All posts by Well Beyond Care

Caregiving Decisions Can Often Be as Clear as Mud

By Dr. Mara Karpel

Psychologist, Host of Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and Author of The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  Find her at: DrMaraKarpel.com

 “It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lena Horne

Whether your loved one lives with you, in the same time zone, or thousands of miles away, there are often big decisions that need to be made involving their care, living situation, medical procedures, medications, etc. Often, the right choices are not at all clear. There are many choices, frequently none of which are “perfect,” and you will likely be asked to decide — or to help your loved one decide — which is the best decision that fits for them.

Being responsible for such heavy decision-making about such important issues that can be so unclear can certainly keep any of us up at night and cause plenty of anxiety. Here are some tips for better wading through the muddy waters:

  • Get as much information as possible. Talk to professionals, research on reliable websites, ask other caregivers whom you know might have had experience with similar issues. Talk to your loved-one’s doctors, therapists, paid caregivers, and get second opinions. Read books related to the topics at hand.
  • If you’re still feeling confused and anxious about the decisions, take a break. Take walks, exercise, meditate, get out in nature, to take your thoughts off of the subject for periods of time. This will give your mind a chance to quiet down from the anxious thoughts and allow your inner knowing, your higher wisdom, to process all of the information you’ve been given and to find the answer that best fits for your specific situation. The answer may come to you as a feeling of being shouted out by your inner self, “this is it!,” or it may come as a whisper.
  • If this still doesn’t work, spend time, again, quieting your mind. Sit quietly, close your eyes, take some slow deep breaths.   Then imagine that you’ve made a decision. See and feel what life is like after that particular action has been taken. Now quiet your mind and imagine what it looks like and how it feels after making the opposite decision. This can often give greater insight about the best decision for you and your loved one’s unique situation.
  • Finally, remember that there are no perfect decisions and we only discover mistakes in hindsight. Most of us don’t own a crystal ball and cannot predict with 100% accuracy how it will work out, no matter which way we go. As I wrote about in my blog, Tips for Caregivers – Near and Far -Tip #10 – Forgive Yourself, “We all make mistakes. We’re human.” Don’t be hard on yourself for doing the best you could to figure out the right course of action.

Read similar blogs by Dr. Mara and listen to her internet radio showNow also available on Apple Podcasts.

Be sure to follow her on Facebook for updates on her show and new blogs.

And check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age!

Simple Ways Seniors Can Stick with Self-Care Goals

While we are all getting older every day, it can be exciting to create new self-care goals although it can be hard to stick with them. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways seniors can stay true to their wellness plans without breaking the bank. These tips can help you stick with your wellness goals without all the stress.

Create a Simple Workout Plan

If you want to stick to your fitness plan, simplify your workout routine. Low-intensity workouts can actually help boost self-confidence and establish a healthy daily routine that can continue to grow and develop over time. According to VeryWellFit.com, try dancing to some music for 15-30 minutes. Other options include following a workout online or doing simple bodyweight exercises. There are plenty of free yoga and workout classes on YouTube. You can also save on fitness equipment and women’s shoe deals online at sites like Rakuten. Soon you will see some of the mood-boosting and stress-reducing benefits of exercising. Creating a great routine that you can maintain doesn’t have to be difficult.

Eat Out Less by Cooking More

While eating out is less time-consuming than cooking, it is also much more expensive. Switching from buying takeout to cooking can save you lots of money. While it can be hard to do a 180-degree switch, there are some ways to build up to eating out less. According to MoneyUnder30.com, it’s best to start small and make attainable goals like bringing your lunch to work three times a week and starting to cook dinner a couple times a week as well. When you bring your lunch to work, it’s important to leave the office. In order to cook more, it’s best to have a food plan. GoodCheapEats.com suggests taking some of your favorite takeout meals and trying to recreate them at home. The benefits of cooking at home can include reducing calorie consumption and eating healthier. By cooking more, you can make healthier choices while saving money.

Release Stress by Practicing Meditation

Stress can truly be an uncomfortable burden. However, meditation can assist in releasing your anxiety. According to TheMonkLife.net, it is best to start with a small, attainable goal if you are going to try to incorporate meditation into your daily life. You can spend as little as two minutes a day. Write your goal down on a piece of paper. Learn how to prioritize meditation by setting a time for it and sticking with it. With an easily attainable goal, you’ll be more likely to continue as you progress. As you meditate, breathe in and out and count to ten and then repeat, so you can stop your mind from wandering. If you’d like some guidance, there are a number of free videos available on YouTube. By adding some simple meditation into your routine, your stress levels will plummet, and you will feel happier in no time.

There are plenty of ways seniors can stick with healthy routines. As you slowly build up your consistency with these wellness goals, you will soon be living a healthier, less stressful life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhill is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Looking at Long Term Care Insurance in a new way

Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is not new and over the past few years, has not had the best reputation. It has been understood that while LTCI is great for helping people afford caregiving in their homes, the use of this insurance has been declining for the last 10 years.

Recently, there has been a lot of changes in the Long Term Care Insurance industry as they have seen the escalating costs of private duty care eat into their ability to offer a substantial benefit to their clients. One of the biggest changed to help with making LTCI more affordable and increase the benefits for elder Americans was allowing individuals to use companies like Well Beyond Care to hire their own caregivers instead of having to use the more costly private duty agencies in order to get reimbursement.  Lauren Tarrant, Well Beyond Care’s COO and Chief Nursing Officer was able to talk recently with, Randal Parker, who works in the LTCI industry and he was able to shed more light on some of these changes and how LTCI should be used by more people.

Mr. Parked stated that the driving force for him to offer these (LTCI) policies to families and seniors is, “I get to see firsthand what a difference I can make in someone’s life. To get a hug from a daughter after signing a policy  which allows her parents to afford care in-the-home or God-forbid a nursing facility.” He added, “I’ve delivered death claim checks and benefit checks and the hardest thing for me would be if I wasn’t able to help them in their time of need. To be appreciated by my clients is important to me. I used to be in the business of selling John Deere Tractors in Vermont. Now I’m here and this feels so different. Maybe because I’m aging or maybe just because I can help people in a totally different and more personal way.”

Mr. Parker outlined two LTCI policies that not only offer great benefits, but allow individuals to get reimbursed when hiring their own caregivers. One is from New York Life and one is from Kemper Reserve National. Disclaimer: Mr. Parker offers policies from both New York Life and Kemper.  He explains that there are many moving parts and LTCI used to be very pricey and limited, but much of that has changed recently.

First, New York Life (NYL) offers a policy through AARP.

New York Life: Benefits included in the policy.

Day 1 – Care Family Friends can be your caregivers and get paid.
Day 1- adult day care can start on day one and get reimbursed.
Day 20 – Home Care – Health caregivers can start coming to your home and can get reimbursed.
Assisted Living and Nursing Home care – you can choose from 30 to 365 days of waiting-
Extra Hospice Care is covered even with Medicare.
Dividends – You begin receiving dividend payments starting on year 10. These will reduce your premiums until your policy is paid in full.
Care Coordination support – You are assigned a person who creates a plan of care with your doctor, and then monitors your care for the whole time you are on claim.
Restoration of benefits– If you go on claim and then recover, all those used funds go back in your benefit pool.
NYL Financial Strength – New York Life has paid dividends for 172 years, and has $1.47 for every $1.00 in liabilities.
Plus, NYL  has another 29 billion in excess reserves, a 100 Comdex score, and only ever had 1 Increase in premiums (2014).

To learn more about this NYL LTCI offering – Click the link below to register: https://nylltc2020cc.eventbrite.com for an upcoming Online Long-Term Care Insurance Sales Presentation dates.

Here is the information about the Home Health Care plan being offered by National Reserve as part of the Kemper Insurance Company. This plan pays for both Home Care and Adult Day Care but not for assisted Living or a Nursing home. That is why the cost is so reasonable.  Concerning this plan, Mr. Parker stated, “So far, I’ve been able to help people with Parkinson’s, Autism, MS, pre- dementia, heart issues, cancer less than 1 year out from treatment, as well as individuals using walkers, canes etc. These plans are a gift for these people.”

Kemper offers two plans.  Each plan lasts for 365 days of care and pays up to $150 per day (or $4,5000 per month)  The reason to purchase the 2nd plan is to create uninterrupted care for as long as you pay the premiums. You can even overlap these plans for twice the benefit.

So what are the costs?

Kemper cost example: for a 65-year-old Male or Female.  The base plan is $27.25 per month. The inflation rider [5% compound] is $27.95 per month. That totals $52.20 per plan per month. Purchasing both plans  costs $110.40 per month, with the inflation rider included. This inflation rider guarantees that your benefit will increase to $232.00 a day or $6,960.00 a month in 10 years time.  The math is simple. You pay $110.40 per month for a $4,500 a month benefit initially, which  increases to $6,960 over time.

While the New York Life plan is nationwide, Kemper is only offered in 39 states. People 55 and older think that they might or will never need it. Kemper is different, as it offers lifetime benefits with just a 6 month waiting period. As long as you are making the premium payment, clients will have coverage of $150 per day today, and $232 per day after 10 years. With the inflation rider, benefit goes up every year.

So why are we at Well Beyond Care telling you about Long Term Care Insurance? Well, it is about letting you have more benefit without spending more money. Of course you can use a private duty agency and pay between $25 and $30 per hour, or you can use Well Beyond Care and do it yourself and pay between $15 and $18 per hour, or 35% to 50% less. That means you benefits go further.

As an example, if  you are receiving an $150 per day LTCI benefit and you care paying $25 per hour for care, you will receive reimbursement for 6 hours of care per day. Will Well Beyond Care, that turns out to 10 hours of care at $15 per hour. That is a 67% increase in the amount of care received. And this is huge.

Out company’s interest in LTCI started when we found that our client, Lois, had spent years and a fortune on LTCI but did not know how to get reimbursed and didn’t want to “bother” her daughter who lived out of town. She said to Lauren Tarrant, “She (my daughter) has better things to do than to hunt down signatures and forms, ahhh, just forget it.”

We could not just forget about it.

From our view at Well Beyond Care, people do not ask for reimbursement even when they have paid for years of coverage. If you have paid for the coverage for years, there should be an easy way to get reimbursement. Because of Lois, and many others since, we have simplifies Reimbursement Process for anyone who uses are system to hire and manage a caregiver. All you have to do is to complete the LTCI page with your LTCI information and your forms will be processed and waiting for you in the Finance Section. Payroll is performed weekly and the forms will only need to be printed and sent either by email, fax or mail by you for weekly reimbursement. Your choice.

We hope this has been informative, and thank you.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

 

How Older Adults Can Stay Healthy During COVID-19

(reprinted and edited with permission from Redfin)

In the age of COVID-19, more colloquially known as the Coronavirus, and as an older adult, your health and personal safety have never been more important. The world seems very different than it was just weeks ago, but the rise of a pandemic just reaffirms what is most important: friends, family, and your health. Social distancing can be stressful, but it is among the best ways to minimize risk to both you and those around you. If you are stuck at home during these trying times, follow these health and wellness tips for older adults to stay healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.

Get Some Exercise

Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind while stuck inside, especially while handling the stress of rapidly changing circumstances. However, even a little movement can do wonders for your overall mental, physical, and emotional health.

Depending on your physical abilities, there are many different kinds of things you can do to exercise without leaving the house. From going up and down the stairs a few times to walking laps in your home or even jogging in place, doing jumping jacks (yup, remember doing them as a kid), or just siting down and getting up from a chair numerous times, a little physical movement goes a long way in helping you feel your best. The internet is full of programs, too; fitness apps, streaming sites, and even YouTube offer countless avenues for at-home workouts at all levels of intensity and ability.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Keeping your immune system healthy is vital important and sleep is a key component of good maintenance. Sleeping seems like a simple thing to achieve while spending all day at home, but day after day without the routines of jobs, hobbies, and social outings can make time seem meaningless. It is easy to slip into negative habits, like going to bed too late out of a desire to catch just one more episode of your favorite show.

No matter what your at-home habits look like, try to establish a regular time to go to sleep and to get up in the morning. This can feel a little silly at first, especially if you have nowhere to go, but maintaining a schedule can keep your circadian rhythm in check, helping you to stay both mentally and physically healthy.

Eat Healthy Meals

Being stuck inside all day with nowhere to go can make it easy to justify a little extra junk food, but a healthy and balanced diet is a critical part of your wellness. Overall, your diet plays an important role in sustaining your immune system, so eating a steady diet of potato chips while practicing social distancing can cause you more harm than good.

When planning meals, make sure to include as many leafy greens as possible in addition to servings of fruit and protein. If regular access to fresh produce is limited, frozen alternatives are a fine substitute. Include a daily vitamin as well to hit on all the nutrients you may not be getting through diet alone. Maintaining a healthy diet is a vital part of older adults staying healthy during coronavirus.

Find New Hobbies

Sometimes, daily life feels too busy to find time to learn new skills or experiment with new leisure activities. Now, without a way to fall back on the same old habits and duties that have kept you distracted, there’s plenty of time to try something new.

Even without going outside, there are plenty of ways for older adults to stay busy at home. You could consider joining a virtual book club, taking open online courses on platforms like Coursera or edX to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. Learning to sew, knit, or cross-stitch, taking up puzzles, baking, canning, cooking elaborate dishes, or even playing virtual card games with friends online. With more free time to devote to the little things in life, you can find new ways to enjoy your leisure time.

Keep in Touch

Not being able to see friends, children, grandchildren, and extended family members can make you feel isolated if you live alone. Humans are social animals and extended distancing from necessary social interaction is often uncomfortable or distressing. Luckily, technology makes it possible to stay in touch, whether your family is across the street or around the world.

From Skype to FaceTime, it’s possible to stay connected with your friends and family, without meeting up in person. Even texting can be a great way to check-in. A simple message to a loved one and a kind response can be enough to create the kind of connection you’re missing while staying at home and staying healthy during coronavirus.

Make Plans for the Future

Staying at home and socially distancing yourself may feel like a very uncertain set of circumstances, but there’s good news: it won’t last forever. Sooner or later, the world will right itself, and life will go back to normal. And when it does, what do you want to do?

From trips to Florida with friends to dinners with your family, it’s important to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. The things you miss doing now will be available soon, so don’t let yourself be consumed by stress that can come with this challenging situation. Think up a meal plan for a family dinner, research venues for your next family reunion, or put together an itinerary for your dream vacation. It’s easier to be happier at home when you have something to look forward to.

Check-In With Yourself

It can be overwhelming to have your whole world change essentially overnight, especially when you don’t know what the immediate future may hold. In these times, it’s important to check in with yourself and make sure you are meeting your basic needs.

Do you feel emotionally healthy? Physically healthy? How is your morale?

By taking time to evaluate your wellbeing as well as your individual needs, it becomes easier to keep your health headed in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, the increase in telehealth services makes it easy to speak to your physician or a licensed counselor without leaving your home.

Staying as healthy as possible is always important, but now more than ever your focus should be on remaining as resilient as possible. With these tips for older adults to stay healthy during coronavirus, you can make the most of your time at home.

About the Author
is part of the content marketing team at Redfin and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

COVID-19 Guide for Caregivers

To all future and current caregivers,

You may not know this, but you are so valuable to us and to the folks that you care for, and we want to ensure that you have what you need and that you will continue to stay healthy yourself.

In our opinion, half the battle is understanding what is going on, what can WE do to protect ourselves and our family AND the community that we care for. Here is some guidance regarding the symptoms of COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is treated (click this link to download a PDF: COVID-19 Precautions & Testing}. We have also included some information regarding managing anxiety and fears, the myths and facts as well as a way to screen yourself DAILY.

It is important to us that you know you have our support and that you will not be asked to work if you are experiencing a cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath.

We hope you will read the information, keep it with you if you wish and by all means HEED THE CALL by asking yourself the 3 most important questions:

  • Do I have a cough, sore throat, fever or shortness of breath?
  • Have I just returned from international travel?
  • Have I been close to anyone suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you can say “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be at risk for carrying or developing COVID-19 and you need to report it to your local health department or MD so that the CDC and WHO can take the next steps.

With all of the questions, fears and talk around town and the nation; most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY! If you suspect that you might be sick are have been in contact with someone who is sick (or has symptoms), DON’T KEEP IT A SECRET!! The group of folks we care for are either elderly or possibly dealing with issues that do not allow their bodies to heal themselves and again, YOU ARE SO VALUABLE TO US AND TO THEM.

Thank you in advance for reading this, heeding the call and passing this forward.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

COVID-19 Cleanser: R-Water

Austin Charges Ahead of Coronavirus with R-Water’s State-of-the-Art Technology

(AUSTIN, Texas) Coronavirus is rapidly spreading, and the City of Austin has taken charge to defend its community.

Austin’s Building Services Department has implemented a game changing technology from R-Water, a local, female-owned and led company. This technology enables Building Services to produce a powerful, hypoallergenic healthcare-grade disinfectant and a powerful, hypoallergenic all-purpose cleaner on-site. The disinfectant kills Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other harmful pathogens lightning fast, without posing a threat to the workers using it.

“It’s amazing what a little change, like these solutions, can do for morale,” said Eric Herman, Public Services Manager for The City of Austin.

In addition to providing protection against the Coronavirus, the program is saving taxpayer dollars to boot; a 54% reduction in chemical expenses over three years. The program has already been implemented in several city facilities, including Human Health Services, Austin Animal Center, Austin Police Department, Austin Municipal Court, Downtown Austin Community Court, and One Texas Center. The city is aggressively expanding throughout additional buildings.

While green products are not known for performing well or being financially advantageous, Herman has had a different experience with R-Water. “My boss says I’m a rock star for coming up with innovative ways to get things done. R-Water’s technology works better and faster than anything we’ve ever used before,” states Mr. Herman.

About R-Water
R-Water is a woman-owned and operated business based in San Marcos, Texas. R-Water manufactures and distributes a computerized device that gives hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, office buildings, restaurants, schools, and other facilities the power to produce cutting-edge cleaning and disinfecting solutions on-site. To learn more about how you can protect yourself against the threat of Coronavirus, visit www.r-water.com or contact info@r-water.com.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

The House Has Passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

March 11th, after nearly a year of bipartisan negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal that increases funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity.

This passage reauthorizes the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) through FY 2024. The legislation will now move to the President’s desk for signature.

“This reauthorization supports the needs of unpaid and family caregivers who are playing an increasingly large role in supporting the needs of older adults,” said National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s CEO Sandy Markwood. “It’s especially critical as we grapple with the implications for older adults, family caregivers and the caregiving workforce pertaining to the spread of COVID-19.”

For more information on this passage, please click here.

The Value of a Health Navigator

Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.

Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).

The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.

Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.

Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.

Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Have Compassion For Yourself

How to Build Your Own Resilience & Create More Joy in Your Life
And Be More Present for Your Loved Ones
By Dr. Mara Karpel

“When we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others — our families, our friends, and the world — in a healthier and more effective way.”
 ~ Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Being a caregiver can be extremely stressful and, in fact, caregivers have been found to have a statistically higher rate of chronic illnesses, severe emotional issues (such as depression and anxiety), and even earlier death. Self-compassion can build resilience in our health and our emotional well-being, even when immersed in stressful situations. Having such resilience is important for our ability to continue to do our best as a caregiver, as well as help us to create a life of passion, joy, and vitality…no matter our age.

Here are a few tips will help to get you started showing yourself more compassion:

  1. Treat yourself like you’re worthy right now, even if you don’t believe it.

This includes taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet and exercising. And begin to take action toward achieving your dreams. By following our dreams, we contribute to creating a beautiful world.

  1. Do things throughout the day, every day, that cheer you or inspire you.

Here are some examples of works for me: listening to music that I enjoy, reading something inspiring, taking a nap, walking in nature, exercising, breathing slowly, relaxing. Do what makes you feel more vital and alive. It doesn’t have to be something big. When you make this a daily priority, you are giving yourself the message that you deserve to be treated well.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and who treat you with love and respect.

Humans best learn by observation. If we observe people who love themselves and who love and respect the people around them, we learn how to do the same. Reduce or eliminate the amount of toxins you ingest and the amount of time you spend with toxic people. By being around positive loving people, we come to realize that we’re worthy of love and respect.

  1. Turn off the negative, derogatory, self-talk.

The voice in our head might come as the voices of our parents or other important people in our lives, or as our own voice, questioning our worthiness or telling us that we are “victims.” When author of the book, Self-Talk for a Calmer You: Learn How to Use Positive Self-Talk to Control Anxiety and Live a Happier, More Relaxed Life, Beverly Flaxington, was interviewed on my show, she pointed out, “It’s our own minds, so often, that defeat us. We say things to ourselves and tear ourselves down. The self-talk that we use on ourselves absolutely drains us. Lack of confidence and low self-esteem is very typically an outgrowth of too much negative self talk too often.” In order to truly love yourself, it’s important to become aware of this negative chatter and to know that this chatter is not the “truth.” Then, even if we can’t turn it off completely, it will lose its power over us and, perhaps, the volume will soften.

  1. Stop listening to negativity of others.

Remember, a person’s tendency to put another down is caused by his/her own lack of self-love.

  1. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

Use the ho’oponopono prayer to facilitate this practice. Simply imagine the person with whom you have difficulties and say:

I love you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank You.

Remember to repeat the process for everyone, including yourself.

  1. Make a list of your positive traits.

You might notice that you’re very good at finding things about yourself that you don’t like. Now, sit down and make a list of those qualities about yourself that you actually like. Spend some time every day expanding this list.

  1. Treat yourself like you would your own best friend.

Would you be so hard on your best friend about the same things that you’re so hard on yourself about? Try this: Sit down across from an empty chair. Visualize yourself sitting in that chair. Envision that the you in that chair is your BFF (Best Friend Forever), who is sharing with you all of his/her perceived weaknesses. How would you respond to your BFF? Make it a regular practice to talk to yourself with the same compassion you show to your BFF whenever you start to put yourself down.

  1. Have a sense of humor, even about your own mistakes.

If we can laugh at ourselves, then we can gain the more realistic perspective that we’re only human and that mistakes are events to learn from, rather than signs that we’re inept or that our character is severely flawed.

Keep this practice up for at least 30-days. Journal about the experience daily and then reflect upon the changes you’ve noticed.

About the Author
Dr. Mara Karpel is the author of the internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  A clinical psychologist, she has worked with adults of all ages for over 27 years and specializes in working with older adults and caregivers. For the past several years, Dr. Mara has also been evaluating veterans for service-connected mental health conditions. She is a speaker, the host of the Internet radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and contributor to Huffington Post. Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Mara currently resides in the “Live Music Capital of the World” Austin, Texas, where she’s been enjoying the music and following her dreams.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Mesothelioma and the Elderly

In almost any explanation of mesothelioma treatment options, there is a clause. The routes available depends on numerous factors, one of which is age. This clause — that age, among other factors, could limit treatment — is usually specific to just one option: surgery.

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggests that age might be the most often-used factor when determining if a patient is eligible for mesothelioma surgery.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there are already limited treatments. Removing the most effective one just because of a person’s age? We at Mesothelioma Guide hope surgeons and doctors consider far more than just that number.

In Review: Mesothelioma Treatment for Elderly Patients

The study involved examining the National Cancer Database for all patients at least 80 years old with recently diagnosed non-metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. In other words, the patients’ disease is in its early stages and hasn’t spread to vital organs — but it could, and likely will, if untreated.

The researchers found 4,526 patients who met the criteria and looked into the treatment approach used for each. According to the study’s results, which was published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Just 2% of the patients had surgery (likely pleurectomy with decortication) plus chemotherapy
  • Around 13% had just surgery
  • 22% had only chemotherapy
  • 63% were “observed,” meaning they didn’t receive any curative treatment

The average age of pleural mesothelioma patients is 72 — the disease is more likely to impact the elderly than many other forms of cancer — and restricting these patients to chemotherapy or nothing is usually an early death sentence. The median survival times were:

  • 4.1 months for those observed
  • 9.5 months for those receiving just chemotherapy
  • 12.2 months for those undergoing surgery and chemotherapy

By comparison, the figures for pleural mesothelioma patients under 80 years old were:

  • 17% only underwent surgery or had surgery and chemotherapy (median survival of 17.7 months)
  • 47% had just chemotherapy (median survival of 12.2 months)
  • 36% were just observed (median survival of 6.6 months)

More to the Story for Mesothelioma Treatment
The argument against elderly patients having surgery — or even chemotherapy — is that their bodies may not be strong enough. Other complications may arise due to surgery. However, not every 81- or 82-year-old patient has the same health. One may have poor nutrition or other health concerns. Another could be a former marathon runner who eats healthy and exercises regularly.

While the study says the 90-day mortality rate for those having mesothelioma surgery was 28.5%, this figure does not consider the quality of patient selection. As author Justin Karush says on the Society of Surgical Oncology website, “When selecting patients with mesothelioma for surgery, it is paramount to consider the ability to offer adjuvant treatment.”

Additionally, a survival time enhanced by 200% — the difference, according to the study, between no curative treatment and surgery plus chemotherapy — could be enough reward to take the risk.

Quality of Life Due to Surgery
For people with peritoneal mesothelioma, the benefits of surgery are just as great — if not greater. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology reviewed the quality of life in 46 patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The median survival of these patients was 3.4 years, and 36.5% lived for at least five years.

By comparison, only 18% of peritoneal patients in general live for at least five years, and the life expectancy of elderly patients with this disease is at most two years. While there are similar risks associated with elderly patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, the increased survival time is relevant.

So is the increased quality of life. The study suggests that patients who underwent surgery experienced improved emotional well-being and social functioning, fewer emotional issues and less pain. The study concluded, “(Quality of life) returned to baseline or improved from baseline between three months and one year following surgery. Despite the risks associated with this operation, patients may tolerate HIPEC well and have good overall (quality of life) postoperatively.”

Unfortunately, many elderly mesothelioma patients will never get the chance to enjoy that improved quality of life since the general assumption is they should stay away from the operating room. That is a discouraging one in the medical industry, and one we at Mesothelioma Guide hope changes going forward.

Note to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Loved Ones
If you’re a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient, we are on your side and will do anything possible to help you through this difficult time. Most importantly, we can help you find the best treatment available.

Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is the No. 1 resource for learning more about mesothelioma. She also can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist with a track record of success in helping patients live long past the average prognosis. Email her jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com to begin your path to recovery.

About the Author, Devin Golden
Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

About Mesothelioma Guide
Mesothelioma Guide provides patients and their loved ones with resources, answers, and information over a wide spectrum of free assistance options.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.