Lorenzo Mejia

The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: How to Avoid Caregiver Fatigue

Caring for your loved one can be a tender, rewarding experience.  At times, it can also become overwhelming.  It’s easy to forget about your own needs, putting you at serious risk of burnout.  Caregiver Fatigue, also known as Caregiver Burnout, is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion.   Caregivers who are “burned out” may experience stress, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression.  You may get sick easily, or you may have trouble sleeping. If you’re a caregiver, here are a few suggestions to avoid Caregiver Fatigue: Accept that your feelings are natural and normal. Your life has changed...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Documents to Consider When You Are Incapacitated

Planning to Get Older – Documents to Consider When You Are Incapacitated To paraphrase the well-known adage, few things in life are certain aside from the fact that we are getting older.  From the moment we are born, we are dying.   Thinking about life’s end should not be seen as a morbid topic, but simply dealing with a fact of life. There are a number of legal documents that you can use to empower others when you are incapacitated.  Four of the most common are highlighted below, along with their pluses and minuses.  This is an overview.  No formal...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Arrest Rates for Elder Americans Are On the Rise

In the 1986 comedy, Tough Guys, ex-cons Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, well into their 60’s after serving years in prison for train robbery, decide to rob one again.  For most older Americans, however, whose paths are crossing with law enforcement, it’s far from deliberate. In the decade ending in 2012 (the last year for which statistics are available), arrest rates fell by 11 percent among people 18 to 64.  But it rose 23 percent for people over 55, and a shocking 28 percent among those over 65. Consider the following: In Bakersfield, Calif., a man in his seventies...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Top Scams Affecting Senior Citizens

One of the hottest growth industries is also illegal and deeply immoral:  scams targeting seniors.   People who engage in these activities typically do so from overseas where they face no penalty, nor risk of imprisonment.  Here are three of the most common scams targeting elders.   The Grandparent Scam You get a call from somebody claiming to be your grandchild.  They start by saying, “Grandpa, is that you?”  And you might say, “Is that you, Michael?”   At that point, the relationship is established.  “Michael” will say that he is in a predicament, typically out-of-state, and that he needs you...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Why Does Dad ask me the same question again and again?

It can be one of the most frustrating aspects of having a loved one with dementia.  Dad will ask the same question repeatedly.  “What time are you picking me up?” You answer him, and three minutes later he asks it again.  “What time are you picking me up?”   You lose your temper. You say something that later you regret.  Yet, he has vivid recollections of the house you grew up in and many other things from long ago. This is due to the fact that many dementias attack short-term memory first.  Short-term memory operates like a “Post-it Note” for information...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: The Five Wishes – Important Decisions You Should Make About ‘Your End of Life’

  As we get older and cannot care for ourselves, it’s important to think about how we want our life to end. The Five Wishes constitute a living will that sets forth your personal, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as your medical wishes. A living will lets your loved ones know how to make decisions on your behalf.  They provide critical areas to think about now, when you have the time and mental capability. Wish One – Who do I want to make healthcare decisions for me when I can’t make them for myself? This person is your...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Keeping a Lid on the Cost of 24/7 Care

It’s a challenge we see often with our clients.  They want mom or dad to stay at home.  In fact, they PROMISED them they could stay there.  But the costs of doing so can be exorbitant.   The economics get really frustrating when the loved one doesn’t need a lot of care, but can’t be left alone.  You need someone in the house 24/7.   With typical home care in Chapel Hill costing $20 to $22/hour, that’s $175,000 or more per year! In cases like these, live in care  is a more affordable option and can reduce the cost of 24/7...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Do I Need Long-Term Care Insurance?

Like all insurance, you may never need it, but when you do, you’re glad that you made the investment. Long-term care insurance is one way to pay for the cost of nursing homes and in-home caregivers.  It was initially introduced as nursing home insurance but now covers the cost of other facilities and caregivers at home, as well. It’s a fact that our need for care grows the older we get.  Things like bathing and dressing become more challenging.  We might also need care after an illness or major injury, like a stroke, heart attack or broken leg. No...

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The Caring Corner: Mom Needs a Little Bit of Help. What Things Can a Caregiver Do for Her?

It’s one of the most common questions we get asked by a new client.  What services do caregivers provide?   By law, home care in North Carolina is non-medical.  No license is required for an individual to be a caregiver.  While some might have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license, many of the most compassionate and experienced caregivers are not CNAs. Caregivers provide services ranging from companionship to full personal care, referred to as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). A caregiver can engage mom in hobbies or other activities she enjoys.  One of our clients was into photography, and every...

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The Caring Corner: Where Do I Turn? The Orange County Department on Aging is A Safe Bet

With any new challenge or project, the hardest thing is getting started.  If you have an aging loved one that you are starting to worry about, a good place to start is the Orange County Department on Aging (OCDOA). The OCDOA is an incredible resource where seniors and caregivers can meet folks in similar situations and find a knowledgeable person to guide them in matters related to care, finances, fitness and day-to-day practical needs. There are two modern senior centers located in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.  They offer a wide variety of aging services, wellness and education activities, excursions...

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