ADVICE FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Do you know what a bucket list is? Most people think it is a list of things you want to do before you die. A typical guess is people want to visit a particular place before dying. Based on an unscientific poll about bucket lists, that is not a bad guess. Travel appears to be a frequent bucket list ambition.  Anne is an American who is proud her ancestors lived for centuries on the group of small islands in the English Channel between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe.

REDUCE STRESS, INCREASE ENJOYMENT FOR A HAPPY 2018

Family caregivers provide practical assistance and enhance the quality of life for frail seniors who might otherwise require placement in a long-term-care facility. Typically, caregivers are spouses or adult children, many of whom are seniors themselves. Their role involves physical, psychological, emotional and financial demands. It can be a heavy load.  If you are a caregiver, consider the following strategies for not only surviving but thriving in the year ahead.

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DISCOVER A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Curiosity, exploring interests and engagement are a few crucial ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Enrolling in a class just for the love of learning is a great way to do this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Kentucky offers educational and enrichment courses, forums, shared interest groups, trips and more for adults age 50 years and older. Membership for the full year is $25; summer programs are at a prorated fee.

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In such cases, individual counseling may be a better approach.


Some caregiver groups are very general and open to everyone. Others are specific to certain populations, such as caregivers of older adults or caregivers for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Some groups are quite structured, with set agendas and built-in time constraints (typically four to six weekly or bi-weekly sessions). Led by health care professionals, including social workers and nurses, these groups are primarily educational in nature and often include guest speakers.


More informal groups focus primarily on emotional support. Member sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences is key. Facilitators may be experienced caregivers or professionals who work with caregivers. Meetings are usually held monthly, with new members welcomed on an ongoing basis.


How can you tell if you’ve found the right group? After an initial visit, ask yourself:



Highly rated groups also emphasize caregiver strengths, incorporate some humor and include time for social interaction.



Where to Find Information About Caregiver Groups


If you’re a caregiver, you may have already read articles about the importance of preventing burnout. Usually these articles include a suggestion to join a support group. Perhaps you’re reluctant to do so because you wonder what caregiver groups are all about and whether joining one would really help you.


The overall goal of caregiver support groups is to enhance participants’ coping skills through mutual support and information sharing. Objectives may include:


CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUPS: IS THERE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?

The benefits of group involvement include:



A group setting isn’t suitable for everyone. A caregiver support group may not be as helpful for those who are very shy or private in nature; someone who is self-focused, either because of a personality trait or extreme stress; or those who have significant, often longstanding personal issues (for example, a psychiatric illness or a conflicted relationship with the care recipient).

LISA M. PETSCHE

Lisa M. Petsche is a social worker and a freelance writer specializing in boomer and senior health matters. She has personal and professional experience with eldercare.

more articles by lisa m. petsche