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Living

3 Tips for Self-Care

Silhouette of young woman practicing yoga, lotus position, and meditating on the beach.

It’s obvious that these days stress is at an all time high. We have to do any and everything to keep our stress levels low, because excessive stress weakens our immune systems! So now that you’ve made up your mind to begin your wellness journey, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t go too hard on yourself — We don’t mean don’t push yourself! But don’t be so hard on yourself that you only focus on the things you’re doing wrong and not what you’re doing right. Most of the time, when we make mistakes, they’re small ones that have no or minimal consequences. Some of us are perfectionist and we are very vulnerable under this type of behavior but let’s remember to breathe and take it day by day.
  2. Keep a journal — It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, journaling is a great way to help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. When you’re dealing with overwhelming emotions, journaling could be used for managing emotions caused by your stress, anxiety and depression. Writing down how you feel might help you acknowledge those feelings, learn the triggers and come up with a solution.

Journaling helps to improve your mood by:

  • Helping you list your problems, fears, and things that may concern you.
  • Tracking any symptoms on a daily basis so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better handle them.
  • Allowing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts.

3. Try to do something enjoy everyday — Whatever you do, don’t go all day without doing something that will be enjoyable to you. That could be anything from dancing, watching your favorite TV show or movie, working in your garden, painting or even having a night with friends. When you make a habit of doing things that are enjoyable to you, it will make you more productive and you’ll be more fulfilled.

I hope that this short but simple list helps you in some way on your self-care journey! Remember that taking the time to care for yourself is the key to being able to fully serve others.

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~Oprah Winfrey

Categories
Living

Stress Management: Important at Any Age

Stress Management: Important at Any Age

Retirement is the time in your life when you can finally throw out the alarm clock and set your own schedule. This new freedom may sound idyllic, but for the millions of adults heading into retirement, it can be a recipe for stress if caution isn’t taken.

 

Today’s retirees are facing unprecedented challenges: retirement savings reduced by market crashes, increasing health care costs and high rates of divorce. So what can help assure you that you’ll be able to enjoy these peaceful years?

Mapping out a holistic plan for your retirement life, says Michelle Carlstrom, LCSW-C, senior director at the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at Johns Hopkins .

“People think retirement is just a financial decision,” says Carlstrom. “But that alone won’t determine happiness. Even if you feel financially secure, there are other issues to consider.” Here’s what Carlstrom suggests for a less stressful retirement.

The Magic Number of Stress Relief

Long used in yoga, the 61 points relaxation technique has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. You can find a guide online (search for “61 points” on youtube.com), or simply sit comfortably, close your eyes, and mentally focus on every part of your body one at a time, starting with the center of your forehead, moving down to your toes, then back up again. The idea is to free the mind from other concerns as you focus entirely on the exercise.

Plan activities with purpose.

How much does your job currently dictate your social interactions and sense of purpose? For many empty nesters, their workplace is where they socialize, engage in stimulating conversations and feel a sense of accomplishment. “It’s easy to focus on how much you will enjoy leaving behind the stress of your job. But you also need to think about the potential social or spiritual void that might be left when you leave,” says Carlstrom.

In other words, you should plan activities that will replace the stimulation and fulfillment you had from your workplace. Those could include social clubs centered around interests such as cooking, reading or gardening. Volunteer opportunities also abound—check with your local library, schools, art museums or volunteermatch.org. Or consider taking a class at a community college.

Consider continued work.

According to an AARP survey, about 25 percent of retired folks plan to continue working, whether as a volunteer, a part-time employee or a new small-business owner. “I know someone who decided to become an usher at a baseball stadium so he could enjoy all the games,” says Carlstrom. No matter what you end up doing, don’t wait until you retire to figure it out.

Carlstrom recommends laying the groundwork at least five years out from your retirement date. A survey of job websites now might help you gauge part-time or consultant opportunities for later.

Ground yourself in reality.

“Ask yourself if the problems that you are dealing with are real or are imagined and anticipatory,” says Carlstrom. For example, are you stressed because you are having financial troubles, or is it the anticipation of health care expenses that could pop up down the road? Our bodies can’t tell the difference, so we react with the same amount stress. So spend time exploring whether you are experiencing real or imagined stress and develop a stress management plan that will ultimately reduce stress by instilling a sense of control over the situation.

Adjust your stress management style.

When you are stressed, how do you react? Do you go for a run? Reach for a drink? Call your best friend? Gorge on junk food? Head to the mall? Understanding that everyone uses a mixture of healthy and unhealthy stress relievers is the first step toward focusing on healthier options, like exercise, meditation, prayer and social support. “Retirement can be a new chance to really commit to examining how you handle stress,” says Carlstrom. 

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Living

Senior Safety During Covid-19

An update from Seniors At Home, a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services

Nothing is more important to Seniors At Home than helping older adults live safely, healthily, and independently in their own homes. During COVID-19, our services are especially vital in keeping seniors safe at home and limiting their exposure through personalized care and support.

As we continue to monitor the progression of COVID-19, our top priority is the health and safety of our senior clients and our professional caregivers. We are following updates and guidance from the CDC, as well as state and local authorities, and staying informed on best practices.

 

We understand you may have concerns for yourself or an aging loved one who is in a high-risk group. For that reason, we want to share some of the precautions we are taking to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus and offer an update on our many services.

Safety Measures

Due to our standard safety precautions and the increased measures taken from COVID-19 guidelines, Seniors At Home continues to provide safe and reliable in-home care.

  • Seniors At Home caregivers are trained in COVID-19 safety procedures and follow CDC protocol, including frequent handwashing with soap and water, hand sanitizers, wearing masks, frequent cleaning/wiping down of surfaces, proper coughing, and sneezing techniques, and more.
  • We are directing our caregivers to stay home if they or their family members are showing any signs of illness and to contact us immediately with their status.
  • Home care assessments are being conducted remotely as much as possible. This lessens the time spent inside the home, reducing the risk of exposure.
  • Seniors At Home recognized the need for masks and gloves well before the shelter-in-place and started preparing in February. Therefore, our caregivers have been supplied the proper safety materials from the beginning of COVID-19 and we continue to have sufficient supplies available to them.
  • In some situations, we coordinate Lyft rides for caregivers who rely on public transportation in order to reduce the number of people with whom they are in contact.

Program Updates

Our many social and adult day health programs are no longer meeting in person due to the pandemic. Most have quickly adjusted their format to provide a modified version to clients and members.

  • Skyview Day Club: Our social day program for older adults with memory loss in Marin County is using Zoom to provide programming that incorporates entertainment, fitness, and socialization. This still offers engagement for our members and respite for family caregivers.
  • Caregiver support groups: In place of in person meetings in Marin, our caregiver support groups are now online and open to the broader community. Family caregivers are experiencing extra stress caring for loved ones while sheltering-in-place. The support group offers needed support and guidance during a trying time.
  • L’Chaim Day Health Center: Onsite medical, rehabilitative, and social services for Russian-speaking seniors in San Francisco are now being provided through home visits, to ensure our clients get the needed care for their health and wellbeing.
  • Plaza Social Club: Cannot meet in person for weekly lunch and activities; however, we have created a Plaza Social Club weekly newsletter that provides links to various websites for tours, concerts, exercise, and social engagement.
  • Memory Cafe: Weekly gatherings for people experiencing mild to moderate memory loss and their caregivers are canceled due to the potential health risks. However, Café members get email updates on activities and ideas for engagement.
  • JFCS Food BankOur Food Bank locations are no longer open for walk-in appointments, but food is being delivered to clients using all safety measures. The need for assistance has increased considerably since the pandemic and we continue to support anyone struggling with food insecurity.
  • Safe At Home Calls: Calls have increased greatly during the pandemic. Volunteer callers help current Seniors At Home clients stay connected during the shelter-in-place order. These regular calls offer meaningful conversations to seniors, as well as allowing volunteers to check that seniors are safe and not in need of additional assistance. Clients receiving one or more of our other services are eligible (food delivery not consider as a service).
  • Our Center for Dementia CareCare Management, and Fiduciary programs continue to provide support and services to clients and family members.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) is addressing the rising food needs of seniors and families in the Bay Area. Help us ensure that everyone in our community has enough to eat. Find out how to contribute to your local JFCS Food Bank >

New Program – Grocery Shoppers: This new program started at the onset of the shelter-in-place, and will continue until it is safe for seniors to shop safely in public. JFCS trained volunteers are connected with a senior who needs assistance shopping for supplies. The volunteer and senior communicate on the items needed, then our JFCS volunteer shops and delivers the items to the senior using all safety protocols. This ensures the senior remains safe at home and not in need of food or supplies. If you have any additional questions or concerns or know someone who could use any of our services, please call 415-449-3700 or contact us online.

Seniors At Home is a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Our services are funded by fees and by donations for those who cannot afford the full cost of care for these critical services.

If you would like to make a donation, please contact Barbara Farber at BarbaraF@jfcs.org, 415-449-3858, or click here to give online.