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Category : Caregiving

The Creative Space: Art Creates New Ways for People with Memory Loss to Express Themselves
Art Whisperer is what my painters sometimes call me. As Artist in Residence at Wilder’s Adult Day Health program, I participate in art class as the professional studio and social practice art instructor. My painters are people who are experiencing memory or cognitive loss. My biggest goal for the program, which I have named “In A New Voice,” is to move past the word loss, and create new ways that people with memory loss can fall back in love with themselves. I have always felt that art should be freed from its stereotype of elitism and unburdened of the notion that it requires “genius” to create. Combining that with my own experience, I have always known that art and medicine needed to be put together...
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Yoga for Caregivers
​For the last few months, Wilder has been offering a Gentle Yoga for Caregivers class. Twice a month, caregivers come to our Community Center for Aging, roll out a yoga mat, and get into a comfortable position, usually lying down. With dimmed lights, we close our eyes and start a body scan, slowly placing our attention on one part of the body at a time. We don’t try to change anything we’re experiencing. We just notice. Then we do some simple and gentle stretching, usually in a part of the body that tends to hold tension like the shoulders or lower back. We use chairs and yoga blocks to make sure we’re comfortable for the whole hour. Finally, we lie back down, rest, and focus...
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​​Navigating Hospitalizations 101: The Transitional Care Unit
As we discussed in the first post in Navigating Hospitalizations 101, hospitals are one of the most complex systems in our nation. If you are caregiving for a family who is hospitalized, one of the challenges you may face is learning what the needs will be for the person you are caring for after leaving the hospital. In some cases, you find out only a few hours in advance that your family member is being discharged and needs placement in a Transitional Care Unit. In this post, you will find tips for securing a Transitional Care Unit as you navigate hospitalizations. The previous post covered communications with the care team. Anticipating the Need for a Transitional Care Unit A Transitional Care Unit is short-term stay in a skilled nursing...
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​​Navigating Hospitalizations 101: The Hospital Care Team
​The moment you dread…Mom is headed to the hospital for the first time since you have had to step in to do more for her. You are now faced with navigating one of our nation’s most complex systems: hospitals. You find yourself getting frustrated because you can’t take time off from work to catch all of the doctors. Your lunch breaks are taken up by returning messages from the social worker. You want to be proactive with planning ahead, but find it challenging to get information on what Mom’s needs are going to be when she leaves the hospital. Then you find out only a few hours in advance that she is being discharged, needs placement in a Transitional Care Unit (TCU), and you still...
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Strategic Planning for Caregiving
Caregivers of people with dementia often ask: “Why does my husband sit for hours doing nothing?” or “Why does my mother sleep so much? Dementia is a disorder in which there’s a decline in mental abilities severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia along with problems with language and communication, short attention span and decreased judgement and reasoning skills. Losses are seen in the ability to express interests, to identify and plan activities and to carry out the steps of an activity. People with dementia often appear passive with an inability to get started. The opposite can also be true with increased irritation and frustration — and a tendency to say no to usual or new activities. Both behaviors are...
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Trends in Caregiving: Five Resources
Caregiving TrendsIt's no secret that the U.S. is in the midst of a major demographic shift: the baby boom generation is reaching the age of 65 and the median age is on the rise. This trend toward an aging population will require more and different services than have been available to date. One response to the "Age Wave" is an increased focus on informal caregivers, who provide a significant portion of all care and assistance offered to older adults. But what does caregiving in the U.S. look like, and what impact will caregivers have on social services, health care and the economy? Our research librarians have compiled the following resources to shed some light on the latest in caregiving: Caregiving in the United States 2015 http://www.caregiving.org/caregiving2015/This widely disseminated report...
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Self-Care with Accountability
This summer, I had the opportunity to co-facilitate a course called Powerful Tools for Caregivers at the Wilder Foundation's Community Center for Aging. This six-week course gives people who are providing care for a family member or friend a set of tools for communication and self-care. One of the most important of these tools is the action plan, in which a caregiver states something specific that he or she will do in the next week for herself or himself. My co-facilitator and I joined class participants in this weekly exercise, and I was struck by how beneficial it was for me.   Awareness Motivates Action Whether my goal was something as simple as taking a half hour out of a busy week to do something fun, or to initiate a difficult...
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Senior Housing Solution: Plan Ahead
​​For many people, moving to a new home is a fairly simple process. You sell your house or give notice to a landlord, find a new place, and move. But when you’re looking for a place that will also provide care, supervision, meals or other services, it gets much more complicated. As a Caregiver Consultant in Wilder’s Caregiver Services, I often help families as they make these decisions, and I have learned that the earlier families start planning, the happier they are with their options. I’d like to share two reasons in particular to plan early.   1. To make sure you can afford the housing you want. Most people are shocked by how expensive senior housing is. The median rate for a one bedroom, single occupancy...
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Five Things to Know about Adult Day Services
This week is National Adult Day Services Week, and Wilder’s Adult Day Health program is celebrating in style: music, art, dancing and more. Despite the festivities and recognition, this week reminds me that adult day services remain unfamiliar or misunderstood among a majority of Americans. This unique model of care can be essential to the health of families and communities as our population ages. But what exactly does “adult day services” mean? Here are the top five things to know about the adult day services model of care: 1. It’s Professional Care The National Adult Day Services Association defines adult day services as: “a professional care setting in which older adults, adults living with dementia, or adults living with disabilities receive individualized therapeutic, social, and health services for...
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Little Free Libraries Develop a Sense of Community
​A Little Free Library is the perfect interactive lawn ornament. It looks like an oversize birdhouse on a post and is placed in a public place. “Take a book, leave a book,” imprinted on the Library, succinctly explains its purpose to any passerby. Anyone can build a Little Free Library or purchase one online. Knowing this, I jumped at the opportunity to have a Little Free Library near the sidewalk in my front yard. We had recently bought a house in a new neighborhood, and adding a Library felt like a good contribution to our block.   I had the good fortune to receive the Library from the Wilder Foundation. Wilder had been approached by the AARP and Little Free Library, who aimed to see how access...
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Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104 Phone: 651-280-2000
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