
Winter Tips for Seniors
To help accomplish our goal of staying healthy, happy, and safe this winter, here are 6 tips that you may find beneficial.
- When it is slippery outside, don’t ever walk with your hands in your pockets. If your arms are free to move you will have much better balance, and if you do slip and fall your injuries will most likely be less serious.
- The experts recommend daily getting at least 600 to 800 International Units of vitamin D3 for bone health either in your diet or from supplements. In addition, I have found that taking vitamin D also helps my mood a lot, especially during the winter doldrums.
- Try to get at least some exercise on most days, even if it is just walking or jogging in place at home, along with some stretching. Exercise is great for one’s body . . . and mind.
- Winter is a great time to do things that otherwise wouldn’t get done around the house, such as cleaning out closets, drawers, and cabinets. And don’t forget to donate your extra clothes to Fashions on Central!
- Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your home, either through night lights or lamps so you can always see where you are going during the long dark winter nights. And have a flashlight handy, too.
- Attitude is everything in surviving winter. Enjoy!
Please keep Fashions on Central, our gently used clothing store, on your list of shops to visit during the holidays. Our store sells high quality, used clothing for men and women at bargain prices. Due to safety concerns, our store is now open on Saturdays and Tuesdays each week from 11am-5pm. Remember that 100% of the proceeds from sales at Fashion on Central are used to support the Senior Center. It is the ultimate local, small business!
Many people wait until the end of each year to make their charitable donations. If you have it in your heart to make a gift to Buckham West, this year it would be even more appreciated. Since we have not been able to host our traditional fundraisers, due to the COVID pandemic, we are not able to raise all of the funds for operational expenses as we typically do.
If you are willing to make a tax-deductible gift please mail or drop off your gift to Buckham West at 19 Division St. West. Thanks in advance for your generosity!
- Buckham West and Senior Dining will be closed on Friday, January 1st.
- If you are a Rice County resident who is living independently and are looking for help with fall clean up and snow removal, you are encouraged to call Family Service Rochester at 507-287-2010. This is their main office line, with local services providers right here in Rice County. These services will be at a reduced cost and in some cases may even be free.